Cite Unseen

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Cite Unseen
Cite Unseen.pdf
Presentation introducing Cite Unseen as delivered at CredCon Austin 2018
DescriptionUser script that adds iconic indicators to Wikipedia citations
AuthorsSuperHamster, Sky Harbor
Updated2019-05-19 (430 days ago)
VersionIn Beta
Script locationen:User:SuperHamster/CiteUnseen.js
Version control
Skin supportVector
Browser supportN/A

Cite Unseen is a Wikipedia user script that helps readers quickly evaluate the sources used in a given English Wikipedia article. The script adds iconic indicators to identified sources that indicate various attributes of the source, such as if the source is a news article, opinion piece, or government-controlled. This allows readers to quickly and easily identify the potential orientation and possible ideological biases of the sources used in an article they are reading.

Initially developed at CredCon in November 2018, Cite Unseen is jointly developed by Kevin Payravi (SuperHamster) and Josh Lim (Sky Harbor), with support from the Credibility Coalition and the Knowledge Graph Working Group. The project saw more development at Wikimedia Hackathon 2019.

The Cite Unseen script after running on en:President of the United States:
  • The first source has been marked as a link book.
  • The second source has been marked as exceptionally biased; the Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank.
  • The third source has been marked as a Government icon (black).svg government-controlled link press release.
  • The fourth source was not recognized.
  • The fifth source has been marked as a Historical Newspaper - The Noun Project.svg news article from the The Washington Post.
  • The sixth source has been marked as an link opinion piece.


The script is located at en:User:SuperHamster/CiteUnseen.js. You can add the script to your Wikipedia browsing experience by editing your common.js file and adding the following line:


Cite Unseen will automatically run whenever you open a Wikipedia page.


Anyone is welcome and encouraged to contribute to either the code or JSON categorizations.

Next steps[edit]

Some of the next big goals for the project:

  • Optimize
  • Ensure wider browser compatibility
  • Expand our lists of identified domains
  • Support multiple languages

Technical implementation[edit]

Cite Unseen performs string matching on URLs, as well as checks for different types of citation templates, in order to identify the kind of work and any potential ideological leanings. For identifying exceptionally biased, conspiracy, and fake-news sources, Cite Unseen uses data from Media Bias Fact Check.

Cite Unseen is implemented in JavaScript. When Cite Unseen is run, it does the following:

  • Iterates through every citation in a given Wikipedia article and pulls URLs.
  • Checks each URL against a pre-defined list of domains and strings that are categorized by nature (biased, press, news, opinion piece, etc.).
  • Injects icons next to citations accordingly.

Classifying sources[edit]

Currently, Cite Unseen classifies sources into twelve types:

Icon Description
Historical Newspaper - The Noun Project.svg
News published in traditional reputable news sources
Community Noun project 2280.svg
User-generated news (e.g. from websites like Global Voices)
FAQ icon (Noun like).svg
Opinion pieces, including op-eds
Feed Noun project 104.svg
Government icon (black).svg
State media, excluding public broadcasters and other outlets where the state does not exercise tight editorial control, and government sources.
Talking (49969) - The Noun Project.svg
Tabloid journalism, excluding newspapers that publish in tabloid size but are not tabloids
Noun project 401.svg
Press releases
Social Media - The Noun Project.svg
Social media
Education - The Noun Project.svg
Books and other similar printed matter
Scale icon unbalanced.svg
Identified by Media Bias Fact Check as being moderately to strongly biased towards certain political causes through story selection and/or political affiliation.
Exclamation Circle Red.svg
This source has been identified by Media Bias Fact Check as conspiracy-pushing.
Exclamation Circle Red.svg
This source has been identified by Media Bias Fact Check as fake news.