Talk:Natalie Portman

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Former good article Natalie Portman was one of the Media and drama good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
May 8, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
January 23, 2016 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

A good reference source[edit]

I marked this thread sticky. To undo, simply remove the comment and dummy signature at the beginning of this hatnote. Rebbing 04:40, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

The first cite under "Education" is a scholarly-press book, Jewish Americans (Salem Press), that has a thoroughly researched entry for Portman. I would recommend it, particularly for upgrading some of the lower-quality cites in the article. --Tenebrae (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:16, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Which is the better statement?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The discussion below shows no clear consensus for any one of the originally listed "Alternatives" nor explicitly for the original phrasing (which has changed slightly by this time). Many editors !vote for multiple or none of the presented alternatives. The only clear consensus is that policies and guidelines require any description of this movie, or Portman's role within it, to present verifiable citations. The only citation given states: "The most impressive performer is Natalie Portman...but Portman is such a graceful actress, and so astonishingly talented, that she makes the character work." There is no evaluation of the prominence of her role but there is clear evaluation of the quality. This makes the consensus for verifiable descriptions weigh against using the term "major role". (non-admin closure)Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 00:34, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Given the existing text:

"During the mid-1990s, Portman had roles in the films A, B and C, as well as a major role in Beautiful Girls, for which she garnered significant acclaim."

can the editors use the qualifier "major role" to define the role, or is it original research to add the phrase without supporting citation? - Jack Sebastian (talk) 01:28, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Alternative phrasings[edit]

  • Leave as is, the editors should be allowed to evaluate the quality of the role without exact sourcing as to phrasing.
  • Alternative #1, "During the mid-1990s, Portman had roles in the films A, B and C and Beautiful Girls, garnering significant acclaim with the latter.".
  • Alternative #2, "During the mid-1990s, Portman had roles in the films A, B and C. Her breakout role came in the 1996 film Beautiful Girls, where she garnered significant acclaim."
  • Alternative #3,"'"During the mid-1990s, Portman had roles in the films A, B and C. Her performance in the small ensemble film Beautiful Girls garnered significant acclaim."


The question of phrasing had been the subject of two earlier RfCs, linked here and here. The first RfC's closing Admin took note of the poor phrasing of the RfC and that use of the term "major role" was not biased. It was suggested that another, better crafted RfC be submitted to address the matter.
The closing admin on the second RfC noted that, as one word had generated so much debate, it would have been wise to "rephrase the sentence altogether, and present the available information in another way."1


There have been three previous discussions on this issue in the last six months, all started by the same editor. Two were RfCs linked above, and an earlier discussions at Talk:Natalie Portman/Archive 3#Major roles. Also see the discussion immediately above this current RfC at Talk:Natalie Portman#Revisiting "a major role" wording. The first RfC was closed with the statement "there is a very strong consensus that 'a major role' is not biased." The second RfC was closed with the comment "The rough consensus is that 'major role' is an evaluative qualifier that requires verification, but there is no consensus to require exact wording in sources as it is often described in different terms in cited sources across BLPs of actors." In all four discussions an important point argued for keeping the current consensus of "major role" is that other means of determining major role, such as Portman's top billing in the film, can be used.

