Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Film

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RfC: Allowing the use of two nationalities[edit]

The consensus is against allowing the use of two nationalities.

My earlier close, "The consensus is allowing two nationalities in the lead", had a typo. My apologies for the error.

Cunard (talk) 19:06, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

According to WP:FILMLEAD, which is found within Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Film:

If the film's nationality is singularly defined by reliable sources (e.g., being called an American film), it should be identified in the opening sentence. If the nationality is not singular, cover the different national interests later in the lead section.

I propose that two nationalities should be allowed in the opening sentence. Just for reference as to how this has been in practice in numerous film articles, please see Alien ("British-American"; also listed as a GA-class article), Godzilla, King of the Monsters! ("Japanese-American"), Once Upon a Time in the West ("Italian-American"), The Shining ("British-American"), An American Werewolf in London ("British-American"), Inglourious Basterds ("American-German"), and Elle ("French-German"). Now, of course, the fact that this has been done on such articles is not a clear reason to allow it, and I have seen several articles on internationally produced films that forego listing the countries in the lede. The above examples are to demonstrate the appearance of listing two countries in the opening sentence.

Adding two countries to an opening sentence does not make significant clutter. Now, when one goes over that limit, I find that it can indeed look cluttered. Take for example Hector and the Search for Happiness, which is written as a "German-British-Canadian" film, or Night of the Sharks, which is referred to as "Italian-Spanish-Mexican". This makes for unnecessary clutter, but I believe that having a maximum of two countries, rather than one or three+, gets the job done quite nicely.

This proposal first came to my mind when editing the article Baby Driver. The film is a British-American co-production, and there have been back-and-forth edits which either list it as British-American in the opening sentence, or starting the first sentence of the second lede paragraph with "An American-British co-production,...", which falls in line with the current Manual of Style for Film articles. This is how the article looks at the time I'm writing this proposal, wherein I edited the page to have "British-American" in the opening sentence, which I assumed was acceptable, as articles like Alien had done so for months, and possibly years of being in the mainspace.

So, long story short, I don't think there's anything wrong with listing two countries in a film article's opening sentence, and propose that a maximum of two nationalities in such opening sentences be officially allowed. If anyone has reasons against allowing such a thing, I'm open to hearing such concerns, but the only thing I can think of is the clutter that amounts from having three or more nationalities in the opening sentence, and I find that a maximum of two nationalities caps it off quite nicely without looking messy. It's straightforward and removes the obligation of having to include nationalities later on in a film's article's lede. –Matthew - (talk) 19:17, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

UPDATE: I realised shortly after writing this that this topic was discussed in non-RfC form previously on this talk page. See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Film#About nationalities. –Matthew - (talk) 19:19, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose because it contributes to false equivalence. Identifying it this way implies even (50-50) contributions from both countries when this is rarely the case. It could easily be 10-90 or 90-10, and databases do not make distinctions. That is why this guideline exists, to state one nationality if it is straightforward enough. Beyond that, cases are always too complex to sum up in a pair of terms in the opening sentence. However, a few editors in the community seem to have argued doing away with nationality from the opening sentence altogether, and considering that this is a tiresome issue, I'm growing inclined to agree with them. Perhaps we should entirely relegate any claims of nationality to after the opening sentence. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 19:42, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Hmm... I see your point. I would agree with you, but I think that two nationalities could possibly still be listed if reliable sources conclude as such. –Matthew - (talk) 20:53, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed - The whole point of The Great Wall (Zhang Yimou), for instance, is that it was a collaboration between two veteran film industries. It happens, and it's noteworthy when it does.Fb2ts (talk) 23:09, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - We don't even need one nationality in the opening, there's no need for more than one, it's such a non vital piece of information in an age where there can be 10 countries tangentially related to the production of the film down to the director, studio, actors, financier, different producers. It's fluff info and it doesn't need to be expanded upon. It neither requires British-American nor "A British-American" production elsewhere in the lead. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 20:55, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
There's no wiggle room or exceptions in your eyes, especially for older films? Do you think it would useless information to note that Godzilla is a Japanese film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly an Italian film, or Amélie a French film? –Matthew - (talk) 22:54, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed - the point of national origin is certainly an important piece of information about any film -- except for perhaps when a film is produced in Hollywood or the United States -- because if you don't state French, Italian, Japanese or whatever, in an English language encyclopedia, it's arguably obvious.Fb2ts (talk) 23:09, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the same reasons I tend to oppose adding additional fields to infoboxes. This reads as an attempt to boil down information that should be discussed at length (how each nationality played into the film's production) and will encourage overly-casual editors to simply state the nationalities rather than exercising due diligence and writing prose to adequately explain why the film is dual nationality. DonIago (talk) 02:31, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I'm not sure I agree with the guideline the way it is now, that if there is a reliable source that defines it as a film from a certain country, that you "should" put it into lead, personally i think it would be better if that said you "could" put it in the lead. Any film that is released internationally will end up with the foreign countries reliable sources describing it in as an American(or where ever) film anyways. The obscure films are probably the only ones that aren't being covered internationally, and those would be ones not getting any sources outside its home country who won't always describe it with a nationality. WikiVirusC(talk) 06:27, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I've been asked to comment on this. I agree that it is important to state the primary countries collaborating on a film, but do not think it should be limited to two countries, esp. in the case of 3 countries who contribute 33% each towards the film. Who would make the decision to delete one of the countries in the case of an "Italian-Spanish-Mexican" film, and what would the justification be? The information on an international production may be better integrated into the article itself, rather than in the lead sentence. Netherzone (talk) 05:38, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the above. In the cases of more than two nations, then saying "X is an internationally co-produced film" (or similar) will be enough to avoid lead-country bloat. Lugnuts Fire Walk with Me 11:56, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The project would be better served by having less focus on nationalities, not more. GRAPPLE X 12:14, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 17:38, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Is anyone else confused by the closing statement? I see a whole lot of opposition here which it doesn't appear to reflect. DonIago (talk) 16:12, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

No, you're not the only one - @Cunard: - please can you re-look at this? Thanks. Lugnuts Fire Walk with Me 16:15, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I have reverted the close and suggest we look at other closing statements by this editor as they seem to have closed multiples discussions in the matter of minutes.--Moxy (talk) 16:21, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Add section under Clean-up about Flag icons in film articles.[edit]

I propose to add a section under "Clean-up", about how MOS:FLAG applies in film articles. I am thinking mainly about section "Do not emphasize nationality without good reason" under "Inappropriate use". The use of flag icons in infoboxes has a very clear consensus of WP Film over the years, although this consensus was mainly taken on technical grounds. However flags keep decorating various film award articles where nationality of recipient (film or filmmaker) should be mere parenthetical information. The Best Foreign Language Film in the yearly Academy Awards articles has it as it should be, i.e. name of country in brackets. The only example of Appropriate use of flag icons in film articles I can think of, is in cases like the List of countries by number of Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, where nationality IS the main issue. However, emphasizing nationality with flag icons in International Film Festivals places undue weight on nationality. Nationality of recipient is not mentioned or emphasized at all during award ceremonies. The award is given to a film for its qualities or to a person for her/his work.

Here are the milestones on the flag issue in the archives of Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film: New Cinema navigation box - Flags in info boxes - Flags in Academy Awards articles - Use of flags makes information harder to read - Flag icons - flag icons in infoboxes - Poll about Icons - Formatting of Award category lists - Question about flags - Use of flags. Hoverfish Talk 00:30, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Flag icons (suggestion)[edit]

{{shortcut|WP:FILMFLAG}}
Following MOS:FLAG, 1. Flag icon are only appropriate where the subject actually represents that country or nationality. In film articles and film award articles this is hardly ever the case. 2. Do not emphasize nationality without good reason. In film award articles, the use of flag icons is not appropriate, unless nationality is a main topic, like in the List of countries by number of Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Note that in international film festivals, the films, their directors or other filmmakers and actors do not represnt their country, and their nationality is mere parenthetical information. Therefore flag icons should not be used to accompany tiles and names. Apart from this, the use of flag icons in film infoboxes has been decided against by long-standing consensus.

Hoverfish Talk 20:15, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Forbidding IMDb scores makes no sense[edit]

It's peculiar that Wikipedia, a site that's mostly the summation of internet popular consensus, rejects movie score data that is arrived at by a similar process. If anyone has a problem with IMDb scores he's free to ignore them. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who finds that data to be more relevant than other sources, plus interesting to compare against critic reviews. Barring it from Wikipedia is harmful.

IMDb's vote counts are much larger than anything else so they're difficult to artificially influence. The site also tries to minimize such influences. Even assuming a few select movies are influenced, so what? So every now and then the score takes into account some niche group that feels strongly enough to spend the effort to affect a certain movie. If anything, those rare occasions add interest.

BTW, what triggered this post was someone's edit revert after I added the IMDb scores to a Pixar article. In that specific case the IMDb scores follow critic scores pretty closely: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Pixar_films&oldid=792042121#Critical_and_public_reception

¤ ehudshapira 16:29, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't a "summation of internet popular consensus", it is a summation of reliably published information...which IMDB isn't. The fact that six Chris Nolan films are in the top 50 (and two more in the top 250) shows how much a dedicated fanbase can skew the poll. Wikipedia's biggest strength is that it keeps crap like the IMDB poll out. Betty Logan (talk) 16:46, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
IMDb is a reliable source for user votes. I'd argue that engineered scores there are as rare as wrong info in major news outlets, those which are considered reliable sources. And Chris Nolan, he scores pretty high also on Metacritic, very high on Rotten Tomatoes, and without being part of any fanbase I'd also agree that most of his movies are better than most. ¤ ehudshapira 19:12, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
No it's not. Erik has listed plenty of examples of vote tampering below. IMDB to my knowledge does not take any steps to prevent multiple voting by its users or to ensure that it is representative, therefore its poll is not a reliable source for how its users rate a film. If it confirmed identities and sampled its users in some appropriate manner then it might be different, but the poll is essentially the same as most other content on IMDB: it is uncorroborated and user-edited. Betty Logan (talk) 19:38, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) See MOS:FILM#Audience response, which says, "Do not include user ratings submitted to websites such as the Internet Movie Database or Rotten Tomatoes, as they are vulnerable to vote stacking and demographic skew." It has been abused in the past, most recently with Ghostbusters. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:47, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, that text forbidding IMDb is what I was referring to (RT's user votes I think are insignificant). Hiliting very few influenced movies on IMDb don't make the other 99.9% invalid. ¤ ehudshapira 19:12, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
I Am Not Your Negro was similarly vote-stacked. See article about that here. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:49, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
A couple more articles here and here. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:53, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
If there is a wide discrepancy between critical reception and IMDb scores, and there's in-depth coverage of that discrepancy in RS, then write about that discrepancy. Otherwise I'm all for sticking to the current MOS:FILM and WP:UGC policy. E.g. the article on I Am Not Your Negro only included a casual mention of the score as of two months ago. This gives readers no information whatsoever about the controversy, and I've thus removed it. However, the controversy should IMO be covered, and maybe I'll do it myself when I have more time if no one else does. DaßWölf 20:17, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Concur with policy of not using easily manipulable IMDb audience ratings and sticking solely with Cinemascore. --Tenebrae (talk) 23:14, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
We should include IMDb scores for limited cases. My comments copied from Talk:List of films considered the best#Highest rated films in film databases:
I think IMDB Top 250 should be included. That list seems stable and more resistive to vote stuffing. Probably the only larger sample size than IMDB (Netflix/Amazon/RT next?) is using box office receipts (some producers would say the highest ROI is "best"). More info on IMDB ratings: IMDB top 250 voting FAQIMDB ratings over the yearsCombined IMDB & RT & MC No one gave any bad IMDB citations so here are two: 538 on Gunday and Wired on Indies.
The Pixar table by User:ehudshapira shows how closely aligned the rankings are, with a few anomalies. I think this usage is acceptable because it includes the other sources and are comparing only among Pixar movies. The source URL should be to the score demographics page so people can see some of the subtleties. Vote stacking is most noticeable early in the voting when there are few votes and show some recovery over time. (Perhaps the results of this voting shouldn't be covered due to campaigning and one (reliable?) source said there were millions of illegite votes; who knows if they really saw what they were voting for.) StrayBolt (talk) 21:48, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

Recent article here about online movie ratings being flawed. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 15:32, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Rowspan question[edit]

I've had other editors indicate to me in edit summaries that the use of rowspans in tables (such as awards tables) has been deprecated, since A) they make tables difficult to read on mobile platforms, and B) it makes tables non-sortable. This all makes perfect sense to me, but I can't find any discussion about it or any MOS statement on it. Would someone here be able to point me to the pertinent background? Thanks! --Tenebrae (talk) 23:14, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

There are various discussions here where I find the general notion of "either rowspan or sortable, not both", mostly in featured lists. I haven't seen a MOS yet, but this should be a meta issue. I'll see if I can find something there. Hoverfish Talk 23:37, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, MOS:TABLES does say "The powerful and useful sorting feature can be enabled by adding class="sortable" to the top row. Extreme caution should be applied if rowspan or colspan is used." Hoverfish Talk 23:40, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware, it's not deprecated. That doesn't mean that you won't get caught in an edit war if you try to use it, though. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 23:42, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
No it's not deprecated. Here is the meta page: [1]. I hope this helps. Hoverfish Talk 23:47, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure why they say no colspans though. I use sortable with colspans and it works right. Maybe in some uses it makes a mess. Hoverfish Talk 23:49, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Columns are not sorted, so colspans are never separated. FWIW I think the accessibility issues may have been overreactions here. Rowspans are perfectly sortable on my desktop, and my old phone displays them just fine (while it cannot sort tables at all). DaßWölf 00:38, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
I think it depends how you do the row-spanning. For instance, the sorting function works fine for the year-spanning first column at Jenny_Agutter#Filmography, but sometimes you end up with spans in the middle of table (where tables look "boxy") which makes rows discontinuous for sorting purposes. The deeper into the table you go the more likely it is you will get into problems with sorting spanned rows and columns. Betty Logan (talk) 00:47, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Could be a browser issue. Here, whenever I sort the rows (even if it doesn't change the row order), all rowspans are "flattened" into repeating cells, even pretty convoluted designs such as this example. DaßWölf 00:57, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Could even be a technical issue that was resolved years ago. I haven't done any convoluted table designs for years so I could just be out of date. But even then there are accessibility issues to consider because that type of rowspan (in your example) creates a discontinuity between the date column and the notes column and I am not sure how a screenreader would deal with the gap. Betty Logan (talk) 01:06, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Out of curiosity I tried that page with Microsoft Narrator :) I don't know what disabled people typically use, but this one would read the page row by row as I tabbed from link to link. As long as the link was not in a rowspanned cell, everything went fine. The Star! row failed, but that's not a common occurence anyway in filmographies. It might be a problem for accolade lists, however. DaßWölf 01:30, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
If it was an issue that was fixed, then it was fixed by better implementation of newer versions of our browsers. Hoverfish Talk 02:40, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Superhero genre[edit]

