Otherkin Wiki

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Otherkin Wiki
Exclamation yellow flat icon These guidelines are provisional. We're still working on finalizing them, but you can still use them to guide your editing in the meantime. If you have any questions or comments about them, please feel free to leave them on the relevant post here.

All content on this wiki must be verifiable. This means readers and editors must be able to check that the information comes from a reliable source. If you add information to an article, it’s your responsibility to add a source – or multiple! - which proves that it’s true.

Why are reliable sources important?

Our insistence on good sources can be a point of confusion for people who aren't used to it. But sources are important, because knowing the truth about things is important. Showing where we get our information from allows us to prove that it's true. It allows the reader to learn more by giving them links to further information they might not have been able to find on their own. It also gives credit to the people whose work we're repeating, which is only right!

There are also specific benefits to the otherkin and alterhuman communities:

  • They preserve our history, which helps us build on established ideas instead of just having the same arguments over and over. Also, seeing where we've come from, and being able to read the experiences of people in the past similar to us, helps us feel more connected to our own community!
  • Teaching about reliable sources helps us build skills that will help us on the internet in general. At times, there can be a lot of discourse about otherkinity and related topics. Knowing how to evaluate when information is trustworthy helps keep us safe and make good choices.

How do I add a source?

The preferred way is to use a citation template. There are two main citation templates: cite web and cite book. In practise, cite web is for content that is native to the internet, like essays posted on blogs, websites, and social media posts. Cite book is for everything else: physical books, but also research papers, offline talks and presentations.

To start, press the button in the editor that looks like an open book, and then press Basic.

Adding a citation 1

To insert a citation template, type two curly brackets, like this: {{ - this will bring up a menu where you can search for any template, so type in cite web or cite book depending on which one you need, and press the option when it comes up. This will bring up a form where you can fill in details about the source.

Adding a citation 2

If possible, all the following fields should be included:

  • the name of the source – the book title, website title, or title of the post. If it’s a post with no title, use a little bit of the starting sentence.
  • the author – if the person’s name is commonly known, this is preferable over their username.
  • the date - preferably to the day, but if only the year and month, or just the year, is available, it's fine to use that.
  • the url where the source is available – if the source is an online post, this is pretty obvious! But research papers are also almost always accessible somewhere online, and sometimes books can be found on the internet archive.

Once you press insert, a pre-formatted citation will be created in the citation box. Pressing insert again will automatically add it to the bottom of the page!

Adding a citation 3

How do I know if a source is good?

There are lots of questions you can ask about a source to determine whether or not it’s reliable:

  • Is there an attributed author? When people don't want to put a name to their posts, they almost always have an agenda. maybe this is for harmless reasons, like having concerns about their privacy or safety. But it often makes it more difficult to ask other questions about the reliabilty of the sources, such as:
    • Do they have the authority to be talking about this subject? If a person is writing about what it's like to be an elf, they should probably be an elf themself! But people can have authority in other ways - a person conducting a qualitative study on phantom limbs has the authority to do so if they have a sociology degree and they've used the proper scientific method. That said, an article on an experience or community should always be primarily built on sources by people who actually have that experience or are part of that community.
    • Is there a way to contact them if you have questions or corrections? Typically, good authors are open to hearing conflicting viewpoints, or willing to correct themselves if they got something wrong. If you spot something that doesn't sit right with you and there's no way to talk to the author about it, that's usually not a good sign.
  • What’s the purpose of the piece? Is it a personal essay? Is it trying to be an objective description of something? Is it a persuasive piece which is trying to convince the reader of something? Or even a shitpost?
    • Is it biased towards a specific viewpoint? A good source should not try and present a specific viewpoint as fact. An opinion piece is one thing, But making generalizations as if that opinion applies to the whole community calls the reliability of the source into question.
  • When was the source written? If, for example, you're writing about the history of a term, sources that are closer to the date that something happened are probably going to be more accurate than ones written years after the fact.
  • How is the source written?
    • Is it in-depth? Short posts are typically not very useful.
    • Does it cite other sources? If a post backs up its claims by linking to other posts, that's usually a good sign! However, these other sources might not be good themselves - a person can deliberately link to other biased sources in order to make their own view look more legitimate. If a post cites its sources, you might have to go evaluate those sources with these questions as well.
    • Is the author using certain tricks to convince the reader of something? Post that are trying to argue a specific point might use logical fallacies to make people think a certain way about things. If a post is using aggressive, emotive language, that might be a sign to scrutinize it more closely.
  • Do other people think it’s a good source?
    • Did it have input from other people? some pieces have editorial oversight - another person checks the work before it gets published. for a book, this is the publisher's job, but this might also be the case for essays that are submitted to anthologies, news sites or shared blogs. most sources will not have this, so it shouldn't be counted against them, but evidence of editorial oversight can boost the likelihood it's good.
    • Is it commonly linked to or referenced by other people? if many people in a community reference the source, that's a good sign that it's generally representative of the community's feelings. if one essay from a person is popular, that can also be taken as some evidence that their other stuff is good too.
  • Is everything in the source true? even if it's an opinion piece, if someone has the basic facts wrong, their opinions might be based on incorrect conclusions. sometimes people make mistakes or misremember a detail! but if you spot something that's outright untrue, that's a sign to treat everything else with extra suspicion.

