Wikipedia:Television episodes/RFC Episode Notability

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RFC on Television Episode Notability[edit]

{{RFCpolicy}}

Please note, this RfC request is just a continuation of the above conversation which must also be taken into consideration.


In order to resolve this issue, we need to achieve a community-wide consensus on notability issues regarding episodes.

There are two possible statements that community consensus would go a long way towards resolving the present editing conflicts on TV episodes.

  1. WP:MUSIC states (and seems to have community consensus) that if an artist or group is notable, then released albums from that artist or group are likely to be notable (but not necessarily the songs on that album). Applying this concept to television shows, Are individual episodes automatically notable (and thus deserving of their own article without additional notability demonstrations) if the television show itself is notable?
  2. If this statement is not the case, then, Does an article about a television episode considered both notable and "more than just a plot summary" if it contains no more than a lead, a plot summary, and an infobox with relevent data on the show's airing and cast and crew? More specifically, with such an article, is no further improvement necessary to ultimately meet present policy and guidelines?

Please provide your input to help in this matter.

To avoid spamming this page with a lot of agrees/disagrees, please:
  1. Make a statement if you feel it adds something new to the discussion - don't just say "I agree with what X wrote".
  2. If you strongly agree with a statement, sign your name below it with any additional comment.
  3. Do not use this page to create discussion threads on editors' views.

Above all else, please remain civil.

Contents

Statement by Seraphimblade[edit]

To the first, I have no problem with saying "X is more likely to have sufficient sourcing available if the following is true...", so long as that doesn't turn into "We should have an article on X even if in this particular case that sourcing isn't actually present." Unfortunately, that seems to happen in many cases, you just see "Keep, professional athlete" or "Keep, album from a notable band", resulting in retention of sourceless, garbage articles without any discussion of actual source material available. If that is done, we should make crystal clear that sourcing is still required, we're just giving suggestions as to when a search for sources is more likely to prove fruitful. Notability (or the lack thereof) is verifiable, just like anything. In its case, the verification that something is notable is that reliable, independent sources have chosen to write significant quantities of material regarding it, the lack of such indicates that it is not. We do not second guess reliable sources, we simply mirror them—mirroring includes writing little or nothing when independent and reliable sources have chosen to write little or nothing. Anything else is undue weight. To the second, no, an article regarding a television episode is acceptable if it includes substantial reliable independent source material on that episode, and unacceptable if it does not. Formatting is irrelevant. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Farix (Talk) 14:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Stardust8212 14:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 15:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC), with the exception that while "reliable independent source material" may satisfy WP:NOTE, an article may be unacceptable per other policies, current or future
  • Lquilter (talk) 15:56, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Collectonian (talk) 16:26, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Carcharoth (talk) 17:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC) - clear statement that accurately summarises the key issues.
  • Seraphim Whipp 18:14, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • -- Ned Scott 21:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 21:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree, and note the infobox argument that has emerged recently is spurious; an infobox just gives basic facts that might otherwise be in the first few paragraphs — it is mere formatting. --Jack Merridew 08:50, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Guest9999 (talk) 23:50, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Secret account 22:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Edison (talk) 03:39, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Ursasapien[edit]

Either episodes are part of a whole or should be considered as individual works. I think part of this depends upon the television show. If they are part of a whole, then I think it is more of a style concern rather than a notability issue. Episode list articles vs. individual episode articles, in this scenario, would be just sub-articles split out for summary style reasons. If they are to be considered individual works of fiction, then I would say most any show that makes it on television should be sufficiently notable for episode articles.

The second question is more interesting. I would consider that to be great stub with much potential. I think it should have all those parts, but I think this would be a proper Wikipedia article. Ursasapien (talk) 06:18, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Pixelface (talk) 07:38, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support partially (specifically the line "Episode list articles vs. individual episode articles, in this scenario, would be just sub-articles split out for summary style reasons.") Not every television show is notable, though. - PeaceNT (talk) 19:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Maniwar - partial support. --Maniwar (talk) 19:49, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Additional comments

Would this justify the amount of plot-only information found on the average episode article as summary style in light of WP:PLOT? How would you feel about season articles that provide an in between, allowing a little more recap than a list, but not as much as individual episodes? -- Ned Scott 09:39, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I suppose, if we go with the concept that episodes are individual works, that a plot summary or a plot summary and an infobox would not be enough. However, we could use information and sources that support the series to create individual episode articles. If we consider them parts of the whole, like chapters in a book, then season lists are the more acceptable solution (and then, only for summary style/size issues). Ursasapien (talk) 11:15, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Dimadick[edit]

Concerning notability, I think general coverage of a subject in both written and online resources should be taken into account. In past discussions online sources seem to be dismissed out of a hand even when (1)they state their sources, (2) contain detailed analyses of our subject, often going beyond plot (3)Point to the notability of the subject around the Internet.

I would consider the article style described by Masem to be an average stub. Nothing to write home about but not too embarassing. A basic skeleton. Dimadick (talk) 12:49, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Kww[edit]

Repeating myself here, I think: episodes do not inherit notability. Plot summary + infobox is insufficient to support an article. I think we need crisp, clear definitions of what makes an episode notable, and not leave it vague. I think we also need to be extremely clear that 99%+the vast majority of all episodes, even of the Simpsons and South Park, should never have an independent article.Kww (talk) 14:26, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I can't make it blink, so I will have to settle for bold italics. There's a discussion going on at Proposed Objective Criteria for TV Episode Notability. This discussion is about what objective criteria might be, not whether objective criteria are needed. If it is decided that objective criteria are not needed, the discussion is moot, so, if that's what you want to say, please say it in a more appropriate place.Kww (talk) 03:31, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Statement supported by
  • Farix (Talk) 14:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 15:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC), but per Lquilter the 99%+ figure may be too high
  • Lquilter (talk) 15:52, 17 January 2008 (UTC) (I'm not sure of the exact percentage but am taking 99%+ to be rhetorical hyperbole indicating a large majority.)
  • Collectonian (talk) 16:25, 17 January 2008 (UTC) (and agreed, it is time to stop playing favorites and hold all to the same standard)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:50, 17 January 2008 (UTC); albeit w/o the quantity assumption stipulation.
  • Seraphim Whipp 18:06, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Stardust8212 18:08, 17 January 2008 (UTC) Generally agree excepting that there will likely be a wide variety of views on what the crisp clear definition should be and what % will or will not be included based on that, that's a question for after this initial stage though.
  •  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) - But, that "should never have" is a little strong. I don't think the idea of "never having" is good, if one day they "can have". I think "will probably never have" is a little more accurate, because we don't know exactly how far down the line someone may pick some random episode and analyze it ten fold for some reason.
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:02, 17 January 2008 (UTC) with the proviso mentioned by Bignole above
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 21:49, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Carcharoth (talk) 03:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC) - while agreeing with Bignole's caveat.
  • Agreeing via Bignole's caveat. -- Ned Scott 06:33, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree — and offer "will likely never warrant" as better phrasing of Bignole's concern. re: "99%+the vast majority" While we should note that most episodes should not have an individual article, we can't prejudge what source may be found. We should emphasize reliable and significant sources and enumerate specific sources that are not appropriate; imdb.com, tv.com, tvsquad.com, tvguide.com and anything else that amounts to a phone book of episodes. --Jack Merridew 08:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Samuel Sol (talk) 11:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Though, I would change "should never have" to "probably will never warrant". The whole point here is, it's not up to us whether individual episodes should or should not have independent articles, it's up to reliable sources. Thus far, those sources have largely said "no", by failing to write much. If someday they do tons of in-depth study of every last TV episode ever done, and we can get hold of multiple sources, then they've said "yes". It's their decision, not ours. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:39, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Guest9999 (talk) 23:48, 19 January 2008 (UTC) - agree with sentiment, I think that every episode should be looked at objectively without the assumption of notability or of lacking notability.
  • Edison (talk) 03:40, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Fabrictramp (talk) 16:01, 26 January 2008 (UTC) Strong agreement that notability is not inherited and that most episodes do not need their own article. Also, the implication about what WP:MUSIC says at the top of this page is wrong. It says if the artist is notable their albums may be notable.

Statement by Farix[edit]

I am simply going to restate what I have already said above.

The root of the issue is the distinction between collective notability and individual notability. As a series, it is fairly easy to presume through reliable third-party sources that a series is notable. But this kind of notability is collective. When taken together, the episodes that make up the series can be presumed to have notability. This is just fine when working on the series articles, such as a list of episodes.

However, collective notability can only extend so far, and that usually is when you begin dealing with individual subjects. When an editor splitting off the episodes into individual articles, the episodes is being treated as an individual subject and can no longer is covered by the collective notability of the whole series. Instead, the episode should establish individual notability separate from the notability of the series. While the individual notability of the episode adds to the collective notability of the whole series, the individual notability does not affect the individual notability of other episodes.

Let's take for example a notable forest, say Sherwood Forest. Now Sherwood Forest does have notability do to its connection with the stories of Robin Hood. Now the forest has collective notability, but does that imply that the individual trees that make up the forest are automatically notable as well? Of course not. While you can't have a forest without the trees, the individual trees do not have individual notability because they belong in a collectively notable forest. Instead, the Major Oak is notable for reasons separate of being a part of Sherwood Forest.

The same goes for songs and albums. Just because the collective album becomes notable doesn't imply that the individual songs that comprise the album are automatically notable. Instead, the songs must establish their individual notability separate from being a part of the collective notable of the album. --Farix (Talk) 14:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Stardust8212 15:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 15:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Lquilter (talk) 15:53, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Collectonian (talk) 16:25, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seraphim Whipp 18:08, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  •  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) - Make some good points with regard to the "inherited notability" idea.
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:04, 17 January 2008 (UTC) a key issue: notability cannot be inherited or assumed but must be demonstrated. (applies to across Wikipedia).
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 21:50, 17 January 2008 (UTC) - Great analogy!
  • Carcharoth (talk) 03:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC) - with the caveat that there are (rare) situations where WP:SIZE calls for articles to be split off if there has been so much coverage that the article is becoming too large.
  • Agree, though there are some episode articles that are valid, but I wouldn't call completely independent of the parent topic. -- Ned Scott 06:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. --Jack Merridew 08:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Guest9999 (talk) 23:53, 19 January 2008 (UTC) - Sherwood Forest would probably be notable without Robin Hood.
  • Edison (talk) 03:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Fabrictramp (talk) 16:02, 26 January 2008 (UTC) Well said

Statement by edgarde (talk · contribs)[edit]

WP:EPISODE has been repeatedly determined to be a reasonable interpretation of WP:NOTE (and other core policies) in Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents and in other decisions regarding redirects by TTN. It also provides a helpful (and probably necessary) explanation of how WP:NOTE (among other policies) can be applied in writing episode articles. The redirecting of non-notable episodes is a reasonable implementation of this policy. Editors who wish episode articles to not be redirected should endeavor to find article content that will create articles which merit inclusion on Wikipedia per Wikipedia policy. Continued attacks on policies that have broad acceptance in the Wikipedia community (beyond certain editors of TV-related articles) will probably not help matters.

The example taken from WP:MUSIC describing individual albums as automatically notable is policy shopping. If anything, WP:MUSIC's policy on individual albums should be brought into line with WP:NOTE; it is not an example of how episodes should be treated. / edg 15:25, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Lquilter (talk) 15:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Collectonian (talk) 16:28, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Kww (talk) 17:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The only issue I disagree is that using WP:MUSIC as an example is policy shopping. While how it defines the notability of albums is a bit problematic, the relationship between the notability of albums and the notability of songs is very similar to the relationship between the notability of television series and the notability of the episodes. Even under WP:MUSIC, the collective notability has a clear limit. --Farix (Talk) 18:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Adding the italicized phrase "describing individual albums as automatically notable" for clarity. / edg 18:26, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:07, 17 January 2008 (UTC) WP:EPISODE is consistent with all other policies and is a useful "joining of the dots" for editor reference, to make it easier for people to see the connection between the policies, and how in practice they apply to the specific case of writing about television.
  • These are still guidelines, so not sure on the wording of policy, but I agree with this. Because it is not a policy there will be limits to how this is enforced, which seems to be the main issue, and not the guideline itself. -- Ned Scott 20:56, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 21:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. Comment: WP:MUSIC may need work, I would have to look at current state of it. The mapping between Music stuff and TV stuff may be better viewed as: Artist -> TV series, Album -> Series season, Song -> Episode. --Jack Merridew 08:58, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seraphim Whipp 14:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC). Agree with first paragraph, no opinion on the second.
Additional comments
  • Could not disagree more - WP:EPISODE has been determined to be a mixed up jumble of a prescriptive interpretation of Notability, Style, and over specific editorial guidance. It repeats yet still conflicts with WP:FICT and WP:WAF. Therefore, it is confusing, lacks consensus, and is unecessary because the only valid parts are redundant. I see no consensus at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents either. Even ArbCom and other avenues have led to a lack of consensus in this meta-editorial war. Claiming, "We're right and you all are wrong," does not make it so. Ursasapien (talk) 12:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • How does this conflict with WP:FICT or WP:WAF? How is it confusing? Also, arbcom looks at editor conduct, and does not settle content disputes, so I don't know why you would even mention them. -- Ned Scott 09:21, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I need to look back at a side by side comparison (and of course FICT and WAF are fluid at this point), but I still maintain that EPISODE adds nothing. It does not clarify how notability is determined for a television episode nor does it adequately describe how to write such an article in the proper manner.
  • Yes, arbcom looks at editor conduct. However, they could not come to consensus as to whether TTN's behavior or those reverting TTN were right. They essentially said "edit war = bad" and "consensus = good".Ursasapien (talk) 01:23, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by DGG (talk · contribs)[edit]

  • The opposition to this guideline shows that it does not have the claimed consensus. Consensus is the willingness to live with the rule, and that is clearly not present. Somewhere between one-third and two-thirds of the many people interested do not agree with the current guideline. One-third disagreeing with the guideline, and not willing to accept it even as a compromise, is enough to destroy consensus either way. The question raised, about what WpP people in general think, I think would also come out between one-third and two-thirds. There's no fixed numerical value for consensus, below which a splinter group cannot be taken into account to block the consensus, but I think for a matter affecting so much of wikipedia, 1/3 would be more than enough dissent. We could probably emerge with a compromise working, but it would not necessarily be accompanied by real compromise in practice with respect to merges and AfDs. Still, such a wording, accompanied by a statement that further details are specifications are not settled, would be the best solution--the only practical one we are likely to achieve. DGG (talk) 16:21, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by

Additional comments
  • The point of this RfC isn't really to declare a consensus on WP:EPISODE or not. We are asking people if individual episodes are automatically notable, or if there is some form of criteria for their creation. In other words, this RfC is one of the steps towards finding the current consensus, so there's not much point in a statement like this. -- Ned Scott 09:35, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Please don't dismiss an opinion just because you don't like it, especially when said opinion is endorsed by a number of established users here. - PeaceNT (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • You misunderstand me, I'm not dismissing anyone's opinion. If anything, I'm asking what DGG thinks about the episode notability question. That is the point of this RfC. -- Ned Scott 03:46, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I am less concerned with what I personally think the consensus ought to be, than by whether there is a consensus and how we are to determine it. But if you want my personal viewpoint: of course individual episodes are not automatically notable--that's a straw man which nobody supports. First of all, the show must be notable. Second, I dont think that for the shows that just qualify as notable that the episodes if really trivial are worth articles as a matter of course, and I dont know anybody at all who maintains that position. Merges of articles on those episodes retaining minimal information are always in fact supported. The practical question is whether for a successful and widely watched show and commented-on show, such as Buffy or the Sopranos, the individual episodes in at least the canonical portion will be necessarily notable. I think they would be, for shows such as those. As we go down the ladder, it becomes more difficult. As we go up, into Star Trek country, it seems rather clear that there is a sufficient literature for each one of them by any reasonable standard. It is not black and white, all or nothing. It's an editing question , to be decided by reasonable people. DGG (talk) 06:11, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Hiding (talk · contribs)[edit]

Television episodes are not always noted in the historical record. Many episodes come and go without record, there are probably over 10 000 television stations in the world, and thus in any given day there is the potential for over 120 000 television episodes to have been transmitted. Are these all discussed, critiqued, disseminated, analysed and their cultural impact evaluated? No. Is there discrimination in which ones are covered so by the wider world? Yes. Does Wikipedia cover every television episode ever transmitted? No. Is anybody stating that be the goal? It appears not. Therefore there is agreement that we should discriminate on which episodes to cover. How do we do that? Well, our policies state that when we are writing an article we look for sources to summarise, and that we are very limited in how we can use primary source. Why do they state that? Because Wikipedia is contributed to by anyone. Unlike other encyclopedia, its authors have no credentials, therefore everything added must be sourced to prove its reputability, if Wikipedia is to be trusted as an encyclopedia.

So our policies guide us to use secondary sources. Therefore we need to look for third party sources and summarise them. A plot summary and a summary of transmission data is not enough to satisfy WP:PLOT, which notes that an article on a fictional work needs to do more than regurgitate plot. It should first cover their real-world context and sourced analysis, offering detail on a work's development, impact or historical significance, and then a brief plot summary is acceptable. If there is no sourced analysis, no detail on the work's development or no commentary on a works impact in other sources, then there is nothing we can write on the article.

Therefore, to answer the two questions, it is quite clear that Wikipedia cannot cover every television episode, and it is quite clear that an encyclopedic article on an episode needs more than a plot summary and an infobox. It needs to source opinions on the episode, development data, reception and legacy. Hiding T 16:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • edg 16:57, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:53, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Stardust8212 18:09, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seraphim Whipp 18:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Lquilter (talk) 18:18, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Farix (Talk) 18:18, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:09, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 21:52, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Carcharoth (talk) 03:17, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Collectonian (talk) 04:50, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • -- Ned Scott 06:26, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. nb: I am concerned that there are editors who want to cover every single episode of every single show ever shown (with a dollop of systemic bias as they may not care to cover shows shown in, say, Liberia). Can someone give a link that shows the number of current episode articles? --Jack Merridew 09:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Guest9999 (talk) 02:16, 21 January 2008 (UTC) - agree with sentiment, although I don't think that all of the elements mentioned are always going to be essential, they are likely to be in most cases.
Comment: the arithmetic does not hold up. Most of the 10,000 stations do not originate most of their shows, but we are dealing with network shows in general. A show produced by a local station and not distributed elsewhere might not even be notable as a show, let alone the episodes. If we did have 1,000 shows and 100 episodes each on average, we could handle it. We could handle any number of articles, if they were notable--but of course not all of them would be. No one before has even suggested a separate article for each episode broadcast by each individual station.DGG (talk) 19:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
How can abstract maths not add up. You notice the word "potential" up there. I'd also argue that it is being asserted by some that every episode broadcast by each individual station is suited to an article, since it is being stated that a plot summary and an infobox is enough to meet Wikipedia standards. Hiding T 19:48, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
  • NBeale I think there has been an absurd proliferation of articles on episodes of TV Series, and that we should have a basic presumption against such articles unless there is significant and substantial coverage in reliable sources. NBeale (talk) 21:03, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by sgeureka[edit]

An idealistic yet noble goal of wikipedia is to have every article Featured (or at least Good) someday. Notability (i.e. the existance of significant coverage in reliable sources) is a must for this goal, but since wikipedia is a work in progress, the proof usually just needs to be brought forward when notability is challenged (at Newpages patrol, by tagging, in merge discussions, or at AfD), but ideally already at the point of article creation. Editors defending their articles against this need aren't helping the situation, and usually just postpone the merger/redirection/deletion.

Individual episodes are notable when they can prove that they are notable, or are presumed to be notable if comparable sibling articles can demonstrate notability (but the presumption can still be challenged). The lead and the infobox of an article are supposed to summarize the whole article, the plot summary exists to support the real-world information (sales figures, critical and popular reception, development, cultural impact, and merchandise), trivia and popcult sections are generally discouraged, and unsourced sections have no right of existance per WP:VERIFIABILITY. A cast list is usually already included in the show's main article and doesn't need repetition. So (generally speaking), without a sourced production and reception (at least), what would such an article consist of if it got cleaned up with the reasoning above? "Episode X is an episode of show Y, was written and directed by A and B, and had plot C." This stub can be covered in Lists of episodes, or season articles. But there should never be a blanket ban for episodes; if someone can establish notability of an episode beyond a doubt (e.g. awards), or has so much production information that the LoE/season article would get too long, then he should not be barred from writing a good article (edit: I don't mean a Good Article) because of a guideline that doesn't apply in this particular case. – sgeureka t•c 17:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

In reply to what some people said below, I agree that winning an award is not a claim of notability that would justify keeping a poor separate article forever, but it should be enough to pass Newpages patrol and driveby redirecting/AfDing (if it is noted in the article, that is). – sgeureka t•c 19:05, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Statement supported by
  • edg 17:21, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Stardust8212 18:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seraphim Whipp 18:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Scorpion0422 18:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  •  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) - Agree. I don't think it needs to be a "Good" (i.e. the Wiki ranking) article to exist, but it needs to be able to support itself beyond what can easily be covered on an agregate page (like an LOE or season page). Even awards can be covered on aggregate pages if they are few and far between (i.e. a single episode was nominated for a single award). Sometimes making the bare minimum of notability means that you would probably benefit from being part of a larger scope.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 18:19, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I wasn't originally sure to what extent I supported sgeureka's statement. Even an episode that wins an award, that doesn't imply that there is sufficient verifiable information from reliable sources to sustain an article seperate for a LOE. I do agree with the idea that the plot section should be the least significant part of an episode article. If you can axe the plot section and still have a perfectly viable article, then it's a good indication that you may have enough information to establish notability. --Farix (Talk) 18:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Collectonian (talk) 18:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC) with the same caveats as Bignole. It it won a single award, but nothing else can be said, keep it in the list and note the award there and/or in the main article.Collectonian (talk) 18:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Lquilter (talk) 18:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC) (awards are one example of a way in which notability can be established)
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:10, 17 January 2008 (UTC) agree: EPISODE does not apply a blanket ban, but encourages good articles about episodes, and discourages unnotable ones; but as stated above, an award is not always sufficient to determine notability.
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Completely agree. -- Ned Scott 06:25, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree — with a minor irk about the use of the term driveby which which is a highly pejorative term that amounts to a personal attack (by those who commonly use it, not sgeureka). --Jack Merridew 09:16, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Maitch (talk) 09:37, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Pixelface[edit]

To answer the two questions above...if a television show is notable, that suggests an episode of the show is notable. An episode with an infobox and a plot summary is a perfectly acceptable stub and does not violate WP:IINFO, because the article "is not solely a detailed summary of that work's plot."

