“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:
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.