Update: One of the translators involved with the book has explained on Twitter that they often use online wikis as sources when an accepted or official name doesn't exist:
Original Story: Dark Horse Publishing recently released an official Super Mario Encyclopedia, which, according to the publisher's synopsis, contains "information on enemies, items, obstacles, and worlds from over thirty years of Mario" and should be considered "the definitive resource for everything Super Mario".
Sounds promising, right? Not quite. It has since come to light that portions of the book are lifted directly from the unofficial Super Mario Wiki, which is run by a group of enthusiastic fans without any input (or blessing) from Nintendo itself.
The Wiki page's Twitter accounts shares the damning evidence:
This seems like an open and shut case, but for the Super Mario Wiki, it has created a serious headache.
As the Encyclopedia is officially-sanctioned by Nintendo and should therefore be considered 'canon', the people who run the Wiki are now debating whether or not they should cite the book - even though the book itself has copied content from the Wiki without credit:
...in short, hordes of names are taken from either this wiki or the Mario Wikia verbatim, even if it contradicts the original Japanese encyclopedia, isn't originally from English, or was completely conjectural in the first place. This is different from the oft-cited dubiousness of other guides, which are mostly fine with occasional errors that can easily be set aside. Frankly, if we were to blindly and wholly cite every name in this book, we'd be citing ourselves, and that just seems disastrous for credibility. It's also doubtful, if not outright improbable, that these names were specifically chosen by the authors because they sincerely believed that each and every one of them were perfectly acceptable names in English, especially when they're Japanese transliterations that don't even match the Japanese book. The fact that this book is official is worth considering, but it doesn't mean that it should automatically be accepted without at least taking into account the quality issues that were previously mentioned.
With that said, there are certain names that seem to not originate from the wiki, such as "Sentry Garage" for Jump Garage, and with a lack of an English source, using that seems okay. On the one hand, it'd be like we're picking and choosing what's valid and what isn't, but on the other hand, it's plainly obvious which names were directly borrowed from the wiki, and therefore which names can be easily ignored. Think of it as salvaging whatever parts we can from a trainwreck.
Whether the guide is completely barred from being cited or is only allowed to be partially cited, let me make one thing abundantly clear: we shouldn't allow citogenesis to creep onto our wiki.
Given the depth and detail seen in the Super Mario Wiki - which has been painstakingly built up over the years by a team of devoted fans - it's easy to see why Dark Horse used it as a resource during the production of the Super Mario Encyclopedia - although not citing the Wiki was a poor move.
However, given that this is supposed to be the official book made with Nintendo's input and blessing (there's even an interview with Takashi Tezuka inside), you could argue that citing an external source would have undermined its credibility; surely Dark Horse could have simply asked Nintendo for the official names of these characters, and come up with new descriptions?
Whatever the reason, the evidence seems pretty watertight to us. Will you still be investing in this book now you know it has copied information from an external source? Let us know with a comment.
Thanks to Madison for the tip!