Wikipedia talk:Recentism/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Need for this essay

I agree this is needed. Same thing with articles on millenium-old topics being overwhelmed with fictional and video game adaptions. We might want to explicitly point out that recentism is bad, though. DreamGuy

I mentioned this term twice in talk and here it is. It's, like, self-fulfilling. Actually occurred to me when thinking about the Iraq war. Yes, big event but it's spawned so many soapboxes I lose track. See edits and talk on Pat Robertson for another example. Marskell 23:30, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
Can anyone cite any source for the claim that this is "generally considered a negative trait of Wikipedia"? This page has existed for less than 3 days and has drawn only 2 editors to contribute to the page. It is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline, it is not even a proposed policy or guideline. I think it is unfortunate to make claims that aren't substantiated. Having said that, I would like to comment on the merits of this idea itself. I agree that we should not clutter up an article such as New Orleans or Louisiana Superdome with too much information about a current event. However, I disagree that we should avoid creating articles such as Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. On the contrary, creating this side articles is exactly what we should do to avoid cluttering up long-standing articles with so-called recentisms. Johntex 17:11, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
your feedback has been integrated into the text. MPS 17:23, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

No, it isn't a policy but it gives a name to a frequent complaint. The first comment on the page you mention John is "is this article really necessary?" I notice

are all articles. Hm. There is something to be said for brevity... Marskell 18:34, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

  • I'm also drawn to contribute to this page, but haven't had a chance to formalize a contribution. I think it's important to have some guidelines for this phenomenon and I hope that the discussion here will make it possible to create some. Dystopos 20:25, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Is this a relevant concept?

A certain user over on the Talk:Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans page thinks this recentism is just my opinion. I would like to hear some votes of support for the phenomenon of recentism (sort of like the opposite of a VFD). After editing wikipedia for more than a year, I feel that this is a legitimate concept so I created an article for it. Am I full of $^%# or does recentims make sense to anyone else? MPS 20:34, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

  • I don't think we should have a vote. But I do think it's a relevant concept. I was shocked to see how much bullshit people had written about Terri Schaivo--someone who in five years will be completely non-notable. Not even a footnote in history. Yet we have reams of information about the woman, while whole historical periods are substubs.thames 20:41, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Had Wikipedia existed during the Roman times, presumably there would be more detail in minute Roman-era pages. I certainly don't think we should shorten articles because others are short - we should lengthen articles when we have the information to do so. Someone will find this stuff useful, and I hope WP is around a thousand years from now in some form as a historical record for someone's graduate thesis on an obscure person in the 21st Century. — ceejayoz 06:18, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I think the importance of information and its historical value is always relative, subjective and inconsistent, so its hard to say definitvely whether this is a relevant concept or not. I will say that this article seems to have a very NPOV tone to it. I'm more in favor of including greater details for everything, recent events and historical events, in wikipedia. If all we're creating here is another encyclopedia restating the exact same information found in those texts, then why even bother with wikipedia's existence? jcomp489
  • I can see your point, jcomp489. I think the "core" values of NPOV and verifiable information are by far the most important guidelines for limiting WP's content. At the same time, "recency bias" is worth recognizing and discussing so that when brave editors sludge into a big logjam of highlights from every conflicting news report in order to establish a modicum of perspective, that they have some editorial consensus to point to. The example I've gotten sucked into is the Natalee Holloway article which has seen additions about every twist and turn of a long-lasting investigation that most people agree is barely notable (except for the media sensation surrounding it). At some point, I expect that article will be greatly reduced in detail just because red herrings and false leads shed no light on the facts of the case. I'd appreciate some discussion on the issue in general terms to guide that process once the passage of time makes it feasible Dystopos 21:46, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
  • This is definetively a relevant concept. Even though I believe that the effects of katrina in New Orleans article is necesary, there are others that are simply ridiculous. My personal opinion is that some of this recentist articles become simply blogs for certain users. We should do something about it. <<Coburn_Pharr>> 22:10, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, it's a problem. Witness the deluge of activity on 7 July over the 2005 London bombings, or the tsunami, or New Orleans. They do become blogs for certain users. Current events more properly belong at Wikinews, anyway. The sensible thing to do is to leave such articles well alone, let the knee jerk editors blurge it with conspiracy theories, trivia and irrelevancies, then come back in two weeks once they've gone away, pare the article down, and rewrite it. Proto t c 13:37, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
  • "Recentism" definitely exists; I don't think that a vote is necessary to establish that. However, I'm not sure what formal action is necessary and/or desireable. Facilities already exist for pruning out irrelevant content. If it bothers people that articles like Terri Schiavo have incredibly large amounts of content, the solution is to pay attention to work neglected topics, as per ceejayoz. --Bletch 21:17, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I think current events exist. I don't see the need for another name. I can see the point you are trying to make, but don't believe it is a huge problem. Over time, pages will be edited to another bias, that of the historical one. I think the good thing about having all the information entered into a page is that it will always be there in the history. We can't know precisely what will be important in ten years time, to someone somewhere. I would hate to discourage information on that principle. Therefore I don't consider this a relevant concept. Hiding talk 08:14, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Status of article