An issue that comes up with just about every superhero film is that there are some who want to give it a more specific genre in the lead (such as wanting to label Captain America: The Winter Soldier a thriller or Deadpool a comedy). Because it was decided at some point that only the primary genre should be listed as such in the lead, this practice is frowned upon around these superhero articles. I bring this up because there is currently a disagreement regarding the short film No Good Deed, which is about Deadpool. I have listed it as a superhero short, but another user believes it is primarily a comedy. I was hoping for some additional opinions on this matter. Thanks, adamstom97 (talk) 23:01, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Deadpool is not a comedy. Having jokes doesn't make something primarily a comedy. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 23:07, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
Please be reasonable; there's having jokes, and being filled with jokes. The latter is what clearly makes a film comedic. By your logic, a WWII theme in Saving Private Ryan doesn't make it a war film. Also, to add onto OP's point, there's superhero short, and there's superhero comedy short (which is what was advocated). The terms aren't mutually exclusive. Whether something should only be labelled "superhero" ought to be done on a case-by-case basis. Snuggums (talk / edits) 01:41, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
WP:FILMLEAD is pretty clear on the matter that only the primary genre or sub-genre should be listed in the lead (lest we end up with users attempting to add a laundry list of genres). So yes, "superhero" would be the correct usage, because I don't believe we should view "superhero [insert other genre here]" as a "sub genre". In this case, comedy can of course be mentioned elsewhere in the article, but the genre should still be superhero. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 22:13, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I have not seen any of the aforementioned films so I cannot comment on the applicability of the labels, but it is reasonable to also state the type of film (i.e. animated/silent/short etc) in the lead along with the primary genre so I don't see a problem with describing No Good Deed as a superhero short film, if that is indeed what it is. Betty Logan (talk) 22:48, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
What do most of the critics think of the short? Do they consider it a superhero comedy or just a superhero short? The plot sentence written doesn't seem like it's developed to be funny. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 23:45, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I think everyone sort of agrees that it is a silly little short that plays into the character's signature humour, just as the films do. The way I see it is that it definitely has major comedic elements, but that is because it is about Deadpool who brings those elements. So it is a comedy because it is a superhero short, which would make superhero the primary genre. To elaborate on one of my previous examples, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is widely considered to be a political thriller, but those elements come from the fact that Captain America is an inherently political character. So in that case, again, the specific genre happens because of the superhero elements and thus superhero is still the primary genre. - adamstom97 (talk) 01:14, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd leave No Good Deed as a "superhero short". Some of the online reviews call it a teaser, [2] [3] [4] short film [5] but I don't see comedy plastered all over it like Spy Hard or Spy (2015 film) would be for spy fiction. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 16:21, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

Cast section and opening credits of Home Alone[edit]

There's an issue with Home Alone. In the opening credits, Larry Hankin who portrayed Larry Balzak, a police sergeant who works in the police family crisis, was featured on it even though it was a minor role, but TheOldJacobite removed him because of the factor that Hankin had a minor role, even though he was listed in the opening credits. When I reverted it, they were reverted back twice (one by TheOldJacobite, the other by Gareth Griffith-Jones). I set up a discussion for it in the Home Alone talk page, but they reverted to even go at it. We need to discuss this issue on here and on the Home Alone talk page if we can. BattleshipMan (talk) 22:52, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

It is standard practice on WP not to include minor roles in the cast section, which should be for listing only the main cast members. Whether they appeared in the opening credits is irrelevant. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 23:10, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
No, it should be relevant. Those listed in opening credits should cast qualify to be put in case sections, regardless on how minor the roles are. BattleshipMan (talk) 01:55, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
To help resolve the difference of opinion, I appended at 52 credited cast members Talk:Home Alone#For the record: Home Alone on-screen cast credits the names of Home Alone actors as presented in the film's beginning and end (the credits are also easily available online). Again, for the record, the film lists 11 names in its opening credits and 52 names in its closing credits.
The actor in question, Larry Hankin, is billed 11th in the film's opening credits and 12th in the film's closing credits. As of this writing, the Wikipedia article Home Alone has 19 actors' names listed, only 10 of which are listed in the film's opening credits. Some of the remaining 9 names are far down the closing cast list (one of them, Terrie Snell, currently listed in 6th place under the article's cast list, is billed in 20th place on the film's list).
In fact, 10 of the names currently in the article's cast list, do not even appear in the film's opening credits. Since this film has only 6 main cast members, this article's current cast list of 19 is in violation of the argument that "[I]t is standard practice on WP not to include minor roles in the cast section, which should be for listing only the main cast members", thus presenting the opportunity to reduce the article's cast list to 6. —Roman Spinner (talk)(contribs) 22:52, 1 September 2017 (UTC)
We can't reduce cast sections. It would make things difficult for readers to find and click on links on some of the specific actor and some of the actors not in the opening credits had a little bigger roles, which is one of the reasons we can't reduce the cast section. BattleshipMan (talk) 00:02, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
I would list the 11 opening credits in the cast section and then any of the other notables could be summarized in paragraphs following, as with Pixels (2015 film). AngusWOOF (barksniff) 01:07, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
You know what, I think we should put it back to where it was before the changes that were made on it. BattleshipMan (talk) 01:49, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
I added 11th-billed Larry Hankin, but deleted all cast names after 14th-billed Kristin Minter, thus reducing the cast list from 19 names to 14 names. See Talk:Home Alone#Larry Hankin in the opening credits of Home Alone. —Roman Spinner (talk)(contribs) 00:24, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
The rules for cast lists are much less strict than they are for the infobox (which must take space limitations into acount). I generally find it is helpful to list all the notable actors in the cast section (by this I mean those with articles, or are likely to have articles at some point). Beyond that it is largely down to consensus; if you are only missing a handful of names you may as well go for complete coverage, but if it is a large cast then editors need to select a sensible cut-off point. Betty Logan (talk) 12:21, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
On that basis, I have again revised Home Alone's cast so that it indicates the 11 names in opening credits (all of whom have Wikipedia articles) and, under sub-header "Selected cast list in closing credits", the 13 cherry-picked names (in on-screen order) who have articles and are only listed in closing credits. Thus, among the 52 cast names listed in closing credits, the cast list contains all 24 names with Wikipedia articles —Roman Spinner (talk)(contribs) 00:45, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

Rotten Tomatoes' consensus[edit]

RT usually (when there are more than a few reviews) includes a consensus statement, often along the lines of "Engaging action sequences and a likable cast aren't enough to save Actionthriller Man from a weak script and predictable, cliched plot."

From what I have seen, we seem to quote this fairly often. That said, Binksternet has challenged the use at Movie 43 (which sounds horrible enough to haunt a few A-listers for years to come). The consensus statement is "Unsigned...not a reliable source."[6] While I don't always agree with anyone, Binksternet doesn't seem to be one to float trial balloons to challenge a consensus, so I checked here. I don't see anything for or against the use of this material. Yes, it is "unsigned". No, I don't think Binksternet is part of the cabal established to protect the stars of Movie 43.

This page does offer a link to Wikipedia:Review aggregators, an essay, which says, "...Rotten Tomatoes's reported 'consensus' and Metacritic's 'metascore' description are prose that may help readers understand a film's reception." While that wording is pretty definitive, an essay shouting "Respect my authoriti!" doesn't sell it for me.

Do we have anything more substantial on this? - SummerPhDv2.0 16:05, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

Oh, I've floated plenty of trial balloons in my time.
I respect the essay Wikipedia:Review aggregators which tells us that the consensus text is acceptable. Erik wrote that in 2010, and I'm sure it's been the practice ever since. But who writes the consensus text at Rotten Tomatoes? At Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources we are told that "Content from a collaboratively created website may be acceptable if the content was authored by, and is credited to, credentialed members of the site's editorial staff." The consensus statement at Rotten Tomatoes is not credited, which is the main problem here. Binksternet (talk) 16:27, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
That section, WP:UGC, seems to be talking about user generated content, "Sites with user-generated content include personal websites, personal blogs, group blogs, internet forums, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the Comic Book Database (CBDB.com), content farms, most wikis including Wikipedia, and other collaboratively created websites" with your quote discussing an exception to that rule. Is RT's consensus user generated? - SummerPhDv2.0 18:58, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it's written by the site's editorial team, but this isn't explicitly stated anywhere I can find. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 21:15, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
SummerPhDv2.0, Binksternet, NinjaRobotPirate: I'm positive that the critics' consensus is not user-generated. The Rotten Tomatoes staff adds a summary, especially after the number of reviews hit a certain threshold. I think if there is any individual who pens the consensus, it would be Tim Ryan. He wrote "Critics Consensus" articles on Rotten Tomatoes that were around years ago (though not anymore). Might be that it was simplified to penning a few dozen words for each film. Maybe someone can tweet to him about who does it? I don't see any reason to exclude the consensus on this basis; it is akin to a periodical giving their own nutshell on what critics thought. And sometimes there may not be such a nutshell available elsewhere, and I hate to have summary recaps of the critical reception be so numerical. A reason not to include it would be if the wording was essentially useless. For example, I did not include it for Gods of Egypt because it was a silly bit: "Look on Gods of Egypt, ye filmgoers, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of this colossal wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away. (Apologies to Shelley.)" It does not say anything about why the film was bad. I take a similar approach with reviews if a critic is just funning around with slamming a film and not getting into why it was bad for them. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 13:50, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the RT consensus sometimes doesn't add anything useful. In general, though, I think it's OK. For classics, infamous flops, and cult films, you can often find better sources that analyze the film's reception in depth. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 20:34, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────SummerPhDv2.0, Binksternet, NinjaRobotPirate: This is too funny, the answer just emerged here: "Jeff Giles, a 12-year Rotten Tomatoes veteran and the author of books like Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of 'One Life to Live', writes what the site calls Critics Consensus, a one-sentence summary of the response to each film." Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 15:25, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Excellent. It seems Erik's shadow-career at NYT is finally paying some dividends for us.
At the risk of totally stepping in it, I propose adding a brief statement to this style guide clarifying the authorship and general reliability of the "consensus" statements, with clear wiggle room to allow us to leave it out when the statement is not ... um ... clear (to those who need to brushed up on their Shelley) or is better replaced by a clear summary from another source. Thoughts? - SummerPhDv2.0 16:17, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Timing! My complaint is answered: Jeff Giles is the author. Binksternet (talk) 16:20, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
It caused me to do a double-take. I read that as "Jeff Giles, a 12-year-old Rotten Tomatoes veteran and the author...". Betty Logan (talk) 17:01, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I was wondering why a preteen was writing the critical consensus statements. That NYT article was interesting because it mentions RT does fact checking and verifies whether reviews are positive/negative with journalists. I suppose we could add a line in the MOS about this. I might also include advise against adding one's one synthesis-tinged consensus based on the RT score. This is popular among some editors, who seem to believe that their insights are just as legitimate as the RT consensus. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 17:57, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
The biggest problem is editors extrapolating the RT scores to a wider critical consensus. RT only speaks for the reviews it has surveyed and there is no attempt to ensure they are representative. For a good example of how much difference this makes compare the scores for Ballerina and Leap, and take note that they are the same film, but just with a different voice cast... Betty Logan (talk) 18:26, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Adding the Rotten Tomatoes' consensus and Metacritic score to the Critical reception section has become standard practice. I'm fine with it, except for the case of films that don't really have a consensus at these sites because they just aren't well-known, and in the case of some really old films, which came out before these review aggregation sites were available. Using the sites at the beginning of the Critical reception section in these cases can be misleading. It's because of this that, in the case of really old films (or just some that came out before the sites existed), it's better to put the Rotten Tomatoes' consensus and Metacritic score later on in the Critical reception section. Our guideline also currently states, "For older films, it is important to distinguish between contemporary critical reception (from reviews published around the time of initial release) and subsequent reception (from reviews made at later dates). Use secondary sources to determine if a film's initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today." We can try to not include the Rotten Tomatoes' consensus and Metacritic score for some articles, but editors like consistency, and they will want to add them anyway because they will not understand why whatever article in question should deviate from the rest. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:07, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

RT for older films[edit]

Flyer's comment above regarding inclusion of RT scores in older films recalls a recent discussion at Talk:The Shining (film). Based on that discussion I walked away with an understanding that the implicit consensus was not to include such scores for films that were released substantially before RT existed. Of course, that begs several questions, such as:

  1. For older films, should the RT score be included at all if no other sites have commented upon it?
  2. For older films, can the RT score be included as long as it's made explicitly clear that the score reflects a current view?
  3. When should the cut-off be for including RT scores?

In my ideal world the MoS would be updated to address this concern, perhaps not just for RT but also for other sites, but I admit I don't have high hopes without this at least going through an RfC. DonIago (talk) 16:26, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

Although only an essay, WP:AGG states:

Aggregator scores are most effective and accurate for films released in the 2000s and beyond. This is because more reviews are available online and as a result contemporary critical reception is more clearly defined. Prior to the 2000s, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic did not exist, and reviews were typically not online. Sources besides Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic should be sought out for films released before the 2000s; reports of critical consensus will likely exist in print sources. E.g., Alien, released in 1979, has a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the critical reception at the time of release was mixed.

