Bitcoin Wiki:Words to watch

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There are no forbidden words or expressions on the Bitcoin Wiki, but certain expressions should be used with care, because they may introduce bias. Strive to eliminate expressions that are flattering, disparaging, vague, clichéd, or that endorse a particular point of view.

The advice in this guideline is not limited to the examples provided and should not be applied rigidly. What matters is that pages should be well-written and neutral.

Words that may introduce bias


... legendary, great, acclaimed, visionary, outstanding, leading, celebrated, award-winning, landmark, cutting-edge, extraordinary, brilliant, famous, renowned, remarkable, prestigious, world-class, respected, notable, virtuoso, honorable, awesome ...

Words such as these are often used without attribution to promote the subject of an article, while neither imparting nor plainly summarizing verifiable information. Instead of making unprovable proclamations about a subject's importance, use facts and attribution to demonstrate that importance.

Poor example:

  • Hal Finney was a visionary pioneer of the computer age.

Good example:

  • Hal Finney was regarded as a "visionary, pioneer of the computer age" by Forbes in 2013.[1]
  1. Relevant Forbes article

Pages suffering from such language should be rewritten to correct the problem or may be tagged with the {{peacock}} or {{peacock inline}} templates.

Contentious labels

Contentious labels
... cult, racist, perverted, sect, fundamentalist, heretic, extremist, denialist, terrorist, freedom fighter, bigot, myth, -gate, pseudo-, controversial ...

Value-laden labels—such as calling an organization a cult, an individual a racist, terrorist, or freedom fighter, or a sexual practice a perversion—may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution. Avoid myth in its informal sense, and establish the scholarly context for any formal use of the term.

The prefix pseudo‑ indicates that something is false or spurious, which may be debatable. The suffix ‑gate suggests the existence of a scandal. Use these in pages only when they are in wide use externally (e.g. Watergate), with in-text attribution if in doubt. Rather than describing an individual using the subjective and vague term controversial, instead give readers information about relevant controversies. Make sure, as well, that reliable sources establish the existence of a controversy and that the term is not used to grant a fringe viewpoint undue weight.

Unsupported attributions

Unsupported attributions
... some people say, many scholars state, it is believed/regarded, many are of the opinion, most feel, experts declare, it is often reported, it is widely thought, research has shown, science says, it is often said ...

Weasel words are words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated. A common form of weasel wording is through vague attribution, where a statement is dressed with authority, yet has no substantial basis. Phrases such as those above present the appearance of support for statements but can deny the reader the opportunity to assess the source of the viewpoint. They may disguise a biased view. Claims about what people say, think, feel, or believe, and what has been shown, demonstrated, or proved should be clearly attributed.

The examples given above are not automatically weasel words, as they may also be used in the lead section of an article or in a topic sentence of a paragraph, where the article body or the rest of the paragraph supplies attribution. Likewise, views which are properly attributed to a reliable source may use similar expressions if they accurately represent the opinions of the source. Analysis and interpretation should be done by external sources, rather than on a page that would have weasel words in the first place.

Pages including weasel words should ideally be rewritten such that they are supported by reliable sources, or they may be tagged with the {{weasel}} or {{by whom}} or similar templates so as to identify the problem to future readers (who may elect to fix the issue).

Expressions of doubt

Expressions of doubt
... supposed, apparent, purported, alleged, accused, so-called ...

Words such as supposed, apparent, alleged and purported can imply that a given point is inaccurate, although alleged and accused are appropriate when wrongdoing is asserted but undetermined, such as with people awaiting or undergoing a criminal trial; when these are used, ensure that the source of the accusation is clear. So-called can mean commonly named, falsely named, or contentiously named, and it can be difficult to tell these apart. Simply called is preferable for the first meaning; detailed and attributed explanations are preferable for the others.

Punctuation can also be used for similar effects: quotation marks, when not marking an actual quote, may indicate that the writer is distancing herself or himself from the otherwise common interpretation of the quoted expression; the use of emphasis may turn an innocuous word into a loaded expression. Such occurrences should also be avoided.


... notably, interestingly, it should be noted, essentially, actually, clearly, without a doubt, of course, fortunately, happily, unfortunately, tragically, untimely ...

The use of adverbs such as notably and interestingly, and phrases such as it should be noted, to highlight something as particularly significant or certain without attributing that opinion, should usually be avoided so as to maintain an impartial tone. Words such as fundamentally, essentially, and basically can indicate particular interpretative viewpoints, and thus should also be attributed in controversial cases. Care should be used with actually, which implies that a fact is contrary to expectations; make sure that this is verifiable and not just assumed. Clearly, obviously, naturally, and of course all presume too much about the reader's knowledge and perspective and often amount to excess verbiage.

More subtly, editorializing can produce implications that are not supported by the sources. Words such as but, however, and although may imply a relationship between two statements where none exists, possibly inappropriately undermining the validity of the first statement while giving undue precedence to the credibility of the second.

Synonyms for said

Synonyms for said
... reveal, point out, expose, explain, find, note, observe, insist, speculate, surmise, claim, assert, admit, confess, deny, clarify ...

Said, stated, described, wrote, and according to are almost always neutral and accurate. Extra care is needed with more loaded terms. For example, to write that a person clarified, explained, exposed, found, pointed out, or revealed something can imply that it is true, where a neutral account might preclude such an endorsement. To write that someone insisted, noted, observed, speculated, or surmised can suggest the degree of the speaker's carefulness, resoluteness, or access to evidence when that is unverifiable.

To write that someone asserted or claimed something can call their statement's credibility into question, by emphasizing any potential contradiction or implying a disregard for evidence. Similarly, be judicious in the use of admit, confess, and deny, particularly of living people, because these verbs can convey guilt when that is not a settled matter.