RationalWiki talk:All things in moderation/Archive74

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This is an archive page, last updated 8 March 2024. Please do not make edits to this page.

Luigifan18 and snark[edit]

I feel like this person is abusing ref notes to add unfunny (and often offensive) "snarks" on our articles. I don't think I need to bring examples as we all have seen this. I'm not sure about what should be done, but I think we could at least discuss a topic ban on "snark" as they've been called out before and nothing has changed. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 21:15, 24 February 2024 (UTC)

Our article? KarmaPolice (talk) 21:33, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
Articles*. Sorry for the typo, my keyboard is dying at this very moment. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 21:35, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
I've looked through a few of their recent snark edits, and I'm not really sure what the problem is? I see they've been blocked for one edit, which seems fair, but all the other edits just seem completely fine? (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Natsuki Marx ♥ (talk) 21:56, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
Do you think so? If more people agree with you we can close this case and I'll have to apologize for wasting the time of you guys. Maybe it's just that don't like snark at all, but I find most of Lugifan's snarks to be unfunny and unnecessary. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 21:58, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm trying to be funny, but eh, they can't all be winners. And as I admitted to Rairyu, I might be misusing the word "snark" a bit. --Luigifan18 (talk) 22:49, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
A lot of your "snark" edits aren't that good. I don't think any action needs to be taken here apart from requesting that Luigifan not contest it if another user rolls back one of their edits of that nature. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 23:08, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
Yeah, the problem with the suggested topic ban is "snark" isn't something that is easily defined. I do think Luigifan should get a warning that if they "joke" about how a bunch of people deserve to die again, it should warrant sanctions. Plutocow (talk) 23:31, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
Duce's suggestion is good enough for me. Also, please, Luigifan, try to understand that blantant insults do not qualify as snark and don't make any article more interesting. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 23:54, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
Yeah, I can agree that blatant insults aren't good jokes. Sometimes I just can't think of anything better to say. This is why I have an open invitation on my user page to evaluate my mini-essays; I understand that some of them might be stinkers, but I'm sure that some of them are good material (or could be good with a bit more work). --Luigifan18 (talk) 00:52, 25 February 2024 (UTC)

It's not his "snark"[edit]

The idea that Luigifan should be sanctioned for lacking in humour strikes me as rather strange. Asserting that his edits are "unfunny" is an aesthetic value judgment. It is completely subjective and difficult to prove one way or another, though I WILL say that I personally find a lot of his edits uninteresting, unfunny and unnecessarily verbose to the point where they decrease the quality of almost every article he happens to touch. Lots of other editors feel the same way as I do on this matter.

But that is irrelevant.

Because all of us here, from time to time, make edits that we think are funny as shit when in reality they aren't. The difference between most editors and Luigifan is that when you tell most editors that they are being unfunny and undo their edit, they will understand. They might endeavour to convince you otherwise and to ask a third party to adjudicate, but they will accept and move on. Luigifan doesn't.

Luigifan will have one of their low quality edits undone by an editor and he will revert them asking "Wait… what?! Why?!", as if it wasn't patently obvious why. As if other reasons beside "Edit was a bit shit" existed. A second editor will come along and undo Luigifan again and he will once more, with incredulity, put his crappy edit back saying "Uh, seriously, what's wrong with my edit?! Can we take this to the talk page, please?" Whereupon the two editors he is having an edit war with go on the talk page and explain to him that his edits are ever so slightly decreasing the quality of the article. He will undo them again and then, perhaps, a verbose little shithead like me might happen to come along and spell out, in excruciating detail, why his edit is disliked and why he might just want to walk away. And he doesn't take the hint. No, sorry, not HINT, that's the incorrect word, hints contain subtlety and are easily misinterpreted. He is told, point blank, with no room for misunderstanding, that his edit is bad AND HE WILL UNDO IT ONCE AGAIN BECAUSE FUCK EVERYONE ELSE! "Eh, I can't really let go of my "The Bible isn't The Idiot's Guide to Shipbuilding and it never tried to be that" gag. I think it's pretty darn funny." Well, no one else flippin' does, but right. Grand so. I have a 40 hour a week job, a dog that needs walking, food to eat, whatever. I move on. If he wants to have the final word, let him. Guess the rest of us just don't matter.

