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LOTR:Handling Trivia

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Trivia that can be integrated into a relevant discussion of a specific aspect of an encyclopedia subject should be integrated into that text if it exists. If no such text exists, but it would be relevant, it should be created. Some entries may be more specific to other subjects, and should be moved into articles covering those subjects. Some trivia that is especially tangential or irrelevant may not warrant inclusion at all. Trivia that cannot be integrated at all should be removed. Some entries may be speculative, or factually incorrect, and should be removed; others, such as "how-to" material, may fall outside The One Wiki to Rule Them All's content scope policies.

Trivia sections should only remain in an article temporarily, as a step towards integration of the information. There should be no specific timetable for the integration of trivia (articles don't have to be perfect). This may result in more and more aspects of a subject being covered, but if the article grows too long, it can be forked out using summary style.

However, it is important to recognize that there are intermediate steps that can be taken that both (1) approach covering the information appropriately and (2) help in discouraging trivia contributions that cannot be integrated.

Practical stepsEdit

The following are some practical steps that can be taken when articles have trivia sections.

  1. Integrate trivia items into the existing article text.
  2. Expand the article text, in order to present relevant items in context (example: adding a "Personal life" section to a biography that contains only career-oriented information).
  3. If an item is too unimportant, be bold and remove it.
  4. When appropriate, create separate lists for specific types of entries, with restrictive names. Avoid very general names like "Other facts" or "Miscellanea."
  5. If a section ("trivia" or otherwise) has grown so large as to over-balance an article, consider:
    • Working the information into the article, and removing unimportant items.
    • Adding the {{Trivia}} tag to the section, inviting other users to help clean up.
    • Splitting into sections.
    • Forking off well-defined subsections into other articles, but be careful. If you do this, please do not abandon the new article.
  6. Remember to challenge or remove trivia items that aren't sourced, especially in biographies.
  7. If it is too difficult to deal with all the items in a trivia section at once, it is probably best to leave some in place: there is no deadline. This is most often the case in articles that are not yet well-developed.

Integrating trivia sectionsEdit

Often the content in trivia sections can be better presented elsewhere in the article, either by merging individual items into the existing article text, or by creating a new section and moving items there. However, when creating new sections you should always be sure that it doesn't provide a framework for further miscellaneous contributions.

Integrated trivia content can still be presented in a list, because it is a good way to present some types of information. However, indiscriminate lists are discouraged, and new section should always have a limited scope. As an example, see Alex Trebek#Cameos, which lists shows/films on which Alex Trebek has had a cameo appearance. Other cameos can be added to that section, but general miscellaneous facts would not fit there.

Annotated vs. plain listsEdit

When trivia can be organized in plain lists, or lists with very limited annotation, it is generally better to do so. There are many reasons for this.

  1. It adds an implied level of selectivity. When trivia items need explanation, they are generally less important. For instance, in a list of references to Scientology, the fact that the movie Airplane! references Scientology has to be explained, but the fact that the South Park episode Trapped in the Closet does is clear from the Trapped in the Closet article.
  2. It avoids cruft. In addition to the general problems with trivia, Trivia items tend to go into greatly unnecessary detail, often giving game-guide like details of video games, extensive quotes from TV episodes, and attempts to recreate humor. Having a list without annotations cuts this Gordian knot.
  3. It avoids fragmented coverage. For instance, the connection between Trapped in the Closet and Scientology will be best written at Trapped in the Closet. If a separate description of the connection is written elsewhere, it is likely to be inferior and will not improve. (This is a major problem with notable pieces of "connective" trivia.)
  4. It avoids unsourced information. While having an unsourced list without annotation is theoretically no better than having an unsourced list with annotation, in practice, there is much less that needs sourcing. Also, by avoiding fragmented coverage, we avoid the need for fragmented sourcing.
  5. It is easier, at a glance, to notice new entries that may need removing, because these will often have extensive annotation.

Avoid marking trivia lists as "incomplete" or "needing expansion," if the list topic is especially broad.

Suggested section titlesEdit

Although every article is different, trivia sections tend to attract certain kinds of similarly themed information. This is a list of suggested section titles to help editors integrate and eliminate trivia sections.

Article type Suggested headings
All-purpose headings: In popular culture; Influence; Featured in film/video games/television/radio etc.; Awards/Records/Nominations; Quotes; Critical response;
Biographical: Personal life; Early life; Activism/Charity/Business work; Alternate career; Public image
Books: Plot; Characters;
Geography: Local culture; Notable features; Demographics;
Movies/TV Shows: Consistency Errors; Cast members; Later work of the cast; Filming locations; Sound track/Featured music; Initial concept/Episode concept;
Music (artists): Collaborations; Featured in film; Important performances;
Music (albums/songs): Remixes/Alternate versions/Covers; Samples; Featured artists/Personnel
Sports: Statistics/Records;
Video Games Gameplay; Characters; Easter eggs;


Integrated trivia and original researchEdit

When creating a new section, the best result is a new, coherent piece of prose discussing a new aspect of the subject of the article. Unfortunately, such synthesis of trivia items can sometimes lead to a new problem: The One Wiki to Rule Them All is not a publisher of original work. Before attempting to synthesize information from trivia facts, it is important to realize that a list of trivia may serve as a list of examples, but may not be sufficient to make general conclusions.

For instance, consider a list of depictions of God's appearance in popular culture, like movies and television shows. This could be combined into a paragraph summing up what we can learn from the examples (for instance, that God is often shown as an old man with white hair). However, this is a new claim that wasn't made before, and needs sourcing. In this case, the claim may very well be something someone has written about before, so it may be attributable. But in other cases, it may be impossible; consider a similar article on depictions of Andromeda (mythology): such depictions may be so scarce that no one has bothered to write about them, or there may be nothing worth saying. In such cases, it may be better for the trivia to remain in a list.

Related articlesEdit

In some cases, two topics can be connected in a way that's important enough to make the two articles related articles. In such a case, the best way to note the connection may be to simply have a link in the "see also" section of the articles. Since the topics are strongly related, no further explanation is needed. However, this technique should be used sparingly. For instance, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple is an adaptation of the events in Jonestown, and the articles are related enough to put the adaptation as a "see also" link. However, it would probably be unwise to put Cartman Gets an Anal Probe as a "see also" under Grey alien, even though there is a connection. This can be a good way of keeping trivia out of articles on subjects that have a couple of important connections to other subjects.

Trivia and categoriesEdit

At heart, much trivia is an attempt to connect partially-related topics through a given context. Categories serve much the same purpose. In some cases, trivia may be appropriately handled via categorization. For instance, instead of collecting an article 1817 deaths, entries can be made into Category:1817 deaths. However, this is rarely the solution to trivia sections. Pop culture allusions and the like make for poor categories that are likely to end up being deleted.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Wikipedia:Handling Trivia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 License.

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