Wikipedia talk:Fancruft/Archive 3
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Opinions on Mattresses/Hitchhiker's Guide
Examine the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mattress&oldid=9815332
I'm just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on quotes from movies/books/etc in the middle of articles where they aren't relevant. I've seen this all over the place, where someone quotes The Simpsons or Hitchhiker's Guide in topics. It's amusing, but is it relevant? Would it confuse someone who hasn't read the books? What are everyone's thoughts?
Robojames 15:34, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
- It's moronic. Irrelevance to the point of absurdity. Maybe this is why I'm so opposed to having many-layered articles on any fictional universe (called fancruft by others) in an encyclopedia of the real world. DavidH 04:28, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
Hey, I've got an idea:
|This page may contain fancruft.
Please see its talk page for details.
- No, no. Why do we have to bother our readers with that? Then add to that that "fancruft" isn't exactly considered a neutral term. If a page is fancrufty, you're free to raise the issue on the talk page, but there's absolutely no need to flag it like that on the page itself. We've got a preposterous number of boxed tags like that already; new ones better have a damned good reason to exist. JRM · Talk 20:14, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Is this fancruft?
I'll be honest. As something of a fanboy myself, I tend to like the articles which, by definition, would be considered fancruft - the entries on videogame characters.
What annoys me, though, is when overzealous fans make connections where there is none. For example, we recently had to edit quite a lot of Final Fantasy character pages, because one or two Digimon fans had gone though to each one, explaining the minute and, frankly, ridiculous "resemblances" between completely unrelated FF and Digimon characters. Also, the Corpse Bride article has a paragraph comparing it to the anime Urusei Yatsura, when there is virtually no real connection between the two. This is what I consider fancruft. I suppose these fans mean well; they seem to think the world of the particular series that they've latched onto. But it bugs me that they think that their nebulous fan connection has any legitimacy to it.
Should this be added to the definition of fancruft? "Coincidental resemblances or connections between unrelated media, series, stories or characters is not considered encyclopaedic"? --Marcg106 03:36, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
- If they can find some sort of support in canon for their interpretations, then let them have at it. If they're speculating, the problem isn't the fancruft; it's the speculation. Fancruft forever! Salva veritate Rogue 9 00:04, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
- "Coincidental resemblances or connections between unrelated media, series, stories or characters" is a good description of this phenomenon, and I would say it is clearly unencyclopedic and belongs in the category of original research. __ø(._. ) Patrick("\(.:...:.)/")Fisher 01:07, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I've removed this example, because I think it's actually an example of a different phenomenon. Chapter-by-chapter analysis is, by its nature, original research or POV, and very likely both. However, in the case of an extremely influential book like Atlas Shrugged, I can absolutely concieve of 87 different articles on various critics and critical essays on the book that are NPOV, sourced, etc. In fact, I think such a series of articles would be truly impressive.
Furthermore, I think the scale is different - as massive a tome as Atlas Shrugged is, there is considerably more written in the Star Wars universe - it is thus somewhat logical, at least, that the Star Wars universe would need more articles to cover adequately. So I don't think the case that what was done with Atlas Shrugged is generalizable is as solid as it needs to be to be a banner example here. Phil Sandifer 17:26, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
- Um... no. The Jungle, that was an "extremely influential" book. Atlas Shrugged... not so much, outside of freshman dormitories. --phh 18:41, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
- I didn't say it was a good book. Just influential. As I recall, it came in just after the Bible, for better or for worse. I suspect worse. Phil Sandifer 18:43, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
- ...and just ahead of The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, suggesting that that particular survey may not really be something we'd want to cite as an impartial analysis of literary influence. My point is that for any given piece of fancruft you will find people who say that their fancruft is different from all the rest because theirs is important. If it didn't inspire that kind of outsized devotion it wouldn't be fancruft in the first place. Anyway, I don't think it matters that much and I'm late to the party anyway, but I do think the AS cleanup was pretty generalizable as an example of dealing with fancruft. --phh 19:08, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
- My point is merely that the standard for fancruft is not "There are no more than X words to say about this subject and you have said Y," but rather "what you have said is idiotic." Phil Sandifer 19:22, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
The Entire Range of Human Knowledge