I am of the general view that aggregators should not be used for pre-2000 films, for the main reason that they mix retrospective and contemporary reviews and therefore do not give a clear representation of the contemporary reception or how opinion has evolved over time. This issue recently came up at 2001: A Space Odyssey (film), which incidentally adequately sums up the contemporary reception and the film's modern day reverance so I don't see how the article is improved by adding the RT score. I would say that for older films—especially classics that have been the subject of substantial commentary—we should be looking beyond aggregators for summaries of their critical standing. There is a valid point that in cases where opinion has not changed much then the aggregator score does not misrepresent the reception, but in cases where there has been a noticeable shift over time they are misleading and should be excluded. Granted, this is difficult because many editors see them as a regular feature and often you get "drive-bys" installing them on every article, but that doesn't mean we have to accept them or we can't discourage them. I am not going to launch a huge campaign to remove them but if they pop up on articles on my watchlist and I disagree with their inclusion I reserve the right to remove them. Betty Logan (talk) 16:47, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
I think Betty has summed up my opinion fairly well. THe other flip side to this is that those older films with current RT scores frequently don't have a lot of RT reviews listed. So, then you get into statistical significance of the data. I think if you want to discuss "modern" views, then just look to RT as a source for providing individual reviews that you can summarize. I would stay away from using the aggregate as a "summary whole" and look more to third party sources that discuss it.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 19:38, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
Rotten Tomatoes has flaws sure but I don't think the age of a film makes the Rotten Tomatoes score any less helpful or unhelpful depending on your opinion of Rotten Tomatoes. It still serves the same blunt overview. There is a tendency towards older films to get better scores because more of the positive reviews remain available for Rotten Tomatoes to catalog. For films before ~1990 I will try to point out that "Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected reviews from N critics ..." to give readers some context, and as you say in point 2. more context would be better. I wouldn't be in favor of removing them but for older films I would de-emphasize the score by putting it at the end of the Critical response section instead of at the start. If you are looking for a cutoff point why allow any Rotten Tomatoes scores from before 1998 when it was started? Any reasons for not including old Rotten Tomatoes scores come down to the same complaints everyone has about the flaws of Rotten Tomatoes and the general need to give those scores some context. -- 109.76.249.25 (talk) 19:43, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
Except for the "aggregators should not be used for pre-2000 films," I agree with what Betty stated in her "I am of the general view" paragraph. I would obviously support explicit caution against using Rotten Tomatoes for very old films. I just don't think we should state that they shouldn't be used for pre-2000 films. Really, the WP:AGG essay should changed in that regard. If the older film's reception has generally remained consistent and the Rotten Tomatoes view reflects that, I don't see an issue with including Rotten Tomatoes, but I wouldn't place it at the beginning for very old films. And if the film's reception has changed, and the Rotten Tomatoes score/consensus is included in the part of the paragraph making the change clear, I think it's fine in that case as well. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:12, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
The problem though is that it is difficult to know for sure if a film's reputation has remained consistent unless you obtain independent evidence. With post-2000 films most reviews will be contemporary and if there is a shift over time the RT score can be double checked either through the Wayback machine or through the article's own page history. Pre-2000 that becomes impossible. Betty Logan (talk) 22:13, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
I really can't support the guideline stating that we should not use Rotten Tomatoes for pre-2000 films. I support cautioning against use of Rotten Tomatoes for very old films, and approaching this matter on the case-by-case basis I noted above. As this is a guideline, we should be guiding more than restricting anyway. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:21, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with using RT for older films PROVIDING that it's made clear that it is a contemporary take on the film AND it definitely should not be at the head of the section, but at the bottom, following the reviews of the time. You can also add the proviso that to be used there must be an adequate number of reviews to be aggregated. Darkwarriorblake / SEXY ACTION TALK PAGE! 22:30, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
It's not a contemporary take though. If you take the entry for 2001: A Space Odyssey it has reviews dating from 1968 up to modern day. It mixes contemporary reviews with retrospective reviews, so doesn't accurately relay either standing. The only films where you can be sure that Rotten TOmatoes is accurately summarizing the contemporary receeption is post-2000, or thereabouts, when Rotten TOmatoes came into existence. Betty Logan (talk) 22:43, 8 September 2017 (UTC)
Rotten Tomatoes seems to create a new page for films on their re-release, judging by Terminator 2 3D and Phantasm Remastered. However, if you check the Phantasm reviews, you'll see there's one listed by Vincent Canby, who died in 2000. I checked a big budget film from 15 years ago, LOTR 3, and that seems to have accumulated quite a few retrospective reviews. I don't think there's any way to be sure that the RT score doesn't mix old and new reviews. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:52, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
You have to be careful to not be misled by the dates on the reviews: for example, the Sean Nelson review for Return of the King was aggregated last month but if you click through to the review you can see it is indeed from 2003. However you can also verify through Wayback that the RT rating was 94% so has hardly changed in the last five years; indeed, going back through the page history you can see it was 94% a decade ago. The salient point here is that we have a score trajectory for anything that was released while RT has been in existence. If the reception changes noticeably then Wayback can be used to source the contemporary reception. This is not possible for older films. Betty Logan (talk) 02:25, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Betty, looking at the exchanges involving you, Kevskerr, WikiPedant and MarnetteD at the 2001: A Space Odyssey (film) article, as seen here, here, here and here, I don't see an issue with Rotten Tomatoes being included so late in the section. And I had seen it there before; it was there for sometime. It echoes what is stated by other sources; so I understand the argument that it's redundant. But I don't think that this particular case is a case we should be concerned about. I do question WikiPedant adding it as a reference for the following line, though: "2001: A Space Odyssey is now considered one of the major artistic works of the 20th century, with many critics and filmmakers considering it Kubrick's masterpiece." This line appears to be a topic sentence, and therefore doesn't need sourcing. If it does need sourcing, it should be attributed to a source that explicitly supports the line. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:37, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

Proposed text[edit]

Given that it's been over a week since anyone's commented on this, I'd like to suggest the Critical response section be modified from

Current text
Review aggregation websites such as Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic are citable for statistics pertaining to the ratio of positive to negative reviews; caution should be exercised when using aggregator scores that combine original reviews with reviews from later dates.

to

New text
Review aggregation websites such as Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic are citable for statistics pertaining to the ratio of positive to negative reviews; caution should be exercised when using aggregator scores that combine original reviews with reviews from later dates. When including statistics from these sites for films that were released prior to the year the site was created, the statistics should be de-emphasized by placing them at the bottom of the section, as their statistics are potentially less accurate prior to that year. It should also be made clear when the statistics are being captured ("As of May 2015, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 50% of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based on a sample of 68, with an average score of 5.2/10."). See WP:AGG for more information about concerns regarding aggregators' accuracy for earlier films.

New text in bold. Apologies if my quotebox formatting sucks; I haven't used them very often. DonIago (talk) 14:37, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Oh, wow!! Huggums537 (talk) 20:33, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
I hope that's a "This sounds great!!!" oh wow and not a "OMG what do you think you're doing???!!!???" oh wow. :p DonIago (talk) 20:59, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
The "Wow" was not related to your proposal. Sorry for the confusion. It looks pretty good except one sentence is a bit complicated. I might change:
  • "When including statistics from these sites for films that were released prior to the year the site was created, the statistics should be de-emphasized by placing them at the bottom of the section, as their statistics are potentially less accurate prior to that year."

To something more simple like:

  • "The statistics from these websites are potentially less accurate for films that were released before the websites actually existed, therefore they should be placed at the bottom of the section in those cases."

Although, I'm not entirely sure adding this in is a good idea or not. However, if it is added, I'd simplify it in some way like I mentioned. Huggums537 (talk) 23:42, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Good catch. I think the addition captures the consensus of the above discussion, but I'm certainly open to hearing from other editors. DonIago (talk) 03:40, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the proposal encourages the inclusion of the statistics in cases where they are wholly inappropriate. For example, the RT score is actually useful on an article like Transformers: The Last Knight but it would be detrimental at Vertigo (film), where it doesn't really encapsulate the contemporary reception or its modern day standing. I think it would be better if we simply transferred the "2000s and beyond" bullet point from Wikipedia:Review_aggregators#Limitations into MOS:FILM. Betty Logan (talk) 03:58, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Betty, I'm actually glad you said that because one of my first instincts was to suggest eliminating everything in the proposal except the last sentence, with the idea that linking to WP:AGG is probably sufficient enough. I just wanted to avoid offending Doniago... Huggums537 (talk) 04:28, 22 September 2017 (UTC) But, linking to Wikipedia:Review_aggregators#Limitations would be even better maybe? I say this because I feel that linking to the relevant content would be far easier, and less complicated (in appearance) than duplicating it at MOS. I also like Doniago's idea to make sure that the captured date of the statistics is included too, so I guess I'm really just talking about removing that first sentence, which is the one that does the "inappropriate encouraging" Betty was talking about...
I'm curious though as a newcomer, how common is it to take this step to make the transition of material from essays into the guidelines and how commonplace is it for guidelines to link to essays? Is it more common for policy to usually link to policy, or can guidelines, policies, and essays freely link between each other with fairly common frequency? Huggums537 (talk) 05:24, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Eh, the text doesn't always need to be placed at the bottom. In some cases, it should be, though. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:29, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
It sounds like there's substantive reservations about my proposed text. Fair enough! Flyer, would you be willing to create an alternate version? I'm asking you as I'm not sure how you'd define "some cases". Thanks! DonIago (talk) 13:06, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

This is a good start and I commend your for trying to make this improvement and bring greater consistency to this. I'm glad the wording is cautious, there are already editors who will happily delete Rotten Tomatoes from older film articles, and it wouldn't take much encouragement to start a cull. I do still have some reservations about the specifics of proposed text though. For starters even using the word statistics feels like it is giving undue weight to the scores created by review aggregators, and for similar reasons I'm wary of using the word "report" since they look at review and subjective interpret that review in various ways (quantize) to create the scores, unlike a most sporting sporting event where the scores aren't an interpretation and actually are objectively reporting.
While I welcome a more consistent wording I think it is rarely necessary to specify "As of" (better than sloppy editors who write "currently" but it shouldn't be needed). "As of" is only of limited use. If you find that article text no longer matches what the source says (as I recently found with Popeye which seems to have drifted from negative to mixed) what are you to do? The article text should match the source, shoudn't it? Unless editors also include an archived copy of the page the date context doens't help much. It seems like a sensible idea but I fear editors will follow that idea to absurdity and recommendation and write "As of" absolutely every time.
I don't think pointing pointing editors to WP:AGG/WP:RTMC is good enough unfortunately. The page starts with a big disclaimer that it is an essay not a rule which doesn't inspire confidence and again makes it look like we are falling back on an essay and that a proper consensus still hasn't formed.
It is a good start though, please keep trying. -- 109.79.119.230 (talk) 22:06, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

I appreciate your expressing your concerns, but it seems like you're expressing what you don't like about the text but not suggesting alternatives in the process. I'm happy to come up with a revised text block (though I'd also like to hear back from @Flyer22 Reborn: as noted above), but I don't want to get into a ping-pong match of my coming up with text only to have the editors who expressed concerns say that I didn't address them either. I hope that's understandable.
Regarding the "as-of" issue, I feel like if there's nothing to indicate that than "currently", which you also opposed, is strongly implied. The dating can also give editors who may not bother to check the citation a reason to refresh the data in any case.
As for whether to or not to point to the essay...I don't think there's anything wrong with doing so as long as we make it clear that we're doing it in a "for more information on this subject" context.
Still...is this better (changes from existing text in bold)?
Proposed text #2
Review aggregation websites such as Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic are citable for data pertaining to the ratio of positive to negative reviews; caution should be exercised when using aggregator scores that combine original reviews with reviews from later dates. The data from these websites is potentially less accurate for films released before the websites existed, therefore it should be placed at the bottom of the section in those cases. It should also be made clear when the information is being captured ("As of May 2015, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 50% of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based on a sample of 68, with an average score of 5.2/10."). See this summary of limitations regarding aggregators' accuracy for earlier films for more information on this subject.

DonIago (talk) 12:45, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

Please don't encourage people to use ", with an average score". It's grammatically incorrect, and it's been an uphill battle to convince people to stop doing this. One doesn't say, "I bought one apple yesterday, with another apple being bought today". Instead, you would say, "I bought one apple yesterday and another today." With is a preposition, not a conjunction. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 17:30, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Fixed? DonIago (talk) 19:46, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Doniago, you're making good efforts here. However, I noticed your new proposal doesn't address Betty or Flyer22's concerns. I like the last sentence very much that points exactly to the specific place in the essay it needs to. Great job on that. Also, as you know, I'm in favor of adding the date at the time of inclusion. However, I think we should reword it in such a way that it appears to be more of a suggestion, and less of a mandate. In other words, maybe it could be strongly encouraged, but not an absolute requirement. As far as the concerns of the IP user about sourcing goes for including the dates, well, if you are updating the statistics then you should be using updated sources to do so anyway. So, what about the sources? Update them of course. It should be done anyway. My biggest concern though, is still that first sentence, which is also the one that is debatable with Betty and Flyer22. Betty's concern was that this sentence encourages editors to always include the data, but it would be inappropriate to do so in some cases. Flyer22's concern was that the data doesn't always need to be placed at the bottom. It would have to be carefully reworded to address these issues. I do like how you simplified that first sentence though. I also like your usage of the word, "data". Good job on that. Perhaps something like this:
Example
Review aggregation websites such as Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic are citable for data pertaining to the ratio of positive to negative reviews; caution should be exercised when using aggregator scores that combine original reviews with reviews from later dates. The data from these websites is potentially less accurate for films released before the websites existed, therefore caution should also be used in determining if they are citable in those cases. In some cases, the data should usually be placed at the bottom of the section with a notification of the possible discrepancies. See this summary of limitations regarding aggregators' accuracy for earlier films for more information on this subject. It's also recommended to include the date the data was captured: ("As of May 2015, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 50% of critics gave the film positive write-ups, based on a sample of 68, and an average score of 5.2/10.").

Huggums537 (talk) 21:33, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't have a suggestion at the moment. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:09, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

I really dislike "In some cases", because it begs the question of which cases. I also feel that sentence is awkwardly constructed, and "a notification" is, to me, unclear. Additionally, I think that if we're going to include a "see also", as we're doing, then it should be at the end of the paragraph. Lastly, this edit re-adds the "average score" wording that NRP explicitly took issue with. Sorry for the stream of criticism there. DonIago (talk) 02:39, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Regarding the RT statement...An alternative way to phrase that (with less commas I might add) would be:
As of May 2015, 50% of the 68 reviews compiled by Rotten Tomatoes are positive and have an average score of 5.2 out of 10.
I am a fan of less commas, the use of present tense, and avoiding fractions. I am not sure how I feel about the use of "write-ups"; I think "reviews" is adequate and allows us to remove the self-explanatory "critics". Also, "based on" can be misleading if we want to mention the average score last. The percentage of positive reviews is not based on the average score, but the previous examples seem to imply that it is. --GoneIn60 (talk) 05:20, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Doniago, No worries! Critical peer review is motion forward. I knew some parts might be problematic, and would likely need to be ironed out anyway. Besides, I agree with you on most points, but not all. Agree with dropping "In some cases". Agree with sentence restructure, and clarity on notification. Agree with putting "See also" back at the end. Lastly, disagree about the edit regarding "average score", because it was my understanding that NRP took an issue with the grammar, not the score itself. So, simply changing "with" to "and", or using GoneIn60's suggestion should solve the issue unless I'm missing something. If you look carefully at how I reintroduced "average scores", you'll see the single word change I made earlier. I didn't just put it right back in without any thought, although the change was so unnoticeable I can understand how you might have missed it. I think maybe everyone might like this though:
Revision
Review aggregation websites such as Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic are citable for data pertaining to the ratio of positive to negative reviews; caution should be exercised when using aggregator scores that combine original reviews with reviews from later dates. The data from these websites is potentially less accurate for films released before the websites existed, therefore caution should also be used in determining if they are citable in those cases. In such cases, it is suggested to place the data at the bottom of the section with a disclosure explaining possible inaccuracies. It's also recommended to include the date the data was captured: ("As of May 2015, 50% of the 68 reviews compiled by Rotten Tomatoes are positive, and have an average score of 5.2 out of 10."). See this summary of limitations regarding aggregators' accuracy on earlier films for more information on this subject.

Huggums537 (talk) 06:11, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

P.S. If we really do come to a consensus on this, does anybody care if I get to be the one to do the edit that implements it??? I think it's really exciting the thought that somebody like me with only slightly more than 600 edits gets to participate in collaboration to improve the guidelines and possibly be the one who does the actual edit that makes the change. Me! Yes, me! Huggums537 (talk) 07:01, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Time to recognize Style sections as one of the Secondary contents?[edit]

There are FAs (Mulholland Drive (film) and Barton Fink) and the odd GA (Annie Hall) that feel the need the employ a Style section separate and apart from a (now conventional) Themes/Themes and interpretation section or Production sections. Sometimes it makes a lot of sense- some information/analysis of the writing and visual style will come from filmmakers themselves, some from critics, some from film scholars, making it a poor fit for the Production/Filming section(s); some of it doesn't exactly fit under the rubric of "themes". A standard, generic film like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (a GA) wouldn't need this, but sometimes, the style is such a standout feature that it would be hard to do minimal research while expanding a film article without finding commentary on the style. Ribbet32 (talk) 01:12, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

There's nothing "banning" anyone from creating such a section when appropriate. But by your own kind of oddly worded argument ("a standard, generic film ... wouldn't needed this"), it wouldn't usually be appropriate, thus not a standard section. It's actually quite difficult to do such a section properly, because most of the source material is primary, personal opinion. The last thing we should do is encourage people to add such a section to the average film article as a standard, expected section.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:42, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
There are plenty of items in Secondary contents that don't apply to every film- you think every film article will need Historical and scientific accuracies, Adaptation from source material, or even Soundtrack? (Editors of silent film articles would have a tough time with Soundtrack sections). And every single type of section in any type of article has the potential to attract primary, personal opinion, hence why guidelines exist to help editors to avoid it. So your point, aside from belligerently calling me odd and misquoting me about "banning" sections, would be.... ? Ribbet32 (talk) 23:23, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Gotta agree with SMcC here, as well. Covering this separately doesn't seem particularly important. Ribbet, maybe if you elaborated on what exactly you would like to add to the guideline?
And FWIW, accusing other editors of "misquoting" you because they put a word in scare-quotes is somewhat uncivil, and is seldom if ever helpful. Especially when done in the same breath as misquoting the person you say is misquoting you ("[you made a] kind of oddly worded argument" =/= "you are odd").
Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:32, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
("if you elaborated on what exactly you would like to add to the guideline")- obviously, because I want to tear down and destroy Wikipedia. Or maybe- hard to fathom- I have a good faith desire to see MOS assist editors in expanding articles with references and add information useful for readers to understand the subject, because as I wrote, "sometimes, the style is such a standout feature that it would be hard to do minimal research while expanding a film article without finding commentary on the style", and that critics and film scholars do write about this, and FAs have included this. If you want to make an argument that this would he helpful to only a very small number of articles, fine, but it's disappointing other editors don't want to discuss the possibility, or don't want to discuss without resorting to ad hominems and ignoring the existence of secondary sources. Ribbet32 (talk) 18:16, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
obviously, because I want to tear down and destroy Wikipedia. Or maybe- hard to fathom- I have a good faith desire... Please read WP:SARCASM, and bear in mind that it's meant as satire. Please behave in a more civil manner -- no one is attacking you here, despite your belief that SMcC is behaving "belligerently" and I am accusing you of trying to tear down and destroy Wikipedia. I am not sure if you are just trying and failing to insert humour into this discussion, but if you are seriously elevating the wiki-tension because that is something you are apt to do, you should know that I have seen users get blocked for far less than the above.
because as I wrote, "sometimes, the style is such a standout feature that it would be hard to do minimal research while expanding a film article without finding commentary on the style" So, is that the text you propose be added to the guideline? It doesn't seem particularly problematic to me on its face, but it seems way too short to get its own subheading. Currently, the shortest subsection under "Secondary content" (that doesn't have a "Main page" link) is MOS:FILM#Adaptation from source material, which is 138 words.
If you want to make an argument that this would he helpful to only a very small number of articles, fine Did I say that? No, I said that SMcC had said that, and that your responding the way you did was not helpful.
but it's disappointing other editors don't want to discuss the possibility No, you just didn't make a make a concrete proposal, even in your third comment after you had been explicitly asked to make one. You instead responded to that request with sarcasm.
or don't want to discuss without resorting to ad hominems What? As far as I can see, you are the only one here making ad hominem remarks.
and ignoring the existence of secondary sources You didn't cite any secondary sources. You cited three Wikipedia articles, two of which include standalone sections on "Style", but also include standalone sections on "Genre", "Characters" and/or "Sources, inspirations, and allusions" (meaning that those topics are clearly such that, even if one interpreted MOS as a hard-and-fast "rule" that "banned" sections it didn't explicitly encourage, their articles would be cases of WP:IAR); the third, strictly speaking, has a standalone section on "Style and technique", which does not form a common pattern with the other two (which, as demonstrated, already treat MOS:FILM as the flexible guideline it is meant to be anyway).
By the way: Your username looked vaguely familiar so I checked our interactions. I hadn't the faintest recollection of your involvement in that 2013 incident, but if you are still angry at me over my somewhat "frustrated" behaviour there ... well, I apologize. I was under a lot of stress, inflicted on me over the course of almost a month by the other user whose side you took in that dispute, and if you look at their block log you will see that they were site-banned for harassing me not long after.
If, on the other hand, you have no idea what I am talking about, and the above is simply how you respond to every random third-party who comes in and makes suggestions in response to your proposals on PAG pages, then I would have to ask you to stop and read both WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA (specifically the bit about Accusations about personal behavior that lack evidence).
Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:42, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
@Ribbet: I'm sorry that my giving you the standard DS notification came across as "escalation". I just meant to warn you that you were editing in a particularly contentious area where comments like the ones you posted above are even more dangerous than on most of the project. Dangerous for you: I thought I was doing you a favour by telling you.
Anyway, I guess if you want to disengage here without elaborating on exactly what text you want added to the MOS, then this thread can be closed, but I'll leave that for someone else to do.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:26, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

"secondary sources" for the film's reception are NOT the same thing as what many editors are likely to read "secondary sources" as[edit]

@Flyer22 Reborn: Can you seriously tell what "not the reviews themselves" means, or are you just asking rhetorical questions in revert summaries for the heck of it? Obviously (to me and other experienced Wikipedians) in this context "secondary sources" means something different from what it means throughout the rest of the page, where "secondary sources" would usually refer to secondary sources on the films themselves. Secondary sources on the films themselves includes reviews of the films, but they are primary sources on the films' reception, specifically on the question of whether a film's "initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today".

Using the reviews themselves to determine if a film's initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today is WP:OR, and is banned by policy. If we are assuming that people reading this MOS page are all already aware of the policy, then the whole sentence should be removed as redundant.

Linking WP:SECONDARY does not clarify any of this for editors who might need it clarified, and debateably makes it worse, since that page's saying that Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources and primary sources. could easily be read by such editors as saying that basing the Wikipedia articles about films on "tertiary sources" (ones that analyze a wide range of critical reviews from the time of initial release and later) is inappropriate.

Why not just tell people on the MOS page what the MOS page actually means, which is to use secondary sources for the film's reception, rather than the original film reviews, which are WP:PRIMARY sources for the film's reception?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:24, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

I reverted you here and here because I did not find the text to be clear. Your explanation here on the talk page is much better. And I still feel that "secondary sources" should be linked in that paragraph. You stated, "Obviously (to me and other experienced Wikipedians) in this context 'secondary sources' means something different from what it means throughout the rest of the page." Eh? We cannot define secondary sources differently than the policy page. With regard to your wording, I would like to see the opinions of others watching this page. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:33, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
@Flyer22 Reborn: Eh? Did you read the policy page before accusing me to try to define the term "secondary sources" differently from it? What counts as a secondary source varies from topic to topic. Donald Keene's A History of Japanese Literature (Vol. 1) is a secondary source on most of the classical and medieval literary works it discusses, but is a primary source on itself and its author; a review of the book in Monumenta Nipponica is a secondary source for the book itself, theoretically a tertiary source for any pre-modern literary work it might quote Keene on, and a primary source on Keene's book's reputation among scholars.
More on-point, one randomly cherry-picked review of a film is a secondary source (reliable or not) for the content of the film itself, but is a primary source for the critical reception of the film. It is original research to gather collections of "early" and "recent" reviews of a film, and contrast the reception the film had on its initial release to its current reputation.
Anyway, if you cannot present a coherent argument against my wording, other than saying that you personally find it hard to understand (when it seems you find the wording you restored equally hard to understand), then constantly reverting me and saying that you "would like to see the opinions of others watching this page" is not helpful.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:25, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Why are you pinging me when I obviously watch this page? I didn't accuse you of anything. You are the same as ever with your misinterpretations, I see, including below with your response to Izno, which literally makes it difficult to have a discussion with you. Unless you actually defined secondary sources in the guideline differently than we do at WP:Secondary sources, you didn't define a thing on the matter. You stated, "Obviously (to me and other experienced Wikipedians) in this context 'secondary sources' means something different from what it means throughout the rest of the page, where 'secondary sources' would usually refer to secondary sources on the films themselves." All I stated was "We cannot define secondary sources differently than the policy page." Of course I've read the policy page; it's on my watchlist, just like a number of other policies and guidelines. You claimed that I can't provide a coherent argument against your wording. And yet my argument that your wording is not clear is echoed by others in this section. If it was as clear as you think it is, everyone in this section would be supporting it. No one is. Your wording states: "Use secondary sources for the films' reception (not the original reviews themselves) to determine if a film's initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today." What is meant by "the original reviews themselves"? Does this mean the initial reviews that came out at the time? If so, an editor can take that to mean that we should not use an original review that is noting that the film received largely negative reviews to report that the film received largely negative reviews at the time. We can do that; we can write a sentence about the film having received largely negative reviews in whatever year. And then we can write a sentence, using up-to-date sources, noting that the modern reception of the film has received largely positive reviews...if those up-to-date sources state that. That would not be WP:OR/WP:Synthesis. That would be citations supporting each individual sentence. What we should not do is throw together sources and use wording that is not supported by the sources; that would be WP:Synthesis. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:49, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Can we say something like "high-level" in regard to sources that assess any evolution of critical response to a film? Or something synonymous to that? I was not sure about "tertiary" (see WP:TERTIARY) because the bulleted description does not seem to match what we're discussing, yet the policy-labeled passage matches what we want to say. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 00:40, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
@Erik: I don't think we should say "tertiary", since that has the same problem as using "secondary" without defining it. We should of course not use tertiary sources for the evolution of critical response to a film, if such sources ("quaternary sources" for the film itself?) even exist, and telling editors to use tertiary sources for the film itself would miss the point as what we are actually telling them to use is secondary sources for the film's critical reception. "high-level" is a weird term that looks like it means "high-standard" or "reputable", and I don't think replacing "secondary sources" with "high-level sources" would address the problem, if I am even reading your suggestion correctly? Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:25, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
I left a note at WP:Film about weighing in (since some editors there may not have this page watchlisted). Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:58, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
I think both texts are unclear. Is the intent of the current text "use a secondary source which says 'the commentary changed'" or is the intent of the current text "use a secondary source to state more recent opinion, which may differ from the opinion from contemporary sources"? --Izno (talk) 01:42, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
(Mind you, I think both are fine, but if both are fine, we should say both are fine rather than the ambiguity of the present text. --Izno (talk) 01:44, 9 September 2017 (UTC))
@Izno: What exactly the original intent of whoever wrote the text in the first place was is beyond me (Ctrl+F the page history for "Critical response" and it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who that was, though). But I read it as putting the MOS recommendation in the context of NOR by telling editors not to collect a bunch of reviews and create an original comparison of the "early" and "recent" ones, and to use secondary sources that make the comparison instead. I saw this as problematic, though, since the wording it used made it look it was encouraging the opposite by telling editors to use the critical reviews themselves. The phrase "secondary sources" appears ten times on this page, with the exception of the passage in question, and in every single case we are contrasting "secondary sources" (critical reviews) to primary sources (the films themselves).
Put simply, my reading (and the one my edit reinforced) is the former one you suggest. I don't agree that both are acceptable. The second one you present is a fairly clear NOR-violation. We are not allowed take one source that says one thing and a later source that says something else, and claim based on the contradiction that the film's reputation has changed, unless the latter source explicitly makes this contrast (in which case the two readings you present are the same). If two sources present apparently contradictory claims in a matter-of-fact manner, we can't assume both were completely accurate for the time (as opposed to, say, the place) where they are published and combine the two to state that the situation has changed. (I mention place because, if we have a Japanese source from 1970 that says American Film A has a poor reputation among critics and a French one from 2012 that says the same film is well-loved by critics, we can't assume that the French source isn't describing something that was always the case in France. This is just one of the countless possible problems with that idea.)
Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:25, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Addendum: I actually just now did the "Ctrl+F" process alluded to above, but was not thorough and so did not find who originally added the text and when, but I did find that the text in question (with "secondary sourcs") was not present as of this April 2009 edit, and at that time the page instead contained an explicit invitation to synthesize primary sources: For older films, seek reviews from the period of the film's release and the present to determine if a film's initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today. If the current text is the result of other editors "clarifying" this text to be less explicit in its violation of policy (does anyone currently involved in this discussion remember?), then we should perhaps consider that the original text we have been working with should have just been thrown out and the whole thing rewritten to more accord with the spirit of WP:NOR. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:10, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Found it. The explicit invitation to SYNTH was removed, and the reference to secondary sources added, by Betty in May 2015 per the result of this RFC. I think a fair case could be made for inviting back all the commenters in that RFC, and perhaps opening another one, for removing the phrase "secondary sources" altogether and replacing it with an explicit discouragement of SYNTH, since the original problem that led to that RFC was apparently its explicit encouragement of SYNTH, or at least that's what I'm getting from JzG's closing statement. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:34, 21 September 2017 (UTC) <./small>
You misinterpret my second interpretation--I didn't say anything in that comment about using the source to make a statement that "they are different", only that "the second source may observe something different from the first, which we would document simply as a different observation", which we would document naturally per WP:NPOV.
To make the second clear, here's some text: "A said B about C today.(ref 1) D said E about C when it was released.(ref 2)". The first is "A said B about C today.(ref 1) D said E about C when it was released.(ref 2) This shows a change.(ref 3)". This is why the text looks ambiguous to me, because it is not obvious whether situation 1 or 2 is implied.
That said, we do need to summarize the changed state of things even if it's not in a reference--this is Composition 101. How do you propose to do so? I know that some will use aggregator summaries (which will often have such a statement), and more often than not, I would guess that old creative works will have a reliable source, which often says the same as in ref 2 and in ref 3, in my example; namely, that it was X and now it is Y and that this shows change Z, but some do not. We don't just drop a change in frame on someone's head without announcing a change of frame. --Izno (talk) 14:39, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You misinterpret my second interpretation--I didn't say anything in that comment about using the source to make a statement that "they are different", only that "the second source may observe something different from the first, which we would document simply as a different observation", which we would document naturally per WP:NPOV. I'm not misinterpreting anything -- the whole point of the passage is discussing the critical reception of films whose reputations have changed; if we are not trying to say "they are different", then there is no point. And yes, you are right that we should write our articles in accord with NPOV, but NOR and V trump NPOV in those cases: I've seen it happen in a half-dozen deletion discussions.
To make the second clear, here's some text: "[...]This shows a change.(ref 3)". Your clarification makes it clear that both the first and second are the same. This shows a change.(ref 3) is the same as first one, as both are saying that a change has taken place with a secondary source that explicitly states as much. The rest is messy and should probably be avoided, but that's not related to the question of what "secondary sources" means.
And no, we are not allowed say things that can't be backed up by references to reliable sources. That's WP:V. If you actually mean what you say by we do need to summarize the changed state of things even if it's not in a reference--this is Composition 101. that shows a severe misunderstanding of Wikipedia policy. How do you propose to do so? If we don't have a reliable source that verifies the content we want to write, then we can't write it. That's the policy. I would guess that old creative works will have a reliable source, [...] but some do not. In the latter case ... well, ideally I would prefer that any article on a topic that has not be covered in enough reliable sources that we can write a neutral, accurate and verifiable summary of its critical reception, that article should be deleted or merged per WP:GNG. But I know a lot of people like having stub articles that contain nothing but fluff, and it would be easier just to leave out content that can't be attributed to reliable sources. We don't just drop a change in frame on someone's head without announcing a change of frame. ?
Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:11, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Proposal maybe we could drop the terminology altogether and put it into clear English: "Use sources that explicitly address the critical reception to determine if a film's initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today; do not WP:SYNTHESIZE a film's critical reputation by comparing reviews yourself." It doesn't have to be exactly like that, but you get the gist. Betty Logan (talk) 14:38, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

