Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Film

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Cast names in plot summaries[edit]

Do other editors agree with me that including cast names in plot summaries is unnecessary if the article also has a cast section? It muddies up the prose and it's unnecessary duplication. (I'm angling, of course, for an addition to the manual of style if I can get a consensus...) Popcornduff (talk) 15:08, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

I personally do not include cast names in plot summaries for the reasons you stated, but I can somewhat see a case for doing that. Sometimes it can be overkill, but a limited use may be warranted in some cases. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 16:19, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I think it's useful to include the cast names in the plot summary in some cases. For example, we decided to exclude a cast section in the Under the Skin (2013 film) article because most or all of the characters are nameless, and sometimes we don't even know who played who, so we put the ones we do know in the plot summary instead. Popcornduff (talk) 16:31, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
Personally I prefer them to be used in the plot summary instead of having a cast section, unless the cast section is used for more than just a list of who plays who. GRAPPLE X 16:38, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't object to putting them in the plot summary if the article doesn't have a cast section. It's the duplication that annoys me. Popcornduff (talk) 16:46, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. But to me, it should be summary first, with a cast list only if it serves a greater purpose than just listing actors and roles (see Eraserhead for one which just uses a plot summary with names included, Manhunter for a cast section which actually includes some information beyond names. Without that kind of prose, a cast list is the redundant element, rather than listing names in the plot section. GRAPPLE X 18:43, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
I used to add actors' names in the plot summary, but then someone complained about the redundancy. It made sense to me, so now I don't. When I edit a plot, I usually strip out the actors' names if there's already a cast list. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 02:25, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with NinjaRobotPirate and others who believe cast names in the plot are redundant with the cast section. They also add needlessly to word count, and with a surprising number of movies, that makes a difference in keeping to WP:FILMPLOT length. In some rare cases, as others also pointed out, having a cast section is less useful than incorporating actors' names in the plot when, say, characters themselves are nameless. --Tenebrae (talk) 23:06, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the OP that inline cast names in the plot section are often clunky and redundant; I'm not so sure a prohibition should be added to the manual of style. They're not that intrusive, and if an editor has chosen to locate his or her cast section somewhere other than after the plot section, they can realistically make the argument that readers who want to cross-reference may be put out. If anything, I might be in favour of rewording the MoS to suggest the various options while lightly favouring the alternate ways it can be usefully included or located, e.g. by suggesting relocation, or even elimination in favour of a table within the plot section (though it puts me in a minority, this is my preference; see Tenebrae (film)#Plot or American Beauty (1999 film)#Plot for examples). I guess what I'm saying is I don't think it matters enough to effectively prohibit the inline method, which is only going to annoy everyone when a well-meaning editor a couple of months from now swings the MoS like a club in a whole bunch of articles and we end up revisiting this, only with a bigger cast and a thousand elephants. Steve T • C 19:14, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

Comment: I don't think that cast names should be in the plot section if there is already a cast section; this is per what Tenebrae stated above. I remove them when I see the duplication, since it's completely unnecessary, adds to the word count of the plot section, and causes WP:Overlinking issues. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:22, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

Personally, especially in long plot summaries, I would like to see the character's name blue linked to the actor in the first instance. With my current settings (I don't recall if default), I can mouse-over the blue-link and a tool-tip window popup identifies the name and lede of that page without visiting it. In this manner, I don't have to scroll off page to identify who is playing the character and then relocate where I left off reading. As per WP:Overlinking, it think this would fall under significantly helping the reader, since summaries generally consume a large percentage of the screen -- multiple screens on handhelds. -- Paid Editor -- User:009o9Talk 19:38, 5 December 2015 (UTC) I do like the examples presented above by Steve, but it would probably be a big mess getting an infobox created for combining cast sections with plot summaries. -- Paid Editor -- User:009o9Talk 19:47, 5 December 2015 (UTC)


