[WikiEN-l] No "list of X" article unless there's already a good "X" article

Daniel P. B. Smith wikipedia2006 at dpbsmith.com
Sun Jul 15 21:08:42 UTC 2007

> From: Guy Chapman aka JzG <guy.chapman at spamcop.net>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] listcruft

> On Sun, 15 Jul 2007 16:41:22 +0300, "Jussi-Ville Heiskanen"
> <cimonavaro at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Not so much a case in point, but a touchstone. Do *you* think we are
>> better or worse than Britannica for having "List of songs about
>> masturbation". Stand up and be counted...
> No, a case in point.  There is no encyclopaedic topic "songs about
> masturbation" because there is nothing about masturbation which has
> any logical connection with songs, and vice-versa (although I
> suppose one could stretch a point and say that, for example, Whitney
> Houston's "I will always love you" gives more pleasure to the
> performer than anybody watching).  The connection is an arbitrary
> one, and pretty much every entry in the list was also unsupported by
> references, because in the end what constitutes being *about*
> something, rather than simply mentioning it in the lyrics somewhere?
> I am all for setting up a sister project, triviapedia or whatever,
> for collecting such examples of word association gone mad, but
> there's no question in my mind that a neutral, verifiable
> encyclopaedia is not the place for them.

I wish there were widespread general consensus that there should not  
be a "list of X" article unless there is already a high-quality  
article on the topic of "X." And the list should begin as a section  
within the "X" article and should not be broken out until it becomes  
unmanageably long.

I wish there were widespread general consensus that every item in a  
"list of X" article should be individually referenced. A year or so  
ago I tried checking out such lists, particularly those of which it  
was asserted that a reference was not needed because "references can  
be found in the linked article," and my experience was this was  
usually not true.

The reason why references are needed is that in many cases list  
inclusion involves a matter of judgement, and the judgement should be  
that of an authoritative third party, not that of Wikipedia editors. 

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