WP:POL says "Policy change comes from three sources..." One of these sources is "The codification of general practice that already has wide consensus. These are statements of practice that document the way Wikipedia works. A single user cannot dictate what best practice is, but writing down the results of a well-used process is a good way of making policy. The easiest way to change policy is to change common practice first." The general practice among editors is that television episode articles do not have to assert notability by citing significant coverage from reliable sources. Take the articles in the category The Simpsons episodes, season 2 for example. That is common practice. The episodes are considered notable because they are part of a notable show and millions of people have seen them. The episode is not some topic that exists separate from the television show. The List of The Simpsons episodes article is a featured list and does not contain significant coverage from reliable sources. The episodes are presumed to be notable.

WP:N is a guideline. WP:POL says "Guidelines are more advisory in nature than policies, and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception." WP:N says notability can only be presumed and suggested. Unless a reliable source comes right out and says "X is notable", notability is an assumption. We are taking the presence of significant coverage in reliable sources as a suggestion that something is notable. I do not think that is the only way of suggesting notability. I think a television series needs to be notable in order to have an article. But once it has an article, the episodes of that series are notable. If millions of people watch an episode, the episode is notable. If an episode stars notable people, the episode is notable. If a television network is willing to bet their primetime advertising revenue on an episode, the episode is notable.

Television episodes are like short films. Wikipedia has hundreds and hundreds of articles on short films. Many short films are considered notable, even if the articles do not contain significant coverage from reliable sources. Just because an episode article does not currently contain "significant coverage from reliable sources", that doesn't make an episode non-notable. Newspapers don't really have the space to review each and every new television episode that airs.

We could describe all 410 episodes of The Simpsons in the Simpsons article, but then the article would be too long. We wouldn't have to establish notability for each one of the episodes in the Simpsons article because notability pertains to article topics, it does not limit article content. When splitting articles into sub-articles, you do not have to re-establish notability for each sub-topic. To say that Hand or Finger is notable, but Thumb, Index finger, Middle finger, Ring finger, and Pinky finger each have to establish notability is absurd.

When a television network decides to air a pilot in primetime and millions of people watch it and newspapers and magazines and TV critics write about it, the show is notable. When millions of people watch an episode, the episode is notable. The viewers have declared it notable. When a television show gets poor ratings, it indicates that few people think the show is worthy of notice and a television network will cancel the show. In this way, ratings can help determine if an episode is notable or not. I also think iTunes television episode downloads could be used to indicate notability.

The television episode Make Love, Not Warcraft was watched by 3.4 million viewers when it originally aired. The episode is considered notable. The episode was considered notable even before it won an Emmy Award. The television episode My Intern's Eyes was watched by 7.7 million viewers when it originally aired[1], yet some editors claim it is not notable. I can understand their point of view. The article does not contain significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject. But I have to ask, have they looked?

I know that the burden of evidence is on the editor who wishes to keep or restore material, but if someone is going to claim an episode of a notable show is automatically not notable and won't bother to check, and if this sort of thing is done hundreds or thousands of times a day, and the editors who have worked on the articles are not notified that the articles are considered a problem, I have to question the intent of all this redirecting.

Could the article My Intern's Eyes be improved? Certainly. But sweeping the article under a rug does not improve the article. Redirects are an obstacle to improvement. Redirecting the My Intern's Eyes article does not improve the Human skeleton article. We need to consider how the encyclopedia is improved or damaged by each edit. Improving articles improves the encyclopedia. Redirecting articles that need improvement damages the encyclopedia.

I certainly don't think we need an article for something just because it airs on television. I think a television show needs to be notable before we have articles on its episodes. But the idea that a show is separate from its episodes needs to stop. --Pixelface (talk) 19:06, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by

  • --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 20:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • A drama episode with 20 million viewers but Google doesn't spit anything out? Not notable! A sci-fi episode with 3 million viewers, a creator forum post and a mention on a reliable fansite? Notable!--Nydas(Talk) 22:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It is a clash between notability as defined by Wikipedia, and real-world notability. I think that Nielsen Ratings or surveys like Britain's Best Sitcom should be the way to decide which shows should have episode articles. Bláthnaid 23:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • ~Floppie(talkcontribs) 00:56, 18 January 2008 (UTC) - if 20 million people watched the episode, a decent portion of them will be looking for information about the episode.
  • Limited support of the "don't sweep it under the rug" point. It is possible to keep track of the redirects and the page versions before redirecting, and maintain records for projects that want to work on episode articles, or indeed any redirects with possibilities. This is one of the strengths of Wikipedia and its page histories. Don't support the hand and finger analogy, purely because, other than big toe, we don't have articles about the other four individual toes of the feet. Carcharoth (talk) 03:11, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Torc2 (talk) 04:42, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • --Cube lurker (talk) 05:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Kamek (talk) 06:46, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • --Ursasapien (talk) 12:03, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Dimadick (talk) 12:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC) (Though Carcharoth makes very good points about redirect policy, I am afraid few people are willing to follow them.)
  • The most reasonable statement I've read so far. Galadree-el 16:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Wise voice. - PeaceNT (talk) 19:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Kizor 22:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Colonel Warden (talk) 04:37, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Comment

I wish to ask a question, Pixelface, which I beg you will not take as a challenge. I agree with much of what you have said during this discussion, but cannot agree with your conclusions that "if a series is notable then the episodes can be presumed notable, also". Of course, I agree that they do not exist apart of the show, so there is some sense of 'collective importance'. But do you think allnotable series require/deserve/warrant articles on all their episodes? Let's look at a few specific examples. Doctor Who has a large following, and a lot of sources to call on. It has demonstrated a collective and independant notability in so many specifics, that I believe it warrants articles about each of its 200-odd episodes, and would stongly resist anyone who went through each saying "this one's notable, this one's not." It is safe, on evidence to presume they are all notable. What of MASH? Extremely notable series, with 251 episodes. Should we have articles on each? Possibly not, but I wouldn't protest. What of Friends? Is there anything to be said which is not contained in List of Friends episodes? To less notable series, then. The Golden Girls? It has no episode articles, but would it warrant them? Or King of the Hill, and a sample episode article "And They Call It Bobby Love"? Teletubbies? Magic Roundabout? You have said Wikipedia should not have articles about everything that's ever been seen on television, but if they don't deserve episode articles, then are they not notable enough to have a Series page? Again: this is not a challenge; I merely want to know where you draw the line...it might be that our lines are not so very far apart. thanks. Gwinva (talk) 02:47, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Or the very popular Detective Conan, which currently has 491 episodes, and is still on the air. -- Ned Scott 04:04, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
An even better example, Sazae-san has over 1,820 episodes and is still on the air. -- Ned Scott 07:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
A couple of ongoing Soap operas from the UK and the US - Days of our Lives 10,735 episodes, Coronation Street 6,739 episodes. Guest9999 (talk) 03:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Also to point out that in the UK soap operas are on air during the equivalent of prime time and have some of the highest viewing figures of anything broadcasted. Guest9999 (talk) 03:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
No topic requires an article on Wikipedia. If volunteers want to make articles for every episode of M*A*S*H or Friends or The Golden Girls or King of the Hill or Teletubbies or Magic Roundabout or Detective Conan or Sazae-san or Days of our Lives or Coronation Street, why shouldn't they be able to? Are the hard drives full?
I'm against articles for everything that's ever been on television because Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising — Wikipedia is not for free publicity. Wikipedia is not the place to plug your public access television show. --Pixelface (talk) 08:38, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
These two paragraphs seem to contradict each other. If volunteers want to make articles for your public access television show, why shouldn't they be able to? I assume you find them consistent, so how do you distinguish? --Lquilter (talk) 14:03, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
They don't contradict. People should be able to make article for public access television shows. i see that there are many articles for those. However, people should not make articles to advertise their own public access television shows or in order to get free publicity. --Pixelface (talk) 08:13, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
So, then, if I understand you correctly, people should be able to make articles for any tv show they want, so long as they are not publicizing/advertising their own show. Your inclusion criteria is "volunteers want to make articles" and your exclusion criteria is "not publicity or advertising". Is that correct? --Lquilter (talk) 15:57, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Lquilter[edit]

Wikipedia is not a directory, not a media database for production details, and not a recap service. These are all great reference tools and each of them have different purposes and functions. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, which produces prose articles about notable topics.; the prose articles synthesize previously published commentary.

There are no special rights or special handicaps for TV episodes. Notability, sourcing, process, and so on, are all as applicable to TV episodes as to any other work of fiction or any other type of article whatsoever.

Television episodes are unique works, published in a series. Episodes and series have independent claims to notability, although they are related and influence one another. It is conceivable to imagine a TV series that was not notable but had a single episode that was notable. Similarly, it is conceivable to imagine a series that was notable that had no single particularly notable episode.

The notability of a series, season, individual episode, or specific arc of episodes is, as all works on wikipedia, based on WP:N. An individual TV episode is not notable simply because it is part of a notable TV series. Moreover, an episode of a fictional work must have REAL WORLD notability. For example, significant (reported) response politically, artistically, critically, or in levels of popular reception. Works can grow in notability over time as they are appreciated or rediscovered.

As with any source, the level and depth of attention to the specific episode is a key factor in evaluating whether the source supports the notability of the episode: A passing mention is not much evidence; a brief discussion comparing an episode to something else is more evidence; a detailed discussion is even more evidence; and a scholarly or journalistic work dedicated primarily to the episode is strong evidence of notability.

  • Awards to a particular episode are evidence of notability. Because nomination and voting processes can vary, particular awards, placements, or nominations must be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Detailed critical commentary in the peer-reviewed literature or in professional, non-trade, journalism is strong evidence of notability, because peer-review and editorial review provide strong indicia of reliability to those sources.
  • Extraordinary levels of coverage within trade and fan publications may also be evidence of notability. Trade publications that routinely publish reviews of works may provide supporting references, but if the only sources available are fan publications, non-independent publications (books of essays done by or with show creators; DVD commentaries); or short reviews by trade publications, then this alone may not be sufficient to demonstrate notability.
  • Homages, remakes, or influences on other works -- where acknowledged by the creator -- may be evidence of notability.
  • Extraordinary levels of popular reception, such as record-breaking ratings, purchases, downloads, etc., if verifiable, may be evidence of notability.
  • Strong reactions in the world -- boycotts, censorship, political discussion, effects on consumption or culture or health -- may be evidence of notability.

--Lquilter (talk) 19:40, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Collectonian (talk) 20:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC) strongly support and very well written! And as a side comment "it is conceivable to imagine a series that was notable that had no single particularly notable episode" is actually shown already. We have multiple articles on television series notable for the fact that they never aired, but the never aired episodes have no notability at all (can't even give them a plot summary).
  • Gwinva (talk) 20:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC) Strong support: a very good summary of the issue.
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 21:31, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seraphim Whipp 21:53, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 21:56, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Kww (talk) 22:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Carcharoth (talk) 02:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC) - with the strong caveat that this kind of analysis usually only applies to contemporary episodes and contemporary reactions. It is difficult to assess what the notability was of episodes broadcast 30 years ago, and similarly it is difficult to assess how things will have changed 30 years from now. Some episodes currently assessed as non-notable may get increased attention in future years, and episodes that made a big splash now may have dropped off the radar and become no more than a footnote in history in 30 years time. Wikipedia can only mirror what the current coverage is, but should be flexible enough to change as the coverage changes.
good point - I'm adding a note (in italics) above to recognize. --Lquilter (talk) 03:26, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • -- Ned Scott 06:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree — and would like to note the use of the word extraordinary (levels of coverage) and that is a contraction of extra ordinary, i.e. more than ordinary coverage. This is key to notability. --Jack Merridew 09:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Samuel Sol (talk) 11:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC) - Congratulations to it.
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC) Excellently written!
  • edg 13:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Edison (talk) 03:46, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Fabrictramp (talk) 16:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC) Well said.

Statement by Nydas[edit]

I've turned against harsh fiction guidelines since I realised that their principal effect was to accelerate our institutional bias against certain kinds of fiction. It's a safe bet that the 'notable episodes' will be even more disproportionately concentrated in Wikipedians' favourite fiction than the current episode line-up. As for the notability rules, they will always be bent, broken or rewritten to suit the shows we like.--Nydas(Talk) 21:52, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • The redirection of the classic 1970/80s comedy Open All Hours episode articles is a good example of this institutional bias. Bláthnaid 23:27, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support the thinking behind this, but I am more optimistic that Wikipedia can be aware of and work to overcome this systemic historical bias. Carcharoth (talk) 02:33, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • ~Floppie(talkcontribs) 03:15, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think this is the goal of those intent on removing episode articles, but I believe it's the end result.--Cube lurker (talk) 05:33, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I can see where this is going. Let's hope it doesn't come down to that. Kamek (talk) 06:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I can see what you mean about historic bias. Did anyone notice our article on Rawhide (TV series) is substandard and the one on Till Death Us Do Part only features information on a single character? Dimadick (talk) 13:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Galadree-el 16:39, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • - PeaceNT (talk) 19:25, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Kizor 20:23, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Indeed. One generation's trash is another generation's classics. Colonel Warden (talk) 04:43, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Ursasapien (talk) I think our emphasis on "multiple, reliable sources" as the only path to notability leads to snobbery and lobotomized thinking. It is similar to the "zero-tolerance" policy. Ursasapien (talk) 02:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Comments
  • For starters, Nydas's thoughts about editorial bias are so fundamentally flawed that I'm not even sure it's worth making a response here. However, even if he did have a point there is nothing in the guidelines that promote a bias. It would only leave that there might be a bias with the editors, but there certainly isn't any bias in the guidelines themselves. Very often being popular actually increases scrutiny on that show's articles. If this is about people not working on a set of articles, that's not something you can force, but that's still a matter of man power, not bias. -- Ned Scott 09:30, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I think Nydas's point is that a certain group of editors have taken a certain group of guidelines as a mandate to merge episode articles on a massive scale. However, they are biased in the series they select. I, personally, find nothing notable, redeeming, entertaining, or even midly interesting about South Park. Nevertheless, that series' episode articles (like The Simpsons) are considered sacred. This is an example of our institutional bias. I might agree with you that a set of words (the guideline itsself) does not lead to this bias, but the application of the guidelines are biased. Ursasapien (talk) 01:42, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • That's it. Just as we can't force people to work on articles in a balanced way, we can't force fiction deletionists to target articles in a balanced fashion. The solution is a less harsh guideline which gives them less ammunition.--Nydas(Talk) 15:27, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
There's a point. Like speeding: so many people do it, and the police only target speeders in certain areas, so 1. get rid of speed limits because so many people speed anyway 2. the speed limit gives police too much ammunition to fine in an unbalanced way, so we must make the speed guidelines less harsh. Gwinva (talk) 19:14, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
It is more like a police department that tickets everyone going one MPH faster than the limit, except themselves, the mayor/councilmen, and all their families. How long before the citenzry revolt and say, "We need to make the law less stringent or more fair across the board." (This doesn't even get into the police ignoring all the other crime while enforcing the speed limit. -This would apply in our situation as well.) Ursasapien (talk) 11:25, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That actually has nothing to do with Nydas's or Gwinva's points.
People seem to be confusing bias with the fact that we cannot fix every single article at the same freaking time. The fact that some articles have not been fixed or scrutinized only means that they have yet to be fixed, and is in no way an endorsement of their current condition. If one editor decides not to evaluate a group of articles, because they honestly believe they will be fixed without their intervention, that is not bias.
A few talk pages ago someone brought up the example of Digimon, probably because I work a lot on those articles. If anyone cared to look, they'd see I work on cleaning them up. Look further back and you'll see me nominating a lot of articles for deletion. Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite series, but I pushed to merge and trim many of those articles. I'm a big fan of Scrubs, but I have to agree with most of the episode articles being redirected. I'm sure others who have been labeled as "deletionists" have similar statements to mine. For just about every speculative comment about bias, I can counter with real examples that suggest otherwise. -- Ned Scott 23:50, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Redirecting exceedingly minor characters doesn't equate to balance; by your own standards, not a single Digimon character is notable.--Nydas(Talk) 08:29, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
And? Do you think that's it? Do you think I'm even close to being done on what I think should be done for those articles? More than likely, with the sources we have right now, most if not all individual character articles will be merged. Again, the flaw in your logic is that you think we're done working on these articles, or that we endorse their current condition. -- Ned Scott 06:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
What sort of timescale are we talking about? The usual for non-animated sitcoms, soap operas and other unworthies is one month.--Nydas(Talk) 09:51, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, kid, but I have to work for a living, and Wikipedia isn't my life. I've transwikied every single one of those articles, so feel free to AfD any of them. I'd likely support it. You'll probably piss off a lot of people, and make the same work take longer (since there's GFDL issues where content from one article is used in another, but not properly noted, etc), but if it makes you feel better go and do it. These articles are going to be improved, they're going to be merged, but you don't get to demand what gets worked on and when. All we asked for was reasonable potential for articles, or for article improvement, and that's normally enough to give local editors the time they need without concern that things won't go anywhere. We sure as hell have shown that for these articles. -- Ned Scott 11:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
If I were TTN, and you were defending some classic sitcom or something, what effect do you think your words would have?
Luckily, I'm not TTN, and I'm not going to destroy your hard work. I used to be more of deletionist, and I know what a buzz it can be. Why not extend your pleas of mercy to all fiction, not just Digimon?--Nydas(Talk) 21:21, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
"Why not extend your pleas of mercy to all fiction, not just Digimon?" Oh, but I have. While they're not always going in the best direction, there have been groups of editors for topics like Gundam and Dragonball that have shown that they can improve articles. When a ton of Gundam articles were being listed for AfD I started to export the XML files that contained the article history for those articles, and strongly urged the nominator to slow down on the AfDs so that the whole group of articles could be looked at, and have a plan of action for clean up. I've even reverted TTN a few times where I thought an article at least asserted some notability, and should be given a shot. Shortly after I nominated a bunch of Pushing Daises character articles for AfD (which were redirected, an outcome I supported), one editor undid one of the redirects and went on to write a pretty good start for Ned (Pushing Daisies) (and if anyone is wondering, the reason I even found out about that article was because I have Ned on my watchlist :) ).It has a ways to go, but is far better than it was before. -- Ned Scott 04:54, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Those are just random incidents, what about at an institutional level?--Nydas(Talk) 13:49, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by ThuranX[edit]

Much has been made of the premise, repeatedly expressed by Pixelface, among others, that each Episode is inherently notable and heritably notable. He argues that any episode comprises the larger 'Series' and is thus notable, that there is no Gestalt, and the whole is only the sum of its' parts, and not greater. However, any number of shows, and the way they have been referenced later, put this to the lie. For example, I have heard, on News & Notes, an NPR program which often focuses on racial issues, references to Friends as being unrealistic for an NYC show where only white people appear. Seinfeld is regularly referenced in ways that only make sense if one's familiar with the overarching premises of the show (mostly the small pettinesses and lack of any meaning). As such, there's a clear gestalt. The sum is notable independent of its parts, and in fact, the mention of the sum (show) does not necessitate the mention of particular episodes.

I'd also like to present what I consider to be a particularly salient comparison. Sports articles. Pixelface, in another discussion on this, brought up the presence of all the sports articles here, and wanted to know what made them more notable. I argued a few major points. One, it's all real people, not characters, thus, not subject to WP:FICT, that sports teams have notable and incredibly significant impacts on communities, neighborhoods, cities, states and even nations, by economic, political, quality-of-life, media (ie scandals) levels, to name just a FEW aspects. I'd like to take the comparison in a new direction. Sport is to Genre as Team is to Show as Game is to Episode. or:

Genre :: Sport

Show :: Team

Episode :: Game

Actors :: Players

We don't write up ever sports game of every season, nor should we. We should explain a sport, just as we should explain drama, comedy, dramedy, and on. We generally explain a show, just as we generally explain a team, though we may not list all the A and AA minor league teams. We often explain actors, and players. We don't explain each game, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars just one can generate for a city, and likewise, we don't need to explain every single episode, esp. those that can't show serious real-world notability. I find that this shows that either, Wikipedia really is for nerds who don't like sports, or more likely, it's understood that the games make up a larger seasonal identity for the team, much like Episodes and Seasons. I went and looked up one of the most notable games I could think of that occurred during the internet era, making easy reference finding possible for editors, and instead, I found it as Pacers-Pistons brawl, showing a far more neutral approach to focusing on the notable information. Please notice, there is no link to an article on the game itself.