To be clear: I mentioned this topic and MPS added it after converstation. There was no attempt to slyly add a wiki guideline or to get around peer review. Conversation was: "I think...", "You think? I'll add that cause I think so too" "OK." This wouldn't be getting hits if people don't broadly understand the complaint. This is a problem and it should be talked about (hurricane or no). I'm removing the controversy tag because no one has properly stated why the idea is controversial. Marskell 23:40, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

I added the NPOV tage because (see my above comments), honestly, if it's not a wiki guideline then it's just an article, and as it stands it's an Op-ed piece. The "debate" section is completely one-sided, and then is followed by suggestions as to how to reduce recentism. I'm not saying the article is invalid or "controversial," but there's all of one sentence in the entire article saying how and why recentism might not be the worst thing in the world of wikipedia. So I'm going to add it back as I think it's worthy of discussion at least. I won't, however, get involved in an "edit war" or whatever those things are called, so if someone arbitrarily removes it again I won't bother adding it. jcomp489
"All of one sentence in the entire article saying..." Then edit the article right? There's now seven people on here broadly agreeing that this is an issue so I don't see how it qualifies as an Op-ed piece. The fact that's not a guideline doesn't mean it shouldn't be here. Scroll through the Category:Wikipedia--lots of odds and ends. As noted below I think that it's one part of a larger problem with proportion and relative emphasis. Marskell 16:59, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Again, I'm not saying that it shouldn't be here, hence no Afd or Vfd or whatever it's being called now. I'm saying that it's clearly a one-sided peice. The validity of the article is not what I'm questioning, but it's present standing is hardly balanced. And I would rather not, for this article, edit it one piece at a time or edit solely based on my opinion as opposed to balanced, researched fact regarding recentism in genearal, as well as its occurrences on wikipedia. It would take a while, I think, to piece together everything about the article that needs to develop. Perhaps Dystopos is correct in that, as an article clearly in its infancy, it maybe doesn't warrant an NPOV tag so much as a tag saying "Hey somebody, come help develop this largely lopsided, embryonic article." But I know of no such tag, and an NPOV calls attention to the fact that this article needs attention. Anybody reading the talk pages after coming here will hopefully then see where I'm coming from. That's all I'm trying to say. jcomp489
I'm going to take a quick stab at presenting another side to Recentism.
thames 17:28, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Wow, looks great. Thanks. jcomp489
  • I haven't participated in the policy process before, but I assumed that this page was a place to collaborate on an editorial consensus about how to deal, as editors, with Recentism. If broad consensus were reached, it would gradually accrete "guideline" status. Perhaps there's another process for this that I'm missing, but certainly on a wiki guidelines don't emerge fully-formed from the head of Jupiter or Jimbo or anyone else. I don't think an NPOV tag is warranted, but maybe there's a tag about "embryonic policy discussions" or something that is. Dystopos 17:12, 2 September 2005 (UTC)


I have added a category Wikipedia proportion and emphasis and placed this article in it. I don't see that it over-laps anything existing. Along with this I suggest:

  • Wikipedia prescription and description
  • Brevity versus discursiveness
  • DreamGuy's complaint at top—maybe "history and pop culture"

Marskell 10:51, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Page History

Just a few comments, starting with this quote from the project page:

"After "recentist" articles have calmed down, the instigating news story has dropped from the Main Page and the front pages of newspapers, and the number of edits per day has dropped to a reasonable minimum, concerned Wikipedians ought to initiate comprehensive rewrites. Most article can be condensed to keep only the most important information, the wider notable effects of an event, and links to major issues to which the article is related. Most of the timeline content and day-to-day updates with minor details can safely be excised."

