From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Humor needs indicators[edit]

Humor that is counter to the truth or verifiability of a page on Wikipedia requires clear and concise indicators, as decided by the community in a 2013 RfC. Humor used inappropriately, without indicators, can and often does result in blocks or other corrective actions against editors.

On talk pages, text can be marked inline with {{april fools}} or {{sarcasm}}. Sarcasm following these methods can prevent many disagreements from escalating.

Outside of the article namespace, full pages or sections can be marked with indicators before lead paragraphs or under the section header such as {{humor}}.

Why responsible humor is important[edit]

No one wants to be the skunk at the garden party, but we have responsibilities.

No one wants to be the skunk at the garden party, but Wikipedia is no longer the fledgling experiment it was back in the 2000s. It's now the world's foremost repository of humanity's collective knowledge, and with that privilege comes some custodial responsibilities. The benefits of humor in helping boost editor retention must be weighed against its potential for disruption. Consider:

  • Humor is sometimes misinterpreted – sarcasm is hard to convey in writing that lacks the cues of verbal communication. Many editors and administrators have spent hours resolving disputes arising from this.
  • Irresponsible humor damages Wikipedia's credibility – we've all worked hard to cultivate the reputation for trustworthiness Wikipedia enjoys. Readers come here expecting information, and when they find jokes instead, they lose faith in our reliability.
  • Not everyone is looking for humor – Sometimes, an editor is engaged in a serious task and just wants to focus on it. Clear disclosure gives them the option to do so, whereas undisclosed jokes often draw attention and take time to figure out.

Think of the disclosure requirement not as an obstacle, but as a challenge. Humor can still be funny even when it's disclosed — try reading WP:Sarcasm is really helpful with a straight face — it just needs to be, well, good.

Humor in articles[edit]

There is no clear consensus as to when and how humor should be included in articles.

If humorous content is included in an article, it must be done in such a way as to meet all the usual article requirements, including:

Writing an article about humor or humorous subjects is not the same as adding humor to an article. One can write "dry" articles on humor, should that be considered appropriate. This concept is somewhat analogous to the style guidelines for writing about fiction.

How humor can be included[edit]

When a humorous work on a subject has attracted enough attention to be verifiable in reliable sources, it can be appropriate to reference that work on the page for the subject it is written about. For example, whereas an article in The Onion might not be an acceptable source/reference to use to add a humorous observation to a page, if an article in The Onion attracts outside attention, such as here, then the humorous article can be mentioned, using the source written about it.

Humor outside of articles[edit]

Outside of the encyclopedic content, humor is often seen on Wikipedia pages. The primary purpose of project namespace and similar pages are to coordinate the mission – the building of the encyclopedia – but being a human community, humor often appears as well.

Humor can appear in many different ways, with considerable overlap. These ways include:

  • Sometimes Wikipedians just highlight the humor — in articles or other areas — without intending to criticize at all. For example, Wikipedia:Unusual articles, which generally considers the humorous nature of the listed articles to be a positive thing.
  • Sometimes Wikipedians create humor for its own sake in out-of-the-way places where readers are unlikely to find it. For example, see WP:END or the AfD for Vowel.
  • Humor is often used in attempts to "lighten the mood" in an active discussion, with varying degrees of success and failure.
  • Irony is often used to illustrate a point. For example, Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, revert, revert provides an example of how not to behave.
  • Humor is sometimes used to illustrate a point without irony. For example, the list of the Lamest Edit Wars may serve to curtail edit wars by providing examples of just how absurd they can become.
  • Wikipedians often make jokes about the Wikipedia community, and/or which are intended for the Wikipedian community. These may sometimes qualify as "in-jokes", as without community experience, the humor will be lessened or lost. For an example, see the 1 April 2018 RfA for SineBot.
  • Wikipedians sometimes voice the opinion that other Wikipedians are taking a given issue too seriously, and will create "spoofs" of the issue, which many find humorous.

Humor tends to be very subjective. One should remain aware that what one finds hilarious, another may find offensive. The use of humor does not override such core policies as Civility and No Personal Attacks.

Many pages which at least some Wikipedians found funny have been categorized into Category:Wikipedia humor.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]