Then he gets blocked, the page gets protected. Another editor adds their voice. What would you do, lads, if a Mod and three sysops asked you to stop doing something? If a mop was used to restrain you from carrying out an edit that literally everyone hates?

Would you move on?

Luigifan wouldn't. He would come back a few days later and edit the page again. And then he would edit war with the exact same Mod on a different page. Fuck only knows why. Didn't end well for him the first time, but fuck it. He is King Comedy, and we would see that too, if only he hit undo one more time than the rest of. That ought to convince us that his unfunny, unreferenced, boring edits are in fact the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, fackin' hell, apparently it's everyone else but him that is being really stubborn.

Why does he always get to have the last word? Why? In the two years I was away you guys appointed him Editor-in-Chief, or something? His opinion matters more than mine? I made substantial additions to the breastfeeding article. He came along and added the most "no shit Sherlock" addition to it:

"If you're really bothered by women breastfeeding in public, then just don't stare at them like a pervy weirdo. Problem solved, issue over, go home."

Wow, no shit! But whatever, I can just revert, right? I DID read like a dozen refs and put them in the damn article, maybe he will understand that I don't think his addition is very good. I go over to his talk page to explain this and then he will undo me insisting that sanctimonious sermonising is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE. Doesn't add refs, or anything actually funny. But he simply must have his way. And the rest of us have to, what, get down on our knees and beg him to not do that? Why?

I don't dislike Luigifan one bit. I'm glad he enjoys this website, and I understand he's got a short attention span. He doesn't add libel or deliberate disinformation to the articles. I am not angry with him and I wish him no ill. But I would be over the moon if he decided to stick to Fun/Essay/Saloon Bar pages from now on.

Because his edits suck, and I think our readers deserve a tiny bit better.

Regards. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 00:12, 25 February 2024 (UTC)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. The edit to Ark Encounter after the protection expired was specifically me re-implementing quality-of-life changes (like grammar and links) that had been discarded along with the mini-essay in the same edit. I left the mini-essay out of it the second time around. --Luigifan18 (talk) 00:40, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
I find that other than copyedits, Luigifan's edits are often at best marginal. Many people bring their own areas of expertise to RW as well as their own opinions. I have been getting the feeling that Luigifan only brings opinions. Has he ever contributed a citation to a quality source? Not that I can recall. It's not too hard to bring some expertise to RW: think of a topic that interests you, find a book at the library from a well-regarded source. Read the book. Think about what you read and how it can be applied to improving RW. Don't forget the citation and the page numbers. If reading a whole book seems overwhelming, there are still free journalistic sources (e.g., The Guardian) that have articles relevant to our mission. This is your assignment, Luigifan. Many of us are tired of seeing your opinions on mainspace articles. Bongolian (talk) 00:50, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
I did find a reference for "Joe the Plumber" being used to mean "uneducated shmuck" after being asked. Which is actually pretty surprising, because that one was based on hearsay when I wrote it, and I was sure that it would have to be thrown out. --Luigifan18 (talk) 00:58, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Then why did you add it? Carthage (talk) 01:46, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Luigifan18 makes many good grammar edit checks on this website. They are very useful but I agree that the attempts at adding content to be funny are not useful. It's been a long time since I read anything about this user so this may be my own misunderstanding but wasn't this user a former editor on Encyclopædia Dramatica? Maybe the snark thing stems from that website as they have a very different idea of what humour entails over there. Luigifan18 has good patience and I haven't seem them attack any users on here. I wouldn't support any block. Just recommend not to add unnecessary attempts at humour. Johns (talk) 02:03, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Nope, I have no history with ED. I did get the boot from Know Your Meme, though. --Luigifan18 (talk) 04:01, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
There is little doubt that tolerance towards the snark variety of edit encourages those with nothing to say and provides them the opportunity to say nothing. Let me evade incriminating myslf with the following.
I can think of a whole raft of devices to moderate the problems arising from the occasional incontinent editor. Naturally, the good taste of our family of editors might be given as a basis for solving the problem. Although optimistic, that is unlikely to generate consent. Another suggestion would be to give moderators the job of policing snark. Even better would be to elect one moderator with the special task of removing snark that did not prove to be satirical. But, we can't have one person tell us what is funny anymore than the pope (or anyone else) can tell us what is moral. I suppose that the optimum solution is to never allow snark to be returned back where it has been removed unless a reasonable number of sysops want it to be there. There are too many users who think they know best as to what should be ridiculed with snark rather than satire and reason. UncleKrampus (talk) 19:29, 25 February 2024 (UTC)

