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Ok so i've been thinking lately about citation style. I do NOT like citing stuff, and i HATE compiling bibliographies. The thing is though, it's not even the underlying principles of citation that bug me. Like yeah duh obviously people should give credit when they incorporate others' ideas into their work, and it's unethical to not do so. The real problem? Weird, meaningless, and inconsistent citation style guidelines.


seriously wtf is wrong with these people. if i'm missing something, someone PLEASE explain it to me. as far as i can tell, MLA, APA, Chicago, american antiquity, Harvard, etc. all convey pretty much the SAME information with few meaningful differences. If I were to cite a book, for example, in APA and then in MLA, it would be the EXACT same information, just shuffled around for some arbitrary reason. And don't even get me STARTED on the whole "References" vs. "Works cited" vs "Bibliography" debacle. On the off chance a professor (or even a high school teacher, i had some weirdly authoritarian ones in my day) somewhere is reading this, do you REALLY CARE? does it REALLY matter for any practical reasons? what exactly is at stake here? I need to cut this preamble off before it gets too long. you're probably waiting for me to share my solution


I propose a UNIFIED citation style prototype.
I get that some styles make more sense for certain subjects. but why the fuck can't we just invent one that works for all of them? Then, the only thing that would matter is the type of document you're citing (like a book vs a website, etc because those have different relevent info)
my formula (prototype) for a citing a book would be: BOOK TITLE, BOOK AUTHOR(S), PUBLISHER, DATE.

no need to think about whether to use a semi colon, comma, or period to separate items. all commas. no need to put random shit in brackets, or italicize anything either. i think even this order makes more intuitive sense to an english speaker than most other styles because its just exactly how you would tell someone about the book verbally if you had to: "*book*, by *author*, published by *publisher* in *year*.

the bibliography itself could just be labelled "bibliography", and entries would be listed in alphabetical order. each one would get a number based on where they are in the order, and then for in text citation, just put a superscript number of the relevant source(s)

i still have to come up with how this style handles articles, websites, etc. but like whatever you get the point. this is more about the PRINCIPLE.

UNFORTUNATELY, i am all talk and no praxis. I will never actually unironically campaign for this, but it WILL be in the back of my mind every time i begrudgingly compile sources for citation. HOWEVER, if any particularly ballsy students are reading this, i encourage you to try using biitchboiii style citation. If you do, email me about it xoxoxo mwah (

EDIT: an even BETTER solution is to just let people use whatever style they want as long as it's legible