If sports, which in a single game earn as much as a single episode can, if not more at times, and which is comprised of real people doing real things and which have far more individual effects on their hometown than the aggregate effect of Hollywood on LA, aren't broken down into Wikipedia articles, then why does every single episode need an article, if not for 'I LIKE IT' purposes? ThuranX (talk) 23:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Seraphim Whipp 03:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Collectonian (talk) 04:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC) and good analogy.
  • Hewinsj (talk) 06:06, 18 January 2008 (UTC) I really like that analogy. Clever way of framing the problem.
  • Very well said! -- Ned Scott 06:19, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 07:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree --Jack Merridew 09:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. I took me a while to realize that a show is not just the collection of its episodes. The comparison is great. -- Magioladitis (talk) 16:56, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The sport analogy makes the point very clear and demonstrates that episode articles are currently out of line with Wikipedia's overall practice. Stardust8212 18:46, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 13:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree, as I believe there are no notable episodes, only a series with a lot of notability.--Gavin Collins (talk) 15:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Additional comments

Sorry to come in with a response here, but I find the sports analogy fascinating. Have a look at Category:FIFA World Cup Finals (a collection of articles about the finals in the Football (soccer) World Cups). Most of those articles are exactly the sort of "guide", "infobox", short, stubby articles being fought over here. Indeed, most of the finals don't have articles. There is, however, one famous game that does justify its own article: Uruguay v Brazil (World Cup 1950), known as the Maracanaço. It is notable both for the large attendance and being a big upset result. Looking at the 18 World Cup finals, articles have been written about the last five (arguably none of these are really notable), and about two historical ones (the 1950 'final' and the 1966 final). The 1966 final has had a lot written about it in the English literature for obvious reasons (England won). It could be argued that the other 5 'finals' articles are examples of "sportscruft" that should, like non-notable episode articles, be merged to the articles about the whole tournament. I am sure other sports will have examples of notable games (I can probably think of a few in chess, mostly found in Category:Chess games), but the pattern will probably be consistent - a few notable events at the microscale of individual games/episodes, but mostly a vast array of non-notable games/episodes. To take another field, that of academic journals and science, most individual papers or magazine articles are not in themselves notable, but there are always the exceptions, as found in Category:Journal articles and Category:Magazine articles. The classic examples are Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and Annus Mirabilis Papers. The overall point is that, as you look at any field of human endeavour or study, and move from the large-scale, overview topics, down the scales of granularity to the smallest, indivisible elements, the notability will, of necessity, decrease, but will not completely vanish. The situation will move from almost 100% notability at the large scales, to much smaller levels (maybe 5% to less than 1%) at the smaller scales. The same applies for people - large organisations of people can be notable, but only a few individuals will themselves be notable - the vast majority will be non-notable. The same principles apply to episodes as well. Carcharoth (talk) 02:58, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think I've ever "brought up the presence of all the sports articles here." And notability can only be presumed according to WP:N. If a television series is notable, I think it's safe to presume an episode of that series is notable. It's one thing to say the whole is more notable than the sum of its parts. Quite another to say the whole is notable but the parts are not. --Pixelface (talk) 08:06, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

(To Pixelface) A lot of people here are expressing the view that individual episodes do not inherit notability, so no, it is not "safe to presume an episode of that series is notable". That is your personal opinion and I can't see consensus for that view. Seraphim Whipp 13:59, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
(To Seraphim) And there are also a considerable number of people expressing their endorsement to Pixel's opinion. It is a personal opinion that is broadly regarded. What is more, no consensus has been attained and I also confidently claim that I can't see any consensus for any view stated until now. We are all here to discuss the issues and to state our "personal opinions"; it is our primary aim to do so so that the ultimate outcome will be generated as soon as possible, which will put an end to this long-lasting contention that directly hinders everyone's productivity in contributing to the encyclopedia. Pixelface sensibly expressed his opinion, as he stated "it's safe to presume" , meaning that it is his presumption on notability issue, not an assertion of consensus. Galadree-el 17:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
But it's not an opinion which is founded from either policy or guideline, which have consensus to begin with. I should have clarified that better. It seems like a lot of the problem is people not being satisfied with the notability criteria. Personally, I believe we should treat articles consistently; you prove notability in every article and that means episodes too. Finally, everyone has the right to express their opinions and I didn't mean to suggest that they weren't, so I apologise if my comment sounded like that. Seraphim Whipp 19:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
"...founded from either policy or guideline..." Well, we actually have no policies here, so the other viewpoints cannot be based on policies, either. For the record, pages like WP:EPISODE, WP:FICT and even WP:NOTE are just guidelines. The first two, as you may see, are terminally disputed and subject to change everyday, thus do not have much merit. We can change guidelines to better the way we edit articles here, that's why we are having this dicussion. If a guideline, once created, cannot be modified because all opinions in following debates must be founded on the original one, then there will never be any changes/improvements at all. :) - PeaceNT (talk) 20:23, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:PLOT is policy. "The first two, as you may see, are terminally disputed and subject to change everyday, thus do not have much merit. " Uh, what? These pages hardly change "everyday", and also, being disputed does not mean consensus was lost for those guidelines. -- Ned Scott 09:25, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
If the policy demonstrates to be a blemish, then its standing as an official policy will be questioned. When the guidelines are put to uncertainty to satisfy the community's general consent, consensus of those ones, though not lost, is no longer a precise barometer for argument shaping. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy; the original consensus is not the rule for the present situation. Galadree-el 13:44, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Pixelface, I am frustrated that you completely ignored my essay, but still felt the need to comment on it. I know you did not read the essay, because the entire point was that notability cannot be assumed to inherit, but must be inherent. Perhaps it is that you do not know the difference between the two words. Please, look them up. Inherent is an innate quality posessed by a thing; inherit is to recieve from another being via genetics at birth or legal decree. One cannot inherit innate abilities. Even if the progenitor and recipient both have the quality, that still does not preclude innate over inherit. A stone is hard, a mountain is hard. Should a stone break away from the mountain, it has not inherited the hardness, but the hardness instead is an innate quality attributed to the molecules that comprise it, molecules which are also common to the mountain it broke from. All other stones anywhere in the universe comprised of the same molecules have the same innate hardness, and heritability isn't a part of that. Or, Red hair and Male Pattern Baldness are Inherited characteristics in humans, bipedality is not, it is an innate part of what homo sapiens are. ThuranX (talk) 00:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Girolamo Savonarola[edit]

The issue here comes down mainly to one policy: WP:FICT. If there is no real-world context, then the article is legitimately challengeable. Much like WP:V, the editing burden comes upon the challenged. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 00:19, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Collectonian (talk) 04:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • In some sense, yes, though I believe that one only needs to show reasonable (and realistic) potential for real world context, and doesn't necessarily have to clean everything up right then and there. -- Ned Scott 06:13, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Though WP:FICT is disputed, WP:NOT#PLOT has the same message for articles, that plot summaries need to be accompanied by real world information. I also agree with Ned's belief that reasonable potential for real world info (through sources) is good enough for an article to exist and that there's no immediate deadline for improvement if potential is shown. ●BillPP (talk|contribs) 07:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree; above comments, too. --Jack Merridew 09:34, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. Note about editing burden makes it clear that there is a burden of proof, and that notability & other burdens are not met ("inherited") merely by being part of a (notable) series. --Lquilter (talk) 14:53, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 13:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC), with either WP:PLOT or WP:FICT (which quotes "real-world" language from WP:NOT#PLOT, and is generally a good guideline).
Additional comments
  • WP:FICT is not a policy and even if it was a policy, not all television episodes are fiction. --Pixelface (talk) 21:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

(short) Statement by Guest9999[edit]

In order to keep with current Wikipedia policies and guidelines, which were formed by the consensus of the community; articles for TV episodes should only exist if they have received significant coverage from reliable, third party sources and there is enough verifiable, real world information available to make that article more than just a plot summary. Guest9999 (talk) 03:23, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Seraphim Whipp 03:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC). Our views are very similar...in fact they are the same but yours is far more eloquently put :).
  • Collectonian (talk) 04:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, but noting that while we strive for third party sources, there is some reasonable allowance for real world information that comes from production notes and commentary, that might not be considered "third party". -- Ned Scott 06:10, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 07:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. --Jack Merridew 09:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 14:42, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. --Lquilter (talk) 14:53, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Gwinva (talk) 21:14, 18 January 2008 (UTC) exactly. Episodes should be subject to the same rules as every other article on Wikipedia.
  • edg 13:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC), clearly and consisely put
  • My thoughts on the subject Secret account 22:07, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Seraphim Whipp[edit]

Notability is gained from significant, second party, reliable sources, independent of the topic (bolding my own). Episodes shouldn't be exempt from the notability guideline, just because it's a guideline. People have also said "a plot with an infobox means it doesn't violate WP:NOT#PLOT". An infobox does not cover "real-world context and sourced analysis, offering detail on a work's development, impact or historical significance" in any way shape or form. So if an episode fails our notability guideline, cannot be sourced, thus fails WP:Verifiability policy and only contains a plot, thus violating WP:NOT#PLOT policy, they shouldn't exist (yet). Seraphim Whipp 03:25, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Collectonian (talk) 04:53, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Guest9999 (talk) 05:23, 18 January 2008 (UTC) sound, policy based statement (and similar to my own).
  • Support, but noting that while we strive for third party sources, there is some reasonable allowance for real world information that comes from production notes and commentary, that might not be considered "third party". -- Ned Scott 06:11, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • BillPP (talk|contribs) 07:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. --Jack Merridew 09:38, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Karanacs (talk) 14:43, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Lquilter (talk) 14:54, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • pd_THOR | =/\= | 17:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Gwinva (talk) 21:15, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 13:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Secret account 22:07, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Carcharoth[edit]

This RfC is primarily aimed at opinions on notability, but some of the concerns and conflicts surrounding these issues are to do with editor behaviour as well as interpretation of policies and guidelines. In particular, the practice of "s-merging" ('slight merging' described at Wikipedia:Merging and moving pages#Selective paste merger) can be extremely disruptive if carried out on a large scale. In terms of episode articles, this process involves carrying out a redirect and omitting much of the original text from the merge (particularly if the destination article is judged to have enough information already). The precise level of merging is often subject to debate and should not be carried out by on a large scale by single editors without some central record benig made of the process. In particular, the s-merge should be recorded to a greater extent than just in an edit summary. Suggested additions to the process would include: (a) Categorising the redirects (note that {{R from merge}} should be used in any case); and (b) a centralised recording of the oldid numbers of the episode articles before the redirects, allowing groupings such as WikiProjects to work on assessing which episodes are notable enough for their own articles. This would help to address the feelings that editors who work in this area are being overwhelmed by the rate of redirection and s-merging taking place. Carcharoth (talk) 03:40, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Additional comment - Those carrying out merges should also read WP:REDIRECT and be aware that if they are merging and rewriting a shorter summary of the episode, based on words written by others in the longer article being merged, then they need to attribute that work by others per the GFDL. The way this is done in practice (lacking a simple way to merge page histories in such cases) is to put the full, linked name of the destination article in the redirect edit summary, and the full, linked name of the original article in the edit summary when rewriting the summary for the list article. Carcharoth (talk) 04:00, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Update: {{ER to list entry}} has been created and is starting to be used. Carcharoth (talk) 14:03, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Statement supported by
  • Collectonian (talk) 03:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC) with the caveat that many times s-merging is needed because the article being merged has an excessively long or detailed plot to rival those of most movie articles, while lists of episodes usually have tighter summaries. If the episode lists summaries are lacking, then the article being merged should be used to fix it if possible. As a side note, thanks for mentioning {{R from merge}}! I didn't know such a template existed or I'd have been using it before now. ~goes to back apply to a few things~ Also will be reading that Categorizing redirects, as I've always thought they shouldn't be, but it seems there may be reasons to do, so will study that. Collectonian (talk) 03:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Seraphim Whipp 09:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC). Well summarised and offers a solution. I also agree with the point Collectonian raised.
  • Agree, but cautiously and with Collectonian's caveat. Also, note that we need to put a lot of the burden where it belongs, on those who created problematic articles in the first place. We do not need impediments to clean-up. For example, interested wikiprojects could maintain lists of oldids they were interested in cleaning up. --Jack Merridew 09:54, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Nothing in particular to do with fiction here. But I agree this should be standard practice for mergers. Dimadick (talk) 13:13, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree in general. Would suggest way to deal with Collectonian's cmt is to clean up the article of everything that couldn't be merged; let it rest; then merge per Carcharoth's documented process. --Lquilter (talk) 14:56, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • edg 13:10, 19 January 2008 (UTC), agree per Jack Merridew's caveat. {{ER to list entry}} is a good idea, but excessive barriers should not be imposed on the merger. Collecting oldid #'s may be a good idea for a WikiProject planning for future work, but requiring from the merging editor may impose undue obstruction.
  • Agree in general -- a reasonable approach with a reasonable, doable process. -- ArglebargleIV (talk) 17:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Torc2[edit]

Setting the other issues aside for a moment, one issue here is simply the organization of information. Topics can branch out into several different directions, and it's only logical to allow this information to be parsed out to different Wikipages. Critics have pointed out that there is no guideline that allows for this. They are correct only in as much as we have not codified it yet, but this is already accepted in practice for albums, multi-part lists, "List of" articles, and was for many TV episodes prior to the campaign to redirect. The only thing stopping this from being instituted is the tenure-like status we have ascribed to these archaic guidelines. If what is specified in guidelines is only practiced and enforced by those who wrote the guideline, it does not have consensus.

There is no logical reason to cling to the outdated notion that information in a different article must exist on an island. The idea that an article about an episode from a TV show cannot use the notability of the main series article makes no sense. The main article about a TV show, articles about its episodes, characters, locations, are all one topic. Wikipedia guidelines should treat them as such. Yes, this is a system-wide change, but it has to start somewhere.

Allowing episodes to be parsed out to different pages does not adversely affect Wikipedia in any way, but does allow for better readability and better organization of information. Forcing all episodes into the main topic does make that article more cluttered, harder to read, and harder to navigate, yet does not affect overall content whatsoever. The argument that this is carte blanch to add anything anybody wants to add is false, and is driven by some irrational fear of "cruft". But this is not about content; it is simply about the organization of content. The guidelines need to catch up to current, reasonable practice.

The easiest solution for this is to add a hatnote at the top of the sub-article that points the reader to the main article. This will establish that the necessary real-world information and sources that apply to the main article also applies to the sub-article. It will allow episodes to be placed in their own articles if it makes organizational sense. It will allow Wikipedia to catch up to where the rest of the internet was in 1992. Torc2 (talk) 05:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Basically supporting. it's already been widely agreed upon that sources for real world context don't always have to be completely independent from the parent topic. Most of our FA episode articles aren't strictly stand-alone articles. The current version of WP:FICT does allow this to some extent, and WP:EPISODE does too, though not very clearly (at least to some). It was never the intention to merge simply to have everything in one document, but only to merge when the resulting content was not enough to warrant its own article (as in, after excessive plot summary has been trimmed). -- Ned Scott 06:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I strongly support this statement as it applies to television episodes, and the summary style guideline echoes it. This statement is also echoed by the article series guideline. Pixelface (talk) 08:34, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • --Ursasapien (talk) 12:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree in practice. For reasons that are not limited in fiction. I simply don't think we need to either desperately keep all information in a single article or automatically delete them. Moving two sections into their own article should not mean they are necessarily suddenly a strictly independant topic. Dimadick (talk) 13:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Bláthnaid 16:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • A point well made. DWaterson (talk) 23:22, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Indeed. Merging individual episode articles into lists does nothing to address concerns about free-standing notability since the lists dilute the potential for critical commentary per WP:LAUNDRY. Colonel Warden (talk) 04:56, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Hobit (talk) 22:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • ~Floppie(talkcontribs) 21:41, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
  • If information about an episode is large enough that it would be unwieldy to contain within an article about a season or a series, then it makes sense, according to summary style, to split it off into its own page. That page should be considered to be part of a larger article, and held to the standard of verifiability (which the vast majority of episodes meet) rather than notability. — PyTom (talk) 09:07, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Second comment by Torc2[edit]

The analogy between episodes and songs is flawed. Consider:

  1. A season is aired a half hour (or hour) at a time, one week apart. An album is generally consumed in one sitting in less than an hour; roughly the same time it takes to watch an episode.
  2. Individual songs are not previewed by the track immediately prior or advertised during the week to encourage listeners to continue listening.
  3. The number of people who buy an album pale in to the number of people who watch a prime time TV show, even an unsuccessful one, and the number of people who hear an average non-charting song is infinitesimal compared to that.

That aside, even if we accept the analogy, it still tilts towards a default assumption of notability for many episodes. Billboard charts are admissible to establish notability for individual songs to be included as separate articles. If a song has received national radio play or has charted, it's assumed to be notable. Do the same standards exist for episodes? If an episode rates in the top 50 for that week, or is aired nationally, why is that not an indication of notability? Why are ratings not a significant indication of notability for TV shows, when radio play and sales are for records? The argument also exists that simply airing a TV show doesn't make it notable due to the fact that there is no secondary coverage. I would argue that in many cases, the network itself is the secondary coverage. Neither Cartoon Network nor Comedy Central created the episode "My Three Suns", but both have deemed it notable enough to air it repeatedly. Both networks are totally independent of the creators of the episode, and there is no necessity for either to air that episode rather than any other episode in the series. Torc2 (talk) 01:31, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Additional Comments[edit]
  • I'll point out again from WP:MUSIC (which doesn't seem to have dispute): "Songs that have been ranked on national or significant music charts, that have won significant awards or honors or that have been performed independently by several notable artists, bands or groups are probably notable. A separate article is only appropriate when there is enough verifiable material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; permanent stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album. " (emphasis mine). Setting certain conditions such as Billboard topping do not "assume" that its notable - it still has to be shown, it's just that there is likely more resources to draw notability about it. --MASEM 14:17, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Note also that the music guidelines say not to create a separate articleunless there is enough verifiable material (see WP:V). Karanacs (talk) 18:13, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • To Colonel Warden above, and others, regarding lists. I agree that two many lists appear to be laundry lists, but lets talk about good articles, not the bad ones. I've given this example before, but look at Smallville (Season 1) for an excellent list. Critical comment etc is not diluted but enhanced by the ability to dicuss several episodes at once. Gwinva (talk) 19:22, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

User:Hiding's response to statement by Torc2[edit]

User:Torc2 Makes a good point on breaking articles out, which is in accordance with summary style and article series. However, it is possible to break out an article in the form of a list of episodes as well as articles on individual episodes, and how to break them out is a matter for editorial consensus. That is the very question being posed here. Where there is not enough information from which we can write an article on an episode of a television series, is it better to have many articles containing only plot summaries and an infobox, or to merge them to lists. I think prior consensus was to merge minor topics into lists. This would mean episodes which can be written about with appropriate sourcing in an encyclopedic manner should be, and those which have no such sourcing be merged into lists. I do not think that current guidance calls for articles on all television episodes, and I do not think community consensus exists for that approach. Hiding T 12:01, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I support this response. Season pages can be a good way of covering this information. See Smallville (season 1) for a good example. It contains everything that would be included on separate episode pages, plus offers a good platform for discussing reception, production, thematic and charcacter issues across the season, which is harder to do on separate pages. Gwinva (talk) 21:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Samuel Sol[edit]

To answer the first question posed by Masem, about WP:MUSIC I better analogy would be that an Album is equal to a Season, and each Song equals to an Episode. Therefore, articles about a Season are notable per se, but articles about each episode not necessarily. Someone before used the example of Friends, a well-know great series, remembered by the whole, with but a few notable episodes (the only one I remember receiving coverage, at least here in Brazil, was the last). Moving to animations, I'm a fan of Fairly OddParents, but I know that not all of the episodes there are notable. Even for the series itself some are just bland.

And Pixelface, the fact that some problems existed, specially in The Simpsons, it is not an excuse to keep doing it. In fact, if we can't make a The Simpsons or South Park, citing only two, episode notable, they need to be treated just like the others.