Ease of use and accessibility trumps duplication avoidance. This isn't a paper encyclopedia, a few more lines won't hurt, if it means the user can click on a relevant link then and there. Of course, I dislike the general WP policy of "only one blue link to each article", and I have many times had to CTRL+F my way to find the one time a subject is linked, wasting a lot of time. I acknowledge not EVERY mention of a subject should be linked, but "significant" mentions should be. An article could be very long, and we should never have to leave the current context just to find something the computer is able to do on the spot.
To answer the question specifically: I favor a plot summary which adds cast names for top billed actors, even when there's a full cast section below. I favor not regulating this and allowing each article to choose what works best for that film. I do favor articles which contain both: both a plot section that is a full synopsis (and not a glorified sales blurb) with convenient actor mentions (to instantly see what parts top billed actors play) as well as cast sections (so we don't have to refer the reader to IMDB "full cast and crew" for a simple cast list).
Regards, CapnZapp (talk) 09:31, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Generally agree with not including cast info in plot summaries. A TV exception would be for actually notable, non-redlink, guest stars in an episode, not mentioned earlier in the article (but that's a MOS:TV matter). For films, it might make sense for the main characters to get cast name-dropping in the plot summary, but I don't do it this way, and I see lots and lots of film plot summaries that do not do this, so it's hardly "standard" WP practice to name-drop the cast in the summary. I don't be the "accessibility" argument (that's generally not what that term means around here) above; it's not like the summary is in some other page from the cast; it's all right there in the same article. By the reasoning that, basically, we can't ever make people scroll, and that everything should always be linked where ever it appears, we'd have to just delete MOS:OVERLINK.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:23, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Proposal to change the wording for Production section Guidelines[edit]

I would like a consensus on my proposal to change wikifilm's Production section guideline to make it more clear what is expected. --Deathawk (talk) 02:37, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Currently there's been a lot of problems in film articles with recentisms as well as proselines. The issue is complicated by, what I feel is currently an innoficiant guidelines in regard to production sections. This makes it hard to clean up these articles as everyone has a different idea about what they should be. I and a couple others have been working over the past month or so on more clear guidelines and now I want to put it forward for a consensus.

When creating a production section it is important to keep in mind both what Wikipedia is and what it is not. Particularly, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. To provide encyclopedic value, information should be put in context to provide a clear narrative that is interesting to the reader while avoiding indiscriminate details. Remember, an encyclopedia article should not be a complete exposition of all possible details, but a summary of accepted knowledge regarding its subject. Context should be provided for information about how it contributes to said narrative. At the same time, be sure to avoid proseline. While general time frames can be useful for context, exact dates are rarely important and similar pieces of information can be bundled together.

