Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Trivia sections

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WikiProject Manual of Style
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The Monroe Example[edit]

The example about President Monroe isn't really a good example of a trivia section. Every actual trivia section I've ever seen contains quick facts that are better presented in a list than in the main body of the article. The trivia section example shown on the project page sums up the entire article. The only facts in it that would be in a real article would be the one about Monrovia and the 5 states. --PhillieLWillie(Talk) 15:05, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing! (talk) 05:06, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a really bad example. Another reason is that the James Monroe article contains appropriate sections, such as Biography, so that there is little trouble in finding the proper places to put the trivia facts. It would be better with an example that shows how to deal with situations where there are no appropriate existing sections to put the facts in the trivia. Also, an example would be better if it showed a "before" and an "after" with clear marking of what differences have been made. The James Monroe example just links to the current version of the article, and it's pretty hard to find what has actually been done with the trivia pieces. Mikael Häggström (talk) 05:54, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking the example was bad, but for a different reason. Not being an American, I'm not familiar with who James Monroe was. A person could therefore miss the point on why such sections are discouraged. I think an example that is more well known globally would be appropriate so that readers can get a more immediate idea of what constitutes a trivia section and how to better organize information in an article. ihatefile007 (talk) 15:22, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Miscellaneous or trivial?[edit]

  • A recent removal of a "miscellaneous" section from Jay Jay the Jet Plane has led me to query policy on miscellaneous or trivia sections. See wiktionary:miscellaneous and wiktionary:trivia: the two words' meanings are very different. An item of information can be in a miscellaneous section but not trivial, or trivial but not in a miscellaneous section. Re trivialness, often one man's trivia / cruft is another man's important relevant matter. In any more discussion on this point, we should distinguish trivialness / cruftiness from the item being in a miscellaneous section. Often the items in a miscellaneous section add to the useful information on a subject. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 09:25, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Trivia usage in Wikipedia vs Wikia[edit]

In Wikipedia, I have never seen a trivia section, yet in some Wikia based Wikis trivia sections are very common, why? (talk) 07:20, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Sorry I posted it twice (talk) 07:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

See the guideline above. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:21, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Say what you mean?[edit]

"Trivia sections should not simply be removed from articles in all cases" means "Trivia sections should be removed from articles in most cases" least that is the action it suggests. If the meaning is not to "removed from articles in most cases" then it needs rewording. A section labeled "Guidance" should not bury the lead, in this case stated in the lead section - "Trivia sections should be avoided" Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 20:07, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

If the lead is stated in the lead section, then the lead is not buried, by definition. I think the passage is worded the way it is, to encourage discussion and consensus building. The construction suggests more caution than "should be removed from articles in most cases", which will be taken to mean "in every case that people don't fight for a whole year to keep one". >;-)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:02, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Derogate this absurd rule of trivia[edit]

Dear friends: I am a simple user who uses more than anything in Spanish and watching wikipedia edit wars and constant bickering reaching unfair blockades I call on you to deroguemos once and for all this standard. This is exactly like the Volstead Act in the United States when he tried to ban the liquor and the time to decide the cure was a thousand times worse than the disease, although in this case by prohibiting curiosities are generating thousands of edit wars although in this case by prohibiting curiosities are generating thousands of edit wars, riots and even more tilando cultural references, errors and eliminated films as curiosities that one way or another are important data for the items scenes. Wikipedia is recognized from the beginning by having trivia sections as I said before is extra data that make it more useful and interesting to the articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DanteQuiroga (talkcontribs) 17:26, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Covering cultural references / popular culture material[edit]

I added a section to MOS:TRIVIA, at WP:Manual of Style/Trivia sections#"In popular culture" and "Cultural references" material, on how to approach pop-culture content from a MoS perspective (avoid list format, etc.). For content policy matters, I just cross-referenced to the relevant policies. Comments/improvements welcome, as always.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:05, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Deprecating the "In popular culture" heading[edit]

I propose that MOS should formally deprecate the "In popular culture" heading. As detailed at the long-standing Wikipedia:"In popular culture" content essay, this heading is often inaccurate and misleading, and it directly inspires the addition of pointless, trivial cruft that often violates the WP:Core content policies, and various guidelines.

