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Help:How to fix or report an error

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If you come across something in SourceWatch which you think is erroneous, we encourage you to help improve and correct the article rather than merely reporting the error. SourceWatch is a wiki and depends on the contributions of its citizen editors. An explanation for all corrections should generally be recorded in the article's talk page, though blatantly inappropriate content or vandalism can be noted in the "Summary" box below the editing window. The managing editors generally watch the edit summaries and talk pages but you may also contact them specifically about your changes by using the contact information provided at the bottom of each SourceWatch page.

Types of errors

There are five major types of material on SourceWatch that violate the ground rules. In each case, it is preferable to attempt to fix the offending material rather than deleting it. (See "play nice" and "be creative, not destructive" under the ground rules for more information.)

  • Copyright violations: All material posted on SourceWatch should generally be un-copyrighted "free content" or re-publishable under "fair use" or a compatible "copyleft" license like the GFDL or a Creative Commons License. This helps keep SourceWatch "free" by allowing the Center for Media and Democracy to publish it at low-cost and by allowing others to freely use material posted here. Material that violates copyright or license requirements by being posted on SourceWatch must be removed, though it is preferable to request re-publishing rights from the copyright holder or to find suitable replacement material.
  • Unfair or inaccurate material: All material posted on SourceWatch should be accurate. It is preferable to fix the offending content, keeping whatever is salvageable, rather than just deleting it.
  • Unsubstantiated material: All material posted on SourceWatch should be linked to a verifiable external source, with only minor exceptions. It is preferable to attempt to find a source for the unsubstantiated material rather than deleting it, but that may be necessary in come cases. (See Help:References for more information.)
  • Irrelevant material: SourceWatch has a broad mandate to report on public affairs, including policy, politics, marketing, etc. Material that is not relevant under this mandate should be removed, although judgment should generally err on the side of preserving rather than deleting content. (See SourceWatch:Purpose for more information.)
  • Commentary about the SourceWatch article itself:Commentary about a SourceWatch article should not be included in the article itself, but each article has a corresponding "talk" page where comments may be posted (accessed via the "discussion" tab at the top of the page). In cases where someone adds commentary about an article to the article itself, it should not be simply deleted. Instead, move it to the talk page.

How to fix an error

Inaccuracies

Post a note to the talk page accompanying each article page explaining your concern, how you propose to remedy it and, if appropriate, any references supporting your point. The talk page is accessed by clicking on the discussion tab at the top of the article page. This is the fastest way of drawing a matter to the attention of SourceWatch contributors and getting your concerns dealt with. If the article is about you or your organization it is best to register and openly identify your affiliation. (See SourceWatch:Editorial Policy for explanation). Obviously, if you are only correcting minor points feel free to go right ahead and make the editing changes. (Minor errors would include dead links, typos, poor grammar etc.) If there is no response in a reasonable time, go ahead an make the change you suggest so long is it does not involve a significant deletion of content. Then post a brief note to the talk page mentioning that you made the change. If your proposed change is controversial, try and resolve the issue on the talk page rather than through an edit war on the article page. If you can't resolve the issue via the talk and article page, you can send an email to SourceWatch's publisher, lisa AT prwatch.org.

Unreferenced material

If there is a significant point in an article which is not supported by a reference you can: a) have a look to see if there is a reference for the point; b) if not, or at least via an initial search, you can relocate the sentence or paragraph to the talk page pending further efforts to find a supporting reference or indicate that a reference is needed.

Report an error

If you really don't want to fix an error yourself, you can report it in two ways:

  • Post it as a "thing you can do": By publicly posting an error as a "thing you can do," you may be helping it to get fixed more quickly as any member of the community can run across it and fix it. To do this:
    1. Go to the main "things you can do" page and select one of the categories that your error falls under.
    2. On one of those sub-pages, see if there's any particular section the error should go under and click "edit" on that section's heading.
    3. Enter a description of the error, making sure to put in a link to the page containing the error.
    4. Sign the error report (this helps the community engage in discussion about errors and how to fix them) by click the signature button above the editing box (it's the one with the squiggly line, second from right).
    5. Enter something in the "Summary" box below the editing window, like "adding new error".
    6. Click "save." That's it - hopefully someone will fix your error soon.

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Complaints

Complaints and legal threats relating to the content of a SourceWatch page should be dealt with as a matter of high priority. Any complaints hinting at legal action are to be communicated to the Center for Media and Democracy (editor AT prwatch.org) and CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves (lisa AT prwatch.org), as soon as possible. If you believe that your copyrighted material has been infringed, you may contact the Center for Media and Democracy's registered copyright agent: Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy, 409 East Main Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703. Email: copyright AT prwatch.org