Wikipedia:Notability and fiction
There is currently no clear consensus as to how notability affects fictional topics. This essay instead serves to explain to editors the current situation and general approaches to take when attempting to determine the notability of a fictional topic.
Why articles may be kept as standalone articles
The current general guidelines for notability on Wikipedia are set out at Wikipedia:Notability. Where an article does not meet those guidelines, editors should consider merging the information to a suitable article. Articles which are not merged may become candidates for deletion. These articles are not always deleted if they do not meet the notability guidelines, because other standards sometimes come in to play and because guidelines admit to exceptions. At heart, decisions on Wikipedia should always reflect Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, the policy of doing what is best for the encyclopedia. A consensus may emerge at a deletion debate for an article to be kept for any one of several different reasons. Some of these reasons are
- the article complies with Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view;
- the article is part of a cluster of articles discussing an overall fictional topic;
- the article contains sources other than the work itself or such sources can be found and added;
- the article would otherwise exist on Wikipedia as a section of an article which has exceeded the optimal size;
Any article may be kept where a consensus emerges against deletion. Alternatively, articles on fiction that meet the above reasons but still fail to demonstrate sufficient notability may be deleted after a deletion debate; editors should not expect articles meeting the above to always be sufficient to retain a standalone article, and should continue to work towards including demonstration of its notability.
Why articles may be merged
Sometimes an article can clearly meet the general notability guideline and yet may still be merged or redirected. This is often the case with minor or trivial elements within a work. For example, a character who appears only once, very briefly, yet still has a very few minor references commenting on its appearance for one of several reasons. These reasons may include: the scene being important; scholarly reviews of older texts; or the element being compared to something out-of-universe. These type of elements are sometimes merged if there is not enough material to justify the existence of a separate article.
It is important that when these elements are merged that any relevant information about them be preserved since if the element had enough information to pass the GNG their existence should be noted, but while keeping the amount of info relevant to the rest of the article.
Verifiability, original research and a neutral point of view
The general principles espoused by Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view are the bedrock as regards the content of our encyclopedia. Information has to be sourced because we do not rely on our own reputation. Readers have to be able to check the material and verify our assertions for themselves. It is also important so that we avoid plagiarism. Since we do not rely on our reputation, we cannot advance our own opinions or attempt to document new occurrences or publications. We only summarise reliable sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and that directly support the information as it is presented. Beyond everything else, we ensure that we are representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources.