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Policy: Citation
In summary: Cite the source of the material you are quoting when you contribute (even if it is a paraphrase and not a direct quote) with a link, author attribute and date.
If the original material is not available in a public space (accessible to someone without an account or password), do not link directly - see the guidelines below for alternative citation formats.
Related Policies: Help:Footnotes, Identity Protection, Ethical Standards for Community & Content

A citation is a reference to the actual location of content that you are quoting, paraphrasing, or otherwise referring to in a wiki article. Citations support the legitimacy of the assertions that you make and provide readers with ways to learn more about your topic. In general, they help to make the wiki a more useful and reliable resource.

Citations can have ethical or privacy implications, however. For instance, most Internet users realize that quoting private email without permission is a violation of established netiquette. Likewise for the quoting of content from private mailing lists or friendslocked LiveJournals.

Our citation guidelines are intended to help contributors weigh these concerns and decide how and when to quote, cite, and link to supporting content.

The Anatomy of Citation on Fanlore

Definition of terms used on this page:

Quotation/Quote: Content that you have copied or paraphrased from another source.

Citation: Any identifying information about your content that informs the reader of its source or origins. For instance, the date of a blog post, the name of a website, or a link to the content itself.

You quote content by copy-pasting or paraphrasing it; you cite sources by showing the origins of a piece of quoted content.

Link: An HTML hyperlink that will take the reader directly to the source of the content you have quoted, are paraphrasing, or are referring to.

Internal link: A link to another page on Fanlore. Contributors should remember to link to other Fanlore terms and articles where possible. Internal linking helps readers find information more easily and fosters interconnectedness on the wiki.

Anatomy of Citation on Fanlore

Restrictions on Quotation, Citation & Linking

Fanlore places very few restrictions on linking to content in citations or on the quotation of content on the wiki. Restrictions fall into two categories:

  1. Content that violates the Fanlore terms of service agreement, and
  2. Content that is protected or whose access is otherwise limited to a group's "members only".

Content that violates the Fanlore terms of service agreement

Examples include:

  • Content that is prohibited by United States law, such as child pornography.
  • Content that violates an existing license or copyright. This includes non-transformative copies of songs/audio files, television episodes, entire copies of books, and pirated text, graphics, and video. See Fanlore:Copyright for more information on how copyright is dealt with on the wiki.

Protected or limited access content

Content whose audience is limited by electronic means or by fannish social convention.

Examples include:

  • Private and semi-private correspondence, such as email, instant messages, and chat transcripts
  • Portions of friendslocked journal posts or text from "members only" journals, message boards, mailing lists, or blogs
  • Content such as stories, essays, or posts that are password-protected or require membership or permission to access, including linking to example works on Archive of Our Own that are only viewable to registered users or friendslocked fanworks on LiveJournal
  • Quotation of posts made to mailing lists or forums which are password-protected or are otherwise restricted to members only


  1. In some cases, an original poster (OP) or content creator may agree to let you quote and cite them in a wiki article. In these cases, the OP must grant approval prior to your quoting of the content on the wiki.
  2. If a post is initially public, but later deleted or made private, then screencaps of that material are fine to include as long as nothing in the screencap otherwise violates policy. The key here is the expectation of privacy at the time the initial post was made; if the post was originally open, there was no such expectation, and a retroactive friends-lock/removal doesn't change that. Care should be taken, as always, to present as many points of view on the issue as possible. Thus, if the screencap no longer represents the current position of the person represented, please take care to note their changed stance as well.

See the linking guidelines for further suggestions of how to cite non-public content.