Er, you do see the notes section immediately above this that says the same thing, right? Your're supposed to present a neutral Notes section, without rendering your opinion. This is not very neutral. Allow people to weigh in, and stop being afraid. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 04:45, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I saw that inadequate and biased note. Sundayclose (talk) 14:50, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
And it bears repeating that Portman did not have "top billing" in the film, it was an ensemble piece, and opening and closing credits arranged the 12-person cast in alphabetical order. The movie bombed, btw. I just thought it might be helpful for visitors to have actual facts to aid their decision-making. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 04:48, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Portman is one of 15 actors with top billing (out of about 50 actors). You're denying it doesn't make it untrue. Now, how about we both drop this and let others leave their comments below. Lickety-split. Sundayclose (talk) 14:50, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Top billing, by its very definition, means that Portman would be in either the first or second position in credits. This is the film's open and end credits (as they appear):
Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich, Annabeth Gish, Lauren Holly, Timothy Hutton, Rosie O'Bonnell, Max Perlich, Martha Plimpton, Natalie Portman, Michael Rapaport, Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Note the alphabetical order of the cast. 'Way back in '96, Hutton, Sorvino and Thurman were the big names in this film. Two of them Hutton and Sorvino, were Academy Award winners (Sorvino had just won her Oscar the year before). Had any of these people wanted top billing, its quite likely they would have gotten it. At this juncture of her career, Portman had only three films under her belt, which was what got her into the cast, but wouldn't have afforded her top billing.
So I am a little confused as to why you think that she was in the top 15 for billing in 1996. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 17:26, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
I'm not going to insult your intelligence by explaining how all top billed actors can also be listed in alphabetical order. I'm sure I don't have to explain that "top billing" and alphabetical order are not mutually exclusive. As I said above I'm not explaining this any more because it has been explained ad nauseum and I'm not taking your baiting for an endless argument. Pretend you're confused from now until doomsday. You and I are finished on "top billing". Sundayclose (talk) 19:23, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
I'd rather you not insult me at all, Sundayclose. ;)
And, by very definition, top billing, suggests that certain performers are the money-makers (ie, their name brings the moviegoer to the theater),and so their name appears first in the credits. Certain directors prefer to list cast in alphabetical order, to sidestep the egos that go along with billing issues[1]. So, the terms are, in fact, mutually exclusive. As you have brought no references noting Ms. Portman's billing status in 1995-96, I must presume that there isn't one.
And no, you don't have to re-explain yourself. If you had references, they would do the explaining for you, but none of those have been presented in support of your view. I have brought over a dozen. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 19:38, 26 October 2016 (UTC)


