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It seems to be widely accepted that Wookieepedia is not an acceptable primary source of information, but I think it would be helpful to have a go-to verdict that says so for easy reference.

What is our stance on answers built upon the foundation of Wookieepedia?

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    Although I agree Wookieepedia is not good enough for direct citation, if this is meant to be a canonical meta thread we should probably remove the "extremely shaky foundation of" phrase, since that just makes the question loaded. – Ixrec Jan 27 '16 at 9:22
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    So does the first part. And the middle. Is it an acceptable source, yada yada*. – Mazura Jan 27 '16 at 9:32
  • @Mazura - The foregone conclusion was foregone; I just wanted a place to point people who post Wookieepedia answers. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jan 28 '16 at 4:26
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Like all Wikis (and indeed fansites and blogs), if someone cites wookieepedia as if it's a primary source, you should feel free to use the comments and, if needs be, the downvote button to express that real primary sources (such as book or film quotes, for example) are strongly preferred around these parts.

Part of the problem is that a lot of users are simply unaware that WP is fan-written. I find that after that's explained, most newer users stop directly citing it.

  • At the least, as with citing Wikipedia, you're better off citing the original source (even if with the text of the wiki) when you provide the quote. – FuzzyBoots Jan 27 '16 at 13:05
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    @SeanDuggan - I find that wookieepedia is an excellent research source and usually contains correct info. The downside is that like all wikis, it doesn't cope very well with new sources of info. I see quite a lot of stuff that's out of date. – Valorum Jan 28 '16 at 19:03
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No* wiki sources should *ever* be considered as a primary source.

This includes things like Wikipedia, Wookieepedia, HP Wikia, Buffy Wikia, Marvel Cinematic Wikia, and IMDB.

Talk to any educator, and you'll hear about students trying to use Wikipedia or similar sources as references for their papers. As these students are told, resources like Wikipedia are fine as starting points, but not for actual citations.

Many wikia sources are full of citations. Wikipedia, itself, is full of citations that can be cross referenced. Wookieepedia is also often well referenced. Other times, not so much.

No* wiki sources should *ever* be considered as a primary source, not even us.

Our answers should be cited with verifiable references. That means linking to definitive, verifiable sources. We should be linking to the sources that the wikis linked, not the wikis themselves.

Sometimes all you've got is a wiki.

Sometimes there are unsourced "facts". That doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong. I'm ok with people mentioning these facts, so long as they also mention that the claim is unverified. I won't downvote answers based on these facts, but they're not getting an upvote from me either.

Sometimes passages from wiki sources are acceptable.

If there is a verifiable citation to match them, sometimes Wiki sources have great summations of facts. In these cases, I find it acceptable to quote a passage from a wiki source. Sometimes someone else has already said it far better than I ever could.

What is acceptable should be left up to the person asking the question.

Despite the rules guidelines above, I hesitate to ever say we need a "consensus" or any sort of official rule about whether wiki sources are acceptable. A poor, unsourced answer is still an answer. It may deserve a downvote, but I would not vote to delete just because it's an unsourced statement.


*Some official wiki type sources like Marvel Universe are more acceptable as they are curated by employees of the company.

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    Tolkien Gateway is another exception. It's technically a wiki, and not run by Christopher Tolkien or anyone officially affiliated, but it's very strict and very reliable. – Rand al'Thor Jan 27 '16 at 14:10
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    Strange we can quote encyclopedias, even though Wikipedia is more likely to be accurate than they ever were, due to the sheer number of experts that chime in. I used to be told I could cite Encyclopedia Brittanica, but can't do Wikipedia. Hmmph! – user31178 Jan 27 '16 at 17:10
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    @CreationEdge but which one is also more likely to have been edited by some random 12 year old who has no idea what they're talking about? – phantom42 Jan 27 '16 at 18:52
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    For all I know, both! But on Wikipedia you can check edit history. – user31178 Jan 27 '16 at 18:54
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    Re: linking to the sources that the wikis linked, I disagree, even though this ELU meta post agrees with you. You cite your source. If you're going to cite their sources, you'd better just go there yourself and verify it. Validating a wiki link is the reader's job, if they forget that, that's their fault. Though I suppose it'd be my fault if I assumed you did verify Wiki's quote by providing me their link to it, which I'm apt to do: Oh look. Multiple sources. This guy must be on the up and up. – Mazura Feb 2 '16 at 0:51
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1. The question asker decides what sources are acceptable

  • The user asking the question can specify whether they're looking for concrete evidence for something.
  • If the asker doesn't make any stipulations on what sources they're looking for, then users should be free to answer with whatever sources they may find. These sources can include wiki/wikipedia/etc. answers.
  • The asker can accept the answer that best solves the issue for them.

2. The community of SF&F users will upvote the best answer

  • I don't believe an answer citing a wiki source merits a downvote, especially if the asker didn't specify what sources they want.
  • Instead of downvoting an answer for having a wiki source, just upvote the ones you feel have better sources. Many users already do this.

For example, in the question How did the dianoga avoid being crushed?

  • one answer had no sources; it was pure speculation/deductive reasoning:

    When the trash compactor starts the dianoga releases Luke. It obviously knows what is coming and it removes itself from the trash compactor.

    Because the water level doesn't seem to rise there must be some kind of sluice mechanism in the compactor to deal with this, which would give an ideal escape route for a squid-like creature to hide whilst the compactor works.

  • another answer cited Wookieepedia and used speculation/deductive reasoning:

    There is no canon answer on exactly how the dianoga avoids getting squished. This quote from Wookieepedia seems to offer a possible explanation:

    The dianoga itself had managed to burrow into the wall, and so was relatively safe inside the compactor; that is, until the Death Star was destroyed.

