Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)/Archive 48

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Archive 47 | Archive 48 | Archive 49

Test case

It seems to me that a good way of judging how this guidance will play out is with a test case. Since Valerie Gray is already nominated at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Valerie Gray it would make a fairly good test case to see how interpretations of the guidance as written differ, and how that would impact at afd. It might help tweak the guidance or at least impart a better understanding of it to see how it works, acts and is understood in the field. Hiding T 12:04, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Seconded, with the caveat that we do it here as opposed to there. *goes to look* Ugh, instant re-direct. No secondary sources, too much alliteration. But to use this guideline: The work (Danny Phantom) does not exceed the relevant notability guidelines. -> Redirect - brenneman 12:38, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Prong 1 passes with ease. We aren't talking a few sources buried in obscure places: the existence and popularity of the show is well established. Prong 2 might be able to pass, but it's a bit more questionable. The amount of detail on "Valerie Grey", the character, necessary to comprehend "Danny Phantom", the work, would seem to be low, and an independent article might not be justified. I could see arguments pro and con on that point. Failure of prong 3 is evident: no real-world information is present in the article. A cursory search doesn't reveal any. If people could find real-world information, it would certainly pass this prong. As the article stands now, it's a delete. Improved with real-world information, it would quickly become at least a provisional keep, and with any corroboration of the character's importance to the series, it would become a clear keep. Prong 2 is the sticky point, which is one of the reasons I want to keep it as a filter. Otherwise, minor character articles would proliferate out of control.—Kww(talk) 12:43, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Ahhh, Can I throw {{fact}} on it passing prong one? What makes you say that, when there are not secondary sources that surpass, outstrip or transcend the multiple reliable sources that we normally require? - brenneman 12:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
We would routinely accept a series as passing WP:N based on an IMDB article and a review from TV Guide. This thing gets 1.4 million Google hits, has an IMDB article, a dedicated page on TV Guide, as well as 173 mentions there, independent guides to video games about him, etc. The franchise doesn't just squeak its way past WP:N, it exceeds the minimum standard.—Kww(talk) 15:11, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
The article may pass prong 1 and 2 (I am unfamilar with the show and say this in good faith), but the lack of Google News/Scholar/Books hits indicates that there is no real-world info (prong 3) available for the character. This makes this particular article look unimprovable and wikipedia is better off not having it, so the article should at best be merged&redirected, and at worst deleted. That's not to say that maybe Danny Phantom (character) could satisfy prong 3, but the May 2008 notability time stamp isn't looking bright there either. – sgeureka tc 13:43, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually it gets four Google News and one Google Book Hits. Thus, it's not a hoax, libel, etc. and if it's redirectable, there is no reason for the edit history to be deleted. There should not be an AfD on this, but rather a talk page discussion of the validity of a merge, improvement, or redirect with edit history intact. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:36, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
You got me. The German equivalent of the word "lack" implies "shortage", while the English word implies total absense; I meant the first meaning. With all important and due info present in the LoC, there is nothing to merge, and with a shortage of good sources, there is nothing to improve for a standalone article (i.e. all new info short be added to the LoC). Seeing that the article was silently restored to its pre-redirect version, a deletion with redirect would actually solve that problem from being repeated. I see no benefit in keeping the edit history of a subject that should not have its own article by today's wiki standards and that is at risk of edit wars over a redirect, but your mileage may vary. – sgeureka tc 20:06, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
There's no reason not to keep the edit history. Reasons for keeping include the usefulness for non-admins like myself to see contributions of potential admin candidates and that there is a basis or framework of an article when/if additional sources are found for either future development or future merging that saves time from having to request undeletion or starting over. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 20:59, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I feel prong 1 is a weak, but passable, case (particularly when you look at the main series article). Prong 2 is fine, but Prong 3 fails. Because of the weakness of the first prong, prong 3 would need to be well met to make this a non-redirect. (Mind you, and maybe something to address, my hands twitch at that much plot description which is effective reduplication of episode plots instead of a true character description, making me want to editorially move it into a list instead of leaving it like it is regardless of notability) --MASEM 14:43, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
A clear pass on prong 1 (a three-season show on a national cable network that's on almost every cable package sold in the US is going to significantly exceed WP:N - arguments to the contrary fail the sniff test). A plausible pass on prong 2 - recurring character. Fails prong 3, however. Ergo, merge. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:39, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Let's see how fun this test is to apply.
  • The first prong isn't passed. Danny Phantom is merely a notable fictional work. I haven't seen any clear claim or artistic or critical impact. Merely existing for three seasons isn't enough to pass the first prong.
  • I refuse to accept that this passes prong 2, because no one has shown me objective evidence that this character is important.
  • It has plenty of information on development, as her suit changed throughout the series. The article also discusses how the voice actor changed throughout the series.
So, it fails the first two prongs, and passes the third prong. Randomran (talk) 16:18, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Man, you're difficult, aren't you: The first prong is explicitly passed "when the work (not the element) exceeds the relevant notability guidelines." (As a note, I really do think we need an adjective like "significantly" there, just so that this doesn't become "three sources and it's through!") A major multi-season television show is going to significantly exceed the GNG, which is the relevant guideline here. As for the second prong, well, that depends on which version of it we're using - if we're using the one that grants an assumption of passage to major characters, one of the primary antagonists of the series would surely count. As for the third prong, however, the suit changes are plot information, since the show is about super-powered suits, and the information is phrased as in-universe events. The voice actor changing is exactly the sort of "names of the production staff" that does not satisfy the third prong. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:55, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
But the first prong is concerned with the importance of the original work, and I haven't seen a clear claim of importance. You're right about the second prong though. I was bringing up the third-prong mostly to be devil's advocate: I want you to imagine having this argument with 6 fans who insist that there's real world coverage here, and that you're asking for blood from a stone. This is exactly why it might be a good idea to drop a prong. Randomran (talk) 17:41, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I was my understanding the third prong requires non-plot sources (of which the article has none). Otherwise, I could write long long articles about any character because of a change of clothes. Unless I am missing something, the voice actresses are just mentioned in two sentences in the lead (nearly any character is played or voiced by a real person), and this little bit of information hardly justifies a stand-alone article. – sgeureka tc 20:18, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Although i voted delete in the "test case", i'm pretty happy with the final result of turning it into a disambiguating redirect. However, when i think articles are clearly unsuitable as standalones, i am always wary of voting "merge", when the merge is non-binding in any way (even the closing admin can say "keep"). As long as the merge option can not be trusted to be interpreted as the !voter meant, then it will continue to cause problems. Making "Merge" an offical (and enforced) result would go a long way to making me happy to say merge these fiction article. Enforcement is not difficult; if the consensus is to merge, the closing admin should move the page to be a subpage at the targets talk page, and change the redirect to point to the article. It is no more difficult than deletion, would keep all contribs in history, and make "merge" a viable !vote. Hence any WP:Fict guideline would have to coordinate with changes to AfD to make redirect/merge stronger to get my support.Yobmod (talk) 12:36, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Nature of commissioning

Sorry to split this out, but I saw this assertion a few times in the above discussion and I wasn't sure how to rebut it other than to split it out. There seems to be an assumption that dvd liner notes, commentary and website blogs by the creator of a fictive world are comparable to a self-published website. I think we need to slay that dragon here and now. Firstly, a self-published web-site is one published by the author; in comparison, how many dvd's of succesful television shows are published by the author? Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm fairly sure Dr Who is released on dvd through the BBC rather than Russell T Davies or David Tennant. Therefore, any commentary or liner notes these creators offer is not self-published. It is material commissioned by the publishing company, in much the same way a newspaper or magazine commissions articles. If an interview with a creator published in a magazine is a reliable source, even though the interviewee may have been paid, why then do we differentiate because it is being broadcast rather than printed?

Secondly, a lot of blogs by creators are not similar to mine or yours. When I die, no-one is going to auction my diaries, nor mine them for detail. The thoughts of creators have always been used to understand and shape our understanding of why they did what they did, why they created what they created. The reason we do not use blogs as reliable sources are many, but stem from the days when it wasn't that common for a creator to blog. It followed that you couldn't be sure that the blogger was who they purported to be. That's not a huge problem these days. How we use these sources is of course, strictly in line with our original research. We can't evaluate or analyse; we can't make deductive leaps. But if David Tennant states that it was his choice that The Doctor wore Converse trainers, that requires no analysis. It is what it is, a clear statement, a clear production detail, a clear creative decision. It expands an understanding of the creation of the character. I understand that the issues tend to start when these details build up to the point that an article becomes longer than our recommended size. But that's where the argument is; to what depth do we cover notable topics? I guess I've wandered far from the point. I guess maybe I am saying that actually I oppose this guidance because it doesn't really address the main point. Which facts, which we can reliably source and summarise accurately, do we leave out? Hiding T 15:30, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