This "rewriting" after the initial editing storm has passed sounds reasonable. My only concern would be whether the history of the pages will always be preserved. There are many cases where watching a page evolve and go through many stages and styles is absolutely fascinating and, in conjunction with the Talk pages, allows the reader (if they want) to follow controversies and debates and sometimes find out far more about a subject than the "dry bones" of the encyclopaedic entry. As long as the Talk pages and History pages were ALWAYS availble, then I would agree with such rewriting at a later date.

And the relevance of articles WILL change over time. I absolutely agree that articles will need rewriting, but I strongly believe that the different versions (few weeks afterwards, 1 year afterwards, 5 years afterwards, 10 years afterwards, 50 years afterwards, 100 years afterwards, 1000 years afterwards etc.) must be preserved. This allows a reader to effectively read the POV of Wikipedians at the time, and in the years afterwards. No mater how NPOV we try to be, this historical bias will still show through, and should be preserved.

Failing that, the editor who rewrites should consider if the "detail" and "timeline content" should be put somewhere else, in a side article, or subpage. Effectively saying (a) "here is the main article, the encyclopedic summary" and (b) "here are the details that were complied from many different sources by Wikipedians who were there at the time". The latter could be a valuable historical resource.

I write this as someone who contributed briefly to the Indian Ocean tsunami page, a bit more to the London bombings of July 7 page, and find Wikipedia a useful source of _background_ information on other current events like Hurricane Katrina (Wikinews moves on too soon for my liking). I use Wikipedia both to read encyclopedic articles AND to see a flood of news from around the world be edited into a readable current-affairs article by Wikipedians (NOT a news article - I go to news websites for that).

Finally, it is fairly obvious that I agree that "recentism" exists, but I wish someone could think of a better name for it. Maybe 'Historical Perspective' or something? Reflecting the way that articles are written differently depending on how close you are to the events in time. Carcharoth 14:18, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Carcharoth, you don't need to worry about the preservation of article history or talk page history. Each article's history is preserved so that you can go back through the various edits made--I believe it's actually required by wikipedia's license--and talk pages are always archived. Even if an article goes through major changes, past versions are always available. thames 21:26, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the reassurance. Does this apply also to the copies of Wikipedia? Such as the CD-ROM versions of Wikipedia? I read a recent comment by an "end-of-the-world" doom prophet who was happy that he would have his Wikipedia-CD with him when living out in the woods after civilization had collapsed. He didn't say what he would do when the battery died in his laptop. Do they do solar power chargers for laptops? :-) Carcharoth 00:42, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Living Documents

Found a comment on the Talk page of the Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans article that perfectly sums up my attitude to "recentism":

"...the long-term value of this and the other articles about Hurricane Katrina is the historical record it provides about this major event in US history. [...] A month from now, let's edit this article to be a proper encylopedia entry. Today, let it be a living document and let it serve the needs of people needing information about this event." (unsigned comment) Carcharoth 14:49, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

I opened up the NYT today and they had a special section on Hurricane Katrina. It had a detailed timeline that did the same sort of play-by-play that recentist wikipedia articles on Katrina do. ("on August 28 ... such and such happened, on August 29 at 5PM such and such happened.") News-blogging on wikipedia is definitely a good way to synthesize what's going on, but the really specific set of information created belongs somewhere other than in what I consider the term "encyclopedia" to encompass. My POV is that we need some sort of wiki-yearbook or wiki-zeitgeist project that fills the gap between wikinews (Socks the cat gets stuck in a tree yesterday) and wikipedia (according to biologists cats tend to get stuck in trees). Wikizeitgeist would be ...2005:Cats getting stuck in trees... "in 2005, a trend emerged where lots of cats got stuck in trees, for example, let me list them all 1,2,3,4,5..." MPS 00:32, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Just found this...The world in 2004. hmm... looks kinda like a yearbook MPS 01:10, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias

Surely this whole recentism concern falls under the perview of the Countering systemic bias wikiproject. We exibit a bias towards the now, and countering that is no doubt a good thing. But i worry that the aim of [condensing] to keep only the most important information may lose good information. No doubt a great deal of it could go, but surely the best way to is to work on filling out the missing, older, info? Just thinking out loud. Sabine's Sunbird 04:54, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Recentism? How about FUTUREism?