I agree with this suggestion, Betty. My issue with Hijiri88's wording is that, like I stated above, "What is meant by 'the original reviews themselves'? Does this mean the initial reviews that came out at the time? If so, an editor can take that to mean that we should not use an original review that is noting that the film received largely negative reviews to report that the film received largely negative reviews at the time. We can do that; we can write a sentence about the film having received largely negative reviews in whatever year. And then we can write a sentence, using up-to-date sources, noting that the modern reception of the film has received largely positive reviews...if those up-to-date sources state that. That would not be WP:OR/WP:Synthesis. That would be citations supporting each individual sentence. What we should not do is throw together sources and use wording that is not supported by the sources; that would be WP:Synthesis." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:49, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
Agree to Betty's solution. I honestly have no earthly idea what F22R is on about at this point (are we disagreeing over what a "review" is -- it was clearly meant to refer to a film review), but that doesn't matter. Let's just put Betty's wording in place. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:32, 9 September 2017 (UTC)
If you don't understand what I mean, or what Izno was stating, then, yeah, it's best to move on and see if we should go with Betty's exact wording or alter it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:50, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Ditto. And you're right; even though I didn't state as much (because I hadn't seen it), I don't understand Izno's comment. It's possible that Izno is saying we should through both NOR and V out the window when it comes to the critical reception section of old films, but per WP:AGF I'm supposed to assume that I am simply misreading Izno's comment. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:11, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
For the record, I support Betty's exact wording. How about you, Erik and Izno? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:58, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
Same here -- I thought that was obvious from my comment. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:11, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
Betty's is better. --Izno (talk) 19:02, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
From a grammatical perspective, I would suggest additional clarification and reducing the use of "reception" and/or "reputation":
Use sources that explicitly analyze a film's overall critical reception when explaining a contrast between the way it was initially received and the way it was received at a later date; do not synthesize this evolution by comparing reviews yourself.
Maybe that's a bit wordy and can be shortened a bit, but I think it's important to mention "overall critical reception" in that first part. Thoughts? --GoneIn60 (talk) 02:34, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
In some cases it may be difficult to find sources that discuss the overall reception. In many cases you will find contemporary sources that discuss the reception and modern-day sources that discuss the film's current critical standing, and you might not be able to find a sources that cover both. I don't think this is a problem in itself provided you don't draw any new conclusions; you'd just be using two separate sources to outline its critical standing at two separate points in time. My original wording was much closers to yours, but I altered it after I realized it was imposing a condition that didn't necessarily need to be met (unless you actually want to explain the process of how opinion changed) and one that might not be be possible to meet. Betty Logan (talk) 03:36, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Betty, yes I agree. I think my explanation above may have been misleading. You would need a contemporary source that shows the overall "initial" reception, and then another modern-day source that shows the overall reception at a later point in time. I didn't meant to suggest that one source should cover both. My concern is that in either case, we should be using sources that gauge consensus as a whole and not relying on sources that only survey one author's opinion (if that makes sense). --GoneIn60 (talk) 06:45, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I take issue with "overall" per Betty's reasoning. I would have stated similarly had I seen your proposed wording first. Even without "overall," I think that your "when explaining a contrast between the way it was initially received and the way it was received at a later date" wording may be taken to mean that the source(s) should cover both, especially with the "do not synthesize this evolution by comparing reviews yourself" piece ending the statement. If it's not clear by my earlier commentary above, I can easily see editors thinking that including a source about the reception a film had one year and a different source about the reception a film has now is synthesis. It's not synthesis unless we are tying the two together in way that the sources don't explicitly support. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:04, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I can see how my attempt to add clarity may have backfired. The lingering concern, however, is that we aren't cherry-picking a couple reviews from a given point in time to show that reception was positive, mixed, or negative. We should be using sources that assess the critical consensus (or the overall reception) for us and not the individual reviews themselves. Using individual reviews to show how a film was received a long time ago would be a form of inappropriate aggregation. RT and MC do that aggregation for us now, but for older films, we obviously have to look for other sources as replacements. As long as this is clear, I'm indifferent on how it should be worded. --GoneIn60 (talk) 06:08, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
I think "do not WP:SYNTHESIZE a film's critical reputation by comparing reviews yourself" is probably fairly self-explanatory. I'm at a loss at how to make it clearer than that. If an editor does disregard this guideline then it's probably because they haven't read it. Betty Logan (talk) 14:22, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
I didn't notice this subdiscussion until just now, but I should clarify that if Betty (In many cases you will find contemporary sources that discuss the reception and modern-day sources that discuss the film's current critical standing, and you might not be able to find a sources that cover both) and others (Betty, yes I agree; I take issue with "overall" per Betty's reasoning) are saying that it is acceptable (not WP:SYNTH) to take one early source that summarizes a film's contemporary reputation and one later source that summarizes the same's film's reputation differently, and use that to simply state that the film's reputation has changed over time, I disagree. In cases like that, we should simply say "Scholar A in Year X summarized the film's reception like this ..., while Scholar B in Year Y said thus ..." Two scholars writing at the same time can disagree, so assuming that two sources from different times are merly stating "facts" and that the explanation for the change must be that the facts "changed" is inappropriate. We are not allowed say a film's critical reception has changed over time unless we have a source that says that. Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:39, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

comment: An experienced editor already knows how to interpret secondary sources in this context without additional explanation. If an editor can't comprehend this MOS guideline with their current understanding of policy, then perhaps their competence to edit Wikipedia should be brought into question. This MOS guideline even provides a link to WP:secondary sources and WP:SYNTH appears right below it on the very same page! So, adding in another sentence, or another paragraph for further clarification only serves to complicate things and seems like an exercise in redundancy to me. It appears that a problem is being created where none exists. As Betty Logan pointed out, it's only a problem if a user disregards the policy, and can be easily corrected by guiding them to the policy so they can read it. This MOS guideline already points to those policies... Huggums537 (talk) 03:05, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

@Huggums537: You have scarcely 600 edits to your name -- are you trying to tell me that you know more about how experienced editors read these guidelines than I do? And how is An experienced editor already knows even relevant? The point is that inexperienced editors are going to misread (or, rather, already are misreading) "secondary sources" as meaning the same thing the phrase means elsewhere on this page. On top of that, the only reason to link WP:SECONDARY is to tell editors that it doesn't mean comparing reviews oneself; in other words, linking WP:SYNTH is inherently better than linking WP:SECONDARY. Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:34, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Generally agree with Betty's suggestion, without prejudice against minor clarification suggestions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Further entirely unnecessary comment Why has one of the very similar proposals not been implemented yet? I just want do not WP:SYNTHESIZE a film's critical reputation by comparing reviews yourself (which is the essence of my original edit, just worded better) added, and it seems like pretty much everyone is in agreement on it. I join Betty at her loss as to how to make it clearer. Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:34, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Maybe you are right and I should focus on what you said the point is about inexperienced editors misreading the guideline. So, I'm glad you mentioned my low number of edits because I believe this qualifies me very well as being an inexperienced editor. You should find my opinion to be a very valuable insight since you seem concerned about how we inexperienced editors will see things. Additionally, you will have the benefit of an actual inexperienced editor telling you exactly how I read the guidelines as opposed to how you think I might read them. Anyway, the truth is that I had the same response to your edit as Flyer22 did, which was to ask myself, what the heck does this mean? The guideline was simple to understand before that, and I couldn't understand what was going on after you modified it. It also seemed like things were getting unnecessarily complicated when other people started talking about making other modifications to it, even if they actually made sense. That's an honest point of view from the only inexperienced editor that has bothered to comment on the matter thus far. I can tell you this. It doesn't take any more than 600 edits for me to point out that policies probably work much better in tandem when you combine them together. So, WP:SYNTH is not better than WP:SECONDARY. It would be a better approach to say WP:SYNTH is better with WP:SECONDARY. And, as I mentioned earlier, the link that currently exists points to both of those already... Huggums537 (talk) 01:10, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
  • We really, really do need to make it clear that reviews published in newspapers and magazines and such are not secondary sources. There's a common misconception here, due to the poor wording at WP:RS and WP:NOR, that everything in a volume we use as a secondary source in some cases (e.g. a newspaper, because regular journalistic articles in it are secondary source material) is necessarily also secondary. This is, of course, totally absurd. Op-eds, advice columns, review, editorials, and frequently but not always investigative journalism pieces are primary, as are articles that are almost entirely quotation.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:58, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
    WP:ANALYSIS completely supports a film review being a secondary source because it relies on the primary source (the film) "for their material, making analytic or evaluative claims about them". Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 18:39, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
    What constitutes a primary or secondary source in various circumstances is open to interpretation so that's why it is better to just drop the terminology altogether. Basically when we are discussing the reception of a film in general terms we actually want sources that discuss the reception in general terms, rather than an editor synthesizing an overview from cherry-picked sources. Nobody seems to be arguing against that view. Betty Logan (talk) 18:51, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
    If we want reception information, then a review would be a primary source. If we want something about the film itself, then a review would be a secondary source. That is just common sense. - adamstom97 (talk) 22:53, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
    Right. What's alarming to me are all these people who seem to think a review just is a secondary source, period, no matter what.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    As others have said, a film review is not always considered a secondary source. For discussing its plot, production, or other facets of the film itslf, a film review is secondary. When the focus shifts to a film's overall reception in a Wikipedia article, that changes. For example, for the statement, "Dunkirk was well-received by critics", a single film review becomes a primary source, because it is one opinion among many that would be used to support that claim. RT and MC would be the secondary sources for this, since they are analyzing multiple primary sources (the film reviews themselves). --GoneIn60 (talk) 08:52, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    "WP:ANALYSIS completely supports a film review being a secondary source because it relies on the primary source (the film)." Nope. The film is the subject. An opinion piece of any kind is always a primary source, no matter how many sources it may be based on anyway. That's the nature of an opinion piece.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  17:41, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    That interpretation would cause numerous articles on culture works to suddenly fail notability tests. Reviews- which represent a transformation of the film itself into an opinion by the reviewer - are always a secondary source by our WP:PSTS definition for the film itself. --MASEM (t) 17:46, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    If that were true it would have already happened. People are sorely confusing a few things here. A source is not primary, secondary or tertiary in every way for everything. A film or novel is a primary source for what it contains. A review is a primary source for the reviewer's opinion about the film. It may also be a secondary source for what happens in the plot or who the cast and crew were (because the work itself is a primary source for its own content). It is not possible for the work to be a primary source for anything subjective a reviewer wants to say. In simple terms, the film cannot be a primary source that the film is good.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:58, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