"What we've got here is failure to communicate."[edit]

Despite many warnings, there does not seem to be any progress here on stemming the bad behavior of Luigifan18.[1][2] It would seem to be time to call for a punishment vote. Bongolian (talk) 04:44, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

…Hm. The edit in question is one that I can agree didn't really add anything to its host article. As such, I decided to move it to its own thing. --Luigifan18 (talk) 17:26, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

Vote for sanctions on Luigifan18[edit]

This vote has been closed. Please do not add, remove or change votes.
The result of this vote was: By a 10-1 vote, Luigifan18 is banned from mainspace for pi weeks. By a vote of 8-1, Luigifan18 is topic banned from adding "snark"/"mini-essays" to mainspace.

Pi weeks ban from mainspace articles[edit]

  1. I do think they need a break, they've been yelled at enough and maybe putting some real sanctions on their editing ability will cause them to think twice. Plutocow (talk) 05:09, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  2. This could put some real teeth into the sanctions. Carthage (talk) 05:27, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  3. Bongolian (talk) 08:33, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  4. A slap on the wrist is needed. Spud (talk) 13:44, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  5. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 13:57, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  6. cosmikdebris talk stalk 21:17, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  7. -Flandres (talk) 23:14, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  8. Sounds about right. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 23:11, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
  9. Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 19:59, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
  10. Baby goes in timeout. 𝔖𝔲𝔪𝔪𝔞 𝔄𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔬𝔩𝔬𝔤𝔦𝔠𝔞 (𝔮𝔲𝔢𝔯𝔢𝔩𝔦𝔰) (𝔰𝔠𝔯𝔦𝔭𝔱𝔲𝔯𝔞) 23:47, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
  1. I really don't think this is necessary. I'm trying to be better about citing my big edits and being more factual, but it's going to take time and practice. --Luigifan18 (talk) 20:37, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
  1. I'd prefer to start with sanctions on mainspace, since that appears to be the main issue for now. A full ban seems too harsh at the moment, and perhaps a mainspace ban will tell them to leave their rants in user/essayspace where they belong. Still, if someone wants to add votes for a full ban I won't stop them. Plutocow (talk) 05:09, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  2. Johns etc convinced me that the user is not 'a lost cause' but Bongolian etc has also convinced me that a whack with a rolled-up newspaper might be needed. However, I haven't run into the user's allegged crimes and thus, do not feel qualified and/or strongly enough to actually call for a pi-week ban. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:17, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

Pi months ban from mainspace articles[edit]

  1. Too harsh. Carthage (talk) 05:27, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  2. I don't know if anyone is even tempted to vote for this option, but it does seem to me to be overkill considering the relative weight of things. Chillpilled (talk) 18:28, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  3. I'd demand evidence [like I provided re: pseudo-BoN's Bar ban] before even considering this option. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:19, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

Permaban from mainspace articles[edit]

  1. Luigifan does good worth with marginal edits. Carthage (talk) 05:19, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  2. A bit harsh for now. Plutocow (talk) 05:24, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  3. Bongolian (talk) 08:33, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  4. Chillpilled (talk) 18:23, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  5. cosmikdebris talk stalk 21:17, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  6. 'Sledgehammer, meet small nut'. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:20, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
  7. If he screws up again, sure, but otherwise too harsh. CorruptUser 14:31, 5 March 2024 (UTC)

Topic ban from adding "snark"/"mini-essays" to mainspace (exact details can be worked out if need be)[edit]

