Wikipedia talk:Notability (people)

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Some practical advice[edit]

I don't know where this fits in, but it's excellent advice for a Jewish writer on writing biography — both online and off. The expression "maran" means our teacher:

Voice actors[edit]

Formally, the outcome of this RFC is no consensus. Editors cannot agree whether voice actors should be removed from the WP:ENTERTAINER section. Two alternative proposals were advanced, but neither gained the kind of support it would be appropriate to call "consensus". In accordance with Wikipedia's normal practice the status quo ante should obtain for the time being.

I should disclose my own personal thoughts before going on to analyse the debate in more detail. I do not like specific notability guidelines. I've always thought the general notability guideline is sufficient in the vast majority of cases, and AfD doesn't need all the reams of guidance this encyclopaedia has produced for its benefit, and in my experience a lot of the guidance we do produce goes unheeded. I personally feel that SNGs should be as short as possible, and if I had been participating in the discussion I would have voted in favour of removing the words "voice actors" on the basis that they're already included within "actors". But that view has not persuaded the community here.

This next point will be obvious to most people but I should still say it explicitly: our normal rules on sourcing for biographical articles do prevail over this specific notability guideline. There is a presumption that unsourced biographies will be removed.

I found the point made most clearly by Postdlf, i.e. that guidelines are a place to document practice rather than prescribe it, is highly persuasive. It is shown in this debate that the guideline does document our current practice. It therefore seems appropriate to me that the close maintains the status quo.—S Marshall T/C 12:30, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should "voice actors" be removed from the WP:ENTERTAINER section? Binksternet (talk) 00:04, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Support removal[edit]

  • Support - VAs are far different from live actors who have to do more than just speak and rarely get any attention from independent secondary sources. Some do, but because this is nowhere close to a majority, having them in ENTERTAINER doesn't make sense. Those that do will meet the GNG without a problem. --MASEM (t) 00:15, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Such language seems to have the intended effect of saving non-notable individuals whose bio articles are put up for deletion. Notability is not inherited (by a nonnotable dubber from the notable movie he dubbed), but this present wording could grant automatic notability to someone who was paid to dub voices for major characters in several well know films, into some obscure language spoken by a few people in a small country. Unless their work has been NOTED by multiple reliable and independent sources, it is not NOTABLE. An ill-paid and unknown hack who voiced Harry Potter in several films for distribution in a minority language in East Elbonia should not have any presumption of notability, for instance. If they work in a major language in a large country, they will likely meet WP:BIO and WP:N, and the same is likely if their work achieves coverage in reliable sources in even a small country. I note that in the category American male voice actor, many are notable already for their other work in comedy, radio, movies and TV. There should be no Golden Ticket to notability. Edison (talk) 00:45, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. The inclusion of "voice actors" in the guideline has been used as a 'keep' argument in biography AfDs despite a paucity of notice in the media. We should not allow voice actors a magic pass to notability beyond the level they attract in real life. Binksternet (talk) 01:03, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support And the "not fair" arguments of the opposers have missed the reason why entirely. Most special notability guidelines, in particular WP:ENT, exist largely as a rule of thumb that suggests that "if we know (some conditions) are true, then it is very likely the subject meets our general notability guideline." Here's the thing, though. In my experience, voice actors for whom WP:ENT#1 is claimed often fail searches, in my experience, to find sources meeting WP:GNG. This creates a hole for abuse, and voice actor/dub actor biographies, it should come as no surprise, more often end up being hoaxes, or, if I must AGF, are verified only by an unattributed DOC file within an open upload directory at an Indian fashion technology college.
The problem with WP:ENT #1 from my perspective is I think fairly demonstrated at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Sachi_Matsumoto, from a couple years back. This article was deleted over claims of WP:ENT#1, because there was just nothing to support any real biography here. That result was endorsed by deletion review, the article was recreated later with identical sources, and is now, a couple years later, back at AfD.
In short, it's not "fair", just like it's not "fair" that high schools are presumed automatically notable but elementary schools are not. But that does reflect our experience in the real world, high schools are likely to have sourcing, elementary schools, not so much.
Finally, yes, WP:NONENG is and should remain true here. Was that in question? --j⚛e deckertalk 03:29, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The essential point is that these are BLPs with inadequate sourcing. The community has made it clear time after time that the expectation is that BLPs are properly sourced. Its clear that being a VA does not give sufficient expectation of having sources and must therefore be removed. Spartaz Humbug! 06:24, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support removal. Note that whether or not to list a certain group here is not just a decision about a Wikipedia rule, but a claim of empirical fact. The current wording claims that voice actors will regularly become notable, i.e. gain significant in-depth coverage in reliable sources, if they have participated in such and such kinds of works. This claim is apparently empirically false; hence, their inclusion here is untenable. This of course doesn't mean that voice actors can't become notable; some of them undoubtedly do; it's just that we cannot automatically expect this to be the case just by looking at how many movies they have participated in. Fut.Perf. 07:46, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support removal. There are plenty of voice actors who would pass criteria 1 but would get little or no coverage in RS. For better or worse, models and actors are just more notable than voice actors, b/c we typically don't get to see their faces. NickCT (talk) 18:51, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support removal. Per Spartaz. Without adequate sources it would be inappropriate to include VA's in WP:ENTERTAINER. Comatmebro ~Come at me~ 16:15, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support removal. Right now the list is "Actors, voice actors, comedians, opinion makers, models, and celebrities" presumably this list is exhaustive, otherwise there'd be no opposition to removing an illustrative example. :/ Further, a voice actor is already an actor, so I'm not sure what effect it would/should have were they removed. But my bigger problem is the mismatch between the language here and the goals of a specific notability guideline. Every one of these subsets of BIO should exist to make it easier for editors to judge whether or not a subject would meet the GNG if we looked hard enough. For this dispute we really only care about "Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, or other productions." If voice actors, by the nature of their work are less likely to have articles written about them due to appearing in notable works, then the SNG becomes a bad proxy. We could end up keeping articles which have no hope of meeting the GNG, which is precisely the opposite of our goals for the SNGs. We're not talking about deleting articles on VAs which meet the GNG because "VA" no longer appears in the text of the guideline. We're talking about using a guideline which works (when it does) because entertainers in front of the public tend to have materials written about them on a category of entertainers who don't usually have materials written about them by virtue of their appearing in notable works. the fact that a single example in an illustrated litany could grant or deny notability to a class of articles is a good sign we have a bad heuristic. Protonk (talk) 19:43, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
    • also, focusing on the nature or medium of performance (as Edison does above and Dream Focus does below) misses the point and exacerbates the problem we have with creating SNGs in the first place. We shouldn't be in the business of judging whether or not a subject exhibits talent or undertakes a "difficult" job when setting an inclusion guideline because it has literally nothing to do with the coverage of the subject. If voice acting was everywhere a more difficult job than acting in front of the camera it wouldn't change the distribution of articles written about entertainers.
    • One more comment. Comparing the threshold of WP:AUTHOR with WP:ENT illustrates the problem we're dealing with. AUTHOR has specific and sensible guidance on when a creative professional might meet the GNG--conspicuously absent from which is "creating a popular work" because we know that merely creating a popular work doesn't tend to generate press about the creator. If we magically plucked directors of photography out of AUTHOR and put them in ENT, would we have a very good heuristic for when DPs meet the GNG? No, because merely being the DP on multiple notable films doesn't mean Variety is going to do a profile. This is true despite the fact that there are famous DPs and being a DP is hard work. Protonk (talk) 20:56, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose removal[edit]

  • Oppose The discussion back then was had in many places, including plenty of AFDs. These aren't people just hired to do a simple dub, but actual professional people, putting emotions in the voices, just like regular actors do. Any reviews for animated series or films have comments on the voice actors, just as film reviews review regular actors. There is no reason to treat actors and voice actors differently. Dream Focus 01:12, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose The person's name appears in all the credits he/she is in for the works that they did, as well as there being interviews and commentary for bonus features on DVDs. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:56, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: As long as a voice actor meets criteria 1, 2 and 3 within WP:ENT, how would it be any different to a comedian, model or actor who meets those three criteria? The idea that a voice actor is less of a notable entertainer than a live-action actor is a western-centric viewpoint, and is therefore WP:Systemic bias. Voice actors are often well covered in third-party reliable sources, but not in English - most coverage comes from Japanese news websites. However, per WP:NONENG, there is nothing which states that non-English sources are forbidden. --benlisquareTCE 05:36, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose for everything that has mentioned. There are awards for best voice actor and they get their fair share of criticism. It doesn't really have to do with systemic bias, it just has to do with knowing how broad it is. Yes, Voice actors are more popular in japan and get noted more, but that doesn't mean that English voice actors don't get any coverage to deem them notable, because there are plenty. Lucia Black (talk) 13:07, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Opposed Really to make a distinction between one type of acting over another is absurd. Even if "voice actor" was not explicitly stated, voice actors would still be included in WP:ENT because they ARE actors. Whether their performance is on stage, in front of a camera, or with just their voice, the medium of their performance is irrelevant and the same criteria should apply to all. "Voice actors" was only explicit included to clarify that point and to prevent certain editors from "wikilawyering" that voice actors weren't explicitly included. —Farix (t | c) 13:30, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Voice actors are actors, plain and simple. To discriminate them is an utterly ridiculous nonsense. Discriminating them is not even systemic bias, it is more akin to "I don't know anything about visual arts"-bias. --cyclopiaspeak! 21:57, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Voice actors include radio personalities, voice-over narrators and announcers. The productions they are in still need to be notable, but there are reliable sources for that. On-screen actors are also called in to do voice acting work such as animated films, or even on live-action shows, they are redubbing lines, doing voice-overs and singing tracks. -AngusWOOF (talk) 01:59, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, you don't change a guideline in order to dictate a different result in deletion discussions; that's exactly the opposite of how it's supposed to work. I see no indication that community consensus has changed since this was added here (quite the contrary, hence the proposer's complaints about AFD results), which should be case closed. Even going beyond that, however, the arguments given by the other opposers above seem quite reasonable to me so I see no compelling reason to believe this guideline undermines the encyclopedia's quality even if a minority of editors also have a reasonable contrary view. postdlf (talk) 02:37, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, the key word is "signficant" in "Has had significant roles". Without the word "signficant" everybody with credits would get an article, but that's not the case. We're not going to auto-give bios to obscure dubbers of movies, for the same reason we're not going to auto-give bios to every stunt/body double for a major role just because they "appeared". Regardless of the type of actor (on-screen or voice-only) we should always be requiring proper reliable third party sources, and not just making articles based purely on screen credits or imdb. We need to have sources that actually indicate somebody has a serious role. But, that's not a voice-actor-specific issue. --Rob (talk) 04:09, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I think Farix hit the nail on the head ("the medium of their performance is irrelevant"). The standard set up under WP:ENTERTAINER still requires the actor's been in significant roles (not just some guy who did walla). If the concern's the sourcing of these articles, that's a reason these pages may fail under BLP, especially if we can't get anything reliable. Honestly, I think our basic requirements for sourcing with secondary sources solve all the possible objections to including voice actors. Lastly, I'm not sure why voice actors should be distinct from the group for some reason. Sure, they're not in the limelight as much as, say, a movie-star, but that's not something relevant to notability. In the field of voice acting there are certainly people who're notable and have garnered sufficient coverage for a strong article. --Lord Roem ~ (talk) 13:45, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Farix's reasoning. Lord Sjones23 (talk - contributions) 19:48, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I personally think that someone who has had major roles in multiple notable works is notable and should be covered in Wikipedia, regardless of whether they meet the general notability guidelines. More generally, I think that meeting any of the "additional criteria" is enough to show that someone is notable, and would prefer the guideline be changed to suggest that such people can have standalone articles. I know the guideline as written says such people should be merged into other articles, but based on the outcome of many AFD discussions, it seems that there is instead a consensus that meeting any of the specific criteria is sufficient to have a standalone article. In addition, I also generally agree with Farix's reasoning that differentiating between types of acting doesn't make much sense. Calathan (talk) 19:01, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Farix, Rob, Benlisquare, and Calathan. They've all said it better than I could have, so I don't see any reason to rehash the same arguments. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 22:29, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I'm not seeing any rationale for singling out voice actor in this way, and they would have to be singled out. Simply deleting voice actor would not have the effect of excluding them from WP:ENTERTAINER since they still remain actors; they would have to be explicitly excluded. SpinningSpark 00:32, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - strongly agree with the above statement, "the medium of their performance is irrelevant". 82.14.71.42 (talk) 01:17, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Nancy Cartwright as a voice actor meets all 3 Criteria for her for her voice acting alone.Serialjoepsycho (talk) 20:28, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose I think Mel Blanc was, indeed, a "notable entertainer" as are many other "voice actors." In addition, some people are particularly known for "voice acting" including Adriana Caselotti, Thurl Ravenscroft and a host of others, not to mention a host of radio actors who fall into that category. Sorry -- removal of that group makes no sense here. Collect (talk) 00:09, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Noncommittal[edit]