    PS: If WP expunged a large number of crap stubs and trivia piles about works (and pseudo-celebrities) sourced to nothing but themselves and subjective reviews, often from publications which depend heavily on entertainment-industry advertising dollars and thus have WP:INDY problems) that would be a fantastic thing. Any time IMDb has a better article than we do or ever likely will, then WP is making a mistake having an article. WP:NOTINDISCRIMINATE.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

    I find it absolutely incredible that people could be conflating secondary sources for establishing the notability of some particular topic with secondary sources for citing some aspect of the topic for which the majority of secondary sources for the topic itself would actually be primary sources. This is really basic sourcing we are talking about: you are not allowed synthesize reviews themselves to say that a film's critical reputation has changed over time. For that you need secondary sources on the film's critical reputation, which is not the same thing as secondary sources on the film itself. I would like to echo SMcC's alarm at all these people who seem to think a review just is a secondary source, period, no matter what; no experienced Wikipedian should be thinking this way. (And yes, this is one of the reasons I think these MOS talk subpages should all be redirected to the main MOS talk page.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 20:31, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    I think there's some "talking past each other" but short reply is I agree with the points here: it is definitely synthesis to take the reviews a film has as to come to conclusion of what the average reception is for that film, as that is using the reviews-as-primary-sources to synthesize something novel. I do want to stress that I think that I don't see anyone here stating that "film reviews are secondary sources, period." Those involved in discussion seem pretty clear that they are certainly a secondary source for the film itself, and perhaps the people involved, but that's about as far as a film review's secondary nature extends, and becomes a primary source when speaking to the aggregate reception of the film. I do take issue with calling film reviews as primary sources for the film, because that directly contradicts the definition of secondary sources at WP:PSTS. --MASEM (t) 20:41, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    Re: "I don't see ..." – See "WP:ANALYSIS completely supports ..." post above. It's a full-on argument that reviews are secondary sources, not that they can be for a tiny number of limited things. When you say things like your "I do take issue with ..." sentence, that's also very easy to read as a similar argument; if it were not for the preceding sentence, it would be indistinguishable from one. But this is beyond films. I encounter actual "it was from a [sometimes] reliable source, ergo it's secondary" reasoning again and again and again, ranging from claims that a press release from the AMA, an op-ed in a newspaper, and an opinion piece from a columnist in a magazine are all secondary sources, because the publisher is reputable and the editor has seen [radically different] material from this publisher cited and defended [in those cases correctly] as secondary sources before. Confusion on these matters is rampant across the entire project. Just the fact that this mega-thread exists demonstrates it for this topic, but it's by no means confined to this one. The locus of the problem is unclear wording at WP:RS and WP:NOR that people are loath to change despite it being terribly unclear.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:32, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    We are on the same page: no source is going to be secondary for every possible topic, it is an assessment relative to the topic of interest, and I agree some editors get into trouble thinking a secondary source is universally secondary for all topics. I am just concerned that your previous statement An opinion piece of any kind is always a primary source, no matter how many sources it may be based on anyway. is not true: an opinion piece is primary for that opinion, but it is secondary for what the opinion is covering. A film review is secondary source for that film, by our definition and very nature of a film review. It doesn't make it a secondary source for everyone else, automatically, only for the film. And I also do agree that there are issues with what people consider secondary, often confusing primary/secondary with first/third-party or dependent/independent classifications, and being especially clear what a secondary source is on this MOS would help. --MASEM (t) 23:19, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
    I'm suspecting a terminological and generalization problem. Will address this in another thread.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:19, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Question: What would be considered acceptable secondary sources for critical reception, aside from reviews? Seriously. Perhaps it would be more useful to inexperienced editors if you clarify what IS a secondary source as well as what ISN'T. So far, I haven't heard anything convincing enough to make me say, one way or the other, that reviews are/n't secondary sources for critical reception. I am, however, positive that nobody of considerable experience has offered up anything that clearly defines secondary sources we CAN use for critical reception. I would be more certain about the arguments that reviews are/n't secondary if you gave me some specific examples of sources that everyone agrees ARE secondary so that I could compare them and make a decision. However, it seems obvious to me, by the very fact that we are even having this conversation, that Betty is right about the whole thing being debatable, and open to interpretation depending on various circumstances... Huggums537 (talk) 08:16, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Rotten Tomatoes (RT) and Metacritic (MC) would qualify, as well as any publication that has done a similar assessment (taking multiple reviews into account). Hopefully the example I listed above helps show this. If you are zeroing in on a specific event in a film or discussing an interpretation of the plot, for example, a single review could be used as a secondary source. You would provide counter-viewpoints from other authors that may disagree or see it differently, but they are all secondary sources. When they shift and become primary sources depends on the statement or claim being made. It is open to some interpretation, so yes, it would be difficult to explain all this in a short sentence or two. It would be best to leave a link to WP:NOR or WP:PSTS as opposed to wasting a lot of real estate that can lead to WP:CREEP. --GoneIn60 (talk) 09:08, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
@GoneIn60: You are right that RT and MC are secondary sources for a film's reception, but it should be born in mind that in this particular context (where we want to be able to say that a film's critical reputation has evolved over time) RT (and probably also MC, although I don't really know it so well) is not usually very helpful. And the link should definitely be to NOR, not PSTS, since linking the latter would lead to ... exactly the same problem we are having here with every editor who takes us as talking about secondary sources for the films themselves. Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:30, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Actually RT and MC should be seen as tertiary sources for the most part - they are not transforming the reviews they source into new thoughts, outside of their calculation of an aggregate score (though one could argue that RT's determination of a review being fresh or rotten is a bit of OR that qualifies as it then being a secondary source). We generally judge the difference between primary and secondary for a source with respect to a topic if that source is making new and transformative claims about the topic - which is exactly what a film review does. --MASEM (t) 13:45, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Again, common sense applies here. A review is obviously going to be a primary source for reception info, but an article talking about reviews is a secondary source. Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic are the big ones for talking about reviews, but any article that discusses the reception of a film (rather than being a response to the film itself) would be an appropriate secondary source. - adamstom97 (talk) 09:11, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Yep. And a much higher-quality secondary source would be analytic material in a film studies or visual arts journal or academic volume (though some of these also run primary, subjective material).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:58, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
User:SMcCandlish, these are interesting suggestions. Do you have specific examples of any journals or academic volumes that currently exist? Huggums537 (talk) 18:38, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Not right off the top of my head, but there are lots of them; I don't presently have access to any of the WP:LIBRARY-provided freebie journal site access things (forgot to renew those after I was done with cat-related research and some other geekery). In 2009 or 2010 I took a film class for kicks, and ended up doing a paper on works of John Sayles using such journals; the university library had lots of (mostly older) ones on the shelves, and the direct journal-site access there for students provided loads more. I was able to use a dozen+ such sources for the paper (the thesis of which is that he does in fact have an identifiable, consistent style despite various critics saying that he doesn't). Doing a Google search on "film journals", "media studies journals", etc., produces lots of stuff right off the bat, but I don't know which ones might be open-access. There are also quite an lot of academic multi-author books, on particular directors, films, series, etc., even things like Battlestar Galactica and Firefly/Serenity. This isn't much help for articles here on things like The Lego Ninjago Movie, but they're great resources for things like Blade Runner and Chinatown and and other "classics", and on specific people like Joss Whedon or Quentin Tarantino. Some of those books are expensive university textbooks, but can usually be got for a while for free via inter-library loan (I also use that for getting access to insanely pricey veterinary works, etc.).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:41, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
@Huggums537: The relevant policy is WP:SYNTH. The problem is that individual reviews are primary sources for the specific claim that a film's reception has changed over time. You are not allowed collect a bunch of reviews yourself and compare the "early" ones with the "recent" ones. The reason we want to link WP:SYNTH is precisely to help users see the connection there. Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:30, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
The acid test is this: if you can summarise a film's overall reception using a single source then it is probably a secondary source, and those are the types of sources we seek. Rotten Tomatoes does this, Metacritic does this, even though they may arrive at different conclusions. On the other hand if a summary of the film's reception is sourced to multiple reviews then it is almost certainly synthesised and dependent on primary sources, and that is what we wish to avoid. Individual reviews should only be used to support individual opinions about the film, and they should be used in conjunction with WP:DUE to ensure they are representative of general sentiments. Betty Logan (talk) 16:07, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Thank you to GoneIn60 for providing specific examples. I noticed that we still seem to be relying solely on reviews as sources even if they may be aggregated ones like RT and MC. However, I intentionally asked for sources aside from reviews, but it's almost like we have no other viable alternatives for sources. I think it's important to recognize this dependence on the reviews since we may start to view the reviews somewhat differently when we realize they're all we have, and all we've really talked about so far. Take note that a modification to the general guidelines in order to make a change that would essentially affect nothing else except "the reviews" might be considered inappropriate. I will say that I agree with Hijiri, Betty, and others that you are not allowed to take multiple sources and compile them yourself to synthesise material. But, that is a very easy to understand rule that currently has significant coverage on Wikipedia. I seriously doubt anybody is foolish enough to try to use this MOS guideline to synthesise multiple reviews, and in the very unlikely event that they do, they will be reverted soon enough. Huggums537 (talk) 19:48, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Betty has the right point here. There is no question that we desire a singular secondary source that compiles multiple film reviews into an overall summary of how the film was broadly received, but this is highly exception to actually find such a source. (RT and MC focus more on numbers and don't go into the detail we'd like to see). So we do engage in synthesis to compile a more cohesive picture of the film's reception because we lack that ideal source. This synthesis can be afoul of NOR if not done carefully, hence why adherence to WP:DUE, as well as using what would be considered the most respected/top-tier reviewers as a standard set, helps to avoid this synthesis from becoming problematic. (For me, this is why when I do reception sections, I wait until I can lay out all the top-tier reviews side by side so that I know I'm summarizing common themes and criticism/praise to those , rather than piecemealing it bit by bit). It is not the ideal, but it is really all that we have for 99% of films. --MASEM (t) 21:06, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Re: "we desire a singular secondary source that [is actually secondary], but this is highly exception to actually find such a source." Very true, and just too bad. The same is true of secondary sourcing for many things (e.g. bios of academics), and we just have to live with it, and very, very carefully work around it a little, but the fact remains that there will necessarily be things we'd like to include that we can't due to lack of sourcing. People will have to write and read such material somewher else. "I desperately want there to be an article on [insert random movie here], and desperately want to inject some spin on its reception, because being complete and informative about this film is just so very important" is no excuse. While I know you're not arguing for such an excuse, it sure seems to be in the air, and to any extent we do not shoot that idea on sight we're enabling it. I respect the fact that you understand and are careful about the synthesis – in a sharply limited sense – that we all have to perform to convert piles of source material into encyclopedic prose, and can help articulate how it differs from the novel synthesis prohibited by WP:SYNTH. Many editors cannot seem to grasp the difference, and either wander into SYNTH all the time, or are at the opposite extreme, and fight tooth and nail against encyclopedic writing on the basis that, if you boil it down, it isn't borderline plagiarized. This, too, is a problem in how WP:NOR is written. I've largely given up trying to have a direct impact on the wording there; the cadre of regulars seem unwilling or unable to see the issues or do anything about them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:32, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Proposed clarification of reviews' relation to WP:PSTS and MOS:TONE[edit]

I'm frequently seeing over-broad assertions like "A film review is a secondary source for a film [novel, TV show, etc.]" (and several variants of this sentiment). This strikes me as misleading, confusing, and a gross overgeneralization.

To make a specific recommendation of draft wording, a more accurate version might be something like:

A review of a work can be – by Wikipedia's definitions and the very nature of a review – a secondary source for the plot of a film and some other self-evident objective facts about it, where the review lacks speculation on these matters. Reguritative material, such as the cast and crew, and other details simply pulled from the credits, are tertiary sourcing when they come from a review.

This type of source remains a primary source for anything subjective about the film, if this came directly from the author(s) of the review. A review can sometimes be secondary for a specific subjective assessment, but only if it explicitly draws on the views in previously published materials by others about that work, that director/producer, etc., in coming to the assessment.

Generally, a secondary source for something subjective about a film is essentially a review of reviews, involving analysis, evaluation, interpretation, and/or synthesis of various reviewers', critics', or academic analysts' views. Examples include non-automated meta-reviews, and articles in arts and media journals that examine critical reception.

Because it remains subjective opinion, such an synthesized assessment is always on the cusp of the primary/secondary distinction, and thus should generally be directly attributed, and often directly quoted, especially if paraphrasing may raise neutrality or tone concerns. In short, you are not allowed to say that a work is good or bad, tedious or exciting, classic or a ripoff, in Wikipedia's own voice no matter how many reviewers have said so.

I think the guidelines should spell this out in wording fairly similar to this, in some format, whether it be paragraphs like this, or a bullet list of points, or whatever. This will be consistent with our WP:V, WP:NPOV, and WP:NOR policies, with the WP:RS guideline, and with WP:Manual of Style#Point of view, which specifically and intentionally (I would know – I wrote that part of it) uses subjective review material in its examples. This is written generically enough that whatever final version emerges can be put into the main WP:MOS (or MOS:FICT though this applies to artistic and nonfiction/documentary works, too, not just fiction) and simply summarized and linked to from MOSFILM and other fiction-related MOSes, and from RS or NOR. Or the material could live at RS or NOR and be linked to from MoS. I don't care. This is both "what you can say based on what" content guideline and "what you can say, and how, in an encyclopedic voice" style guideline material (as are various other MoS rules and even MOSFILM ones).

