Zombie Simpsons on Wikipedia

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“Lisa, I’m afraid we’ll have to stop getting you those volumes of Encyclopedia Generica from the grocery store.” – Marge Simpson
“But, Mom, next week is Volume IV, Copernicus through Elephantiasis.” – Lisa Simpson

Wikipedia has a simple test for whether or not something merits its own article: notability.  Like the rest of Wikipedia, it doesn’t work in theory, only in practice, and the current guidelines list five criteria:

  • "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail, so no original research is needed to extract the content.
  • "Reliable" means sources need editorial integrity to allow verifiable evaluation of notability
  • "Sources", for notability purposes, should be secondary sources, as those provide the most objective evidence of notability.
  • "Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject or its creator.
  • "Presumed" means that significant coverage in reliable sources establishes a presumption, not a guarantee, that a subject is suitable for inclusion.

Basically, “notability” means that someone besides the subject or its author is discussing something and that there are multiple citable sources of such discussion.  In that vein, Wikipedia has now brought us:

Quality issue of The Simpsons

The missed capitalization and odd phrasing of the title are in the original, but don’t let that throw you, the article is a remarkable piece of work.  (And I’m not just saying that because it cites us several times.)  There are two primary authors, Coin945 and Martarius, and while I have no idea who they are, they have pulled together a staggering number of sources and references from articles discussing the decline and fall of the show.

From a readability standpoint the article is way too long (someone on the Talk page pegs it at 17,000 words).  But they have amassed 173 individual sources documenting criticisms, and a few defenses, of the quality of the show.  As someone who has a little experience researching and writing about the show and its descent, I am awed by that.  Just organizing all of those had to be an enormous amount of work, and good on them for doing it.  The sheer scale may make it tough to read all the way through, and I’m sure it’ll get pared down eventually, but they’ve got an outline of the opinions around the show that looks fairly accurate, and that’s a valuable thing to have.  Three cheers for notability and diligent Wiki/Simpsons geeks!  Well done. 

10 Responses to “Zombie Simpsons on Wikipedia”

  1. 1 Josh
    14 February 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Excellent! I hope the article stays up, as I’ve seen similar articles taken down before.
    But the Simpsons is such a cultural mainstay and it’s decline in quality is almost no longer a matter of opinion, that I have hopes for this very thorough article!

  2. 2 Mike
    14 February 2013 at 5:48 pm

    It’s probably worth mentioning that while nobody has taken a serious stab whether the article is “notable” yet, it been primarily authored by one editor. Don’t take the point of view that this is the magic of crowdsourcing or anything. So far, it’s the well-written work of one determined individual. It will be interesting to see who tries to tear it down, though. Glancing over the piece, it appears to be diligently researched and substantive.

  3. 14 February 2013 at 5:57 pm

    The problem is that its far, far too long and a clearly fails Wikipedia’s notability guidelines. This Coin945 guy expanded the ‘Criticism of decling quality section’ on the main ‘The Simpsons’ article massively a few weeks back. I told him that while some of the stuff was good, it was too much, and we discussed maybe creating a broad ‘Critical reception of The Simpsons’ article. Now I see he’s created this… A lot of the stuff is usable, but Wikipedia is not the place for a piece like this. I’m not going to do anything about it because I don’t have time or care, but it will be deleted/merged at some point.

    Oh and it should be noted, Coin945 told me he is actually still a big fan of Zombie Simpsons, but just wanted to fully document the narrative of decline.

    • 4 Charlie Sweatpants
      14 February 2013 at 6:00 pm

      I was curious to get your take on it. I agree that right now it’s so large that it’s all but useless, but there probably is a decent article in there somewhere. He certainly doesn’t lack for enthusiasm, so hopefully he’ll spend the time to winnow it down. I mean, just editing down some of the quotes would be a big improvement.

  4. 5 Stan
    14 February 2013 at 9:09 pm

    The worst part is: in the upcoming Sunday’s episode, although I’m sure they could’ve referenced that article in one of their chalkboard gags, they probably won’t. It is too big to ignore, which means they simply don’t give a shit about the whole thing.

  5. 15 February 2013 at 6:12 am

    It’s an interesting article for sure, but there’s some things that feel out of place. “Jerkass Homer” or “Zombie Simpsons”, for example, don’t explain a lot for the average viewer and seem out of place.

  6. 7 Anonymous
    15 February 2013 at 7:37 am

    Not a snowballs chance in hell that this will stay up long, it reads like a boring, meandering stream of forum posts.

  7. 15 February 2013 at 9:56 pm

    One of my longest, rantiest No Homers Club posts is quoted in its entirety under the heading “Self-awareness of success”. Part of me is kinda flattered, but I can’t imagine many Wikipedia readers are interested in my profanity-laced analysis of why the show sucks now.

  8. 24 February 2013 at 11:36 am

    As an update, the article has (expectedly) been nominated for deletion.


    So, I guess if anybody wants to save a copy, now’s your chance because it won’t be there in a few days.

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