Huh. I've been trying unsuccessfully to tighten up Wikipedia is not a crystal ball for some time. I have reluctantly concluded that the sad truth is that there is no consensus against the articles we constantly get, describing video games, concert tours, movies, and software products that are about to be released Real Soon Now, and which the contributor personally guarantees will prove to be of historic notability.

The real systemic problem is that many contributors (including me) get more of an ego boost from creating an article than editing an existing article. Unfortunately at this point most of the really encyclopedic titles are taken, so when a breaking event occurs there is a race to be the first to write an article about it. (Think Slashdot: FIRST POST!)

Sophisticates who are au courant with gaming magazines, or rock band fan sites are in a position to write articles about things before they occur, and do so, insisting that it is not advertising because they personally are not associated with the organization that plants the articles they read.

(I don't know how much of a problem recentism is. I personally find that, that if I am not following an event closely day-by-day, the weekly newsmagazines often do a better job than TV or newspapers do... and Wikipedia articles often do better than the newsmagazines. It's great for finding out, "so whatever did happen about thus-and-such?") Dpbsmith (talk) 15:15, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not paper

I would like to challenge the sentence: If I am devoting more time to it than other topics on the page, will it appear more relevant than what is already here?

In Wikipedia, the length of an article very rarely has any correlation to the relative "importance" of that subject. The reason for this is manifold. Firstly, "importance" is inherently POV, just like notability. Secondly, Wikipedia is not paper, so we can afford to spend a lot of words on a topic that may seem insignificant to most.

The aim should not be to remove information about recent events, but to add information of the same detail to other events. If an article becomes difficult to use because of its length, that should be countered by structuring the article better. — David Remahl 15:18, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

The statement absolutely makes sense. Note it doesn't ask if it is more relevant than other articles of lesser length but rather other topics on the page itself; its an intra rather then an inter consideration and I really think its the first thing you have to think about when considering adding something. The statements by Pat Robertson about Hugo Chavez taking up more and more space on the page is what got this article started. Perspective is lost and cogency is lost.
Also notability and importance may be always be questioned but they aren't as POV as you suggest. Richard Nixon is notable but I'm not; that Richard Nixon was impeached is important but where he spent summer vacation when he was twelve is not. Marskell 17:05, 5 September 2005 (UTC) To clarify: Nixon resigned before impeachment...jerk Marskell 22:43, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Good point Marskell. Clearly we're going to have wikipedia articles of different length and scope and that is not inherently bad. Perhaps as you suggest there are two effects of recentism then. The first effect would be intra (articles that are bloated with event-specific facts at the expense of other longstanding content), and the second would be inter (a glut of event-related articles on wikipedia related to a given recent topic). (not trying to define terms here but making a distinction.) I think an article that focuses too much on one event is going to give the impression that this event is most important. David Remahl thinks that restructuring an article would alleve this impression of overemphasis but I disagree. I think making side articles is the de facto standard for relieving the article of over-detailed content. MPS 18:22, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
OK, I expanded slightly to note the difference. The first (intra) I noted as generally negative. The second I suggested has benefits which may outweigh the downside. Marskell 18:33, 9 September 2005 (UTC)


I shall add this to the essay:

The opposite tendency might be named "conservativism", the tendency to revert accurate edits to an article "until we know what will happen" or "until everything settles down". For emotionally-charged rapidly-changing events, this often strikes others as a form of denial, regardless of its motivation.

A simple test for dealing with conservativism:

  • Is the fact quoted currently inaccurate?
  • Is the future of the fact uncertain?

If both are true, then the change should be made, perhaps simply putting the fact in the past tense.

Ashley Y 19:40, September 10, 2005 (UTC)

Ashley-- I am not sure every concept deserves an antithesis (see: False Dichotomy). Perhaps another 'faction' that would be opposed to recentism would be 'balance advocates' -- the people who think an article takes on an unbalanced focus with a slew of detailed facts about recent events. Many people balance out article by deleting recent facts that seem less relevant to the overall article... or by starting side articles. MPS 21:56, 11 September 2005 (UTC)


You are not doing your ideas any favours by giving it a name which is a neologism. Recentness might be preferable as it was first recorded in 1677 according to the OED.