PS: This is a discussion draft, not a !vote; this would likely require an RfC to implement in final form.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:19, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

While correct, I think it might be better to start that a goal of a Reception section is to summarize the individual reviews of the film, and ideally that would be through a secondary/tertiary source that evaluates the collective of reviews, which are individually primary sources for their critiques. This type of source, short of MC/RT's short summary, doesn't typically exist, so to that end we do allow careful construction of a summary of these primary sources for the film's reception, the individual reviews, for a Reception, as long as synthesis of new thoughts is avoided and due weight is kept to in considering the top-tier review sources, stressing the need for attribution, citations, and quotations. Then examples of what is not synthesis, and what is synthesis in these types of areas. For example, one type of acceptable synthesis would be the case of if many of the key reviews praise an actor's role in a film, then it is not synthesis to say "(Actor)'s performance was highlighted by reviews. (add few choice quotes here)." It would be synthesis to take reviews from when the film was released, and from X years in the future, note a difference in tone, and say "The film's reception changed over time", generally. There's a handle of other representative situations that could be added here too. --MASEM (t) 15:38, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
No disagreement Masem, but you're talking about the narrow goal of the big discussion above, and I'm addressing a broader one across fiction coverage and how we source it. So, the two ideas are not at cross purposes.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:57, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
We probably need something outside of this MOS, dealing with any type of reception related to published works, and the howtos of doing these "right" that avoid OR, which would by necessity need to explain the primary/secondary relationship of reviews to films and the like that you have outlines. Possibly, this could go into WP:WAF but this needs to extend to non-fiction works too. I would think of developing this as a separate guiideline so that you can start with definitions and concepts , and then get to the core of the matter that combines that, and then provide a do / do not type list or provide strong examples where it is done right. --MASEM (t) 16:04, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Yar. I was just thinking of how much of MOS:WAF actually applies to writing about works of fine art, and about documentaries and non-fiction books. That whole page may need to be broadened a bit. I think it's already understood by most editors who care about such things that the parts of it that generalize beyond fiction per se are to be treated as applicable (the way we write articles on such works demonstrates it), but either it could say so explicitly, or even be renamed to, e.g. WP:Manual of style/Writing about works. The separate guideline idea no longer seems to fly; proposals to create them almost always fail in the 2010s, and it's generally only feasible to introduce new guideline material into existing GL pages. Not impossible to have a new one, but surely an uphill battle.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:49, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
I agree, and since WP:CONTEXTMATTERS and WP:ANALYSIS already cover this adequately, I don't see the change you're proposing as controversial. Bright☀ 15:47, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

I'm still not seeing why a film review is not a secondary source in regard to the primary source, the film. First, WP:PRIMARY says, " A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge. For example, an article about a novel may cite passages to describe the plot, but any interpretation needs a secondary source." Per WP:SECONDARY, "A secondary source provides an author's own thinking based on primary sources, generally at least one step removed from an event. It contains an author's analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis of the facts, evidence, concepts, and ideas taken from primary sources." Are you trying to say that a film review does not count as an analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis of the film? Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:57, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

