Wikipedia:Genre warrior

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Look out! It's a dreaded genre warrior!

A genre warrior is an editor with a single-purpose account (or IP with no account) that spends most of their time on Wikipedia altering the genre field of music infoboxes, changing genre categories, or changing genre-related prose. In more involved cases, these editors can be blocked for their disregard for or ignorance of the community's policies regarding no original research and neutral point-of-view.

Policies and guidelines[edit]

No original research[edit]

Wikipedia prohibits original research and unverifiable claims. Even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it. Genre warring is disruptive to articles, because the changes have to be reverted. Warriors waste the time of other editors, because it must be spent reverting these edits and some then feel obligated to add the affected articles to their watchlist, thus adding to their workload.

Ambiguity matters[edit]

Additionally, Wikipedia prohibits conclusions that are not explicitly stated by the sources. In finding sources for genres, one may encounter non-definitive language like

  • ... the song balances the line between indie pop and electronica ...
  • ... an antecedent to the later noise pop of Sonic Youth ...
  • ... nearly proto-punk in its use of harsh vocals ...

Sources must unequivocally attribute the genre to the work as a whole. For example, if Rubber Soul is said to "mix elements of pop, soul, and folk", this does not necessarily make Rubber Soul a pop, soul, or folk album. If the guitar of one or two songs "projects a folk rock feel", that doesn't mean Rubber Soul is a folk rock album either. The only thing that would make Rubber Soul a folk rock album would be if a source explicitly calls it one.

Descriptors should also not be combined with styles (i.e. "avant-garde pop" should not be attributed to a source who writes that a pop song is avant-garde; the phrase "avant-garde pop" must be unambiguously referenced as the kind of song it is).

Suggested cures[edit]

  • Adding references to reliable sources will usually result in a total cure of the disease, especially if the inline citations are included in the infobox. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Albums/Sources for a list of some good sources to cite for genres.
  • Banning all mention of genres in the infobox. (This was proposed and implemented for several weeks in late 2008, but the community "loves to hate" a good genre warrior, thus the decision was reversed.[1])

If symptoms persist[edit]

Use a (specialized) warning template to tell genre warriors that their behavior is a problem.

You can also try discussing the changes on the article's talk page. If a warrior continues reverting to their bad edit after being told to stop, then their actions can be considered disruptive.

Behavior pattern and motivations[edit]

Although there is no scientific explanation for this odd behavior, experts in the field have offered ideas. These include:

Professed expertise[edit]

Genre warriors almost never provide sources beyond their own knowledge, blogs, YouTube and Myspace. Reliable sources and consensus are alien concepts to them. They are determined that their favorite group should be characterized according to their opinion and take it as an insult if any other suggestions are made.[2] According to some genre warriors, reliable sources are wrong and professional music journalists know nothing about music compared to them and hold 'grudges' or are 'out to get' a particular artist.


Genre warriors are often too lazy to prove their claims with reliable sources. This also means they usually stick to editing the infobox, rarely digging into the meaty text of the article. It is possible that such warriors are attracted to the bright colors of the infobox itself. Large quantities of text might be confusing or intimidating to some warriors.

Even if the infobox contains an editors' note advising of current consensus amongst editors (sometimes following much metaphorical bloodshed) and to discuss change on the article's Talk page, the genre warrior will almost always ignore the note and change the genre anyway, because they know better.

Personal feelings[edit]

Genre warriors enjoy the music of a particular group but would feel (choose one: ashamed, emasculated, belittled) to have the music—and by extension, themselves—categorized in a usually undesirable genre (for example: bubblegum pop, glitter rock, hair metal, show tunes, nu metal, emo, etc.).

Conversely, they may often dislike a band, and so they change their genre to one of the aforementioned undesirable genres.

A special brand of genre warrior, the religious warrior, can spend all their time editing articles to add or remove references to Christianity from a band's genre as the genre may clash with their personal religious beliefs.

Desire for inclusiveness[edit]

Genre warriors tend to either:

  • (1) prefer monolithic labels rather than subtlety, e.g. by reducing one band's output to a single genre, e.g. "Metallica = heavy metal". Heavy metal is a wide-ranging genre that can be narrowed down to more specific sub-genres like thrash metal that describe Metallica by the consensus of the music community. But on the other hand...
  • (2) insist on applying every genre they can think of to an infobox, possibly for the avoidance of doubt, e.g. "The Beatles = skiffle, pop music, country music, psychedelia, progressive rock, Merseybeat, rock music, baroque pop, folk rock..." Just because the Beatles, a consensus rock and pop band, did a few songs that briefly experimented with country sounds does not mean that they should be labeled as a country band forever.

The spawn of the warrior?[edit]

  • "Genre Fiddlers" - These make small, minor edits, to genres that are so insignificant that they seem pointless.[2]


Code Result
Trak peltasta.jpg This user does not like

See also (genre warriors seem to piss a lot of people off)[edit]