Wikipedia is like an Walmart of knowledge in a sense. I use Wikipedia as my "one-stop-shop" for just about anything I want to find out. I feel this is one of the strongest points of Wikipedia, and in this aspect it is infinitely superior to any paper encyclopedia, nearly anything imaginable is documented to some extent. It is quite an opinionated statement to say that Wikipedia should strive to be like a profesionally published encyclopedia. Whenever there is anything that I'm curious about or wish to learn more about, the first place I would check is Wikipedia, and as of yet it has not disappointed me. If there isn't sufficient detail in the article itself, there is almost always links, both internal and external to places where I might learn more, and it has any basic information I need on a topic without ever having to leave my desk. The primary set of complaints seem to be more along the lines of trivial or non-encyclopedic. Here is the definition of an encyclopedia:
- n : a reference work (often in several volumes) containing articles on various topics (often arranged in alphabetical order) dealing with the entire range of human knowledge or with some particular specialty
Is "fancruft" somehow outside "the entire range of human knowledge" now? I'm fairly certain that Wikipedia wasn't meant to only be a reference to "some particular specialty" so I take the former definition. Let us remember what an encyclopedia is, and not merely a comparison to other "traditional" encyclopedia. Despite how often it is brought up, the random page button is not the way anyone seeking specific information will use an encyclopedia. One does not open random pages of Britannica to look up information on Napolean Bonaparte (pardon my spelling) until one eventually succeeds. When a person visit www.wikipedia.org they do not see the "random article" button on the front page, instead they type in their desired search query, and wikipedia returns the article or list of possible articles pertaining to what they are looking for. That is the beauty of disambiguation pages, and if at some later date those pages become too long, they themselves may be categorized into separate pages, allowing still more information to the user while still providing an intuitive way to find what they are seeking. Adding more knowledge does not make Wikipedia significantly more cumbersome. I believe (and this is my opinion but I'm fairly certain of it) that most would be more disappointed to look for an article only to find that it doesn't exist, than too look for an article and find that there are links to similarly named articles, but that quick browsing of their short description quickly points them to their desired article.
Just 2 days ago I was researching for my Sociolingustics paper on "internet language" and found one of the article that I used was being considered for deletion. Information to be used in a college paper was under consideration for deletion. Any well written article can and probably will be of importance to someone at some time. Deleting such articles does not further the cause of creating a compendium of "the entire range of human knowledge". Instead of removing articles that may not seem to be pertainate, isn't the more important issue that we should add to the articles that are? I do not disagree that there should be standards such that information is presented in a meaningful manner, but the including of trivial information does not impede this. --188.8.131.52 19:58, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
- I very much agree with this user. To the extent possible, I want to find information on anything I'd like to know about in Wikipedia. There might be some subjects that really have so little interest not to warrant a page. Certainly, if I wrote an autobiography of my ordinary life, that would warrant deletion (covered by the vanity page policy), as would discussion of a character in a book that sold only 50,000 total copies or something. But if someone wants to write a summary of some or all of the episodes of any TV series that survived long enough to have more than 10 (a round number thought-- basically half a season or more), more power to them. Those who want to know have the reference, and those who don't care don't have to (and won't) read the page. KP 01:07, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
- I also wholeheartedly agree with this. Consider the nature of Wikipedia, and why it's different form conventional encyclopedias. Why would you not find an article about something obscure that doesn't matter to a huge number of people, possibly with a great deal of detail, in a regular encyclopedia? Why am I unlikely to find a list of the Districts of Ogrimmar in the Encyclopedia Britannica? What would make that appropriate for a Wikipedia-style encyclopedia? Conventional encyclopedias are made for the purpose of spreading knowledge at a price. To be completely sure that the content is refined and professional, people have to be paid to go over it. Obviously busy editors can't check whether all the information about Ogrimmar was correct, so even ignoring the physical limitations of traditional paper encyclopedias, there just isn't the time or energy for the pro's to do it all. This is not the case with Wikipedia. There are people who will spend hours on end every day reviewing articles of interest to them, or just tagging poorly written ones, or fixing things and removing those tags, and never see a dime for it. They don't mind. They enjoy it. Maybe they're not certified professionals, but through