From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Jacobites saw the actions by Mary II and William of Orange as a coup, while the event is widely recognized and named as the Glorious Revolution.

Wikipedia policy requires content to have a neutral point of view, with this policy being one of the five main pillars and three core policies of Wikipedia. Recently, the legitimacy of an uprising against a government has been determined by terminology used about the event; a "revolution" is warranted and applauded while a "coup" is illegal and condemned.[1]

Another core policy, the verifiability policy, requires material added to Wikipedia to be supported by reliable sources. Reliable sources differ on naming certain events as a coup and should be relied upon for content added on Wikipedia.

Use of the word "coup" in an article title should be avoided unless the term is widely used by reliable sources. The use of "coup" should be avoided in Wikipedia article bodies unless discussing an event has been named a "coup" by reliable sources.

Article titles[edit]

There is often debate when describing an event as a coup. When naming a Wikipedia article, there can be concerns whether the title complies with Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View policy. These concerns can be determined on whether this is a name prominently given through common usage by reliable sources (e.g.Glorious Revolution) or if it is a descriptive title promoted by Wikipedia editors.

Per Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View policy:

NPOV is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia and of other Wikimedia projects. It is also one of Wikipedia's three core content policies; the other two are "Verifiability" and "No original research". These policies jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in Wikipedia articles, and, because they work in harmony, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another. ... This policy is non-negotiable, and the principles upon which it is based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, nor by editor consensus.

A descriptive title promoted by Wikipedia editors, even by consensus, does not hold more weight than a title that is neutral, verifiable by reliable sources and is not original research. If an event occurs that some describe as a coup meets all three core policies, (i.e. widely described as a coup by reliable sources, wide use proves to be neutral and the source is not from an involved Wikipedia editor) then the word "coup" is suitable to be used in an article's title.

Use by reliable sources[edit]

Since the use of the term "coup" has become more divisive, especially following the Cold War,[1] its use in reliable sources has lessened. It is important that Wikipedia editors maintain a neutral point of view and rely on sources when creating an article title instead of using their opinion to promote a viewpoint utilizing their own descriptors of an event. If a name or term is commonly used among reliable sources, it is possible that it can be commonly used on Wikipedia.

For those concerned about the representation of their viewpoint on an uprising event or whether a certain title will draw attention away from readers, please redirect the article using a separate and suitable title. However, refrain from using this separate title in other articles and utilize the actual, neutral title that is in use.

Use by politicians[edit]

The use of the term "coup" has been used heavily by politicians. World leaders and politicians have described an event as a coup in order to delegitimize events taking place.[2] Depending on international relations, politicians in various countries may use or avoid the use of the word "coup" when describing an event.[2] Politicians and political groups are not reliable sources, especially for describing an event as a coup. The inclusion of the opinions of political entities in the article body is different, however, and their use in the body should always be attributed.

Article body[edit]

Describing an event as a coup in an article body is only valid when using an article title that has "coup" included, as the title has most likely been determined by the use of reliable sources. However, overuse of the term "coup" in the article carries a lot of weight and will remove the neutral point of view. Use of "coup" in the article body should be used as sparingly as possible in order to maintain neutrality.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fisher, Max (12 November 2019). "Bolivia Crisis Shows the Blurry Line Between Coup and Uprising". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b Mellen, Ruby (2 October 2019). "Trump called impeachment a 'coup.' Here's why past U.S. officials have avoided the word". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 December 2019.