Category talk:Science fiction critics

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missing critics & systemic bias[edit]

There are a number of notable critics in this field who lack Wikipedia. This list includes only those with pre-existing wikipedia pages. A disproportionate number of the sf critics without wikipedia pages are women (for example award-winning critic Veronica Hollinger and Sarah LeFanu (author of In the Chinks of the Wolrd Machine: Feminism & Science Fiction, Women's Press, 1988.) KC Pleasantville 00:30, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks for pointing that out -- you're absolutely right. (And it's not just critics & scholars, either; if you start looking through the articles on various SF genres they disproportionately cite to and discuss as examples, works by male writers.) This is why, in some instances, categories (which create automatically generated lists), aren't as good as "lists" -- manually generated and maintained lists. I'm glad you're working on these issues (too). --lquilter 02:53, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I think it would be perfectly appropriate to list (noteworthy) critics who did not (yet) have articles. Of course, if one notes something missing in Wikipedia, one can create or request entries to be created. Seems a little harsh to criticize an article on its first day; Wikipedia articles are built and improved incrementally as people have time and ability to fix them. Avt tor 20:10, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Good idea about listing critics without articles on the Science fiction criticism page. (BTW -- I took Pleasantville's comment as not so much criticizing the category, as making a systemic bias point about wikipedia.) --lquilter 20:23, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

criticism as a term[edit]

I like this category, but its name could be interpreted as "people who don't like science fiction". "Criticism" is almost a term of art in Wikipedia, and usually means "negative information". Unfortunately, I don't really have a better alternative to propose--just thought I'd mention it. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:11, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

The term comes from literary criticism, both academic and from the review press. If you look at Category:Literary criticism, etc., you'll see the other examples. You're absolutely right that it can be confusing to non-lit theory folks. Maybe, since there's not another good term for this, a note on the page can explain that "criticism" refers to the academic meaning of "analysis", and not to the ordinary parlance of "negative commentary"? Or if there are better ways to explain that? --lquilter 03:20, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Uh, no, Wikipedia can't define "terms of art". It is obliged to reflect the real world (or at least the world outside Wikipedia). Jargon belongs on talk pages and articles about Wikipedia itself, but otherwise does not belong in articles. If some editors have allowed certain words to acquire a Wikipedia-specific connotation, then it would be the responsibility of other editors to correct or clarify such usage when they see it. Avt tor 20:06, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'm getting your point. Wikipedia didn't create this meaning of the word criticism; the meaning comes from the academic community (which is part of the real world, albeit a subsection). So it seems to me that, in the real world, there is ambiguity over the terms; the question is within wikipedia, how to disambiguate. --lquilter 20:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
The "Um, no" is in reply to Akhilleus (hence the indent), specifically their assertion that "criticism" "usually means negative information". My point was that Wikipedia is not supposed to redefine words to exclude common meanings. Avt tor 00:20, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Avt tor -- I read too fast and just saw the A .... and thus interpreted your comment in light of what I thought was the earlier point from Akhilleus ... which is obviously why I wasn't getting your point. Doh. You and I are in accord, I believe. --lquilter 01:51, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Avt tor, my point is that Wikipedians tend to interpret "Criticism" as "negative information"--you can find many WP articles with a section entitled "Criticism" or something similar, and it almost always is a section of people saying the subject of the article is bad/wrong/evil. So the category "Science fiction critics" might be misinterpreted by some people. As Lquilter suggests, it might be a good idea to have a note on the category page defining the scope of the category, and explaining that "critic" is used in the sense of "literary critic". --Akhilleus (talk) 01:18, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
It's always a good idea to include a short, clear explanation of a category and its criteria for inclusion. For example, does anyone who ever published a book review belong? -Will Beback · · 01:49, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Someone who has published a book review has (likely) published criticism, but publishing one book review would never (almost never) be enough to make "critic" a sufficiently defining aspect of that person. So that aspect of it (the "is this a defining aspect") is covered by general category principles. But I will add, now, a note to the top trying to distinguish the meanings of criticism. (And y'all please improve, because I'm just going to dash one off and it will certainly need improvement.) --lquilter 01:54, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Akhilleus, I'm not buying the argument that "Wikipedians" don't understand English, and if people are allowing words to become jargon on articles, we should be educating people, not validating the mistake. Avt tor 05:25, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Avt tor, it's definitely the case that Wikipedians sometimes misinterpret what's intended by various English words--I've personally encountered some misunderstandings/idiosyncratic definitions of "myth" and "legendary" on Wikipedia, that occasionally lead to edit wars. As for how Wikipedia defines criticism, it may be worth looking at Wikipedia:Criticism, which among other things proposes guidelines for including a "Criticism" section in an article (the specific example they give is Igor Stravinsky#Criticism). Even though it's only a proposed guideline, I'd still say that Wikipedia:Criticism is evidence that for some editors, criticism has a primary meaning of negative information, and that it's becoming a jargon term. I found this quote from the talk page interesting:
"A significant problem with this article is blurring two common definitions of criticism. In art, music and literature, the term means study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation. In other contexts it means hostility or disagreement with the object of criticism. Many editors will misunderstand this. They are already predisposed to criticize topics they feel negatively about. When they read guidelines favoring a criticism section, that only fuels this already incorrect notion..."
Anyway, I think that the note on the category page does a good job of addressing any potential misunderstanding. --Akhilleus (talk) 06:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)