  • The question appears to deal with proposed/existing language that is only implied in the motion, so it's hard to form an opinion. If a voice actor has coverage in RSs separate from credits and marketing for a particular gig, then to me there's no obvious logic that would grant notability to radio people (Garrison Keillor,Rush Limbaugh) and deny it to cinematic voice actors who also get coverage in RSs beyond credits and marketing for a gig. Whether the mystery language that was referenced is well-written.... well, newcomers to this issue can't really tell, can we?NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 01:20, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • The entire WP:ENTERTAINER section is very vague. We don't define what constitutes a significant role—is an overdub of a major character significant? How do we determine a large fan base or a cult following? What constitutes a unique contribution? These terms are all too subjective. Subject-specific notability guidelines should be clear and strict. These guidelines are neither. I think that the entire section ought to be revisited. Pburka (talk) 13:55, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
    I agree, particularly with respect to ENT 1. --j⚛e deckertalk 21:39, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes, WP:ENT has always struck me as a bit subjective. What is a significant role? Who decides this? Reliable sources? If so, then we don't need this guideline, because there's already coverage per the GNG. Maybe we should rewrite this section and hash out who to include. If this section is meant to give exceptions to the GNG, instead of a shortcut for obvious cases that shouldn't need to be defended, then each profession included should be justified. Why is fanbase a measure of notability? The whole thing is a mess. I'm not sure quibbling over voice actors accomplishes anything. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 02:00, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Discussion on removing "voice actors" from WP:ENTERTAINER[edit]

In January 2011, Dream Focus added "voice actors" to the WP:ENTERTAINER group. All the other entertainers appear in front of the public, so that makes them more notable. Voice actors, many of them, seldom appear before the public. Shouldn't the bar be set higher for them?

For example, is it equally notable that the Batman character of Commissioner Gordon was played in a live action TV series by actor Neil Hamilton in the 1960s, and will soon be played by actor Ben McKenzie in September 2014 on TV, versus any of the voice actors who have provided characterizations for Gordon in animated productions? The voice actors are certainly good (Ted Knight, Bob Hastings, Mitch Pileggi and more) but the absence of face recognition automatically makes their work less notable to the public. The voice actors are less recognizable as celebrities.

Note that I have a handful of borderline voice actor biographies at AfD right now, which is why I have been thinking of this issue at all. I do not intend this discussion to affect the outcome of the AfDs, which will likely conclude before we determine a consensus here. Binksternet (talk) 17:16, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Voice actors get reviewed just like regular actors do these days, as pointed out during the discussion in which that was added. Notability is determined by independent coverage in reliable sources, not in perceived celebrity status. Dream Focus 17:19, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
    To clarify. I mean, coverage confirms that voice actors are as notable as regular actors, they always mentioned in any anime review. You do NOT actually need to have coverage for each individual voice actor. Dream Focus 18:10, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • You need to stop nominating so many voice actors at once. Listen to what those familiar with these types of articles are telling you at places like Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Johnny Yong Bosch. Dream Focus 17:39, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'd like to explore your statement that "notability is determined by independent coverage in reliable sources", with regard to voice actors. A voice actor biography, under the current wording which you added in 2011, can be created or kept without any coverage by independent reliable sources. Instead, all that's needed is to show that so-and-so voiced major characters in multiple animated programs, as seen on the credits. This is basically a magic shoehorn for voice actors, granting them Wikipedia notability far beyond the attention they get in real life. If your statement about "coverage in reliable sources" was part of the package, then a lot of voice actor biographies would fail the guideline. For example, at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Steve Staley you argued to keep the biography simply because of the roles the actor played, despite a total lack of independent, in-depth coverage in reliable sources. Binksternet (talk) 17:48, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Places that review Anime do comment on the voice actors with decent roles. You don't need coverage though, they played a significant part in a notable work, so it meets this subject specific guideline. This person does get coverage though. [1] Dream Focus 17:55, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Great to see a paragraph written about one of Staley's characterizations! Thanks for that. But getting back to whether we need to establish that a voice actor has performed in roles, or whether a voice actor has been discussed in independent reliable sources, it seems you are you saying that we need the independent coverage. If that's the case, this guideline needs to be modified. Binksternet (talk) 18:03, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I just said we don't need the coverage. That's why we have all the subject specific guidelines, because you won't find coverage for everything, and that's not the only way to determine WP:NOTABILITY. Dream Focus 18:10, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I disagree with this statement. The purpose of the subject-specific guidelines is to identify topics for which we should presume reliable coverage exists, even if it's difficult to find on-line. Without reliable sources, these articles on actors and athletes become magnets for original research, relying simply on credits and statistics. Pburka (talk) 18:15, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • That isn't listed anywhere. When they were creating the notability guidelines it was determined that coverage wasn't the only way to establish notability. You can be notable for your scientific achievements even if you never did an interview or had anyone write about your life. Same way for winning a gold medal, a noble prize, or various other things. Read the guidelines at Wikipedia:Notability (films) or Wikipedia:Notability (books) for a good example of this. Dream Focus 22:13, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Pburka's statement is exactly why we have subject-specific guidelines. They provide an presumption of notability that allows for a standalone article, based on conditions that we will be able to obtain better secondary sourcing so that we actually write a good encyclopedic article. That presumption may turn out to be wrong in the future, but per DEADLINE, we are giving the article a chance to develop. That said, the conditions to gain this presumption should nearly always assure that sourcing will be found. An actor/actress that wins an Academy Award is certainly likely going to have secondary sources as a result from that. On the other hand, an actor/actress that just has a bit part for a small show is unlikely going to gain sourcing for that. This, from my experience with VAs, is typically the case, they don't get coverage beyond their IMDB page, though there are exceptions (Eg Nolan North, Tara Strong, etc.) And those exceptions have articles because they clearly meet the GNG. As such, VAs should be excluded from this guideline. --MASEM (t) 22:32, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Further to add, even if you believe that these conditions bypass the GNG, all these are still global-level guidelines and changes/additions to this need to be vetted by the community - otherwise it would really easy for an editor to add in a clause to allow their favorite topic to have articles. --MASEM (t) 22:34, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • There was ample discussion years ago when voice actors were added to the list. Dream Focus 22:36, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I see a short back-and-forth between you and Edison which took place at WT:Notability_(people)/Archive_2011#Voice_actors. There was no consensus established back then; with his final comment Edison remained critical of the addition you made. Nobody else chimed in. The current discussion is already more populated than that. Let's keep this discussion moving forward rather than pointing to the inconclusive past. Binksternet (talk) 23:52, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • And ideally this should be tagged with an RFC to attract global consideration of adding it, or at least if there's a reasonably consensus to go forward with adding it from local discussion here. --MASEM (t) 23:59, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Okay, good idea. I made the RfC be very simple: whether to remove "voice actors". Another more complex option would be to add a requirement for in-depth coverage by multiple independent reliable sources. In that case we would be duplicating WP:GNG territory. Binksternet (talk) 00:10, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep in mind that the GNG is always the default fallback; a topic may fail one of the subject-specific guidelines but the GNG is king here. This all works on the concept of notability's presumption to allow an article the opportunity to grow and develop if there's a good chance there's sources there, and if you show the sources from the start, hey, great. --MASEM (t) 00:17, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
As mentioned above, the idea that a voice actor is less of a notable entertainer than a live-action actor is a western-centric viewpoint, and is therefore WP:Systemic bias; in Japan, voice actors are well on-par with other entertainment fields when it comes to prestige and media coverage. There, voice actors are regularly covered in entertainment news and tabloids, and have a rabid, almost sickening fanbase second only to female singing idol fans.

As an example, when Aya Hirano stated in a television interview that she couldn't cum unless she used a very thin condom, tabloids in Japan exploded, and stalkers sending death threats to her were arrested by police. After that, some reports then went on to say that she fucked an entire rock band, except for the bass guitar player. All this nonsense topped the Yahoo! Japan trending topics for weeks, all because of a stupid scandal and a rabid, mindless fanbase.

I've only given one extreme example, however there are much more cases out there, some just as extreme as this one. Hell, people often cover voice actor shenanigans and scandals more feverishly than any scandal that has ever cast shadow on AKB48, one of the biggest cogs of the Japanese entertainment industry, which kind of demonstrates how much of a big deal voice actors are in Japan. They are no less significant than film actors or singers, and the coverage of voice actors in Japanese news and broadcast media justifies this. As long as editors here on Wikipedia maintain an Americentric viewpoint on voice actors, they can never be fairly covered, which makes the project at odds with the claim that Wikipedia strives to be a fair, neutral and balanced encyclopedia. --benlisquareTCE 05:40, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

If a VA is covered like that, even if only in Japanese media, that meets the GNG. We don't require English sources (only that English be used for the article), and if VAs in Japan have that much of a following in the press, great. In NA (US + Canada), between animated shows and video games, the two primary mediums for VA, this is not the case. It is the minority of these VAs have that have coverage beyond credits. So saying removing this creates a bias is really false - the GNG works in the favor of covering theses. (If anything, then, BLP becomes an issue if this is tabloid like reporting).
An issue that I see is that ENT #1 is vague "Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, or other productions." I read that with emphasis as "multiple significant roles". This means that there must be multiple roles that the actor has portrayed that has been called out be the media. For live action roles, this usually is not an issue, but cartoons, animated features, and video games, this simply doesn't happen with the regularity that is expected of live action.
And to stress again: at the end of the day we want an encyclopedic article on these people; a page that replicated IMDB's entry for them is not going to cut it. --MASEM (t) 05:58, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Regarding systemic bias, I don't think this notability guide is the place to Right Great Wrongs. If actors that appear before the public are more well known than voice actors who remain largely hidden, then that is an accurate representation of the natural balance. Instead, those who wish to push voice actors forward should celebrate the voice actors who gain sufficient media attention. I don't think it helps the encyclopedia if we host voice actors who are merely pluggers. Binksternet (talk) 06:33, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
It really doesn't matter whether they are seen visually or not, their providing a form of entertainment. And for the record, voice actors often do appear to the public. they go to conventions, get interviews, accept awards, accept criticism, and so on. Lucia Black (talk) 13:10, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
"[they're] providing a form of entertainment" is not a reason to have an encyclopedia article. There are thousands of youtube with popular (not notable) channels, we're not including them. We are looking for topics that can be written about in an encyclopedic manner and for the bulk of VAs, this simply isn't possible with third-party/secondary sources. --MASEM (t) 13:21, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Masem, you know what my point was. and i'm sure you know what i meant by "providing a form of entertainment". Lucia Black (talk) 13:25, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying they aren't entertainers, but for the purposes of how WP looks to write articles, they don't get the regular press coverage that would equate them to the other entertainers listed in ENT. The easy way to see this is that a famous live-action character is likely going to have their actor playing that character easily know, while a famous animated character is not; there is a much stronger tie between role and actor for live-action television than there is for animated works, and VAs, even the most highly prolific ones, are not well-known faces. --MASEM (t) 13:34, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
See you're trying to take "actor" part and trying to justify that real actors have more coverage, but that doesn't make voice actors not meet the criteria of entertainers. How about opinion makers? How about comedians? How about Models? Lucia Black (talk) 13:43, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
All those people are in front of the camera as themselves, so there is a connection between the actor and the character or role they play that is very explicit. VA's are, bluntly, disembodied, at least in the Western side of the world - I am well aware that anime show productions in Japan heavily use the VAs themselves in public promotions, but that simply doesn't happen stateside. Because VAs are not very much tied to their characters for the most part, they simply are overlooked; even if the character is notable, the voice actor may not be. This is a bias that simply exists in the media, and not something that WP can or should try to correct. --MASEM (t) 14:47, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
This is as far as you're going to get masem, because i honestly don't find it valid. VAs get enough coverage, and get enough attention. its not really about having more or less, its about meeting the threshold. the heart of the problem is asking whether voice actors are mainstream enough. In which they are, but you neeed to look elsewhere, and this happens the same with the others. and models and comedians differ from actors as well. Lucia Black (talk) 15:04, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
WP's baseline is the ability for a topic to meet , or the potential to meet, the GNG. As a rule, this doesn't happen with VAs even if they are the voice of multiple significant roles, simply because once you switch to the animated format, the person behind the mic is not what is seen by the people writing the reliable sources. IMDB can document those that we can't cover. --MASEM (t) 15:20, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
There are other sources for VAs. Lucia Black (talk) 15:22, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
What other reliable sources are there for VAs? (Note, I am well aware of reliable sources that cover animation and comics, like Den of Geek or Comic Book Resources, that do get to talk to VAs, and I do consider them reliable - but even with that, most VAs in the West go unnoticed). --MASEM (t) 15:39, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
What makes a voice actor so much different from a comedian or a model though, so that it warrants singling out that one particular category out of the whole lot? How is a voice actor any less WP:ENT than those two, from a global perspective (and not an American one)? I see WP:GNG is mentioned, however why do voice actors only have WP:GNG to fall back onto, while models and comedians have WP:ENT and WP:GNG to fall back on? Is it logical to give comedians special privilege when it comes to notability, but not voice actors?

