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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.
Behavior pattern and motivations
Although there is no scientific explanation for this odd behavior, experts in the field have offered ideas. These include:
- Genre warriors 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.
- Genre warriors often believe that 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 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.
- Genre warriors 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.
- 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.
- You get the picture. Neither approach is particularly helpful. Neither is making unwarranted subtle distinctions between subsets of larger genres, e.g. within R & B, hip-hop or pop rap or grime. These aren't genres; these are styles. A BIG RED FLAG should be raised whenever a GW adds a genre to an infobox which redirects elsewhere- a bit of a giveaway that either they haven't thought it out, or the "genre" is insufficiently distinct to be worthy of a mention in its own right.
- Genre warriors almost never provide sources beyond their own knowledge, blogs, YouTube and MySpace. Reliable sources and consensus are alien concepts to them.
- 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.
Why being a genre warrior is wrong
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. If a warrior continues reverting back to their bad edit after being told to stop, then their actions can be considered disruptive.
- "Genre Fiddlers" - These make small, minor edits, to genres that are so insignificant that they seem pointless.
- 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.)
- Discussing the genre on the article's talk page may cure symptoms of genre warring.
- Finding reliable sources to cite when making changes to genres in articles is likely to result in a total cure of the disease.
- As suggested at Wikipedia:WikiProject Albums/Album article style guide#Musical style, writing, composition, write about the genres in a musical style, writing, composition section and then summarize the section in the infobox.
Use a (specialized) warning template to tell them their behavior is a problem
See also (genre warriors seem to piss a lot of people off)
- User:Utan Vax/Genre troll IPs
- User:Scarian/Genre trolls
- User:Mungo Kitsch/Essays/Genre warring and genre warriors