  • here's a secondary thought. If it is the depth that is causing issue, would it be worth bringing forwards a proposal for the community to expand it's base? For the community to investigate the setting up of non-profit, advertising funded wiki's based around topics to accommodate the depth unattainable on Wikipedia? These wiki's would hopefully cover hosting costs through an advertising model and any excess could be channelled back to the Foundation. Let's at least get the idea out there. Is there a way we could set this up? Hiding T 15:38, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I genuinely can't tell if you're serious or being sarcastic. Aren't you describing exactly what Wikia is? --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 16:01, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
My understanding is that wikia is a for-profit corporation. I am proposing a not-for-profit charitable organisation, so I hope that clarifies the differences. Hiding T 16:47, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Proposals like this go to meta:Proposals for new projects, where several existing proposals (such as WikiTrivia) might be what you are looking for. However, in all but the profit this would be duplicating the efforts of Wikia, which has some wonderful in-depth wikis. For example: Muppet Wiki has its own articles on David Gergen, World AIDS Day and saxophones and so forth, entirely from the perspective of Muppets, no limit to detail. I wish more of Wikipedia's disgruntled fiction editors had this sort of initiative. / edg 17:19, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't gone through all of the rigmarole to achieve non-profit status, but I don't think they even advertise themselves - do you really think that Jimbo Wales et. al. are out to become tycoons with Wikia? And even if they were... why set up a complete duplicate project? What does it matter how the taxes are filed if Wikia is already providing exactly what you're describing - free, in-depth fiction wikis funded by ads, publishing GFDL-licensed content? --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 15:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Whether they are comparable to a self-published item is a philosophical point that I won't address. They are, however, not third-party. They are published by people that profit from promoting the work, and cannot be considered independent of the creator. Creating an article based solely on such material would violate both WP:RS and WP:V.—Kww(talk) 15:42, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
But that follows from anything for which we pay, from newspapers and magazines to text books. They are created to sell. Your underlying point is that because they are published for profit they are not independent; this is a flawed assumption and not a fact. People commission things which will sell because of their independence. I'd be grateful if you could expand your points because they don't stand any meaningful analysis. Firstly, are you suggesting that a company would publish something that they do not believe will sell? Hiding T 16:09, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
It's the nature of the publishing industry to make a profit, and I'm not going to attempt to deny that. However, a publication that, for example, reviews movies, publishes movie reviews because they have made the editorial decision that a significant percentage of their audience will be interested in that movie. They don't make a different profit by specifically reviewing MGM movies vs. Dreamworks, and their profit doesn't change by saying that a particular movie is good, bad, or mediocre. In general, they profit by making a fair and accurate representation of the film: people will buy it to read the film reviews more often if they believe that its reviews accurately predict whether they will enjoy a movie. With such publications, the profit motive serves to increase the reliability of the text. Joss Whedon reviewing "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has no such motivation. It's hard to envision a situation where Joss Whedon would tell you that, for example, Season 3 of "Angel" sucked so bad and so hard that every extant copy should be burnt. Independent sources happily admit that it represents the worst effort he ever made.—Kww(talk) 16:35, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm now trying to fit your viewpoint around the issue of 20th Century Fox, the Fox Network, SKY TV and the News International stable of newspapers. Are these sources independent of each other? Further, I can cite quite a number of sources which aver that film reviews have actually become a lot softer, because reviewers and publishers are somewhat in thrall to the movie industry; they need a healthy industry and a healthy relationship with studios to maintain their own commercial interest. To tackle the main thrust of your point, you haven't really reached into the full stretch of my argument. We can both agree that Buffy is of note. What we need to work out is how deep to cover Buffy. Is every published statement and fact published about Buffy fair game to be summarised, or should we start using our own points of view to determine which facts should be utilised when building an argument? That's the nub of this argument; it has nothing to do with notability; Buffy is already notable. Hiding T 09:31, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
If you want to argue that there's some fuzz in the definitions of independent, I can't argue. In the world of international conglomerates, absolute complete independence is hard to prove. The issues that we argue about tend not to even be close calls, though. DVD commentaries are not independent: they are produced by people that profit from selling the DVD, and contain statements from the people that created the individual work. Is Fox News an independent source about "The Simpsons"? I would be very leery of any fact that someone introduced into a Simpson article that could only be sourced to Fox News ... while the relationship seems to be arm's length, there's still a strong potential for collaborative bias. The beauty of strict adherence to WP:V and WP:N, including the admonition to rely on third-party sourcing is that the weighting is pretty much taken out of our hands ... the depth of coverage will mirror the overall balance of the rest of the world, which is as it should be. Buffy gets a lot of coverage, but Amy's Mom gets a bare whimper of coverage in independent press, so she gets barely a whimper here.—Kww(talk) 15:28, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I don;t think the argument is really about whether Amy's Mom gets an article, is it. It's more likely about whether Faith (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) does. An intriguing question at this point is probably to ask where WP:IAR fits into your view of Wikipedia. I'm also disturbed at your decision to call on a strict adherence to WP:V and WP:N. That would indicate a stricter reading than is the norm or the consensus, which would indicate adopting a view that conflicts with WP:CONSENSUS. I would rather we adopted a view which encompassed the entirety of our policy base rather than pick and choose which policies and guidance should be adhered to with varying degrees. If we take the policy base together, we find there is actually no reason to ignore a published fact on a topic providing it can be reliable sourced, and providing an article on that topic is merited. All facts should be considered so that we maintain a neutral point of view. But we are wandering far from the initial point. What constitutes third part publishing, how far do we need to lean on it, and what did policy makers have in mind when they framed them? A lot of our policy has been written with the sciences in mind, let us not lose sight of that very important detail. The argument that is being waged here is to what depth we go; it has nothing to do with notability and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. Who do we rely on for descriptions of a scientific theory? Proponents of it. But a scientific theory works in a different way to a work of fiction. A scientific theory is not (typically) subject to copyright. So many issues separate them, it seems somewhat odd to have policies which cover them both. Would we really instigate a policy which called for both apples and oranges to be the same color? Hiding T 16:47, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Amy's Mom is really the topic of this compromise (which I support pragmatically, although I detest it philosophically). The whole purpose was to write a guideline that permitted an article on Faith (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) while not permitting one on Amy's Mom. I think it succeeds at that, and I wish people would take the time to read it before they issued an opinion. It amazes me how many people think that this is an effort to tighten notability requirements ... it loosens them so badly that I feel like I sold out, and people then are reading it as doing the exact opposite.—Kww(talk) 00:46, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I think that primary sources pass WP:V, since they can verify information in the article. The don't pass WP:RS, however, which is why the proposal here still urges users to add reliable secondary sources. Information such as developer blogs and commentary can be used to add verifiable real-world information to an article, which helps with prong #3 here, but independent sources are still needed to produce a quality article that is unlikely to be merged or deleted. -Drilnoth (talk) 16:27, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
WP:V is quite specific that the article needs to rely on independent sourcing. It doesn't prohibit the use of primary sourcing. Each primary source may be usable, but an article built only from primary sources still fails that guidance.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Kww (talkcontribs)
No, WP:V doesn't even use the word independent. The key word in WP:V is reliable. There is a presumption that reliability increases as you ascend the tier of sources - primary/secondary/tertiary - but this is just a general guideline which seems to be focussed upon real-world facts such as history, science and the like. In the case of fiction, this is not the case because a work of fiction, by its nature, is definitive. Take the famous case of whether Han shot first. This is not an objective fact with one correct answer, arrived at by generations of scholarship. No, it is an arbitrary decision of the creators - the author, director or editor - and so may vary in different editions, as we see. The most reliable sources in such cases are the authoritative and official editions of the works of fiction. Colonel Warden (talk) 11:28, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
It uses the word "third-party", and nothing produced by or licensed by the creators is "third-party".—Kww(talk) 15:28, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't it say "third-party published sources"? It is quite possible for something produced by a creator to be published by a third party. And let us not lose sight of the fact that this caveat was introduced mainly to deal with self-published pseudo science and theorising. Hiding T 16:47, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
"Third party" appears twice:
  • If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it.
  • Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy
You could debate the second one with your reading (I don't think you are right, however). The first one would be pretty hard to get around.—Kww(talk) 22:41, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
I wrote the first one. There's nothing to debate on either point. It's amusing that you say up above that people are reading this guideline and believing it says the opposite. I get that a lot. Hiding T 04:54, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
It always causes difficulties when someone writes something that doesn't reflect their intended meaning. It's the actual meaning of the words that have effect, though.—Kww(talk) 17:46, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
I always find problems occur when words are quoted extant from important contextual markers. Hiding T 12:11, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I find that problems occur when policies and guidelines are changed because of a dispute over one article. --Pixelface (talk) 07:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
To be frank, we could have approached asserting fiction another way - by figuring out how to redefine WP:V and WP:RS. Fiction is marginalized by strict adherence to "independent third-party sources", when WP aims to be a broad coverage of human knowledge. Obviously, the goal is not to reduce the strength of V/RS to a point that one can write a complete article about a minor cameo character in a TV show and declare it encyclopedic, but there is a balance between the strict use of independent third-party sources and considering what sources are appropriate to help make a element of fiction more than just a regurgitation of plot summary. This is a much much larger problem that would likely take several months to resolve. At the present, we recognize that V/RS are still necessary to pass the quality of GA/FA articles, but in terms of seeking to end the editing wars over fiction, allowance of other sources to assert notability for the time being is a safe compromise - this will still likely reduce the number of articles on fiction though gives an easier barrier to be able to pass to allow time for articles to improve on while the larger picture of how we really should be covering fiction on WP can be discussed. --MASEM 16:30, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
To address the example: yes, Doctor Who is released by the BBC's subsidaries; 2 entertain in the UK, and BBC Worldwide (itself the parent of 2 entertain) elsewhere. But really, this discussion about independence is moot in most cases, given that, if people get their fingers out and write about the production of stuff, very often they become viable spinout articles. Sceptre (talk) 19:33, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Couldn't agree more. That's why this guidance misses the point, if you ask me. The argument isn't about the notability of a topic. It is about how to summarise. If we could get better agreement, a better compromise on how to write articles, and what a good article looks like, we wouldn't need this guidance and this argument. We could sidestep this argument, engage with each other and work together to build a better encyclopedia. We have to solve the issue of whether to have either: a well written, well sourced stub; a bloated, rambling article; or nothing. Given that we serve a readership that comes to us to be informed, I would argue the first approach wins out. That's the only question that needs answering, and for me that should be the basis of a policy. I think it is enshrined in WP:IAR, but maybe we need to be clearer. Hiding T 09:31, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry to prick your bubble Hiding, but your proposal won't fly. What you are suggesting is carte blanche for plot only articles. WP:NOT#PLOT prohibits plot summary on its own, and in any case such articles are not encyclopedic because they don't contain any real-world coverage such as context, commentary, analyis or criticism. Your proposal cannot be accomodated here - either you go to WP:Village pump (policy) and get policy changed or you move yourself over to Wikia where the inclusion criteria for fiction are much more loose. We can't provide an exemption for fictional topics from policy - that would an example of an editorial walled garden. --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:46, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
  • You're wrong Gavin. Arguing over the rules rather than article sontent is what kills my proposal, and what slowly strangles Wikipedia. That what you write actually has no relation to anything I write is why I no longer choose to engage with you. Having proposed WP:PLOT, I think it's quite clear I am firmly on the side of articles containing real-world coverage such as context, commentary, analyis or criticism. If that were really what this argument is about, there would be no problem. What this argument is really about is people standing inside glass houses which mark their vision for Wikipedia, slowly throwing stones at other people's. Hiding T 12:02, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I can't conceive of a plot-only article that either isn't itself a bloated, rambling article or part of a scattered, rambling article series. - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire - past ops) 16:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm fortunate; I have an open mind, and as such, no pre-conceptions. I'm happy to judge each case on its merits. Hiding T 12:02, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Really? I would say that your mind was closed to the approach this guideline is based on. Your attempt to delete WP:NOT#PLOT indicates that you have no desire to support any guideline that seeks to ensure fictional topics are treated in an encyclopedic fashion, but only a subjects of plot summary. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:52, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
  • One edit from my many used as evidence for a character slur? Come on Gavin, that's poor statistical analysis, especially from someone interested in accountancy. How's that coming, by the way? Out of curiosity, do you have that link stashed somewhere for ease of cut and paste? I do wonder if you'll turn up at my funeral and give a eulogy about how I once deleted WP:NOT#PLOT, and actually place it into context for once by mentioning I did it to test whether it still had consensus to remain in policy. Just a thought. I can't work out if you are my own personal troll, or I am yours, or, and this is the best one, you and Pixelface are the same editor engaged in some crusade to try and point out how silly Wikipedian policy is. As if we didn't know that. Still, those are my low moments, and as such, really shouldn't matter for much. I look forward to the next time our paths cross, perhaps after I have just added a few more references to the odd article, and you jump up and tell everyone how I hate references, I hate analysis and I only love plot only articles. I figure I must be doing something right if I occupy the position between you and Pixelface. Heck, I might even have consensus. refactored to avoid any offense I may have caused and for which I would like to apologise. Hiding Consensus endorsed editor 10:32, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • And, just a thought, but if I may, I'd like to counter your argument with the contention that being both an editor who has added WP:PLOT to policy and removed it supports my assertion that I have an open mind, rather than your assertion that I don't. An open mind, by definition, is capable of change. You might want to bear in mind the fact that I openly reserve the right to contradict myself, because I am open to the possibility that I may be wrong on any given occasion. Even this one, if someone can so prove it. Hiding T 10:52, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm not Gavin.collins. But I'll tell you what I think though. Gavin.collins has nominated tons of Dungeons & Dragons articles for deletion. He's cited WP:NOT#PLOT in many of them. Gavin.collins apparently took notice when you removed WP:NOT#PLOT from WP:NOT in May. But he doesn't seem to realize that you removed it because you were playing devil's advocate. And he doesn't seem to be aware that you're the editor who proposed WP:NOT#PLOT to be policy in the first place. And he doesn't seem to be aware that you're the editor who added WP:NOT#PLOT to WP:NOT in the first place.
  • You may be doing something right, but I couldn't tell you what for the life of me. Certainly not this edit to WP:V, that came about because you were having an editwar on UGOPlayer. Certainly not this edit to WP:N, which mutated like cancer into the current "GNG." Certainly not your addition of WP:NOT#PLOT to WP:NOT, which you added even after Leflyman said "I think this would be an extremely contentious issue" and "I suspect that if this were to be seriously promoted, a veritable rebellion would be fomented on Wikipedia", and after Badlydrawnjeff said "is it worth the drama, and does it really improve anything?", and after 6 people supported it and 5 people opposed it, with another person opposing after you added it.
  • I first removed WP:NOT#PLOT on March 10, 2008. That was 3 days after this AFD closed. That was a character article that was pretty much just a plot summary. Yet it was a non-admin closure snowball keep, which you signed off on Hiding. There were also several other character articles nominated for deletion around that time, and the articles were all pretty much just plot summary. Yet there was no consensus to delete them. So it was obvious to me that there was no consensus that articles are not simply plot summaries. It was obvious to me that WP:NOT#PLOT did not have consensus to be policy.
  • Incidentally, nine hours after I first removed WP:NOT#PLOT from WP:NOT, the article History of For Better or For Worse was nominated for deletion for not meeting WP:NOT#PLOT. The article was just a plot summary, nothing more. Yet the article was kept — showing that "Current consensus is that articles are not simply plot summaries" is false. After it was kept, the nominator redirected the article, and then Benjiboi brought it up at ANI, and then Black Kite, a party of E&C2, took it DRV, and then the article was deleted, because of WP:NOT#PLOT — which people in the AFD didn't care about.
  • You don't have consensus behind you. But you acted like you did when you added WP:NOT#PLOT to WP:NOT. It's been pretty funny watching Gavin.collins argue with you. I don't know if it's a misunderstanding, but if Gavin.collins thinks Kermit the Frog is not a fictional character but instead an anthropomorphic frog, I don't know what to think.
  • It was tragic watching you run around trying to save those Brookside articles in May, nominated because of FICT, which was based on WP:NOT#PLOT, which you proposed. In addition to the mountain of threads that WP:NOT#PLOT has spawned at WT:NOT since you added that section to policy, there are two threads about WP:NOT#PLOT at WT:NOT as we speak.[1] (oldid) [2] (oldid)
  • Gavin.collins has made the 2nd most edits to this talkpage. It's entirely possible that Gavin.collins is a troll. I've had my doubts myself. You can contradict yourself all you want, Hiding. But you royally messed up when you added WP:NOT#PLOT to policy. --Pixelface (talk) 12:50, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Like Gavin and Kww, you too lack context and seem to throw, well they're not so much scattergun accusations as disgruntled opining. If you think I'm the only person on Wikipedia to blame for all of the above then I will be your Personal Jesus. But as I indicated before, I'm not interested in this argument any more. It's in policy. I don't lack the courage or integrity to kill it, I lack the ability to make myself understood. And for what it's worth, Jimmy and Larry created Frankenstein's monster. I just darned his sock while everyone else argued over who was going to tighten the bolts in his neck. I think I'll now try to keep to dispute resolution guidance, take a long term view, avoid the situation and wait for other users to move on or consensus to change. Hiding User:Pixelface's own Personal Jesus 14:52, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Well then please fill me in on the context "Hiding." I'm all ears. You're the one who mentioned me in this thread.
  • You proposed WP:NOT#PLOT 13 days after you tagged WAF a guideline. Fine. WAF was created by Amcaja on March 27, 2006[3] — the same day that a press release[4] came out saying Wikicities was renamed Wikia, and the press release mentioned Wookieepedia. WP:WAF mentioned Wookieepedia the day it was created and it continues to plug Wookieeepedia to this day, along with several other Wikia sites. You proposed WP:NOT#PLOT 7 minutes after you mentioned comics.wikia.com on another page. So give me some more context Hiding. What am I missing? If you proposed WP:NOT#PLOT because of articles about comic book characters, have any of them been improved because of WP:NOT#PLOT? When you signed off on this AFD, how did the article relate to WP:NOT#PLOT?
  • In October 2007, Sgeureka said TTN "enforces" WP:NOT#PLOT. Your bad edit to policy led to two arbitration cases, E&C1 and E&C2 — just like Leflyman predicted when you proposed WP:NOT#PLOT.
  • It's in policy, but you never should have added it. There wasn't consensus for it to be policy. It's in policy, but it doesn't describe common practice. It's in policy, but only because 6 people (Hiding, JzG, Will Beback, Rossami, MartinRe, and Deckiller) loosely agreed to it and only because you ignored the 6 people who disagreed with it and only because ten people (Bignole, Cameron Scott, Collectonian, Future Perfect at Sunrise, Jack Merridew, Masem, Moreschi, S@bre, Sceptre, and Sgeureka) have edit-warred to keep it there. I'll let you figure which of those people were involved parties of E&C1 or E&C2. You may recognize some of those people from the E&C2 workshop, Hiding. Why were you there? Is it because you knew you had something to do with it?
  • Maybe Jimmy and Larry did create Frankenstein's monster. But are you familiar with The Sorcerer's Apprentice? You're the apprentice, and TTN is the brooms — and even has a broom award from a sockpuppet to show for it.
  • You're not the only person to blame, but how about you accept a modicum of responsibility? You made some bad edits to policies and guidelines. Do you agree with that or do you want to take back your "mea culpa"? I'm starting to see why you you "absconded" and why you changed your username. --Pixelface (talk) 03:55, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I asked you for advice Hiding, so imagine my surprise when I discovered you talking about me like this here. Do you know that the novel Slaughterhouse-Five isn't considered an acceptable source for the articles Billy Pilgrim or Kilgore Trout or Tralfamadore because of your policy edits? That Kurt Vonnegut is not considered an acceptable source because of your policy edits? WAKE UP. --Pixelface (talk) 00:38, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I apologise that I mentioned your name and in some way offended you. I see you haven't accepted my advice to move on. Did you know that the novel Slaughterhouse-Five is considered an acceptable source to use for the articles Billy Pilgrim and Kilgore Trout and Tralfamadore regardless of my policy edits? That Kurt Vonnegut is considered an acceptable source because of my policy edits? "WAKE UP it's a beautiful morning." The Boo Radleys, "Wake Up Boo". Hiding T 09:42, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Why not just go back?

We had good language for the second prong yesterday that everyone had agreed on before taking it to RFC, and matches the language that people weighed in on during the RFC. It's obvious that the changes have been controversial, with multiple editors pointing out that it changed the fundamental impact of the second prong. If we go back in time to 00:03, 5 February 2009 UTC, there's no reason to mark the RFC failed. If there's a need to simplify it, it can be simplified without changing the fundamental meaning of the prong, or making presumptions of things that should be achieved by consensus.—Kww(talk) 01:17, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I thought for characters and episodes we had come to a general consensus. Not the exact wording, but the overall intent. I think something like:
  1. Role within the fictional work: The element should be an episode from a serialized fictional work or principal protagonist or principal antagonist of the fictional work. Other essential elements of the work, including episodes from non-serialized works and other reoccurring characters, are appropriate too, but only if their significance is verified in commentary from reliable sources. Notability requires evidence, and bald assertions of significance are insufficient.Role within the fictional work: The element should be an important episode from a serialized fictional work or principal protagonist or principal antagonist of the fictional work. Other essential elements of the work, including other episode and other reoccurring characters, are appropriate too, but only if their significance is verified in commentary from reliable sources. Notability requires evidence, and bald assertions of significance are insufficient.
  1. Role within the fictional work: The element should be an episode or recurring character that is central to understanding the fictional work. Other essential elements of the work are appropriate too, but only if their significance is verified in commentary from reliable sources. Notability requires evidence, and bald assertions of significance are insufficient.