Sorry about that quibble. On the subject in hand—the tendency for people to concentrate on all things recent—this is I think mostly unavoidable and not altogether undesirable. People seem to use Wiki as a convenient place to download all the information uploaded to them from the media, to have their own opinions of the events critiqued in real time and possibly have their own personal views set in electronic stone on a becoming-repected webpage. Unless you wish to disrupt the wiki method in some way to promote long-viewism (please don't use that it's dreadful) there is very little you can do about so called Recentism.

The shape and purpose of Wiki is still far from certain. Should the pages 10 years in the future be constrained by the current article size limits as that also is dictated by readability or will many have grown to book sized documents each? Will the high-traffic George Bush article be pruned down with a tearse non-notable edit summary; just a forgettable president between B. Clinton and M. Jackson? Unless someone can say the direction the articles are aiming for the living document idea is the best model. You can do a diff between Britannica 1991 and 2004 and see how things have changed but only here can you see each and every change, regardless of how unmanageable that soon becomes.

Certainly, trying to impose a month's hiatus on recording a current event (a month being a very short time to gain perspective but a long period in internet time) will not realy help. Much of the impetus to contribute will be lost or you will get a form of stale recentism. Complete rewrites some time after the event will be (and probably are at this moment) losing or obscuring facts that seemed important at the time or introducing new views on old issues. Removing pop-cultural fluff is going to impoverish the Wiki regardless of the quality of the fluff. Some people from the 1600s would probably be horrified that a playwrite like Shakespeare who wrote for the masses is remembered with many pages and that Michael Drayton has only 11 edits. MeltBanana 00:35, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

It's a neologism in keeping with inclusionist, deletionist etc. and is harmless as a wiki page. It's been relatively useful for discussion. If you agree that:
  • Complete rewrites some time after the event will be (and probably are at this moment) losing or obscuring facts that seemed important at the time or introducing new views on old issues.
How can you not agree that:
  • Complete rewrites at the time of the recent event will be (and probably are at this moment) losing or obscuring facts.
That seems to me to be the crux of the issue. The ridiculous idea of referring to things in the New Orleans article in the past tense is a perfect example. Marskell 09:27, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
Clearly, it's not ridiculous to refer to things in the New Orleans article in the past tense if they're not presently true and might never be again. —Ashley Y 21:09, September 11, 2005 (UTC)
MeltBanana -- thanks for you comments. I think that whatever we choose to call it, we can agree that "Recentism" tendencies are a real phenomenon within Wikipedia. This page can help wikipedians grapple with how to deal with it. It may not be avoidable and it may be desireable, but this page allows us to standardize and/or document how this should be dealt with. MPS 21:43, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Create a template?

Since there is rightly a difference between the information in Wikipedia and in Wikinews, perhaps we ought to make a template notice. Considering that we already have a template for {{current}}, perhaps we could make a similar template, or an update to that template. It could say something to the effect of: "The article concerns a current event, please add developing informations to the n:Wikinews story on n:current event XYZ". This may obviate some of the more egregious effects of Recentism, and turn more people on to our sister project. —thames 15:34, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

This is just a note to let folks know that a template to tag articles as recentist has been created: Template:Recentism. —Preost talk contribs 12:56, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Recentism, order, and weight

One element of recentism that I have noticed that is not listed here is non-chronological order in the articles. Whatever is most recent may be popped on the top. This not only gives it undue weight, it confuses the development of an issue.

Do others think this is an element of recentism? Goldfritha 03:36, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


While this essay does mention that Recentism should not be the excuse to delete reams of information it does not do so strongly enough. This article should call more loudly for sub-pages being made and that call should be repeated again and again throughout the essay. People are continually using the length of article suggestions and the charge of recentism to delete large sections of articles wholesale. This is robbing wikipedia of any depth whatsoever. Creation of sub-pages is the only way around this dead end.--Wowaconia 17:39, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Lets look at one of your examples "Long passages in an NBA basketball player's biography or an actress's biography may be devoted to detailed coverage of a recent controversy whose text exceeds the number of words in the rest of the article combined." I personally don't care which celebrity is dating who nor do I follow the NBA, but I'd rather see a bunch of sub-pages linked to in the main page then to have segments deleted wholesale. Look at WP:NOT#PAPER

The most obvious difference is that there are, in principle, no size limits in the Wikipedia universe. It is quite possible, for example, that when you finish typing in everything you want to say about poker, there might well be over 100 pages, and enough text for a full-length book by itself. This would certainly never be tolerated in a paper encyclopedia, which is why Encyclopedia Britannica has such limited information on the topic (and on most other topics). But there is no reason at all why Wikipedia should not grow into something beyond what could ever possibly be put on paper.