the peer review of a handful of half-capable people the end result can still be a pretty good article. Why else might not our Britannica friends write about Ogrimmar? Maybe it's something that goes out of style and mind so quickly that they wouldn't be able to get it out in time. Wikipedia does Current events. Or maybe it's just not professional to write about Ogrimmar. Wikipedia users are basically anonymous, and every teacher and student knows (all too well) that Wikipedia is not a citeable, professional source. Just let Wikipedia be what it is, instead of trying to constrain it to the standards of a different breed on Encyclopedia. I would also think that the fact that a person is deeply interested enough in a topic to bother writing about something is, more often than not, indication that there might be other such people out there who would be interested in reading it. And if not, who cares? So you've got an article that takes up a couple KB of text space and 0 KB of bandwidth because nobody is interested enough to read it. I wasted 100 times as much space and infinitely more bandwidth than that article by uploading a picture at 500 KB when I could've decreased the quality to 250 KB. If the problem is that the articles are crappy quality, misspelled, ill-formatted, uncited pieces of garbage, then the problem is the quality and not the subject. Maybe some people have and will put up and never update short articles (or worse yet, long, redundant articles laden with mechanical errors). That doesn't mean they're all like that. Stereotyping and saying "Well fancruft articles are sometimes/always/often poorly done!" is counterproductive because then you all those grammar-hating, obsessive fanboys and fangirls trying to tell you just how st00pid they think you are. Give everyone a break and make better use of your time by working to improve their articles. I think that badly written content is a mutually agreeable and easily combatable enemy. I recommend that this Fancruft essay be replaced with "Fancruft is the shiz, just write it well plz." (Just kidding on that last bit...) --Twile 19:38, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
- The problem, I think, is that the frequently poor quality of articles on obscure topics is directly related to the fact that not many people are interested in them. The WP idea is not that everybody is a brilliant writer or editor--but that the wisdom of many people, added together, can create a brilliant encyclopedia. If you don't get the many people, you don't get the brilliance--usually. Nareek 20:10, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
- And the problem, I think, is that instead of allowing the brilliant writers and editors who want to write on obscure topics do just that, people try to lump stuff together as "fancruft" which "frequently" is "poor quality". Now I have no problem with tagging things for improvement, or contacting the original contributors and ask that they clean it up, or even *gasp* fixing it yourself. That's the nature of the Wiki. The thing that perplexes me is how something can be reasonably be nominated as an article for deletion on the premise that it is fancruft, if as you said, the article is obscure enough to not attract motivated writers and editors. The person putting it up as an AfD obviously stumbled across it somehow, is it so hard to think that some Wikipedian with an equal or greater sense of duty might come across it due to looking for it? --Twile 20:37, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
An encyclopedia covers information throughout the entire range of human knowledge, yes, but it doesn't contain the entire entirety of human information (something which is, indeed, virtually impossible and improbable). The purpose of an encyclopedia is to give a detailed and professionally written overview of a subject, and point the reader in the direction of more in-depth texts. This applies to virtually every work with "encyclopedia" written on it, from Encyclopedia Britannica to The World Encyclopedia of Comics. --FuriousFreddy 00:55, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
While I understand that the term is used sarcastically, I have no difficulty imagining what sciencecruft would be. Just because a paper is accepted at a conference, does not mean that it belongs in an encyclopaedia. — ciphergoth 09:10, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
A useful distinction
There was a useful point made in a Village Pump discussion about fictional universes a while back--about the difference between encyclopedic discussion of popular culture and fan-style cataloguing:
- There is no problem with covering the subject matter of fictional characters on Wikipedia. The problem is instead how they are covered. It is mostly done with very little context—no attempt to firmly tie everything that is said to be true about the character to the works of fiction in which they are depicted. See Radioactive_Man_(Marvel_Comics) for an example of this flaw; excepting the word "fictional" in the intro sentence and the infobox details, the article is written as if the subject were real. No reference is made in the article text to a single writer, artist, or even comic book issue or title. See also the "character history" of Spider-Man, which starts with summarizing a plot about his parents having been spies that was not written until after over thirty years of publication history. These articles merely paraphrase fiction rather than describe it, and appear to be written from a fan perspective rather than a cultural historian.
