The Sims Wiki


The case for (and against) trivia

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the woes of trivia sections on main namespace articles on The Sims Wiki. I wanted to take a few minutes to revisit the topic, and maybe clarify my earlier denouncement of trivia in general.

I'd like to start by walking back my previous statement, by saying: Trivia sections do not necessarily need to die. I made the case in the previous blog that trivia, by definition, is useless information and therefore, has no place in an encyclopedic article. However, there is information in trivia sections that is not useless, and by the definition of trivia, doesn't belong in a trivia section at all. I stand by that observation, but I want to build upon this idea further. I still believe that trivia sections are often unnecessary, not because the information they contain is useless or unimportant, but because it would be so much better if that information was organized into the main article itself. Let me show you an example:

Urbz trivia before

Trivia section on The Urbz page before rewrite...

Urbz trivia after

...and the same page, after a rewrite

The images above are screenshots from The Urbz: Sims in the City; the first shot is from this old version of the page, with the second shot from the current version after the article was reorganized. If you take a look at both articles in depth, you'll notice that very little information was removed between the old and new versions; the only information taken out was some information that was completely irrelevant and/or contradictory, or wasn't factually accurate. All the rest of the trivia information was re-organized into different sections in the same article. To get an idea of this, look at the table of contents for the old version, then look at the new sections that have been added: "Development", "Differences between The Urbz and other titles", and "Appearances or references in other games." Most of the information originally listed in a highly-disorganized bullet list in a trivia section, was instead moved to new sections and re-written in prose.

You may notice one additional interesting thing about the above example: the new version still has a trivia section. Granted, that section only contains one item, but it nonetheless still exists. In the case above, there was no good way of organizing that factoid, but also no good reason to delete it from the article. I believe this can stand as a good example of how trivia should be handled - keep lists short and only include information that cannot be reasonably accommodated elsewhere in the same article.

So, in short, there's no reason to declare a crusade against all things trivia; we simply need to understand the difference between actual trivia, and information that is not trivial and needs to be reorganized. The trivia section may not represent all that is useless, but it often represents articles that could be improved. It's up to us to improve them! -- LiR talkblogcontribs 19:43, December 11, 2015 (UTC)

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