The most popular alternatives to "In popular culture" are heading "Cultural references", "Cultural impact", "Cultural influence", "In culture", and sometimes medium- or genre-specific approaches are used, e.g. "In fiction", etc. I'd like us to discuss what the best approaches are, and agree on a default recommendation (or a few recommendations depending on article type/scope). MOS:TRIVIA now recommends writing such sections as prose paragraphs, not lists, and integrating this material into the main flow the article instead of having such a section to begin with, but I think we all know they will never entirely go away. In some articles, they are actually the most practical approach to such material.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:21, 14 June 2015 (UTC)


Please indicate support for or opposition to the deprecation of the "In popular culture" heading. See below for discussion of what to recommend instead.
  • Support, but only after we first establish clear alternative guidance. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 23:27, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Depending on the definition of deprecate, maybe. My inclination is to say something like "popular culture can be trivial, but should be molded into something that looks nice" followed by a "'popular' culture is not the only subject which may fit into a more general understanding of a topic's 'cultural influences' but which could easily be mistaken as trivial [Izno note: something we tend to not get very right, in a most circumstances]. Accordingly, editors should consider renaming such sections." I don't think a ban is necessarily appropriate ("retired" is a phrase I've seen in contrast to "deprecated"); editors may not be able to find any other reference or may not have the desire to, and so renaming the section for renaming's sake is a touch on the bureaucratic side. --Izno (talk) 20:22, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. Staszek Lem (talk) 21:59, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support If it is necessary to have a place to put such references let it be in a separate article that can be a see also. --Wehwalt (talk) 07:13, 1 July 2015 (UTC)


Recommending alternatives[edit]

  • I think we need a multi-recommendation approach, as these sections can have a different character, rationale, and organizing principle. I can think of three main types, but there are probably others:
    1. Cultural references (and that's the best heading title for it. Often subdivided chronologically, geographically, etc.) – e.g.: The Star Trek character Spock is the focus of a Big Bang Theory episode ... featuring Spock actor Leonard Nimoy in one of his last media appearances ...
    2. Cultural impact/influence (what is the best heading title for it? Often subdivided chronologically, geographically, etc.) – e.g.: Pyramid schemes have had major impacts on entire nations, not just individuals. The failure of a national-level Ponzi scam set off the Albanian Rebellion of 1997. In Greece ...
    3. Cultural usage/adoption (what is the best heading title(s) for this? Often subdivided by medium, genre, etc.) – e.g.: The song was used in the closing sequence of the film Fight Club, described as "one of the most iconic movie-musical moments of the 1990s" by ....[1] It has been covered by more than 20 major recording artists ...
(I'm writing these examples on the fly from real facts, not quoting actual article text.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:05, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Comments on alt[edit]

I would vote for "Cultural impact". Of the three suggestions, this title strongly hints against trivia of kind "Ginnie Lu whistled the tune of Never on Yesterday in the 3rd episode of Homely Househusbands. Staszek Lem (talk) 22:02, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

I don't think it matters what you call it. Because what ever you call it, it will be used as an excuse to leave trivia.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:18, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Test case[edit]

  • Just from a gut feel, what would one rename Parkour#Popular culture? That section is near and dear to my heart since I curated parkour in popular culture into that section. --Izno (talk) 20:24, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
    My suggestion would be:
    1. Section title: "Depictions in arts and literature"
    2. Allow only items which provide a significant depiction of the subject (which would be an encyclopedic value in itself as a ref to extra knowledge about the subject)
    3. Remove the sentence about Stephen Amell as a shameless advert plug-in for Tempest Academy (WTH are they?) (the fact is more directly relevant to articles Arrow and actually already plugged into several of them).
    Staszek Lem (talk) 22:10, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
    I've actually only (myself) added/kept items that are both WP:N and have a WP:RS of some sort that mentions a(n extensive) correlation with parkour (with the exception of one or two items in the list). I think that hits your #2. Feel free to shoot anything on sight that doesn't keep to that. --Izno (talk) 03:07, 19 June 2015 (UTC)