- Compare those with Captain Marvel, a recent featured article, or Superman. Both summarize the history of the characters in the real world, revealing the "facts" of fiction according to that framework. We need a very clear set of guidelines to make sure all articles about fictional characters are written in this manner. User:Postdlf 23:44, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
- Your point is well-taken, but remember that wikipedia is always incomplete; perhaps the author an article such as the Radioactive Man article did not have access to the sources needed to discuss the real-world context in very much depth. That doesn't make the character or plot information unencyclopedic in and of itself, it just means that the article needs to be fleshed out. Deleting the article destroys any chance it has of attracting more information184.108.40.206 23:44, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I think making this distinction clear in Wikipedia policy would be a very good idea. Nareek 06:50, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
- Heartily seconded - this would make good official policy, though I would be sorry to see San Serriffe rewritten in this style :-) — ciphergoth
- Agreement from me, as well. Regulars at Featured Article Candidates regularly object to articles about fictional characters and things due to those articles' frequent failure to treat the subject as a cultural artifact in the real world. And when the articles are written from the perspective of the real world, fictional cruft constantly creeps in. See, for example, Donald Duck, which tries to assert the character's "real name" based on a throwaway gag in one cartoon short (for a time, this information was in the first line of the article!). Or Goofy, which does much the same thing based on the television series Goof Troop. I've had to repeatedly revert similar additions to Daffy Duck (in one cartoon, Daffy jokingly says his middle name is "Dumas"). Quite frustrating! — Amcaja 19:30, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Redirect from article space
Fancruft in the article space, redirects here. I thought that this was a no-no. As the article recognizes that "fancruft" is a Wikipedia neologism, referring to it in the article space might be inappropriate.
I did a google search on "+fancruft -wikipedia", and not many hits come up that don't reference Wikipedia (or a mirror) in some useful context. (The word is being used more and more outside of Wikipedia, but perhaps not enough so that it warrants an article...) --EngineerScotty 02:44, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Unbalanced or juvenile?
Discusion to be held here. Should it say "displays a lack of balance" or "looks juvenile to newcomers?". Let's not get into an edit war, please. Deckiller 02:51, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- I am temperamentally inclined always to side against someone who tries to get their edit in by revert-warring, but in this instance I think I have to plump for the latter. "displays a lack of balance" simply prompts the question - why should it be balanced? But "it makes us look silly" is fair enough. And that sentence is not trying to state the truth, but to accurately represent one point of view.
- I must add that you did the right thing bringing the discussion to here - and emphasize that User:JosephBarillari did the wrong thing in simply re-inserting his edit repeatedly without discussion. — ciphergoth 04:02, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- My apologies if people think I hadn't discussed the matter. I justified my changes in the edit summaries. jdb ❋ (talk) 05:37, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- My preference would be for "unbalanced" and "inconsistent (levels of detail and coverage)" with the image we try to project as a competitor with EB et al- juvenile has connotations more along the lines of pages dealing with how totally sweet chicks and breasts are, or how ninjas can totally flip out for no good reason and so ninjas are the most awesome creatures God ever created, so awesome that a ninja once flipped out on God himself... but I digress. The problem is simply one of coverage, with some deprecated areas receiving more attention than others. Let's not engage in name-calling. And I can't say that glibly deprecating the work of thousands of editors is all that good a thing, either.
- Besides, describing Wikipedia as hopelessly crufty is not a little insulting to our readers- we wanted an Encyclopedia written by, for, and of its readers, the better to serve them. And may the gods help us, we got it. --maru (talk) contribs 06:21, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- I agree with Maru. "Unbalanced" is the, er, more balanced term. — Amcaja 12:56, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Out of curiousity where in the world doesn't an exhaustively comphrensive article about a Red hedgehog count as juvenile?