Of the example case I've given above, yes it meets GNG, however that's not what I'm worried about. That Aya Hirano case was just to demonstrate how mainstream voice actors are in a different part of the world that's not in the United States. What I'm pointing out is the special, preferential treatment the other categories get, which doesn't seem to make sense. If the concern is that WP:ENT is allowing certain individuals to have articles despite having few third-party sources, then WP:ENT should be axed as a whole - so why single out voice actors? What about the comedians and models protected by WP:ENT - why should they continue to be protected, instead of being measured by WP:GNG as well? Notice this double standard that exists?

Either axe the entire thing, or leave it as it is. There is no logical reason to give comedians and models a fair pass over voice actors. How "entertaining" a particular field is a subjective measure that is purely opinionated; if someone claims that voice actors do very little when they provide voices for an animation, I too can argue that a person walking up and down a catwalk for 45 minutes isn't doing much either. That would be my opinion, though, and hence it would mean little, so by the same token, the opinion that voice actors aren't significant entertainers is only one aspect of what we're dealing with here. This has nothing to do with righting great wrongs, as Binksternet has claimed, unless pointing out systemic bias within the project is considered righting a great wrong, to which it is not. --benlisquareTCE 11:45, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

We are not saying VAs are not significant, we are saying - whether its human nature or the media or how animation is often considered a lower form of entertainment - that VAs do not routinely get secondary coverage that people that stand in front of a camera do, as to assume that a VA with many major roles is going to have any respectable sourcing to automatically allow for an article. And as an encyclopedia meant to summarize what reliable sources say, we can't correct that bias that is created outside WP. It is this part of human nature, that we are more visual than verbal, and make the connection to what we see more than what we hear, that causes live actors, models, and comedians to be recognized and be the subject of more media, compared to the VA that sits behind camera, and while doing their own good job, are overlooked by the press and the masses.
Personally I'd be in favor of removing that line from ENT altogether - since we are talking, for the most part, living persons, we need sourcing in the first place, and what is "significant roles" is very arguable. (As we start to get into less network-driven programming, at what point does a show become "major", for example?) That would remove the bias that that line creates in the first place. --MASEM (t) 13:19, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, why not axe WP:ENT then, or at least completely rehaul it so that it makes sense to include as a rule to follow? --benlisquareTCE 16:48, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
ENT #2 (about having a large (presumably documented) fan base) and #3 (major significant contribution to the industry) are readily documentable on their own and seem completely reasonably conditions to lead to more sourcing about the actor/entertainer themselves. ENT #1 needs the massive revamp or removal. --MASEM (t) 16:54, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
We have Vic Mignogna, Seth MacFarlane, and Billy West are prime examples, granted some of their work is known outside voice acting (especially seth macfarlane), but they are still well covered and it is a main feature in their careers. Sure not all voice actors are notable, but not all actors, models, and comedians are either. Lucia Black (talk) 15:51, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Right, but these are exceptional, not the rule. You take an average VA that does significant animated shows or video games, and there will be little sourcing about that. We're not saying that you can't have articles on VAs, but the GNG works just well for the dividing line given that we cannot make the same presumption on sourcing that live actors will have. --MASEM (t) 17:54, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

A topic is presumed to merit an article if all of the following are true:

It meets either the general notability guideline below or the criteria outlined in a subject-specific guideline listed in the box on the right.
It is not excluded under the What Wikipedia is not policy.
  • I don't know why some misread that. You only have to meet the general notability guidelines OR a subject specific guideline, not both. The fact that the GNG was put on the same page might confuse some people. Dream Focus 21:23, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
    • You missed the point. Yes, that's what it says and that's true, but that means that any subject-specific notability guideline has to have global consensus just like the GNG, so inserting something that is based on minimal discussion into a subject specific guideline is a problem. And additions are meant to be criteria that we know at the end of the day sources will exist - we don't need the topic to meet the GNG at the start, but we want it too at the end. We had this issue when editors that wanted to include MMA athelets wrote their own subject-specific notability guidelines, and that was proven a problem. So the question if this advice should have been added in the first place. --MASEM (t) 21:40, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
      • I was commenting on the fact you constantly keep incorrectly telling people that other guidelines exist because we assume coverage exist. That is not the case, nor has it even been. The fact you don't like the subject specific guidelines, does not mean you can ignore them, or neuter them saying it still has to meet the GNG one day. It does not. And if you have a problem with a guideline, then just like you can with any other page, including the one listing the GNG, you can edit it through normal practices. If consensus is that voice actors are notable as regular actors, as it was in the many AFDs the discussion was had in years ago before I added that bit, then so be it. If not, then it will be removed. The fact that mainstream media likes to interview attractive Hollywood people more than voice actors, does not mean we should treat them any different. Dream Focus 21:55, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
        • Dream Focus, there has never been a 'consensus' that voice actors are just as notable as face actors. They are not; they never have been. Wikipedia must reflect this imbalance rather than try to correct it. Binksternet (talk) 22:24, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
          • There was a consensus in many AFDS at the time, that's why I added it, and why it has remained there for years. There is a consensus now, most people supporting it. Dream Focus 22:31, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
          • I firmly disagree. SpongeBob SquarePants#Voice actors. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 22:33, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
            • No one is saying that voice actors can't be notable. We are saying that they don't have the immediate notability that live actors get to allow them into this guideline. As long as they still meet the GNG, then they can be included, as most of the Spongebob actors have been. --MASEM (t) 23:01, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
        • I have nothing wrong with the subject-specific guidelines for the practice of allowing standalone articles on topics that have a good likelihood of becoming encyclopedic article (that's the whole idea of "presumption of notability" here), if they immediately cannot be shown to meet the GNG to start. The point, however, is that such subject-specific guidelines require criteria that assure that GNG should come about in the future or with time and effort to locate. It doesn't have to meet the GNG at creation, or even for years after creation (it may take that long for sources to come) but they have to have a high likelihood of coming. Hence the criteria must be carefully selected and vetted by the global community to judge if these conditions will be met by the subject-specific guidelines. And the case for voice actors is just not there. They can be notable, but the criteria that applies reasonably to live-show actors (that having done many significant roles leads to notability of the actor) does not apply to a majority of voice actors. There is still the GNG that these actors can be shown notable, and many easily met that, but there's no criteria for a subject-specific guideline that works. --MASEM (t) 23:00, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
          • No matter how many times you say it, doesn't make it true. You do NOT have to ever meet the GNG. That is not why the subject specific guidelines exist. They exist because there is more than one way to establish notability, things able to be notable without passing the GNG. Dream Focus 23:11, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
            • You missed the point yet again. The subject specific guidelines, once accepted by the global community, give the presumption of notability to allow a standalone page on that topic to give it the chance to improve and grow and get references. There is no rush or deadline to find GNG-type sourcing, and it would be BITEY to AFD an article that meets a global-community approved notability guideline early in its lifecycle. That said, if 5-10years pass, and the topic is long since fallen out of the news or coverage, and no sources has come about to allow us to write a good encyclopedic article, then it is completely fair to send the article to AFD (or merge it if possible), on the basis that the AFD nominator has made a good faith attempt to find any sources, on the basis that the presumption of notability was mistaken in this case. This is why notability is a "presumed" quality. The important part of this is to make sure that we don't have poorly selected criteria that causes this to happen at the end of the day. We don't assume that any credited actor is notable for this reason - too many bit players simply are not notable at the end of the day, even if we can verify they acted, and we presumed they acted, we'd have way too many deletions to consider down the road. Thus the criteria have to be selected with care to avoid too many "false positive", and have the community vet that before adding it.
            • This is practice, how the subject-specific guidelines have been used and established in several RFCs in the past. These are not "automatic allowances" that can never be challenged - we don't have any concept of inherit notability on WP, and the ability to challenge presumptions of notability down the road are needed to prevent that. And that also means that we have to challenge any criteria that has been added without global input to avoid the case like the MMA athletes that came about before. Notability guidelines are not "what we include" but "what qualities we look for for topics that we want to include." And the challenge on the table is that voice actors simply do not have the "automatic" coverage that live actors get to allow them to be included in the guideline. --MASEM (t) 23:34, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

@Postdlf: There was no community consensus for the addition - effectively a submarine addition - which is now rearing its head because someone found several articles that are being justified by this addition now; as pointed out above, this basically came from a discussion involving two editors and no more, so there is no such thing as "community consensus" for the addition. This is a perfectly normal thing to question. --MASEM (t) 03:12, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Also, remember that just being listed on this guideline is not a guarentee that the article won't be deleted at AFD. As stated, this page only gives a presumption of notability that can be challenged later, so the act of seeking consensus on removal is no way a disruption of the AFD process. --MASEM (t) 03:22, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
So your position is that this didn't reflect community practice when it was added but nevertheless somehow remained untouched for three years, and now that it does demonstrably reflect community practice as seen at recent AFDs, now it should be removed? postdlf (talk) 05:15, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
That's what submarining edits do, especially on policy/guideline pages that aren't watched by many. It was a very small edit (two works) in a list, so it has every possibility of going unnoticed. And now that we are discovering articles on VAs that fail to show the sourcing necessary (and which should have had sources come out based on the actor's timeline) and that people are pointing to this addition, now is the time to do something about it. WP is too large to have every page monitored all the time, and these types of edits (Both main and policy space) sneak in all the time, this is yet another example of this. --MASEM (t) 06:14, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Nonsense. There are 586 watchers to this page. Things people don't agree with get removed rather quickly. Look at the edit history [2] and you can see how many times something has been reverted and how fast people respond to it. People are watching. There were 50 edits in January 2011 alone when I added this. AFDs at that time when a lot of voice actors were going to AFD, reflected people supported the same standards for voice actors as regular actors. Many are making that case even now in the slew of articles nominated by the same person all at once. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Johnny Yong Bosch for a good example of what happens when enough people notice and participate in an AFD, 11 saying keep, only nominator saying delete. This happens more often than not in these types of things. See Wikipedia:WikiProject_Deletion_sorting/Anime_and_manga for other voice actor AFDs open now. Dream Focus 07:14, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I think Masem has nailed it: the two-word addition of "voice actors" went unnoticed by too many editors here. Only Edison challenged it at the time, and only Dream Focus supported it at the time. Nobody else voiced an opinion. Binksternet (talk) 07:18, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Read my above post please, and click on some links. Discussions like this Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Johnny Yong Bosch, where someone would nominate a bunch of articles at once as you did with it, and people would overwhelmingly state that they passed WP:entertainer, they actors just like regular actors were. Dream Focus 07:23, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
That argument is a Catch-22 in this discussion. You can't say that because AFDs use this clause to support retaining VAs that we need to retain this line about VAs in ENT. --MASEM (t) 13:10, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
That isn't what I was saying at all. I was saying the discussions happened in places like that previously. It wasn't just something I did without any discussion anywhere. Dream Focus 13:18, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
That is what you are arguing - you're saying that we should keep VA s in ENT #1 because people are using ENT #1 to keep articles on VA today (eg that one for Bosch is this month). --MASEM (t) 13:27, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Before it was added, there were large numbers of people using ENT #1, explaining voice actors were the same as actors. So I just added that bit to clarify it for anyone that got confused. Dream Focus 13:56, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
That's fair, but that also still points to the problem that ENT #1's overall wording gives. --MASEM (t) 14:46, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Voice actors are not equally notable as other actors[edit]