I want to give TriiipleThreat credit here as he's the one who actually ended up writing the final draft. --Deathawk (talk) 02:37, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Support. It succinctly addresses current problems and offers guidance on how to avoid them. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 03:13, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Clarify: What specific problems are supposedly solved by this change? Please expand upon "a lot of problems" and examplify problematic recentisms and proselines. What is "an innoficiant guidelines"? CapnZapp (talk) 09:26, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
@CapnZapp: The issue that is solved is that it sets a standard for what to do. There are many articles for films that simply read proseline after proseline A good example is the production section for The current revision of Mike and Dave need Wedding Dates. The problem is when cleaning up these pages you sometimes run in to editors who insists that the info should stay like that and the current manual of style film guidelines hardly give a leg to stand on, As a result I and other editors feel like we are having to walk on eggshells to avoid getting in any type of edit war.
Another immediate effect of this change is that it would be easier to call attention to them for a clean up committee to work on a project level of getting these up to snuff. You are right in observing that what to do is rather open ended. That is because the needs of the production section change based on the film. For instance, with a film like Iron Man, the casting of Robert Downey Jr is an important detail and even when he signed on is somewhat significant, however on a low budget indie comedy adding when an actor joined is more trivial. Therefore it's easier to give a generalized guide rather than going into specifics and then listing twenty exceptions. --Deathawk (talk) 10:36, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Hmmm. I feel the proposed guide feels generalized to the point well beyond where it applies only to the section in question. To me, we should apply the lessons given by the linked policies and offer practical support, rather than expecting each editor to do the same. Instead of "follow WP:AAA and don't do WP:BBB" we should say something like "Summarize the salient points of the film's production in a few short sentences (see WP:AAA for more)", or "work in previous facts into your narrative and think about the importance of any given individual production-related event as per WP:BBB." The difference is (hopefully!) that the advice given is immediately pertinent to the editor's task at hand. Any other voices on this? CapnZapp (talk) 12:49, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Then, as to WP:PROSELINE in particular. To me it feels natural that a Production section will be built up much like a timeline while the project is still in production. Do note that WP:PROSELINE is good at understanding why this takes place, and why editors might not make a better effort. What we should avoid is using WP:PROSELINE to justify quick'n'easy reversion of proseline additions; not only because it is an unofficial essay that can't be used for such purpose, but simply because that is not what the essay is saying. I suggest we accept a bit of proseline, and instead focus on making edits that turn the proseline into better prose. If the problem is editors in good faith reverting these attempts saying "the section is good as it is" then I agree we could increase the visibility of WP:PROSELINE (worded specifically for this purpose). But, and now I speculate, if the problem is editors in good faith objecting to the removal of additions because they happen to exhibit proseline then the problem is something else: that they are right and we are not. We should not revert additions, we should copyedit them into better prose. Then, after the film has had its premiere and the discussion of it (its "reception") has died down, we can prune away by-then trivial factoids, regardless of their stylistic status. Best regards, CapnZapp (talk) 12:49, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
@CapnZapp: While I can see your concern regarding the section on Proselines, I don't think it's advocating what you think it is. We're not saying "Kill all information in Proseline" so much as we're saying evaluate it and see if it fits in to the section. I hesitate to include wording such as "turn all proselines into Prose" because we're dealing with a WP:Noteverything issue too and that turning that from proseline to prose would often result in a production section that ends up saying nothing with a lot of words, if you catch my drift. I do feel we could be more clear on what Proseline means but it's really hard to come enough editors to talk enough to come up with a draft that we all agree on and I feel like we could almost change the wording a little down the line if we needed too, the important is that we all agree on the principal of the piece.
With regards to us pruning articles after the fact, I worry that that's not super effective. For one it creates a massive backlog with several hundred pages we'd have to clean up a year, for another it's not setting a good precedent for the encyclopedia. People often come here searching for information on newly released movies and it's not puting our best foot forward if all we have to give them is an unpruned pile of trivia. In addition I feel weary about having the guidebook to writing film article essentially say "don't worry about. we'll figure it out". --Deathawk (talk) 13:36, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. Let's await more commentators for now. CapnZapp (talk) 15:38, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Need more work: As for the proposed change, I feel generic statements like "what wiki is and is not" isn't actually particularly helpful to an editor at this stage. Meaning, the time is not right for lecturing the editor on sweeping policys; here we're supposed to provide hands-on practical directions specific to how to write the section. In fact, I don't see anything in the proposed addition that is more relevant to the specific section discussed than for all of wikipedia. Am I missing something here? Furthermore, I recommend we avoid "don't make mistakes"-like advice (such as "be sure to avoid proseline") - tell the editor what to do right instead of what not to do wrong. Regards CapnZapp (talk) 09:26, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: I agree with CapnZapp. I believe this doesn't make much progress in clearing up the mess seen in film articles as stated above. Best, FoCuS contribs; talk to me! 10:58, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment I agree with others the phrasing needs further work, and probably needs to be more explicit. I'm not sure that "an encyclopedia article should not be a complete exposition of all possible details, but a summary of accepted knowledge regarding its subject" helps or is clear. I think I understand the intention, from the example (why do we need the exact dates of every actor joining, and why as a list?). I have come across finished articles where that kind of detail was included and wondered why anyone thought it important.
As I said, I'm not sure of the intention of that sentence, but how about 'an encyclopedia article need not include every known fact, but should be a brief, readable summary of relevant information on the subject'. I was summoned by bot, feel free to ping. Pincrete (talk) 21:07, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Needs more work. I can't support anything that advances the made-up, confusing non-word "proseline". That essay needed to be renamed years ago. We already have a WP:CREEP problem, and inserting jargon that isn't even really jargon, just one person's nonce word from their personal idiolect is a step in the wrong direction. The entire thing can be compressed by about 50%, as much of it redundant. Drop the lecturing "Remember, ..." tone. Comma is needed in first sentence between "section" and "it", etc. Just copy-edit this mercilessly. This is also not the place to introduce a new relevance rule; if there is not a pre-existing one to link to in a general policy or guideline, some topical MoS page (that is too over-dominated by a single wikiproject, in a way that even WP:MEDRS isn't dominated by WP:WikiProject Medicine) is not the place for it. If you can't cite site-wide consensus authority for a rule restricting what is editorially permissible in such a broad sense, it shouldn't be in there. All that said, yes, there is the germ of an idea here, and yes we do have actual problems with "production cruft", especially in articles on media franchise productions and other pages that attract the fandom crowd.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:21, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
@SMcCandish:]I'm not trying to push my own personal agenda here. I've spent the last six or so months trying to make sure that there is a general sitewide consensus from Wikipedia users, almost all of them who agree that there is a problem in how we currently deal with these things, even if they aren't sure about a solution. The proposed guidelines, aren't even my own words they were created by TriiipleThreat and these words are mostly harken back to other Wikipedia policies. --Deathawk (talk) 03:32, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
@Deathawk: Perhaps the best way forward would be to present a new draft of your and Triiipletreat's proposed change? Best Regards, CapnZapp (talk) 13:46, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

"Do not add critics' top-ten lists on which a film appears, except on a case-by-case basis subject to consensus."[edit]

Thank you for discussing this (over at Film project) but we need to further improve this language: "Do not add critics' top-ten lists on which a film appears, except on a case-by-case basis subject to consensus." is saying nothing more than "use the consensus-based approach Wikipedia is already using". How do you not add something except on individual articles (case by case) and subject to the input/reverts of other editors (consensus). I do not understand this language - to me it is essentially meaningless.