- Those portions of the world where people don't snidely dismiss as worthless good and comprehensive articles on subjects they happen to not subjectively find worthwhile. -- Gwern (contribs) 18:56, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Fans of the fancruft
I'd like to add something to the page about sentences (and they are extremely common in WP) that begin "Many fans believe that" or "Popular response to this is" or anything that cites the Internet fan community as an authority without any verification (e.g. The Secret War of Lisa Simpson, Criticism of Halo 2, The Division Bell). The presumption that an online fan community is representative of general opinion is a significant problem with fancruft, and seeing as these types of pop culture articles aren't about to go away it's probably worth pointing out how they could be improved rather than just deleting them when they're particularly peripheral or egregious. Ziggurat 08:19, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
- Kill these when you see them. Phil Sandifer 18:42, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
- Those are weasel words, and there's a whole 'nother project page dedicated to them and their removal. And, yes, please slaughter these mercilessly and e-pinch the people who have added them. "Some/Many fans believe" and such are ususally just a way of someone adding their personal opinion to an article, and trying to disguise the fact. --FuriousFreddy 01:45, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
- Huh? That's a HUGE overgeneralization. Huge. To me, the question would be whether (a) what comes after "some fans believe" is really an opinion of some fans (even a definite minority) rather than just the writer, and (b) whether alternative interpretations are also included and given fair treatment. The writer may not know every alternative interpretation that has significant support, but those can simply be added rather than throwing the whole concept out. I can also imagine a case where there are so many interpretations of something that it would take up half the article to list them, but that's the exception and not the rule. KP 00:58, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
- I agree somewhat with KP. For instance, I'm still trying to find time to track down SPECIFIC references for a number of the theories (which I HAVE seen both in online fan communities and occasionally, in academic papers) mentioned regarding what is or is not fan fiction. These theories ARE out there - I just haven't been able to get around to finding non-LiveJournaly sources to show who in the fan community or especially who in the academic community supports each theory. And I'd rather they be there for now (though admittedly, perhaps with a Citation Needed tag here and there) than not be there at all. Articles such as this are in a state of flux, somewhere between "crap" and "decent article"; the point being that as balanced a range of views and facets as possible be shown, but (the mark of a good or great article) be well-written AND well-sourced. People are working on the latter, especially. Runa27 03:25, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
- I had a similar problem with these "weasel words" recently in an article, concerning a bootleg of demos vs. the finished official album (major artist, but won't distract by naming them, it's not important to the point).
- I knew for a fact that "some fans" (no idea how many, but more than "hardly any") prefer the rough 'n' ready boot to the officially polished jewel, and felt I had to say so, or I'd be committing a WP:NPOV error. I trust everyone here would agree there.
- However, "...some fans..." was the only NPOV construction I could come up with. "Many fans" would've been way OTT and POV - a complete distortion. But "a few fans" would've definitely misrepresented the situation the other way, as if "no one really liked it except a few nutcases" - not true at all, and so more POV and distortion. And using a different word to "fans" woulda just made the NPOV situation worse (I wasn't discussing "record-buying folks in general", as most would be unlikely to have heard the damn boot at all, and I certainly couldn't categorically state what Joe Public thought on the issue anyway).
- So, it was a bootleg, and I was definitely talking about "fans", no question - so I used "fans". And the number of "fans", in the interests of NPOV, was "some" - not "none" (a lie), not "most" (distortion, POV), not "a few" (dismissive tone, POV), but "some".
- In that particular context, I couldn't get any more "neutral" than "some fans..." - I ain't saying "nearly everyone" and I ain't saying "a few losers" either. I am therefore expressing a NPOV. To say "ah to hell with it, those are weasel words, can the whole discussion" would've been a far worse POV crime (since I knew critical reception of the bootleg was significant to its history) than keeping what I wrote.
- And, for the record, I like both the boot and the real album, but would always favour the official one if ever pressed, no question.
- So if someone was to announce to me with a deft flourish that my use of "some fans..." proved categorically that I was pushing my own POV, well - that person could not possibly be more wrong! :-)
- BTW, I had other verifiable sources to cite who also preferred the boot, so I didn't lose any sleep over my use of "some fans", but I do think it is clear that "weasel words" are sometimes something of a requisite of NPOV writing, not an anathema to it. "Ban them all now!" is a bit simplistic and naive... and maybe a bit POV in itself. IMO, of course... --DaveG12345 05:30, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
Listcruft merged per request. Deckiller 03:37, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Hi. Sorry to bother you, but I'm having some trouble on the Punk'd article. An unregistered user named BigBang19 keeps re-inserting material into the article that is irrelevant, poorly worded, etc. I've tried posting a message on that article's Talk Page, but he has not responded. Because he had no User Page, my message to him was the first one on it. If you could check out the bottommost section on the Talk Page and chime in with your two cents on his revisions, I'd appreciate it. Thanks. Nightscream 05:52, 12 April 2006 (UTC)