Some folks here have argued that voice actors are just as notable as actors who are recognized by face. I think that is wishful thinking. Here are some supporting views:

  • Cartoon Brew published a story in July 2013 ("Once and For All, Al Pacino Proves the Worthlessness of Celebrity Voice Actors") that discusses the general lack of importance of who it is who voices an animated character in a film. The article says, "the quality of the animation performance and storytelling are far bigger factors than who voices any particular character."
  • CNN wrote in July 2013 ("You know the voices, not the faces – that's fine, as long as they get the work") that voice actors "usually go unnoticed" except once a year at Comic-Con where they may give a talk or just meet fans of the animated works. The article talks about a documentary made by voice actor John DiMaggio who struggled to get more recognition for "unsung" voice actors.
  • The authors of the book The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors note repeatedly that voice actors have always struggled for recognition, against the prevailing studio executives' view that they were easily replaced. They say on page xvii that producers have from the beginning sought to keep voice actors anonymous. They say on page xix that the name of Mel Blanc "is still more readily recognizable to the general public than even the most successful and versatile contemporary voice artist working today". They say on page xxv that voice actors get very little respect in the industry, to the point of their names being too frequently misspelled in the credits. They say on page xxix that union actors who are moonlighting as voice actors often use a throwaway pseudonym for the credits, especially in the low-paying field of English dubbing of foreign animation. On the bright side, the authors say that voice actors have enjoyed a degree of increasing respect since the 1990s.
  • The podcast and blog The MacGuffin Men writes that "Voice Actors Are Screwed, Basically" because of how little recognition they get. The voice actor Billy West is described as very prolific, well known within voice acting circles, but like all voice actors he is hardly known "outside of those circles."
  • The Village Voice wrote about voice actors: "They're Just Like Us: Life as a Voice-Over Artist is Really Just a Constant Hustle". Voice actor Sondra James said, "You're background, you're furniture. You provide atmosphere. But let's face it, you're not important." The article tells us that "Voice-over 'stars' are often afforded little to no recognition, a fact that insiders seem remarkably cool with."
  • The Penny Arcade Report asked "Video game voice actors are the stars of today’s entertainment – so why aren’t they treated as such?"
  • The Voice Over Times wrote that voice actors for games are struggling for decent pay and creative recognition. Voice actors are often perceived as mere contractors. ("Game Developers and Voice Actors Need to See Eye to Eye")
  • The book Cinema Babel: Translating Global Cinema describes some voice actors who got famous in non-English-speaking countries for dubbing the parts of famous screen actors in live action films or TV, but tells the reader on page 201 that many voice actors "never achieve such fame," that they just do it for the money, despite the fact that they are "often denied residuals for their performances."

So here are people inside and outside the industry saying that voice actors are not as well recognized as screen actors. I find it especially convincing that voice actors are saying the same thing, that they are not given as much credit as screen actors. Binksternet (talk) 07:12, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

How many of those things you listed are reliable sources, and not just personal blogs? English language places that review anime are far less common than places that review regular television shows and films, but they always review the voice acting. Even mainstream media reviews the voice acting for big animated films, just as they would the regular acting in a non-animated film. Dream Focus 07:21, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Voice actors who are already famous get reviewed a lot; for instance Robin Williams voicing the genie in Alladin, or Tom Hanks voicing the cowboy doll in the Toy Story franchise. English-speaking voice actors who are primarily unseen by the public rarely get reviewed, or we would not have the huge problem of so many biographies hanging on nothing but the two words you inserted in the guideline here. Binksternet (talk) 07:33, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Do you believe we need to mention regular actors in WP:ENTERTAINER then, if the famous ones get reviews enough to pass GNG already? If we're measuring people by what the media feels like covering only, instead of by their accomplishments, why not have the same standard apply to both types of actors? Dream Focus 07:44, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I'd argue for getting rid of ENT #1 because it is a minefield of sourcing bias and of subjective importance - what is a "major" work? What is a "significant role"? Removing it puts all actors and VAs and any other entertainer on the same field. --MASEM (t) 13:22, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I would too, Masem, more over, when the rubber hits the road, GNG usually is found to trump ENT #1 --Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Joseph Booton (actor) -- we only ever end up in these arguments over voice actors. --j⚛e deckertalk 16:45, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Middle ground[edit]

Perhaps we can have some wording to make clear we need more than mere screen credit sources, like imdb, or producer supplied credit listings; but not require WP:GNG level sources in the article. I think if there are sources that make clear an actor had multiple signficant roles, that should be good enough. For example, if somebody starred in two hit shows, and you have an article indicating that for each, but the articles focus on the show more than the actor, we should accept that, and not demand whole articles be about the actor personally (to meet the "substantial" requirement of GNG). I think there's a false notion you can determine if a role is signficant by whether the person appears on screen. You need a neutral reliable source indicating that. --Rob (talk) 09:22, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

IMDB should never be used as a reliable source in any case, see WP:RS/IMDB and Wikipedia:ELPEREN#IMDb. Right now, they are the sources which the articles in contention are being written from--they're certainly not being writtten from sources that can't be found.
I think you're right to say that you need a reliable source indicating that a role is signficant, to be sure. I would be somewhat sympathetic to anything that nails down what would be evidence for that clause of ENT #1, since there's no real consensus on what signficant means. ENT #1 is almost never invoked outside of voice actors, and when it is, "significant" for some people means top two, for others, top twenty roles within the work--I don't know that we should put a number to it, but perhaps a range or other indication would be good.
There is also one more detail that turns out to matter. If an animated film is dubbed into several languages, are we including every voice actor who dubbed any signficant role in any language within the significance test? --j⚛e deckertalk 10:57, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, or other productions. Multiple means more than one. I've seen ENT #1 used for others plenty of time not just voice actors. Google won't let me search through the articles for deletion for some reason, otherwise I'd be able to show you just how often it is invoked. And why would you need a reliable source to tell you if a role is significant? For instance, if they are a main character seen in every single episode, then that role is significant. As for as IMDB being used for the only reference, that's not true, since some of these articles have things that aren't in the IMDB. Most people have an official website listing their previous work. There are also websites other than IMDB that keep track of these things. And you can always see the credits in the show to prove the person was in it. Check Amazon.com for the product, and see who is listed in the credits. Dream Focus 11:06, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
"And why would you need a reliable source to tell you if a role is significant?" Because everyone has subjective opinions on something like this. What is a significant role to one may be a trivial appearance to another. Is it by plot, by screen time, by critical reception? If it was more precise language - such as "a starring or regular cast member of a network television show" (whether a live or VA), that might be more reasonable, but the language of ENT #1 is way too broad in what we consider for roles that it has to be tighter. --MASEM (t) 13:26, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Then we can change the wording if it wasn't obvious enough already what a significant role was. It shouldn't just be network television though. Any notable work, be it a film or a television series, if its notable enough to get its own Wikipedia article it counts. For video games it'd be by how much time they spent talking I suppose. A few one liners wouldn't matter, but some games these days have really long cutscenes. I always thought the word "significant" was enough, no need for an actual time period or number of episodes. But if that's what it takes to avoid confusion, so be it. Dream Focus 14:03, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
"Significance" can always be argued because of how subjective that is. And importantly, the conditions where we are assured that there will be coverage of the actors is nearly always limited to prime time network shows and a small number of premium cable netwoks (HBO, AMC, etc.) There are shows that are popular to get viewer but get nearly no critical reception. That's the problem with ENT #1 is that is written from the standpoint of notability being inclusion guidelines, instead of being sourcing guidelines. --MASEM (t) 14:45, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Rob, I don't think that voice actors should be represented at all in ENT, since they are not visible to the public most of the time, and for voice actors outside of Japan, they are often not the subject of in-depth coverage in the media. Let's not try to establish a false equivalence between them and screen actors. However, if we keep voice actors in ENT, we should require both ENT #1 and ENT #2. A voice actor who is mobbed at Comic-Con would count. Binksternet (talk) 14:25, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Why would voice actors be required to meet ENT#1 and ENT#2 when the others in the category would not? It should be clear by the role in the series whether it is significant or not. Stuff like ADR loop group / walla or Additional Voices would not be notable. There are exceptions to this as some titles such as video games do not list their voice talent credits on-screen, but other articles support their promotions. -AngusWOOF (talk) 14:58, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
As a side note, at the video games project we generally do not mention voice actors within games unless secondary sources mention them (eg the joke on how every game has Nolan North voicing).
The point that also affects live actors from ENT #1 is the vagueness of its phrasing. It assumes that every notable show recieves a vast amount of coverage, which is definitely not the case. As I've mentioned above, if we limited the shows to those in prime time network television (And whatever the national equivalent is elsewhere), where nearly every show is vetted by entertainment magazines, including any animated offerings (eg Fox's animation block), and as such any starring role (live or voice) it would completely reasonable to expect to find sources for the actor. But you move away from those conditions, and that broad assurance is gone. --MASEM (t) 15:10, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
AngusWOOF, I answered this above, but I'll answer this question again. In practice, only voice actors are ever discussed with respect to WP:ENT#1. The reason we don't get too fussy about it with on-screen actors is simple, for on-screen actors is that when notability is argued by WP:ENT#1, but dont' meet WP:GNG, it is generally assumed that they are not notable. For example, see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Joseph Booton (actor). That result could never happen right now if the fellow had only had off-screen work, because the actual bias in how we use this policy allows us to copy IMDB into Wikipedia articles and call it a biography only for voice actors. --j⚛e deckertalk 16:39, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm seeing the same debate going on A) Voice actors don't are not equal to real actors B) IMDB.
First off, it doesn't really matter if their not equal to real actors, their a different kind and subject to different type of coverage. Second relating to IMDB, no one here supports IMDB as a reliable source, so one thing to realize is that there is no need for it. So can we stop talking about IMDB? we know that, but you keep bringing it up as if we're trying to use it as a reason why their relevant. Lucia Black (talk) 03:00, 24 June 2014 (UTC)}
It's ironic here that one of the contributors to this discussion is using ANN/E (more or less IMDB-unreliable) as a source in their argument for a voice actor who does not meet GNG (apparently) based on WP:ENT #1 more or less at the same time I'm reading this. The idea that this is not relevant ignores the reality on the ground at AfD, that is why I bring it up. That having been said, I've made my point, and I will be happy to move along. As we are changing subjects, I would also welcome your comments about providing guidance on what "significance" means, below. --j⚛e deckertalk 16:29, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Joe Decker, you link to a single AFD with a small number of people participating, as though that is relevant here. I have seen many AFDs with regular actors in them where Entertainer was used to support their inclusion. Cherry picking something like that, to try to convince people of your unfounded belief its only used for voice actors, is ridiculous. And none of those articles just copy IMDB to an article. The one AFD opened now where someone suggested that was the case, I disproved by showing that both IMDB and the current article each had items listed that the other did not[3]. Dream Focus 06:13, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Dream Focus (and btw, you're welcome to abbreviate me to Joe if you prefer, I'm cool either way): I have closed thousands of AfDs, my comments reflect my long and general experience, not only doing that, but the couple years I spent adding sources to 3000 or so unsourced biographies at WP:URBLPR. I am not speaking from a single example. In my experience, it is extraordinarily rare for an non-voice actor to be kept who doesn't demonstrate notability under WP:GNG. I don't think we're going to make much progress here convincing each other, though, so I'll leave it, and ask if you'd like to add an opinion to my question below. I'd love to hear your answer. Thanks! --j⚛e deckertalk 07:56, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Define significance[edit]

What do we mean by "significance?" here? How do we measure it?