Could it be that you mean to say that award-winning films do not need top-10 lists, so add them only to films that would otherwise be bereft of accolades? CapnZapp (talk) 08:46, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with adding a summary sentence about top-ten lists if the film appears in a summary list, like Metacritic lists the top 30 films. I think it would be unnecessary to do a summary sentence for the 31st film, based on an editor's manual counting-up of top ten lists. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 13:29, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
The MOS ammendment is intended to prevent the indiscriminate namechecking of individual critic top tens, such as the one at The Martian. In that case Metacritic provide a concise statistical summary, so in the case of The Martian we can simply say that 53 critics named it among their top 10 films if 2015 i.e we don't actually need to reel off the names of all 53 critics. If you are not satisfied with how the instruction is worded then we can certainly discuss further improvements to the wording. Betty Logan (talk) 00:48, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
I would say that we don't need to get into the nuances of what it takes to include a summary. It amounts to two sentences and seems like a reasonable retrospective "cap" to a "Critical reception" section. I guess we can keep it based on a select list. E.g., for films of 2015, we would not do a summary for the 31st film (after the main list of 30 at Metacritic). Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 01:41, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
@Betty Logan and Erik: Thank you. Betty, I understand why we are making the addition. That's not what I'm critizing. I'm critizing the language used, per the above. Any thoughts on my points? And Erik - I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean. Are you responding to me or to somebody else? Regards, CapnZapp (talk) 09:39, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
My impression is that we wouldn't include the actual top-ten list critics at all. The "subject to consensus" phrasing, I thought, was about having a summary of top-ten lists. So what I said above is that I'm fine with having a summary as long as it is part of a key list (e.g., Metacritic's 30 films). Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 12:05, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
Okay, so I gather the "agree by silence" means you feel the language used is functional and doesn't need to be changed. Mkay, dropping the issue. CapnZapp (talk) 11:04, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
  • It should probably distinguish between prestigious organizational and major-publication top-X lists, and individual critics'. No one cares if The Hustler is on the top ten list of American films as ranked by Sam Doe at the Clovis News Journal. If the AFI ranks it that high, that's a different matter.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:29, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Word count[edit]

It says, "Plot summaries for feature films should be between 400 and 700 words." Is there a reason why it gives a (fairly wide) range like that, rather than just saying that the maximum should be 700 words? Is it certain kinds of films that should be 400 words and others longer? --Musdan77 (talk) 19:59, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

It is an arbitrary range that is backed by consensus. That said, most plot summaries constantly push the maximum limit rather than the minimum. There are some summaries out there that are more around 400-500 words than 600-700 words. Plot summaries should be concise enough to give readers a sense of the film so the rest of the article body can be comprehended. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 20:03, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure the range is entirely arbitrary: a single side of A4 will take approximately 700 words in 12 point Times New Roman, so basically the guideline is saying that plot summaries should be between half and one full side of A4, except in cases where exceptions are justified. There is a lower limit to try and encourage summaries more than a couple of sentences long. Betty Logan (talk) 20:16, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Is one A4 page of prose the limit before people are unable to read any further? Sorry, playing devil's advocate here. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 20:22, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
If Harry Potter fans had their way it would take half an hour to read the plot summary, so I think what motivates a sensible limit is the numbers of words that are generally sufficient to summarise most plots, rather than how much people can read. Betty Logan (talk) 21:01, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Not to mention that WP:PLOT endorses a "concise summary" of a given work. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 21:08, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
In addition to the above, one thing I've found as a frequent trimmer of plots is that there's a concise version of a movie plot, and then there's "elevator pitch" of a movie plot which overly simplifies the plot in 50-200 words, and there's usually no "in between" level of summary. Keeping in mind that the reason we include the plot is to help provide context for the rest of the article (particularly one well-developed on casting, production, and other details), overly-simple plots are not helpful as you are usually excluding characters and scenes to get that word savings. Thus, 400 words at a minimum (and I don't consider that a hard minimum, unlike 700 words on the other end) encourages enough concise plot to introduce all major characters and themes that may be overlooked in the elevator pitch-style version. --MASEM (t) 21:28, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Concur that the present wording is fine. While we do frequently have a problem with people wanting to dump 2,000-word fancruft summaries in there, we actually have a much larger number of film stub articles that have one-liner summaries that are not encyclopedically informative. That said, this plot summary length stuff should be centralized at MOS:FICT, given general "rules" for major and minor works, and MOS:FILM using the major one, and referencing the general guideline as the "authority" for the size. Novels, plays, operas, TV series, etc., all need about the same length of summary. A short story, operetta, TV episode, or short film, all need a shorter summary of about the same length as each other.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:34, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic/Review Aggregators Review Summaries[edit]