Clearly the allowance of 100 sub-pages on poker gives liscense for the creation of sub-pages for every actress Dennis Rodman has ever gone out with wiki-linked to his main article. The examples in this essay should all call for the creation of sub-pages. Otherwise Recentism is just an arbitrary personal judgment one editor will use to delete the work of other editors and then link to your essay as the excuse for their actions.--Wowaconia 17:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding, uh, the "hammer of the deletors", I just deleted it. This isn't exactly the most active essay, but it was faily well-balanced. It just seemed to introduce an unneeded rhetorical flourish. Marskell 21:33, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
So if the list of every actress Dennis Rodman has gone out with gets too long for the main article, make a subarticle called Personal life of Dennis Rodman or something and cover it there. When it comes down to it, if someone is going to spend the time to write such articles, it is almost certain a number of people will want to read it (based on the principles that most people visiting Wikipedia read rather than write, reading is quicker and easier than writing, and that the interests of the writers are going to be fairly representative of the interest of the readers). -- 10:56, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion: Put a timer on current events articles

Systemic problems call for systemic solutions. Here's my idea: For every article on current events, put a template at the top announcing that as of a certain date (either a year or two years or three years after the article was started), the article will be automatically put into an article-for-deletion process. People who want to keep the article will be amenable to working on it to put it into more perspective. If the article survives that AfD discussion, give it another five years or so before the next AfD discussion. Maybe even another one in 10 years. I'd do the same thing with songs, bands, video games, comic books and other cultural artifacts that tend to be ephemeral. The article wouldn't have to be entirely deleted, either. It could go into some kind of WikiArchive, perhaps a more specific WikiMusicArchive or WikiComicbookArchive, etc. Storage costs keep going down and someone may find these old articles useful. As Shakespeare once said (Cardenio, Act IV, line 37): "There's a place for everything, and everything in its place." Noroton 22:17, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Your solution pre-supposes that there is a problem. Having an abundance of articles on recent topics is not a problem, it is a strength of Wikipedia. Imagine if the ancient Romans or early Kiowa would have had Wikipedia. What a treasure trove of information it would be for toda's scholars. There is no harm for the future in having these articles, and there may be a great benefit. Johntex\talk 23:34, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


I agree with the sentiment strongly, but isn't "recentism" itself a clunky, ugly neologism? --MacRusgail 15:28, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Neologisms aren't illegal on the wikipedia namespace. What do you have in mind? My opinion is that we shouldn't change the essay name but you can add a light-hearted section to the essay to explore other names for the phenomenon. If something sticks we can generate another TLA that corresponds to some alternate name, such as WP:PILEON. MPS 15:59, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry but recentism isn't a word. Why are we propagating bad English? The point of WP is to make people more educated, not less. It sounds horrible. pschemp | talk 00:42, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

There are a number of ghits on non-WP uses in fairly respectable contexts, plus it is an easy word to understand, even on the first encounter. Johnbod 16:02, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know how long it takes for a neologism to make it into vernacular, but I think if I tried to use this word in conversation now, people would look at me confused. UnfriendlyFire 05:15, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Recentism seems like a nice, useful word to me, along the lines of the better-known presentism. A google book search reveals that "recentism" appeared in print as early as 1990, with the exact definition as used here, and in a scholarly work no less. Kudos to whoever picked it for this essay—it's precisely the right word. —Kevin 07:06, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

*Coughs*. Twas me. I posted it somewhere and User:MPS ran with it in a fit of BEANS. I say this, of course, with a view to history. Marskell 14:16, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Recentism is not a word... -- 20:42, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
It is now, even if not every dictionary lists it. Remember dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive. At least in this case a word is being used that it is fairly easy to determine what it means (at least in general terms) even if you have never heard it before. -- 10:58, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems a clunky, useless word to me. And slightly hypocritical, given its use.--MacRusgail (talk) 14:58, 9 September 2008 (UTC) p.s. 1990 IS recent!!!

