Talk:Penultimate paragraph syndrome

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Harry Shearer (The Simpsons principal Skinner) has a radio show, (Le Show) he calls this phenomenon a "buried lead". 16:04, 18 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ

Shouldn't this be "ultimate paragraph syndrome"? I know, I know, it will ruin the alliteration... Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:22, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah. ТySo long as they pretend to care, I will pretend to listen 06:57, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I've heard it referred to as "hidden in paragraph 18", but I'm pretty sure "penultimate" would be right as it's not usually the very final one that has this in. That would be saved for the concluding remarks that echo the rest of the piece, not work against it. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 10:23, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
19, actually. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:24, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
This is the most annoying thing Journalists do. Tmtoulouse, and nobody else 10:29, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Propose rename[edit]

Tail rebuttal. As others have noted, it's not penultimate (next-to-last). If we're going to coin a term for this phenomenon, at least let it be accurate and/or descriptive.

I'd move it myself but I don't have the button.--Fire Me Boy (talk) 05:45, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

That's a stupid title. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:07, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Suggest a better one, because the current one is both stupid and, as noted by several above, inaccurate.
I fully expect you to not suggest a better one, nor bother justifying the present one. I'd be happy if you proved me wrong.--Fire Me Boy (talk) 22:14, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
The present title is the title the article has always had & is the phrase used in the cited New Statesman article, not something meaningless that somebody's just made up. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:12, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Current title sux. "Tail rebuttal" suggests a refutation, which may not be accurate. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 23:55, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
I suggest "hidden counterevidence" or something along those lines. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 02:41, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

The penultimate paragraph is a better place to hide something than the ultimate one, since skimming readers may focus on the first and last paragraphs, with skimpier attention to the ones in between. With that in mind, the present title makes at least a little bit of sense. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:04, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

I've thought about it for a few days so far and the best I've come up with is "buried balance" (I wasn't going for alliteration but there it is). Just enough counterpoint is given to pretend that "both sides are being covered". It's not a "buried lead", as suggested in the comment at the top of the page, as that refers to any article that doesn't give the most important details clearly and quickly.[1]--Fire Me Boy (talk) 15:15, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Buried balance sounds good. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 15:30, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
The intention here - or in any of our articles - isn't to make up new terms for things. Penultimate paragraph syndrome is the term used in the cited article. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:20, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
A Google search for "Penultimate paragraph syndrome" yields 6 results. A Google search for "Buried balance" yields 0 results. Choosing either of these titles constitutes "making a new thing". The only question is, which of these is the best title. "Penultimate paragraph syndrome" is bad because the penultimate paragraph may not contain the counterevidence, because it may be more or less than one paragraph, and because it's a really long name. "Buried balance" is vague enough to avoid the 1st and 2nd issues, and is relatively short. For these reasons I think a rename is in order. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 17:08, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Something's wrong with your math. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:29, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
When something has 6 Google search results, it's basically the same as having 0 Google search results. Nobody says "penultimate paragraph syndrome". Nobody says "buried balance". Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 18:51, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why not use a descriptive sentence or phrase for the title? Like "Hiding the scientific content at the end". (talk) 19:03, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

No, it's not the same. One of those results is the New Statesman article from July 2012 which used this phrase & inspired this article at RW. The other is this RW article itself, dating from the same day & keeping the same title for the past 2½ years. We don't need to discard it in favour of something new & made up just because a few busybodies get a headache over what specific paragraph of an article's closing statements the facts appear in.
Besides which, if you search "paragraph syndrome" & you'll see this is a familiar kind of stock phrase (missing pargraph syndrome, massively overlong paragraph syndrome, just one more paragraph syndrome, etc). It also conveys (as in all these examples) that it's about how writing is structured. Whereas if I heard someone using phrases like "tail rebuttal" or "buried balance", I would have literally no idea what they were talking about. I'd guess perhaps these were components from a rifle mechanism, or maybe from a pocket watch. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:37, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to side with Weaseloid on this one. --Inquisitor (talk) 19:44, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
(1) Realistically, a term that has 6 Google search results might as well not exist. The only reason that we should care about any particular name having search results is if said name has a lot of search results, meaning that people who search for said term would end up going to RationalWiki rather than another source.
(2) You justify keeping the current title because we've had said title for a long time. This is actually an is-ought fallacy -- just because this title is old, doesn't mean that that title ought to continue.
(3) You justify keeping the current title because it's part of a series of "paragraph syndromes". This reason is more valid, but considering that none of those syndromes have articles on RationalWiki, I think it's still a pretty weak reason. Why follow a pattern that does not exist on RationalWiki? On the other hand, RationalWiki has plenty of "X syndrome" articles. Perhaps the rename could instead be "buried balance syndrome"? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 02:50, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
Seeing "Penultimate paragraph syndrome" gives me enough cues for a pretty good guess at what it's about. I could say something similar about the inverted pyramid,Wikipedia but that's just because I've heard the expression before. "Buried balance syndrome" could be something involving the inner ear and face plants, for all I know. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 03:25, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that our titles do not have to be entry points to the site in and of themselves - as long as there are a reasonable number of usages of the phrase elsewhere on the site, the article will have some life. Is it used elsewhere here? That is the question. And it is fine if those usages are "artificial" in the sense of being inserted to keep this article title on life support. (I found it via a talk page comment) ħumanUser talk:Human 21:27, 23 February 2015 (UTC)