Wikipedia talk:Notability (in popular culture)

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When is something in popular culture notable for the in-popular-culture section?[edit]

Please list proposals for what this notability guideline should encompass. MessedRocker (talk) 22:31, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Inform the admin DGG about this. He'll certainly have something to say about this.
Equazcionargue/improves06:34, 09/23/2007
Done. — xDanielx T/C 05:51, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

A stab...[edit]

I think the problem is that 97% of "In Popular Culture" sections are actually "List of One-Off Trivial References in Media Adding Nothing to Understanding of the Subject" sections. Admins who can recover deleted pages might want to check Helicopters in popular culture, my favorite example. It was simply an arbitrary list of a dozen TV shows and movies in which helicopters appeared.

However, there genuinely are some subjects which have real impact in popular culture far beyond their actual significance. Computer hacking is a random example that springs to mind.

So, I will suggest:

  1. A "Popular Culture" section must provide context and analysis of the subjects' significance or importance in popular culture, not merely a list of passing references or brief appearances.
  2. This analysis, like all Wikipedia content, must come from reliable, published sources independent of the subject. It must not be original research.
  3. Therefore, "In Popular Culture" sections are only appropriate if reliable sources exist which specifically discuss the impact of the topic in popular culture.

< eleland // talkedits > 15:29, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

So, in a nutshell, it's not enough for something to be mentioned in The Simpsons, but there must be documentation of "oh look Thing X was alluded to on The Simpsons"? MessedRocker (talk) 16:39, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and that documentation must be a reliable source, not just a blog or tabloid.
WP:PSTS allows facts to be added from primary sources, providing there is no analytical interpretation of the fact. User:Xoloz helped me understand that by adding a fact to Wikipedia from primary sources, I am asserting that it is notable, which is an interpretation, and that makes it WP:OR. I think it would be helpful to explain this in the proposed guideline. See Xoloz' advice to me here. - Fayenatic (talk) 17:02, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
I will second everything Fayenatic says here. (My fave example is the "Oh, look, somebody in FILM NAME or VIDEO OF POP SONG wore a corset!" section that keeps cropping up in Corset!) --Orange Mike 05:06, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Eleland hit it on the nose. If something's representation in popular culture is the subject of reliable, secondary sources, then we can summarize them in Wikipedia. If it is not, there is not reason to mention that thing X was mentioned on last night's Family Guy. — Brian (talk) 03:02, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
I particularly like Eleland's third point. To me it is not enough that a reliable secondary source mentions that a subject appears in a film or TV show or whatever: it must actually have some wider relevance to the article's subject. WHY does it matter that O Canada was once sung by the characters of The Simpsons? There are good reasons, but they must be provided by the secondary source AND be relevant to the subject at hand. BreathingMeat 20:45, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

I think Eleland's formulation is excellent. It draws a very clear line between legitimate pop culture references and those silly, useless edits that we want to trim back. I hope it becomes policy. Opus33 21:18, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Hi, "In popular culture" sections in articles vary considerably, from the useless "Oh, look, somebody in FILM NAME wore a BAND NAME wristband" to useful information that helps a reader to understand the current pop culture usage of a certain concept or work. As an example of "useless info", I deleted a sentence in the Johnny Depp article's subsection on his musical activities (bands and recordings) which informed the reader that "At the XXX Awards show, Depp wore a YYYY band wristband". That is trivia. As an example of a good "pop culture" section would be a short section that includes only the most prominent examples, preferably with secondary sources. Unlike some of the editors, I don't believe that it is always OR to give pop culture examples without secondary sources. For example, in the article on Beethoven, I think that it would not be OR to give a short list of the popular films about Beethoven. Of course without secondary sources, the temptation is strong for an editor to give their "take" on how Beethoven's character was interpreted in these films (e.g., In director John Smith's 2004 biopic on Beethoven, he depicted the composer as a charming rogue...). This is OR amateur film criticism. So, hmmm..... the other editors do seem to be right. Secondary sources are best.. .............The worst pop culture sections are lists of every film, comic, book, and pop song which makes even a passing reference to the topic (e.g., In pop-punk band XXXX's 1998 album YYYY, the song ZZZZZ refers to a dog named Beethoven"....Totally useless trivia). OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 10:44, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content[edit]

Quoted from Wikipedia:Notability:

Notability guidelines give guidance on whether a topic is notable enough to be included in Wikipedia as a separate article, but do not specifically regulate the content of articles, which is governed by other guidelines such as those on using reliable sources and on handling trivia. The particular topics and facts within an article are not each required to meet the standards of the notability guidelines.

We cannot have a "notability guideline" for article sections. I think that this proposal is driving at something similar to Wikipedia:Relevance of content. Limitations on article content are best discussed in that context, rather than in the context of notability, which carries a fairly specific meaning. Black Falcon (Talk) 20:23, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

  • I agree with Black Falcon. Content disputes should not determine an article's notability. This really is a proposal for how to handle content in an actual article under WP:Trivia, not whether the article should exist. If a subject really is in "popular culture", then it needs to meet the secondary sources criteria to be included. Otherwise, there needs to be clear objective criteria for its inclusion. Assize 03:53, 10 October 2007 (UTC)