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

Stan Shebs shebs at apple.com
Fri Feb 17 18:59:24 UTC 2006

Fastfission 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.").
>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?
Not exactly an original research issue, because the basic fact
of a mention is so easily verified. What would be harder would be
to answer the question of why - is the "Enola Gay" alluded to in
a Simpsons episode because it's funny somehow, or because there
is a subtle political dig, or because Groening's grandfather was
in the ground crew and the episode originally aired on grandpa's
birthday? That would need some research and a source.

A useful way to control the random references might be to require
evidence of relevance. Lots of pop culture references aren't any
deeper than random selection on the part of a scriptwriter
desperately trying to think of a three syllable name. Mention of
all the uses of a particular name is appropriate for disambig pages,
but contentwise may be a coincidence rather than an "in popular
culture" reference. So to put it all together, you should be able
to prune popular culture references that don't actually have a
source demonstrating relevance, or move them to disambig pages.


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