But a great issue I think a lot of us have with this situation, myself included, was the way that everything was done. Instead of trying to get a compromise, a bunch of redirects with little if any warning and reasoning. People saw articles they are working on (and another user noted that in his case there was third party reliable sources, so it passed WP:N) just disappearing and becoming a redirect. And when they looked to revert it, they got re-reverted. There for, I think a compromise we can all take, and would solve a lot of the problems:

  • Stop doing blank redirects and merge the episodes articles into Season Lists;
  • Leave individual notable episodes with its own articles. And by notable, I may any episode that received 3rd party coverage. Be it in magazines, news, etc. And by coverage I mean more than just a note that it will air, or that it exists. But news, info, or other details about it;
  • Give any episode article that is just a stub now (infobox and plot summary) time to develop into full-fledge articles or be deleted. The way it is been done now (hundreds of articles disappearing in a day) it is impossible to do this. So I would suggest a 2 or 3 week notice to the main editor, and relative Project;

Anyway, sorry for the possible English mistakes there, it ain't my main language. Samuel Sol (talk) 12:14, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Seraphim Whipp 14:13, 18 January 2008 (UTC). I agree with all but the first and last bullet points. In some cases, the editor who puts a redirect in place, might be working alongside another editor (who might be more knowledgable on the topic), who will merge the info. In fact, that sort of pairing system could work very well and would encourage collaboration. There was a rejected process in which episodes were assessed and there was a time period allotted to allow for improvement before the articles were reviewed. In addition, your English is very good :)
  • This is a good summary (and good english) and I think the song-episode analogy is apt. Like Seaphim Whipp I also have slight issues with the first and last bullet points. I wouldn't make any strict rules about redirects because sometimes a blank redirect is appropriate when the content is already sufficient in the list. I would definitely like to see more actual merging done though. Again I wouldn't make any strict allowances for articles as stubs, as always it's up to the editor who wants to keep the information in the encyclopedia to provide reasons to. Articles can be challenged if no reasons are apparent. I support leniency though and would suggest that editors wanting to redirect would use discussion and thought on whether or not to merge/redirect, by seeing if there's currently an episode cleanup/expansion going on, whether other episodes in the series have been able to reach a good status, etc. ●BillPP (talk|contribs) 19:40, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Blathnaid[edit]

I think that notability for episode articles should be conferred from the real-world popularity of a series, because it is then very likely that Wikipedia's readers are going to want information about these episodes. (I don't think that every show ever made should have individual episode articles.) I think that the episode articles are easier and more convenient to read. I'll echo Torc2's statement that no article is an island -- the main series articles contains real-world information. Some episode articles do go into too much detail and veer into original research in their plot summaries, but that can be fixed through editing.

According to Wikicharts, Scrubs (TV series) and House (TV series) are currently the 85th and 86th most viewed articles in Wikipedia. List of Scrubs episodes is 166th and List of House episodes is 286th. It is likely that a good amount of readers would move from these articles onto the episode articles. They have read the real world information in the main article. The Scrubs episodes were redirected in December, and it has been proposed that the House episodes should also be redirected. Wikipedia's readers may not edit policy pages, but I think they should have a say in what articles Wikipedia contains.

I'm going to commit a WP:BEANS here, but I think it is important to highlight the utility of episode articles. A few days ago, the blog Pharyngula had a post asking for opinions about the television series Father Ted, a show that the writer was not familiar with. Two commenters provided links to Wikipedia's individual episode articles. Nobody linked to the main series article. Wikipedia was a good, quick, and convenient source of information for these people.

Also, I think that research should be done by the mergers/redirectors before any merging/redirecting occurs. For example, books have been published about Fawlty Towers, and there are DVDs with commentary. A quick Amazon search for Fawlty Towers would have established this. If these articles were brought to AfD they would not be deleted, yet they were, in my opinion, effectively deleted through redirection. Real-world information could be added to these articles, it just hasn't happened yet. It takes time and money to gather the sources that could be used to add this information. There is no deadline, and in the meantime the episode articles meet the WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:NPOV policies. WP:N is a guideline. WP:PLOT is IMO avoided through the main series article (and the infobox :p). Bláthnaid 16:26, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

(Reply to Seraphim Whipp's question below) I don't see how institutional bias and not having episodes articles for every show ever made clash. IMO the world's bias as to which are the most important shows should be our criteria for inclusion. Criteria such as repeats, DVD releases, ratings, and surveys could show which shows society has judged as notable. I don't think that episodes and MySpace bands are comparable, or that WP:N should be applied in the same way to them.
I disagree with the statement that Wikipedia should not be useful -- it is used because people want information quickly, not because of people's love of a well-written encyclopedia. I think that the episode articles are encyclopedic -- they are well presented, concise, and reliable. There is no pre-requisite for real-world information in the definition of encyclopedia. Anyway, Wikipedia is re-defining what an "encyclopedia" is. It wasn't so long ago that the idea of pseudonymous people with no special qualifications writing an encyclopedia on the internet would be laughable (it still is laughable to some people!). Many of our articles would not be found in regular encyclopedias but are accepted here (eg our featured lists and the porn stars). Bláthnaid 22:43, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Statement supported by
  • --Pixelface (talk) 16:57, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with the principle here: many programmes/series will warrant articles about their episodes, because they meet WP:N and WP:V. We must not throw the baby out with the bath water by smerging/redirecting these because we do not take time to assess their potential. Gwinva (talk) 01:30, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • - PeaceNT (talk) 07:45, 19 January 2008 (UTC)\
  • ~Floppie(talkcontribs) 15:45, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree. It is too easy to overlook the interests of Wikipedia's ordinary readers - the vast majority of whom I am sure rarely if ever become regular editors - by rigid adherence to policy where it is obstructing our greater objective of building an encyclopaedia. DWaterson (talk) 23:29, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Catchpole (talk) 14:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Ursasapien (talk) 02:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Nydas(Talk) 15:31, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Torc2 (talk) 22:18, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Hobit (talk) 15:37, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Dimadick (talk) 20:35, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Additional comments

"I don't think that every show ever made should have individual episode articles" but you agreed with Nydas' statement about institutional bias...could you give more detail as to why we shouldn't have every show ever made? Also, "Wikipedia was a good, quick, and convenient source of information for these people" - but we don't exist to be useful because we're an encylopedia and we have to present information in an encylopedic way. One could then argue that it would be useful to have article's on every band just because it's useful. We don't allow non-notable bands...there are bands whose myspace pages have had a million views but we can't nesecessarily give them a page just because they have real-world popularity. Seraphim Whipp 19:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think anyone has said every television show ever made is notable. The process of producing a television show and getting it on the air and keeping millions of viewers watching each week is vastly different than getting a guitar for your birthday and making a MySpace page. --Pixelface (talk) 21:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
That seems somewhat biased towards shows from countries with populations in the millions and yet still includes the vast majority of television episodes ever made. Where is your limit on what we should include? Does each episode of the Magic Roundabout get an article? Does each episode of Civilisation get an article? Each episode of The Two Ronnies, Touché turtle, In the Night Garden, Muffin the Mule, Blue Peter? What's your line in the sand? Hiding T 23:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
For me, the line would be crossed with soap operas and children's shows -- there is a difference between these and prime-time programmes or shows with longevity like Fawlty Towers. I understand the worry that Wikipedia might be inundated with thousands of episode articles, but if Fawlty Towers or Open All Hours can't have episode articles, then I think that something is going wrong somewhere. Bláthnaid 23:48, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree. There are some programmes that warrant episode articles, such as Fawlty Towers, Yes Minister, Star Trek, Doctor Who, because their cultural effect is huge. How can we tell? By the amount of articles and books written about them (the episodes). Um, WP:N, anyone? Gwinva (talk) 01:25, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with Blathnaid, Gwinva, and Pixelface here. Star Trek and the like as a whole may have had a huge cultural effect, but that does NOT automatically mean every episode is notable or that they automatically be given an episode article. Even Star Trek in all of its iterations had episodes that only the most die hard of fans have every heard of. Hiding and Seraphim Whipp are correct that if we start giving free passes, where is the line in the sand and what then happens to neutrality (as the list seems to be based on "favorites"). We need to look at every episode individually, otherwise, we have the same situation that's already being labeled favoritism as we have now, particularly with the Simpsons. I mean, I totally love Lassie and in its day (and even now) it had a huge cultural impact, but I sure wouldn't argue that every episode was notable or needed an article. Collectonian (talk) 02:07, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
In response, can I clarify my point. I mention those not because they have a free pass, but because there is a lot of material written about them, and because a number of episodes have been shown to be notable. Thus, I am presuming that some of the rest are likely to be also notable. I did not say they warranted articles about all their episodes (but that may be the case). See my statement regarding notability below: #Statement by Gwinva. Gwinva (talk) 03:03, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
(Reply to Collectonian) My favourites? I like Fawlty Towers and Father Ted, but have seen very little of the other shows I mentioned -- and I dislike Scrubs. Lost, The Simpsons, Scrubs, and House are all in Wikipedia's top 100 viewed articles in Wikicharts. The Simpsons and Lost's episodes have not been redirected because they have active, committed Wikiprojects behind them. Scrubs and House do not have the same backing from editors and their episodes were/will be redirected -- that is our institutional bias. I don't know much about Star Trek, but I think there should be episode articles -- sources like this guide to every episode of Star Trek The Next Generation could be used. Bláthnaid 14:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Cube lurker[edit]

The following page has been created Wikipedia talk:Television episodes/Proposed Objective Criteria. The opening paragraph indicates (see below) that the opinions of those who disagree will be Quickly and Ruthlessly Deleted. Upon creation notification was given, however only to one side of the debate. (A few examples [2] [3] [4] etc.). I believe this approach is unwise. Consensus cannot be achieved by excluding dissent. Although having a debate with only one side of the controversy may provide an illusion of consensus, it is inherently invalid. Discussion needs to be held in the agreed upon page. If a spin-off page is needed or desired, both sides need to be notified, and input accepted from all viewpoints.

I was contacted by KWW and in fairness I will add the entire header section without interpretation: For the purposes of this discussion, it is assumed that TV episodes do not inherit notability from being a part of a notable series. This is a contentious issue, but this page is not the place to discuss it. Comments indicating that the discussion is useless because the notability is obvious will be quickly and ruthlessly deleted.--Cube lurker (talk) 03:50, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Statement supported by
  • Though I am on "the other side" and I agree with the statement in the paragraph, I believe that all involved should be invited or notified in some way. However the statement that notability is not inherited should remain because it's out of the jurisdiction of this guideline and in the hands of WP:NOTABILITY and WP:PLOT. ●BillPP (talk|contribs) 23:41, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Bláthnaid 23:57, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • In the shadows another fait accompli is attempted. --Willow Wait (talk) 00:10, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I strongly support this statement. So is this the part where I create Wikipedia talk:Television episodes/Actual Criteria and only notify my good buddies? And the idea that a concept such as "worthy of notice" could be anything but subjective is laughable. --Pixelface (talk) 02:22, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Sadly, I cannot see an elaborate proposal made entirely by the criteria of one party, in a heated and ostensibly cooperative dispute, being useful as much more than a battering ram. Pixelface's statement may not represent the intentions behind the page, but likely effects do look like it. --Kizor 05:05, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Additional comments
  • As the miscreant that created the page, I don't feel that I acted in bad faith, or did anything very questionable. In my statement above, I indicated that I felt there should be objective criteria for notability. A large group of people supported that statement. I then drafted a starter list, and notified those people that had indicated they supported the idea of objective criteria that I would like their feedback. Obviously, if it is decided that TV episodes inherit notability, the entire discussion is moot, so there is no reason to discuss that issue on that page. The page is to discuss what those objective criteria would be if it is decided that objective criteria are needed. Anyone that can hold to that concept, and discuss what those objective criteria should be can participate. If all that happens is people keep complaining that every objective is unnecessary because every episode of every TV show ever produced is automatically notable, discussion would be unable to proceed.Kww (talk) 00:56, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
    For the record, I never accused bad faith, just that it was unwise. Had there been a noticable post that you had taken the step to draft that hypothetical discussion, I wouldn't have made my statement. But for there to be a secret negotiation is something I can't support.--Cube lurker (talk) 01:03, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
    Moved this to additional comments, hope you guys don't mind. --Kizor 03:21, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It's called a sandbox, and people frequently use them as sidebars to work something out before taking it to a broader audience. People who luv the TV episodes could be writing up their own draft proposals too and hashing out discussions amongst themselves. Everything we do on wikipedia is open -- edit-tracked and noticed on relevant comment pages -- so there is evidently no attempt to hide anything. Geez. I really wish people would relax and remember this is an argument about whether to do lists or articles about episodes of tv series in an open encyclopedia where opinions can change every few months anyway. I really recommend that everyone who is freaking out go take a walk or hang out with a loved one, or, hey, watch some TV. --Lquilter (talk) 03:33, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
    Sorry, if it was off a user page, sandbox is cool, a subpage of a policy discussion, strongly disagree.--Cube lurker (talk) 03:35, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
    That's just a bit finely-haired to be so worked up. Surely it would have been fine to post a note on the starter's page and say -- if this is private it should probably be in userspace. --Lquilter (talk) 03:38, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I've added a notice to my comment above ... all bold and italic, so hopefully people won't think it's hidden.Kww (talk) 03:42, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • A lot of bad faith accusations to what is clearly a brainstorming page for people who support a certain view. There is nothing wrong with that. -- Ned Scott 04:20, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Gwinva[edit]

Much has been made of analogies, but unfortunately their usefulness is restricted when people cannot agree whether an episode is analogous to an album, a song, or the band-member's cat. Perhaps I can offer a more abstract approach. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, with the noble aim of containing all encyclopaediac knowledge. It is not paper, and thus has an infinite number of potential pages or articles. But it also has policies regarding what can be contained in those pages. Let's take X, which is any existing or future article. Page X contains a certain amount of "blank space" (not infinite, since it is limited to a practical downloadable size), and the ideal/aim is to fill that blank space with encyclopaediac content. By policy (and Wikipedia's own reason for existence since it defines itself as an encyclopedia, not a repository for information), each sentence within article X should be referenced (verfied) by a reliable source. i.e. someone reputable must have stated or presented that fact in another place. Anything else is deemed "original research" and could legitimately be removed. In practice, most editors tag it specifically, or the article more generally, to encourage editors to reference their statements, effectively giving a stay of execution. This is laudable: it is what stops Wikipedia becoming a forum for rumour, speculation, or "what my friend's uncle's second-cousin once said". It is why we can rely on Wikipedia being (mostly) accurate. This is effectively what Wikipedia's concept of "notability" is: not whether something is important, or popular or essential to life, but whether enough people have said enough about it in reliable sources for the page's blank space to potentially be filled by cited facts and comments. If this seems unlikely, the page is (or should be) deleted, via speedy or AfD. If X is short, but has the potential to be filled by referenced facts, then it is classed as a stub. If it has a few cited (or citable) sentences, but is unlikely to have more, then the recommendation is to merge it onto a parent page, or a page with similar content, on the principle that one good page is better than half a dozen short/weak pages. It is worth noting here that none of these processes are the "final decision". If it later comes to light that there are many reliable sources for X then it can be re-created. (And, conversely, an article may later be shown not to have the potential to be fully cited, and is therefore deleted/merged then). Yes, this dependence on citability does lead to recentism, but not only in television: it is considerably easier to find sources discussing a starlet who will be forgotten in fifty years than it is to provide a detailed biography of an 8th century ruler. It's the nature of the beast.

So what does this mean? Each television article (be it about episodes, seasons, series, characters, actors, lighting teams, film studios...) is subject to the same rules. There must be the potential for the page to be filled with fully referenced discussion (ie. not just stats and cast lists), otherwise it does not warrant its own page. The burden to provide proof of its potential is on the creator/regular editor. If it cannot be shown, X does not warrant its own article now. In the future? Who knows. Gwinva (talk) 23:19, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

addit (forgive me; I intended this to be in the initial statement, but missed it) Regarding the issue of parent article size: once X becomes too large, it is recommended practice to split off part(s) into a sub-article: Xy. But the burden of notability remains: Xy must demonstrate that it has the potential to be fully verified (ie. is verifiable). If it cannot be, then it quite probably did not warrant inclusion in X in the first place. If only a small amount is verifiable, then only a small amount should have been in X, so X needs pruning, not splitting. Gwinva (talk) 01:11, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Statement supported by
  • Collectonian (talk) 23:29, 18 January 2008 (UTC) A well stated break down of notability. Only caveat, based on the addition, is that size alone should NOT be used as an excuse to make an episode article, and, in fact, should rarely if every be a reason for needing a split. Rather, if X becomes to large, first section Xy, presumably episodes, should be broken into list of LX. If LX becomes to large, first look at pruning. If still too large, i.e. more than 3-4 seasons, 40-50 episodes, then split into list of LX episodes (season z).
  • Support. Karanacs (talk) 03:33, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. A well crafted visualization of the problem. I agree with Collectonian that size alone does not a sub-article make/mandate. Instead, subarticles should be premised on a major sourced section of the parent article. ThuranX (talk) 00:27, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, and also support Collectonian's caveat. -- Ned Scott 04:18, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I like this; well-said. Pruning, not splitting under certain circumstances needs to be in the appropriate guideline. --Jack Merridew 07:41, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Phil Sandifer[edit]

This page seems a disaster to me. Yes, television episode articles should have a real-world focus. But deletion (which, let's face it, is what notability pages are about) is not a solution. We will never have a television episode article that does not start with a plot summary. Heck, we don't have film articles that don't start with a plot summary. Whatever my feelings on these (and I generally oppose them), they seem to me merely bad articles, not fatally flawed ones. Leaving them with tags and firm demands to expand seems to work - especially because, over time, a given show gets one or two editors committed to making the articles better. In short, I do not see what this concept adds to our policy that WP:WAF does not already give us, and furthermore gives us without the spectre of ugly deletion debates. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:13, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
Additional comments

Firm demands will not lead to many articles being fixed. While some shows have editors attempting to improve episode articles, I doubt Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide or Robot Chicken episodes would get this type of attention (let alone become notable), no matter how firmly requested. Such demands would lead to attacks on whatever template is used, and attacks on the cited policy. Editors who create and maintain this sort of article seem to consider this sort of article acceptable, and want policy brought down to meet the requirements of their articles.

If an editor or a WikiProject wishes to flesh out episode articles in User/Project space until sufficient evidence of notability is found, good luck with that. Non-notable stubs should not be routinely created in Article space. / edg 15:38, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

And deletion will magically make this problem go away? Deletion is our most hostile, ugly process. It is the one that drives contributors away and most often gives us a black eye in the mainstream press. Taking an intractible problem to AfD is the worst thing you can do with it. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:52, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Would you consider the process of merging with redirects and/or transwiki move of the information an appropriate replacement for deletion or the equivalent of deletion, or something else all together? This assuming that editors have been notified and given time to demonstration good faith efforts at article improvement, but no progress has been demonstrated. At least from what we've been trying to write for FICT, particularly for fictional topics, doing any steps to avoid AfD for articles goes a long way to cooling down tentions. --MASEM 16:17, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I tend to be pretty eventualist on it when it comes to in-universe material. As long as there is plausibly out-of-universe material to be had, my inclination is to leave the stubs and wait for an editor to come along who wants to fix it. And for me, episodes are generally on the good end of the in-universe line (whereas characters are less often so). Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:59, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
At the time WP:EPISODE had it's last big rewrite, we had also started WP:TV-REVIEW, which emphasized that articles only needed reasonable potential, to stay as individual articles. TV-REVIEW didn't catch on, but it seems that concept didn't have much presence in WP:EPISODE itself, which is an easy fix. How would you feel about a WP:EPISODE that had that further emphases? Also, regardless of how we handle the situation, what are your thoughts about individual episode notability? -- Ned Scott 04:16, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:EPISODE is okay. It's the few users who cite it but then disregard it who are causing problems. Redirecting every episode of a show, without even checking that show's article on Wikipedia to look for sources or merging the material with care is the cause of this dispute. Catchpole (talk) 14:27, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Gavin Collins[edit]

I disagree that articles about a television episodes can possess notability at all and that WP:EPISODE has been created to sidestep this fundamental issue. The evidence which supports this viewpoint are taken from three perspectives of an episode's as follows:

  1. From a logical perspective, a series, as its name suggest, is a single piece of work, story or theme that has been subdivided into episodes with the purpose of retaining an audience over a period of weeks, months or years. Even a portmanteau of stories (such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents) will have a common theme if not story line, and to see an episode being separate or in isolation from the series it forms part of must be seen to be a fallacy. I would go further by saying that series seasons that are commissioned in quick succession (Friends: Season 1,2,3 et al) are really a continuation of the first. The reason is that without the previous episodes, the new seasons could not stand on their own feet; we must return to the basic view that an episode has no notability per se;
  2. From a creative perspective, a series employs a body of actors, crew and writers to produce each episode; this ensemble is not dissolved after every episode; continuity is maintained, although it may evolve over time. A single episode cannot support such an ensemble; its producers have commissioned it with a view to obtaining revenue in future periods, on the assumption that each new episode will build a following. Even if you can think a single episode that you could watch over and over in isolation, you still have to remember that it was produced as a single body of work;
  3. From a notability perspective, many people have argued that there are notable episodes, but I would say that that there are no notable episodes, only a series with a lot of notability. Each episode has some commonality with the others in its series; having separate articles for each episode is simple a repetition of those themes, and serves no encyclopedic purpose; there is no need to operate Wikipedia like a database, breaking each category down into sub-categories. Many of the articles I have read about television episodes assume that reader already knows about the underlying story or theme, but in fact this is a convenient means of not having to repeat what has already been said in the lead article about the series.

So overall I beg to differ, and what motivates me is a terrible trend that is developing in Wikipedia: the substitution of real-world content, context, analysis and criticism with the unencyclopedic padding such as plot summaries, and other in universe references to the primary material. Furthermore, I support the merger of articles on episodes, as this has the effect of eliminating this type of padding, and I applaud editors who are bold and are taking a lead in this process.--Gavin Collins (talk) 16:36, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by

Collectonian (talk) 20:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC) though I do think a few rare episodes are notable (i.e. the infamous Pokemon killing people episodes :P), but it is a rarity and should not be presumed.Collectonian (talk) 20:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Hewinsj (talk) 13:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC) - But I agree with Collectonian, that specific episodes can be written about in independent articles if enough material on production can be presented. There is plenty to write about the production/development/reception of Pilot (Smallville) for instance, but nearly nothing to write about any other episode for that series that can't be handled just as well in a list.
Jack Merridew 14:15, 21 January 2008 (UTC) — Very well put, thank you. This is why {{Unencyclopedic}} needs to be kept.