Hypothetical: You have a role, and someone tells you it is signficant in a series of movies. The role is never mentioned in the series of well-developed Wikipedia articles on any of the movies or the series. At ANN/E, which is an appropriate (not reliable, but on-topic) source for the series, the actor is mentioned in two of the movies. In the first, that actor is not included in the first grouping of 17, presumably most significant characters. In the second, the actor is not included in the top grouping of 11, presumably most signficant characters. In both cases they are mentioned, but it's hard to tell whether they are the 18th and 12th most important characters in the respective films, or 100th and 100th. No reliable sources can be found to back this claim of significance. No other evidence, except bare opinion, is used to back significance. Yes or no, is that role signficant?

More generally, how do we measure significance? Can we give any guidance at all? Or is significance just a word we use to turn AfD into a vote? --j⚛e deckertalk 07:29, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

The Scottish guy who was in the Darth Vader suit didn't have a significant part, since anyone could've been in that suit, no facial expressions shown or body movements showing any skill. But the guy doing the voice for Darth Vader did have a significant role of course, that some talented voice acting there. Darth Maul on the other hand, had few lines, but the actor did a lot of work with him, body movements, posturing, and whatnot. So that actor had a significant role in him. Dream Focus 09:37, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
There is actually a decent way to tell for most movies and TV shows, and that is the starring credits. If an actor's name appears in the regular show's main credit sequence, that probably means the character they are playing is significant. If they appear in the opening credits of a movie, that means their role is probably significant. If neither case is true, then it's not as easy to say they are significant but that doesn't mean immediately they are not significant, but you would have to show that the role of such parts was considered significant to the show/film. That takes out a lot of subjectivity in terms of the automatic allowance that ENT #1 implies. --MASEM (t) 13:22, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
In the case of Darth Vader, the main credits list do have the actors for him inside suit and his voice, as well as the guys who do R2D2 and C3P0. If an actor's most significant role is not credited, or buried in Additional Voices or Stunts, then other reliable sources need to be provided to show significance, as with Majel Barrett doing the computer voices for much of the Star Trek series. -AngusWOOF (talk) 14:00, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Dream Focus: I'm pretty sure that SW and ST have been covered so extensively that Darth is not a particularly critical test of what we're trying to do here, is it possible that either the Vader actors isn't covered to the point where they meet GNG? Still, I take your point.
Masem: That seems a completely solid test for significance to me, and I'm pretty sure that opening credits don't usually reach to eighteen actors, which leaves me thinking my impulse in my hypothetical is toward "non-notable unless shown otherwise." What I can tell you with certainty is that a case like that hypothetical would draw keep opinions from right now from actors arguing the significance of the role if it were a voice actor in an anime.
I do think some level of guidance would be helpful in any case, and perhaps I should start a discussion outside of this voice actor discussion, since it really relates to WP:ENT1 in general. I quite like your test, Masem. And I would agree with Dream Focus it should largely be of the form "if the role is XYZ, the role is probably significant, if it is not XYZ, then the role will not be assumed to be signficant without some solid evidence to the contrary.", and of course, I imagine we'd agree that GNG should be considered a means an actor can use to "pass" the notability test in any case, even for an "insignificant" role. --j⚛e deckertalk 15:10, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
The GNG is always backup/default for determining if a standalone article is appropriate, definitely. --MASEM (t) 16:45, 25 June 2014 (UTC)


One more question about significance, if I might. One aspect of voice acting which is inherently different is the presence of arguably parallel "dubs" of a work into multiple language. If a work is translated into seven languages, do we accord all the actors of the signficant roles a claim of significance under ENT 1? Or should this be more restricted in any way, and if so how? --j⚛e deckertalk 16:33, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

They use professional voice actors for anime these days, not just some random dub, they finding out early on that hurts their sales. Dream Focus 17:32, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I think Joe's talking about the reverse, when, say, Western animated shows are localized for other markets (dubbed anime is a special class, arguably). --MASEM (t) 17:34, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Disney has people singing songs from Frozen all over the world, it a hit in every market. For television shows, finding out if the show was successful everywhere would be more difficult. Unless someone finds a reliable source which list the ratings in all markets its released in. If the animation was successful in one nation but not another, and the only difference was the voices, it could be the voice actors chosen weren't any good. Then again somethings just don't do as well for cultural reasons, no doubt of the voice actors. Did the show get any media coverage in those markets? Dream Focus 17:47, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Masem, Dream Focus: Yes, sorry if my wording was imprecise. The ENT #1 guideline gives no specific guidance on *any* voice acting, whether original or after the fact, whether related to an animated property or a live-action one. As such, it is often read as including any and all of those cases. I'm asking if that is the desired outcome. It was not my intent to imply that any one of these entertainers were not professional. --j⚛e deckertalk 17:52, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
All fair points, but the language of ENT#1 begs that "well the show is popular in market A therefore it is a significant show; in market B this person does that voice for the same significant show, therefore that VA is notable"-type logic, which doesn't work. From my experience, the localization of English animated shows to European languages is rarely something done with care using any available and cheap talent (read: likely non-notable) compared to the localization of anime to English. Hence why the looseness of the ENT#1 language - applying to VAs as well as other actors - simply doesn't work given that we're trying to assure source availability. --MASEM (t) 17:56, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

TL;DR (at least not all the way)[edit]

Not sure what to say here, and by the time I got here there was too much to wade through, but my two cents is that VAs should be treated like any other actor - including those who might have many roles in many notable films but which amount to little more than Redshirt #34. If their articles are little more than lists of where they've been in the media, then no, WP:N remains unsatisfied. I don't think VAs are somehow magically "less notable" than any other breed of actor (I think the notion is preposterous), it just depends on how much extra-media exposure they have (e.g. interviews and such where they explain themselves). The emphasis should be on how much can be used to fill out their articles, not what kind of work they do. This applies even to live-action actors who do a lot of work. LazyBastardGuy 16:31, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

For clarification, when you say "just depends on how much extra-media exposure they have", isn't that just what WP:GNG does? Are you suggesting eliminating WP:ENT#1 entirely? --j⚛e deckertalk 16:34, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
"Less notable" does not mean less talented. It means less coverage in the media, which is exactly what you describe. As seen in the media links I provided above, for instance the one from CNN, there is a clearly acknowledged difference between screen actors and voice actors with regard to recognition. Binksternet (talk) 16:49, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I think what I'm trying to say is this shouldn't apply only to voice actors. If we're going to go through the list of VAs and cut down the non-notable ones, we should take aim at all the actor articles that are in identical condition (and trust me, there are plenty). But we need to be absolutely certain we cannot expand an article on such a subject; I'm trying to avoid "Well, so-and-so's only a voice actor and their article is threadbare, I guess I'll just delete it rather than take the time to see if it can be saved". I think there's a bit of fall-out from the overly narrow focus of this RfC; in my view it should apply to actors of all stripes, even if in the end it ends up being more relevant to one class than the others. LazyBastardGuy 17:07, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
I think there is an argument for ridding ourselves of ENT #1 entirely -- I really do have qualms about most biographies that don't have sourcing that meets GNG, both from a WP:V/hoax perspective, from a WP:NOTSTATS perspective (I can explain this one more if you want), and to a smaller extent from a WP:BLP perspective. The reason that this was voice actors *appear* to be being singled out is experience at AfD, quite parallel to the way that WP:PORNBIO already singles out a class of actors for what appears to be a higher bar. It is not some inherent judgment that one or the other is bad -- although that may have played into some editor's reasonings with PORNBIO -- it is that in my experience, a "signficant on-screen role" is likely to create a very good chance that there is reliable coverage that can be found, this is not true of porn actors nor does it seem to be as true of voice actors (either for animation or non-animated dubs.) There is a claim that this is somehow a matter of systemic bias because all the good sources are in Japanese, but I find it to be true of Hindi-speaking, Spanish-speaking, and Engilsh-speaking American-based voice actors as well. I understand that my perspective is frustrating to people who enjoy animation (I like to think I'm in that category myself), but it is, for me at least, simply the result of experience. In any case, perhaps reconsidering ENT #1 in general is a sensible discussion to have. --j⚛e deckertalk 17:22, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Alternate proposal: Reword ENT#1[edit]

Based on the above discussion, I'd like to offer the following change to ENT#1: Instead of Actors, voice actors, comedians, opinion makers, models, and celebrities: #1: Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, or other productions., it would be Actors, voice actors, comedians, opinion makers, models, and celebrities: #1: has had leading/starring roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, or other productions. This deals with the issues that have been identified above - that just because subjectively one thinks a role is important does not assure that sourcing can be found, but when you focus on the leading or starring roles for any of these works (regardless of the entertainer type), then the likelihood of finding sources increases dramatically. Actors and other entertainers that don't have such starring roles still can meet the GNG to be considered notable and have a standalone article. This removes our implied bias against voice actors that some of the objectors above have stated, putting the issue to how the show or work considers the voice actors relative to everything else. --MASEM (t) 02:26, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

