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Discussion per WP:BRD about the "In popular culture" section[edit]

(I've moved this discussion here from my talk page. It concerns Ten Pound Hammer's attempted deletion of this article's "In popular culture" section. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:18, 23 January 2012 (UTC))

WP:TRIVIA discourages the use of catchall lists containing random, arbitrary examples. Also, the list is unsourced OR. Tell me how it improves the article. Oh wait, it doesn't, it's just cruft and clutter. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 02:56, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

The list is not unsourced OR, popcult entries are sourced by the film, TV show, record etc. they refer to, in precisely the same way that plot sections are. I understand your philiosphical stance on what you regard as "cruft", but that's not relevant here, your edit is not backed up by policy. I will be very happy to work with you on trimming the list if there are examples which are poor, but, certainly, for instance, mentioning the works of Joyce in an article about self-reference is a valid addition to the article. Thanks for your bold edit, but I ask you not to undo my reversion of it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:02, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi. I refer you to WP:BRD, which is not policy, but is a widely accepted essay. You made a Bold edit by removing the "In popular culture" section, I disagreed with that edit, and I Reverted it. The next step in the process is Discussion, and it was well that you initiated it here. However, you don't get to continue reverting to your preferred version during the discussion, which you have done. I have returned the article to the status quo ante while discussion is ongoing, until consensus or compromise can be reached. I have mentioned one possible compromise, which is to work together to trim the list a bit, and I would appreicate hearing your thoughts on that. In the meantime, please do not revert again while we are talking. Thanks. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:09, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Since this is discussion other editors should be involved in, I am going to move the entire conversation to the article talk page. Please post any additional comments there. Thanks. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:13, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
What do you think the list adds to the article? In its current form, it's a gross WP:TRIVIA violation. Select examples may be fine, but they should not be a list. Trim it yourself. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 11:03, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
What it adds is an indication of the extent to which self-referencing has spread through popular culture. It is not the subject of dry intellectual study alone, but is alive and well within modern western culture.

As for trimming it, I would prefer that we collaborate, because I have been in this situation before, where someone deletes a popcult list wholesale, and I restore, then I go in to edit it with the thought that if I make a reasonable effort to insure that only the very most significant items are kept, it will satisfy the deleting editor -- except that it doesn't, the deleter persists in deleting the entire list, even after trimming, and I eventually get dragged to some other forum. I don't want that to happen again, and since Wikipedia is supposed to be a collegial and cooperative effort, I would prefer that we work together to trim the list.

Perhaps we could start with which entries you believe are the worst offenders. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:48, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

i agree with tenpound. having this list and the purpose you give it sounds like original research. if you want to show 'it is alive and well within modern western culture' then you should have a source which says that. Bouket (talk) 21:50, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to have to go with Hammer here too. Don't see any references in the section at the moment, were they referenced before? I have no problem with pop culture sections, but unreferenced lists just encourage original research and out of context mentions. If a secondary source describes something as being popular culture then it deserves an entry, ideally as prose. AIRcorn (talk) 04:17, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

For a straightforward description of the contents of a film, book, play, song, television program or whatever, which does not include any analysis or interpretation, no reference is necessary other than the film, book, play etc. itself. This is why we have "Plot" sections in our articles about films, books, etc.
Consider these two scenarios:
Scenario 1: I read a book on a particular subject, written by an expert. I take information from this reliable source and insert it into the Wikipedia article on that subject, being careful to reword it so as to not violate copyright. The information, therefore, has been perceived by me by reading the book, synopsized by me, rephrased by me, and inserted by me, with a reference. Anyone who wants to verify the information goes to the source, reads what's there, and checks it against what I have written.
Scenario 2: I watch a film on DVD. I see something that happened in the film and insert it into the Wikipedia article on that film, describing it as accurately as I can. The information, therefore, has been perceived by me, described by me, and inserted by me, with a reference to the film it came from. Anyone who wants to verify the information goes to the source, views what's in the film, and checks it against what I have written.
These scenarios are identical. There is no more reliable source for the contents of a media artifact than the media artifact itself, as long as one is strictly held to pure description, and does not stray into analysis or interpretation. Once that line is stepped over, then a citation from a reliable source is obviously required for support. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:47, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
It should still at least be referenced to the primary source for verifiability. Some of these are borderline James Joyce's Finnegans Wake contains multiple references to itself could be regarded as analysis. A secondary source mentioning the self reference is at least a good inclusion standard to apply for embedded lists that have the potential to become indiscriminate. All that aside why there is a popular culture section as well as usage and example sections? I am still of the opinion that removing the section improves the article. AIRcorn (talk) 05:59, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
So shall we take some select examples from poular culture (ones with secondary sources) and put them into one of the other more appropriate sections? AIRcorn (talk) 11:40, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
No, the section they're in is the proper one. If you'd like to go about the unnecessary task of sourcing them, ("unnecessary" per my remarks above) that's fine, but they're where they're supposed to be. The offer I made above is still open -- if you'd like to work through the list together, I'm more than happy to oblige -- you can start by saying which one you think are trivial. Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:47, 9 February 2012 (UTC)