  1. This seems the most reasonable option. Carthage (talk) 05:19, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  2. No more "mini-essays" ever. If they want to write essays, they can create essay pages. But no more inserting "mini-essays" into mainspace articles. Spud (talk) 13:44, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    • The idea behind mini-essays is that they're closely related enough to the articles I put them in to be worth mentioning there in order to elaborate on the points raised by the mainspace article (while also allowing the mainspace article itself to provide context and spare me from having to write introductory paragraphs or other things of that nature), but perhaps a bit too long-winded to go into the main body of the text (which is why I usually put them in notes; it keeps them from bloating up the main text). Mini-essays aren't usually meant to be full essays; they're meant to be expansions and elaborations of points raised in mainspace. --Luigifan18 (talk) 16:59, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  3. Bongolian (talk) 17:58, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  4. -Flandres (talk) 23:17, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  5. cosmikdebris talk stalk 20:11, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
  6. Using the mini-essay link that da accused provided below as a sample of the alleged 'issue', I vote for a 'mini-essay in mainspace' ban. Why? Because they don't just clarify the difference between 'heresy' and 'blasphemy' [which I would accept as being helpful in a mainspace article] but it goes far past that and is devoid of any reasonable refs. Now, we are not WP, we do not have an 'no original research' rule but that's so editors are allowed some leeway of 'stiching together' articles without having to find sources for every single damn thing - not to write opinion pieces. Even if you were a theologan, I would still demand some reliable refs so readers can see your argument is not a PIDOOMA one.
    Now, why the hell do I care? Because it's all about RW mainspace being taken seriously as an online resource. Even now, a lot of folks will say 'RW is crap, just a left-librul CP' or words to that effect. If we're not taken seriously as a resource, it means we won't do well in the 'four goals' - simple as that. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:51, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
    The heresy example was one that I removed from mainspace myself because I felt that it didn't belong in mainspace, largely for the reasons you mentioned — or, rather, that it felt less like me adding valuable information to the article and more like me just rambling about my own stance on the issue. It's in essayspace now. The goal of a mini-essay is not to be an opinion piece; it's to add extra information to the article that supports the main points. --Luigifan18 (talk) 21:46, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
    If you are 'adding relevant information' and it's backed up by decent refs, it is by default not a 'mini-essay'. However, I do note that several people have complained of edits being 'low quality' [and I looked at a couple of examples given by Rairyu and I'm not going to argue otherwise]; I don't think they're saying they are 'not relevant', more that their relative weight was little and they're trying to avoid 'page bloat' by trimming out trivia, excessive detail, overly long exposition and/or irrelevant tangents. I mean, I think I'm a fairly concise writer but even then I've had editors later look at my handiwork and apply the scalpel. Look, I get that it hurts when that happens - but that's what rolls in wiki-world.
    There also comes times where you have to learn 'when to stop'. There's been mainspace articles where I've ended up shoving some 'external links' at the bottom - because while I beleive they 'are relevant' to the article, I felt they'd be too bloaty to be in the article itself. Adding 'explanatory note' boxes is also something which should be done as rarely as realistically possible; after all, this is 2024 and people can do their own research [such as the precise definition of words and similar]. Which is what has led to this situation. It might have been done in a roundabout/cack-handed way, but others have been trying to teach you to be a better editor. We are a terrible 'first audience' for mainspace additions [esp the 'Old Guard']; opinionated, argumentitive and a bit cranky - but it's the best system we have to produce decent-quality articles. KarmaPolice (talk) 23:24, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
    Again, the reason why I put the tangents in note boxes instead of the main text is so that they're unobtrusive. I know I tend to ramble on and on when I get going, so I don't want to create [ugly] text bloatWikipedia in the main paragraphs where it's not needed. --Luigifan18 (talk) 23:46, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
  7. Also for the best. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 23:13, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
  8. Yes. Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 20:03, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
  1. Whoa, "no more mini-essays ever" sounds way too extreme. I'm very much open to other users reviewing my mini-essays and giving me feedback on where I can improve them (or removing them and telling me off if they prove to be utter junk), and I have been open to such reviewing from the start (just look at the fossil record of my user page), but I do believe that the concept of a mini-essay serves a useful purpose. The idea behind mini-essays is that they're closely related enough to the articles I put them in to be worth mentioning there in order to elaborate on the points raised by the mainspace article (while also allowing the mainspace article itself to provide context and spare me from having to write introductory paragraphs or other things of that nature), but perhaps a bit too long-winded to go into the main body of the text (which is why I usually put them in notes; it keeps them from bloating up the main text). Mini-essays aren't usually meant to be full essays; they're meant to be expansions and elaborations of points raised in mainspace. If a mini-essay ends up being big enough to be an actual essay (and diverges far enough from the initial intent of "highlighting a point raised in mainspace"), then I might move it to essayspace. For instance, I moved "Why Heresy Is Good And Blasphemy Is Bad" out of the mainspace heresy page in part because it got a bit too long and in-depth to be a side note in mainspace (the other part was that in hindsight, it clearly was just my own editorializing rather than a clarification on the conventional line between heresy and blasphemy (to the point that I used my own definitions of the terms, which I admit is potentially argumentum ad dictionarium or something similar to that), so I made the judgment call that it didn't belong in mainspace). In short, I would prefer my mini-essays to be judged on a case-by-case basis. I think some of them are pretty darn good, but in respect to RationalWiki's mobocracy, I want the community to be the ultimate judge of that. (For instance, the mini-essay in the risk article is one that I consider to be a good elaboration on the main article's points, though I do believe that it could use some more citations.) --Luigifan18 (talk) 16:40, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    To be fair to Luigifan, not everything we'd think of as obvious is immediately obvious. Carthage (talk) 17:36, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    I dunno what Carthage means by that or how it's relevant to my case, but I should also point out that if I put one of my edits on the "mini-essays" section of my userpage, that means I see it as way more elaborate than what I usually do, and it also often means that I think it's incomplete (or maybe even controversial) and I'm asking for advice, opinions, criticism, and touch-up contributions where necessary. --Luigifan18 (talk) 17:59, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    Your edits seek to "clarify what may be obvious to some, but not others," correct? Carthage (talk) 20:31, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
    Yes, some of them do. Others aim to provide supporting details on a point that has been raised, or otherwise make the article more informative. --Luigifan18 (talk) 20:39, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
    @Carthage I know the timing is bad, but I couldn't really help but make an edit to the racial profiling page that had the purpose of elaborating on a point that may be (well, probably is) obvious to long-time RationalWiki users, but may not be so obvious to passerby or newcomers to the concepts of "skepticism" or "scientific inquiry". Again, this isn't what all of my mini-essays aim to do (some of them have the goals of analyzing a point in more detail or playing devil's advocate, among other things), but some of them definitely are intended to say the quiet part of typical RW statements out loud. As with most (if not all) of my edits that I bother to flag as "mini-essays", I know the quality might be spotty and I would appreciate feedback on it. --Luigifan18 (talk) 17:58, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
  1. As suggested in the heading, the exact details aren't important and can be worked out if this passes (but feel free to lay out suggestions). This vote is more for whether using a topic ban to limit Luigifan's abusive use of mainspace is a good idea. Plutocow (talk) 05:09, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    I don't even see what's "abusive" about my use of mainspace (or at least not mini-essays in general — I'll agree that some of my more mean-spirited jabs at Republicans, fundies, and charlatans in general could count as "abuse"), since the aim is to elaborate on the points already raised by given articles and/or raise alternative opinions on subjective matters. If you have problems with my edits, please, tell me about them and let me know what I could do better. I'm open to suggestions to improve my writing. --Luigifan18 (talk) 18:03, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    As stated previously, the problem is the proliferation of your opinion in mainspace, which ranges from banal redundancy to unsubstantiated claims. Bongolian (talk) 18:10, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
    Again, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between "unsubstantiated" and "self-evident", so I would prefer feedback on my edits rather than throwing them out wholesale. --Luigifan18 (talk) 20:30, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
  2. As far as I understand, they can still content on the main space as long as it is well-sourced and makes sense, right? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 13:57, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
  3. Mini essays that could be labeled as snark should be disallowed as proper content for any serious article. Irrational humor such as slapstick, weird analogies, and appeals to emotion, get high-fives from those already in agreement and perplexity, at best, from everyone else. Anyone who thinks removing unnecessary snark is white-washing of an article probably does not belong anywhere near the article to begin with. There is no practical substitute for knowing what you are writing about.UncleKrampus (talk) 16:34, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
    While I don't completely agree, I can understand the sentiment behind not wanting meaningless wisecracking; while we aim to be snarky and light-hearted, we also want to be informative. If people want a pure comedy act, they can go to Encyclopedia Dramatica/Oh Internet, 1d4chan (if and when that comes back online; it's been down since mid-December), or similar websites. However, not all of my mini-essays are just "slapstick and weird analogies"; several of them do legitimately aim to elaborate on points raised by the main article, play devil's advocate, make the meaning clearer for people who aren't accustomed to RationalWiki's mindset, or serve other such utility purposes. I understand the need for statements to be well-sourced, though; a lot of my mini-essays come from positions of common sense or things I heard a while back that I don't remember where they came from, and I sometimes feel the need to say my piece while it's still at the front of my mind, then come back and provide sources later. --Luigifan18 (talk) 18:08, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
    Only Conservatives et al think ED is Comedy. Any sane person isn't going to, say, look up their page on black people and go "HAHAHA, so hilarious!".. Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 22:00, 3 March 2024 (UTC)

