[WikiEN-l] A thought about "in popular culture" sections

Fastfission fastfission at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 17:47:21 UTC 2006

The question of whether "in popular culture" or "trivia" sections
should be included in articles has been raised many times, and I don't
want to hash over the whole debate again (My version of the
discussions is something like: "Are they encyclopedic?" "Maybe not,
but it's the only way some people can contribute. Also, it makes us
more hip and up to date than EB." "Well, I think they are crap."
"Well, we agree to disagree.").

But I had a recent thought about it. Wouldn't any discussions about
the impact or prevalence of something in popular culture need to have
been discussed by a secondary source first before it was allowed into
an article under WP:NOR?

What I'm basically proposing is perhaps one way to deal with it (that
a draconian, anti-"in popular culture" person like me would be happy
with) would be to restrict such sections or articles to places where
there exists a secondary source literature on the subject.

For example, [[Nuclear weapon in popular culture]] -- not the best
article, admittedly, but there has been ample writing on the subject
by scholars, including general appearance and trends of nuclear
weapons motifs in popular culture, and even specific analysis of the
apperance of nuclear weapons in cinema. Satisifies WP:NOR without any
problem, in the hypothetical (exact contents still probably need some

But [[Space colonization in popular culture]] has no such sources
listed. It is a more common article of this sort, based most likely on
an overgrown "in popular culture" section of an article on space
colonization. Does this constitute "original research" as laid out in

Other articles of this sort include [[A-10 Thunderbolt II in popular
culture]], [[Amateur radio in popular culture]], and [[Fullerenes in
popular culture]], to pick a few at random. An article which
*probably* wouldn't be NOR -- though it doesn't have any secondary
sources of the sort I am talking about listed -- would be [[Heroin in
popular culture]], a subject which I imagine people have probably
written about extensively given the amount of literature and film
which have be based on heroin-related topics.

Just a thought I had -- not a crusade in any sense -- that I thought I
would float on here. I understand I'm a bit cranky on this subject, no
doubt due to my personal feeling that an encyclopedia article on the
[[Enola Gay]] should not be forced to referenced the fact that Krusty
the Klown had an airplane called the "I'm-on-a-Rolla'-Gay" in one
episode of "the Simpsons", but I am not trying to be a hard-ass on the
subject, and recognize it is not the most pressing problem.


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