じんない 01:29, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Those mean different things, and your second number 1 is the only one I would support, and it's the language used during the RFC. That'll probably be number 2 by the time someone smart enough to figure out how to use block quotes inside numbered lists fixes the formatting. I tried to fix it, but couldn't.—Kww(talk) 01:43, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
At the very least "episode from a serialized work" seems to have broad support.じんない 01:45, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
And detractors. I'm not the only one arguing about this, and it is granting a pretty major presumption. What would prevent us from having an article on every episode of Scrubs? Is it not a serialized work?—Kww(talk) 01:54, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
The other 2 prongs plus the "central to understanding the fictional work", though without doing something like a test question I have proposed before, there will be a lot of wikilawyering about the word "central".じんない 02:01, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Debate is not always wikilawyering, sometimes it's healthy debate. Your first version removes the test of being central to the fictional work, and permits all episodes to pass the second prong. That's why I object to it so strongly. Scrubs certainly passes prong 1, and anything with some production details and DVD commentary will make it past prong 3, but there are few, if any, episodes that are central to understanding Scrubs as a fictional work. All of the episodes are episodes of a serialized work. The second wording serves to make it difficult to justify articles on Scrubs episodes, and the first wording gives them nearly a free pass.—Kww(talk) 02:09, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Ahh...I was thinking it was more due to the way i defined characters. How about "The element should be an important episode from a serialized fictional work..."? If we get any more detailed it may become too complex to explain neatly without footnotes.じんない 02:14, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
To be fair, I think your first version would give the inclusionist side more heartburn on that issue. Take a show like Law&Order: which of those characters are principal protagonists? In any given season, there are between five and seven characters that could be argued to be "important" (two cops, boss of two cops, assistant DA, assistant DA's hot-model-of-the-year-assistant, and the DA). Of all of those, I would only describe the assistant DA as being the principal protagonist.—Kww(talk) 02:35, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. That's my point. Some shows may have multiple principal protagonists, but those ones are rare. My point is that only those characters really are the ones that do not need independent verifiability because their very nature makes them central to the work as a whole (you can't very well have a first person narrative without a primary protagonist, FE, unless it's a documentary). Other central characters are important, but not nearly as much and imo should thus require some kind of reliable source to verify they are essential.じんない 02:42, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Puts you in a Catch-22obligatory fiction reference: if there's any doubt at all, you'll need a reference to validate which one is the principal protagonist as well, and it's dead certain that you won't find a source that clearly states "Jack McCoy is the principal protagonist". By creating specific exceptions, all you do is create more arguments than you got from trying to apply a general rule.—Kww(talk) 03:13, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Kww is right that the wording "important element or character " is much too broad, (I assume you meant this, not important episode--the selection of which episodes deserve full articles is a different & almost equally difficult question.) But the point of this proposal was that such importance is relative--the more important the work, the more the characters will be considered article-worthy. We're not going to have a fixed rule that will not depend to a good deal on judgment, but the wording should be narrower than this. DGG (talk) 04:44, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Well I was trying to help by clarifying the terms while still leaving some wiggle room.じんない 07:17, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Given that we are trying to model this off AFD results, there seems to be some case for episodes or a major character from a highly notable work that has some real world aspects to be kept without any reliable information that demonstrates their importance to the work. I'm not saying this is true for any episode or character article, but there are certainly some that go through without. And while I understand where people like KWW are coming from, worried that any series that is out on DVD can likely find that one nugget of information that would make every episode and character pass this guideline, I would postulate that most of these articles already exist. Remember that the goal is to establish some codified version of what happens at AFD, which is difficult but I think can be done.
Where I am having difficulty in finding a center line is that any further clarification on episodes and characters will increase the amount of language significantly to try to delineate when they are appropriate without sources. This is almost a point where we have to assume some type of good faith input from editors when they claim an episode or character is important. A reliable source is still a much better and more accepted demonstration of this. Articles from a fiction series that in the past has shown the ability to produce quality articles (ala the Simpsons) will likely not be as aggressively evaluated as those from series without such. Maybe we want to include language to the extent that it is impossible by our definition that every episode of a work is important without sources saying as such, and thus editors should only expand standalone articles for a small fraction of them.
The other thing to consider here is that failure to meet the second prong usually means merging to a larger topic, but as we're trying to purposely avoid discussing lists, this can make episodes and characters difficult to deal with. If there was some language that clearly indicated that a fiction element that failed to meet the prongs but otherwise did not fail any other content guideline should be included in some aspect in WP with a redirect to it, that might help (emphasize merging over deletion) without necessarily stating lists. Thus, an episode or character that is not determined to be important to the work due to a reliance source that doesn't state this would still be covered somewhere. --MASEM 13:37, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I understand the "codify what already happens" argument, but "what already happens" for most episodes is that they get tucked away into lists, and a few outliers remain separate. There are a few series that manage to pass the GNG for every episode, and this guideline isn't going to have much affect on them. With those exceptions, removing the need to provide a verifiable argument for importance of an episode represents a drift towards the inclusionist side, not a mirror of common practice.—Kww(talk) 14:20, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that the series that survive AfDs and the series that have every episode pass the GNG are coexistent sets, though. Individual Doctor Who episodes do just as poorly at unlicensed mentions in reliable sources as do individual Pokemon, but you'd get pilloried for trying to delete those. Can you give a few examples of shows that have been successfully merged via consensus? I'm interested in the sorts of episode articles that get merged. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:36, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah. Found one on my own - I'd forgotten that TTN had executed merges of Gilmore Girls. [5] is an example. I see an article with no effort at real-world perspective. Fails the third prong. Interestingly, even TTN, our boogeyman deletionist, seems not to be imposing a much stricter standard than that - by his edit summary, a directors commentary would be fine for sparing the article. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:41, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, he wanted director commentary and reviews, which would pass the article into GNG territory. TTN generally went for low-hanging fruit ... it always disturbed me a bit that people could defend most of the articles he redirected.—Kww(talk) 15:23, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
At the risk of exceptionally deep digging into language parsing, "information like director commentary and reviews" suggests that what is needed is information, and director commentaries and reviews are both listed options for fulfilling this - but what is demanded is not both. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:26, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't get it. What's so bad about lists of episodes or characters? Shadowfax, a minor character from Lord of the Rings is what I see as the perfect example: a character with a significant albeit minor role is given presence on the wiki, and a appropriately linked redirect takes you to the correct spot. See, it goes right to the section. What's wrong with putting content in lists, why does no one like lists? --NickPenguin(contribs) 14:46, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Because without episode articles getting a pass on the second prong, an article like The Claws of Axos would be deleted, despite the fact that it has a good amount of real-world perspective and a concise plot summary. (It does not pass WP:N - none of the sources are independent save for the Outpost Gallifrey and Doctor Who Reference Guide, which are both fansites and fail WP:RS). But if you merge it to a list, you're left with the unsatisfying result of having to condense a 90 minute story into three sentences of plot, you lose the production information, you lose the release history. So you lose verifiable, useful information. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:52, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
What? Sounds like whoever is doing the merger isn't merging all the relevant information. I fail to see why items on lists cannot have subsections and effectively make them look like regular articles. --NickPenguin(contribs) 15:00, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Part of the problem is what is acceptable in such a list. I disagree that we'd have to condense down a plot to three sentences, but at the same time, we're not going to include the same level of other details as Claws of Axos shows in a list. There's a balance as well as a process that needs to be better defined before assuring that lists are ok. --MASEM 15:04, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Claws of Axos is an 11Kb article. Not much of that is extraneous. And it's readily expandable, it should be noted, with no review information yet. (Multiple non-independent review sources exist for all Doctor Who episodes, as the BBC has published several books that include reviews of all episodes. And before someone starts, the books do contain plenty of negative reviews). The resultant list article would, it seems to me, be unmanageably large and messy - why wouldn't we want individual pages for these? Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:06, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
So you would simply tweak the guideline in order to prevent a policy-violating article from meeting its proper fate at AFD? You would codify the "I like it" camp into a guideline? If none of its "real-world" information is derived from a reliable source, and it's relying on fansites, that's much worse than the situation where its real-world information is being derived from reliable but non-independent sources like DVD commentaries and other creator-sponsored information. You aren't asking for a pass on the second prong ... if it wouldn't pass as a reliable source review, you're asking for a pass on the third as well.—Kww(talk) 15:08, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I was unclear - the article does have reliable sources. The reliable sources, however, are not independent. And the independent sources are not reliable (though they seem to be being used only for a table of transmission dates and ratings information, which I know can be replaced by reliable sources.) The article has multiple reliable sources. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Lists can't have Part 1 and Part 2? Perfect example in my mind is Joseph Smith, Jr., who has articles like: Life of Joseph Smith, Jr. from 1827 to 1830, Life of Joseph Smith, Jr. from 1831 to 1834, Life of Joseph Smith, Jr. from 1835 to 1838, Life of Joseph Smith, Jr. from 1838 to 1842, Life of Joseph Smith, Jr. from 1842 to 1844. --NickPenguin(contribs) 15:13, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
The core problem besides how info is put into them is that some believe that a list of non-notable elements is inappropriate for WP; others do not. That's not limited to fiction, as it could be applied to sports teams, towns and villages, roads, etc. It is a larger issue to be addressed in how WP:N and summary style interact. --MASEM 15:37, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
The lists of episodes are an uneasy compromise, to be sure, but that doesn't justify this guideline effectively advocating their elimination. Especially not changing the guideline after the RFC to do so.—Kww(talk) 17:00, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Going back to Kww post at the start of this section, I see this amendment as being the source of our disagreement. Although Randomran viewed this amendment as "tightening this up", the effect is actually to provide some ambiguity into the guideline, in the sense the amendment suggested that certain types recurring element don't have to be the subject of reliable sources, whereas "Other essential elements of the work are appropriate too, but only if their significance is verified in commentary from reliable sources". As I have argued before, there is no hierarchy of fictional elements that is not a matter of personal opinion, but we can judge their importance in terms of sourcing. If a element of fiction is the subject of reliable sources, that is a good test for inclusion as a standalone article, and I think we should keep this prong as it is a good test, not a bad one. --Gavin Collins (talk) 23:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
But I don't see those as substantially different in meaning. Recurring characters *are* important, and the intention was never to give them a pass on the need for sources. Just that it would be enough to show that the character recurs to show the minimal level of importance: use a few fictional works to verify that they've shown up multiple times. The other two prongs would then be used to make sure that not every recurring character gets an article. Randomran (talk) 00:39, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
The reason we don't go back is because people didn't agree what it meant. It turns out that some people thought "it should be an episode or character" was just a clarification of the kinds of elements that all need reliable sources. We need to negotiate this one, though. Because right now, it's become very strict, and that's with two other prongs that are already very strict. I'd rather just drop the prong entirely, because it really adds complexity for very little value now. Randomran (talk) 00:35, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I'll accept language simplification. It was granting a blanket pass to episodes under the guise of simplification that I objected to.—Kww(talk) 01:04, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • But when we simplified it, we revealed an underlying disagreement about what the more vague wording meant. No matter which way we simplify it, we're going to piss some people off -- people who think there should be an exception for certain characters / episodes, versus those who disagree there shouldn't be.
  • I have another idea though. I don't think anyone ever intended to give a "blanket pass" to characters or episodes. Rather, the idea was to outline specific circumstances where a character or episode would meet the second prong. One of those circumstances was if the character was a recurring character, which could be easily verified in the fictional works themselves. But I'm interested to hear if you think there are circumstances where a character would pass the second prong without third-party sources. Something objective. I think we can build those circumstances into the prong. Randomran (talk) 02:45, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Monkey D. Luffy was not merged during the discussion about One Piece mergers on the fact he was "presumed notable" based on concept and creation from interviews with the author. There is 1 trivial 3rd-party source for a claim to notability with the rest being unreferenced.じんない 03:08, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I haven't argued that the second prong needed validation by third-party sources ... simply that the argument for importance needs to be made for both episodes and characters, and be verifiable. An argument that says that "character x's personality needs to be understood, because his rash decision making is the pivotal plot point in 17 episodes in the first season" is a verifiable argument, although I would like to see it expanded a little bit in real life with the list of 17 episodes and whatnot. "Anya is an important character because Joss Whedon says that exploring her transformation from demon to human was the dramatic counterpoint to Buffy's recovery from her resurrection. He said that in the commentary of episode so-and-so" is a verifiable argument. They may or may not be good arguments, but that's to be debated at AFD. Both of them are arguments of importance, and both can be verified either in primary or secondary sources.
As for there being an objective, "every time this is true, importance of the character has been demonstrated sufficiently to pass the second prong", test, I really don't think so. Appears in every episode? I'd argue against Carlton the Doorman from Rhoda. Do you really need to understand the character of Race Bannon to understand Jonny Quest? I think not. Premiere episodes? A stronger argument, there, but not really compelling ... they tend to set the stage for a series, and most elements of most premieres get covered in the overview of a series anyway.
If you wanted the simplest, unambiguous language that doesn't change the actual scope of the prong, I think it would be close to The element must be an important element that needs to be explored more thoroughly to gain an understanding of the work, and its importance must be verifiable. The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated through the use of primary or secondary sources, while the importance of other elements must be validated in secondary sources.Kww(talk) 03:21, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure it's a relief to many inclusionists that you think the second prong can be met by relying upon primary sources. But for the sake of reducing bureaucracy, it would be nice to have an "every time this is true" or even "most of the time this is true" kind of test. I think a lot of the objections are coming from people who hate bureaucracy and worry that AFDs would become a long tedious essay competition about what is or isn't important, or objections from people who are worried that extreme inclusionists or deletionists will wikilawyer a certain part of the test to get their way. Can you think of *any* way we might objectify this a little bit more, to reduce bureaucracy and wikilawyering, and save wasted time and energy? Randomran (talk) 03:34, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • We can't rely on primary sources, as their interpretation involves personal opinion. The only way we can identify an element of fiction as being important or having a significant role is to cite reliable sources. Verifiable objective evidence to support these arguements is needed, not personal opinion. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:34, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

The text that appears to be the subject of the disputes above is this:

episodes/storylines of a serialized work with overarching plots can be assumed to pass this prong

Although I consider myself an inclusionist, I agree with the sentiments that this is too broad. Perhaps this phrasing would be more likely to gain acceptance:

episodes/storylines of a serialized work which contain plot points that are relevant to the work's overarching plot can be assumed to pass this prong

That way, to pick on the favourite example above, a Scrubs episode would only get a free pass if it contained a plot item that became important for future episodes (e.g., introduced a new recurring character, changed the state of the relationships between two of the main characters, was the last episode featuring a recurring character, etc.). JulesH (talk) 09:43, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Assumptions alone won't work. Evidence of some sort, like reliable sources, is needed, otherwise every element would pass. The test needs to be verifiable and assumptions on their own are not verifable. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:37, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • It would be useful to show what would be considered sufficient importance, at least for episodes and characters because they are the most common. I agree with you that it can't work on assumptions -- it has to work on evidence. But I reject the idea that using primary sources for this prong will somehow require subjective interpretation and WP:OR. Summarizing research from a reliable third-party source requires interpretation too. But it doesn't mean they require personal opinion. If folks can't make unoriginal summaries on Wikipedia, we wouldn't get very far. The previous edit definitely said this, and I'd like to think that never changed. The old version said we're allowed to use primary sources to demonstrate importance within the fictional work, but only if we focus on indisputable facts. If we require third-party sources, then we're back at WP:N. Why have a second prong at all? I don't think it's too bold to say that there are some kinds of evidence that would work in 90% of all cases. Randomran (talk) 15:49, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • If you wanted to place an explanatory note outside of the prong that provided examples of frequently useful arguments, I could probably be persuaded. The language would have to be cautious, though. There's a big difference between saying "these arguments are commonly persuasive" and "characters that meet these tests are presumed important".—Kww(talk) 15:56, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I doubt we could come up with anything that wouldn't have a common sense exception. But, for example, wouldn't a television character be important to the work if the opening credits always featured them, with the name of the actor who plays them underneath? I think that would be true in 90% of cases, if not 99%. Randomran (talk) 16:01, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Only if a detailed explanation of that character was necessary to understand the work. It's meeting that "central to the work" test that is very hard to lay down bright guidelines on. I think you could describe Law&Order quite well without having a separate article on any of the police officers involved, for example. How detailed of a description of Wolowitz is needed to understand The Big Bang Theory? The prong is not supposed to be a pass for describing all credited characters. It's supposed to be a logical extrapolation from the concept that when describing a show, some information may be necessary to fully explain it that won't comfortably fit in the parent article, and is better off being split off than pruned. "All credited characters" is a much larger group of elements than the set that meets that goal.—Kww(talk) 16:17, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • But wouldn't that also be constrained by the amount of information you could find for the third prong, as well as the independent sourcing requirement? Sure, there would be a lot of credited characters, but many of them would ultimately get merged when there is nothing significant about their development or reception, let alone anything from third-party sources. Certainly we would cover many of these guys in the main series article? Randomran (talk) 16:21, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • On a highly popular show, the third prong isn't much of a restraint, as DVD commentaries and fan-site entries will permit material on nearly all characters, and it doesn't take much independent notice to satisfy our extremely weak language on independent sourcing.—Kww(talk) 21:21, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • If they aren't doing much and they're easy to pass, then why have them at all? Why not just strengthen the hell out of the second prong? Having two prongs that aren't "much of a restraint" adds excess bureaucracy, and the potential for Wikilawyering. Again, I'm not attacking the logic of your viewpoint. But you have to understand that if you insist upon having all these standards, we're not going to have a guideline, because it won't have support from moderate inclusionists, and it will be opposed by people who see it as excessively bureaucratic and complicated. We need ideas for a broader base of support, here. That means the guideline needs to be less restrictive, have fewer requirements, have more bright-line tests than "interpretive" tests, or all of the above. Do you have any ideas for how to increase our base of support? Randomran (talk) 21:28, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Each prong is effective against a certain kind of problem. Prong 1 prevents fan-fiction and extremely obscure works. Prong 3 blocks articles that can only grow into violations of WP:NOT#PLOT. Prong 2 prevents a popular work from having an enormous collection of articles devoted to excessive coverage of every minor detail.—Kww(talk) 12:15, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Turn back to the left. I miss a bit the meaning of the stuff above, but there is no doubt about Randorman said. Wiki projects are becaming a thing used by black belt guys. Rules are more and more restrictive, a sort of paranoic behauvoir against free editing. But wait, wikis was built without so much boureucracy. See to wikinews and similar stuff, as example. They simply cannot grow up, but rather fall down. Why? Too few policies? Too few rules? Wiki project will never so 'reliable' as a 'professional work', but nobody should think the opposite. This is a free work, after all. Too complicated rules, too powerful tools for wikilawyers, too disturbing limits to editor's work and too suspects against everything you can post. We could talk about the ridicolous size of images (forced to be 'thumb dimensions'), and so on. What's will be wikipedia? I hope still a thing thinked to be used and enjoyed by 7 billions humans, rather than 7 thousand 'experts'. Regards.--Stefanomencarelli (talk) 22:07, 8 February 2009 (UTC)


Throwing out an idea here, as maybe the second prong is actually wrong in what we want. The first seems ok, and the third is an absolute must. What the second, I believe, should be doing, is to make sure that we're not going to create a permastub that's about an incidental element that cannot be expanded beyond a few paragraphs of text. Given this, maybe its not the importances of the element to the work, but the necessity to expand the element beyond the basic plot summary of the work. This excludes cameos and certain minor charaters, but at the same time may also exclude major and minor characters that can be simply described (particular for one-time works or less-continuity based works, say, like Fred Flintstone (*I'm sure Fred is notable by the GNG, I'm looking at the plot aspects only). Same with episodes; not every episode of "Lost" can be expanded significantly from a given season's mythology (particular though heavy on flashbacks to the major characters) but some, like "The Constant", require more exploration due to the complexity of the plot itself. I would love to figure if there's a way to codify this better, however. --MASEM 21:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