Remove "about current events"

I would propose removing "about current events" from the first sentence, as too restrictive. There are plenty of WP articles not about current events as such, that deal only with contemporary practise or the contemporary situation, and ignore very long histories of the topic, whatever it is. Something more should be added in lower down on this form of recentism - I don't think it conflicts with the current affairs aspect.

For an example,this was the article on etching (as an art form) last October. It dealt almost totally with modern practice, when the history begins in about 1510, and etching's period of dominance in printmaking really ended during the 19th century. Johnbod 16:15, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I approve. Recentism is not only talking only about things that happened in the last week; it's talking about the last decades and neglecting the history of centuries, or even talking about the last century or so and neglecting the history of millennia. Goldfritha 16:19, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks - I have added to the "Examples" section:

    • Long-term Recentism: Subjects with a long, even ancient, history may be described in purely contemporary terms, even though they were actually more significant in the past than they are now.

Please edit/expand Johnbod 18:08, 18 February 2007 (UTC)


Well, apparently the current version of this essay is no deliberately worded to deny the concept that recentism is a problem at all. Why not be more honest and just use WP:NOSUCHTHINGASRECENTISM? Bwithh Join Up! See the World! 01:22, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Recentism in music articles the reason why The Arcade Fire has a better-referenced article than Traffic.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 12:26, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Similarly, try and find anything on Jonas Brothers (the taxidermists), as opposed to Jonas Brothers (the boy band).RadioKAOS (talk) 02:38, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

This essay could do with a capsule summary at the beginning

A one sentence description of what "recentism" actually is, followed by a one sentence description of whether its good or bad, followed by a one sentence description of what to do about it. The article takes a long time to actually get to the punchline. dr.ef.tymac 03:25, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Maybe something along the lines of: significant amounts of recentism in a section in an existing article = bad, recentist material spun off as another article = fine. And action is convert the first state of affairs into the second where necessary. -- 11:01, 8 August 2007 (UTC)


I would like to point out that "recentism" isn't a word. And that Wikipedia isn't paper. --The Cunctator 23:48, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Clearly "recentism" is a "wikipedianism" then! Pasi 13:24, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I would like to point out that cunctator is also not a word, but is a useful contribution to wikipedia!!! MPS 16:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

There are two very different types of recentism

When an article is created on a recent topic, it doesn't do any harm (it can even be useful), because Wikipedia is not paper. But when an article on a larger topic becomes overfilled with a recent but minor scandal or other recent trivia, the article becomes biased and that hurts Wikipedia. For example, does the article on Keele University really need a section on the "2007 Janet Finch Pay Rise Controversy"? --Itub 09:23, 30 July 2007 (UTC)


This is a new short essay I could probably write, which would basically be similar to the concept of recentism but instead it would be about the tendency of editors to write articles about things which have had exposure on the Internet, without any real regard for notability or whether reliable third-party sources exist about the topic. Why? Because people are stupid. This is not a personal attack, just a generalisation about the sort of things that we see arising at AfDs, speedy deletions and proposed deletions every day.-h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 15:56, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Not only the net, but anything ICT. See my removed addition of systemic bias. -- Eiland (talk) 10:47, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


"Bear in mind, however, that Wikinews material cannot usually be incorporated into Wikipedia later, due to license incompatibility."

Isn't this backwards? Wikinews is cc-by-2.5 except for old content which is public domain. It should be fine to incorporate Wikinews into Wikipedia, just not Wikipedia into Wikinews, no? NTK (talk) 09:59, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I believe the problem is that all contributions have to be licenced under the GFDL - the CC-by-2.5 requires it to be kept under the CC-by-2.5.
You may distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly digitally perform the Work only under the terms of this License
Another factor may be that the CC-by-2.5 also requires attribution - which means that the article and derivatives would have to contain a link saying "original article source" etc. Which goes against Wikipedia guidelines. (talk) 20:11, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
There is no problem where the GFDL is concerned with adding CC-by terms, since they are not additional restrictions. The GFDL requires attribution also. This can be encompassed in the article history. NTK (talk) 04:47, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

long term recentism

this page needs more about long ranging recentism. Many history articles, especially those for places in the New World, have almost nothing about pre-Columbian periods, despite them constituting the vast majority of the history of human habitation in those places. -- (talk) 19:32, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

That's true. Not against adding something. Marskell (talk) 20:53, 6 December 2007 (UTC)