Quotes in mainspace[edit]

To make clear from the beginning, I am not seeking a punishment vote, but rather a clarification in policy. @BJA2112 caught my attention by creating a large number of header quotes on mainspace pages (User:BJA2112#Pages I've added header quotes to). Most of these quotes are OK (at least after correction) from my perspective, but there are problems throughout. Problematic quotes are not restricted to BJA2112, but appear elsewhere in mainspace; BJA2112 is just the most prolific adder of these quotes at the moment. The types of problems are:

  • No citation
  • Bad citation: memes or unreliable sources
  • Misquotation
  • Misattribution
  • Quotes from less-than sterling sources: computer games, TV programs, films, songs, and fiction in general.

Addressing the problems:
Correcting a quotation takes a lot more effort than adding one, thanks to all the damn quote meme sites.

The problems of misattribution and misquotation are widespread and predate the internet. One begins to realize this after browsing Quote Investigator[3] — which is also a good source for confirming the accuracy and citation for quotations. Another useful site is Wikiquote (but only if there is also a citation accompanying the quote because just like Wikpedia, Wikiquote can be wrong).

The problem of quotes from fiction in mainspace articles that are not regarding that work of fiction, I think is more difficult to pin down. A person may think that "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" a game that's so popular that 'everyone' must know what it is and have played it — but that's an unreasonable assumption. Also, the person who is quoted adds perspective and meaning to the quote. There's no one behind the GTA quote other than a corporate entity, or perhaps eventually a chatbot. Similar problems exist with non-documentary films and TV programs: the studio controls the content with rare exceptions.

I don't want to say never use a quote from fiction in a non-fiction mainspace page, but I think they should be avoided generally. I myself have on rare occasions added a song quote to a mainspace page: the racism page comes to mind. The current help page on quotes gives advice (Help:Quotes), but it is not policy per se. Bongolian (talk) 20:54, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