2: Covering the element in the parent article would create an overbalance of content. When specific content is adding significant length to the article, it is sometimes appropriate to split out content into a new article. The parent article must be unable to handle the added content that would be in the new article.
Maybe? --NickPenguin(contribs) 00:04, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
It's sort of the right idea, but it does imply a sort of "The more you write the more likely it'll be kept" which goes against the whole NOT#PLOT thing. Previously I would have described it as an "undue weight" thing, i.e. giving a character an article made him seem too important comparatively, but that isn't really what WP:undue weight means. To me, one of the most telling signs of a bad article subject is that the plot summary is the same plot, written at the same (appropriate) level of detail, as one that can be found elsewhere, typically a parent article. That isn't exactly a codifiable criterion either though. Nifboy (talk) 04:52, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't believe there is a way to get around this without being so vague it can cause confusion and probably create more problems than it solves unless we set out and at least define a basic white and black list. Otherwise it will just be based upon who is in the AfD and how good either side (usually the inclusionist) is at defending their article which disporoportiatly favors veterans over new editors and if the admin closing it decides to just count votes or actually reads reasons why, for both sides.じんない 05:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah there's a really tight trade off here. If we go more inclusionist, we lose deletionists. If we go more deletionist, we lose inclusionists. But if we go to a more interpretive "apply it and discuss it at AFD" approach, we're going to lose anti-bureaucracy folks. I think our best hope comes from reducing bureaucracy, and winning over more support from editors who don't want excessively detailed rules. In that sense, we either need to drop a prong, merge a prong, or make a prong so bright-lined that we won't waste too much time arguing about what passes it or not. Randomran (talk) 06:25, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
We could possibly drop it if give such a list so people get an idea what is considered apporpiate/not. Other guidelines do this.じんない 06:51, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I think Nifboy has made an important point that without this test, we end up duplicating plot summaries, in the sense that many articles about characters and episodes use the same sources as those cited in the over-arching ficitonal work, e.g The Terminator and Terminator (character). Every fictional element is mentioned in the primary source itself as an element of plot. However, when writing an article about a fictional topic, there is no encyclopedic value from from plot summary on its own; what is needed is some basic information about who created the character and why, and we need to get that information from a reliable source. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:40, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Gavin. It's a bit murkier, but no less essential than the other prongs; that's why we made it that it has to pass all three; because removing one neuters the guideline. I'm sure there's a bunch of people who would want to say "no more b'cracy!", but frankly they are deluding themselves somewhat into believing you can have hard-and-fast rules for everything that everyone will see and apply the same. It's not that way in the real world, so we shouldn't pretend we can make ideal rules on-wiki. Have you ever heard of everyone in agreement about at source in spec with WP:RS? What about what constitutes a personal attack? Trying to strip it down more than we have is just going to kill the patient, one way or another. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 12:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how we build more support then. If we can't at least reduce the bureaucracy slightly, I have no idea how to gain more support for this proposal. Or *any* proposal. Randomran (talk) 16:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Again, throwing an idea, based on Gavin's comment just above. What if the second prong was:

Independence from the work: The fiction element should be able to be described in a manner that transcends the plot of the fictional work and does not simply repeat it, and necessitating the need for a more detailed description of the element.

(My wording choices may suck, so this would not need to be final). Basically, we don't want a character article if it is simply going to repeat the overall plot of the work (such as how many of the "Heroes" character articles do now) We don't need an episode article if the episode is simply stuff that happens during that season or that show (and thus, in this case, an episode like Lost's "The Constant" would be needed while many of the other Lost episodes (ignoring if they met the GNG for sake of discussion) would be part of how the plot develops. I'm not thrilled that we can't offer a reliable sourcing issue here, and I'm a bit worried on how subjective this may be, but I'm trying to see what works here. --MASEM 16:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

This wording is very simialr to the requirement that coverage from a real-world perspective is required, which I am a big fan of. If a character or episode has been discussed from a real-world perspective, this coverage is likely to to be of encyclopedic value, so long as it is not trivial or shallow. In my view, we could split the third prong and get rid of the second prong. This is my proposal made in a previous section Three-pronged test for Elements of Fiction. --Gavin Collins (talk) 20:16, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I like Masem's new wording. In following this, I've found myself agreeing more with Kww (I do not think all episodes or all recurring characters should be considered important to the central work). This new wording seems to allow articles where articles should be - that is, there is something else to talk about besides the work itself. Karanacs (talk) 20:39, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I especially like "transcends the plot ... and does not simply repeat it", that absolutely nails it on the head. This is in line with, but does not exactly repeat the third prong. --NickPenguin(contribs) 21:41, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
This is something I could live with, as I don't think it should outrage most moderates on the inclusionists or deletionist side. But I might prefer if we could find a way to combine this with one of the other prongs. I think we'd win a lot of people over who are concerned with rule creep, and having really tedious AFD discussions around manifold contentious issues. Randomran (talk) 23:55, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I just don't see it as a replacement for the second prong. It makes a great mission statement ... I think it describes our primarily goal nicely. Objectively, it doesn't go a long way towards making sure that our coverage of a series or fictional work is about the series or fictional work ... given detailed enough developer commentary, you can write some pretty detailed articles about things that don't really have any impact whatsoever on an overall understanding of the work in question.—Kww(talk) 00:24, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Sure, as I'm said, I'm not all that pleased with it necessarily in language (it begs gaming) but I'm trying to brainstorm between the point of a second prong mandating importance by source, and a second prong that requires this but allows for major characters and episodes. --MASEM 00:58, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
"transcends is a reasonable concept, though I would word is as "goes beyond", but i do not think the wording "necessitating the need for a more detailed description of the element." is helpful, because of the infinite range of meaning of the word 'necessary". Necessary to me means, necessary to the fullest description and analysis that would make sense to a general reader. I see from the discussion that some other people see necessary as meaning, needed for minimal comprehension of the subject. There was some confusion somewhere above about "concise" I agree about concise writing, but it does not mean either short or lacking in detail. Concise writing is essential to any encyclopedia for all subjects, as a matter of general style. It shows up here primarily because of the very poor writing of much of the fiction content in Wikipedia, due to their appeal to the beginning editors. DGG (talk) 01:30, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
So just scratch the last bit after the comma, it says basically the same thing: --NickPenguin(contribs) 01:57, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Independence from the work: The element of fiction should be described in a manner that goes beyond the plot of the fictional work and does not simply repeat it.
"and for articles that don't, try to add material, and only consider deletion or merger if you search properly in appropriate sources, and cannot find any" -- that's nothing new either, just WP:BEFORE, but it bears repeating. DGG (talk) 03:48, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Building on the suggestions of Masem and DGG, how about this?
Independent from the work: The element of fiction should be described from a real-world perspective that goes beyond the plot of the fictional work and is not simply listing where the fictional element appears, when it first appeared, nor just the names of the elements creators, publishers or distributor. An element of fiction should only be considered for its own article if it transcends the work from which it is derived.
Could this be the wording taht we are looking for to replace the second prong? --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:17, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I liked Masem's as a mission statement, but not as a second prong replacement. I like yours even less. I understand how the coverage of a character could transcend the work, but how does the character itself transcend the work?—Kww(talk) 13:31, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I thought that was clear: when you can write an article that goes beyond the plot of the fictional work, and other basic information about where the element appears. Randomran (talk) 17:10, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Possibly to someone that has been immersed in this discussion. Show that sentence to someone that hasn't been, and I don't think he'll find it clear at all.—Kww(talk) 17:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, since I brought up the point I may as well take a shot at it:

Context and Detail: the element's article should provide information beyond its base description and actions, ideally a real-world context. If a plot summary is provided, it should have an appropriate level of detail without merely repeating the plot of the overall work.

The point here is that WP:WAF is king, but if you need to ignore it for whatever reason, the article content may be the deciding factor. Mostly I wrote this to point to WP:PLOTSUM, which IMO more editors need to be aware of. Nifboy (talk) 21:09, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

more feedback

on RFC Notability guideline for fiction here as edited by Phil Sandifer at 20:26, 29 January 2009.

Perhaps due to over-ambitious goals, the end result comes across a confused and twisted mess — its provisions unnecessary, given how much it rehashes & repeats existing well-established guidelines/policies.

The proposed guideline is for deciding notable (or, worthiness for inclusion as The Economist clarifies) if they meet a three-pronged test. Its bullet points such as the 'Importance of the fictional work', 'Role within the fictional work' are hard to follow; or "For fictional subjects, terms such as reliability and independence have specialized meanings" (huh?). It is filled with subjective and vague wording like "should be significant" or "an encyclopedic understanding".

The proposal is composed of redundancy after redundancy: "Some care, however, must be taken to ensure that the distribution of fictional articles avoids corporate promotion and adheres to a neutral point of view." By core Policy all Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view. "Original research and original analysis of primary sources should be avoided.". Already disallowed sitewide as a core Policy. More unnecessary instruction dissuades "trivial detail or information about the plot", when trivia sections in any article are already discouraged, in favor of incorporating pertinent parts into the article body; and, by policy mere plot summaries are too. "This test does not supersede Wikipedia's content and inclusion policies such as those on verifiability and what Wikipedia is not." It can't.

Narrow statements like "may be decided by consensus to be better covered in the article on the work of fiction itself instead of a separate article if there is limited information available." ignore merits of summary style spinouts and sub-articles, which organize content for readers, improving readability and navigation.

Evaluating "element should be an episode or recurring character that is central to understanding the fictional work… [or] other essential elements…" brings to mind for series's without plot arcs this means losing all episode articles. For example, the Doctor Who episode-set Horror of Fang Rock, which was set in a lighthouse. There's probably sufficient material for a decent real-world perspective article. Is the episode-set central to understanding the fictional work i.e. Doctor Who? Definitely No Way. It could only be so if in every subsequent episode the main characters talked about "that time in the lighthouse". Unintended favoring of plot arc-based shows skews inclusion.

We have Featured articles which "represen[t] the best that Wikipedia has to offer showcas[ing] the polished result of the collaborative efforts that drive Wikipedia". An example is Beyond Fantasy Fiction, which explains it was a "fantasy fiction magazine", "lasting less than two years" "ten issues", and "not commercially successful"; its talk page announces it "appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 1, 2009". The community chose to spotlight it online, for the world to see. Arguably, it's conceivable it could not meet the first prong. Taking a media example from further down the page, 200_(Stargate_SG-1) it's conceivable it could well not meet the "central to understanding the work" or "essential element" of the work requirement of the second prong.

A sea of distinctly unusual claims or statements include determine "whether a source meets our guideline on reliable sources through consensus ...[and] at specific WikiProjects." It suggests individual wikiprojects be held up to overrule established practice and policy…this tends not to hold water at an articles for deletion debate. The demand works of fiction be, of "particular cultural or historical significance" is arguably set too high. It continues, saying survival depends on sources with 'clear claims' of "artistic or cultural importance of the fictional work". You even state what you want the authors of sources to say!

Some issues are probably fixable through copyediting - "about fictional subjects"; "—issues that are less likely to crop up" (I wondered if this was meant to mean more likely at first). Other issues with the proposal are deep-rooted.

Even the proposal fails to decide on acceptable sources. [D]eveloper commentary is not "independent", nor is red blue; it mandates "non-promotional sources". Material produced or otherwise contributed to by "content creators" are, excepting rare disowning - years later - of early work, by nature promoting the work. Any press pack, for example, may offer production and development information; yet, is regardless promotional. Scholarly journal coverage of popular culture is another issue, of course.

Its description persistently unsourced/unsourceable articles that “resist” (??) improvements are often merged into others—as against deletion—seems questionable. To decipher the point being made, if indeed there is one, is no easy task. The answer lies in the first line of the proposal: "proposed guideline that defines the inclusion criteria for elements of fiction" — i.e., as opposed to criteria for removal (deletion by any other name) for articles that would stay under "existing thresholds" referred to by this sentence in the proposal.

Substantially the proposal, which announces itself as a fiction guideline, is about film and especially television; other mediums too. Discussing the worthiness for inclusion of detailed coverage of popular culture encounters different views. Certainly, popular culture including fictional articles are among Wikipedia:Most visited articles, so are desirable by those who consulted Wikipedia. That's completely different to any editor whimpers of their 'like' for them. Undoubtedly other niche and specialized topics aren't swamped or lost if fiction and its elements form part of the encyclopedia, thanks to things like categories and search engines. A past discussion referred to above mentioned Category:Episode redirects to lists - the first subcategory there reads "following 200 pages are in this category, out of 1,796 total.". Different perspectives continue to be discussed, and probably will for some time. –Whitehorse1 10:12, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