  • As is. I have no doubt about the purity of Jack Sebastian's motives, but it is disruptive and a tremendous waste of the community's time to raise the same pedantic issue time and again in discussions, RFCs, and through contentious editing in hope that the answer will be different. This question was squarely addressed by the most recent RFC, "Does a 'major' role need to be cited as such by reliable sources?", which found no consensus for removing the "major role" language, and it should not be debated yet again simply because one editor is dissatisfied with the outcome of his previous proposals. I would have more sympathy for his concern if this were the most significant sourcing issue here, but it isn't. Rebbing 13:16, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
So, to be clear, your vote is not actually about content, but about the fact that its been raised before. In essence, your vote is a protest vote. Thanks - Jack Sebastian (talk) 17:01, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
As I said in the last two RFCs, my view is that the original research policy isn't to be interpreted in the absurdly strict way that you propose. The fact that I chose to predicate my vote on procedure instead of answering the question a third time does not make my vote irrelevant. Rebbing 17:36, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
@Rebbing: Thanks for your comments. The clarification was entirely unnecessary, but thanks for providing it. I would appreciate it if editors could be allowed to express their opinions without them being mischaracterized and challenged. To that end, I'm creating a threaded discussion below that can be used instead of constant back and forth here in the !votes section. Sundayclose (talk) 19:31, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
@Rebbing: How is my read of OR "absurdly strict"? If you make a bold claim, you have to support it with references if challenged - plainly spelled out. Because we in fact have sources that directly contradict this claim, how is it either absurd or strict?Jack Sebastian (talk) 20:05, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
I again would like to remind editors to place extended discussion in the "Threaded Discussion" subsection below. Sundayclose (talk) 21:13, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps I misunderstand, but isn't it easier to follow a threaded discussion when replies are threaded immediately below the comments to which they reply rather than being placed in a separate section? Rebbing 21:55, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
It's absurd, in my opinion, in that it stretches OR beyond what it was intended to cover. I believe your position is analogous to using BURDEN to demand that someone provide a citation proving that the sky is blue. However, your position as expressed in your vote is not without merit; I simply happen to disagree with you. Also, make no mistake: I am not disputing the policy; I understand that local consensus can't overrule guidelines or policies. The only question is how the original research and verifiability policies apply to these circumstances: a question we are permitted to decide. Rebbing 21:55, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for that clarification, Rebbing. So, if I am to understand you correctly, you feel that I am too narrowly interpreting the V and OR policies in requiring a descriptive statement to be referenced. Is that a fair assessment of your position? - Jack Sebastian (talk) 22:26, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Mostly, yes, it is. My position is that, by analogy to WP:FILMPLOT, Beautiful Girls is the source for the statement; however, I am startled to realize my memory of FILMPLOT is way off. Cry.png Also, reconsidering, I realize my stance regarding OR would be unsupportable either way: if editors can reasonably disagree about an interpretation, that shows that the interpretation is not so obvious that my proposed "minimal and obvious conclusion" exception to OR should apply (assuming such an exception exists at all). With apologies to all, I withdraw both my vote and my opposition to this discussion. Rebbing 00:07, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
  • As is for all of the reasons I've given in the two previous RfCs. Sundayclose (talk) 14:37, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Alternative #3 and, to a lesser extent, Alternative #1. While I understand that there are some who annoyed that this topic has come around again, the fact remains that there is no reference that supports that this was a major role for Ms.Portman. Stated another way, in over twenty years, not one single reviewer has noted that this was a major role for her. What they have noted, however, was that this was a (terribly flawed) ensemble piece (1, 2, 3). As editors, we don't get to invent stuff without sources to back them up. Alternatives #1 and #3 allow us to state the simple truth that we have collected via sources.
I believe that the reticence of other editors to follow this idea is based upon Ms. Portman's later success. She is a big star now, but not so much back then. Due to this reasoning, calling her role a "major" one appears to be Original Research. We don't get to list our personal opinions in articles. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 17:37, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
For whatever it's worth, I came to this article in April for the RFC. I have no personal interest in Ms. Portman's career: before I read this article, the entirety of my knowledge about her was that she was the lead in Black Swan, a film I barely remember; I was not aware that she was a star. Rebbing 21:55, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
She's a stunningly adept actor with instincts that much older actors never develop. Her performance in a film is usually a treat, since there is such effortless depth to anyone she plays. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 01:40, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment - So is there not a source describing her role in Beautiful Girls as "major"? If there is, I support keeping as is - if there isn't, leave it out. Meatsgains (talk) 01:24, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Meatsgains, no, there isn't, hence why Jack Sebastian has so vehemently presented this argument. The debate is more over consensus and/or rewording, hence why it has dragged out this long. 4TheWynne(talk)(contribs) 03:50, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing me up to speed. Let me read through the discussions before casting my vote/argument. Meatsgains (talk) 05:41, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
If you want, I could sum up the remove "major role" argument in less than a paragraph; some of that material is dense and full of a bit of snark, both on my part and others. Walls of text with added snark aren't that much fun to wade through... - Jack Sebastian (talk) 08:01, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
@Meatsgains: You seem to be a reasonably intelligent person, so you don't need to be told what to do. You are quite entitled to read the entire discussion. If you want a balanced perspective, I personally would encourage you to do so, including the three previous discussions (two of those RfCs) that have occurred in the last six months, as well as the discussion immediately above this RfC. I welcome your opinions, even if they differ from mine. Sundayclose (talk) 15:32, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment - same as the last RfC, either cite it or remove it. If it's such a widespread belief that it was a "major role", then there shouldn't be a problem finding a source to verify it. And in good faith, I can't support any of the alternatives either, at the present time the source being used to support that sentence, SF Gate, doesn't even mention she had "roles in the films Heat, Everyone Says I Love You, and Mars Attacks!", nor does the source support that she "garnered significant acclaim" for her role. My personal opinion is that "major role" should be changed to a memorable role, and then find some movie reviews to support the "significant acclaim" POV.-- Isaidnoway (talk) 16:05, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
In previous discussions, I probably didn't mind how the sentence was reworded, but I did quietly agree that "major role" needed to be phased out somehow, even though I wasn't really as strong on it. Now that my suggestions are being used here – though I didn't expect everyone to agree with them – I'll back myself in. For the reasons stated above when I first added the suggestions in, I think that either of Alternative 1 or Alternative 2 would be a reasonable and (hopefully) more neutral way to reword the sentence if the disputed wording of "major role" isn't sourced. I don't think that the original research claim, which brought forth this discussion, is unreasonable – what I don't agree with, however, is implying that "breakout role" is just another way of (or is just as contentious as) saying "major role". All in all, I just don't want things to get too personal here, regarding editing and/or behaviour, so I'll just quickly have my say here and be done with it. 4TheWynne(talk)(contribs) 22:35, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment If there is a reliable source that mentions the belief that Natalie Portman gained notierty after the movie "Beautiful Girls" was released, then the wording can be left as is. If there's not, then the part about "major roles" should be removed as original research. Bmbaker88 (talk) 23:16, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Alternative 1 or Alternative 3 Either way, this seems like a bit of a tempest in a teapot. But then I suppose such wordings, like having top billing, are things that ultimately "matter." I have looked over the information above, and don't feel convinced that the term "major role" is warranted for her role in Beautiful Girls. Having said that, it appears to have been a significant point in her career, therefore it warrants some elevation. I like the wording of both Alternative 1 and Alternative 3. I just watched her last night in V for Vendetta, and was again impressed with her work. Disclaimer: I am not an established Portman fan, nor movie critic, nor film industry insider. I am just an editor with an opinion. Hope that is helpful! KDS4444 (talk) 06:06, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Alternative #1 seems to be the best of the lot. I personally do not prefer using adjectives like "major" role unless sources have identified it as such. In addition the more important point here is that Natalie Portman received significant acclaim for this role. Keep that! --Lemongirl942 (talk) 09:47, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment. Summoned by bot. This is a question that often confronts us, and I think that often in these entertainment articles editors try their hands at being "entertainment writers," assessing what has happened in an actor's career. That usually goes by unremarked in an article on an obscure actor long dead, but for someone still living it requires special care for BLP reasons. My feeling is that the present language or any of the alternatives is fine as long as it is a fair summary of what the reliable sources say. We don't have to footnoted it necessarily, but the important thing is that it not be some Wikipedia editor's judgment. Coretheapple (talk) 13:17, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
My point precisely. Denoting a role as "major" is the fabrication of a single editor. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 18:57, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I have no idea as to whether that word is substantiated by the sourcing, but it has to be. Coretheapple (talk) 19:28, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

