|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
"Wikipedia is not a crystal ball" but What Wikipedia is not does list specific criteria for reporting the anticipation of a future event. Most such events "are prima facie unencyclopedic, because they are unverifiable until they have actually occurred." Only if "planning or preparation for the event is already in progress", U.S. presidential election, 2016, and that planning or preparation is itself worthy of merit, e.g., affecting biographies of candidates. See Wikipedia:election for more on this particular type of event. Some rules regarding this are:
Things to do
- You can refer to predictions or speculation that a certain event will never occur, as long as the predictions or speculation were made in reputable sources. This includes technology that some people really really want, like human medical immortality. You can even include predictions made in reputable sources that may be politically or socially contentious, such as a claim by a notable theologian or Minister.
- For scheduled events, that schedule as a whole may also be appropriate, but it should be presented in tabular or list form within a single article.
- Similarly, articles that mention several plans to achieve the same result should be combined, an article about a manned expedition to Mars should have a title like human landing on Mars that includes all known plans to do that, but, as the plans become advanced, they might each get their own articles.
- In some cases there is a need to differentiate a theory about an event, e.g., Hubbert peak, from a prediction that the event will occur or has occurred at a specific time, from all of the speculation about the event, which might end up in another article named Peak Oil.
- Some anticipated events that have an extreme range of possible outcomes and potential for chaos, like global thermonuclear war, should have separate articles about the predicted effects of global thermonuclear war if this starts to dominate the article about the phenomena.
- When the anticipated future event occurs, do everything you can to keep strictly separate the predicted effects from the actual effects. Though it is a controversial topic, predicted effects of invading Iraq and actual effects of invading Iraq demonstrate how this can and should be done. After the event, make sure that no actual effects are permitted on the list of predicted events without full attribution and documentation that the effect was predicted before it occurred.
- Claiming to have predicted things after they actually occurred is the default, whether the prognosticator actually did, or not! Having good lists of predicted effects will help to sort out which of the actual effects were predicted, and which were only claimed to have been predicted post-facto. This eases the editorial verification work considerably on such large scale events.
Things not to do
- Individual items from a predetermined list or a systematic pattern of names, preassigned to future events or discoveries, are not suitable names.
- Articles that present extrapolation, speculation, and "future history" are original research and therefore inappropriate. Put those in articles about notable artistic works, essays, or credible research that embody predictions. An article on Star Wars and Star Trek is appropriate; an article on "Weapons to be used in World War IV" is not.
- Articles should not be written about unreliably-sourced speculation and fan rumours regarding the future of celebrities, rock bands, or movie franchises. Articles on "Future Jennifer Aniston movies", "Future Metallica tours" or "Mad Max V" which are sourced from fan chat websites and blogs are not appropriate.