"Certainly, popular culture including fictional articles are among Wikipedia:Most visited articles, so are desirable by those who consulted Wikipedia." Yes, they are amongst the most popular, together with articles relating to news items and articles related to sexuality and porn. However, Wikipedia is not a news site, and Wikipedia is not a porn site. We should not adapt our policies and guidelines wrt what is popular, but wrt to what is and is not fit to be included in an online encyclopedia. Opinions on this will always vary, but should not be influenced by what is the most or least visited. Fram (talk) 11:07, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree, broadly. Articles relating to, for example, sexuality and porn merit encyclopedic coverage — be they coverage of pre-20thC erotic poetry or RS analyses on the adult movie industry; yet the aim should always be not to titillate, but to inform. Likewise while we don't need an article on every news story, longer-term stories with rs-demonstrable long-term wider impact may belong. Our inclusion policies should not restrict 'highbrow' or 'lowbrow' culture nor encourage it, by default. Our goal should instead be placing things in context, considering not just works in themselves but their vintage - impacting likelihood of academic journals coverage - and avoiding judgements on their intrinsic value based on their popularity, prestige or lack thereof. –Whitehorse1 12:24, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
The articles that we want and the articles that we get do not match up in any logical sense. I'll pick on "Dodds" (forget the first half of the user name), who noted that he writes articles based on the secondary sources. When he writes an article about a fictional character, he goes and looks in a book or looks online or in the library. That's admirable. I do the same thing. I write articles working from secondary sources almost exclusively. But saying it is admirable doesn't mean that most people do that. Most of our articles are written from memory, summary of plot, or summary of recent news articles. When people write about Comic book character XYZ they don't look in Alphabetical Anthology of Comic Book Characters. They look in the comic featuring the character. Most of us, the editors, the janitors, the handimen/women, don't do that. We look for sources, create structure and follow rules. We attempt to walk down this wild hose of open editing without shutting off the flow. Websites that try to shut the flow off become a complete joke. they become little fiefdoms where the owners can be princes of all they can see, but where no one bothers to go. So we've got to work on a compromise. We have to have some inclusion criteria. That ship has sailed. We have decided, for good or ill, to have some inclusion criteria based on "notability". We try here to generate some criteria that would make sense given the kinds of articles that we get and the core content policies we want to enforce. I understand your point that we shouldn't give the impression that we want "high-brow" or "lowbrow" or "middlebrow" works. We don't. the first prong doesn't demand that. We have written it for specific reasons (see the above sections). those reasons were not immediately apparent when the guideline was presented to the community. they are now (hopefully). Protonk (talk) 16:24, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree it's probably true most articles are written like that. It's not unreasonable to begin an article saying what the thing being written about is i.e., using a brief plot summary; of course expansion with production, critical analysis and reception etc., is necessary.
It seems the proposed criteria would artificially determine if an element is includable using arbitrary factors. An unintended consequence. As I suggested in my comment above, the requirement an element be central to understanding the fictional work favors a work dependent on how the writer/producer etc. structured the particular work. Thus, a series without plot arcs could lose all episode articles, while one having an overarching plot would generally warrant their retention. Using the example I gave above, the classic series of Doctor Who for the most part didn't use plot arcs, much less one spanning its entire run. By contrast, the 2005 revived version does. Ditto Stargate SG-1, Buffy, etc. All 3 of those had occasional standalone episodes, but an overarching plot with an eventual full or partial resolution. A majority of episodes from those last 3 would therefore meet that criterion; the vast majority from the classic series example, would not. Whitehorse1 20:22, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Since my featured articles are being dragged into this, 200 (Stargate SG-1) meets the GNG so its use is completely moot. Same with any element, faction we can think of that meets GNG. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 02:40, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
For clarification, DWF, I wasn't suggesting your work was sub-par in any respect. Far from it! I simply referred to an article deemed high quality, and which I also knew from past viewing was not key to understanding the work (Stargate SG-1) as a whole. The FA list is ordered alphanumerically. Yours, got picked by virtue of being first. Whitehorse1 11:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Protonk, fictional works are sources. News articles are sources. If an editor can summarize a news article, they can summarize a fictional work. So-and-so wrote such-and-such. This is what happened according to this source. When speaking of fiction, this is what happens according to this source. Editors obviously can summarize news articles — that's evident from the "In the news" section on the Main Page. Most editors write plot summaries directly from the fictional work, the primary source. It's acceptable to do that. Look at our featured articles about fictional topics[6] [7]. Note how many citations you see in the Plot sections. It's understood that the fictional work is the source.
I could write an article about Maria Bolkonskaya — completely sourced to Wikisource — that would be verifiable, contain no unpublished opinions or facts, and be written in a neutral way. Those are Wikipedia's core content policies. For people wanting to know "Who is Maria Bolkonskaya?", the article would answer their question.
Maybe Wikipedia needs inclusion criteria. But does "notability" need to be that inclusion critera? We need to stop and think: What are we trying to keep in? What are we trying to keep out? That's the most important question: What are we trying to keep out? Wikipedia is a paperless encyclopedia. It's the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. So people naturally have different opinions about what Wikipedia should contain and what should be kept out. That's apparent at AFD. Wikipedia can cover more topics than traditional encyclopedias, and it does. A lot more. Which fictional things should be kept out?
Scores of people think the concept of "notability" is broken. Scores of people think Wikipedia's notability guidelines are broken. Guidelines that say topics "should be notable" are not a given. This is a wiki. Wikipedia:Criteria for inclusion of biographies was created in August 2003. I can understand that. We don't want an article about every person who has ever been born. But the only reason that Wikipedia:Criteria for inclusion of biographies was renamed Wikipedia:Notability (people) in December 2005 was because an editor named Jiy wanted to create a common naming scheme for several different guidelines. That's the same reason Wikipedia:Fiction was renamed Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) in December 2005. I've created a timeline of Wikipedia's notability guidelines.
If Wikipedia:Notability was written to describe common practice, it should have said that articles are frequently deleted because people say the subject of the article is not notable. That's their opinion. That's common practice. People try and persuade each other that something is worthy of notice by providing evidence of notability. That's common practice. "Significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject" is considered evidence of notability by a large number of editors. But that is not the only evidence of notability. Debates over "notability" have become a sideshow to the real debate: Should this subject have an entry on Wikipedia or not?
Why should an article about Maria Bolkonskaya be kept out? --Pixelface (talk) 03:36, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Keeping aside the fact that Maria Bolkonskaya undoubtedly has enough sourcing to meet the GNG in full, we have one problem here. I see PLOT as part of NOT. You don't. I see generation of analytic claims from primary sources as original research (I don't know where you stand on that). Unless we reconcile that, we are just going to talk at each other. Not discuss things. If you believe that an article compliant with the core content policies can be written entirely from a single primary source, then we will never come to agreement.
Likewise, you may be correct about notability guidelines stemming from the project's "need" to deal with weightier stuff. We are closer in agreement to that then you may believe. Wikipedia has (and has had for some time) a pretty big inferiority complex about not being the "elder medium" (despite the fact that we are obviously phenomenally successful because we aren't paper). You can see it in the flagged revisions debate. You can see it in the debates about preventing anon-editing, about FAs and GAs and about deletion. Some of the notability guidelines were borne out of that. We figured "I'm tired of people saying, "oh this pokemanz article is longer than this Napoleon article. WTF?", so lets make it so that this is some respectable publication (under the ill conceived preconception that slightly moderating our content and inclusion policies would cause ignorant and belligerent academics to treat wikipedia as something other than a hotbed of vandalism)" Hence, we will only cover biographies if they have won an award. We will only cover music if it is charted. Etc. That's part of it.
The other part is that we face (and have always faced) serious threats from content that we actually don't want (And have never wanted) which works its way onto wikipedia. Promotional content. POV forks. Malformed essays. Etc. That's a big part of the wild hose I mentioned (and a huge proportion of the roughly 30,000-50,000 articles deleted per month). Deleting those with some regularity in a system like ours requires some inclusion criteria. Those criteria are meant to be applied fairly and are (presumably) derived from shared principles.
The last part of the motivation is a partial rebuttal to my first point. The fundamental justification for anonymous and pseudonymous editing is that authority is not derived from the speaker. What I write in articlespace is supported by sourcing with a minimal amount of authorial interference (there are some arguments that this isn't possible, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion). As such, NOR is a critical component of our content policies. It is a companion to V, showing the reader that what they have in front of them isn't bollocks, despite the fact that it might have been written by an unemployed longshoreman in his underwear. So the generation of those analytical claims must be offloaded to sources where the voice is known and vetted. Where does this put us? We can only write PLOT summary from firsthand knowledge. We can't add any claims of real significance apart from summarizing the plot.
Coming back to WP:N. while I can see your point about the specific subject guidelines, I'm having trouble seeing it for the GNG. DGG makes the point (somewhere else on this page) that the GNG was a dodge so that we could eliminate articles which didn't get sources in traditional media in an attempt to stamp out the Pokemanz. I disagree and I think the GNG bears me out. I have yet to see a more clear and factually neutral guideline on wikipedia (save IAR, which is a policy, I know). It is well motivated, clearly laid out, unambiguous where it need be unambiguous and fuzzy where it need be fuzzy ("signficant" and "multiple" are two important points where textual flexibility is key). It privileges no specific editor group, no faction, no format. Unlike the SNGs (including to some extent this one), it doesn't make arbitrary distinctions (as well thought out as they may be), it doesn't have unnecessary prongs (seriously, any editor who thinks this guideline is too complicated is invited to read Wikipedia:BIO#Additional_criteria in its entirety). It is beautiful, almost (It has some symmetry to it as well). The only way I could like it more was if it were in iambic pentameter.
So yeah. Some of these guidelines were written because editors wanted to exclude things they didn't understand. But not all of them. And not all of them are constrained by this unfortunate provenance to remain instruments of exclusion and ignorance. They can be views as positive formations of what an encyclopedia is--especially what an encyclopedia of amateur editors is. Protonk (talk) 04:18, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Whenever I see an example like Maria Bolkonskaya, and someone asks "Why would we want to keep out this obvious example of a high importance character?", I just shake my brain. OF COURSE we don't want to keep those articles out, we want to keep out all the unimportant crap. --NickPenguin(contribs) 03:50, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't know anything about Maria Bolkonskaya. But War and Peace is a notable novel, and that character is a major character in that novel (according to the War and Peace article). I don't know how important the character is. But the article for Maria Bolkonskaya could be completely sourced to Wikisource and still meet Wikipedia's three core content policies.
What are some examples of "unimportant crap" we want to keep out? --Pixelface (talk) 19:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I went to AfD to find some examples, but I guess since the last ArbCom freeze about episodes and characters, the flow of character articles has slowed. That said, I'm sure you could find a great many in PROD and older AfDs. The problem with these examples of bad articles is that they are usually worked out quickly. It just bugs me when people use something good as an example for something bad to illustrate their point, because it feels like the argument amounts to nothing more than trickery. --NickPenguin(contribs) 23:00, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
That injunction ended months ago. If the flow of character articles up for deletion has slowed, that's probably because since TTN hasn't edited since December 26. Protonk doesn't seem to think Maria Bolkonskaya is an example of something good. What do you personally think are some examples of "unimportant crap" that should be kept out? --Pixelface (talk) 21:28, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
"Protonk doesn't seem to think Maria Bolkonskaya is an example of something good." ?? Not sure what you mean. If you mean I don't think it is a good example by which to judge this guideline, you are correct. If you think I don't believe it should have an article you are incorrect. Protonk (talk) 21:50, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Ok, heres some examples from some books on my shelf. Some already have a presence on the wiki, others do not. Loial an ogier from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, the Records Department the location where the character Winston works in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Shadowfax, a horse from J.R.R Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series, Harry Bryant the superior officer to Rick Deckard in Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Frankie one of the hyper intelligent mice from Douglas Adam's The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. These are examples of characters/settings that I do not feel should have standalone articles. It is worth noting that Shadowfax has what I would consider a perfectly adequate compromise. I hope most articles go that route. --NickPenguin(contribs) 22:14, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Why do you think they should not have standalone articles? I'm not saying they all should, but is there a reason? Do those fictional elements have anything in common?
It appears that Loial was spun out from another article. Wikipedia may not have an article on Records Department, but it does have an article about the Ministry of Truth. Shadowfax (Middle-earth) redirects to List of Middle-earth animals#Shadowfax. There's a section on Harry Bryant in Characters in Blade Runner. It looks like Frankie and Benjy mouse redirects to a huge list of minor characters. People often put minor characters in a list. Is that the "unimportant crap" you were talking about? I'm sure there are many people who have read Robert Jordan or Philip K. Dick or Tolkien or Douglas Adams.
In my opinion, I think those subjects are all fine in those places, except for Shadowfax. I'm sure the fictional horse is more well-known than the album *or* the musical group (which evidently got their name from the horse). --Pixelface (talk) 03:41, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
You seem to be making my point for me. I don't think these examples should have standalone articles because in all of these cases, there is nothing significant about them as topics that goes beyond plot summary. None of these examples have any real world coverage or analysis, and thus articles like these would be doomed to having a two sentence introduction paragraph and a Fictional character biography. Google them, I didn't see anything in the first few pages about these specific characters or settings that struck me as making them notable independent of their parent work. Now, that said, your more thorough search of the wiki seems to show true what I think should happen; in most cases, minor characters and settings are merged into larger list articles, or are contained in articles about broader topics. Yes, I absolutely think they are unimportant crap, and I do not think unimportant crap should get it's own article, but that does not mean that I think it shouldn't be on the wiki, it only means I don't think they should have their own article. A huge percent of fictional element articles should be stamped with "suitable for merging". List of minor characters from FictionX and List of settings from FictionY are perfectly acceptable. --NickPenguin(contribs) 15:20, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Is your point that Shadowfax is "unimportant crap"? Because I don't agree with that at all. You said "we want to keep out all the unimportant crap" and I asked you for examples. If you think those fictional elements are "unimportant crap", then why are those books on your shelf? Why do you even remember those elements? It appears that you found them worthy of notice.
Editors typically put minor characters in lists. But any list or article about fictional characters is going to contain plot summaries. Why would Shadowfax need real world coverage or analysis? Is Shadowfax a notable fictional horse? Yes. How do I know that? Because apparently a musical group named themselves after the horse. Can information about Shadowfax be verified? Yes, from Tolkien. Where does this idea come from that a fictional character has to be notable "independent" of the fictional work? Is Darth Vader notable "independent" of Star Wars? No, the character and the work it appears in are inextricably linked. Does Bill Gates need to be notable "independent" of Microsoft? No.
When you get down to it, what does it matter if a subject appears in a list or a separate webpage? How is the section List of Middle-earth animals#Shadowfax better than a standalone article with identical information? --Pixelface (talk) 10:35, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
You seemed to have seized on my language more than my message. If I replaced "unimportant" with "unencyclopedic" and "crap" with "content", my point may be clearer. The way I chose these specific examples, I went over to my book shelf and grabbed some good books from the fiction section, then flipped through until I found a character or setting that I remembered, but had never quite thought about until that moment. Sure they are in some sense important to the overall fictional work, but I wouldn't mark them down as individually important points. And Google seems to be telling me that there is not significant enough coverage to warrant an article. And I'm not disagreeing with you, Shadowfax is a character that has some verifiable information available and has been referenced in popular culture at least once. But to me that just does not seem to be enough weight to warrant an article, especially considering the character overall significance to the work. When I say independent of the work, I mean that there's some substance to it outside of the work. So like Darth Vader is a character from Star Wars, but you can find third party article where people are talking about Darth Vader and mention Star Wars, not just articles about Star Wars that mention Darth Vader. I suspect any sources that will be found about Shadowfax will only mention him in passing.
And at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter right now how content is saved on the wiki, in individual articles or within parent articles, but think more the shape of the wiki and it's long term development. The amount of wikispace a particular topic takes us is in some sense insignificant from a technical standpoint, but a subject can take up a significant amount of conceptual space as represented on the wiki. By having dozens of tiny articles it leaves a subject fragmented, and I think is one of the major effects on the overall quality of Wikipedia. Lower traffic characters would likely see a slower rate of improvement than if they were on a page like List of minor character in FictionX. More lists would mean a faster rate of high quality improvement (and be easier to watch), and thus more likely that characters demonstrate themselves to have notability, then be spun out.
And I don't know, I have a feeling that one day, maybe soon, Wikipedia will enter the next phase of it's existence, once this sourcing phase is done. I suspect it will be the housekeeping phase, because new functional problems come into play when we try to present content in some way other than through the search bar. Because even though right now wikispace has no measurable effect on the user, I suspect one day someone will create a way to interface with the wiki in some way other than this linear web page, and the "subject clutter" so to speak will become an issue. I think it's critical that as we approach this next phase, the community does not choose page count over quality, because there are better and easier ways to control and cultivate content. --NickPenguin(contribs) 03:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Looking at that character article, my intitial thoughts are, "How many sources exist on the character? Are there enough to justify a separate article, or could the character be sufficiently covered in the War & Peace article or an overall character page?". Even if the character is pivotal to the story and you can get a number of fantastic sources together on the character, you might still only have enough for a stub, or the information you insert could be redundant to what's in the War & Peace article. That's the sort of thing these guidelines should be helping us determine. The question is: do they or don't they help us address these questions? WesleyDodds (talk) 03:57, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Are Leo Tolstoy, and Louise and Aylmer Maude unacceptable sources? My initial thoughts are "Is War and Peace a notable fictional work?" Wikisource says "War and Peace is generally thought to be one of the greatest novels ever written." So I guess that's a yes. And then I think "Is Maria Bolkonskaya a major character in that work?" The War and Peace article seems to indicate so. That novel has 580 characters in it. What's wrong with a stub for a major character? Not all articles are going to appear on the Main Page. All character articles are going to repeat at least some information from the fictional work aricle. That doesn't matter. If a reader wants to know "Who is Maria Bolkonskaya?", if someone looks up Maria Bolkonskaya in an encyclopedia, if someone looks up Maria Bokonskaya on a search engine, why should there not be a separate article on Wikipedia for that character? --Pixelface (talk) 21:45, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

What inclusionists thought we had

Scrolling through past discussion, I saw a mention of "what inclusionists thought they had," intended to suggest that the inclusionists who are concerned about over-strictness are simply deluded and imagining they have more of a leg to stand on than they think. And it occurred to me that the hard-line inclusionist position has not gotten much love on this talk page in some time, while hard-line deletionism has been taken with great seriousness.

What did inclusionists think we had? Hundreds of thousands of articles that did not appear controversial. Valerie Gray, discussed above, has been around for three years without any controversy. We've had articles on every episode of Doctor Who for as long as I can remember. We thought we had a status quo. Were the articles often bad, in-universe rubbish? Yes. And many of us wanted them to be better. But they were there, and always had been.

And we have been faced, for some time now, with a small cadre of editors dedicated to removing them. And doing so because they are non-notable. Because apparently "non-notable" is a sensible term to apply to something watched by millions of people. We've seen articles that contain only easily verifiable facts tagged as POV because they don't cite independent sources. We've seen transparent description of plots called OR. We've seen, in other words, multiple policies being bent far out of what their names suggest they are meant to be used for, all trained with the sole purpose of decimating content. Content we wrote, and used, and enjoyed without rancor for years.

Honestly, for the most part, what inclusionists want is for the editors who think that contributing to an encyclopedia means removing content out of an obsession with following the rules to be banned. We think that editing with the sole purpose of destruction is vile. And that explains some of our more lunatic fringe. And frankly, I can understand them. I understand why someone who wrote and used a resource for years without any sense that there was a problem is pissed as hell at someone who is just systematically ripping it out while calling them names. I understand it much better than I understand why anyone wants to delete Valerie Gray, which seems like an accurate and harmless article on a subject of apparent interest to millions.

The calmer and more moderate chunk of us are willing, however, to compromise. We appreciate the fact that fiction articles kind of suck. We would like them to be better. And we know that sometimes articles improve only when you hold a gun to their head. So we're willing to compromise - you can rip out the articles that suck, and we'll keep the ones that don't. Where "suck" is defined as being a stinking mess of in-universe trivia, and "don't" is defined as at least providing some sort of real-world perspective and treating it as a cultural artifact and not a person who happens to not really exist.