Questions and comments

I'm curious about your statement regarding "the substitution of real-world content, context, analysis and criticism with the unencyclopedic padding such as plot summaries, and other in universe references to the primary material." I agree that real-world material is vital to these articles, but substitution suggests that real-world content is being actively abandoned and short-changed in favor of in-universe trivia, which is not a trend I've noticed. I've noticed plenty of editors who don't really get the concept of a real-world focus, and who contribute primarily in-universe material, but I've always found that treating them as somewhat mediocre stub-writers and cleaning up their articles slowly but surely works. Have you had a different experience? Are there cases where real-world material is actually treated with hostility? Phil Sandifer (talk) 17:14, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I agree that my use of the word substitution is not very clear, perhaps dilution is a better term. Rather than contributing well sourced content to articles on a television series, many editors are choosing to add plot summaries and character descriptions to the episodes instead (see Statement by ThuranX regarding his point about "'I LIKE IT"). When all the episodes are added togther, plot summaries account for the majority of material about a particular series. This is the substitution effect I fear is already taking place. Eventually there will be a two tier Wikipedia; the core series articles, and the episodes based on unsourced fancruft. --Gavin Collins (talk) 17:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Well, it's rarely unsourced - it's using primary sources, but that's explicitly and deliberately allowed on Wikipedia. I agree, we have a two-tier system on articles about fictional subjects - but that seems no different than any other area where we have undeveloped and developed articles. The interesting and relevant question, to me, is whether fancrufty articles develop into good ones. My sense is that they do. At a slower than desirable rate, but probably faster than they would if we deleted them. Phil Sandifer (talk) 18:44, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • As always with Wikipedia, improvements tend to happen when more users take active interest in an article. Our article on David , for example, is arguably among the best we have in Biblical figures. Meanwhile our article on Othniel Ben Kenaz is still largely based on an 1897 dictionary and features nothing resembling a discussion of historicity. But this is no reason to delete the articles that don't get the necessary attention. Dimadick (talk) 19:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "I disagree that articles about a television episodes can possess notability at all " Really? Something that 10+ million people spend an hour watching can't be notable? That seems pretty non-intuitive. Notable movies might see less total viewers than that. Hobit (talk) 15:43, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
By that criterion, staring off into space is notable, too. --Lquilter (talk) 20:09, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Absent-mindedness Phil Sandifer (talk) 21:34, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, maybe we should have more articles on it absent-mindedness, breaking it into numerous subparts .... --Lquilter (talk) 14:58, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Indeed - a number of episodes quickly spring to mind as individually important, with Goodbye, Farewell and Amen being the most obvious. I cannot think of any sane standard of notability that would not maintain that article. Phil Sandifer (talk) 19:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Andrwsc[edit]

I have been following this debate from a distance, and can empathize with both sides of the debate. However, a recent personal experience made me think about a possible solution to this problem.

On the weekend, I finally got around to watching Battlestar Galactica: Razor, which had been sitting on my DVR for a couple of months. A few times I paused the show to look something up on Wikipedia, finding articles such as Helena Cain, Number Six (Battlestar Galactica) and so on. It struck me — as an experienced Wikipedia editor — that those latter articles probably shouldn't exist here, as they are "unencyclopaedic", completely lack external references, etc. However, as a casual reader, browsing for information, I found those pages to be quite useful, and I was grateful that some die-hard fans out there took the time to write pages like that. I know that I've had similar experiences in the past with other television shows, and with video games. Yeah, I admit that I enjoyed this "fancruft"!

So, how do we reconcile these views? We obviously need to adhere to the fundamental principles of making a great encyclopedia, but I think we need to find an effective outlet for the passionate fan-based content, including television shows. A solution that I have not seen proposed here would be to create one or more Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects for such material, which do not necessarily have the same criteria Wikipedia has for notability, in particular. Obviously, if they were to be free-content wikis, then policies for copyright infringement must be followed (e.g. length of plot synopses, number and type of screen-shot images, etc.) so I'm not proposing that these alternate wikis are "free for all" playgrounds where no rules apply.

This proposal also requires effective linkages between Wikipedia and these alternate wikis in the same way we link to Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, etc. with templates like {{wikinews}}, {{wiktionary}}, et. al. We wouldn't want for this content to be "ghettoized" and difficult to find if moved off Wikipedia, but I think a boundary like this might make it clear as to what material goes into an encyclopedia and what goes into a comprehensive guide.

I admit that I haven't fully thought through this idea, but I wanted to float the idea and generate some comments. Some "out of the box thinking" seems necessary to this debate. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 22:24, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Karanacs (talk) 22:41, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I very much support a sister project for more detailed information. Something like "Telepedia". A similar box to the Wikiquote could be used in LoE pages saying "Telepedia has additional detail on _____." As long as everything's GFDL compatible I think a lot of information could be transwikied. ●BillPP (talk|contribs) 22:59, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I strongly support the idea of an official Wikimedia fiction wiki. In the meantime, I support giving equal and non-biased support to 3rd party wikis of reasonable quality and potential as unofficial partners of Wikipedia. -- Ned Scott 03:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
  • A really good idea. So many people have useful contributions to make and knowledge to offer, but which unfortunately do not fall within Wikipedia's remit. I have seen support for this idea on other talk pages. Gwinva (talk) 20:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments

Off-site wiki approaches are strongly encouraged. There is Wikia which is run by the Wikimedia Foundation however, some people feel there's a conflict-of-interest or tax /non-profit issue with this, so there needs to be statement to confirm its use, but GFDL wikis can be created as well for this, and interwiki maps can be used for easy directing of material. --MASEM 22:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
" There is Wikia which is run by the Wikimedia Foundation" Huh? The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't run any Wikia wikis. As far as off-site wiki approaches being discourage, that's obviously not true. The fact that we can preserve hard work done by editors, even if it doesn't belong on Wikipedia, is one of the reasons why things like the GFDL and CC are so great. Some people feel there's a COI, but far more often than not, this is based on a misconception. There is absolutely no threat to the non-profit tax status of the Wikimedia Foundation. Even if the Wikipedia community did have some kind of semi-official endorsement of a site like Wikia, because the Foundation places the community (which are a 3rd party) in charge of those decisions. The notion that there might actually be a serious COI is absurd. -- Ned Scott 03:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You're right, its not the foundation... the issue that others have (I agree that there's no issue) is that J Wales has financial interest in Wikia and thus any direct supporting of moving content from WP to Wikia is effectively putting money in his pocket. But I agree that the content's already GFDL so there's absolutely nothing wrong in moving things around. --MASEM 12:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Doctor Who are working hard to bring all their articles up to encyclopaediac standard, and have seen the virtue in such links with other wikias: See the logo/link they have placed at the end of some pages. Gwinva (talk) 20:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

New statement from Hiding (talk · contribs)[edit]

WP:EPISODE should be merged into WP:FICT. It either restates the guidance at WP:N and WP:FICT, which is rooted in WP:V and WP:NOT, or it goes further. If it does the first, it is not needed. If it does the second, it does not have consensus since i must by definition contradict policy, and is not needed. Hiding T 13:37, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

comment By this principle only one policy would be permitted: everything else would either just restate it or contradict it. The point of this is to deal in more detail with a particular aspect.DGG (talk) 19:29, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You seem to fundamentally misunderstand me. I am asserting that a guideline cannot go further than policy. If you desire to make this a policy by all means say so, otherwise, for the reasons stated above, I can't see the need for it. If it is to be a guideline, it is either redundant or conflicts with policy. At Wikipedia we are not a bureaucracy, we avoid instruction creep and prefer to keep it simple. We do not need ever extending guidance to apply to each particular aspect an editor may stumble upon. Hiding T 19:51, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I currently prefer having WP:EPISODE as its own page, but as I've said before, if we can do the same job by organizing the advice between WP:FICT and WP:WAF, I would likely support that as well. I am mindful of instruction creep, and welcome such improvements when they can be made. -- Ned Scott 23:58, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I have held this position for several months. In general, I have been maligned for maintaining this concept, and told repeatedly I was wrong and disruptive. Ursasapien (talk) 10:55, 23 January 2008 (UTC) You may want to see this poll and weigh in there. Ursasapien (talk) 10:56, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Comment

I very much do not want WP:EPISODE to be merged into WP:FICT. The latter is a notability guideline for ficitonal things, the former for a type of works of fiction. It's bad enough trying to keep the distinction of what WP:FICT is about clear in everybody's mind -- adding clauses dealing with something with real-world existance would hopelessly muddy things. —Quasirandom (talk) 00:54, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

This is a good point - WP:FICT is intended to deal with fictional concepts (characters, locations, etc.), whereas television episodes are fictional works, just like books, films, plays, etc. The problem we have in dealing with television episodes, in contrast to most other media, is that a reasonably long-running television series will amass a much greater number of individual works (episodes) than most film series or book series would. There are notable exceptions, of course - The Hardy Boys, or James Bond, for instance. JavaTenor (talk) 17:19, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Um, comic books? Radio programmes? And let's examine books. Most episodes of television series can be viewed as chapters. Would we have articles on every chapter in every book? If separate guidance is deemed worthy, then at least make it serialised works to broaden the scope. Hiding T 11:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Shirahadasha[edit]

  • W:N and all its descendents were never made policy. They are only guidelines.
  • Because they are guidelines, we have flexibility to adapt them to our particular situations.
  • Guidelines implement policies for the project's benefit and convenience, not for their own sake. They don't have to be universally applicable or consistent. We can apply one set of standards to one area and another set to another if this is in the project's best interests.
  • The television production and broadcast system inherently involves a multi-party system which can be understood as satisfying a reasonable interpretation of WP:NOR and WP:V. The producer's decision to produce verifies the screenplay. The network affiliate's decision to broadcast verifies the production. Every television broadcast depends on multiple verifications by multiple outside parties.
  • Nothing in WP:NOR and WP:V requires that eligible third parties always have to function in the same way that they work in academia, merely that they exist.
  • From this point of view, stub articles with bare plot summaries or similar verifiable from the episode itself would satisfy WP:NOR and WP:V.
  • Unlike libel or copyright, notability is something we made up ourselves for our own convenience. We own it. It doesn't own us.
  • Claims that our existing criteria require such-and-such are simply appeals to continue what (is claimed) was done in the past. But we aren't bound by what was done in the past. We can change.
  • It doesn't matter what our notability criteria say or don't say. We get to decide what they should say, what it's in the project's interests for them to say.
  • We don't have to please people's ideas about what they think is serious or important or worthy. All we have to do is be able to vouch for what we say.
  • For this reason, we could decide if we wanted that if a television series meets our standard notablility criteria, we will accept articles about the individual episodes as an exception to our standard notability criteria.

Best --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:42, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
  • Absolutely. The networks that air or syndicate a TV show are (usually) not first parties. Torc2 (talk) 00:11, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • These are accurate statements, and several of them are fundamental to the issue. (A pity that they only seldom come up.) --Kizor 04:52, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Very well put. --Pixelface (talk) 08:27, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Comments

"From this point of view, stub articles with bare plot summaries or similar verifiable from the episode itself would satisfy WP:NOR and WP:V."

I agree with that, but that's not really the concern here. People really aren't worried about sourcing the plot. When we ask for more sources it's usually because we want the real-world information that those additional sources give us. However, some episode articles do start to synthesize information, which could be why you see some people asking for sources for what seems to be plot-only information. Generally speaking, and I really want to emphasize on this, sources for basic plot information are not the reason episode articles get removed, redirected or merged.

"Guidelines implement policies for the project's benefit and convenience, not for their own sake. They don't have to be universally applicable or consistent. We can apply one set of standards to one area and another set to another if this is in the project's best interests. "

True, but I've yet to see anyone make a reasonable argument for plot-only articles for every episode of a show. The rationale behind the policies and behind the community's thinking that set those guidelines and policies feel that, for most situations, excessive plot is not in the projects best interests. A reasonable explanation is needed if one believes that WP:EPISODE or WP:FICT doesn't apply to a set of articles. Without good reason, larger community consensus overrides local consensus for a set of articles.

"It doesn't matter what our notability criteria say or don't say. We get to decide what they should say, what it's in the project's interests for them to say. " "Claims that our existing criteria require such-and-such are simply appeals to continue what (is claimed) was done in the past. But we aren't bound by what was done in the past. We can change. "

That's all true, but again, the community at large, and the arguments presented, suggest that we still have the same spirit of WP:EPISODE: that not every episode automatically gets an article, and that such coverage needs to be more than just recapping plot. That's not to say that WP:EPISODE is perfect, or that we shouldn't change anything, but so far we have not seen enough to indicate that the community has changed its mind on the spirit of the guideline and policies. -- Ned Scott 07:13, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement by thedemonhog[edit]

With some popular shows covered extensively by the media, like Lost or Heroes, all episodes are notable, but this does not mean that they should be kept. Many of the articles have failed to demonstrate notability, although they easily could (Entertainment Weekly reviews, interviews with writers, etc.). If an article never demonstrates notability, it is basically not notable. Thus, episode articles without reception and production sections should be redirected for the time being. –thedemonhog talkedits 19:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by

Comments

Statement by 23skidoo[edit]

This being one of the first times I've commented on an RFC, I hope you'll excuse me if this is possibly in the wrong location, and I'm making my statement independent of what has been written above because I haven't had time to read through the discussion, coming in a little late to the party.

My problem with the current anti-episode article sentiment lies on a few grounds. First there's the whole "Wikipedia is Not Paper" philosophy that says we should be more lenient in what is on Wikipedia. And I know a lot of people would like to have that guideline stricken from the books. Last I looked it was still there under WP:NOT (that doesn't make me necessarily an inclusionist, but it does place me on the opposite side of some factions of the "no episode articles" or "restrict episode articles" crowd). Second, it requires a WP:NPOV-violating judgment call to determine what TV series are more notable than others and therefore which ones deserve individual episode articles and which don't. Third, the demand for third-party sources is problematic because of Wikipedia's current bias towards fan sites, informal sites, newsgroups, blogs, etc. This bias needs to be updated for the realities of 2008, and one of those realities is that very few actual published books based upon television series -- the third-party sources people are demanding -- are being made anymore because most of this is being done online now through fan sites. A prime example is the Star Trek franchise. It's been years since any officially licenced published reference works, series guides, etc., have been published and it seems unlikely any more will (except perhaps a making-of-Star Trek 11 book). If Wikipedia starts demanding that every episode have multiple sources -- beyond the primary source, which up till now has been good enough -- then it needs to abandon the "no blog, no fan site, no unofficial site" stance, at least with regards to television episodes. (Due to WP:BLP issues, I can understand maintaining such a ban when it comes to biographical articles). 23skidoo (talk) 00:34, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Additional comments. Support for individual episode articles is proven by the naming of articles such as Doomsday (Doctor Who) to FA status. 23skidoo (talk) 15:44, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Additional comments

  • The fewest people in this RfC have commented in absolute disfavor of episode articles, so it is unlikely that such articles will be forbidden per se. However, the huge number of policy and guideline violation of such articles (i.e. quality) has been expressed as a major concern. Allowing fan blogs etc. etc. does not increase quality. The approach to judge potential episode articles on the basis of the availability of production information and independent recognition would however significantly increase quality and still allows for enough flexibility. – sgeureka t•c 17:24, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Dodgy sources are used in articles which fiction deletionists cite as being good. When is a fansite not a fansite? When is a creator forum post allowed?--Nydas(Talk) 08:15, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
  • When they are the only sources. -- Ned Scott 07:31, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
  • What happened to reliable sources? Is it still 'anything goes' for fiction that's important in the Wikiverse?--Nydas(Talk) 16:23, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Statement by Serpent's Choice[edit]

The focus here has, rightly, been on television episodes, but there are wider issues here that are beginning to play out elsewhere in Wikipedia. Fictional topics, in general, are going to be right back here in this big mess of an RFC/RFAR/edit war without some consideration of the greater whole. Fundamentally, what is at hand here is not so much about the wording of WP:WAF, or WP:FICT, or WP:EPISODE, but about the intersection of notability with the notion of article spinouts. Let's not fool ourselves; in a very real sense, articles about television episodes, or individual characters in a movie, TV series, novel, manga, or what-have-you are spinouts. They are a more detailed examination of a subtopic that is cannot be covered in the parent article due to the constraints of size and style. Spinouts are an established part of Wikipedia style; they allow for summary-style articles. Many of our FAs link to spinouts for subtopics, as well they should. But they also fall into a very gray area in terms of notability and sourcing.

  • Q1. Notability is not inherited, but do spun-out topics require unique claims to notability?

Spinouts aren't, in some ways, like main-topic articles. They are more like a subsection that has been given its own page. Indeed, early in Wikipedia's history, they were suppages with the "/" in the title and all (-- please don't think I'm advocating a return to that model). Within a normal article, not every subtopic demands the level of independent review necessary to meet notability guidelines. That is to say, we still write about the birth and education and personal life (within limits of WP:BLP and responsible editing) even when the topic is known for being an actor, or photographer, or engineer. The material must be verifiable, but is not independently notable. Does this change when a section is spunout for stylistic or space concerns? Can we create spinouts that could not be main-topic articles? If we find the answer is "no", then a great many articles outside of even fiction may need to be re-examined.

  • Q2. What requirements are needed for source to address a spunout topic?

This is the individual vs. collective notability argument. We require that topics have "significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject" (from WP:N). "Significant coverage is more than trivial but may be less than exclusive." But the two examples given in the footnote to explain that are less than helpful -- an entire book about a topic is clearly significant; a single sentence is trivial. What about a chapter? A page? A paragraph? Obviously, there can be no cut and dried rules due to the varied nature of topics and sources. But nearly every non-bit-part fictional character in a work of any significance has material written about them in the context of larger works. For example, Moby-Dick has been the subject of endless literary analysis. Nearly every character has been poked and prodded by critics and commentators and even grade school students since 1851. Any treatment of the novel describes the crew; many ascribe different sets of symbolism to the sundry characters. Although I won't clutter this RFC with citations, it is a matter of 15 minutes' work to find much more than paragraph apiece for them, and often much more than a page. Notwithstanding the generally meager condition of our article on the novel itself, two characters have been spunout for closer inspection: Ishmael and Queequeg, but not, oddly enough, Captain Ahab -- although I could write that article within hours if I didn't think that to do so at the moment would only serve to inflame the discussion. This is the much the same lot that episode are in. There are no sources, except in the rarest of instances, that directly discuss one episode as the part and parcel of their content, but many sources that make mention of individual episodes and comment upon them. Is that enough? How can we tell? -Serpent's Choice (talk) 16:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Statement supported by
Additional comments

It says a lot that you're put off creating an article about Captain Ahab. This is why I oppose the 'series fiction is generally more notable than standalone' paragraph in the fiction guideline.--Nydas(Talk) 21:17, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

  • This statement unfortunately elides the most significant problem -- when to "spin out" an article from a sub-topic of another article. By focusing on "whether a spun-out article needs to separately develop notability", the statement attempts to frame the issue as a part and subparts. Unfortunately, the significant question of when separate subparts are justified has been ignored. If there are 24 episodes and the only sourceable content is a paragraph of plot & production information, then that should never be spun out to a separate article to begin with. We don't need to reach the question of "what do spin-offs need", because if there is sufficient justification to spin it off, then it already has what it needs to meet ordinary standards. If it doesn't, then it should never have been spun off to begin with. --Lquilter (talk) 16:38, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Lines in the sand[edit]

Would it help if we started garnering on people's line in the sand? I think the very least we have all agreed at the RFC so far is that no-one wants an article on every episode of every single television show ever made. So maybe we need to, as a starting position, outline where our lines are, where we will say, no, that's too far, you can't have an episode on that.

