Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Lists of songs

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While there is no consensus for the specific content of lists, the following general criteria appear on Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists):

  • Lists that are too general or broad in scope have little value
  • Lists that are too specific will be of little interest
  • Some topics are too trivial to be considered encyclopedic.

This guideline attempts to clarify these guidelines as they apply to lists of songs.

Verifiability[edit]

All content on Wikipedia should be verifiable, usually from an external reference.

  1. A list compiled by an external source, such as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll can easily be verified
  2. Other lists can be verified by researching several external sources, such as List of national anthems or List of Number 1 singles from the 1980s (UK)
  3. Some lists can be verified by inspection, such as List of songs with numbers in the title, but such lists are likely to be judged by editors as trivial.

Lists organized by topic are considered with more suspicion, but are still acceptable if it will be relatively easy to determine which songs belong. Most such topics (such as List of songs about tequila) will be mentioned directly in the lyrics. But topics which have to be inferred from the lyrics or from context, such as List of protest songs or List of signature songs should specify internal criteria for verifiability to be acceptable.

Topic-based lists should ideally relate to an article on the topic mentioned; for example, List of blackface minstrel songs is an obvious extension of Blackface minstrelsy. This is not an absolute requirement, but is strongly encouraged.

Lists based on broad unsubstantiated claims of popular opinion (without clear documentation in a published and respected source), such as Best songs of 1981, or Joe Sixpack's favorite songs, fail the verifiability test.

Too broad[edit]

Lists which are so long they have to be broken into separate articles (alphabetically or otherwise), although acceptable in other parts of Wikipedia, are discouraged for songs. There's no point in having a List of love songs. From a practical standpoint there's little use in a list of songs with more than a couple hundred entries.

Lists must also be maintainable. A List of songs played at dances would be impossible to manage.

Too narrow[edit]

Lists of songs by a single artist belong in that artist's article, or with that artist's albums' articles. Lists with no chance of ever having more than a few entries are discouraged.

Lists whose entries consist primarily of songs by non-notable artists are also unacceptable.

Too trivial[edit]

All lists must have some potential value to readers. Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists) says:

Some Wikipedians feel that some topics are unsuitable by virtue of the nature of the topic. They feel that some topics are trivial, non-encyclopedic, or not related to human knowledge. If you create a list like the "list of shades of colours of apple sauce", be prepared to explain why you feel this list contributes to the state of human knowledge.

If a song list does not spring from a related article, there must be some reason to think that users would search for it. There's no non-trivial reason to think anyone would search for List of songs with 14 letters in the title or List of songs between six and seven minutes long.

Generally speaking, lists which depend on superficial features of the title or lyrics, such as number of words or letters, or containing a certain word, are considered trivial.

See also[edit]