No. You can have a significant role, and it not be a leading/starring one. Dream Focus 02:47, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps mentioning what "isn't" a significant role, would help more. Such as a background character or a minor reoccurring role. Lucia Black (talk) 02:51, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I have seen people argue that a small, recurring is "the most important plot element ever"-type logic. The word "significant" here, particularly when we are talking works of fiction for the most part, is the landmine here that causes the problem, because what is significant to fans is not significant to the press. --MASEM (t) 02:59, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Sure, there are significant, non-starring roles. But the amount of coverage for that person behind that role will be a function of the type of medium that work is (and more specifically, tied to the work's audience size). There is a vast difference between how much coverage there is going to be between a live actor that plays a recurring role 3-4 times a season on a broadcast network, primetime program, and a live actor that plays a recurring role 3-4 times a season on a cable network. Limiting it to starring roles of notable shows means that someone has likely commented on the starring roles and thus sourcing will likely be available, irregardless of the show's medium. --MASEM (t) 02:57, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps, a way to determine if its significant if they are reoccurring and they are "regular" roles. Lucia Black (talk) 03:03, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I could see a "recurring" role, where the recurring actor appears in more than, say, half the episodes and as part of the lead credits (typically under "Guest Starring..." within the episode itself) would be reasonable to include too. --MASEM (t) 03:07, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
So its decided that an insignificant role would be a role that doesn't last even half an episode? Lucia Black (talk) 03:12, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Remember the point here: We're saying, by meeting ENT#1, that there's a very good chance that there's going to be sources that will discuss that entertainer in good detail that it's reasonable to allow for an article. So lead actors or those playing major recurring characters clearly meet that. But that's not saying all other roles are insignificant, but that just because of their lack of "starring" or "recurring" status, assurance about sourcing for the person is just not there to simply allow an article. But if you can find GNG-type sources for those actors, hey, great, that's the other route for notability. The point is to remove "significance" which is very subjective, to a more objective measurement that applies equally fair to all types of entertainers. --MASEM (t) 03:20, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not against it. but since this will apply to all entertainers, it wont be an issue anymore. So i support it if we find commong round. I'm wondering if anyone has objections. Lucia Black (talk) 03:25, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
  • As far as Masem is concerned nothing is notable if it doesn't get coverage in the media. There is no reason dragging this argument out with him, as has been done time and time over the years. You won't convince him otherwise. The AFDs open for voice actors during this discussion which have been closed all ended in KEEP, based on satisfying ENT #1 alone, [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] except one I see which was no consensus. [10] Dream Focus 04:55, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Per policy at WP:OR, "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources and primary sources." Notability guidelines are there to make sure that we can write articles that can met this, not just to document who's who in the entertainment business per WP:NOT. And you can't use the circular argument that we should keep ENT #1 as it is because it hsa been used as the argument to keep certain articles in the past based on it. Even if any of ENT's metric are met, if no sources can be found beyond that when we should have expected some, then deletion is completely appropriate - this is how all the notability guidelines work, they are not automatic inclusion guidelines as you think they are. --MASEM (t) 04:54, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
      • You are quoting it out of context. That refers to information in an article, not whether it is notable. This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to reach or imply a conclusion not clearly stated by the sources themselves. Dream Focus 04:57, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
        • No I'm not. Articles overall cannot be based only on primary sources, that's what WP:NOT and WP:NOR are detailing. Hence the need for the likelihood to find secondary sources, and why ENT#1 needs to have a better line when those sources will likely come about due to an actor's roles. --MASEM (t) 05:17, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
      • WP:NOTABILITY clearly states "The notability guideline does not determine the content of articles, but only whether the topic should have its own article." Dream Focus 05:19, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
        • No, but notability is there to make sure that there's a presumption of sourcing for a good encyclopedic articles. We require articles to have more than just primary sources - we need secondary coverage in addition to primary. Notability is a test to see if that is likely the case. And hence why we can't just presume a topic is notable because of implied "significance" that can be highly subjective for fictional works. --MASEM (t) 06:21, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Whether a role is "significant" is determined how it's covered. For various reasons the media give more attention (and therefore significance) to some seemingly minor roles, over roles with more screen time. It's not for us to judge, but just to follow the sources. Typically non-significant roles get no coverage outside of imdb and similar sources. Sources like imdb really say little about significance. If the role is explicitly covered in reliable sources, it's likely significant even if it's not "GNG" level coverage. If you have "leading/starring" as the requirement, than people will use that to give articles based solely on how the screen credits appear, ignoring independent sources. --Rob (talk) 05:59, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Again, the GNG is a baseline - if it meets that, it's fine. We're specifically talking about cases where the GNG may not immediately be met (due to sources being in print or where the person has just gained stardom) in which we would let any of BIO, including this ENT#1, apply so that notability can be presumed and given a full topic so that it has a chance to develop into an encyclopedic articles. If the actor has independent sources that meet the GNG, then they are good to go regardless of ENT#1. --MASEM (t) 06:21, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, per Thivierr/Rob. Significant media coverage is already dealt with by WP:GNG, so the ENT guideline can ignore articles built on that basis. What the suggested wording gives us is a narrowing of the focus to just leading/starring roles which somehow have slipped through the media without being covered in depth. Binksternet (talk) 06:41, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Thivierr/Rob actually makes clear below they oppose this change. postdlf (talk) 20:51, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. Starring roles are more likely to fit a given definition of "notable role", and this will help address my concern mentioned in the previous section that the proposal seems to narrowly target voice actors who do little else. Starring roles also, as Masem pointed out, are more likely to have independent reliable information published about the people performing them, which will indeed help make articles on these people far more than mere lists of appearances in media. LazyBastardGuy 16:20, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support The "leading/starring" language, and I also support removing voice actors from the guideline. Let me be clear: I will support keeping any articles about Japanese voice actors that meet the GNG based on coverage in reliable Japanese language sources. I will support keeping biographies of voice actors of any nationality that meet the GNG with reliable sources published in any language. I see this Wikipedia as the English language encyclopedia of the whole world, not the encyclopedia of the English speaking world. But subject specific notability guidelines are intended to give us a quick tool for separating the wheat from the chaff. They establish a generally accepted presumption that reliable sources could be found for almost all examples of a category of topics, with an in-depth search. I do not believe that this presumption exists worldwide for voice actors. Maybe in Japan, though I claim no expertise in Japanese language sourcing, but not worldwide, and certainly not in English speaking countries. So, I do not advocate deleting any biographies of voice actors of any nationality who meet GNG. But I also do not accept that the probability of voice actors meeting the GNG worldwide is equivalent to that of on-screen and on-stage actors meeting that standard. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:31, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • I do want to be clear that my ENT#1 proposal does not remove VAs from the list of Entertainers for the good reasons that others above had said - it is somewhat discrimatory of us to do that, when it is the media themselves that create the imbalance. I do believe this still addresses the fact that VAs do not get the recognization like live actors do, at least speaking from American animation - your big shows like Simpsons and South Park will list featured VAs (that's good for starring for me), but your average daytime children's animated show will not. Anime is different where the VAs are generally part of the intro role, and as others have stated, Japan does elevate VAs to a higher level than US media. --MASEM (t) 14:43, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Dream Focus -there are significant roles that are not starring/leading roles. They give a "Best supporting actor" Oscar for a reason.--cyclopiaspeak! 16:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • ... and that's why if an entertainer fails ENT#1, they can still be notable per the GNG. No one is saying that actors outside of starring role should not have articles, only that the allowance to have an article without having GNG-like sourcing should be limited to those that are in starring roles, which by that nature will likely have sourcing that can eventually be found. --MASEM (t) 16:29, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • I think such supporting roles still count as starring roles. After a certain point, the cutoff line is difficult to determine - when does an actor go from merely portraying this week's Guy to being supporting? Reliable sources will help us answer that. It's not as if the single main character is the only one whose actor receives an article. LazyBastardGuy 16:39, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support per Cullen328. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 16:27, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I have been gone for a while, and i thought that we would instead define was isn't "significant" over than trying to define what "is". Meaning knowing what isn't a significant role (such as lets say a bystander or random person that gets two lines in an episode) will mean anything. I don't agree that significant role is only for "starring" and "leading" roles. Lucia Black (talk) 16:39, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Supporting roles are still significant in their own way, and reliable sources will see them as such. You can't have a house without support beams, even if they are not part of rooms where people spend much of their time. Someone can have a supporting role and still be considered to "star" in something, therefore having a starring role in it. Again, reliable sources will help us figure out when a character is no longer in the background and when they are actually part of the plot, helping to drive it forward. LazyBastardGuy 16:42, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
      • I agree that ENT#1 should include co-stars, which are usually considered lead roles in ensemble casts. Recurring stars and episodic guest stars would depend on the production, like whether they would be listed among a major characters list. -AngusWOOF (talk) 17:13, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
        • No issue with including co-stars - they will likley be listed as starring or regular cast in the credits rolls. --MASEM (t) 17:20, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I support the idea of clarifying what is a significant role, but I'm not sure if this wording is good. I think some people might take "leading" and "starring" to mean just the protagonist, and not other major characters. I think is might be better to add a second sentence to ENT#1 to clarify what is meant by significant, rather than trying to find a different word to use. For instance, the sentence could say "significant roles include the primary or regular cast of a work", or something like that. Calathan (talk) 18:11, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Or we can avoid WP:CREEP by not yammering away about what an ordinary english word means and instead allow AFD participants to determine what roles are "significant" in the particular dramatic works at issue. postdlf (talk) 18:43, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
      • Because we are talking about shows (live actor or animated or otherwise) that have fan bases, the word "significant" is going to be an incredibly biased term, and too subjective to be used for a notability guideline. If a role is "significant" (from a more objective approach) but otherwise not a starring/regular role, there will certainly be sources that identify the role as such, and thus allow for the article on the actor via the GNG. --MASEM (t) 18:47, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
        • Yet "significant" has been the guideline for how long? And can you point to AFDs disregarding that language as unworkable rather than applying it? If not, then it reflects practice and should not be changed. postdlf (talk) 19:07, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
          • Many of the AFD examples about more specific for VAs demonstrate this issue (eg Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sachi Matsumoto). And just because it has been in the guideline for as long as it has doesn't mean it was right or wrong. Someone's identified a problem with how that is taken, so we should consider trying to improve it. --MASEM (t) 19:22, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I Oppose this change. There are people who spent their entire career as character actors and had no starring/lead roles. Trey Wilson springs immediately to mind. We don't recommend using "best known for" in our articles as it violates WP:NPOV yet this leads us right back down that road. MarnetteD|Talk 19:56, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • It is not WP's place to document actors who may only have character roles that are not documented by third-party/secondary sources at large. If these actors have had such sourcing, (like [11] for Trey above), great, let's have the article, but actors that stay in the realm of character roles without starring credits are not assured to have coverage by media and thus should not be covered by ENT#1 in the first place. (Also, even with the existing wording, I'd have a hard time classifying "character roles" as "significant", by the very definition of character roles). --MASEM (t) 20:20, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
      • What Wikipedia documents and what it doesn't is for the community to decide. The fact that you have a "hard time classifying character roles as significant" shows a lack of understanding of the business of both storytelling and acting. Without character actors most films/plays/TV programs fall apart. No encyclopedia worth its salt should be keeping actors like Strother Martin or Eli Wallach from having articles. This smacks too much of a "lets delete 1000's of articles campaign" on a reasoning so narrow as to fly in the face of Wikipedia's purpose. MarnetteD|Talk 04:32, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
        • Well, the community, as a whole, has decided that we are to focus on documenting topics with third-party, secondary coverage (per the main policies of WP), and the fact that some of these minor actor's article on WP are simply rehashes of IMDB is what flies in the face of WP's purpose. But the point of this change is not to say that no character actor can be notable, but that not every character actor is going to receive the same type of recognition in sources as starring actors, and as such, there's no reason we should have ENT#1 automatically include them. For every character actor of Eli Wallace's reputation, there's like 10 that never bubble up beyond bit, unmemorial roles. Those that do get a reputation for their character acting skill, then the GNG should easily allow articles on them as they did for Eli and Strother. Remember, even if you kept ENT's wording as it is, the "presumption" of notability is still something that can be challenged down the road if no third-party, secondary sources develop. --MASEM (t) 06:20, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose The problem is reliable sources may indicate a non-starring role is significant in their coverage, but not necessarily have GNG level coverage of the actor personally. So they will be deemed to have failed GNG and NACTOR, even though they are playing significant roles. GNG has been interpreted to be very restrictive on Wikipedia (unfortunately). I can see !voters at AFD dismissing sources about a significant role, saying the source is about the role, not the person, and therefore it's only a "passing" mention, and doesn't count as substantial. --Rob (talk) 20:24, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, whatever criticism one may level at the term "significant", "leading/starring" is far narrower than current consensus supports and is thus an attempt to prescribe rather than describe actual practice. This whole line of discussion opened up just because of displeasure at the results of AFDs, which hardly indicates that the current guideline does not reflect community consensus. Lest someone object that the AFDs are "wrong" and therefore we should edit this little project page to set them "right," I put more trust in the cumulative results of AFD discussions populated by editors interested in and knowledgeable in the specific subject under discussion than I do in these attempts to legislate. postdlf (talk) 20:51, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • As I've mentioned, the problem is that we have a catch-22 going on here - people are using WP:ENT to say that AFDs should be kept, and now we're saying because AFDs were kept by ENT, it should remain unchanged. That is an unworkable solution. A legitimate challenge to find sourcing for a people that is claimed to meet ENT cannot be overriden by these types of cries. Hence if we at least change ENT#1 to something where sourcing is likely never going to be a problem - actors in starring/leading roles - then it's not going to be an issue when the catch-22 arguments come down the road. Otherwise, we are letting articles based only on primary sources slide which is unacceptable via WP:V and WP:NOR. --MASEM (t) 21:17, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
      • Nonsense. You're honestly complaining that it should be changed because people are using it in AFD discussions. It's when people stop using it at AFD and instead criticize it that it no longer has consensus support and should then be changed. If you can't even get that to happen regularly at AFD, then you can't demonstrate that the guideline no longer reflects practice. Come back in six months after AFD shows a reliable consensus to reject ENT as written. postdlf (talk) 02:20, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
        • No, because this catch-22 is not in line with the relationship between policy, the main notability guideline, and the subject-specific guidelines. The present treatment is creating the condition of inherient notability, which is not something recognized by the rest of the project. The subject-specific guidelines are not to be used to protect articles from deletion but to justify the creation of articles and to assure they have enough time to grow properly, and to delete if we determine that presumption is wrong. In the case of actors, if they've done many "significant roles" but the only sourcing people can find is primary sourcing about those roles, that's a failure of the presumption this guideline gives and deletion should be done. The guideline should thus be cases where we know the presumption has a good chance of being met, which really is only the case of regular and starring roles in notable shows, and not something met by "significant roles" given how subjective the term is. --MASEM (t) 02:28, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Dream Focus and Cyclopedia: There are significant roles that are not starring/leading roles. They give a "Best supporting actor" Oscar for a reason. Softlavender (talk) 21:12, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose So many other have said their valid points. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 02:25, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I don't believe that holding up the 33rd largest role in a work as "signficant" (not hyperbole, but a very recent example, supported by some of the oppose votes above) is what the community intends, nor is it a reading I ever see consistently argued outside of the voice acting realm. The lack of any meaningful guidance in ENT#1 turns AfD into a vote, and one that brings out a very different set of participants for voice actors than any other role as a result. --j⚛e deckertalk 06:38, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
A major reason for opposing this proposal - or any variation of it - is the inherent prejudice involved in its wording. Racial - Hattie McDaniel, ZaSu Pitts, Nick Stewart, Philip Ahn and countless others lived and worked in a time and place where "leading and starring roles" were not available to them. IMO they should have Wikipedia articles in spite of this. Physical appearance For every Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Oliver Hardy and Edward James Olmos there are 1000s of actors - Una O'Connor, Roy Kinnear, Geoffrey Bayldon to name but three - who were never in the running for "leading and starring roles", again they merit articles. There are other prejudicial aspects to this proposal but I will close by stating that should any variation of this narrow view of acting be adopted Wikipedia will be in the curious position of having articles for fictional characters like Peter Quince, Mistress Quickly and Queequeg but not for the actors who portrayed them on stage, film or television. MarnetteD|Talk 12:24, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
You're missing the point. Changing ENT#1 to "starring/featured actors" does not prevent WP from having articles on these people, because the GNG is still always the option, which all these merited. We want the criteria of ENT#1 to be one that assures there will be more sourcing about that person so that the presumption of notability is very reasonable, but that doesn't mean any actor failing ENT#1 can never have an article, it just requires the presence of significant coverage in secondary source, which if the actor is notable, will be available.
Also, I did consider if we should allow the case of an actor who plays a notable fictional character to be considered notable themselves, and this actually isn't true all the time either, particularly when you consider animation and video games (There's also further complications when you have the same character but played by multiple people, who do you tag as the notable actor?) --MASEM (t) 14:09, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Masem, you keep saying that but in fact WP:GNG is not a guarantee of inclusion on WP: "significant coverage in reliable sources creates an assumption, not a guarantee, that a subject should be included." Most articles on entertainers are judged on whether they meet WP:ENT, not whether they meet GNG. Indeed, that's true of any subset of GNG. Softlavender (talk) 23:35, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
And the same applies to all subject-specific guidelines too like ENT - we are presuming that the topic is notable as to allow it to have a stand-alone article so that we hope people can find sources and develop it. ENT is less of an assurance than the GNG for keeping an article if the only thing you can find to source a person is about how they meet ENT, the article will likely be deleted. While a GNG-meeting article can be deleted, it takes a bit more argument and discussion to establish why it should not, since meeting the GNG is effectively demonstrating sources. --MASEM (t) 01:48, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Whereas, whether a role is signficant is rarely if ever debated on evidence. Which is why the "Sure, he's signficant, his role is the 33rd most significant role, and because this was only dubbed into two other languages, that means he's in the top 100, that's signficant right?" arguments are accorded full weight at AfD, in a way they would not be if inclusion were based on the reliable, secondary sources we pretend "are likely to exist" in cases like this, even when far too often actual legwork shows they do not. This causes problems in terms of bias, but more important it leaves a truck-sized hole in our verifiability and reliable sources policies. Why would anyone oppose the idea that we write articles from reliable, secondary sources? That seems to be the opposition argument here, and it is one which is directly contradicted by our pillars. --j⚛e deckertalk 00:36, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. A grossly misguided enterprise. Absent a significant showing that an inappropriate share of those who satisfy the SNG fail the GNG, this is just a proposal to waste a large part of the community's time and energy debated large numbers of deletion proposals which will not improve the encyclopedia -- whose coverage, after all, should be encyclopedic. The most glaring problem with Wikipedia's coverage of entertainers is not its coverage of the great bulk of working entertainers (who never "star" in movies, TV shows, or stage shows), but the absurd number of fictive biographies of wrestlers and other fields dominated by kayfabe coverage; the most substantive problem is the focus on celebrity journalism rather then informed critical evaluation of the subjects' professional work. This suggestion is not worth the time, trouble, and wasted energy it would entail. The Big Bad Wolfowitz (aka Hullaballoo) (talk) 20:14, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Alternate proposal 2: Reword ENT#1[edit]