The more of these questions you can answer positively, the better a source it is. However, there is no hard line that cuts ‘bad’ sources off from ‘good’ sources, and no source is ever perfect! There are some types of sources that tend to be questionable overall, which we list to make you aware that you should pay closer attention to them when evaluating.

Sources to watch out for

what why
Caards Many caards typically fail a number of the critera above. It's usually not clear who wrote them, and their claims are often not substantiated (or their sources are other caards which are also dubious). But they often look professional, and are deliberately trying to look authoritative, which can mislead people. Some caards are well sourced and have a clear author, but these are rare, and if you find a caard as a source for something, you should be extra critical of it.
Other wikis Other wikis are not reliable sources because the content on them is not stable and can be changed at any time. Also, frankly, a lot of wikis do not have good sourcing guidelines themselves. If another wiki cites a source for a fact, then you can simply use that source instead (if the source is a good one). If it doesn't cite a source, you should be questioning if it's really a reliable statement anyway! If you find a source which cites a wiki, that's also cause for concern.

Ultimately, you will have to use your best judgement. If another editor has concerns about a source, they might make a post about it on the article's talk page. By discussing its merits and demerits, we can come to a conclusion on whether or not to include it together.

Also, some sources shouldn’t be relied on for hard facts, but are good for other purposes. Because otherkin experiences are diverse and subjective, we can also use sources that would be considered “biased” by sites like Wikipedia.

A plural point of view

Otherkin experiences are inherently subjective, and much that is written about it is personal experience, anecdotes, or opinions. So if we only relied on hard facts, we’d have very little to say! On this wiki, we’ve taken inspiration from Fanlore’s plural point of view (PPoV) policy to help us make decisions about including “biased” sources (we’ll call them opinionated sources to be less pejorative).

Opinionated sources are okay when you’re using them to talk about personal experiences, or to describe the kinds of viewpoints that exist within a community. They need to be treated with some extra care, however. generally, opinions and experiences should be described by multiple people. You can confirm a subjective experience or viewpoint is common to the community by:

  • Using multiple sources. If many different people independently describe an experience, it’s fair to assume that this experience is common enough to be worth mentioning.
  • Looking for sources which are themselves descriptions of the community (or secondary sources). These are things like surveys, or ethnographies such as this post about common themes in the early animal-hearted scene.

Here are some other pointers on including opinionated sources:

  • Don’t puff up viewpoints! Be explicit about how many people actually feel this. Don’t use ‘many’ when it’s only some. And if you’re citing just one person, name that person!
  • Give the appropriate amount of weight to experiences. If 70% of the community holds opinion A on a topic, and 30% holds opinion B, the article should spend 70% of the time talking about opinion A, and 30% on opinion B.
  • You are allowed to add sources you’ve written yourself. But, if you do that, please disclaim (on the talk page or your profile) that you are the author. This is called a conflict of interest edit, and while we’re much more okay with this than other wikis, other editors might still like to give it a once-over to make sure you’re not introducing inappropriate bias into the piece by promoting your own work.

External links

(this will have links to general resources about determining quality sources, the importance of verifiability, blah blah)