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

Steve Bennett stevage at gmail.com
Fri Feb 17 18:31:54 UTC 2006

On 2/17/06, Fastfission <fastfission at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.").

You start here talking about "in popular culture" *sections* but drift
onto whole articles. IMHO, "X in popular culture" articles are fine,
but what I hate seeing is well written and researched articles poluted
by a bunch of "In Simpsons episode Y, Homer says "I'd like to eat an
X"" type garbage.

I suspect the solution is to try and surreptitiously isolate these
types of semi-welcome contributions. People get upset when their
contributions are rejected. Instead, by quietly pushing them into a "X
in popular culture" article, we can leave it up to reusers of
Wikipedia material whether they want to take all these articles or

A similar problem exists in ever-growing lists. Take [[number sign]]
as an example. Once, it probably had a concise list of terms that are
used around the world, and was a useful reference for technical
writers (such as myself - I was looking for a less culturally biased
term than "hash" or "pound sign"). Since then it has been polluted by
unsourced additions like "splat", "widget mark" and even, I quote,
"Ken Moody, lecturer at the University of Cambridge, used to call it

If anyone has any great ideas for how to deal with these situations,
I'd like to hear them. The solution basically has to somehow
effectively discourage future editors from adding their own favourite
term, without slapping a rule in their face.

Cleaning out lists like this isn't even useful. Many people will
probably just look at it and go "oh my god, they don't even have
widget mark!!"


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