(Please use this section for more detailed discussion so the section above doesn't become cluttered with back and forth discussion. This is a common practice in RfCs. Thanks.)

The Beautiful Girls (film)#Critical response includes a quote describing Portman as a scene stealer, which is a strong indication that she had a supporting role. I think Alt 2 is a better way to phrase it. Argento Surfer (talk) 15:06, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
Right, but subsequent roles have already been referenced as her 'breakout roles'. The references we have for Ms. Portman singled her out for praise, which is why # and #1 are closer to the citable accuracy. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 17:27, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
That section is misnamed. By all the definitions on Breakthrough role, Portman's breakthrough role was no later than Anywhere but Here, for which she received an award nomination. Argento Surfer (talk) 20:30, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
I agree - most of the section titles presuppose an evaluative quality to her success that seems synthesized from the roles. Any ideas on how to address those as well? - Jack Sebastian (talk) 22:14, 31 October 2016 (UTC)
There's another issue that speaks directly to the issue of POV. Anyone who was around at the time who saw Léon: The Professional when it came out immediately recognized a major talent in Portman. To a number of critics, and I guess I could go back and look them up but my memory of this is vivid, this first role was also her breakout role. --Tenebrae (talk) 01:19, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
Following that logic, wouldn't any role that helped you land another role be a breakout role? I thought that breakout roles were those wherein people would shop scripts to you and even build a cast around you. The difference between a breakout and a top-billed star is the whole, 'cast 'em because they bring in investment' thing. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 02:04, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
That's a reasonable interpretation. Mine has always been that a breakout role is one that garners you special attention by audiences, press and critics. Lots of character actors have breakout roles in a movie for which they're particularly remembered, and that doesn't mean that character actor will bring in investment. --Tenebrae (talk) 21:02, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
To be honest, I was summoned to this discussion by a bot, so I'm not familiar enough with actor articles to suggest a fix. Philip Seymour Hoffman is an FA, could the structure there be applied here? I don't think it would require a rewrite, maybe just moving the section breaks and renaming them. Argento Surfer (talk) 12:30, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
@Argento Surfer: Well, for sure, that would be something to address, but that wasn't really within the scope of this RfC, which was to address the use of the (unreferenced) qualifier "major" in Ms. Portman's role in Beautiful Girls and to decide on the appropriate alternative language for a replacement. Section titling could use some work, but one step at a time. - Jack Sebastian (talk) 20:35, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought that was what you were looking for when you asked for ideas on how to address section titles... Argento Surfer (talk) 13:27, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Place of Birth[edit]

Other pages list the city and country of birth. Therefore, this page should include this information as well. OrionTanhauser (talk) 20:33, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

This isn't like other articles. The state Jerusalem belongs to is disputed, and it's not up to Wikipedia to resolve that dispute. The article is clear the way it is. Portman was born in Jerusalem and is an Israeli citizen, just as many other people were born in Jerusalem and are Palestinian citizens. Adding one particular country is problematic and unnecessary.--Bbb23 (talk) 20:37, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Okay. But when she was born it was Israel. If she was born prior to 1948, you'd have a point. Plenty of people who have pages and were born in Jerusalem also lists the country of Israel. OrionTanhauser (talk) 20:45, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
As to your first point, it doesn't matter. We are making a statement in Wikipedia's voice as to what country Jerusalem belongs to. Portman is essentially irrelevant to that issue. As to your second point, WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS.--Bbb23 (talk) 20:54, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
In addition to Bbb23's excellent points, this has been discussed numerous times on this talk page, and there has never been a consensus to identify the country of birth. Read the archives. Sundayclose (talk) 21:15, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Erdos–Bacon number[edit]

It took an anon IP to notice it, but they were right: Not one of the cited sources in the claim about an Erdos–Bacon number even used the term Erdos-Bacon. They were simply links to scientific papers. All this time, that sentence clearly violated the guideline for no original research. Before it can be reinserted, that has to be addressed or else it's a violative edit. --Tenebrae (talk) 23:27, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Would this source qualify? EdvinW (talk) 09:32, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
No, that's a self-published website of dubious provenance. We need a reliable source. --Jayron32 14:03, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Here's a source from The Nerdist.--TriiipleThreat (talk) 14:35, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't see how that's a reliable source. More like a blog than anything else. Stepping back a moment, why is her Erdos-Bacon number even noteworthy? Sounds like amusing trivia to me.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:09, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
From my understanding, The Nerdist, is not a SPS and the author is an associate editor at Collider as well. Trivia is about context and presentation (see WP:TRIVIA and WP:HTRIVIA). An isolated factoid as it was presented here was trivial, but if it is coupled together in the boarder context of the actress's educational background and perhaps with a brief explanation of its rarity then maybe not. The same thing could be said for EGOT winners. Saying "Whoopi Goldberg has an EGOT" by itself may look trivial but if placed with other information about her accomplishments then it isn't.--TriiipleThreat (talk) 15:31, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
The sources cited verified each connection point for the Erdos number. The connection with Bacon was missing, which could easily be added. At one time it was included, resulting a long string of citations, and there were arguments that there were too many citations. I know the purists who hate trivia of any type will say such sources are original research and insist that the exact phrase "Erdos-Bacon number" must be included in a source. I mean no disrespect to editors who sincerely object to inclusion of her EBN, but let's address the elephant in the room. For years the issue of whether her EBN is worthy of inclusion has popped up on the talk page (check the archives). Beyond the letter-of-the-law insistence that the phrase should be in a cited source, the real reason this trivia is challenged from time to time is that some people simply don't like it. The IP who removed it said it's a "pointless 'fact'". There has never been a consensus that it should be removed. So once again, let's have the debate about whether her EBN is encyclopedic. Is this trivia worthy of inclusion? I think it should be because it reflects an aspect of Portman's life that is rarely seen in a celebrity. But that's my opinion, and those who don't like it have their opinions. Let's focus on the real issue. Sundayclose (talk) 16:37, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
RE: "The sources cited verified each connection point for the Erdos number." So this is WP:SYNTH, which is disallowed. There needs to be an WP:RS cite specifically stating the claimed fact, aside from any consideration of whether it's WP:INDISCRIMINATE. --Tenebrae (talk) 16:45, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Agree, I think this is beyond what we would call a routine calculation.--TriiipleThreat (talk) 16:50, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
And I agree with TriiipleThreat that the podcast The Nerdist, founded by Chris Hardwick and run as a professional operation, is a reliable source. In context, however, it's clear they're just sourcing Wikipedia, so that's WP:CIRCULAR. I'm not sure this claim ever originated in a reliable source that extrapolated it, but was just some editor's OR.--Tenebrae (talk) 16:50, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict)I agree as well. This is WP:SYNTH. I am unable to find any secondary sources for her Erdos-Bacon number. (This is unlike certain people such as Danica McKellar, in which case I have observed sources actually discussing the Erdos-Bacon number). --Lemongirl942 (talk) 16:55, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I agree it is technically synthesis, although the conclusion reached from the synthesis is very obvious and could be allowed by consensus if there is a citation to a source that explains how the EBN is calculated. As an extreme example of how synthesis could be permitted, if there is a source stating that the distance from the Earth to the Moon is 239,000 miles, and another source stating that the distance from the Earth to the Sun is 93,000,000 miles, but neither source states that the Moon is closer than the Sun, it technically is synthesis to state that the Moon is closer. But I don't think anyone would object to it. My point is, I think a lot of the objection to including her EBN is that it is useless trivia. I think the synthesis issue is secondary. Sundayclose (talk) 17:00, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Honestly, with me, the SYNTH, which as TriiipleThreat notes is beyond mere calculation, is the primary thing. I've objected to it as indiscriminate before, but I haven't deleted it after discussion on that subjective issue. SYNTH, on the the other hand, seems objectively a vio. --Tenebrae (talk) 17:09, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Reliable sources are not just necessary to establish that something is real, they are also necessary to establish relevance. The kind of things that are allowable calculations at Wikipedia are things like calculating age from birthdate, or calculating simple conversions between measurement systems. Stuff of that nature. I can do a random calculation of any number of things, but without a reliable source establishing the relevance of that data in the first place, it's pointless. Being true is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition here. WP:INDISCRIMINATE is all about that. That is, information should be verifiably true, but that isn't enough. It also needs to be verifiably relevant. --Jayron32 17:10, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
@Tenebrae: I respect the objection based on synthesis. But I also think allowing the reader to easily do the math in his/her head is a type of s synthesis that can be allowed by consensus. I've seen other articles (wish I could remember which) in which there were arguments based on synthesis involving some easy math to reach a conclusion, but after discussion the synthesis was allowed. I think much of the discussion here and in the archives relates to whether the fact is worthy of inclusion. Sundayclose (talk) 17:16, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough. Walk us through it. I have to admit, I'm not sure how a number is calculated from simply citing five or six or however many studies. --Tenebrae (talk) 17:19, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Erdos-Bacon number gives details and has examples that cite each publication that makes the Erdos connection and each film that makes the Bacon connection, including Portman's. I don't think there's any doubt that she actually has a finite EBN. But I think the first order of business is deciding whether the fact should be in the article even if synthesis is allowed. Sundayclose (talk) 17:25, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
With all respect to, clearly, a responsible and collegial editor, I have to say this really doesn't seem like a simple math calculation:

Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman has an Erdős–Bacon number of 7. She collaborated (using her birth name, Natalie Hershlag) with Abigail A. Baird,[19] who has a collaboration path[20][21][22] leading to Joseph Gillis, who has an Erdős number of 1.[23] Portman appeared in A Powerful Noise Live (2009) with Sarah Michelle Gellar, who appeared in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Bacon, giving Portman a Bacon number of 2 and an Erdős number of 5.

--Tenebrae (talk) 17:31, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Even if the calculation were fine (and I'm not saying it is, I'm just saying it's not relevant to this point), it doesn't make any difference. Natalie Portman's Erdos number should only be included if reliable sources have covered it independent of Wikipedia. That's the purpose of relevance. Being true doesn't mean anything if it isn't relevant to the biography. And like anything else at Wikipedia, we don't establish relevance by mere assertion. We establish it by reference to reliable, independent sources. --Jayron32 17:36, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict)The easiest part is her Bacon number. She was in a film with Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was in a film with Bacon. That gives her a Bacon number of two (i.e., two films to connect Potman and Bacon). The Erdos number is the same process except the connection is made through scholarly publications with co-authors. She co-authored a paper while at Harvard. Through one of her co-authors, we count the number of publications to connect her with Erdos (which is 5). EBN is simply a total of the number of films to connect to Bacon and the number of publications to connect to Erdos. Hypothetically, if she was in a film with Bacon she would have a Bacon number of 1; if she wrote a paper with Erdos, her Erdos number would have been 1, giving her an EBN of 2. But the connection for her is indirect, requiring us to count the number of films and the number of articles. Sundayclose (talk) 17:43, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