You are correct. The issue extends thought to writing summary statements that represent a collective number of reviews. Saying "Many reviewers praised X's performance." (for example) is a type of synthesis of primary sources with respect to reviews' opinions on the film. As to how much that synthesis is a problem (going beyond what allowances we do give for summarizing sources as a necessity of writing articles, and instead entering into novel interpretation, against NOR) is the issue. --MASEM (t) 18:02, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Another issue is failing to distinguish between secondary and primary material in a one-author review of a film's content. To just copy-paste the example I gave at another page: The whole problem with reviews as sources is that they can veer between secondary and primary right in the same sentence, multiple times: "The Fisher King-like character of Jake is subjected to unreasonable demands and expectations from friends, family, and neighbors upon returning to his hometown, an idyllic fantasy village reminiscent of those in Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands; he struggles with depression as he lets everyone down, until he reaches out to his Percival – the 'manic pixie dreamgirl' love interest Jennifer." Quite a lot of that is primary and right from the reviewer's own head, unless he/she is explicitly drawing on prior analysis of this film. We can't say in WP's own voice that this movie is based on the Fisher King of Arthurian legend, though we can attribute this assessment to the reviewer; same goes for the potentially controversial assessment of the nature of Jennifer's character, or the subjective comparison of the town to those in other films. We don't need to attribute the bare summary parts, e.g. that Jake went home, had trouble coping with the demands placed on him, and reached out to Jennifer who became a love interest; that's secondary sourcing. A WP plot summary is on shaky grounds when it weaves in one-reviewer assumptions and opinions, even with citations.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  21:49, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
I get the impression that you are highly passionate about the issues and wish to express your views. However, I feel that your proposal is somewhat opinionated and overly complex. Also, there are some technical issues that may be confusing. For example:
  • "Reguritative material, such as the cast and crew, and other details simply pulled from the credits, are tertiary sourcing when they come from a review."
Well, a review could gather those details from other places besides the credits. So this entry is somewhat misleading and could confuse the reader as to what quantifies tertiary sourcing.
  • "This type of source remains a primary source for anything subjective about the film, if this came directly from the author(s) of the review. A review can sometimes be secondary for a specific subjective assessment, but only if it explicitly draws on the views in previously published materials by others about that work, that director/producer, etc., in coming to the assessment."
This whole passage is obviously opinionated, as indicated by the disagreement of other editors regarding the dispute of what is/n't a primary/secondary source.
  • "Generally, a secondary source for something subjective about a film is essentially a review of reviews, involving analysis, evaluation, interpretation, and/or synthesis of various reviewers', critics', or academic analysts' views. Examples include non-automated meta-reviews, and articles in arts and media journals that examine critical reception."
This passage seems kind of unnecessary since most everybody knows this, as evidenced by the fact that they are already using "reviews of reviews" as sources.
  • " Because it remains subjective opinion, such an synthesized assessment is always on the cusp of the primary/secondary distinction, and thus should generally be directly attributed, and often directly quoted, especially if paraphrasing may raise neutrality or tone concerns. In short, you are not allowed to say that a work is good or bad, tedious or exciting, classic or a ripoff, in Wikipedia's own voice no matter how many reviewers have said so."
Again, you are correct. However, these policies and guidelines have adequate coverage, and it seems redundant to repeat it here. Also, at the risk of being nit picky, "Wikipedia's own voice" seems like confusing and over-generalised terminology. Please don't kill me for being so critical. Huggums537 (talk) 01:08, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood why I said it's misleading. Many details that will be found in film credits are available to reviewers even while the film is still in production. So, analysis of the same information found in the credits could also come other sources. Your analogy below with the monument makes the misleading implication that the information just had to have come from the credits through a "chain of custody", (as you called it). Talking about films is very different from talking about monuments for this purpose. I understand the point you are trying to make, but it's still misleading in that respect. Huggums537 (talk) 01:45, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Then they're copying-pasting details from somewhere else; it's the same situation. We deal with this all the time when "journalism" just regurgitates as a press release; it's not actually secondary sourcing. But this is off-topic side trivia; whether Angelina Jolie was really in the film Hackers isn't controversial in any way, so a tertiary source for it is sufficient, and so is the film itself as a primary source; it doesn't actually matter in any way whether a review that say she was in it is primary or secondary. This isn't the kind of fact under discussion here. The proposal at issue is primarily about WP:AEIS claims about the content, while the earlier, longer thread is primarily about a SYNTH claims in particular, of one sort: claims that critical reception has changed over time. PS, on "Wikipedia's own voice" – it's a phrase MOS and some other pages use more than once, and people seem to get it. I'm not introducing it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:48, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Even if we were talking about monuments, it would still demonstrate that your argument is just as opinionated as your proposal due to putting a bias of undue weight on tertiary sources (all of the weight, in fact). In your analogy, you're presenting only examples of tertiary sources covering monuments. This misguides the reader into forming their own false conclusions that all sources covering monuments must be tertiary sources. That would be just as absurd as me providing a few examples of secondary sources covering monuments and expecting readers to conclude that all sources covering monuments are secondary. A fair and impartial argument would say that tertiary sources covering monuments are tertiary sources, and secondary sources covering monuments are secondary sources. I could also argue that a secondary source copied from a secondary source, copied from a secondary source, is still a secondary source, which doesn't transform it into a tertiary source, and that would be just as opinionated (not to mention unreasonable). Huggums537 (talk) 01:09, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Briefly:
  • Regurgitative material: It's still tertiary, because it's direct repetition without any analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis. If Enc. Britannica got the date on a monument from Collier's who got it from another encyclopedia, who got it from another, who got it from another, who got it from a photograph of the dedication plate on the monument with the date on it, Enc. Brit. remains a tertiary source when we cite them for the date, even if the entire "chain of custody" of the information is clearly visible in citations from one work to another. There is no magical transubstantiation that happens to turn tertiary material into secondary material when it is rote repetition. This principle is why WP cannot use WP:UGC material as secondary sourcing even if it cites its own sources; otherwise WP:CIRCULAR would not exist, and we could use one WP article as a source for another one.
  • "if it explicitly draws on the views in previously published materials" – Opinionated? It's a summary of the relevant aspects of WP:PSTS. And it could be copyedited to tweak the wording of the summary. "You don't agree with me" and "you are wrong" are hardly synonymous. "You care a lot" and "you are wrong" certainly aren't either. I believe you're imagining a tone problem, though feel free to actually identify one and propose a revision that rectifies it.
  • "This passage seems kind of unnecessary since most everybody knows this" and "these policies and guidelines have adequate coverage, and it seems redundant to repeat it here" – Except this thread unmistakably disproves these assertions. See comment by Jclemens immediately below as just one example among others I've already pointed out in the larger thread. I would agree that MOSFILM is not the place to codify this material, which is why I've suggested it be done somewhere else, and just summarized here and at other fiction MOSes as a reminder.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:44, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Simply incorrect Any plot summary, any interpretation, any subjective impression... these are all secondary. Direct quotes or bare facts such as run time, rating, etc. aren't, but that's not the point of the review. It is simply not possible to summarize a work without editorial decision on what is and is not important, and thus any review is secondary. Jclemens (talk) 05:42, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
    • I will grant that the review is itself a new primary document about the review itself. It remains secondary about the work of fiction upon which it reflects, which is the important usage in this context, but sure, every new interpretation is itself a primary source. Jclemens (talk) 05:46, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
    • Hijiri88 already covered this, below.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:44, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Everyone arguing with SMcC on this is wrong, and it's incredibly disturbing that so many experienced users could hold such an incorrect understanding of WP:PSTS. How on earth Jclemens can square [A]ny subjective impression ... [is] secondary. [...] [A]ny review is secondary. with the following, more accommodating, admission that the review is itself a new primary document about the review itself is beyond me. This whole affair frankly reminds me quite a bit of a quite-serious incident some years back when someone claimed that an ancient ancient chronicle was not a primary source for a supposed battle it reported on because its compilers had not been personally present at the battle, even though it was literally the only extant source to mention the battle. Or, to give a more recent and content-relevant example, when this and this happened. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:54, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
    • It's pretty easy, actually: I don't redefine secondary sources to suit what I think they ought to be. If a secondary source exists about an ancient battle and no primary sources exist... well, then you have no primary sources. Original content is primary. Quotes of said original content are primary. Commentary, summary, reviews... secondary until the cows come home. You simply cannot do a plot summary without analysis (of the primary source) and interpretation (deciding what to keep). Please, feel free to refute this, as I'm as boggled by those of you who think reviews of fictional media aren't secondary. Jclemens (talk) 07:51, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
If a secondary source exists about an ancient battle and no primary sources exist... well, then you have no primary sources. That's not how it works. If there's an ancient chronicle from which all information on a particular event is subsequently taken, that ancient chronicle is the primary source for that event. It doesn't matter whether the compilers of the chronicle were direct personal witnesses of the event. One of numerous fallacious assumptions that user made a few years back was that the compilers composed their own original account rather than (metaphorically) "copy-pasting" an earlier account written closer to the event, possibly by an eyewitness (something that is demonstrably the case with other historical works, such as Luke-Acts, which is also recognized project-wide as a primary source). Ancient chronicles can never be used as secondary sources to demonstrate notability, and are by definition subject to pretty much all aspects of WP:PRIMARY -- we are not allowed use them as the only sources for articles, we need to take care when using them for extensive passages therein, and so on.
You simply cannot do a plot summary without analysis (of the primary source) and interpretation (deciding what to keep). So ... you think MOS:FILM's allowing us to create our own summaries without reference to secondary sources is out of line with the spirit of NOR? It's good that we agree on that point, I guess, but I think it puts you firmly in the minority of editors of this talk page.
I'm as boggled by those of you who think reviews of fictional media aren't secondary You are assuming (despite your own admission otherwise further up) that certain types of sources just "are" primary or secondary, regadless of context. If you think that the tags I placed on those Game of Thrones articles were inappropriate because the articles contained extensive passages cited to "secondary sources" ... well, pretty much everyone who replied on those article talk pages appeared to agree with me, so I would advise against simply removing the tags, but if you wanted to I guess you could reopen the discussions in place of finding more secondary sources that analyzed the episodes' critical reception.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:18, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
WP uses the idea that if there is transformation of primary or secondary information into a work about a topic, then that work is secondary to the topic, period. Keep in mind that means a recollection of an event by a person but which does not contain any analysis or transformation of information short of summarizing is a primary source for the event. (In film, this would be a recap of a film without any review). --MASEM (t) 08:25, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
@Masem: Please define "to the topic", and explain how it differs, or does not differ, from "to the content under discussion". Also, your parenthetical clause at the end seems to indicate that you actually agree with SMcC and me. We are not talking about simple plot recaps; what we are talking about is opinionated film reviews. Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:42, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
It probably means the same thing; basically just because we have a secondary source of a review for a film does not mean it is necessarily a secondary source for all other aspects of a film (here, the point in question being the broad describe of the overall reception of the film). My concern is your hypothetical example which puts more weight on "steps-removed" approach to primary/secondary distinction, rather than the transformative element we use for the same. "Steps-removed" is necessary to judge third-party and/or independence but not the primary/secondary distinction. --MASEM (t) 13:06, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
Hijiri88, It's pretty clear that the use of documents on ancient battles is confusing. A source that analyzes other primary sources is a secondary source, full stop. Now, if it's ancient and the primary sources are lost, it's still a secondary source... but 1) we study it, rather than the events depicted, because 2) it's not conducted with the same standards of documentation we expect in the modern era. As such, I don't disagree with the cautions about using ancient secondary sources you're citing--just that being under the same restrictions as primary sources and treated like primary sources doesn't make them such. But at any rate, we're not talking about ancient secondary sources that are de facto primary witnesses to their era; we're talking about reviews.
I'm trying to respond in good faith here, but attacking plot summaries sourced to the fictional work itself as OR, or implying that I do, is either a red herring or a straw man. Wikipedia's plot summaries are secondary sources, but are not reliable because of our collaborativist nature.
I haven't done a thing to your GoT episode taggings, and hadn't planned to get involved in that discussion. I came here because I was notified on a page I watch, MOS Film isn't on my watchlist. Maybe I should, but I'd rather do other things with my time. I appreciate editors who try and bring discipline and rigor to fictional coverage, when such is available, but I am very much of the opinion that we use the best we have available, and those who desire additional rigor have the responsibility to 'upgrade' the coverage by replacing poorer sources with better ones, rather than simply complaining about the paucity of acceptable sources. Cheers, Jclemens (talk) 00:53, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, with the ancient source, we don't know if it's "analyzing" other, primary, sources, of if it's quoting them verbatim. To give a topic-relevant comparison, if a review contains a verbatim quote from the film under review, and for whatever reason does not provide secondary analysis of the quote (actually whether it does or not, but that's immaterial), that portion of the review that is a quotation is still the primary source.
To go back to the ancient chronicle analogy, such chronicles frequently do present information on events to which their compilers were (or probably were) direct eyewitnesses, mixed in sometimes with material they clearly got from other sources. The Jewish War, for instance, includes information on the conquest of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV 200 years before its author was born, but is primarily focused on a later conflict in which its author himself was a combattant, although he certainly wasn't an eyewitness to everything. Sources are primary for some kinds of information and secondary for others, so A source that [does foo] is a secondary source, full stop. is an oversimplification -- not one that I think reflects a poor understanding of proper sourcing on your part, mind, just one that I think would be unhelpful if enshrined in MOS, because most Wikipedians can't read between the lines as good as you can.
With film reviews: all film reviews are, by definition, primary sources for their own authors' opinions; they are usually secondary sources for the content of the films they review (although, as opinion pieces that are not subject to strict editorial oversight or fact-checking, they are frequently unreliable as such); they are almost always primary sources for the films' critical reception, with the rare exception that retrospectively analyzes both the content of the film and the critical consensus.
This means that if we have an article on a film (or an episode of a TV show) that includes (a) a lead section, (b) a plot summary, (c) a section discussing "development", and (d) a section discussing "reception", (a) and (b) contain no explicit citations, (c) is sourced to six interviews with members of the cast and crew, and (d) cites Rotten Tomatoes, MetaCritic, and six individual reviews, then out of fourteen inline citations, only two are to non-primary sources. (This leaves aside the question of whether RT's sometimes-dubious assessment of whether this or that reviews is positive or negative skews their rating and makes it essentially just an opinion that needs inline attribution like a primary source.) When we have editors engaging in long debates on talk pages over their claim that "reviews are secondary sources, full stop" (and, though it's off-topic, "The Hollywood Reporter is a secondary source, full stop"), I think it would be helpful if MOS clarified proactively that this is not the case. (Yes, the overreliance on primary sources is more a problem with articles on TV shows than films, where films that have standalone article generally have to be discussed in secondary sources before they get those standalone articles, but the same general concern applies here.)
Hijiri 88 (やや) 03:06, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Ah, but the fact that a review is primary for its author's opinion, which I do not dispute, is irrelevant when we're talking about coverage of the film: the author's primary opinion is secondary about the film, and in an article on the film, it's entirely appropriate. If we were talking about the reviewer's work, for sake of argument, then we'd need sources that commented on that reviewer's work, because his own reviews are not suitable secondary sources for an analysis of his work. It's not any more difficult than pointer arithmetic in C, I assure you. :-) Jclemens (talk) 05:29, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but individual reviews are still primary for a film's overall critical reception. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:43, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
No they're not--they're not even that: They are individual opinions about the film, from which our coverage is constructed. Multiple viewpoints are represented per WP:YESPOV--or at least that's the way it's supposed to work. Jclemens (talk) 00:34, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Keep in mind that the fact a work gets reviewed by multiple RSes is why they are considered notable, because those reviews are considered secondary sources for the published work. As Jclemens points out, they are primary about the reviewer's opinion but secondary to the film. --MASEM (t) 05:33, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
...and? No one here is arguing for a change to NFILM to make film reviews unacceptable as secondary sources to demonstrate notability. I'm talking about basing large chunks of articles on topics that are notable on primary sources. The vast, vast majority of film reviews cited on Wikipedia are not cited as secondary sources for information on the films themselves: they are being cited as primary sources for the reviewers' opinions and for the films' overall critical reception. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:43, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Actually, some clarification might be necessary regarding that, too. Many city newspapers make a point of doing at least a basic review of every movie shown in town that week, so there are no mainstream films that will not have numerous reviews written about them. But they're not in-depth coverage. I don't presently see confusion about this on this talk page, but given that people are seriously confused about basic PSTS sourcing, I would not be surprised.
From the standpoint of what qualifies for a good WP article, incorporation of a number of "leading" film review's comments and opinions about a film show that there is indeed secondary sources about the film (via these reviews) and it is essential as a published work to describe some of this reception. The more subtle issue is how one assembles that reception section without introducing unallowed synthesis. Assembling of multiple ideas (primary or secondary) from multiple sources (primary, secondary, tertiary or whatever) is a necessary bit of synthesis for any part of writing WP, not just reception sections. As long as there is a reasonable defined practice for writing film receptions that uses the most respected reviewers and keeps focused on DUE, then there is usually no problem in the weak synthesis needed to provide narrative flow within a reception section from the multiple primary works about the individual reviewers' thoughts. (We don't want to be troweling local paper reviews to find the one that praises the film when everyone else ranted about it, for example, or vice versa). And I do disagree that "The vast, vast majority of film reviews cited on Wikipedia are not cited as secondary sources for information on the films themselves". A very common example is that reviews will praise or pan an actor, director, or some other key personnel relative to either their past works or to the industry as a whole (eg The Dark Knight (film), in discussing Ledger or Nolan's work). Those are clearly incorporating secondary sources about the film (it's transformative information, in this case constructive criticism of the primary source), even though they are primary sources for the reviewers' comments. I think we're getting far too hung up on the nature of "primary" or "secondary" and need to simply keep in mind that reception sections, like any other article topic, film or otherwise, is generated from summarizing and paraphrasing multiple sources, and as such, editors have to be careful of keeping the necessary amount of synthesis needed to summarize (allowed by NOR) to a minimum, follow DUE, and avoid crossing the line into true NOR problems. --MASEM (t) 13:39, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
And I do disagree that "The vast, vast majority of film reviews cited on Wikipedia are not cited as secondary sources for information on the films themselves". A very common example is that reviews will praise or pan an actor, director, or some other key personnel relative to either their past works or to the industry as a whole (eg The Dark Knight (film), in discussing Ledger or Nolan's work). If a reviewer praised or panned an actor, director, or some such, do we cite their opinions on these points as facts in Wikipedia's voice? No: we almost always attribute such opinions inline because the reviews are primary sources for said opinions. We do this in the context of discussing the films' critical reception, for which, yes, individual film reviews are primary sources. The Dark Knight article does not appear to be an exception. I have no idea what you are talking about with Those are clearly incorporating secondary sources about the film (it's transformative information, in this case constructive criticism of the primary source), even though they are primary sources for the reviewers' comments., since it would appear to directly contradict your claim immediately above that we are citing them for their praising or panning some aspect of the film. You say they are secondary sources for the content of the film and primary sources for their own opinion, but you don't back up your claim that any more than a tiny minority of such citations are for the content of the film. Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:54, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Critiquing a specific actor's role, a director's vision, a composer's songs within the context of a film are all content about the film. Yes, as opinions, they must have inline attribution to the reviewer, but when incorporating all this, this is adding to content about the film. If you're talking about the actual plot of the film, and the themes it conveys, that's a totally different matter, as most reviews do not cover the film in that amount of depth to use that. But that's where you start going to film historians and experts that can work that out for us, those are still secondary sources for us. --MASEM (t) 22:28, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
They are not being cited for factual information about actor's roles or director's visions (film reviews hardly ever give that type of information, and they would be unreliable sources for it anyway as they are not subject to fact-checking or significant editorial oversight); they are being cited for their authors' opinions of such. You actually have things the wrong way around -- many reviews will give a brief and largely accurate outline of a film's plot (usually but not always avoiding spoilers, mind you), while not giving independent, factual coverage to behind-the-scenes details. But it's pretty clear I'm not going to convince you of this point. If this comes to an RFC I'll make a statement their summarizing my main points in all the above comments. I'm confident the vast majority of the Wikipedia community would be in basic agreement with me on all of them. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:23, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
You're arguing there are two types of secondary sources for a film, the difference between a review and, say, production details. Both are secondary sources for the film, as they are both transformative of the primary source; a review is going to be based on what a reviewer saw come to the screen, production details are going to be insights of what happened before it got to the screen (and argubly this is closer to primary information, but I consider it secondary for the most part particularly in light of notability concerns). Secondary information is not required to be factual, just transformative that you cannot get by a simple summary of the primary source, the film itself. --MASEM (t) 23:40, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
An opinion can be an interpretation or evaluation, both of which are supported in the definition of a secondary source. Its author has analyzed elements of a primary source, including concepts and ideas, and formed a conclusion on how well those were executed. I guess I'm not understanding why a film review doesn't qualify as a secondary source for that analysis. If opinions weren't allowed, then surely "interpretation" wouldn't exist in the definition. A book review is even listed as an example of a secondary source. --GoneIn60 (talk) 11:01, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
In all the above, I have to concur with Hijiri88, as does pretty much everyone else on WP for the last 16 years; these are basic sourcing principles. It really is alarming how many people don't get it and stubbornly refuse to do so when it comes to writing about fiction.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:44, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid you're simply not correct in your interpretation of how folks have understood secondary sourcing throughout the years. I'm not bothered by this, but confused as to how you haven't understood that others see things differently. I get what you're saying, I disagree, but the only thing that concerns me--no, not even really concerns, just puzzles me--is that you believe you have a longstanding universal consensus behind you. You don't. Most people don't care one way or the other, and some of us who do care, disagree with your interpretation. Jclemens (talk) 00:38, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Thing is, what you have is "me and some other film/fiction editors don't agree with you". What I have is policy agrees with me, and source usage (and rejection of incorrect source usage) on every other topic on the system agrees with me, and even some of the other film/fiction editors agree with me. Any rational outside observer who was not vested and involved in Wikipedia's internal policy wrestling would know which way to bet. The long version of that bet: that some film (and other fiction) editors haven't quite been doing a particular kind of sourcing properly, due to a very slight misunderstanding (due in turn to unclear policy wording, plus the insularity of wikiprojects and their tendency to PoV fork their own WP:PROJPAGE "rules" until the community gets around to correcting them, plus the bad habit of using farcically over-broad language when talking about the subject, e.g. "reviews are secondary sources for films" when the truth is "reviews are sometimes secondary sources for particular facts about films"). The not-quite-right sourcing usually just slides by because the V/NOR/NPOV "enforcers" pay no attention to these articles, most of the facts at issue are pretty trivial, other and better sources are often added later at the articles where the topic is of high notability, and we all have bigger fish to fry on this project, like BLP cleanup and disruptive parties' intensive PoV pushing on socio-political topics.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:48, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
If policy is truly on your side, convince me that I'm wrong, arguing from the text of policy and from that foundation explaining your interpretation thereof. Again, I've been in a thousand (actually, that's probably not an exaggeration) policy disagreements on Wikipedia, and an editor who is so thoroughly wedded to their differing interpretation that they believe everyone else has always agreed with them (well, within reason, obviously. Everyone never agrees upon anything in Wikipedia) is rare indeed. If you went through from the ground up, we might find more commonality then you simply articulating conclusions based on assumptions we don't share. Jclemens (talk) 00:39, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Comment – Is this really being proposed for MOS:FILM? This level of detail would likely result in instruction creep and the discussion might be better suited for WT:NOR or WT:IRS before attempting to make any significant changes here. Besides, the editors watching those talk pages are likely to have a lot more experience dealing with matters like this one (and probably wouldn't favor an extensive interpretation of WP:IRS in a MOS style guideline). Just sayin'. --GoneIn60 (talk) 07:41, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Please read the proposal carefully. It's being proposed as a clarification that will live somewhere (possibly at NOR or RS) and which will have a WP:SUMMARY-style pointer to it from MOSFILM and other fiction-, art-, work-related MOSes, as a reminder. This is why it's not written in film-specific wording. It's being discussed here because this is where people have been discussing it, in a long-running thread immediately above the proposal. We have a good pool of editorial eyeballs on the issue right here, right now, and WP:CONSENSUS can form anywhere. This is also discussion-draft language. It's not like a block of material is going to be inserted into policy without additional discussion and revision. :-) The talk pages of NOR, V, and RS have already been notified of this discussion and asked for input.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:44, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
I was going to try to stay out of this, but I'm with User:Jclemens, User:Masem, User:GoneIn60, and User:Erik on this one. They make the most sense to me. Huggums537 (talk) 22:07, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
@Huggums537: I don't understand: Erik posted in this thread once, 95 minutes after it was opened, while (apart from the above) you posted three times, all after Erik. How is that "staying out of this" but agreeing with Erik? Anyway, you and those agreeing with you that "film reviews are secondary sources, full stop" are in the clear minority here -- virtually everyone on Wikipedia agrees with SMcC (in essentially saying that context matters), and has done so for more than a decade. Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:50, 26 September 2017 (UTC)