hi i put some templates into this article that apply to the whole article. there is a small section being discussed as being trivia but the whole article needs cleanup, so i think these tags should remain. what do other people think? they were reverted immediately [1] Bouket (talk) 22:22, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

also the tags are there to invite people to join the discussion, so they SHOULD be there right? Bouket (talk) 23:01, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

RFC on references for embedded list[edit]

The "In popular culture" section of this article consists of an embedded list with no references for any of its ~26 entries. Shouldn't this be referenced to secondary sources?

I tagged it as an {{unreferenced section}}, but the tag was removed by Beyond My Ken (talk · contribs) in this edit with the edit summary "better before; popclt entries are referenced by the media items they refer to, as long as they are straight-forward description and not analysis or interpretation (see".

WP:OR says "Do not analyze, synthesize, interpret, or evaluate material found in a primary source yourself; instead, refer to reliable secondary sources that do so", but it seems that me that Beyond My Ken is applying a looser standard, based on his own userspace notes.

It seems to me that applying a "self-referential" label to a work is a form of analysis, evaluation or interpretation, and as such requires a secondary source. Beyond My Ken prefers to characterise this is mere description, requiring to secondary sourcing.

Any suggestions on which approach is better here? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:59, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

PS I have opened an RFC without first starting a discussions with the other interested editor, because it seems to me that whatever answer is applied here has wider implications. I hope that does not appear to be rude, and intended no disrespect to BMK. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 04:03, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
None taken, and, to be frank, I hadn't considered that "self-reference" might be considered to stray into analysis or interpretation, and therefore not be straightforward description. I don't immediately think that this argument has much validity for instances where the "self-reference" is clear and unambiguous -- say, where a fictional text titled "Ken's Tale" refers to a text titled "Ken's Tale" -- but there could well be instances where the self-reference is less obvious and is only apparent after analysis, and would therefore be WP:OR unless supported by a cite. However, this comes about because of the nature of what "self-reference" is, so I rather disagree that there are wider implications here. I'm not adverse to discussing it, though. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:16, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose unreferenced section tag, and I find BYK's reasoning sensible and consistent with WP:OR. I looked at some of the entries and didn't see anything dodgy. It might be worthwhile reviewing the second paragraph from WP:OR:
"The prohibition against OR means that all material added to articles must be attributable to a reliable published source, even if not actually attributed. The verifiability policy says that an inline citation to a reliable source must be provided for all quotations, and for anything challenged or likely to be challenged—but a source must exist even for material that is never challenged. That "Paris is the capital of France" needs no source, because no one is likely to object to it and we know that sources exist for it. The statement is attributable, even if not attributed." [emphasis added]
Tagging the whole section is too broad. If there are individual entries that you take issue with, please tag them inline.--Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 04:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • All material must be ultimately referenceable, but it need not be explicitly referenced according to any particular rules. Anything may be challenged, if it is challenged reasonably, and context must always be taken into account. Paris is the capital of France, but that has not always been the case: it was not the case in 1942, or in 700. There is no way of definitively proving it will be in 2014. And if someone were to say that even now in some sense Brussels is now the effective capital of all of europe, including France, they would not be altogether wrong. I might thus go through all Wikipedia articles and insist on adding every possible qualification. Wikipedia does not exists within a world of radical skepticism, but within the world of ordinary use of language and ordinary experience. Just as we--and the world in general--has the rule that to establish extraordinary claims requires extraordinary strong evidence, to challenge the ordinary basics of common sense requires also very strong evidence, not just the assertion that it is not obvious. DGG ( talk ) 21:12, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Section Headings[edit]