Honestly, and I swear I'm not being snarky, do you really, truly believe that this is "simple calculation" like getting age from a birthdate? --Tenebrae (talk) 17:51, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
I certainly don't think you or anyone here is being snarky or insincere. I do think it is simply a matter of counting number of films and counting number of publications, then adding the two. But I guess that's why we have these discussions, to see whether my idea of simple is the same as what others think. I guess my primary aim here is to separate the two issues: synthesis and notability. If the consensus is that either of those is a serious problem, then the item cannot be in the article. Sundayclose (talk) 17:55, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
It doesn't matter. We can concede that your calculation is OK. It still isn't appropriate to include the results of your calculation in the article if it isn't relevant to the biography of this person. Where is your reliable source that establishes the relevance of her Erdos or Bacon number? --Jayron32 02:59, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Not to be argumentative, but lots of things in lots of articles don't have reliable sources stating that particular details are relevant. Relevance can be a matter of opinion, and often is in deciding what to include in a Wikipedia article. Where is the reliable source stating the relevance of her father being a gynecologist? Or the relevance of where her parents met? Or the relevance of where she went to elementary school? Again, I'm not trying to take the argument to an extreme (for example, asking whether we should include her shoe size). Relevance can be a matter of consensus, which is one reason we are having this discussion. Sundayclose (talk) 03:17, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that goes for claims of relevance. Presumably, many academics who have published just about anything plausibly have an Erdos number, yet few biographies of even professional scholars whose primary claim to notability is their scholarly work have biographies that mention Erdos number. Why would it be relevant to an article about a person whose primary claim to notability is as an actor? Sure, there are things which relevance is common and presumed, for example in an article on an actor, it is presumed that major acting roles are relevant, because they're actors. However, the more extraordinary the claim of relevance, the more important the need for solid sources. You're taking an abstract bit of trivia, one which I might add isn't even worth mentioning among the very people whom it is supposed to assess, and trying to put it in an article on an actor. You'd need a rather extraordinary source to back that claim up. --Jayron32 03:29, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Once again, what is the relevance of father's job, where parents met, and where she went to elementary school in the biography of someone whose notability is an actor? It's a matter of opinion about what is relevant enough to include in a Wikipedia article. We could argue till the cows come home about the relevance of many details in the article. Are you suggesting that EBN should not be a matter of discussion on this talk page? If I remove her father's occupation as irrelevant, do we have to find a source that it is and not allow discussion here until such a source is provided? Sundayclose (talk) 03:52, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
It's fine to discuss it. I'm sure this is as much fun for you as it is for me. But you've provided no evidence that it's important to write into the article. You've asserted that it is. Anyone can assert anything, but when challenged, you should produce sources to verify your assertions. A sentence about her father's job is fine, we have sources that say what her father's job was. We don't have sources for the notion that an Erdos-Bacon number is anything except an odd bit of trivia, and no sources that it's important to mention in a biography of Natalie Portman. Can you point us to any reliable biography of Portman that also discusses it? Anything that isn't circularly referenced to Wikipedia itself? Any reliable biography that discusses her Erdos Bacon number before it was written about in Wikipedia? --Jayron32 03:58, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Can you point us to a reliable source that her father's job is relevant to her biography? Not your opinion that "her father's job is fine", but a reliable source. Probably not. But if someone challenged including her father's job, a consensus here would be quite sufficient to include it. In the case of EBN, I'm fine with not including it if no consensus supports inclusion. But I do believe that consensus would be sufficient to include it. I see that you started an RfC below, which is an excellent idea and actually makes my point about consensus. And with that, I think I've made my point and see no need to repeat myself. Thanks for the discussion and starting the RfC. Sundayclose (talk) 04:11, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

RFC on the inclusion of Portman's Erdos-Bacon number in the text of this article[edit]

Near-unanimous consensus against the discusion of Erdos-Bacon number at this article--mainly due to a lack of WP:RS covering it.Winged Blades Godric 15:37, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This RFC is narrowly focused on the following question "Should this article discuss Portman's Erdos-Bacon number?" Please respond below. --Jayron32 04:02, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Support or oppose[edit]

