|This page in a nutshell: Through consideration of policy, sometimes even a "planned film" might have enough persistent critical commentary over an extended period of time so that the topic of the planned film might itself be determined as worthy of note. In this same vein, even a film that failed to be made could be found notable through coverage of its failure.|
With cautions and clarifications, policy states that "It is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur". This policy instruction is sometimes seen to conflict with the subsection at the guideline WP:Notability (films) which seeks to address discussion of planned films.
And while there may be enough coverage of a film's pre-production to be seen as notable enough per policy and guideline to discuss somewhere, sometimes a suitable merge target does not exist, or there is so much sourced information about the events of a particular film's production that a proposed target would be overburdened.
A cogent example in discussing notability of "future" events might be the article 2012 phenomenon, where it was found that the subject matter was "of sufficiently wide interest that it would merit an article had the event had already occurred", and there was enough indepth and significant coverage in multiple reliable sources of something that has not yet happened to allow it the reasonable presumption of being "worthy of note" even though the event had not (then) happened and actually never did happen.
Policy specifically allows properly sourced discussion of future events. And while we can always discuss on an article talk page a consideration of a merge of short articles into another related article, an independent article on a future topic is allowed. Per WP:Merge, an article does not in need to be merged into an existing article unless it is "very short" or if it needs to be covered in a broader context to be understandable. Specifically per WP:MERGE, merging should be avoided if
- The resulting article is too long or "clunky"
- The separate topics could be expanded into longer standalone (but cross linked) articles
- The topics are discrete subjects and deserve their own articles even though they may be short
And while practically ANY article could be "trimmed" to three or four sentences, to do so simply to facilitate a merge does not necessarily serve to increase a reader's understanding of the topic.
Coverage of planned films
To some it is seen as a quibble, but a "film" does not actually "exist" as a film until it is confirmed as having entered principal photography, and so discussion of the events surrounding a planned film's pre-production is not quite the same as discussion of the actually finished film. A film in the planning stages of pre-production remains an "idea" or "concept", which events of coverage might better be considered under WP:EVENT and its instruction that "an event that is a precedent or catalyst for something else of lasting significance is likely to be notable", and keeping in mind its cautions that
- "An event must receive significant or in-depth coverage to be notable,"
- "Notable events usually receive coverage beyond a relatively short news cycle," and
- "Significant national or international coverage is usually expected for an event to be notable."
It must not be forgotten that WP:NFF is not policy, it is an editorial guideline, and as a guideline, is "...best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply". So rather than treating NFF as if it were some absolute and ironclad mandate, it is better to consider how and determine what might qualify as one of those reasonable (and rare) exceptions to NFF for topics with demonstrable notability to exist as separate articles.
In application toward article topics, the "presumption toward notability" as described by WP:N, indicates that if a topic is demonstrated as meeting of the general notability guideline, the guideline described presumption of notability allows editors to in good faith accept the asserted and demonstrated presumption of notability to be supportive of a topic being worthy of notice.
To rebut the presumption, an editor must
- contest the presumption, and
- prove the demonstrated presumption to be false.
A contesting editor needs to address the significant coverage in multiple reliable sources that may have been offered by others to establish that reasonable and guideline-described "presumption".
The current version of WP:NFF suggests that until principal filming is confirmed, we should have no article about a film... but per both policy and guideline, we need to ask ourselves the pertinent question: Has the topic of the film's planning or pre-production generated multiple, non-trivial news stories? Does the discussion of a planned film's progress or lack of progress have the in-depth and persistent coverage in multiple reliable sources over an extended period of time so as to be seem in a historical context and be presumable as "worthy of note?
In other words: Does the topic of a planned film already satisfy the primary notability criteria?
To address and clarify NFF so as to perhaps limit the creation of articles on non-notable topics and the heated AFDs of the clearly notable ones, we may consider that:
- Guideline indicates any topic may be determined as being "worthy of notice" by its meeting general notability through its having "received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject"
- Policy specifically allows that it "is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur, if discussion is properly referenced."
- RARE exceptions to guideline WP:NFF are allowed to be considered IF
- the coverage of the topic of a planned film is itself enduring and persistent in multiple reliable sources and over an extended period (thus dealing with violations of WP:NOTNEWS), and either there is too much verifiable information in an article (whose topic is "discussion about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur"), to be reasonably placed anywhere else, or a suitable target for a shorter article does not yet exist.
So yes... if the notability of an event is in question but it is primarily associated with a particular person, company or organization, or can be covered as part of a wider topic, it may preferable per WP:NFF to consider describing the event within a preexisting article, by merging content. In such cases, care should be taken not to give the event undue weight or violate our policy on biographies of living persons.
And while yes, ANY article could be trimmed to three or four sentences in order to facilitate a merge to somewhere else, to do so simply to then justify the merge does not necessarily serve to increase a reader's understanding of the topic. Barring any suitable place at which to perform a merge and set a redirect, we need to consider the efficacy of an independent article, even if short, whose topic is discussion of the events surrounding a "future" film's production.
Articles discussing the prospects for success of a future film proposal and or whether some development will occur are not treated in the same manner as an article on a "made" film. We should not use the same infobox templates as do articles on completed films, so as to avoid confusing Wikipedia readers. We should never treat an article on an unmade film as if the topic was of an actual film. Points to consider:
- We disambiguate a title, ONLY if the article title is ambiguous. If a disambiguation for future films if needed, use movie title but with "(film project)" added.
- If there are no other articles by the same name, there is no need to disambiguate.
- If using "film project" as part of a title disambiguation, italics go only on the planned movie title, and not on "(film project)".
- Key words that must be used within the article's lede are future tense words such as "planned", "intended", or "proposed"... to be used in the lede to clarify that the article is not about a "made" film.
- All discussion about a planned film's production must be soundly and well cited to reliable sources.
- For example, if you include a cast section it should say "planned cast", and the individuals so listed must be properly verified.
- Do not use a film infobox template until principal filming has been confirmed in reliable sources.
- When deciding to create a "film project" article, do not automatically create the title, instead move the filming title name of the article to the "film project" title name per WP:MOVE. That way it can be moved back to the filming title name when ready.
That said, and as we have so far argued these on a case-by-case basis in a few recent AFDs, by our adding proper clarification to NFF of those instances where rare exceptions may be considered, we can better serve the project by our offering contributors the qualifying reasons behind each circumstance.
Clarifying will not open the floodgates... clarifying will do the opposite.
- Wikipedia:Somebody Else's Problem
- Wikipedia:Why should I care?
- Wikipedia:Bare notability
- Wikipedia:What "Ignore all rules" means
- Wikipedia:There is no deadline
- WP:NOPE, an essay on notability
- Wikipedia:Improve the junk, an essay on improving the improvable
- Jimbo Wales' statement of principles