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Forums: Village pump → Original research into the fourth wall

Issue: The slow-motion edit war on Blood elf conceals a bigger problem: some pages contain original research connecting World of Warcraft to the fourth wall.

References:

Background:

  • Wowpedia does not ban original research, and indeed its often necessary. For example, some WoW API pages are the result of people testing things and documenting their findings.
  • Lore pages have always had a greater expectation of citations, particularly when information comes from alternative sources like books or developer interviews.
  • Content (in-game object) and API pages largely omit sources but instead point to "external links"; and in any case WP:CITE doesn't oblige citations for something that is evident from the game itself.

Discussion (my thoughts):

  • The Inspirations section on Blood elf breaks the fourth wall in the same way as Notes and Trivia.
  • The fourth wall is not something that is evident from the game itself... sure, the screenshot of WoW is, but not the thing you are comparing it to in the real world.
  • I absolutely believe we should have Notes and Trivia, or Inspirations, or Speculation on our pages... however, these areas easy places to trip up with "head cannon" (about WoW, or about the real world).
  • There needs to be a fair way to say what belongs, and what doesn't belong. This is something Wikipedia achieves with the notability standard; we can't be that extreme, but could we afford to at least exclude original research?

Recommendation:

  • Speculation, trivia, inspirations, etc. about the game's development, or about associations to real-world entities, should be:
    • Self-evident where the developer's intent beyond any reasonable doubt, like Harrison Jones or Honey Bear;
    • Accompanied by substantiating evidence / citation such as to remarks by a developer, interviews, etc.; or
    • Accompanied by citation to a third party who has already done the origianl research.

For an example of a third party, this edit on Honey Bear could have cited the Wowhead article on the subject... but this is of course an example where I feel citations are not actually necessary because its uncontroversial.

Conclusion:

  • But now Blood elf. Sigh. The inspirations are, apparently, subject to debate. Not everyone agrees.
  • Setting aside that I believe certain... personnas were not acting in good faith (discrimination and sock puppetry)... I actually feel like the entire Inspirations section is basically original research and doesn't belong (in its current form).
  • Not that I would recommend deleting it! But I think, going forward, it would be better if all authors of such an article would point to some third party (and I don't mean a sock puppet, LOL) positing a conclusion rather than debating uncited material here on the wiki.

I know we arn't exactly wikipedia (nor should we be). But I feel like there could be a middle ground between where we are now and the harsher standard of wikipedia.

--DDC (talk) 00:12, 28 August 2021 (UTC)

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