User Hiding's line in the sand[edit]

Basically I run off of WP:V. If you can find third party discussion of the episode then you've got enough to merit a mention on Wikipedia somewhere, whether it is in a list or not. For an episode to merit an article rather than/as well as a list entry it would need to be able to be expanded beyond a permastub whilst not violating WP:PLOT and WP:NOR. Basically it would need the plot summary kept succinct and not representing the majority of the article, and the summary could only describe plot events which are undisputed and need no specialist knowledge to understand. That's my line. Hiding T 21:22, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments
comment: but permastubs are generally and universally acceptable in all cases for all kinds of articles. Do you intend that this policy should be changed in general ? or, why should it be more stringent here than everywhere else in WP?DGG (talk) 22:37, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
If we covered the first series of Catweazle in 13 permastubs, I personally would rather merge those permastubs into one informative list, for ease of navigation and perhaps better management and presentation. I also think that's the spirit of Wikipedia guidance and philosophy. I'd be interested to hear if you disagree with that position and why the ten permastubs would be a better proposition than one full article. Hiding T 23:04, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Hiding, would you extend that to most books as well? Even for relatively famous books it can be very hard to find third party discussions about it. Jon513 (talk) 20:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I can't speak for him, but I absolutely would. To have a full article about a book, we should have enough material for it. (And to respond to DGG, no, permastubs aren't really accepted and are often in practice merged and deleted. They're sometimes tolerated if someone can make a good enough case that maybe it's expandable, but they'll eventually get merged/deleted if it's not. As well it should be, we shouldn't be a trivia collection.) If the book's author is notable, we could merge a short mention of the book into the author's article. If even the author isn't notable, well, why do we have an article about a non-notable book by a non-notable author? Get rid of it! Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:35, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
You're asking me if I think Wikipedia:Verifiability should apply to articles on books? I tend to think it should apply to all articles. Hope that clarifies. Hiding T 13:38, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I think there's something to be said for the idea that some notable topics merit and can support lengthier articles than other notable topics. It's absurd to imagine that every perfect encyclopedia article is 32K, or whatever. That's distinguishable from so-called "permastubs", of course, but I wanted it out there. That said, when an editor's attention falls to a set of related articles that would work well as a single article, and perhaps should have been started as a single article, merging is completely appropriate & for the good of the encyclopedia, no? It should be a case-by-case decision, generally. That works as a general rule, I imagine, once we get over the hump of what to do with the mass of articles on individual episodes that some editors created, templating out entire series, that many other editors feel are not independently notable. --Lquilter (talk) 14:39, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

"Sorry I didnt get back here earlier. There is no policy saying permastubs are no be deleted, or are even deprecated. There is an essay WP:Permastub that argues exactly the opposite. There has never been consensus on deleting permastubs at AfD -- on any subject. I challenge Seraphimblade to find something to support her statement that they are not 'really" accepted. --if she does, of course, it is time to see if there is consensus to change it. DGG (talk) 12:08, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

Well, she is a he. :) But he does wonder if you read the WP:PERMA essay which you are apparently referencing? "Permastubs are unsatisfying articles - they leave little potential for future editing, and by their nature are not very informative. Where possible, they should be merged to larger articles and redirected there. When there is no possibility for any expansion, nor any topic that they could be merged into, it is possible that a permastub should be deleted." That doesn't sound too hot on the idea to me. But it does sound like an excellent way to handle them. Also, generally, when there is consensus that an article is never improvable beyond a stub, consensus generally (though not always) forms to merge or delete it. Often, debate centers around whether that's actually the case, but other than you, I've never seen any consensus that articles which can never be more than a stub are acceptable, and I've seen plenty of times consensus forms the other way around. (Stubs are different than short articles. A well-referenced article that comprises a page or two and a couple of sections isn't a stub, even if it's short, and an unreferenced or primary-referenced, long, rambling article is a stub at best.) It's still all on published source material. Does the amount of published source material on the subject justify us giving it its own article? If not, we're giving it more weight than sources do, and we don't do that. Seraphimblade Talk to me 12:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Phil Sandifer's line in the sand[edit]

I cannot accept any proposal that is based on a mechanism of deletion instead of repair. I have no problem in theory with an article on every television episode ever, though I tend to think that they should stem organically out of expanding coverage of the series. Phil Sandifer (talk) 21:44, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments
  • How far do you think copyright concerns affect us? I'm thinking of Rowling's suit against the website http://www.hp-lexicon.org, who were going to publish the material from their site in book form as the Harry Potter Lexicon. Because broadly I don't disagree with your statement that we should be about repair rather than deletion, but broadly this whole dispute is about how to repair, and why. I can see an article on every television episode ever one day, when we have the framework, but I can't defend the right for all of those articles to exist now or to be created and actively maintained in violation of the five pillars. Which is not to say I would advocate their deletion, but I would advocate something other than active maintenance in such a state. Hiding T 22:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
their site was as a whole more detailed than any individual WP article. DGG (talk) 22:37, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
But how about the Wikipedia articles on the Harry Potter universe taken together? Hiding T 22:59, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Those seem questions for Mike Godwin - I doubt we have any sincere liability here, and I'm certainly opposed to copyright paranoia. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to indulge in copyright paranoia, I just want to be clear; are we leaving that as being a matter for the foundation? Hiding T 13:22, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
In my mind this is less about "deletion" than it is making way for healthy article growth. So many of these episode articles would need to be rewritten from the ground up that there is little value to holding onto bloated plot summary. However, keeping that plot summary in the history of a redirected page means that it is available when a proper article is ready to be written, in the event that it is useful.
Lets say nothing was redirected, but the plot summary was still trimmed. Very often what we are left with is something that fits nicely on a list of episodes or on a season page. Other times, such as with many of the Scrubs episodes, there is no actual content at all except one sentence saying "this is X episode of Y" and a list of cast members which is almost identical to the normal cast list. Why don't we just leave them alone, then? Because they encourage newer editors to write more excessive plot summaries, which would be removed even if the article is kept and even turned into a featured article. You get people who spend a lot of time on those things, and then they get upset when they are removed (like we are seeing now). I think "why didn't anyone tell me before I worked hard on all of this, that it shouldn't be written on Wikipedia?" is something many of them must ask themselves. -- Ned Scott 00:08, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Why are those articles so bad? Hiding T 16:30, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Individually, they're not so bad. It's just that collectively it becomes a problem, and gives the false impression to new editors that they should be making similar articles. -- Ned Scott 06:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
In what way are they a problem? And why would it be a false impression to new editors? Hiding T 13:38, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
New editors are rarely aware of the policies and guidelines until they run afowl of them, as there's no mechanism that requires them to be familiar with them before they start editing (nor should there be one). Particular for a subject they are interested in, they see that other comparable works exist and make the logical leap that they can create an article of comparable content. Now, if the "plot summary only" articles were the minority of all episode articles, I think the creation of such articles would be more manageable - seeing more episode articles with notability demonstration may deter some newer authors from writing just a plot summary for a new episode article. But I believe the situation is reversed, and that plot-summary-only episode articles seem to be the norm, and thus they will tend to think that similarly-written articles are also appropriate. Because of the size of the TV project, tracking these new articles can be rather tough, and it may take a while once they are entrenched to discover them. (Comparison: on the Video Games project we are very strong about the inclusion of "game guide" material to the point that there's not a lot of it for video games; as such, we will once in a while get a new editor that creates a list of weapons or equivalent, but the rate at which these are generated (allowing for involved editors to eventually discover them) is easy to resolve those creations.) --MASEM 14:26, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
How do you stand with the editing policy then? Hiding T 23:15, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  • When you say "deletion instead of repair", do you consider merging separate items to a list to be a deletion, or a repair? --Lquilter (talk) 14:33, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Hobit's line in the sand[edit]

If an episode has multiple reliable third-party sources (reviews, DVD commentary etc.) then it having an article seems acceptable. I don't think that this "real world notability" needs to be the focus of the article, it merely needs to exist (and should be clearly cited). (That's the main issue I have with WP:FICT and WP:PLOT.) By the same token, if these sources don't exist for an episode, but do for a season, then that is the lowest level of granularity that we should have here. This does mean, most any "notable" show will have most of it's episodes be notable also. Hobit (talk) 22:13, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments
  • DVD commentaries aren't usually (ever?) "independent"; are you suggesting that "independent" isn't necessary? Or was that just an oversight on your part? (PS -- it would be teh awesome if there were truly independent commentary tracks, other than MST3K -- can you imagine being able to buy a movie & pick any number of separately recorded commentaries by scholars or other filmmakers?) --Lquilter (talk) 14:32, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry, I should have said that they can be secondary sources. Hobit (talk) 21:56, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Right, I get that they're sources -- they are certainly sources for facts, and I'm willing to call them reliable for some kinds of facts. But WP:N talks about "reliable sources that are independent of the subject." DVD commentary tracks are rarely if ever "independent of the subject". So it seems like you're suggesting that DVD commentaries should count for notability for TV episodes, although they wouldn't ordinarily fit within the WP:N guidelines. Am I understanding your position correctly? --Lquilter (talk) 05:26, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Good point. I'll withdraw the DVD commentary part. Hobit (talk) 23:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Another question: It feels like you are making two points and I want to make sure I understand them. (1) When you say, "this 'real world notability' [does not] need to be the focus of the article", do you mean, that the wikipedia article shouldn't be focused on the real-world notability? In other words, is this a comment primarily about the structure of the article? Are you saying that plot information, if referenced and notable, is sufficient for the content? And (2) I think I understand the notability point -- you say that in terms of determining whether an episode should be a stand-alone article or incorporated into a season article or series article depends on whether sources exist for the episode alone, just the season, or just the series; is that right?
If I understand you correctly, I think I can support number two. I'm not sure about number one -- it seems to me that if there are sources, it's our job to be discussing what those sources say. If the sources only talk about the plot, then fine, we really have no way to talk about things beyond the plot because it would be unsourced. But if the sources talk about the way the episode was a model for three other works, and then it was parodied and fans had an intense love-hate relationship with this episode, then I think we should be talking about that -- summarizing the source. In other words, we should reflect the sources and only the sources (WP:OR). I'm not sure I understand if you're trying to add or take away from that, or neither. --Lquilter (talk) 16:07, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

DGG's line in the sand[edit]

I am not particularly concerned by what should have an individual article, but about preservation of good material and deletion of excessive detail. The detail in a episode section of article should be sufficient to follow the plot & the development of the characters and remark on any special features, whether separates of together. I think only the most notable sows really justify separate episode articles, but all justify an adequate treatment of the episodes. But had not the mergers and redirects started removing important content I would never have objected to them. DGG (talk) 22:37, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments

User Ursasapien's line in the sand[edit]

To be honest, I think the thing that makes Wikipedia a "laughing stock" is not many articles on the minutia of television or other fiction, but the seriousness with which we take ourselves. Polling about a half dozen of my real-world friends/associates who do not have the wiki madness, they do not care if they get information from a list, a separate article, or the show's article. Nevertheless, they do expect the information to be there when they come looking. They love our articles on the minutia of every subject in the universe. We are often the first thing that pops up in a Google search, and they like our generally informative articles. However, they all had a little derisive laughter when I told them of the epic struggles regarding spoiler tags, bad-sites, and episode articles.

In a nutshell: I believe we should include the maximum amount of information, in whatever form we decide is best through collegial consensus forming.

Comments
The thing to remember is that WP does not exist in a void of information particularly when it comes to fiction. If we completely removed the coverage of a show, there are other resources that would be able to take its place, some already existing, some not. There will always be coverage of such works elsewhere. Furthermore the Mediawiki software makes it very easy for there to be tight integration between Wikipedia and any other wiki through interwiki mapping, so that WP can easily link as it would any other topic to that wiki, and that wiki back. This process, done right, is completely transparent to the use beyond site layout changes. Thus, with proper wikis set up for all televsion series, WP can give the top level of information reported in a scholarly manner, and then give similar information on the wiki in more fun, plot-oriented manner. We don't have to lose information if done correctly. --MASEM 14:51, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Why is this necessary? I mean, are we moving off all the stubs on snakes to a snake wiki, or a biology wiki? Why can't Wikipedia be a complete resource, or attempt to be, through teh editing process? Hiding T 15:04, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
WP's goal is to be a encyclopedia, not the end-all of human knowledge; it is a tertiary source meaning that it should never be authoritative (that is, we are not the experts on a subject, we are merely summarizing what the experts have said and providing that resource). But because we are not paper, we can cover a much broader spectrum of material that is not typically covered by an encyclopedia, but we are still covering these topics from a 60,000 ft level; we should be giving overviews, not textbook or guide material, of the topics at hand. So for a TV show, we can describe the show, the general plot and characters, provide a list of episodes and short summaries, how well the show did and so forth, but we should not strive to be the expert on the show by necessarily providing a complete guide to the series. Of course, if specific episodes or characters are notable for an encyclopedic treatment, we can cover them as well. However, we can certainly point to the expert source (this being a wiki for that work) from Wikipedia to allow a reader to gain more information. Additionally, moving some of this content (which qualifies as non-free fair use in several cases) off Wikipedia to other wikis helps to meet it's goal of being a free-content encyclopedia.
As specifically to the snakes, I'd consider the fact that a topic on a species of snake, county roads in the US, or towns in Ireland to have shown in the past a reasonable amount of coverage to be appropriately covered as an encyclopdic topic as any television show. But again, this would be an encyclopedic treatment; if I wanted to list every study of a specific species of snake, or all the specific attractions and resturants and gas stations along the road or in the town, or equivalent, every episode of a TV show, that would be demonstrating the expertise that WP should not be showing, and is more appropriate for a secondary resource such as a wiki. We can cover a topic on both WP and the wiki, it's just that the depth of coverage will be much more deeper for the wiki than on WP. --MASEM 15:33, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
You misread me. I meant, why can't Wikipedia be a complete encyclopedia, an encyclopedia written for the benefit of its readers, including elements of general encyclopedias, specialized encyclopedias, and almanacs. Why shouldn't we aim to be as authorative as possible within WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:NPOV and WP:NOT? We're not restricted to covering from a 60 000 ft level, that's quite clear at the five pillars and summary style as well as Wikipedia not being paper and other thoughts on Wikipedia. The only limits on what we cover are the aforementioned policies and consensus. There's no policy on Wikipedia which states that we have to be restricted to a 60 000ft level. I'm also disturbed to see you describe a wiki as an expert. A wiki is not an expert by its very nature. They are all unreliable as sources as we have usually described ourselves as being. I also do not see how moving stuff of of wikipedia helps us in our goal of being a free-content encyclopedia. Allowing other people to use it does that. Farming it off to someone else does not, in fact one could argue it actually contradicts the idea. We are supposed to improve articles through our editing policy, not our deletion policy or some transfer policy. I am also not alone in seeing some form of conflict in some of our links to wikias and the way we transwiki, although I appreciate the community is divided on that issue. As to whether Wikipedia is a tertiary source or a secondary source, it's somewhere in the middle. We strive to be tertiary, but at times we are also a secondary source. However, the nature of sources depends upon the usage of the source. For some people who cite us, we are secondary source, in other instances we are primary source. I think we all agree that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. I think the difference may be that there are those who would prefer to improve our content so that it is encyclopedic, and those who would remove content which is not. Then there are those who would argue about how to improve it. Which is probably where we came in. I think the biggest confusion in all of this is the misunderstanding about the hurry with which articles are being treated. Where's the fire? Has the foundation announced the deadline yet? Otherwise, how do poor articles which are correctly tagged in any shape or form "damage" wikipedia. I assume they must damage us, given the fact that people attempt to correct them with such haste. Hiding T 16:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
This is along similar lines to what I have already written on the main talk page regarding the constructive or destructive nature of such content. Although this is a straw man argument, it is worth noting that many articles on advanced mathematics are not written from a general overview point of view - they are practically inaccessible to casual readers. Depth of coverage is, as I have previously stated, an inherent effect of the nature of wikipedia, and, as long as well-written layperson overviews exist, cause no harm. The problems with external wikis as a solution are that this is not a universally agreed approach, that external wikis are not as trusted as wikipedia (as certain rules are not guaranteed to be common), and the process is not transparent - one cannot search wikipedia and get results from other, specialised, wikis (All of these are surmountable and would indeed be a noble issue to deal with and could enhance overall quality, but this is not the present state or one we can expect soon). LinaMishima (talk) 16:17, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
On WP being a secondary or a primary source, by WP:OR we cannot be: we cannot be the first publisher of original thought nor can we make analytic or synthetic claims. People may use WP like that, improperly, but we should not be editing as if we were those types of sources.
Remember, "free-content" is free as in speech, in addition to free as in beer. We have to make sure that what we provide in WP is not burdened by copyright issues (outside of meeting the GFDL) or other intellectual property issues. That's why we push to reduce the amount of non-free image use via WP:NFC, and that's why we should be careful to the depth of coverage we give to copyrighted fictional works. Not because we need to fear the copyright reaper, but that this does burden WP's free-content mission.
I would not say this is so much a "we have to fix it by X" timing issue, but more that a switch has been flipped (the addition of the secondary source requirement for notability), and shit has hit the fan because of that (TTN's approach citing that change, among others, and the resulting disgruntlements against FICT and EPISODE). The existence of non-notable episodes and other articles had been a problem that really never surfaced until that point, and now we really need to figure out how to deal with it in order for a lot of areas of WP to move forward for further improvements. We could just let the ArbCom pass another judgement again, and do nothing else to determine content issues, but someone else will come along and do the same thing and we're back to square one. The issue is now at the forefront of many editor's minds, it makes sense to deal with it now. And given that the issue of systematic bias has come up, it also makes sense that once we've come to a consensus on the issue to re-evaluate all appropriate articles as well to re-assess them as to dismiss the issue of systematic bias.
As for external wiki's being "experts", for most pieces of fiction work, the true experts are the creators and producers of the work, but the likelihood of them providing information at the level of detail that readers seem to want is highly unlikely. Instead, the best "experts" are those that are fans of those works, and even moreso when you get them to collaborate together. Yes, inherently, any wiki (including WP) is unreliable, but I think that if we make the process more transparent for both moving information to and interlinking between WP and wikis, we ideally would help encourage these wikis to become better. Use of wikis definitely needs to be a better spelled out process and more widely available so it doesn't sound like we are intentionally dumping off material to never be improved again. --MASEM 16:55, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
"On WP being a secondary or a primary source, by WP:OR we cannot be": regarding being a primary source, you are entirely correct (regards to article content), however we must remember that for our uses of primary sources, wikipedia becomes a secondary source (as in indirect, rather than strong analytical, and 'weak' synthesis is the basis of being an encyclopaedia, the collecting of relevant information). This is an unavoidable fact, and the confusion over source types is a major problem with wikipedia, for it can result in absurd claims (like that a coroner's report cannot be used to show someone's death, and other such matters. LinaMishima (talk) 17:03, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Regarding notability, I am a strong believer that notability enforcement has gotten out of hand, and has perverted all intent of the concept. I found it quite telling to note what was not discussed in previous discussion, actually. However, the problems with notability are far, far outside of the scope of this discussion and many times further still harder to address with consensus. It should be noted that the TV show articles are but the tip of the iceberg - recent examples of problems also include coverage of Olympic athletes, and no doubt will soon extend further. In many respects, this makes it an imperative to come up with a generalisable solution to the problem of less notable, less expandable, articles. That is why I am very much in favour of detailed lists that allow even for notable content to simply be an entry, for such a solution is highly generic. LinaMishima (talk) 17:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
External wikis should not be viewed as a 'solution': As I stated earlier, external wikis have several major issues with respect to being considered a solution. Even with appropriate technological measures in place (such as wikilinking words automatically finding the appropriate wiki, and free and transparent searching across a collection of wikis), the sociological problems remain. WP:V, WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:NOR are certainly not guaranteed, and they may all use distinctly different styles of content presentation. To put it simply, we would go from a single trusted source, to one trusted source devoid of the desired content, and at least one source with the content but without any establishment of trust. This issue is simply too big to address here, but as part of the resolutions we draw up, the eventual addressing of these problems might be a good matter to suggest for future investigation. LinaMishima (talk) 17:18, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Huge tracts of fiction don't have wikis, and only a very few are actually good.--Nydas(Talk) 17:33, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
There are tons of generalized TV or fiction wikis. There doesn't have to be one for a specific show. In fact, I plan to propose that several of the ones on Wikia are merged to more general ones to help centralize efforts. As far as their quality goes, they're as good as Wikipedia, because they're allowed to copy everything we have and work on that as a starting point. -- Ned Scott 11:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Copying content is quantity, not quality. Don't confuse coverage with those aspects of a wiki that cause the wiki to be a trusted resource. LinaMishima (talk) 13:25, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Which is one reason I want to start a project to help external wikis develop good guidelines and core values such as NPOV, and still maintain a reasonable level of verifiability, even if it is on a "fan" wiki. I'm not confused at all, and I know the shape most of external wikis are in, but I don't see that as permanent. I see many of these external wikis as having as much potential as we did years ago when Wikipedia was starting out. For context, my response was more directed at Nydas's specific concerns than yours. I agree with much of what you say, which is why I would love it if Wikimedia had it's own wiki for fiction. -- Ned Scott 05:18, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
As I proposed in my statement above, I think an "external" wiki concept is certainly something that should be explored. I think the difference is that I am proposing a "sanctioned" wiki that is a peer sister project of Wikipedia, in the same vein as Wiktionary, Wikinews, etc. I do not believe that "Wikifiction" (or whatever it's called) would have the "sociological problems" you infer. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:19, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Your concept would certainly work well, and indeed there are other solutions to the sociological problems. However, implementing these solutions is outside the scope of WP:EPISODE, and would require a timescale and process a magnitude bigger than that for the debate over policy here. Whilst it may be a very effective eventual solution, we can only suggest be looked into, not mandate and solve all the issues relating to. I am, however, broadly in favour of such an approach in general terms and on the longer timescale. LinaMishima (talk) 19:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
(EC) @Lina: a question we should be asked is: What is the "problem" that wikis can't be the solution for. We have two issues of concern here. One is (WP-defined) notability - we should be covering topics that have appropriate independent sources. This doesn't mean that anything non-notable does not get covered, it just likely is part of a summary in a list or similar description. (The rewrite of FICT makes sure that this type of non-notable list article, whether its characters, episode guides, or whatnot, is perfectly appropriate in a summary style approach to talking about the work of fiction). However, even if notability is established, and more commonly for non-notable topics covered under a notable one, we have the issue that some editors would love to go into lots of detail about the topic at hand (look at the length of some of these plot "summaries" for episodes). We don't want to completely alienate these people, but such depth of in-universe detail is really not appropriate for WP (per WP:PLOT). To that second problem is what external wikis are better for. They allow for expanded discussion of topics that an encyclopedic approach should not go in depth into. There is no reason that we cannot, in coverage of a TV show on Wikipedia, mention and briefly describe every episode and every minor characters within the show's history (and appropriate merging and redirection can help make finding these easier), but any further discussion of these points should be pointed to somewhere outside WP. Basically, outside wikis should not be considered simply a dumping ground for fiction-related material, but instead with the appropriate level of coverage in WP with lots of inter-wiki links, the external wiki content can easily augment and expand the limited details provided by WP. And to the previous statement, I agree it is outside the scope of EPISODE to establish better WP-wiki interactions, but we definitely should remind ourselves as we consider what to do with EPISODE (back to my original point) that WP does not need to be the sole repository of this information. --MASEM 19:21, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
As I have said several times, I am all for appropriate external wikis, and indeed they do solve the 'problem' very well. However they currently do not, thanks to the aforementioned issues. Whilst the rest of the internet does exist, so does upon this internet vast ammounts of details about art, science, history and important people. The 'sole repository' argument is not a particularly fair one, since this could be said of all wikipedia content. The major difference, however, is that wikipedia is, depite its flaws, fairly well trusted and understood. I find it hard to see the benefits that the argument brings to the discussion, aside from reminding people that wikipedia is just a collaborative website and not something Holy and existance-affirming (essentially, to have perspective on the ultimate importance of all of this). I believe we can reach the same conclusions as to how to deal with content without ever having to resort to the "elsewhere" argument, simply by working from our intended user's needs and wikipedia policy. LinaMishima (talk) 19:51, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Seraphimblade's line in the sand[edit]