I mostly concur. The other thing I would note is, "you're not as witty as you think you are". Fictional/illustrative quotes can be a great tool if the subject in question is particularly complex/doesn't inherently lend itself to levity (we're not as dry as Wikipedia and I think we can take some pride in that; the Tom Lehrer quote falls in the category where it provides appropriate levity without diminishing the subject). Besides that, a good quote should be understood without needing any extra context and the attribution must make sense; quotes to anonymous people should be avoided. Finally whilst it's not an immediate subject I think, misattributed fictional quotes should be avoided outside of funspace (and only for those that are so surface level wrong that they actaully are funny); that's where you can put the funny jokes (aka "Nukes LMAO" ~ Mahatma Gandhi, Civilization). For shorter/less inherently dry pages, a quote may not be necessary. We have a problem page category for articles that are just quote galleries (applied with the template {{highlight reel}}) for a reason as well. Less is more. -- Techpriest (talk) 21:11, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
I want to make it clear that I have no problem using fictional quotes less. I don't want to cause any trouble or anything. BJA2112 (talk) 21:36, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
My main concern with quotes from fictional works [TV shows, films, books, music etc] is that there's a very small 'refrence pool' which the majority of people get, and even then some will miss it - you cannot 100% guarantee any more that everyone would even get quotes etc from The Bible. What's more, this refrence pool shifts from country and to some extent ethnicity; RW is at times pretty White-Americentric and quotes mined from that do piss me off.
However, like Techpriest says, if there is a fictional quote which provides an excellent potted illustration/explanation of a relevant topic, I am not gonna shoot it down because 'Mr Burns' is not a real person or something. But I would also say; 'Rationalwiki is not TV Tropes'. KarmaPolice (talk) 21:51, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
It sometimes depends on the subject of the article in question. For example, for a subject that is largely fictional like dragons, a quote from fiction might be better at conveying the subject than something from real life. Still, any quotes from fiction that we use should be able to convey their meaning without relying on the context of the sources. Plutocow (talk) 22:20, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Also, while we are on the topic, high-quality sources for quotes are generally:

  • Something that the quoted person themselves wrote (book, opinion in a newspaper or magazine, web blog, social media, etc.)
  • Contemporaneous news reporting from a news source that follows good journalistic practices
  • Quote Investigator, or some other site that does thorough research on quotation sources
  • A book by a historian who gives a citation for the quote, which can be archival material from the source themself, which may not appear elsewhere

Bongolian (talk) 22:57, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Pedantic question of the day; non-historians are allowed to write well-researched, reliable books too, right? Sure I've seen a few of them around... KarmaPolice (talk) 23:24, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Sure, the list isn't meant to be exhaustive. It's also possible that a book written with or by a ghostwriter makes the the author look more witty or brilliant than they actually are. Bongolian (talk) 23:44, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
I agree with Techpriest and KarmaPolice; a good fictional quote that effectively illustrates the concept of an article shouldn’t be turned down just because it wasn't said by a real person. With that said, the quote should be able to stand on its own without needing much (if any) further context, and it definitely should be applicable first and foremost to the subject of the article (for instance, the "vicious idiot for a king" quote may be applicable to Donald Trump, but it was definitely aimed towards Joffrey Baratheon, who is a fictional character). --Luigifan18 (talk) 01:00, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I'll keep that in mind for future edits. Thanks all for the tips. BJA2112 (talk) 01:24, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I think that's actually a good general rule for "explanatory quotes"; that it needs to stand up without being aware of who said it. But I also think it should also get a note pointing out that it's a fictional character saying it - just to remove a) any reader confusion and b) to guard against detractors bitching that we don't 'know the difference between fact and fiction' or some rot.
This rule can also extend to real people who are not that notable; I remember there being an argument here [or somewhere] recently that a quote in the White guilt which another editor took umbrige to because 'they were not really notable'. I let it stay because it's a good potted response [basically, 'guilt is the start of the journey, not the end']. KarmaPolice (talk) 13:22, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
The problems arising from the use of fictional quotes are worth pointing out. The quote, as mentioned above, should be self explanatory. But if a fictitious person said it, then of course a real person wrote it, but not in reference to the common world we know. The problems of authenticity and reliability are closely connected to the representation of the world inhabited by the fictitious speaker. The Game of Thrones, for example, is a fantasy, that is to say, the world it represents is unlike our own in most common sense ways. The characters in a work of fiction are often talking about a world unlike our own in some fundamental way. UncleKrampus (talk) 17:13, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
True. But I don't think there's many RW mainspace articles where Tyrion Lannister would be able to provide a potted explanation which was worth quoting. And if they did slip in, I suspect other editors would remove them on a case-by-case basis. KarmaPolice (talk) 17:55, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
True. But if you consider the "death of the author" theory to be coherent, an immediate corollary is the reader's interpretation is likewise a work of fiction. I think it is trivial that the reader's understanding is appropriate to consider first, rather than the author's intention, which is inaccessible out of context. The historian, for example, gains their reputation by accurate representation. The novelist gains theirs by creating an entertaining one.UncleKrampus (talk) 19:48, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── OK, by what metric are we judging fictional quotes to be "bad"? That seems like a subjective assessment. Are we going to remove quotes from Shakespeare just because Hamlet is a work of fiction? If a quote is relevant, why shouldn't we include it in the article? We're not Wikipedia. Carthage (talk) 06:33, 2 March 2024 (UTC)