  • Oppose No reliable biography, interview, or work about her life or work outside of Wikipedia has been produced which also discusses it. --Jayron32 04:02, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- Never heard of that Erdős–Bacon number and I will try to restrain myself from submitting Erdős–Bacon number article to WP:AfD and let whoever was silly enough to come up with the concept have their fun. But not with our major articles, please! I just hope it doesn't catch on outside the small sphere who think it has some deep meaning. --David Tornheim (talk) 04:53, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose – not without a source. Kendall-K1 (talk) 05:02, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose thank you for posting this to the ref desk so i could learn about the erdos bacon number =D (talk) 06:52, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. As was noted early on in the discussion by TriipleThreat, I think it's important to see to the context, as an inclusion highlights Portman's various talants. Portman is primarily know as an actress, which makes the finite Erdős number interesting. Had she been primarily known as a scientist it might not had been so noteworthy. The Erdős number is a well known, established concept among mathematicians, probably more so than the combined Erdős–Bacon number, and it is primarily the Erdős number I think should be mentioned. Mentioning the Bacon number for an actor, or the Erdős number (perhaps unless very low) for a mathematician or other scientist, I agree could be seen as meaningless trivia.
Regarding the OR, yes, this might be just over the line if we see to the guidelines and apply them strictly. Maybe there would be less of a violation if we were to state the Erdős number separately? EdvinW (talk) 14:10, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose even if reliably sourced. Also, the material about Portman's numbers are set forth in greater detail in the Erdos-Bacon article itself and appears to be synthesis at best. Finally, if there is a consensus for including this "world phenomenon", it shouldn't be in the lead.--Bbb23 (talk) 14:16, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Nonsensical fancruft. Softlavender (talk) 15:23, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Not that I think this has a chance of getting consensus, but I gotta be true to my convictions. :) It may be trivia, but it's good trivia. When we finish here, let's all go over to Adam Rutherford, who has one of those despicable Erdős–Bacon–Sabbath numbers. Sundayclose (talk) 19:54, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I just spent too much of my life looking at the erdos-bacon number. As one of three sources say, it is an interesting game. The number does not appear to be anything taken seriously. This is trivia and is not something that needs to be included in any biography. - GB fan 20:34, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - Since there appears to be no RS discussing this, it cannot possibly pass this RfC, suggest it be withdrawn. I echo the thoughts of David Tornheim, that the main article is at best, a harmless piece of trivia. Summoned by bot Pincrete (talk) 10:26, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think it suffices to cover her academic background, including any publications that put her on the Erdos collaboration graph. And of course, any films that put her on the Bacon graph, without mentioning her distance from either of those giants. People like me who think Erdos-Bacon numbers are interesting will understand the implications of her publications list without needing it called it out explicitly. And as other commenters have said, the number is a comparatively unimportant bit of trivia in the context of her overall biography. (talk) 14:26, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per above - if there are no RS discussing this, it is OR and should not be included. Even past that fundamental objection, the "Erdős–Bacon number" seems like very specific (small audience, potentially unencyclopedic) trivia and I'd oppose it's inclusion on those grounds as well. (talk) 23:31, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose an Erdos number is valid and noteable, but an Erdos-Bacon number, pure trivia, keep it out! К Ф Ƽ Ħ 16:28, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the multitude of reasons I've brought up on this page periodically. It's indiscriminate trivia and, as presented here, WP:SYNTH. --Tenebrae (talk) 23:45, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Far too trvial, niche, crufty, and absolutely synth a factoid for an encyclopedic summary of Portman as a topic. I will grant you, with her rare status of having been credited in genuine research (although an admittedly minor amount), while also being a major Hollywood star, she is certainly one of a select number of people to whom the concept particularly applies (for those who are interested in such arbitrary intersections). But we'd this to appear in multiple high quality sources as a topic of discussion before it could both qualify for encyclopedic relevance and avoid running afoul of WP:SYNTH. Notice that the same approach is apparently being used for all of the individuals discussed in the Erdős–Bacon number article itself, and probably should be discussed there. In those instances, the encyclopedic relevance concern is arguably less pronounced, but the SYNTH problems remain off the charts. Snow let's rap 05:51, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. How silly. ThatGirlTayler (talk) 21:03, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose bot summoned You want me to accept that thing which is responsible for so much vandalism? I'll legalise grand theft cruise missile first. L3X1 (distant write) 04:26, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh, and I put my deletion career on the line by AfDing Erdo-Bacon number, and I mean it in all seriousness, that isn't a pre-mature April fools POINTY AfD.L3X1 (distant write) 04:31, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

General discussion[edit]

I think this RfC is premature, we need to find a source first then discuss the merits of including it.--TriiipleThreat (talk) 04:11, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

Good luck with that. :) --David Tornheim (talk) 04:54, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
What I mean is without a RS this discussion is pointless. We do not include original research.--TriiipleThreat (talk) 15:46, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
How widely has this been covered by RS? --Malerooster (talk) 17:00, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.