There we go! There are our lines. They're simple, they're easy, and best of all, editors don't need to do any deciding at all. Since we're a tertiary source, we shouldn't be deciding what to write. Independent sources should be deciding for us. We do not second guess them, and we do not give things more weight than they do. If they decide "This topic isn't worth writing much about, and only in conjunction with other parts of the whole", we follow their lead and write a small blurb in a list. If they decide "This topic isn't worth writing about at all", we follow their lead and write nothing. Easy, simple, follows existing policy, and best of all, doesn't require editors to argue over or decide about a thing. The source material is there, or it is not. That's the end of the story. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:49, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

This is nit-picking, but 'significant' and 'reliable' are deliberately vague terms, so editors do have to make decisions :P Reliability is far more well defined and less subjective than significance. Thankfully FICT gives us guides on significant, and generally there are rules we can follow to determine reliability, so there is much less work to be done, but matters can and will still be debated unless quantifiable measures are written up. But that's just me being picky :P
"small blurb in a list" is a term that has to be used carefully (since too small can result in a pointless entry), as does the idea that a slightly notable (for instance, an episode that has won an award) matter must have an article (however this is somewhat covered by your assertion of "amount written", since simply winning an award does not mean more gets written about the subject matter). LinaMishima (talk) 21:09, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
You have a point, though realistically "reliable" isn't hard to gauge. Is the source routinely cited or quoted by other sources known to be reliable? Is it written by professionals? Do other professionals fact-check, peer review, or editorially control it? Is it independent of the subject it is writing about? Is it well-known and reputed to be reliable (by those who are aware of it/work in the field, popularity isn't the consideration here)? If we can answer "yes" to all of these, we can say with pretty good certainty that our source is reliable. If the answer to one of those is "no", careful evaluation is required and the source is at best questionable. If the answer to more than one is "no", the source is most likely not reliable. Significant coverage can, generally, be evaluated similarly. Is the full work (article/book/etc.) exclusively or mainly about the subject? Is the subject evaluated in-depth rather than being "name-dropped" during an evaluation that's about something else? Is there more than a paragraph written specifically about the subject in the source? More than a page? Is the work itself as long as normal articles or works normally featured in the same source, or is it a "sidebar", "in other news", or "human interest" type blurb? All "yes" answers indicate the mention is probably a substantial one, one "no" indicates questionable (but still may be substantial in some cases, like a book about something else devoting a full chapter to the subject), more than one "no" very likely indicates a trivial, passing mention. Finally, we can evaluate significance over time and scope. Is the event or subject the recipient of substantial coverage over time, rather than coverage only once related to some "news" type event? (Many things which were initially news events still receive study and coverage over time, such as school shootings, but many others are mentioned and forgotten.) Are many different facets and parts of the subject covered in reliable sources? Are the sources covering the subject independent of one another (not reprinting the same AP story, for example?) And here yet again, all "yes" answers indicate that the subject has received significant coverage over time, one "no" is questionable, more than one "no" indicates that the event is likely news or fleeting, not encyclopedic. All of these things can be evaluated using objective measures. Seraphimblade Talk to me 00:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


Torc2's line in the sand[edit]

If an episode reaches a certain ratings threshold (TBD), that is sufficient evidence of notability. If an episode was broadcast on a major nationwide channel during prime viewing hours, that is a strong indicator of notability. If a network does not produce the episode of a show it is airing, the act of airing that episode is to be regarded as coverage by a source independent of the subject. Torc2 (talk) 07:05, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Umm ... what? Airing an episode is "coverage"? First of all, it is not "coverage", because there is no separate commentary; it's simply broadcasting. I see what you're trying to get at -- you want some third-party credit for the fact that someone other than the production company, which has a financial interest in the work, is supporting the work -- but the "independent coverage" is intended to be coverage about the item, not "reprints" of the item. Second, you realize this picks up syndication, right? Is that your intent? --Lquilter (talk) 14:29, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

2 cents worth[edit]

While Wiki prides itself on not being a paper encyclopedia, there are still limits on what can be said and written about here article-wise. And having browsed through WP as an editor and a person doing reference, I must say that I am amazed at some of the clutter. And it is not limited to articles for episodes of TV shows, but I digress.

Are individual episodes of a notable TV show (ie., Star Trek, Bonanza, etc.) notable in and of themselves? No! But chances are it is going to be a fan, whether casual or avid, doing the determination of notability with the possibilitiy of violating NPOV. And frankly, any notable episodes of any TV show is only going to be of priamry interest to fans of that show and the reason for notability is something they probably are already aware of and is more of trivial interest to others (for example-The first appearance of the Cybermen in Doctor Who is the episode "The Tenth Planet").

Frankly I would not think of Wiki as a place to find episode guides and plot summations, and frankly it shouldn't be used that way. If I want that type of information, I will look it up in a more appropriate venue.

Basically, there should be no articles (or episode guides) for any individual TV show episode. And I will go as far as saying that an article such as the one on the completely fictional holiday "festivus" should also be included in this ban. IMHO. Hx823 (talk) 23:30, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

RFC Summary To Date / Possible Solution/Compromise[edit]

This is only a summary to date of what I believe I am reading from all the various comments on the RFC and how I think they fit in to fill a better approach to dealing with television episodes and notability. This should not be taken as the final consensus on the issue, but I would like to see if the approaches I describe are agreeable with others, or if we are radically missing something here.

Part of what makes this RFC difficult is that people have strong feelings against what TTN and others are doing to the episode articles, and I can certainly understand that point. However, for purposes of trying what we do with episode articles in the future, I ask that people try to ignore TTN's effect on this.

First, the answers to the specific questions on the RFC:

  • Are episodes of a notable TV show automatically notable? - This seems to be a strong "NO". (it's not unanimous however)
  • Is a plot + infobox sufficient for an episode article? - This also seems to be a "NO". (again, not unanimous)

Now, part of the people that have responded positively to these questions have pointed out that accurately, there are numerous articles that exist that are simply plot summaries, including those from popular shows. I am considering this as a systematic bias and have a suggested route for dealing with it, such that every TV series is given the same fair treatment based on the available sources to draw from. I know that won't satisfy everyone that is in this group but I'm trying to make a compromise here.

So, given this, we are back at saying that a television episode must demonstrate notability to have it's own article.

Now, there's three ideas here to consider:

  1. What is episode notability? This is still a question that is being asked over at Wikipedia:Television episodes/Proposed Objective Criteria. While that discussion is still in progress, the summary here to date is that: notability for an episode is (as expected from WP:N) when an episode is discussed extensively in reliable third-party sources. This likely is the case (aka "probably notable") when an episode has won a major award from a notable organization, has had some unusual impact in the real world (Pokemon seizure), or has a strong influence on subsequent works ("classics", as one editor put it), but in all these cases, these have to still be backed by reliable third-party sources. Note that ratings and viewership, as well as having developer information, are argued to not be acceptable. Again, these are not in stone, and discussion should continue on these. I also suggest making sure that with web-only sources, there is some identification of reliable sources from non-commercial entities that site somewhere between a personal blog and a magazine site (aka Television Without Pity is such an example). Again we have yet to fully define episode notability so editors are still strongly encouraged to help with that process to make the distinction clearer.
  2. Based on discussions, it seems reasonable that we can allow for larger expansion of plot summary information within the episode list for a show, particularly if we break each season of a show onto its own page. The season page does not have to demonstrate notability, being effectively, a list of episodes written as a summary style - however, there is a better likelihood that notable information may be found per season than per episode and thus, a better chance that notability can be demonstration, but for a list of episodes in a season notability is not required. This doesn't mean we try to fit 1000 words of plot summary into an episode description, but we can add information that may not make the episode notable but that is sourced. For example, being nominated, but not winning, an Emmy, a possible ratings impact, or the like. Also, since the average show has plots that develop and are bookended by seasons, additional sections outside of the episode list can be added to describe the general plot trends, allowing the episodes to defer to those sections for the progression of such. (eg "Bad Wolf" of the new Doctor Who, or the 3rd season of House MD where House is trying to select his new staff via a competition) We can indicate guest stars as parenthetical additions after the character name, and so forth. This allows us to bridge the issue of going into more detail than a typical current episode list allows over plot-summary only episode articles. It was noted that The Enemy Within (Stargate SG-1) is an example of a larger, yet terse, plot summary that would be appropriate to fit into an episode list, but I would argue that even to help bridge the gap of this episode notability that a plot summary of the length in Deep Space Homer would be maybe the maximum limit.
  3. How to appropriately merge non-notable episode articles. Obviously, not TTN's current approach, but we need something that clearly helps at each step of the way. I propose that the following steps:
    • If you see a set of non-notable episode articles for a show, make sure to tag each one with {{notability}} and ideally leave a message on the show's page and likely existing "list of episodes" page. The editor that does this should judge how "active" the articles are and consider dropping a note at WP:TV if they are not very active.
    • After no less than a month , revisit the pages, and determine if progress has been made to improve notability:
      • If it seems that there's a fair effort to improve all articles, do nothing
      • If only a few articles seem to be improved, or no such efforts have been made, propose a merge request, again at each episode page, with a discussion on the main show main and list of episodes page (and WP:TV if not active). Merges do not have to be all or nothing: if a handful of articles are notable but others aren't, let those notable ones be and tackle only non-notable ones.
        • If there is either clear consensus to merge, or no input at all (again , noting that WP:TV should be notified if the pages seem inactive), the merge can be performed. If there is no consensus, a larger audience should be brought in by asking for help at WP:TV to help decide. If the consensus is against any merge, but you feel that they still need to be, you may consider other dispute resolutions processes such as the WP:MEDCAB to help ( I will note we are considering making a Fiction-related Noticeboard at WP:FICT to be an intermediate step between page/project level and WP-wide level, but at this time it is not set up).

To merge once determined the appropriate action.

  1. If the merge is a result of consensus, allow those involved in the articles to move content appropriately from the articles to be merge to the episode lists before performing redirection.
  2. Otherwise (or even in addition) Transwiki all pages to be merged to the Annex/Wikia (someone suggested creating a straight-forward television portal there for this purpose) so that their information is lost.
  3. As a courtesy to editors, provide a list on the talk page of the episode guide of versions of the last non-redirected edits of the TV show for each of the articles that are to be merged.
  4. Use the new {{ER to list entry}} redirection tag as to help identify the redirection as an episode-related one. Note that within the episode list, the {{anchor}} element should be used to identify episode names so that the redirection can jump right to its entry in the episode list.

What this allows is that if a user feels they can add notability to an article, they have a way to resurrect the text without admin assistance and not necessarily having to understand how to access redirection text, and can work on improving it in their user space or where the article is located.

Now, assuming we can come to agreement on these aspects (notability, expanding episode coverage in episode lists, and how to merge episode articles appropriately), I suggest that we reactive the Episode Coverage task force of the WP:TV project to set out to review every television episode article to determine if it should be merged or not to episode lists, once these are established. Basically, if we are to do this, then:

  1. Given a certain date after all above conditions are met, we start a 3 month period during which we strongly encourage editors to bring episode articles in line with the established notability guidelines; during this time, no episode article should be put up for AfD, and discussions of merging from an editor not involved with a page should not happen (however, if editors want to voluntarily merge pages, great, let them do that). This period will be announced as far as it can be so that people are aware of this grace period and the process that is occurring.
  2. In the 3rd month as part of this grace period, we will have editors voluntarily run through a series they are not involved with and, if any episode is deemed to fail notability, it should be tagged as such, with the series page and episode list page notified, and marked as such on the WP:TVE page. This probably will take about a month to complete, such as to time with the end of the grace period. (Dates when sweeping is completed for a series will be noted).
  3. In the 4th month and no less than a month after a series has been swept, any remaining non-notable episodes will be merged into an appropriate episode list, if they haven't already been done. This will follow the same merge process outlined above (transwiki info, appropriate redirection, and a courtesy list of old articles) so that no information is deleted. Any episode article that is not merged should be tagged with a special category (for the next step) to indicate they've been checked as such.
  4. Following this step, we should then have all episode articles either showing notability or merged into a list. We can track new episode articles as they are created (they will lack the category above), and if they appear to have notability problems, we can then tag them that way and give them the time to develop the article further before worrying about merging it again. This basically helps to keep things in check as we progress beyond this period, sort of a managed peer review with respect to notability.

I know this seems like a lot of work, but I think that once we complete this to bring all episode-related articles to the same level, maintenance will be much easier and we will likely never run into the same situation as TTN's edits has lead us to, at least with respect to television articles.

These solutions, I believe, help to compromise the many positions that I've seen taken on this page: we avoid deletion of content, help to maintain encyclopedic coverage of episodes, and yet still allow for a bit more expanded coverage of plot information and non-notable details when episodes aren't notable. --MASEM 18:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Motion in favour of Masem's proposal[edit]

Support:

  1. LinaMishima (talk) 18:40, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. sgeureka t•c 18:54, 24 January 2008 (UTC) (I am already in the process of getting consensus for a voluntary transwiki/merge/redirect for two shows, and will volunteer for the suggested review taskforce.)
  3. Bláthnaid 20:29, 24 January 2008 (UTC) Automatically notable seasons and a taskforce look like a good compromise to me. A sister Wiki dedicated to fiction is a good idea also, and might be the only way to settle the debates once and for all.
  4. Dimadick (talk) 20:52, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  5. Still some details to work out but I'd support this approach. Stardust8212 20:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  6. edg 17:30, 26 January 2008 (UTC), entirely good. While the grace period seems overgenerous, it should accommodate the episode stub defenders.
  7. Fantastic proposal Masem. Whilst I would like to see the huge plot "summaries", useless lists of trivia, and assorted fancruft swept away, some of the information in episode articles is still useful. Your proposal is a measured approach to the current problems and it's close enough to what I was going to propose. You have my full support. Astronaut (talk) 19:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Oppose:

  1. Alright in general (and I don't like votes, they don't allow for nuances), but I see no need for any "grace period". The approach is already to just redirect, not hard-delete, so there's not some need for articles to be left lay around. If someone finds significant sourcing for one, they can always bring it back, if not, let's not have some kind of enforced asking people to stay out of things. The rest of the proposal, with a methodical and documented cleanup approach, is excellent and I fully support it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:05, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I am just concerned that when we say "ok, we are now starting the cleanup" on a certain date, there's going to be a large volume of work to be done by a good number of editors, and I don't necessarily want to overwhelm them. But I do agree that giving enough fair warning and the above process for keeping old copies around, we really don't need that long a period. --MASEM 21:46, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. While I agree with most of the proposal, I think that a 30 day notification period on notability is excessive. One week, two at most, should be good enough to show progress on an article. And, since we are primarily redirecting, then the article can always be brought back and improved. Furthermore, I would take off all the bolding that lists don't need to show notability. Lists should probably inherit notability from their parent, but if the show hasn't established notability, then the lists shouldn't exist. Karanacs (talk) 21:10, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
    • A month seems to be the timeframe that is suggested, given that we are all volunteers and not living our life by WP (ha!) and that people go on vacations or have periods they can't participate. Maybe as per Seraphimblade's comment, the initial period could be a month, subsequently, 2 weeks is sufficient, since the process shouldn't allow new non-notable articles to stagnate? And the bolding is only there to emphasis for purposes of discussion that, as you say, it's notability is from the parent article about the series, treating it as if it were written in a summary style form, just so it's clear that while there are notable season pages (Smallsville (Season 1) we should never expect every season to live up to those examples. --MASEM 21:46, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
    I don't have any issues with an initial grace period of 1-3 months, but after that I would think 2 weeks would be plenty of time. And if the article ends up being redirected or deleted before someone has time to save it, they can recreate it in a better format after getting the info from the history. Karanacs (talk) 22:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  3. Strong oppose. It feels like a railroad as the proposed level of notability is too high. Higher than any other area IMO. A handful of episode reviews by reliable sources is enough to establish notability per [[WP:N] as I read it. That should be the bar. Hobit (talk) 22:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Episode reviews from reliable sources establish notability as currently being discussed. The only issue that I mentioned is that we can't use personal blogs or the like, but there are websites that are more than that but less than fully commercial sites, and should they be considered as reliable sources for such reviews. --MASEM 22:10, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
    • The notability guidelines are not fully fleshed out yet (participation is still encouraged), but substantial coverage in multiple reliable, independent third-party sources would likely meet notability criteria. (This would likely exclude personal blogs, personal websites, and forums, but if the episode were reviewed in multiple newspapers/magazines it would likely be notable.) Karanacs (talk) 22:21, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Once the guidelines crystallize, I might be able to agree with this plan. But my sense of the discussions thus far is that this will merely be a set of additional restrictions on top of WP:N. That's what happened with WP:FICT in my opinion. We have to meet WP:N and WP:FICT. Not the right thing IMO. Hobit (talk) 19:06, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
        • WP:FICT (at least as I'm proposing) does not restrict any more than WP:N - if it's got independent reliable secondary sources, it's notable for inclusion in WP. The same is being said presently at the notability of an episode: reliable independent secondary sources are needed for episode notability. Only what FICT and EPISODE try to do is say where the notability is likely going to be best demonstrated in terms of looking for those sources, given that WP:N is written more from a scholarly standpoint. The alternative: rejecting this, EPISODE, or FICT, will still result in editing wars because WP:N will still remain; these are only meant to help say, "given WP:N, here's how to make an episode notable within that requirement". --MASEM 19:15, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
          • I'll admit I've not been following the WP:FICT document in the last week or so. Let's see: We have a requirement about how the article is structured. That's not part of WP:N, or even WP:PLOT (which just says the information has to exist). The current WP:FICT would appear to be closer to WP:N and WP:NOT. Also we have a higher standard for stubs than elsewhere. Also, your WP:FICT seems (to me, as mentioned in talk) to strongly restrict sub articles. Hobit (talk) 01:13, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
            • I think you're right: how EPISODE is stated presently really should be split into "Notability (television episodes)" at EPISODE, and "Manual of style (television)" (MOSTV?) for the article structure, as structure shouldn't be considered a part of notability. And I will try to make sure that the issue of subarticles being ok is much clearer because I don't believe anyone has an issue with allowing summary style subarticles. --MASEM 03:33, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  4. Oppose. This is TTN plus mountains of paperwork. I note that AfD is taken out of the process, presumably because it often waves aside our dysfunctional fiction guidelines in favour of common sense and neutrality.--Nydas(Talk) 22:26, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. I agree with Nydas, this proposal is attempting to circumvent WP:N by creating lots of new rules that will be used to justify the spamming of plot summaries. His proposal also presumes there is something wrong with TTN's approach to enforcing the WP guidelines, an aspect on which his proposal is strangely silent. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:08, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
    To both Gavin and Nydas' comments. I support what TTN is trying to do, but am under no allusion that his approach is extremely disruptive. (There's clear evidence of BRRRRRR... instead of BRD in many of his redirections, and the fact that we are here talking about this after an ArbCom case previously decided that it was disruptive is clear evidence his methods are not acceptable). To Nydas: you have argued before that some shows get systematic bias because they are pet favorites of WP admins. The purpose of the episode re-evaluation is to remove that bias by evaluating all shows for the same notability guidelines (making sure uninvolved editors for shows review those shows to avoid favoritism). Purposely, for this cleanup, AfD is removed because we don't want to spam AfD with deletion requests (again, nothing should be deleted, only redirected). Once done with the cleanup, from then on, standard dispute resolution takes place, which may include AfD, but I certainly hope that a full effort here will reduce the volume that such articles take up at AfD.--MASEM 14:57, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
    Firstly, this re-evaluation has zero legitimacy because of the low numbers of people involved (any powerful Wikiproject will just ignore it). I'm not sure how this re-evaluation will achieve no bias; your idea of getting 'uninvolved' editors is opaque and complicated, and who decides who is uninvolved? Fiction deletionists have a proud history of trying to circumvent AfD as much as possible because their weird doctrines carry less weight there, and this seems to be another example.--Nydas(Talk) 10:40, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
    WP:AGF. --MASEM 14:43, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. Sorry, because much of the proposal has great merit and I know the compromise it has taken. Nevertheless, I think this proposal presupposes our definition of notability. I think both in AFD and in other community discussions, it is clear that notability can be asserted in other ways aside from being "discussed extensively in reliable third-party sources." The proposal also does not make allowances, IMO, for "potential." Certainly 3-4 months is enough time for editors to find some sources on popular, contemporary television, but it may be much more difficult for older or more obscure programs. Ursasapien (talk) 11:13, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
    I suggest that to resolve the first point, you shold provide where AfD and community discussion (not on this page) where other sources of notability besides reliable third-party sources have been suggested, and present that to where we are talking about notability. On the issue of "potential", I will classify it into three parts:
    • "Potential" in that editors have shown a good faith effort to demonstrate that something is notable, just maybe lacking one or two more independent sources. (Maybe they've added an award it's won, but not a review or the like but know they can get them). In the process above, this article would stay, no merge would be needed.
    • "Potential" as in, the last 23 episodes of this series has had notable episode articles, and this current episode in the same season just came out but has not yet been expanded to included it. Definitely it is fully expected to have potential for notability, and in time, would be equivalent. It would not be merged immediately in the process, but if the article is not shown to be notable in the same fashion as the other articles in the same amount of time, then it should be merged.
    • "Potential" as in that there will likely be notable information about the episode some time in the future, but not present now (and doesn't fall in the case above). WP is not a crystal ball, and until such can be demonstrated, the article should redirect to the episode list. If notability presents itself as stated at a later time, great, recreate and expand the article.
    And that's the key thing to remember - we are not deleting any content. If a merged episode can demonstrate notability, then recreating it has been made simple to allow this to happen.
    Now, on the older programs issue, certainly in a volunteer project chasing down references for those would be rather difficult, and unlike newer media, is likely all paper. But do we really have people working on older shows in this fashion? I don't see the harm that until someone wants to step up to the plate to create an encyclopedic entry for episode articles, that these be redirected w/o deletion to an episode list with allowance for a larger plot summary.
  7. Oppose per WP:CREEP. My eyes glaze over as I read this endless attempt to create formal rules. It is a clear principle of Wikipedia that it should not be a bureaucracy. Colonel Warden (talk) 23:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
    It is a set of rules that needs to be implemented for a short period of time for those that opt to participate in the task force in order to bring the "playing field" of episode articles back to the same level. It is not much different from other "sweeps" types projects such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/Project quality task force/Sweeps or any other task force. Again, this part is voluntary for editors to participate in, as long as they follow the recommendations through; and if you don't participate, there is no change from what is normally expected of editors. --MASEM 23:39, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
  8. I continue to think that an infobox+plot article is, by long-standing consensus, fine for almost any film as a stub. I am hard-pressed to come up with a persuasive reason why it should not be fine for television episodes, and deleting stubs is silly. Phil Sandifer (talk) 00:15, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    Film? o.O -- Ned Scott 03:42, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    Edited to clarify. Phil Sandifer (talk) 04:50, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    Oh, so films are something you are comparing episodes too. That's comparing apples and oranges, though. One is considered a complete work of fiction in itself, and in this case even has its own set of notability guidelines (Wikipedia:Notability (films)), the other is a sub-topic/element of a work of fiction. It's pretty reasonable to assume that a film that passes WP:MOVIE is independently notable, and thus obviously has potential to be a full article even if it is just a plot and an infobox. WP:ANIME has a ton of articles like that. That same obvious potential to be more than an infobox and plot isn't apparent in an episode article. And that is all we need, reasonable potential, to keep an episode article from being merged, even without being cleaned up right away. -- Ned Scott 06:39, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    Not to say that I completely support this proposal. I'm still thinking about it myself. -- Ned Scott 06:40, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    I think the independence of television episodes is more contestable than that. Certainly we have no problems having an article on Where The Truth Lies, which had, in its theatrical run, around 100,000 people watching it. Yes, it had notable actors in it and was from a notable production company and all that jazz, but I have a very hard time arguing for its independent notability while arguing against the independent notability of every episode of CSI, which dwarfs that in people watching, and which, as CSI is not a very plot-arc based sort of show, is distinctly an independent and complete work of fiction. Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:08, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    I see where you are going with that, but I tend to view independence in terms of production, rather than plot and viewership. With episodes you're normally dealing with the same actors, writers, producers, and technical staff. Most of what can be said could be said about the show in general. Not to say that it is always like this, and often times there are notable changes in production on a per-episode level. I just view it as.. what can be said about these episodes for their production and reception? Does it differ from episode to episode? If it does, by how much, and would it be enough to have a full article for each episode? I also believe a lot of this is simply limited by our available sources. I believe as time goes on that we will have more published information about production on these shows, and it's very possible that we will have articles for almost every TV show episode someday. It just depends on what information we have available. -- Ned Scott 07:48, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
  9. Oppose. However this is decided, it cannot be a bureaucratic process radically different from anything in place for other categories of articles. Otherwise, we'll be right back here in 3 months again, with an RFC on the notability of fictional characters, of video games that are part of a series, or of certain types of books. All of these have had, to varying extents, merge/redirect/stub arguments and edit wars recently. We just don't see them at the level of the episodes issue because they lack the visibility of episodes (and because the editors involved haven't been put under the community magnifying glass). Also, frankly, I oppose any proposal based on adherence to notability guidelines that aren't done being written yet, on principle. Serpent's Choice (talk) 22:34, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    See discussion below: it is not meant to add rules, it is only a "sweeps" type task force (commonly done around WP) that is meant to help address the issue with the claimed bias that some series have over others; furthermore, the suggestions (removing the grace period) make this more like standard policy, only that it's a sweep force. Yes, the same could like and may need to happen with fictional characters and the like, but it is much more difficult to determine that grouping as compared to TV episodes.
    Also, note this would not be even started until the notability guidelines for TV episodes achieved consensus. You're right it makes no sense to do this without that set. --MASEM 08:35, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
  10. Strong Oppose In 3 years, again and again--I have never ceased to be amazed at how vicious editors can be to other editors. I continue to think: editors cannot become more pushy, overbearing, and domineering in forcing their destructive, counter-intuitive narrow views on everyone else, trampling on others' hard work. But then an even more draconian proposal comes along like this one today, which is even more cruel.
    Wikipedia is not harmed by television episodes, Wikipedia is not paper, "there is no practical limit to the number of topics it can cover".
    Editors who destroy other people's work senselessly is the biggest reason why wikipedia edits are dropping, and so many people leave wikipedia in utter and complete disgust.[5] Proposed policies make contributing to Wikipedia not fun anymore.
    I think what one AfD editor wrote about why he was on Wikipedia rings true to most of these editors who find happiness in destroying other people's contributions:
    "I began to realize that, for me, the nasty truth was that much of it was a power trip."
    I wish I could delete several of these editors contributions just so they can get a small sense of empathy and humanity. For those who support deleting thousands of hours of hundreds of hours of editors work: Shame on you all. travb (talk) 05:13, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of Masem's proposal[edit]

In general, I support Masem's approach here. The important thing to note seem to be:

  • Most of the content of well-written episode plot summaries and the other details of stand-alone articles remain!
  • Even in notable episodes, plot summaries should be kept short. I second his comment regarding the length of the plot summary in Deep Space Homer as being around the upper limit for such things. Details of how to write succinct summaries may need to be discussed as part of a MOS.
  • Minor notability (such as nominations or lesser awards) may be placed in list entries
  • A suggested process for resolving the current backlog of episode articles
  • Redirects not deletion, which allows episodes to still be used as references in character descriptions

There are a few matters still for debate around this, so I urge people to consider the principle, rather than the details. Details will be arranged easily enough as long as we are all working towards the same goal. The process of dealing with episode articles will no doubt merit additional discussion, as will the definition of significant notability for episodes. LinaMishima (talk) 19:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC) It also should be noted that an appropriate list of transwiki destinations is still required and needs to be written. An appropriate wiki as per this list would be the prefered destination, rather than Annex. However, aside from the process of plot summary rewrites or extended 'passing mention trivia', I cannot see much that would really warrant transwiki for most episode articles. The process should generally be fairly smooth. LinaMishima (talk) 19:04, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

please see Uncle G's excellent close at the closely related Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Bulbasaur (2nd nomination):

The result was speedy keep. This is Articles for deletion. No-one wants an administrator to press a delete button here. This is an ordinary editing dispute that is addressible with ordinary editing tools. It was pointed out a Deletion Review that that was the improper venue for discussing this, and that the proper venue was the article's talk page. AFD, too, is not the proper venue for discussing this..... Articles for deletion is for discussing deletion, the pressing of a delete button by an administrator. Do not bring articles here if an administrator pressing that button is not what you want. The correct venues for discussing redirects, mergers, and other ordinary editing matters (which do not involve deletion in any way) are, as 81.104.39.63 pointed out, the articles' talk pages, employing Wikipedia:Requests for comment if necessary. There is enough traffic at AFD discussing articles where deletion is genuinely involved. AFD is not a way of gaining a wider audience to a talk-page discussion. That is Wikipedia:Requests for comment. Other venues for raising matters for general discussion are the Wikipedia:Village pump, and Wikipedia:Centralized discussions

On opposition because of 'excessive' time allowances - a custom notability template? For those people opposing simply because they feel that there is too long being allowed for articles to worked on, I have a few words to say. Firstly, it was the apparent rapid disappearance of articles that got us into this whole mess in the first place. We need a long enough run-up to merging and redirecting to ensure that we can categorically state that even infrequent visitors may have been informed. It may be useful for this purpose to devise a custom notability tag, informing the reader of the process under way. Two weeks may sound like a long time to an active editor, but a month is nicely dramatic. Secondly, many TV shows will simply not have active editors that, in a period of two weeks, will definitely have visited wikipedia. Allowing a month makes it far more likely that someone willing to work on the articles would get involved. A custom notability template could also link to the plans and instructions on how to merge into a season episode list, allowing natural editors for that series to take up the work. Regarding the fact that we will be redirecting not deleting, it is worth noting that the episode list wikilink to the episode article (now a redirect) will be removed. Once this is done, accessing the article becomes harder, and so working to properly merge in the content becomes far more difficult. Finally, there is simply a massive amount of articles we will have to look at! If we assume the intent of a working group on this matter would be to do this process properly, helping with mergers, then we would need appropriate time to do this in. LinaMishima (talk) 22:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

An attempt to summarise the reasons against as of the morning of 25th Jan:

  1. The notification period is too long (Seraphimblade, Karanacs)
  2. The bar for notability is too high or too specific (Hobit, Ursasapien)
  3. Too much like TTN and made more complex (Nydas)
  4. AfD taken out of process (Nydas, Ursasapien)
  5. fiction guidelines are disfunctional in comparison to AfD (See statement by Nydas before assuming meaning) (Nydas)
  6. Circumvents WP:N to allow episode articles at all (Gavin Collins)
  7. Presumption of a problem with TTN's approach (Gavin Collins)
  8. No inclusion of potential for notability (Ursasapien)

Of the above, #1 should be easily resolved (although see my comment on #4). #2, #6 and #8 desire less strong rules on notability, whilst #5 is effectively directly opposed to this entire discussion (See Statement by Gavin Collins). #3 and #7 are directly opposed viewpoints (with #7 arguably ignoring how we got to this point in the first place). #4 deals with AfD being taken out of the process, and should be easily resolved with some minor process changes and appropriate allowances of time. LinaMishima (talk) 12:54, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Quite realistically, AfD can't be taken out of the process anyway—if one wishes to nominate an article for AfD, then to AfD it goes. But AfD is not an "articles for merge" process either, and many people see an article being brought to AfD to indicate that someone wants the article deleted (as in, was a bluelink, now a redlink.) I really wouldn't mind seeing AfD take a more "articles for discussion" feel, where it would be considered perfectly valid for the nominator to suggest merge or redirection rather than outright deletion, but that is not currently the case. I think, then, that AfD is not really a good venue for discussion regarding anything aside from, well, the hard-deletion of an article by an admin, which is its intended function. No one is really suggesting hard-deletion here, just redirection and/or merger, so AfD really isn't an appropriate venue, and we should leave it to its intended purpose. Seraphimblade Talk to me 10:58, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
To be quite clear, my complaint was not so much that AfD was "taken out of the process" but that redirects can be done with little to no discussion, consensus, or consultation from outside parties (those not readily identified as deletionist or inclusionist). BTW, my problem is not with WP:NOTE but with certain editors interpretation of the guideline. Regarding "potential notability," I am talking specifically about articles that note an award but do not have a source for a review yet or an article that has one source but has not garnered a second source yet. Ursasapien (talk) 01:19, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Resolving the differences[edit]

What can be done to resolve the differences that people have regarding this proposal? Perhaps a rewrite and rewording of the implementation procedure is in order, along with further canvassing for wider support (I suspect the issues with regards to notability and AfD will become less of an issue with a more carefully worded process). LinaMishima (talk) 20:04, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

It pretty much does come down to how we handle these situations, however WP:EPISODE was meant to be separate from the cleanup, and more of just a definition, for a lack of better words. At the time it had it's last big rewrite we also tried WP:TV-REVIEW, to have that handle the cleanup process, but it was a rocky road, people lost interest, and the proposed process lost support. I'm all for trying to attempt something again. It could be a part of WP:EPISODE or its own thing, doesn't matter much to me as long as we are trying to figure it out. -- Ned Scott 05:35, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Given the question about the grace period, I think it is fine to reduce it to a month: that is, notification that this would be occurring would be made, followed by people reviewing episodes for a show and tracking such details. I do agree that we should create a special template to say that this is going on to point the unaware editors to the project. I had proposed the idea of an external wiki list to make finding and adding new wikis appropriately for transwiki'd information.
I am a bit concerned on letting AfD back into the process. At least as it stands now, as DGG pointed out, AfD is for deletion, and unless you want that as the ultimate goal for an article, it is not the right venue for an article. I see no reason why wouldn't want to leave redirects around for episode articles so they can be searched and found easily.
Beyond that, I know there are some editors that read this that are likely going to be dead set against this. Unfortunately, I don't know if we can satisfy everyone here. --MASEM 07:32, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
How about putting a redirected article to AfD, but only after the redirect has had time to "bed in" for some time? Astronaut (talk) 13:56, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
But if the redirect has been around for a while without challenge, then why AfD, especially when deletion is not the goal? I'm beginning to think that the general acceptance of stubs for articles which will never expand is part of the issue here, to be honest. Looking at the discussion we have had here, it may be possible to persuade people to favour lists over separate stubs in general. LinaMishima (talk) 14:31, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I see no reason why we have to send a redirect to AfD at all. In fact, I think (given that the above approach is reasonable to consensus), that there's nothing wrong and in fact encouraged that every individual episode name (within the appropriate namng conventions) should have, at minimum, a redirection back to the episode list (if the episode cannot be shown notable), and appropriate entries on disambig pages. This allows people to search for and easily find information about the episode (even if it does end up in a list), helps to simplify building the web for other articles that point to episodes, and of course, maintains that if an article had content before and was redirected, the information it contained is never deleted. --MASEM 14:47, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Deleting redirects is seldom necessary; WP:RFD#HARMFUL basically recommends deleting redirects only if they confuse search engines, link to non-existent articles, or insult someone. None of this would be the case with {{ER to list entry}}. / edg 14:59, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I've mentioned it above, but maybe broadening the scope out to serialsed works rather than television episodes would allow us to widen the pool of debaters, bringing in people from the comics and manga projects, and allow a broader consensus to be achieved. I think we also need to look at what the fundamental differences are and what are non-negotiable princip0les people hold, and where we are all prepared to give ground. I'd rather not implement or even discuss timescales, they seem somewhat arbitrary and potentially divisive. Would it be possible to perhaps pick a set of articles and workshop in a sandbox possible solutions and see if we can generate a consensual position that way that we can then write up afterwards. Use the editing process, keeping within the 3RR, possibly even 1RR, and allow weight of editors to work it out? This would of course require all editors to assume good faith and observe all behavioural policies, but is it worth a shot? Hiding T 11:49, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Broadening the scope seems to be a good idea to me also. I think many of us, including parties involved with the arbcom case, are treating it as the broader case, as are those parties who caused all this mess in the first place. Various project groups have already moved towards implementing something very similar to Masem's proposal, with the Stargate group working on season articles as we speak. The discussion of timescales has ended up occurring because for many, it was the speed of actions like those taken by TTN that aggravated them, not the end result. LinaMishima (talk) 12:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Let's consider this then (that ties in with a previous comment as well). Let's take anything that deals with format and style of a TV episode article to a MOS for WP:TV (I don't see one there yet), and then leave notability for individual episodes of an episodic work here at WP:EPISODE (yes, directed at TV episodes, but the same idea applies to any other similar work). Thus, EPISODE becomes a true notability guideline, working aside FICT, and then there will still be a MOS for episode guidelines. The TVMOS and EPISODE pages should link to each other much like FICT and WAF do, since it's hard to talk about one without talking about the other. --MASEM 14:37, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
        • Absolutely agree about not implementing formal definitions of time scale--they always arouse hostility and many a potentially good policy has been rejected because of rigidity here. I at least am indeed treating is as of broad scope,subject to appropriate adjustments for the different media. for books, we've normally regarded volumes in a series as the equivalent of episodes. for operas, on the other hand, it's individual arias.DGG (talk) 04:52, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
          • I can see the idea here, and I certainly think TTN's aggressive approach has not in the end been helpful (though one may say it has stimulated discussion on the matter, and there has certainly been stonewalling on both sides). I hope everything can be worked through, and I think something to get past that stonewalling on both sides is a good step. Seraphimblade Talk to me 14:58, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Regarding Hiding's proposal that we pick a set of articles and sandbox them I'd be open to doing something similar with the Futurama episodes, I think they have a good mix of stubby/plot-only articles up to one GA and one FA. TTN and I are attempting to start a discussion of the merits of the first season as it is and I'd be interested in getting a wider variety of inputs. If there's any interest there's a subpage at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Futurama/Season 1 review. Stardust8212 16:12, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
      • That would seem to imply that there is some sort of problem with stub and start-class episode articles.--Nydas(Talk) 17:15, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
        • There is nothing wrong with well referenced stub articles. In my opinion there is something wrong with an article that contains nothing except a plot summary and an infobox with no references. That's not the point of my comment of course, the point is that Futurama has a wide range of article qualities which makes it, once again my opinion, ideal for an experiment to workshop on how the various people involved in the debate think the dispute can be resolved. Discussing a series which has all plot-only articles or all FA quality articles doesn't give the proper range of discussion. Stardust8212 18:25, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Regarding sandboxing, as I believe I have said earlier, a number of project groups are already working on this sort of thing. Take a look at WP:STARGATE, in particular Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Stargate#Go from Episode articles to Season articles?. The aim is to have reasonable length summaries of the episodes within an overall article on the season itself, linking to more detailed episode articles were more notable, together with production information and other details. Stargate is a good project for this, for as you state, a wide range of article qualities are needed. LinaMishima (talk) 22:17, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
      • What about the vast majority of TV shows, which don't have Wikiprojects and are only edited very slowly?--Nydas(Talk) 23:06, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
        • If there are demonstrated good faith efforts to try to improve all the episode articles for notability or similar cleanup, they should be left to their time scale to be able to do so. For shows where there are no active editors (responding after a month or so) and bulk of episodes not presenting notability, then these should be made, by default, into season-by-season episode lists performing a "sloppy merge" of copying the plot information into the episode list entry, even if the plot information is excessive; redirecting as noted. My gut tells me there will be people that want to help on the merge side, and a different set of people that will likely want to help on plot cleanup, and as long as what needs to be done is centralized (category or whatever), it can be done fairly. --MASEM 23:11, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
        • I was pointing this project's attempts out purely because of the suggestion that we should form a sandbox to determine what the end results should be like, a suggestion which seemed to suppose that no-one had any ideas as to what an end result should look like. This does not preclude the same results being taken for less popularly-edited shows, not at all. I agree with Masem's proposal of 'sloppy merges', as it is far easier to prune down a long list entry than it is to either look up the original article or rewrite from scratch. I think Masem is also correct that, over time, people will work to get the articles up to MOS standards. Perhaps a MOS notice board could be formed, or a general TV project group could take up the general tidy and cleanup tasks, working through series methodically? LinaMishima (talk) 23:25, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
          • I think I mentioned before we can reactivate WP:TVE to help centralize this. A table can be used to track a series, who's taking the lead on checking notability for each episode (and which I would argue would thus also be responsible for at least the "sloppy merge" into episode lists should it need it), and then a separate line for who wants to take lead in cleaning up (it could be the same as the one reviewing for notability, but doesn't have to be). --MASEM 23:30, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • If you have a place where editors can sign up for a task force to improve and gather source material for television-related articles, I am there! I would love to see editors on Wikipedia in general, take the time to improve articles rather than hurriedly try to redirect or delete them. I have worked on several obscure articles and found source material, even when I had little knowledge of the subject. Ursasapien (talk) 10:38, 1 February 2008 (UTC)