Wikipedia:WikiProject Animation/Family Guy work group/Wikipedia is not a joke book
This page is an essay on the encyclopedia. It contains the advice and/or opinions of one or more WikiProjects on Wikipedia or its process as pertaining to topics within their area of interest.
|This page in a nutshell: Rise above the urge to re-tell jokes in Family Guy articles.|
Don't attempt to recreate the humor of the show. This rarely works, and is contrary to the purpose of an encyclopedia.
Great to be with people who get this stuff
When one has a supply of jokes to share, they are only useful with an appreciative audience. Having found what they believe is such an audience, many editors of Family Guy articles can't resist the opportunity to share this body of jokes in these articles.
Why this doesn't work
Recreating the humor of the show seldom works. What happens instead is these articles become referenda on favorite bits, as (it is imagined) approved by an audience of the fanbase. And really, even Family Guy fans dislike these boring, rambling articles. Meanwhile, the articles grow steadily in a loosely-structured, non-narrative form, composed almost entirely of "in-universe" reporting.
This is a bad recipe, and articles developed this way will never become good articles.
What works on TV doesn't work in an encyclopedia. The result is neither funny nor encyclopedic. Reading an encyclopedia is no substitute for watching TV.
There are no rules against referencing a joke on Wikipedia, or even spoiling one. (Spoilers are disliked, but don't bend over backward to avoid them.)
However, a Family Guy joke retold in an article primarily because the editor thinks it's a good joke probably does not improve to the article.
Consider potential readers
Presume the article will be read mostly by people who are not fans of Family Guy. Likely readers may include:
- Concerned parents researching alerts from the Parents Television Council.
- TV watchers who can't stand the Family Guy theme song, so they have never watched a single episode.
- College students seeking especially lame ideas for term papers.
Your three favorite Family Guy jokes will fall flat when read on Wikipedia by these readers. Their time is wasted by Wikipedia joke re-telling.
More is less in this case. A statement should not be followed by a comprehensive list of instances. Usually, one or two brief but highly revealing examples convey the point more effectively. And the funniest examples (by whatever standard) may not make the best illustrations.
Long lists of "and there there was the time..." make for sluggish reading.
How to make a good Family Guy article
Articles on fiction need "out-of-universe" information; for Family Guy articles, this includes information about the show's creation, and items of significance outside the narrative of the show.
Minimize "couch research"
Details drawn from watching the show provide the least valuable information in Family Guy articles.
Articles and interviews provide great information. DVD commentaries are often unique sources of information about the development of the episode.
- Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)
- Jabba the Hutt – a well-written article about a fictional character. Note the quantity of out-of-universe content, and the concision with in-universe content.
- Family Guy wiki — a Family Guy-specific site with different rules and goals than Wikipedia.