WP:HEAD states headings should be noun phrases. I consolidated the references into one section since they were all references and in some articles, "Notes" indicates explanatory notes. WP:BOLDING states that bolding should be used to highlight names alternative names of an article (synonyms).Curb Chain (talk) 05:47, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

==Bibilography== is also usually formatted this way. You are User:Beyond My Ken is the only person that I have seen who uses a bold style.Curb Chain (talk) 05:50, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

You are incorrect. MoS is a guideline, not a policy, and I would advise you not to follow me around to change edits which are allowable under Wikipedia policy. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:04, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Your edits are definitely allow aboutallowable under wiki policy, but I see no improvement to going back to your previous version, and more importantly going against the style of the rest of the articles.Curb Chain (talk) 06:20, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Looking at the history of the article I actually had the original formatting here until you reverted. I've explained the reasons on for my edits in this section, but I have not seen any policy or guideline related discussion as to why your format should be better, or is better, in this case.Curb Chain (talk) 06:38, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Your edits are similar to the case in Talk:Sex symbol#Kim Kardasian And Other Reverts. Using "Notes" as a term for references can be confusing to the editor. It is also interesting that you impose this kind of style in only the articles that you edit and the immediacy of your behaviour exhibits traits described in WP:OWN.Curb Chain (talk) 06:45, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
"References" is a general subject which includes things like notes (endnotes and footnotes), bibliographies, list of interviews, etc. "Notes" is a specific type of reference. There is no danger of confusion when confronted with a numbered list which corresponds to numbers embedded in an articles. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:54, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
They why denote notes as numbered (entry) references and ones which are not.
A list of interviews if they are used as references are still references. To subdivide entries into little piecemeal minutiae is arbitrary and unnecessary.
Bibliographies expand footnotes. It is a footnote style, and most articles separate out Bibliographies because putting numbered entries aids navigation and is distinctly the information a reader would want to refer to as verification of the material in the article. (Seeing it this way, one can see that references aren't like the "rest" of the article.)
Anyway, this is against the standard across articles nor do I see a blaring reason why we should do so.Curb Chain (talk) 07:14, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Your comment is incomprehansible to me. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:22, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Searchtool-80%.png Response to third opinion request:
Regarding the Notes/References issue: per WP:FNNR general references are supposed to be separated from footnotes by putting them to different sections. That is: both pf you are wrong. Regarding the changed in "Popular culture"/"In popular culture": as Curb Chain notes, per Wikipedia content guideline WP:HEAD the heading should be noun phrases. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Thus unless there is consensus that this article is a special case warranting the exception, guidelines should be followed.—Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 21:31, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the opinion, but "In poular culture" is the standard heading for this topic, and that practice overrides the generalized MoS guideline. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:46, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Actors portraying themselves[edit]

Should we include a few examples of actors portraying themselves in films? Does this count as a type of self-reference or not? Another related example is Julia Roberts' appearance in Ocean's Twelve, where she played a woman (Tess) who looked like Julia Roberts, and who made a phone call to the "real" Julia Roberts; she also received a (second) credit in the movie as "introducing Tess as Julia Roberts". Do things like this also count as self-reference? — Loadmaster (talk) 22:56, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Isn't this trivial? Falls under WP:OR and WP:SYN. If we are going to include this, I think the embedded list would be inexhaustive. The rfc 2 sections up is pertinent.Curb Chain (talk) 01:45, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Actors who appear as themselves in films and on television, i.e. "cameo" appearances, are not instances of self-reference, but those small number of times where actors portray "themselves" as significant fictional characters are indeed instances of self-reference, and should be included. It's not "trivia", but there's also no need for a list. Rather, it should be described, and a couple of examples given. That should be suffiicient. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:50, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Self-references to avoid[edit]

