Wikipedia:Quote your own essay

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The popularity of essays and information pages on Wikipedia is growing. During articles for deletion discussions, editors may sometimes quote essays and information pages as supportive material for their arguments. From time to time, other enthusiastic editors may point out that the first editor is simply “referencing their own essay” and imply that it is not a valid argument.


  • Keep I think that this argument should be kept because of WP:EXAMPLE. SelfQuoter 11:54, 3 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Delete You're quoting your own essay, that's not a reason. NoQuoter 01:42, 6 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

How do they know who wrote the essay, you might ask? It is not a difficult task to check the history of a page and learn who the primary contributors are to that page or article. There are very few "secrets" on Wikipedia!

So what are the reasons both for and against quoting your own essay in a discussion?

Reasons to quote your own essay[edit]

There are several good reasons to quote your own essay (or any other essay for that matter) in an AfD discussion.

  1. It saves time in creating responses
  2. It prevents having to "re-think" arguments and lines of thinking for commonly-encountered discussions
  3. It provides a single location for references (if any) to support the argument
  4. It allows community collaboration and refinement of the arguments that can lead to making Wikipedia even better. In fact, some Wikipedia guidelines have actually grown from essays.
  5. It makes others in the discussion aware of the essay and your detailed reasoning may influence their decision in future AfDs on similar topics.

Reasons not to quote your own essay[edit]

Naturally, there are also reasons not to quote your own essay.

  1. When the essay is held out or implied as policy, it creates the appearance of having greater weight than it should (see WP:NOTPOLICY and WP:EANP for essays on the subject)
  2. It prevents having to "re-think" arguments and lines of thinking for commonly-encountered discussions
  3. Even if not implied as policy or guideline, some editors may believe that an essay has more weight than it should.
  4. Merely quoting an essay can often be viewed as too abrupt, or dismissive, in not taking time to clarify issues, so consider stating additional explanations, along with quoting an essay, or just omit the essay and write direct explanations inline, where direct clarification might be more helpful than a wikilink.
  5. With some users, the title of a quoted essay might be misinterpreted, so consider adding text to rephrase the essay concept, or not quoting the essay at all.
  6. If your essay is too long, chances are you will get a TL;DR reception, even it is full of sparkling wit and deep thought.

How to[edit]

If all the above did not discourage you from self-quoting, make sure your message goes through without annoying your opposition colleagues:

  1. In addition to "see WP:MYESSAY" it is good to add a summary of the actual argument you had in mind or at least point to a specific section/bullet in your essay. (As a side effect, this habit will force you to maintain a clear structure of your essays.)
    Example: Keep, because in this case WP:PRESERVE outweighs WP:NOT, see WP:MYESSAY#Relevance for details.
  2. Be willing to answer more than "RTFM!" on someone's "Huh?" and don't ask "did you actually read my <crystal-clear, brilliant> essay?"
  3. Make it clear that you are referring to reasoning written elsewhere, not citing an authority:
  4. Make it clear that you're citing your own essay, as opposed to somebody else's:
    • Even Better: Support. This comes up frequently, and rationales in favor of it can be found in my essay WP:THINGIWROTE.

Disclaimer: Not for article content![edit]

Just to make sure: This essay discusses quoting your own essay for discussions and talk pages on Wikipedia. It in no way implies that it is good to quote yourself for article content.


Well-written essays are duly noted as essays. While an enthusiastic editor may quote an essay—even their own essay—in an AfD discussion, that does not in and of itself become a "bad" thing and there are several advantages to doing so. Just be sure that the community is clear on the communication—essays should be marked on the page as such, and should not be "cited" in a way that implies they are policies or guidelines.