The key word here is "significant roles" If the person is only notable for voicing third characters such as sidekicks and very minor characters I do not see it passing WP:ENT, this has been true for AfDs and a sort of WP:PRECEDENT has been established. My suggestion would be to add 1. "Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television shows, stage performances, and other productions "or has done award winning work for minor roles". A note can be adding saying that very minor voice actor works are usually deleted with few exceptions. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 21:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

If they have won a major award for their acting work, that automatically meets general WP:BIO conditions for an article, as well as being at least one secondary source for GNG. Hence unneeded, those types of actors aren't at issue here. --MASEM (t) 21:22, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
We need to address minor works somehow though or else everything will pass per WP:ENT. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 21:23, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Er, that doesn't make sense. An actor who plays a minor character but wins an award (if we're talking VAs here, that's likely the Annie Award), that award win gives the actor the presumption of notability via WP:BIO; what you are suggesting duplicates that. --MASEM (t) 21:31, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

I also want to add that it is way too broad of a definition of what "significant roles" in notable works are. Are these roles by a person's WP:POV or are they supported by WP:RS? We need to draw a line on where the notability threshold is. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 21:21, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

As with anything on Wiki, common sense and editorial oversight and consensus apply. We've determined above that changing "significant" to "leading" doesn't work. What does work is editorial oversight, reviewing level of significance and level of independent coverage, and determining each borderline case on a case-by-case basis (either in an AfD, notability tags, prods, or whatever). I think all of us want to maintain notability standards, but the way that is accomplished sometimes has to be through actual analysis as opposed to rules which would exclude obviously notable people. Softlavender (talk) 23:25, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
We definitely do not want to exclude notable people, but the guideline as it reads now is being used to keep not-so-very-notable people.
Masem's point is true, that a Catch-22 is in place, whereby some here such as Dream Focus and Postdlf are saying that ENT should be kept as it is, because it has been used in past AFDs about voice actors.
I brought some reliable sources to the discussion to show how voice actors are not at the same level of recognition as screen actors, but a good many of observers here have ignored that and stated that voice actors are the same as screen actors, or should be treated the same by ENT. The latter argument runs afoul of "righting great wrongs", while the former argument is unfounded. I would like to see a handful of reliable third-party sources saying that voice actors are equal to screen actors before I yield to that argument. Binksternet (talk) 14:10, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
I think this whole "catch-22" claim only makes sense if you (oddly) assume that editors go out of their way to participate in AFDs and invoke guidelines they don't in fact agree with or support. Otherwise I don't see how you can dismiss a demonstrated repeat consensus in AFDs to keep articles on the basis of ENT as evidence that ENT reflects community practice. When I participate at AFD as a !voter, I certainly don't rely on guidelines I think are poorly written, not consensus-based, or should not be applied in that instance for any other reason; I expressly disavow them in my comment. postdlf (talk) 14:43, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Motion to close[edit]

Given the discussion above I will make a request over at the admin noticeboard requests for closure or if someone wants to be WP:BOLD they can close this sooner. I need an uninvolved editor to close. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 20:18, 27 July 2014 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


WP:DIPLOMAT: notability of ambassadors[edit]

The discussion below does not reach a consensus to make this specific change to the guideline. But it does reach a number of conclusions that could inform future discussions.

There is cogently-argued support for the view that not all heads of mission are inherently notable. The discussion concludes that it is not appropriate for the guideline to treat Austria's ambassador to Finland in the same way as the UK High Commissioner in Canberra.

There is also cogently-argued support for the view that US ambassadors should follow the notability parameters for their military equivalents, and that UK ambassadors are likely to be listed in the Dictionary of National Biography and so have appropriate sources. But I could not extract from this debate a reasoned argument for treating ambassadors from other countries on equal terms.

I am not completely comfortable with this conclusion because it fits better with some of our rules than others. It sits very well with the general notability guideline, but is not really on all fours with our attempts at countering systemic bias. Most reasonable end-users would understand why the English Wikipedia should have articles on most American and British ambassadors, but I think they would also expect us to have articles on their German and French and Russian and Chinese equivalents. I hope that discussion on this point will continue.

I hope this helps.—S Marshall T/C 11:32, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Further to various discussions (some above, or referred to above), I propose to restore WP:DIPLOMAT with a section in the main page as follows:

Diplomats

  • This guideline is about career diplomats who are not politicians. For anyone who held elective office, or was associated with a political party, before holding a diplomatic post, see under Politicians.
  • A diplomat is presumed notable if he or she holds or held at least one substantive Head of Mission post following a series of junior diplomatic posts.
  • "Substantive" means a permanent post rather than acting, deputy or chargé d'affaires.

Rationale:

  • Head of Mission (ambassador, high commissioner, permanent representative, historical envoy, etc.) is a top-level diplomatic post, roughly equivalent to a named chair professor in academia; or a flag, general or air officer in the military; or a sportsperson who was a team member in a single major-league game; all of whom are presumed notable by WP guidelines.
  • This guideline presumes notability of diplomats who meet its criteria, but makes no statement for or against notability of other diplomats.
  • It could be argued that this would confer notability on otherwise insignificant ambassadors from one minor country to another. I suspect that most such tend to be politically-affiliated, therefore don't come under this guideline. And I'm not sure how to define a minor country fairly!