That's where the inclusionists are. Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:23, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree, I can see cases for redirecting, but it actually does get some Google News and Google Book hits and can thus be verified. There is absolutely no argument for deleting its edit history. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:32, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I think this is pretty accurate. I've had brushes with rabid inclusionists who see starting an AFD as vandalism, let alone tagging something for issues. Phil Sandifer has been willing to make concessions to people in the middle, and even on the other side. But only when they make concessions in kind. If inclusionists are the ones making all the concessions, we're back to the WP:BATTLEGROUND of doing this on an AFD by AFD basis. Trust me that Phil Sandifer is right: there are some episodes and characters that will never be deleted, in spite of a lack of reliable third-party sources. And it's not just rabid fan bias: it's that the articles are actually pretty good, because they have real-world coverage, and don't go into absurdly trivial detail. Randomran (talk) 17:34, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Again, it always bothers me that you imply that the guideline, even in my preferred version, is some kind of overly-deletionist thing. It makes enormous concessions on other guidelines, makes as liberal of an interpretation of policy as it can, and tacitly acknowledges that policy-violating articles will frequently be kept for indefinite periods of time.—Kww(talk) 17:55, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
If we've pushed you as far as you're willing to go, then maybe it's time to abandon your support, and pursue the support of others. I'm saying that entirely in good faith -- there are sometimes when people end up outside the consensus because their view simply isn't close enough to the middle ground. Randomran (talk) 17:58, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
If we could at least agree that the Valeria Gray article would be redirected with its edit history intact, then I would see that as a compromise, i.e. I think it should be kept outright, but so long as it is isn't deleted outright either, then we have a true middle ground. A delete and redirect is not a middle ground. Best, --A NobodyMy talk 18:06, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Nearly every case of a fictional element article failing FICT should result in a merge to a larger topic with no deletions. Unfortunately, specifying that here is not appropriate (that's a process, not a matter of determining notability). That needs to be emphasized better at AFD, and maybe at WAF. --MASEM 21:14, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
WP:DELETION perhaps? I don't think that's an idea that only applies to fictional topics. An article on a non-notable (but sourcable) concept should usually be merged up to a parent level, where one logically exists. JulesH (talk) 09:23, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

What deletionists want

We want inclusionists to recognize that a standing rule which is a compromise is better than no rule. right now the situation that phil describes is roughly true. However, we can't fix the fact that people prioritize rules over other things (as the 'pedia scales we can't even say whether that is good or bad). What we can do is write a rule that isn't at direct variance to current practice but still lets us keep the place from becoming a mess. Right now we have no compromise and a rule in place which causes some dissonance. This is the worst of all possible worlds. We want inclusionists to know that. Shutting down FICT isn't a victory for fictional subjects. It's a fucking death sentence. Protonk (talk) 17:37, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

It's not a death sentence, it's Decimation. Yeah, inclusionists need to know that without this guideline, a lot of stuff is going to get deleted. But deletionists also need to know that if they don't seek the middle ground, you're going to see inclusionists taking the extreme position in AFDs. And that means they'll be able to block at least 1/4 of all attempts at deletion, let alone merging/redirecting. Randomran (talk) 17:40, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Decimation? Could you tone down the hyperbole? "Without this guideline, a lot of stuff is going to get deleted"? A lot of stuff is nominated for deletion because of this "guideline". I can't count how times I've seen someone redirect an article for "failing" FICT. Propose a merge for "failing" FICT. Nominating an article for deletion for "failing" FICT. "This lacks the necessary real-word coverage required by FICT." And yet at actual AFD debates, people dont' care what FICT says. At actual merge discussions, they don't care what FICT says. That's why we are supposed to describe current practice. Making up a rule nobody is going to follow is pointless at best, and just foments a battleground at worst. --Pixelface (talk) 21:10, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't see why they use a proposed guideline to delete stuff when we have a much harsher guideline to delete stuff in the form of WP:N. I stand by decimation being more accurate than death sentence, because not all articles will be deleted. Just the ones that don't get stonewalled by folks who don't believe that a guideline that's been around for a few years has consensus. Randomran (talk) 21:27, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
This wasn't always a proposal Randomran. The status of this page has changed a bunch of times. This was a subject-specific notability guideline, an "SNG." But it wasn't always a notability guideline.
Do you know how this page came about? On March 15, 2005 Radiant! created Wikipedia:Deletion policy/Minor characters. Wikipedia:Deletion policy/Minor characters came about because of this AFD from March 2005, started by a user named GRider. GRider was going around nominating Star Wars articles for deletion. GRider was later indefinitely banned. Radiant! rewrote FICT on March 29, 2005[8], referring to Wikipedia:Deletion policy/Minor characters.
The problem with that rewrite is that it did not reflect consensus. Maybe it reflected the discussion at that deletion policy subpage, but certainly not common practice. In March 2005, Radiant! wrote "Major characters (and places, concepts, etc.) in a work of fiction should be covered within the article on that work of fiction." But the practice of having articles for major characters has been going on since NOTPAPER. That's from at least January 2002 — when the English Wikipedia had about 20,000 articles. Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not mentioned Wikipedia is not paper as far back as March 2003.[9]
Do you know how many AFDs related to fictional topics are started by sockpuppets? That are participated in by sockpuppets? Why should we let trolls and sockpuppets dictate Wikipedia guidance?
Wikipedia:Fiction was renamed Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) in December 2005 when an editor named Jiy wanted a common naming scheme for several guidelines[10].
Radiant! rewrote WP:N in September 2006, and tagged it a guideline after a mere 16 days, and then edit-warred over the guideline tag.[11]
What makes you think WP:N is harsh? Because you created the WP:FAILN redirect yesterday because you think articles can "fail" N? They can't. An article cannot "fail" a guideline. WP:N says topics should be notable, and it tells people what almost every editor considers evidence of notability. --Pixelface (talk) 22:06, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I get it. You don't think notability has consensus, because you think it's written by trolls, sockpuppets and vandals, and attribute it to specific owners that you don't personally like. I disagree. Try again later, whenever you figure out a way to reach out to people who disagree with you. Randomran (talk) 22:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
No, you don't understand me. And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't put words in my mouth. --Pixelface (talk) 10:43, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Not necessarily, because I will see a failure here as proof that the community does not agree on standards of fictional notability and thus arguments for deletion are purely subjective and not consistent with any actual consensus. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:42, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, but you can tell yourself that, and in the meantime I can nominate hundreds of articles for deletion because they fail the GNG and get them deleted. Sure, everyone will get pissed off but most of the deletions will be upheld. You know this from DRV. DRV is a policy wonk haven. If a deletion proceeds by the numbers (that is, above board) and the reason for deletion was "failing the GNG", it will get upheld ~90% of the time. We can all say "well, there isn't consensus for fictional notability standards" 'till the cows come home but the GNG still applies. Protonk (talk) 17:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I disagree as lately it seems even without this guideline I have been able to get the fictional subjects to at least result in merges and redirects. Since my rename, no article that I argued to keep currently has its edit history deleted. And TTN's mass nominations caught up with him and he stopped editing at the face of community uproar. So, if someone were to see this as a opening to mass nominate things for deletion they would almost assuredly be accused of disruption a la TTN. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:52, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, Arbcom (for good or ill) explicitly punted EnC 3 to us here at FICT. I also believe that a RfC on TTN would result in some serious dispute over his methods and speed but not the underlying deletion (or at least not have a consensus around that point). I think my basic point (expressed without the hand waving) is in my reply to Col. Warden below. Protonk (talk) 19:06, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
right, but that's not a happy outcome for anyone. It messes up our coverage of fictional subjects, it skews us toward elitism (often unconciously), and it alienates everyone involved. My point is just broadly: if you are an inclusionist and you are opposed to this compromise because it institutes a rule where previously there was was void, you are messing up in a big way. Protonk (talk) 17:44, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Remember to me even having a guideline titled "notability" is a tremendous compromise as I whole-heartedly believe it is anti-wikipedic. I am really for non-notability and/or having something called inclusion criteria rather than a popularity contest. Best, --A NobodyMy talk 17:49, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I know. And I'm not saying that supporting it isn't philosophically very hard. It probably is. But functionally the choice is between an arbitrary state with no real clear guidance and some guideline which bears a resemblance to the subject matter and allows us to include editors and articles. Protonk (talk) 17:54, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I would say anything that cab be verified in a reliable source should at worst be redirected with edit history intact. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 20:45, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I just don't get why people are bound by "notability," as it sounds elitist and subjective. Why we wouldn't have "inclusion criteria", which is straightforward and neutral, is baffling. Just because we've have this disputed GNG thing, we shouldn't feel beholden to it. Throughout history, we have had bad ideas that we abandoned at some point for something better. Best, --A NobodyMy talk 17:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, as you know, I'm with you on that. But rejection of this guideline doesn't correlate at all to rejection of WP:N. There is no way that someone could conceivably say in an AfD, "Well, we rejected WP:FICT, so WP:N shouldn't apply to Character XYZ." Well, they may say it, but it would be rejected pretty soundly. Protonk (talk) 19:06, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
So long as there are enough "keeps" in the discussion or enough back and forth disagrement, the discussion is apt to be at least closed as a no consensus, regardless if it technically meets whatever version of WP:N happens to exist that day. Best, --A NobodyMy talk 20:45, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
If that's what you want...you know as well as I that the deletion debates don't line up that way. The outcome there is obviously piecemeal. Articles are kept or deleted not based on their importance to the work but on who shows up to AfD in a 5 day period. Protonk (talk) 21:24, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Which is exactly why I think AfDs are counter-logical, because you can have a total different consensus one week versus the next depending on how shows up for something people have worked on for maybe years. And we both know that there are some who essentially don't do anything else, but "vote" in AfDs. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 23:54, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
All I'm asking for is fair play, actually. WP:FICT was offered up in compromise, as a way of allowing some fiction articles to stay, and some to be removed. I argued about the language until it was something I could accept, and then helped as best I could to get the compromise passed. Then, after all the RFC notices have been pulled from the watchlists, and many people have commented, the language I found acceptable gets gutted, with a completely absurd statement added that essentially permits articles on every episode of every series that ever got put on a DVD or had a developer's blog. That's not what I voiced support for. It doesn't resemble what I voiced support for. It represents something that I have bitterly opposed for a long time, and, had it been stated originally would have earned my derision for this as being a false compromise. If it's what inclusionists wanted, they should have made sure the language was there when the RFC began, not after it's essentially over.—Kww(talk) 17:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd have clarified it the moment I realized it was unclear, but I'm not a mind-reader. I had no idea you were misinterpreting the second prong. It's not some sneaky behind the back change, though. Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:53, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Your assertion that I misunderstood something would be more credible if you could point at language contained in the guideline during the RFC process that supported your position. That language was perfectly clear, it just didn't say what you wanted it to say.—Kww(talk) 18:08, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
You have a pretty lopsided sense of fairness, then, because inclusionists actually wanted virtually all elements of fiction to pass WP:N. Then they were willing to concede that they just pass the second prong, and that we still need the third and first prongs. Then they were willing to concede that just episodes and characters pass the second prong. Then they were willing to concede that only certain kinds of episodes and characters pass the second prong. Then they were willing to concede that independent sources are still necessary, or we merge. Now you're asking them to sell out their beliefs completely. Good luck with that. Seriously. Good luck passing that guideline, because it's gonna take a miracle to get anything more than 50% support for that. Randomran (talk) 17:55, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Your recent changes did not grant a bypass to certain kinds of episodes and characters, it granted an exception to virtually all of them.—Kww(talk) 18:12, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
You need to stop focusing who put together what wording, and start focusing on what people other than yourself actually want. You're not going to get your way. Neither am I. Neither is Phil. Neither is A Nobody. We're going to have a guideline only when everyone is ready to not get their way. And there has to be equal movement on both sides of the spectrum. Randomran (talk) 18:23, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd rather not block FICT. But on the other hand, if FICT is going to be used to legitimize TTN-style campaigns against articles, it will be blocked. Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:53, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

TTN-style campaigns aren't much good for anyone, I'll grant. But were you seriously attempting to propose a guideline that would keep virtually all television episode articles?—Kww(talk) 18:12, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that why we have the first and third prongs, along with the requirement for independent third-party sources? Why were you pushing so hard for those, if you think every episode and character is going to be notable? Randomran (talk) 18:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
This guideline legitimizes the use third-party sources that wouldn't pass WP:N by examining the topic directly and in detail. Nearly all extant episodes can find at least one third-party mention, and the guideline is quite direct in not insisting that such sources exist at all. Many characters are going to find a handful of passing mentions, while they would fail to meet WP:N. The whole idea of the compromise was to allow substandard sourcing if the overall franchise was notable, limiting the articles that rely on those substandard sources to particularly important episodes and characters. I strongly object to eliminating that limit, and permitting the reliance on substandard sourcing based on the franchise being notable.—Kww(talk) 18:30, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I literally cannot think of something that would fail WP:N and pass the guideline you just came up with. There's about a lick of daylight between the two, and what's worse, this takes 4 different requirements to get there. It's a recipe for no consensus. Not only will you lose anyone who is more inclusionist than Gavin Collins, you'll also lose anyone who hates bureaucracy and rule creep. Randomran (talk) 18:47, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Bulbasaur.—Kww(talk) 19:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Looks to me like it barely meets WP:N, because it has more than a trivial mention in reliable third-party sources. Which means you're proposing a guideline where things that are borderline notable become clearly notable. You're entitled to that position. I'd even support that position. But I doubt many other people will, and we'll end up with no consensus. Randomran (talk) 19:44, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I disagree that it makes it past WP:N, so I view this as a guideline that takes non-notable material and preserves it so long at is is well written and has attracted some minimum level of outside attention. If you dig through the sources carefully, you start to find that everything that appears to be a detailed discussion has "licensed by Nintendo" stamped on it somewhere, even if the reference list doesn't make that obvious.—Kww(talk) 19:54, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I think that's a matter of interpretation. For a lot of Wikipedians, you're only proposing to err on the side of inclusion if something is within the blurry range of WP:N. You might disagree, but for most folks it's barely a move to the left. Think about how far inclusionists really want to go as their first choice. You're going to need to make bigger moves than that in order to get a consensus. Randomran (talk) 20:04, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Protonk says above "still lets us keep the place from becoming a mess". It seems to me that Wikipedia is inherently a messy place and always will be. Currently there are 2,408 featured articles out of 2,728,753 which is quite close to zero percent. Even in the long term, Sturgeon's Law tells us that "90% of everything is crap". I have perfectionist tendencies and so regularly remind myself and others that "perfect is the enemy of good" (and we only have 6,017 GA too). The reality for the next few years seems to be that our good stuff is always going to be floating on top of a large slushpile of less good stuff. Trying to improve this situation by eliminating the latter seems impossible and wouldn't leave much even if it were successful. Isn't it better to focus upon improving the process whereby articles are improved rather than fighting over the size of the slushpile? What's wrong with a situation in which we have a FA about Pokemon, some GA about particular aspects of Pokemon and a large mass of lesser material forming a pool from which further FA/GA can be fished? Isn't this the essential Wikiprocess which policies like WP:IMPERFECT urge us to embrace? Colonel Warden (talk) 18:39, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • My point is better expressed as a problem of assumptions and indeterminacy. In the absence of some guideline, you and I can make opposing but equally reasonable decisions about possible outcomes simply on the basis of non-shared assumptions. Without FICT, I can say that episodes/characters will continue to be deleted piecemeal on the basis of the GNG. You can say that the absence of some guideline shows that the community doesn't want to have a guideline and wishes the current article state to exist unmolested. If there is nothing speaking to community consensus we can each do that--it is a recipe for constant conflict and heartbreak.
  • Constant conflict is another aspect of the eternal mess which one should accept as this place attracts pedants and griefers who will fight to the death over a comma. The conflict should perhaps be embraced too like Adam Smith's invisible hand or the process of evolution - a fire in which the good articles can be forged. I find AFD to be quite good motivation for article improvement and other competitive processes like DYK seem constructive. The main trouble with the current process is that deletion is too terminal and there can be inefficient repetition. This talk seems unproductive too, alas. Colonel Warden (talk) 19:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Sure, but the reasons for the conflict are important. Conflict that comes from competition, time limits, or differing viewpoints is great. Conflict that comes from indeterminacy is less so. But yeah, we are well into diminishing marginal returns for this conversation. Protonk (talk) 19:32, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • As to your point that wikipedia is inherently a messy place I agree wholeheartedly. It should always be messy. I love the 2nd "rule to consider" of wikipedia, always leave something undone. But we have to agree that it is usually the province of IP editors to add content and the province of registered editors to shepherd it along--stub tags, categories, formatting, unifying templates, all of those things impact presentation but are done primarily by registered editors. We are in the cleanup business. All of us. Whether we do that by pruning articles or by fixing typos is a matter of degree. Protonk 19:02, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Should not be about inclusionists versus deletionists

While everyone knows where I pretty much stand on things, those looking for a compromise should and can take heart in that this does not have to make everyone happy. If a couple editors here of a strong inclination declare they do not support it, then, well, those compromising do not have to make everyone happy, because making everyone happy is not realistic anyway. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 20:34, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I appreciate hearing that. I've put the measuring stick for consensus far lower than pleasing everyone, and certainly consensus has never meant that everyone is happy. (That's why we have rules like WP:3RR, and why RFAs don't require unanimity.) I figure if we can satisfy *most* criticisms of this proposal with the exception of the inclusion/deletion debate, we'll be most of the way there. The best way to do that is to simplify, as far as I can tell. To the extent that we need to find a balance between inclusion/deletion, I'd interpret an equal balance of "too strong" and "too weak" !votes to mean "just right". Randomran (talk) 20:42, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Right, but there is a collection on either side of this debate that could end this by refusing to stick to unrealistic expectations. If we got a bunch of staunch inclusionists or deletionists onboard to this compromise, it would sail through. That's ~10 "votes" either way and it would get this from 55/45 to ~65/35 in a hurry. right now all we have been doing is changing small components of this guideline which will either be non-transformative (and generally benefit us by improving clarity) or be transformative and piss off too many people to be zero-sum. Protonk (talk) 21:20, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
At this point, I am fairly well convinced that we need to change WP:N first, because it is clear from here and AfDs that how notability is implemented and perceived lacks consensus. Best, --A NobodyMy talk 23:51, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Failed, Feb 2009

Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) is, and should be marked, {{failed}}. See WP:POL#Failed. Consensus for acceptance has not developed after a reasonable time period. This is unlikely to change. Repetitive arguments will not change this fact. It would be wiser for proponents for issues here to start again in a different place. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I suggest we move over to WP:N and work to reform that instead as clearly there is no consensus with regards to fictional notability and quite possibly notability altogether. It's time for a change. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 23:49, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Good luck changing that. We'll be over here with possible projects. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:53, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Failure to reach a consensus here reflects a lack of consensus over notability and if we can't come to a consensus there either, then it is proof that "notability" does not have a consensus as is already evident by the vast majority of editors and readers who create, work, on read so many of these articles that maybe a half dozen people will declare "nnotable" in some five day AfD. And all the while, all this time spent discussing this concept that does not reflect the community in practice, no articles are actually being improved as a result. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 00:18, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Notability is not going anywhere. It's widely regarded as being necessary to avoid the indiscriminate inclusion of any old junk. Reyk YO! 00:21, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
It has much more widespread opposition as a subjective, elitist, anti-wikipedic concept and therefore lacks consensus as it serves no useful purpose and is used to get rid of encyclopedic and worthwhile articles per what really boils down to "I don't like" rationales. An inclusion criteria may be worthwhile, but notability is not it. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 00:24, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Widespread opposition? Where? Reyk YO! 00:30, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
There is a whole category of multiple Wikipedians with a userbox that says no to notability (like the no to flagged revisions thing), several essays on non-notability and anti-notability, a host of userpages with some kind of anti-notability comment, the obvious reality of shear numbers of people who wrote and come here for these types of articles versus the incredibly smaller percentage who wrote the GNG and who write "non-notable" in AfDs, etc. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 00:37, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Where's the evidence that "notability" guidelines are necessary? Inclusion guidelines perhaps, but why "notability" guidelines? Look at Category:Wikipedians against notability. "Old junk" is a highly subjective phrase — one I'm sure archaeologists would cringe at. --Pixelface (talk) 00:40, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree that notability - or at least what it aims to do, is not going anywhere. However, I am strongly convinced from the last two years that the concept needs to be deconstructed and reconstructed to better accommodate areas that are outside traditional academic bounds without making WP a huge fan site. However, that will take time and a lot of working through existing policy and guidelines to establish what it should be doing; it is not going to happen within a year, that's for sure. We need to at least give FICT a stable version to allow everyone to come to the table to talk about this deconstruction. What we need in the short term is to recognize that there is a line that we cross that breaks this for one side, makes it for the other, depending on which side we are on. Now we have to figure out how to smooth out that line. Note that ArbCom may have to get involved if those not willing to compromise stick to their guns. --MASEM 00:35, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Notability is necessary for at least two reasons. Firstly, it is required to stop Wikipedia from becoming a directory or some other species of indiscriminate collection of information, as Uncle G has persuasively demonstrated. Secondly, the requirement for coverage in reliable, independent secondary sources causes us to stick to the principle that, if nobody else has seen fit to comment on something, Wikipedia should not be the first. Reyk YO! 00:46, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Notability is quite possibly our most unnecessary guideline. Not only does WP:V already cover the need for inclusion in reliable sources, if we want some kind of inclusion criteria then we should call it "inclusion criteria" and not a word that is interpreted subjectively by pretty much everyone as seen in so many AfDs where you get 3 "non-notables" versus 3 "notables", i.e. where the subject is somehow notable to someone but not notable to someone else. If we already have not a directory and not info, and reliable sources, taking this on just adds an added layer of excessive bureacracy that as seen here just adds to confusion and frustration. It is more of a hindrance for collegial writing than anything else. If we want to have some kind of practical and objective inclusion criteria fine, but notability is little more than what some like and don't like and the category linked to avove provides 188 reasons why it does not reflect the actual support of the community. As User:Thanos6 says on his userpage, "Notability must destroyed." Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 00:54, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Your 188 people would be a small, though very vocal, minority. I bet that if someone nominated WP:N at Miscellany for Deletion, the consensus would overwhelmingly be to keep. Reyk YO! 04:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
If WP:N was MFD'd, it would be speedy kept. That's because, for some reason, once a page has {{policy}} or {{guideline}} tag put on it, it cannot be nominated for deletion. Wikipedia currently has over 300 policies and guidelines. If you can't nominate any for deletion, you will just get more and more of them. Perhaps Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines for deletion should be created. --Pixelface (talk) 07:45, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I did not know that, but my point remains- if there was a "Policies and Guidelines for deletion" page, WP:N would be an overwhelming keep. Reyk YO! 07:58, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Doubtful as even the most people who would probably comment in the discussion would still be less than the 188 in the category, meaning even if you had 20 argue to keep it which would be a large number for an MfD it would still be several times less than the number of editors who are opposed to it, but might miss the five day discussion. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 16:57, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
There's that 188, plus the thousands who have created articles certain editors declare non-notable and the millions that come here to read them. Only an extremely small vocal minority actually support WP:N. The real and honest consensus is that it has no consensus. It is nothing more than a crutch for "I don't like it" and it is totally out of whack with reality and none of us should respect it or take it seriously. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 16:54, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
There are so many things wrong with User:Uncle G/On notability it's hard to know where to begin. Coverage is not a requirement. Articles have to be verifiable, contain no unpublished opinions, and be written as fairly as possible. And "notable" does not just mean "noted." If something is written about, that's evidence of notability. But that's not the only evidence. And all kinds of things that are not worthy of notice are written about. You don't need to find someone to comment about keyboards before you can create the article Alphanumeric keyboard. YOU'RE TYPING ON ONE. --Pixelface (talk) 00:55, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, well, that article is in dire need of sourceing just for WP:V concerns. Once that happens, most likely WP:N will be satisfied as well. In most cases, finding a source that verifies a certain claim in an article simultaneously helps that article satisfy WP:N- because both WP:V and WP:N ask for similar things, for different reasons. For instance, an article about some scientific topic that cites an academic paper to support some fact in the article would also have its notability demonstrated by the fact that some scientist has written a paper about it. But there are times when this natural process doesn't work and WP:N doesn't happen by default. I'll give an example- I was born, some day I'll probably get married, and some day I will die. All three events would be mentioned in a newspaper; those together with my passport and entry in the phone book give enough neutral, verifiable information in reliable independent sources about me to write a stub. Does that mean I should have an article on Wikipedia? Hell, no! I'm just not notable. Another instance of WP:V not automatically taking care of WP:N is for articles that are mostly supported by primary sources- this is especially noticeable for some articles on fiction where the only source is the work of fiction itself. I say again, it is not Wikipedia's place to be the first to comment on something. Reyk YO! 04:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
That article's been around for over 7 years, and apparently nobody has felt the need to do any sourcing in all that time. So I don't think it's in dire need of anything. Keyboards are notable. Every editor on Wikipedia has one. You're right, you're probably not notable. Like I said, all kinds of things that are not worthy of notice are written about (in newspapers, in phone books, in passports, etc). But if a work of fiction is notable, and someone thinks something in that work of fiction is notable, there's nothing wrong with them creating an article about that fictional element. Others may disagree that it's notable though. --Pixelface (talk) 10:58, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
How do you find out where those lines are Masem? A survey perhaps? Like Wikipedia:Dispute resolution recommends? Like the one I suggested to you 8 months ago? --Pixelface (talk) 01:03, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
No, because that's not the line that's at issue (and a survey in this area will undoubtedly be biased towards inclusionists). The line that's at issue is whether episodes and major character do or do not have to provide a reliable source to pass the second prong. --MASEM 01:22, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
You mean the "prongs" in the proposal that the RFC shows has no consensus to be a guideline? Prong shmong. The survey I wrote isn't biased towards anyone. If you think it is, please edit it. Change it. Now's your chance. Write your own survey if you want. I am sick and tired of a year of your obstructionism.
Masem, are you TTN? --Pixelface (talk) 04:01, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
WP:NPA. I've been one of the few that could care less how fiction is treated in the end, just that there is a compromise to whatever results. --MASEM 04:29, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Do you think I made a personal attack? What? That I'm sick and tired? You have been blocking progress for over a year. You could care less? If you mean you couldn't care less, that's obviously not true — because you've made 946 edits[12] to this talkpage, more than anyone on Wikipedia. Anyone. Out of 8.8 million registered users. You. #1.
So a Checkuser would confirm that you are not TTN Masem? --Pixelface (talk) 08:03, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, someone's got to be #1. A checkuser is generally only performed when there is a good reason for suspecting abuse- and your cranky, irrational and baseless ravings are about as far from a good reason as I can imagine. Reyk YO! 08:13, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, and whoever's #1 better not say they don't care about how fiction is treated. Ohhh, but Masem didn't say that. He said he "could care less." Oh okay. I look forward to Masem answering the question. It's a simple yes or no. --Pixelface (talk) 13:43, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
You can checkuser me all you want, but I am certainly not TTN. And knowing your feelings for TTN, that is what I consider a personal attack, just like what you are doing to Jack below. Talk about the guidelines, not the editors. --MASEM 13:47, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Well it's good to know that you're not TTN. But you consider a question whether you're TTN a personal attack? Really? Personally, I would just say: No. I am not TTN. Next question. Do you know TTN in real life Masem?
Jack Merridew is a sockpuppet by his own admission. So I didn't personally attack him below. Your suggestion to talk about the guidelines, not the editors is hollow, ever since you copied over that comment to WT:NOT. You know the one I'm talking about. --Pixelface (talk) 14:10, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea who TTN is in real life nor contact with him. Yes, Jack was found to be a sock user, but has since been unbanned through ArbCom, thus there is no acceptable reason in bringing up his past save. And I copied that comment over on good faith to start a discussion of a possible change to a policy you had been seeking to change based on your input, moving it out of the RFC/U which was only about your behavior, not your policy beliefs; thus it made sense to bring it to a larger discussion on the appropriate page outside the RFC/U. --MASEM 14:34, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
That's a joke, right? <joke>We're all TTN</joke>. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
No, a sockpuppet like you being unbanned is a joke. It's a simple question with a yes or no answer. Given your extensive experience in the area of sockpuppetry, perhaps you could offer us some insight, mate. --Pixelface (talk) 13:43, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Knock it off, Pixelface. Now you're just lashing out at everyone; trust me, I know how it looks online when I see it. those are damn close to NPA violations if they're not already over the line. Take a breath and come back. Alternately, No, I'm TTN! ThuranX (talk) 14:07, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Everyone? You may be unfamiliar with my past interactions with Masem and Jack Merridew. And the giant NPA violation known as user RFC — created by Masem, and instigated by Jack Merridew. I will take a breath and come back, lest I say something as toxic as you have in the past. --Pixelface (talk) 14:17, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
You could still respond to the concerns folks have expressed at that RFC. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:11, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, I asked if it was a joke, so I think it pretty clear that I view your allegation as without merit. Cheers, Jack Merridew this user is a sock puppet 09:11, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Masem, my major issue isn't so much the sourcing as much as it is the blanket assertion that all episodes pass the second prong, and nobody even has to argue that they are important. I'm happy enough with the old last line of the prong, that simply pointed out that the argument had to be verifiable: that didn't rule out an argument that relied on a primary source. That combination required only that an editor be able to concoct a persuasive and verifiable argument that the episode was an important one. The language that was inserted would have allowed an article on every episode of {{Scrubs]], or even General Hospital if someone could manage to dredge up some verifiable real-world information about each episode.—Kww(talk) 04:10, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
That's the point that I believe needs to be smoothed out; I don't think anyone is stating that "importance must be shown by assertion" is a problem, but it's the exception for episodes and major characters that is causing the issue. Having no allowances of any types or episodes or characters is not seeming to pass the inclusionists, but any all-out allowance for episodes and major characters would be a problem to deletionists. We're close, that line needs to be found. --MASEM 04:29, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Don't be silly. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:52, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree, I think to mark this failed right now would be to call this too early. --NickPenguin(contribs) 00:05, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Given that it is a matter of specific issues, calling this a failure is way too excessive and the like. (Unlike the last FICT, which could not be moved to meet the needs of the RFC input, and thus failed). --MASEM 00:11, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Dead it is. Now we can all refocus on writing articles. Those more interested in the keep/delete aspects, throw in an hour a week reviewing AfDs, and start really sticking to the policies, and change the culture of AfD. Then you won't have to worry about gaming Notability for Fictions. ThuranX (talk) 00:31, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

It will always be easier to do no zero research and say delete. But look at the AFD for Ego the Living Planet. It was snow kept. There are certain people who want to nominate articles for "failing" some guideline, and when people argue to keep they want to keep saying "nunh-uh, WP:ABC says this." --Pixelface (talk) 00:45, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I looked at it. It was a lot of fanboy votes that were so low on good content-based arguments that I would have disregarded them, were I an admin who could close that. I note that it wasn't closed until after third party sources were found, thus obviating your declarations of snow keeps based on popularity grounds. That's a poor example, because the delete votes said it lacked some aspectr of a policy, and after those dearths were rectified, the article was kept. Had no sources been available, Ego, continentally formed mustache and all, would've gone bye-bye, as well he should have. Merge him to cosmic entities in Marvel Comics or something, along with the In-betweener, Infinity, and so on. ThuranX (talk) 05:18, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Why do you dismiss the people arguing to keep as "fanboys"? Did you know that WP:NOTPAPER is a policy? Did you know that the five pillars don't mention "notability" at all? Someone could look at your userpage and declare you a "fanboy", but what's the point? Does that label mean your opinion means nothing? It would've gone "bye-bye"? No, it wouldn't have. One person in that AFD argued to delete, besides the nominator. That was a non-admin closure snowball keep, later signed off on by an admin. The nominator said the article cited no reliable sources, but comic books are reliable sources. Who is a more reliable source for that character than Stan Lee or Jack Kirby? --Pixelface (talk) 13:26, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Pixel, do you notice that a lot of those "keep" votes said things like "here are sources XYZ"? If you are opposed to people saying "This comic sux, we should delete it", I'm with you. But you seem to be citing an AfD that showed WP:N in action in order to argue that we shouldn't have WP:N. You should realize that there are editors here who really do believe in WP:N as a good inclusion criteria--we aren't using it as a pretext to delete things that we don't like, we aren't trying to fatten Jimbo's wallet by pushing things to wikia. We just think that "covered in significant detail by multiple independent reliable sources" is a damn fine threshold for inclusion (my personal objections about its limitations for fictional subjects notwithstanding). Protonk (talk) 14:59, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
If a nominator wants sources, people will look for them. People provide sources during AFDs to persuade others that something is "notable." Sometimes people will find sources and the nominator will dimiss them anyway. Pointing to outside sources has become more routine because of WP:N. But a lot of times it's still just "I know it when I see it" vs. "I've never heard of this so why should I care?"
I cited an AFD that showed that these "prongs" are imaginary. If WP:N compels a person to nominate for deletion an article about a character created over 40 years ago by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby during the Silver Age of Comic Books, then WP:N is broken. And I'm sure there are people who would love to push that article to Wikia.
I'm sure there are editors who think "notability" is a good inclusion criteria. But debates about "notability" are a sideshow. The question is: "Should Wikipedia have an entry on it?" — not: "Is this subject worthy of notice?"
Who cares what you think is not "worthy" of your attention? Or what I think for that matter? Or anyone? How do you even quantify what your attention is "worth"? If somebody thinks a subject is not "worthy" of their attention, just don't look. I don't think Project Chanology is worthy of my attention. But Wikipedia has an article about it anyway. If I don't want to read it, I don't have to.
There are some subjects that I don't need "third-party sources" to know that it's notable. And some people do use WP:N (and FICT) as a pretext to delete things they don't like.
Maybe TTN wasn't trying to fatten Jimbo's wallet, but he was doing a pretty good job of it. Along with fellow Naruto fan IAmSasori. If you want to know why people argue to delete scores of things related to fiction, oftentimes it's not because they have high standards; a lot of the time it's because an article they like or they made got deleted. Or someone told them "These are rules. Everyone has to follow them." But WP:IAR has always been policy. If a "rule" prevents you from improving Wikipedia, ignore it.
The threshold for inclusion on Wikipedia is verifiability. The phrase "significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject" is so vague, that there are arguments about it every day. Is this significant? Is that reliable? Is that independent? And that lofty phrase is not a requirement. Now, if you make it a requirement, you will keep out fictional characters editors just made up one day. But you could also just say "Don't create articles for fictional characters you just made up one day." Keep it simple. --Pixelface (talk) 11:11, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Support tagging as {{fail}}ed. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:05, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
    • Lets do a watchlist notice on NOTE. My impression is that if you get enough eyes, you get get no consensus. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 10:16, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Support tagging as {{tl|failed}}. Pixelface, you are a wealth of information, and probably the most valuable editor on wikipedia. I proudly added my name to the list of Category:Wikipedians_against_notability. Everyone here talks about how they think wikipedia should be, pushing their views of wikipedia on hundreds of other editors. But no one ever talks about the human cost of such draconian policies. How many hours of work are going to be deleted or buried? How many editors are going to leave wikipedia in disgust and never return? How many editors are never going to start editing on wikipedia because hundreds of articles no longer exist in the top 10 of wikipedia, advertising the wonders of wikipedia? How many more journalists are going to add their voices to the unanimous, universal journalistic disdain of our deletion policies? The questions are never asked in walled gardens such as this. Ikip (talk) 13:57, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I find your lack of faith most disturbing. Although I sympathize with your point about all the wasted work, at the bottom of this edit page, it does say very clearly If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed for profit by others, do not submit it. . I'm pretty sure that includes having someone's article merged or deleted. Secondly, you seem to equate shifting Wikipedia's stance on certain items with outcasting an entire class of editor. Sure, some may be disappointed and leave, but that's certainly true about every major change in pretty much everything in life, and somehow major projects still seem to motor along just fine. This would improve the overall average quality of the wiki, while cleaning up one of it's neglected corners. I might even go so far to say that passing this guideline would depolarize this supposed inclusionist versus deletionist thing everyone's always talking about. --NickPenguin(contribs) 14:40, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I should note that I find the small cadre of people who have dogmatically and tendentiously opposed this proposal throughout now declaring it failed mildly amusing. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:07, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

