Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trivia sections
This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style.
It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
|This page in a nutshell: Sections with lists of miscellaneous information (such as "trivia" sections) should be avoided as an article develops. Such information is better presented in an organized way.|
|Manual of Style (MoS)|
Avoid creating lists of miscellaneous information. It was once common practice on Wikipedia for articles to include lists of isolated information, which were often grouped into their own section. These sections were typically given names such as "Trivia", "Facts", "Miscellanea", "Other information" and "Notes" (not to be confused with "Notes" sections that store reference citation footnotes). For an example of this practice, see the John Lennon trivia section from December 10, 2005. This style guideline deals with the way in which these facts are represented in an article, not with whether the information contained within them is actually trivia, or whether trivia belongs in Wikipedia.
Trivia sections should be avoided. If they must exist, they should in most cases be considered temporary, until a better method of presentation can be determined. Lists of miscellaneous information can be useful for developing a new article, as they represent an easy way for novice contributors to add information without having to keep in mind article organization or presentation: they can just add a new fact to the list. As articles grow, however, editors encountering such lists may feel encouraged to add to them indiscriminately, and these lists may then end up becoming trivia magnets which are increasingly disorganized, unwieldy, and difficult to read. A better way to organize an article is to provide a logical grouping and ordering of facts that gives an integrated presentation, providing context and smooth transitions, whether in text, a list, or a table.
Trivia sections should not simply be removed from articles in all cases. It may be possible to integrate some items into the article text. Some facts may belong in existing sections, while others may warrant a new section. Integrate trivia items into the body of the article if appropriate. Otherwise, see if the trivia section contains sources for a particular aspect of the subject of the article, and then consider using the section items as a basis for a different article discussing that aspect. Items that duplicate material elsewhere in the article, have no support from reliable sources, or lack real importance can be removed in most cases.
Research may be necessary to give each fact some context or to add references. Any speculative or factually incorrect entries should be removed, entries outside the scope of the article should be moved to other articles, and entries such as "how-to" material as well as tangential or irrelevant facts may fall outside Wikipedia's scope and should be removed altogether.
What this guideline is not
- This guideline does not suggest removing trivia sections, or moving them to the talk page. If information is otherwise suitable, it is better that it be poorly presented than not presented at all.
- This guideline does not suggest always avoiding lists in favor of prose. Some information is better presented in list format.
- This guideline does not suggest the inclusion or exclusion of any information; it only gives style recommendations. Issues of inclusion are addressed by content policies.
Not all list sections are trivia sections
In this guideline, the term "trivia section" refers to a section's content, not its name. A trivia section is one that contains a disorganized and "unselective" list. However, a selectively populated list with a relatively narrow theme is not necessarily trivia, and can be the best way to present some types of information.
Other policies apply
Trivia sections found in other publications outside Wikipedia (such as IMDb) may contain speculation, rumor, invented "facts", or even libel. However, trivia sections (and others) in Wikipedia articles must not contain those, and their content must be maintained in accordance with Wikipedia's other policies. An item's degree of potential public interest will not excuse it from being subject to rules like verifiability, neutral point-of-view, or no original research. It is always best to cite sources when adding new facts to a trivia section, or any other section.
"In popular culture" and "Cultural references" material
Cultural references about a subject should not be included simply because they exist. A Wikipedia article may include a subject's cultural impact by summarizing its coverage in reliable secondary or tertiary sources. A source should cover the subject's cultural impact in some depth; it should not be a source that merely mentions the subject's appearance in a movie, song, television show, or other cultural item.
Articles often include material about cultural references to the subject of the article. Sometimes this content is in its own section ("in popular culture" is common, but also "in the media", "cultural references", "in fiction" etc.), and sometimes it is included with other prose. When not effectively curated, such material can attract trivial references or otherwise expand in ways not compatible with Wikipedia policies such as what Wikipedia is not and neutral point of view.
As with most article content, prose is usually preferable to a list format, regardless of where the material appears. Such prose might give a logically presented overview (chronological and/or by medium) of how the subject has been documented, featured, and portrayed in different media and genres, for various purposes and audiences.
Take for example the subject of bone broth. You may wish to include mention of how Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian drank bone broth. An appropriate source might be Bon Appetit magazine, which is a reliable source for articles about soup. If Bon Appetit mentions how Baby Yoda drank bone broth, it may be suitable for inclusion in the bone broth article. By contrast, an article in Polygon reviewing the latest episode of The Mandalorian which does not go into any detail about bone broth but simply mentions that Baby Yoda drank some in that episode is not sufficient to include in the article because it does not provide any in-depth coverage of the subject of the article.
This sourcing requirement is a minimum threshold for inclusion of cultural references. Consensus at the article level can determine whether particular references which meet this criteria should be included.
Other guidance: See WP:No original research for why and how to avoid engaging in your own novel analysis of this coverage. See WP:Verifiability and WP:Identifying reliable sources for referencing standards. See WP:Neutral point of view for principles to apply in balancing Wikipedia treatment of cultural references to the subject.
- WP:IINFO - Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information (a Wikipedia policy)
- WP:"In popular culture" content (an essay)
- Category:Articles with trivia sections
- Template:In popular culture
- List of Wikipedia articles with trivia sections