    So it is possible the dianoga was safe in a hole it had burrowed in the wall. However, as @phantom42 pointed out, that passage isn't cited.

    The legends section of the Dianoga page shows that the creature has sharp teeth and strong tentacles, which could have been used to burrow into the wall. So even though the quote above is uncited, it seems as good a speculation as any as to how the creature survives each time the walls close. Burrowing into the wall could also possibly contribute to the water level not rising when the walls start closing, as @Cearon O'Flynn mentioned in his answer.

    The bottom line is there is no canon answer; all we have is this Wookiepeedia quote I mentioned above and our own speculation.

  • A third answer sites a Legends status interview/commentary from Lucas:

    Per the film's commentary track with George Lucas, the Dianoga has managed to locate a small space where it can hide while the mashing is going on.

    And you begin to say, "how am I gonna get Luke free from this monster?" And you have lots of choices, and obviously the easy one is having Han shoot it, having it let go and go away but that's not too much fun. So when you get in there, you know where things are going... when the walls start to close the Dianoga runs away and hides, in a little space that protects him from the walls. So things start to tell their own story after a while. You got the thing, the thing he lives in there, the thing closes all the time he must have figured out a way not to get squashed but it would mean that he would let go of Luke and release him, and then the next problem would be introduced, the doors closing.

Since none of the answers have canon sources, we're left with Legends and speculation. Rather than downvote something just because of a wiki source, simply upvote the answer you feel is the best.

  • You may want to point out that the OP has accepted an answer that references a primary source, in that case an interview with the film's director. Over time I would expect it to outstrip the current vote leader. – Valorum Jan 29 '16 at 17:48
  • @Richard either way, people will upvote the answers they feel are the best. I'm just saying don't downvote an answer for having a wiki source. – RedCaio Jan 29 '16 at 20:44
  • Personally speaking, I'd probably downvote an answer that purported to be definitive solely because of a wiki quote, especially one that lacked an actual source behind it. – Valorum Jan 29 '16 at 21:02
  • @Richard I can understand that. I don't think my answer purports to be definitive because of a wiki quote. ... Do you? – RedCaio Jan 29 '16 at 21:04
  • It's borderline. The wording seems very sure, but without any justification behind it. "Apparently it was safe in a hole". Apparent to whom? – Valorum Jan 29 '16 at 21:09
  • @Richard hmmm, good point. I've edited the wording in my answer. – RedCaio Jan 30 '16 at 2:45
  • I take exception to "The bottom line is there is no canon answer". There is one, just from a lower level canon. – Valorum Jan 30 '16 at 8:49
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    @Richard I was referring to the new Disney rules of canon vs legends. Legends isn't canon, as far as terminology goes. I think you even commented on your answer saying "commentaries are legends". You're right, there is a legends answer - yours. But there is no canon answer. There are no levels of canon. It's either canon or it's legends. – RedCaio Jan 30 '16 at 9:29
  • Ah, here's where I think the confusion lies. Legends does not equal no canon, it refers to a lower level of canonicity. Below that is parody/fanfic/etc which are truly non-canon (e.g. not even licensed by Lucasfilm) – Valorum Jan 30 '16 at 10:24
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    @Richard "Legends canon" is a contradiction; if it's canon, it's not legends, if it's legends it's not canon. "Legends continuity", "legends status", or just "legends" are the best, least confusing ways to describe legends. The point of Disney's change to the EU was partly so that "canon" could only be used to describe one thing. There are no more levels. It's just canon and everything else is legends continuity. I know what you mean, but I think Disney meant for legends to never be described using the word "canon". – RedCaio Jan 30 '16 at 10:53
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    I'll accept that, but they still clearly consider licensed (extended universe) properties to be more worthwhile, going so far as to reserve their rights to steal from it for future stories :-) – Valorum Jan 30 '16 at 11:02
  • @redcaio - what counts as canon is different for each person anyway. For example, under the old LucasCanon, many people considered the EU sources to be non canon, even though they explicitly were. Legends is still a canon, it's just lower than it used to be. As for me, I would consider Legends canon to be more valid than DisneyCanon, so you have people like that out there – The Fallen Jan 30 '16 at 23:13
  • @SSumner I know what you mean. I'm just saying that, if we're to correctly describe Star Wars content the way Disney and the Lucasfilm Story Group intend, then we should only use the word "canon" to describe the Disney/LSG approved canon. Instead of using canon to describe various continuities, we should be saying "canon" or "legends" (Not "Disney canon" and "Legends canon"). The point of changing the EU was partly so that "canon" could only be used to describe 1 thing - the official Disney/LSG approved canon. I'm just trying to avoid confusing people by using the approved terminology. – RedCaio Jan 31 '16 at 0:03
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    @SSumner This is a Q&A site so I try to make sure I'm using the official terminology to avoid confusion. If someone asks a Star Wars question, it's not very clear or helpful to say "there are different universes in star wars, there are different canons" since that's not how Disney (the one's in charge of Star Wars) describe it. – RedCaio Jan 31 '16 at 1:09
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    @Mazura - It's your right not to care, but by the same token, the community consensus is that we do care, and based on voting patterns, care passionately about what is and isn't agreed to be canon/non-canon. Oh, and it's not "some dude at Disney", it's a committee that includes many of the people who have been intimately involved with the creation, marketing, merchandising and ongoing management of the SW brand for 40 years – Valorum Feb 2 '16 at 1:06

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