  • I admire your efforts and like your objectives, but believe that this is the wrong way to do it. You seem to have never answered my criticisms on this page, now archived. I think this won’t work, regardless of any of the specific issues. I’d like to be shown to be wrong, I have no serious issue with anything specific, but I see a lack of progress and lots of dust. I find nothing the least bit amusing here. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I dunno. I've taken this page off my watchlist. I'm inclined to say that we should just stick a fork in it. The community gets the fictional notability guideline it deserves, I guess. Protonk (talk) 14:59, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't call this failed. There's a supermajority of support. Many of the opposing voices cannot be addressed without attracting opposition from others. But many of the opposing voices can be addressed, perhaps if we find a way to drop / merge a prong. Then we'd have something with a consensus, no doubt. Randomran (talk) 00:43, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Really, this talk page grows too fast for any but a few to keep reading it; the disagreements are everywhere and especially pumped off regularly into the archives. The proposal is edited regularly and no one registering a support or oppose was commenting on the same proposal. There is no consensus here. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:11, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Lack of consensus != lack of progress. I think things are moving very well, even if it's a bit tough to follow at times. --NickPenguin(contribs) 17:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps a monthly or three-monthly summary would be helpful? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't be too quick to say it's failed either. We've had proposals across a spectrum of importance (from flagged revisions, to low-level article merges) passed with less support than this, because the opposes weren't helpful for some reason; in this case, blanket opposition to the notability guideline. If this isn't passed, the GNG will just be used instead (that's not really a threat, it's a guarantee; it's already being used), and that's much harder to bring down than FICT. Any opposition to WP:N really belongs on WT:N, not WT:FICT... Sceptre (talk) 11:39, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I exaggerated a bit; there's currently around 52% supporting the guideline, based on bolded !votes. Then again, this is not just a poll, it's much more complicated. Still, I'd say that at least a fifth of opposes come from an opposition to notability rather than an opposition to the guideline itself. Sceptre (talk) 11:51, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • My worry is that the gulf has not been bridged — there are people opposing because they feel the guideline is too loose (inclusionist) and others opposing because they feel the guideline is too strict (deletionist). Stifle (talk) 10:32, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

This isn't about fiction

This is about entertainment; elements of entertainment.

I think lumping huge realms of stuff into one guideline is part of why the rancour is interminable. What the inclusionists want is the inclusion of TV character articles, TV episode articles, ditto comic books and D&D; it's about pop-culture. Everyone knows the sort of articles this is about. The deletionists don't view the depth of coverage the inclusionists favour as appropriate. This stuff is nominally a subset of fiction, but most fiction is not what's contentious here. The Tom Sawyer fans are not creating sprawling families of articles (no, I've not looked).

So, how about forking this discussion between 'fiction' and

This would allow more focused discussion. And, ya, part of it would be where to draw the line. Cheers, Jack Merridew 09:50, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I wonder how many people see "fiction" and think "novels"? As I discovered, that's not really what it's about at all. cojoco (talk) 10:28, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Too many, I expect. I believe that a lot of the supposed support for this push is due to the mischaracterisation as 'fiction'. A lot of the support would evaporate if the discussion were properly focused on the actual material that the dispute revolves about. I'd also like to throw the 'commercial' concern in here; it is not proper for this project to give fawning coverage to commercial properties. The fans who attempt this are victims of marketing. Cheers, Jack Merridew 10:45, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we have to take this section too seriously, as I think Jack is having a little joke and is trying annoy editors who are interested in modern culture, by comparison with his interest in Dead white males. Nice try Jack! --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:16, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
This was no joke. No one is proposing deleting anything about anything serious or proper; the crap that should be deleted is the trivia, the fancruft, the fanwank; the dumb stuff that is not encyclopaedic and does not amount to 'knowledge'. The "victims of marketing" are the programmed army of commercial interests. Jack Merridew 11:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
It rather depends upon your definition of serious or proper as to whether anyone is "proposing deleting anything about anything serious or proper". Instead of arguing about such definitions, let us recognise that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers, and ignore hyperbole which at worst can be seen as disruptive, against which certain users are proscribed. Hiding T 12:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Ya, right; defending the project against a flood of worthless articles is not disruptive. Jack Merridew 12:12, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
The ends have never justified the means on Wikipedia. Mischaracterizing other editors' actions to make them seem unreasonable or improper, repeatedly disregarding other editors' explanations for their edits, campaigning to drive away productive contributors and generally creating an atmosphere of hostility are considered disruptive. Please tone your language down and respect other people and their opinions even if you disagree with them. Hiding T 12:55, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Balderdash. My tone is just fine. I respect reasonable people and reasonable arguments. Jack Merridew 12:31, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
My judgement is fine too. Your hyperbole is unnecessary and is escalating the debate to a greater temperature than needed. You've been asked to moderate your tone, I suggest you follow that advice. It is not your choice as to who you afford respect on Wikipedia, it is policy to afford respect to everyone to create a collegiate atmosphere. Please do not dirupt that collegiate atmosphere. Thank you. Hiding T 13:13, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Call. If your judgement was fine, you'd be commenting @ the tag-team barking at my heels hereabouts. Jack Merridew 10:26, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
You're throwing stones and you're moaning at me that one of your windows got broken? Stop throwing stones, I say. Hiding T 12:18, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Jack doesn't use stones, and they're only barking. Cheers, Jack Merridew 13:45, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Sure look like stones to me. Hiding T 15:09, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Jokes aside, as people have pointed out above it's best to keep the number of guidelines to a minimum... elements of fiction are common enough that we can create a loose-fitting canvas to cover them. Otherwise you're just appeasing fanboys who believe their franchise can screw the rules (Gundam, Star Wars, Doctor Who, yadda yadda). --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 12:48, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
<sarcasm>How about this "franchise"? Category:Films based on the works of Mark Twain Clearly these are commercial works, most of whose articles seem to lack references, are full of trivia, need critical analysis of their reception, are mostly plot summary, and/or are full of unsubstantiated (possibly OR) opinions. (And the same seems true, to some extent, of Tom Sawyer.) </sarcasm> --Craw-daddy | T | 14:31, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
At a glance, I'd say there is likely to be dross in there. Cheers, Jack Merridew 11:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I just followed that to Huckleberry Larry and from there to VeggieTales. Somebody sure is making Wikipedia suck. They're making the world suck, too. Jack Merridew 11:22, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
"Victims" of marketing? Is that why you don't have a television Jack? You're afraid of becoming a "victim"? And if you want to contribute to a "proper" encyclopedia Jack, Britannica 2.0 is that way. --Pixelface (talk) 04:10, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I am hard-pressed to think that Tom Sawyer amounts to "most fiction." Most fiction is popular fiction, Jack. Phil Sandifer (talk) 22:12, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, most fiction is terrible. Some of the hack fiction may be popular, but that doesn't make it appropriate to cover in endless detail. Jack Merridew 11:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
So is it popular or not? Last time I checked it was on the mandatory school reading list, this I suppose equals to grossly unpopular :) but then it was thirty years ago :) NVO (talk) 23:04, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
What first got me involved in this topic was the redirection, destructive merger, and deletion, of characters from Tolstoy & Austen. I initially thought it was the typical Wikipedia indifference to academic topics, but then I saw similar attacks on Wodehouse and Tolkien. And i tried to check the plot summaries for some episodes of the Sopranos, and found they were too brief to be informative. At that point I realised that the extent of the problem, & that the stuff I liked could only be saved by defending the stuff I disliked or disregarded, but that other people were interested in. (and I've from this come to appreciate some things I never imagined I would have paid attention to otherwise) Comprehensiveness is the basic idea behind encyclopedias. DGG (talk) 03:58, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Tolstoy, Austen, Wodehouse and Tolkien and their works should all be covered as far as independent/reliable sourcing will allow; which will not be lacking. The limiting factor here is editors who care. In the case of "the dumb stuff" (which is a quote from an off-wiki discussion the other day with a non-editor) there is no lack of editors; there are too many "anybodys". Comprehensive coverage of pop-whatever does not mean bottomless coverage. Jack Merridew 11:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Oppose forking this into a mess of contrasting, conflicting guidelines. If we have to dissect this into a half dozen different guidelines to get what each Special Interest Group wants, we're going to rapidly find people saying 'but X has a lesser standard than we do, so we should adopt that too'. Few people except those with extreme Notability agendas are going to be able to police all the guidelines in any meaningful way. Without a centralized discussion, we'll rapidly see erosion of notability via comparative revisions, each one 'de-escalating' the qualifications to top the next. A centralized discussion is needed to ensure real community ownership of the guideline, instead of splitting it into fragments where each SIG can get their way.

On another note, it's good to know Tom Sawyer no longer counts as real fiction. Tom Sawyer, or Bleak House, or some similar novel, would probably make a great barometer to measure against. I doubt there are 50 articles about either. ThuranX (talk) 04:16, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Someone(s) actually did try deleting the characters of A Tale of Two Cities, but we were able to rescue them at the AfDs. And I actually have seen the occasional effort to delete/redirect articles on Shakespeare or Wizard of Oz or War & Peace characters, etc, i.e. AfDing or redirecting characters who are studied in classrooms and who have appeared in multiple stage and screen adaptations and which get scores of Google News, Google Books, and Google Scholar hits, i.e. article that are unquestionably improveable, but instead of doing so, just redirecting or worse AfDing. Because of those experiences of absurd claims of "non-notable", I have seen how subjectively this concept is interpreted. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 04:24, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
What are you talking about? I say we shouldn't fragment this policy, my major idea, and, as an aside, say that Tom Sawyer and related articles would make a good model for considering how far out notability may need to extend from a single work. You reply that people tried to AfD some characters from a different book. So what? Do those characters have reliable independent sources to assert notability? If so, then the should have been kept, and if not, then merge/redir back to the main. So what? My point is there are few articles about Tom Sawyer related elements (Huck excepted, as he's independently notable in every manner), and that's how it should be. And splitting this out to game community-wide consensus is a bad idea. ThuranX (talk) 04:31, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
We probably shouldn't have this policy at all, so take care! Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 04:36, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
The character Tom Sawyer appears in multiple fictional works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer Abroad, and Tom Sawyer, Detective. But look at how many sources are in those articles. Those novels aren't notable because they're written about, they're notable because Samuel Clemens wrote them. But those aren't ongoing fictional works, where Samuel Clemens keeps adding to it. Why shouldn't Wikipedia have entries for characters in those novels? A separate webpage or an entry on a list, it's just a question of presentation. Why not both? --Pixelface (talk) 06:05, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
It's not just about an appropriate level of coverage, it about the appropriate form of coverage. The notion of 'character' articles is a poor presentation technique; it encourages in-universe writing. Most fictional characters would be better covered in a higher concept article. List of characters in the Tom Sawyer series is not unreasonable; the section Tom Sawyer#Appearances in works by others is cruft. Jack Merridew 11:22, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
The article Lady Macbeth is a poor presentation technique? No, it isn't. "she becomes Queen of Scotland" — is that the in-universe writing you don't like Jack? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, cruft means "Code, data, or software of poor quality." So if I write something in C++, feel free to call it "cruft", mate. How many people on Earth do you think know C++ Jack? (speaking of "systemic bias") --Pixelface (talk) 01:49, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
WP:BATTLEGROUND, pixel. You've cherry-picked another character -- as did the bouledogue. What C++ has to do with notability, fiction, or pop-culture/entertainment is beyond me. Jack Merridew 12:41, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
So explain how character articles are a poor presentation technique. Explain how people who create them are "victims" of marketing. You're using coder slang ("cruft") to describe content in articles about fiction. Leave your POV at the door. "Cruft" has as much to do with fiction as C++ has to do with fiction. D&D is anything but pop culture. Like C++, it's geek culture. I would say D&D is more game than fiction, but the characters are certainly fictional characters.
Fiction isn't just about novels. Do you think this is about British pop culture? Australian pop culture? Japanese pop culture? American pop culture? Shakespeare's plays were pop culture. Do you think fiction is not created to entertain? --Pixelface (talk) 03:54, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I just browsed the Encyclopaedia Britannica and found that they have numerous articles upon fictional characters such as Sir John Falstaff, James Bond, Darth Vader, Catwoman and Snoopy. This provides ample evidence that such presentation is quite proper. Jack's contention seems to be just personal prejudice, unsupported by any objective evidence. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:36, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
    How sincere of you to cherry pick a set of highly notable characters and ignore the myriad ones that are not. Jack Merridew 12:48, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
    • Britannica is a paper encyclopedia and a general encyclopedia. We are a paperless encyclopedia and a combination of general encyclopedias, specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers. As such, we can afford to go way beyond what Britannica covers. Sincerely, --A NobodyMy talk 17:55, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
        • 2.7 million articles -- a quarter of which of are utterly non-notable? 'Beyond' would imply 'forward', not 'below'. Sheesh. Jack Merridew 12:41, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose for pretty much the same reasons as everyone else; the difference between Tom Sawyer and the 23423426346 Gundam articles we have is that the former is covered by a plethora of very reliable, independent secondary sources, and has a demonstrable real-world impact which again is very well sourced. It is not because they are fundamentally different categories of subject. Incidentally, I'd love for DGG to show me an old (pre-deletionist meddling) version of a Austin article up to the stellar level of our coverage of the DiMeo crime family. One could practically offer undergraduate courses in our Sopranos coverage. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:02, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

This isn't about fiction. This is about one class of material coat-tailing on another. The works of Shakespeare are 'fiction' as are the works of Austen, and Shelley, so if works that are not of that class can insinuate themselves into falling under the same 'guideline' as those, they may be able to squeak by. But Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information; we do discriminate against different classes of material. No one reasonable is seeking to remove the first class, so a guideline focused on such material should be uncontroversial (beyond, of course, defining the class). The other class, the one where significant numbers of people believe we should be more discriminating, needs defining and, of course, culling. Cheers, Jack Merridew 10:45, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

I think this points to what the end results of notability (not just fiction) are trying to do, and that is to primarily make sure articles are well sources as to begin to meet some quality threshold. You're right on the first class (works of fiction) is not an issue, but when we start to talk characters, episodes, and other elements from those works, the majority of the time, the editors that write those will create articles that far exceed our quality standards both in sourcing and in approach (in-universe writing, plot repetition, etc.) It is not specifically that WP's inclusion standards forbid these articles, just that most of the time they produce poor articles. Which is why I think the ultimate goal of a notability guideline on fictional elements is to assert "if you can't write the article in such a fashion to meet certain style guidelines, it shouldn't be an article". --MASEM 15:03, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. I mentioned the issue of editors working on the second class of articles needing to write better to Cas (on his talk page about a month ago) and he very much agreed. Sure, editors working on, say, Lady Macbeth, may not be writing at a high level either, but at least there are real sources out there; people have taken note in significant ways — so this issue is not one of notability or appropriates for inclusion, it is merely a matter of further work being required (WP:NOTFINISHED). In the case of the second class of articles, we have poor writing by editors here, little or no external writing to work from either, and we're left with fawning in-universe plot regurgitation. WP:PLOT#NOT means that plot summary is an inappropriate style of writing; this is, however, what the fan-class of editors want to read and write. This is what I mean by "victims of marketing". Please get your wording into this guideline; I'd support that. Cheers, Jack Merridew 12:31, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
How do you suggest these volunteers be taught to write better? Notability guidelines don't teach people to write better. We do have WP:BETTER though. A subject does not have to be written about in order for people to take note. Plot summaries are appropriate on Wikipedia. Period. There is no "fan class" of editors. And I have no idea why you classify fans as victims of marketing. --Pixelface (talk) 12:23, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Jack, this appears to be about your tastes in fiction. Explain how Shakespeare's plays are fiction, but not entertainment nor pop culture. --Pixelface (talk) 04:06, 13 February 2009 (UTC)