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In some answers references and links point to wikipedia articles, which may or may not contain good references themselves. Is this deemed as acceptable references? Personally, I dont think they should be valid to support key points in an answer since the quality of wikipedia entries varies quite alot. They are not a replacement for direct references to original research or review articles. However, in some cases I think they are fine, e.g. for pointing to basic defintions or topics.

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  • $\begingroup$ If one of the points in the answer seems to contradict what wikipedia says, is it OK to ask for clarification? $\endgroup$ – One Face Jan 26 '15 at 14:20
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For me wikipedia is a great source for popular science type questions and can offer simple explanations, as well as definitions/explanations of keywords & terminology (like that). But I also think, wherever possible, we should be referencing real publications to encourage non-academics who have asked questions to read and engage themselves in peer-reviewed science (I say non-academics because academics already read papers and are aware of the resources out there).

More technical/high level questions will also likely require more academic references because a wikipedia page is not likely to exist/will be insufficient.

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We don't have any hard citation requirements here, you can certainly post an answer without any references at all.

Though I would of course favor answers that reference the appropriate scientific literature. But Wikipedia is fine for general explanations.

The only case where a lack of references comes into play is if someone makes dubious assertions without backing them up. This is a case where downvoting and commenting on the post would be appropriate, but a bad answer is still not against the rules here.

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    $\begingroup$ I feel that it is to a large extent up the detail level of the question. For answers to basic questions without much background, where the answer is more or less generally agreed on (hard line to draw though), I agree that Wikipedia is fine (I have used it myself in answers). However, for more detailed questions that go beyond basic textbook answers I really dont think Wikipedia should be used to back up claims. At least not if we aim for Biology SE to be an independent and professional Q&A. Better then that the answer is a bit delayed, but of a higher quality when it is eventually posted. $\endgroup$ – fileunderwater Jun 5 '13 at 7:53

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