It is subjective, and from my subjective point of view I'd say quotes from fiction can add a certain flavor. Especially if it's from such a silly source as Grand Theft Auto, it can add humor or lightheartedness. There is some kind of distinction between "fiction" and "literature" that nobody seems to be able to find the divider for. Chillpilled (talk) 11:27, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
If I remember rightly, there was a recent instance where a quote was attributed to a historical figure when it was actually said by the fictionalized version of that person from the musical Hamilton. That's sloppy. But on the whole, I see absolutely no problem with using quotes from works of fiction. Spud (talk) 11:51, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
There is not necessarily a problem. Quotes from Shakespeare are quaint. If your intension is to make a comparison with Elizabethan society, that's fine. Every work of fiction diverts the reader's attention from the real world towards another, factitious presentation of the world. If ones intention is to annotate some sort of rhetorical text rather than an accurate social or scientific text, one can feel free to quote fictitious characters that make the case because the objective is to elide difficulties. There is a constant tension between bias and technical accuracy. UncleKrampus (talk) 15:00, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
There is also the factor of fiction often serving as a form of social commentary; the quote that recently got removed from the racial profiling page comes to mind as something that really hits the nail on the head about the subject matter. --Luigifan18 (talk) 18:10, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
I think the problem with video media quotes is that they are often difficult to primary source (in a satisfactory manner, that is). That particular Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode is available if you subscribe to Paramount+, but there seems to be no other way to confirm that quote directly (without hitting the pirate seas, that is, and given the age of the series even that might be challenging). The quote did appear in several user-generated sources like IMDB, but that's probably not reliable enough.
At any rate, it wasn't too difficult to find something similar enough in nature to add to that article from a news source. (That article seriously needs a refresh anyways -- it was largely written in 2012, and a lot has happened since then. RW standards were "looser" in 2012 as well, until now the article didn't even have a f'n reference section...) BobJohnson (talk) 20:46, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
The exact same can be said for written quotes too; that while yes, you can say something like 'page 98 of the 1998 work 'Bears shit in woods' by A Liar' but there's nothing to say just how easy to actually check this work would be. Has it been digitised? If so, can you look at it easily, or do you need to join something [and perhaps pay?] If not, is there a copy near you? If not, will you be able to get your inter-library request accepted? Are you going to have to pay to get this request done? I've had this discussion before [and quite recently too] regarding refs here on RW; that I'm heavily biased towards non-paywalled online sources for refs simply on the basis it allows to readers to actually check rather than things which their ability is more theoretical than actual. The reply message I got was simple; theoretical is enough.
Therefore, for a level-playing field re mediums, an epsiode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is theoretically capable of being checked - as long as it details what episode it's from - and therefore should be as viable a source/quote as a old, non-digitised text which shall require trawling library catalogues to locate a copy to check. However, it can be said that Help:Quotes is, mainly due to RW's relative dominance of uni grads [who taught us their old-school 'what is a source' rules] is clearly biased against written sources. KarmaPolice (talk) 18:39, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
The problem I see with media quotes is their ambiguity. The death of the author is more clearly seen in the television program, where typically there is no definite author to whom one may refer as an authority. The context might be described as a factitious construct; that is, a work of fiction through which an author makes gestures towards its contemporary quotidian experience. The truth appears to be that the work itself exists as its own authority as the social context is no longer exactly applicable, does not depend upon its creators for interpretation, and eventually, as social understandings change, becomes more and more an inert artifact. UncleKrampus (talk) 16:55, 8 March 2024 (UTC)