Stanning (talk) 14:38, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

  • Definite support. I have always supported the idea that some senior people are inherently notable by virtue of their posts. This, to me, is common sense. Heads of diplomatic mission are among these people. If we assume that people who played a single match at the highest level of sport or had a single hit song are notable then surely people who have reached the top of their profession in this way must be notable. -- Necrothesp (talk) 03:00, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
The problem, Necrothesp, is that that logic only works from a UK/US-centric perspective. Being appointed a small country's ambassador to the UK or the US is quite likely "the top of their profession". But being appointed a small country's ambassador to an equally small country with responsibility for an insignificant relationship (ie. not a trade partner or a neighbouring country) is hardly the top of anything. They are no more than visa application processing team leaders.Stanning quite rightly concedes this at the end of his proposal but I would suggest the majority of ambassadors would fall into the category of "insignificant ambassadors" rather than the minority. Stlwart111 02:50, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Head of mission may be a "top" level post (if by top you mean within the top 5000 positions in terms of power or ability to affect world affairs in the government), but it is vanishingly unlikely that all of these people, or even most of these people, will ever receive significant coverage in secondary sources independent of the subject. The idea of notability stems from the idea that we should only have articles on topics that secondary sources will bother to cover, or, at the very least, people who have done work sufficiently important that disinterested observers will write about it. I find that very unlikely for even, say, American ambassadors to small countries, to say nothing of the ambassadors small countries send to each other. I do agree that an ambassador seems no more important than a brigadier, and I would oppose notability there too. Named chairs in academia, well, at least people cite their papers/books at high rates, and there is quite a fascination with athletes and other professional entertainers. RayTalk 13:21, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
    • Your last comment goes to the heart of the matter. What we should be asking is: should an encyclopaedia have articles on people because other people chatter about them or because they are genuinely significant in their field? I would argue the latter is more important than the former. It is obvious that the internet is going to have far more mindless chat about minor celebrities and sportspeople than about people who do real jobs, but should we discount senior people in those jobs because they don't fascinate the average internet fanboy or girl? No, in my opinion, we shouldn't. They are far more significant to the world, if not to the fanboy in the street. -- Necrothesp (talk) 08:54, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
      • Well, what we're really asking is, should we cover people even when reliable, secondary sources do not provide enough verifiable information to write a properly neutral article about them? These are pretty core to the idea of Wikipedia, and the answer is no. So then the next question is, "are ambassadors such prominent people that such a body of published information will exist for most, if not all of them?" And the answer there is also pretty clearly no - lots of career ambassadors never get more than passing mention in the press, and then whatever short biographical blurb their foreign ministry releases onto the website. Such information is by definition promotional and non-neutral, from a primary source of dubious reliability (some countries' foreign ministries are far more dubious than others, but even, say, the US State Department is not a paragon of truthfulness), with little verifiability. RayTalk 17:49, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
      • @RayAYang: You have a point, although in Wikipedia we do cover people based on minimal information, such as an entry in a list. (At random, see Reynold Kraft. Why is he notable? Because he's presumed so, per WP:NGRIDIRON.)
        Suppose we add words to the effect that the diplomat must be listed in an independent, reliable biographical source? For British diplomats, Who's Who (UK) is such a source. Would that meet your objection? Stanning (talk) 12:09, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Weak support. It is my belief and experience that sufficient sourcing can be found for most articles about permanent heads of missions to at least squeak by WP:GNG, especially if they've held multiple posts. I suspect, but haven't demonstrated, that additional sourcing could be found off-line in specialist publications aimed at the diplomat community. That said, I would prefer to see fewer and stricter subject-specific notability guidelines, especially for biographies. Our guidelines for actors, athletes and academics, for example, are too inclusive and the solution is not more subject-specific guidelines. I'd be quite happy to see them all discarded (especially for recent biographies) and for us to rely solely on WP:GNG and WP:ANYBIO. Pburka (talk) 02:16, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I'm an adherent of WP:MILPEOPLE, specifying that general officers/flag officers are notable. Ambassadors hold the same amount of diplomatic rank and should also be considered inherently notable. I also like the qualification about politicians. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:57, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Support -- There is another reliable source for UK diplomats: London Gazette, which is the official publication of theri appointment. I expect that there are similar sources in other countries. Change d'affaires posts need to be judged on their merits: where the second most senior diplomat is in charge during the vacancy between one ambassador leaving and the next arriving, I would suggest that they are not notable per se. However, a charge d'affaires who arrives to reopen an embassy after a break in diplomatic relations or who is in post as the senior diplomat present for a substantila period might well be notable. At earlier periods, when the head of mission was not necessarily an "ambassador", but only minister plenipotentiary (or such like), it may well be appropriate not to apply modern definitions too rigorously. A year or trwo back, I worked on lists of UK ambassadors; almost all the people whom I was putting in lists had articles in Dictionary of National Biography, which is another criteriaon on notability. Peterkingiron (talk) 15:25, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose having participated and nominated many ambassador AfDs, ambassadors should meet WP:BIO in any case as a minimum standard. the issue I have is ambassadors that hold posts in smaller countries and do very little and hence get little except routine coverage, these indeed would fail WP:BIO. In fact, many ambassadors from/to smaller countries seem to only get coverage when they present their credentials to the receiving head of state (and people somehow argue this is WP:SIGCOV. Someone made a point in the AfD that say heads of foreign affairs departments (like the US State Department) don't get inherent notability even though they are more senior than ambassadors, ie that ambassadors report to heads of foreign affairs departments in most countries. and if there is inherent notability, does someone get an automatic article for doing the ambassador job for 1 or 3 months? LibStar (talk) 00:34, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - there should be no presumption of notability for people who hold these positions because there isn't necessarily equivalency between those who hold these positions. Peterkingiron's example is exactly why we shouldn't venture down this slippery slope. UK ambassadors to various countries are likely to be notable. In Australia, the UK High Commissioner represents one of the country's most significant cultural, trade, immigration, sporting, legal and historical relationships. The ambassador of Finland to Australia represents an obscure relationship, near-zero trade and no historical or cultural heritage. This proposal places them on equal footing and suggests that someone who represents the relationship between Australia and the United Kingdom would have the same inherent notability as someone who represents the relationship between Australia and Finland. That simply isn't the case. I've lived in Canberra, Australia's diplomatic epicentre. Most of those we're considering deeming inherently or presumptively notable are as ordinary as you or I. They live in the suburbs with everyone else, drive ordinary cars, eat at the local McDonalds and their kids are in local sporting teams. The only difference is the special licence plate they get for their car which occasionally allows them to avoid a speeding or parking fine. The UK High Commissioner is invited to major social events (even those not related to the UK), gallery openings, political functions, etc. When he says something, Australian papers notice and report it. When the Finish ambassador says something, the guy behind the counter probably gets his order wrong (again, no offence to someone I presume is a lovely person). When they announced the new ambassador from the US, he was in the first few pages of every major newspaper in the country and his YouTube introductory video was on every major national news broadcast. That's notability. As with anyone in any position in any field, if they have done something to warrant significant coverage in multiple reliable sources, then they should be considered notable. Otherwise, no. Stlwart111 00:49, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
And I wanted to address Chris' salient point in particular. Equivalency between domestic military rank and diplomatic rank is an Americanism. Given the global reach of the US and the UK's historical colonialism, I would imagine ambassadors and high commissioners from both of those countries would be considered notable in most of the countries where they are posted. Likewise, ambassadors from others countries to the US and (to a lesser extent) the UK would likely be considered notable, those people having risen through diplomatic ranks to become Ambassador to the US - among the highest posts in the profession. Stlwart111 00:57, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
re: "Equivalency between domestic military rank and diplomatic rank is an Americanism." for example in Australia, diplomatic staff and ambassadors are considered public servants and paid and promoted on the basis of this. unlike the military, there is a much less formal process to get promoted. there are some instances of appointed ambassadors not from the public service being former politicians like Andrew Peacock and Amanda Vanstone but they easily meet WP:POLITICIAN and WP:BIO in their own right. LibStar (talk) 01:03, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Isn't that the point? Perhaps the confluence of military and diplomatic rank is an Anglo-centric concept, but I would guess that nameless Finnish-ambassador to Australia (assuming they're not a politician or the recipient of patronage) is a notable civil servant in the Finnish government. Odds are, that ambassador will likely assume another position in the Finn government in the future, hence my point about inherent notability. I've always looked at this sort of thing like the Pankot Palace dinner in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: would this sort of person be notable enough to be invited to dinner? Chris Troutman (talk) 03:44, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Only in the sense that his appointment might have been announced in some government gazette back in Finland, I suppose. But in any other context we wouldn't consider that significant coverage in multiple independent reliable sources. My point is that where a US diplomat has been conferred with the rank of a 3-star general, they are likely going to be notable. But they are likely notable anyway given that their appointment, activities and careers have probably received coverage. Being the ambassador to any country from the US will probably make you notable. Not so much for Ghana, El Salvador, Finland or New Zealand (sorry guys!). Especially, for example, the El Salvadoran ambassador to Ghana. What we're suggesting here is that such a person would be presumed notable, to the same extent as the US Ambassador to Russia or the UK Ambassador to France. There's no guarantee that being called back from some diplomatic (or actual) Siberia means being appointed to a position of more significance. That sort of crystal-ball-gazing wouldn't make for particularly good policy. Stlwart111 04:56, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
@LibStar, Stalwart111: You make fair points. I wonder whether you'd consider any diplomat to be notable without rigorous adherence to the notability guidelines?
My analogy is with sportspeople, who are presumed notable, even if they don't qualify under WP:GNG, because WP:NSPORT gives them a free pass: "sports figures are likely to meet Wikipedia's basic standards of inclusion if they have, for example, participated in a major international amateur or professional competition at the highest level". Replying to RayAYang above, I cited an example of one (of many) who would no way qualify without that free pass. The presumption is that for such people, notability will be there if you dig for it (not necessarily only on Google).
Following that analogy, I proposed here that diplomats are likely to meet Wikipedia's basic standards of inclusion if they've held head of mission posts. That's too broad a category for you! So, suppose we narrow the criteria. Would you be willing to concede that diplomats are likely to meet Wikipedia's basic standards of inclusion – can be presumed notable – if they've held ambassadorships at the highest level? For some value of at the highest level – say between two G20 nations? Stanning (talk) 14:37, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
That might get more support, but as Resolute rightly points out, his random selection of an ambassador from one G7 country to another that probably doesn't meet WP:GNG is indicative of the wider problem with that proposal. The problem with the sportsperson analogy is effort, in my view. An ambassador can be appointed to a post and disappear into obscurity, having failed to generate any sort of media interest in his or her activities (in some cases they may be expressly instructed in this regard, depending on the relationship). If a sportsperson does nothing to generate interest in their activities (if they make no effort) they won't get a place on the team. A foreign affairs department might view 10 years in a diplomatic post with zero media coverage as being entirely positive - no news being good news - and justification for promotion. That's just the nature of international relations. Stlwart111 23:14, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Weak support - perhaps add 'multiple posts' as a factor or element? Bearian (talk) 14:10, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose The problem with the sportsperson analogy - aside from WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS - is that the preponderance of sources makes a strong case that most athletes who have played at the highest level will likely have enough sources to meet GNG. That is all an SNG is meant to say. For the diplomat SNG, I am heavily persuaded by the argument that not every ambassador will generate the kind of coverage required to meet GNG and other guidelines/policies. The argument about "top level ambassadors" is interesting. As a quick test, I randomly picked the Canadian ambassador to Italy - both G7 nations, so likely to be at the higher end of this argument for notability. Peter McGovern has been a diplomat for 30 years, does not have a Wikipedia article at present, and my quick search of news sources does not turn up anything that lends me to believe he warrants one. I suspect most such ambassadors will be the same. Resolute 16:10, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
@Resolute: Really? Where did your quick search look? This is McGovern's first ambassadorship; he's been in post just 7 months. He's in Italy, so you'd expect most of the coverage to be there. So ... try a Google search for the past month. Plenty there; much more if you go back further. How's your Italian? Mine's non-existent, so I can't assess how much of it is "significant". Stanning (talk) 13:36, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
My Italian is non-existent as well, but thanks to Google Translate, we can easily see that the first four links on that search relate to a story about Air Canada opening up a direct route from Toronto to Malpensa. It appears that every link on the front page of that search provides only a trivial mention. Resolute 22:06, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I was canvassed for this discussion so I won't leave a formal vote but I am taken by the concept that there is a split between ambassadors at the top and those below that. Interestingly though, I did some research from the list of heads of mission accredited to the UK and picked on those from English speaking countries so I could read the sources. Looking at a random half dozen from smaller countries almost all had what was, in my opinion, adequate sourcing but then they were all notable individuals in their own right and only one was a career diplomat. Worth more research? Should we park this discussion while we get some clear evidence that we can present to inform discussion? Spartaz Humbug! 08:58, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Like several others here, I am not convinced that every ambassador will generate the kind of coverage required to meet GNG and other guidelines/policies. I do think it is likely that ambassadors from several G-7/G-8 nations will meet other notability guidelines (e.g. many ambassadors in the UK receive or have received an Order of the British Empire) but the status and coverage of ambassadors varies across time and across nations. Enos733 (talk) 17:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written — the notability or non-notability of an ambassador is contingent upon the quality of reliable sourcing that can or cannot be provided about them. I'm more familiar with the situation for Canadian diplomats than I am for most other countries, so I'll speak specifically from that perspective — but far, far too many of the Canadian diplomat articles that have been created on Wikipedia have relied solely on a directory listing on DFAIT's website — an invalid primary source — with not a shred of reliable source coverage to demonstrate that they were in any significant way a notable ambassador. If all you can write about an ambassador is that "Joanne Smith-Copperfield is Canada's current ambassador to North Baluchistan", then until such time as you can write and source something of substance about her career as an ambassador we do not actually need an unsourced standalone WP:BLP that just says she's the ambassador to North Baluchistan — the presence of her name as a nonlinked entry in a list of Canada's ambassadors to North Baluchistan would give the reader the exact same information without requiring us to compromise our content policies in the process. I certainly do favour a resolution of the persistent DIPLOMAT problem — which has gone on far too long, with the result that WP:NPOL's exclusion of diplomats is getting mistaken as a blanket ban on diplomats ever being considered notable at all rather than what it really is, which is simply an acknowledgement that NPOL is not the test by which the notability or non-notability of a diplomat is measured — but the resolution cannot grant any diplomat an exemption from the requirement to actually be the subject of coverage in reliable sources. I'd agree that in principle, any person who has been named one country's ambassador or high commissioner to another country should be considered a valid potential topic for a Wikipedia article — but real sourcing's gotta actually be there to support it, because ambassadors cannot be granted a special exemption from the need to cite reliable non-primary sourcing. Bearcat (talk) 05:48, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Politicians, NPOL and redirects[edit]

There is a potentially very significant discussion taking place at Wikipedia:Redirects_for_discussion/Log/2014_August_5#Dhanada_Kanta_Mishra with regard to treatment of politicians whom we at present deem not to be notable. - Sitush (talk) 09:20, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

On the presumption of notability and SNG criteria[edit]

I invite interested parties to comment at WT:N#The application of the "presumption" of notability. --MASEM (t) 01:22, 17 August 2014 (UTC)