With this edit I removed a hatnote that linked to the guidline Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid which states "Mentioning that the article is being read on Wikipedia, or to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedia should be avoided where possible." (was the irony intentional?) -- PBS (talk) 12:37, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't think it was a violation of the guideline, because it was the content of the hatnote, not of the article itself. These kinds of hatnote seem to be standard practice for helping people get to the relevant Wikipedia guideline or project page when they've not set the right search options. See the tops of NPOV, Neutral, Statistics (disambiguation) or Bias (disambiguation). It's unavoidable that a navigational aid (such as a hatnote) will in some way draw attention to the technicalities of using Wikipedia. That's different from the article itself doing so. MartinPoulter (talk) 15:56, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
The hatnote seems out of place for this article. Maybe it could be added as a link further down, perhaps under the See also section? — Loadmaster (talk) 22:31, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
A hatnote is more useful to the reader than a see-also link (the idea is that they have arrived at the article looking for information about Wikipedia's self-reference policy, not that they have read about self-reference and are now interested in what policy Wikipedia might have on the subject), but it seems quite an obscure corner of Wikipedia policy, so maybe isn't worth mentioning here at all. If it did stay as a hatnote, though, we should use the {{selfref}} template rather than the previously-used {{for}} one, so that it doesn't appear on mirror sites. --McGeddon (talk) 22:40, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

The hatnote is in article space (as it would also be if placed in the see also section). Editors have a tendency to view article space as a work in progress and not as an encyclopaedia (because whenever they view a page, there is a tendency for editors to see how it can be improved, even if the page was initially accessed by an editor for the information on the topic the article is about) -- Think of it like a computer games programmer who can no help but look for mistakes and shortcomings in the design of a game rather than as an ordinary user views the same game. Just imagine how odd it would look if at the top of a page on this subject Encyclopaedia Britannica were to have a link to their editorial policy on self-referencing. Article space is there for information on the article's topic which shoudl be written for readers who are uninterested in anything tangential to the subject such as Wikipedia's policy on self-reference -- it should not contain routing information for lost editors. This is the point that Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid is trying to get over to editors. -- PBS (talk) 12:38, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

In many ways hatnotes are actually outside of article space - hatnotes don't appear if you print an article, or export it as a PDF or book, and any self-respecting mirror will strip out {{selfref}} tags. If you regard the hatnotes as part of the Wikipedia interface rather than the article, a little routing of lost editors on commonly-searched subjects seems fine. --McGeddon (talk) 13:20, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

--- Come on guys, if Wikipedia is allowed to have one in-joke anywhere this is surely the place to do it ... linking and quoting "Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Self-references to avoid which states "Mentioning that the article is being read on Wikipedia, or to Wikipedia policy or technicalities of using Wikipedia should be avoided"" is pure classic ! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:29, 13 May 2017 (UTC)


Per WP:EXAMPLEFARM, please do not add trivial references to popular culture to this article unless it truly enhances the reader's understanding of the concept of self-reference. Toddst1 (talk) 11:30, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Any additions to the examples section must follow the principle of WP:V. Unsourced observations are mere opinions and should be removed as WP:OR. Sources must be provided and they must refer to the self-referential nature of example to pass WP:V. Toddst1 (talk) 14:28, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

"Autonymous" or "autonymic(al)" words?[edit]

These are not English words, but, in the case of so-called "autological words", I was thinking that since "autological" suggests self knowledge/study, "autonymous" (sic) (literally, "self naming") would be etymologically more accurate, and clearer, in the case of self referencing words. lifeform (talk) 03:33, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Refers to itself[edit]

Should the definition of self reference avoid the exact same words "self" and "refer"? Or is that deliberate? (talk) 03:39, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

A dark horse is generally neither dark nor a horse, so stating that self-reference indeed means referring to oneself serves for a definition. If you know reliable sources giving other definitions, please refer us to them. Paradoctor (talk) 10:29, 27 June 2014 (UTC)