I have seen many film articles with Critical Review Summaries listing the general critic consensus as "Mostly positive, Mixed to positive, Mixed to negative, Mostly negative, etc.". Now, I know through WP policies that this is to provide "descriptive prose" to the section. But these are generalizations that are prone to bias based on wording. Also they provoke a debate on NPOV and Bias towards the film. Especially for films with a significant fan base. For example, If a film is highly respectable but I didn't quite enjoy it. I could word it as "Reviews were mostly positive and some mixed". Since there are always critics that disagree with a film due to their subjective nature, that example could never be wrong. Or if Rotten Tomatoes has a not so favorable general consensus, but Metacritic has a more positive one, the editor has the option to choose which fit their stance on the film. Maybe Film aggregator scores in these sections should just be the scores and not have a general summary of reviews to avoid this altogether? DrkBlueXG (talk) 20:16, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

I don't see a problem with stating the consensus as long as it's made clear that the consensus is coming from the aggregator, though it could probably be argued that how they choose to describe the score is trivial relative to the score itself. DonIago (talk) 20:42, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
Stating the aggregator summary (where it is clearly attributed to the aggregator) is one thing, but it is not acceptable for editors to extrapolate RT and Metacritic scores for a specific set of reviews to an overall critical consensus per WP:AGG, as we often see with the section lead-ins. At the end of the day the aggregators only speak for the data they are surveying; as we so often see with RT and MC, they employ different methodologies and different data sets and can arrive at different conclusions. If RT and Metacritic both arrive at similar conclusions i.e. positive/negative (which is usually the case with a very well received film or a very poor one) then I suppose we can take that as a consensus of sorts, but if they arrive at different conclusions then editors should not WP:CHERRYPICK (choose the conclusion they favor) and they should not WP:EDITORIALIZE (i.e. the abominable "mixed to positive" or "overwhelmingly positive" or "acclaimed" etc). If critical summaries are to be included then they should be clearly attribiuted to a source (see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey#Critical response for an example). Betty Logan (talk) 20:56, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
^^What she said. When there is an issue like the example Betty eloquently laid out, then it's usually best to steer clear of any kind of generalization and just let the numbers speak for themselves. If there is a disagreement on when to do so, then a discussion on the article's talk page can usually lay the debate to rest. Keep in mind as well that RT doesn't quantify the amount of mixed or negative reviews; its label of "fresh" translates to positive, but the opposite doesn't necessarily translate to negative. Often, editors see a low score being the equivalent of "negative", but attempting to summarize it as such will often lead to bickering on the talk page. --GoneIn60 (talk) 06:48, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────What Wikipedia needs is to codify a way to present a movie's reception,

  • without using aggregator adjectives (they tend to be fairly meaningless and bland, since they a) average everything out, and b) are weak on weeding out sources with a tendency to sell movies rather than to review them). We should especially ban "the flick was met with mixed reception" as that tells the reader NOTHING. (In a few cases, the film was genuinely met with both good and bad criticism, and in those cases contributor consensus should and will find individual reviews to allow the reader to form this impression him- or herself; but this aggregator adjective more often signifies that the movie stinks; but of course there's always a fanboy (or film producer) to "mix" the reception.)
  • but still in a way that eliminiates user bias (since this is definitely one of the Wikipedia areas with significant championing)

Our best film articles use a selection of individual review quotes to send across distinct and clear messages such as "most reviews love this film" or "they all hated it", rather than relying on wishywashing aggregator summaries. Since "all" in "they all" always has exceptions, it's best to let consensus agree when exceptions are just that; when these exceptions are to be left without mention.

And that was me talking CapnZapp (talk) 11:01, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

I agree with Betty, GoneIn60, and CapnZapp. It may seem "easy" to say that a film got positive reviews if both RT and MC have scores in the 90th percentile. It is messier when the scores are more middling or in conflict with each other. In addition, there is a certain obsession among some editors that it must be stated if reviews were negative, mixed, positive, or a mix of these. Sometimes I add a reliably sourced statement about how critics perceived a film without any of these keywords, and such statements are often watered down to just the keywords. It's worth noting that MOS:FILM#Critical response does advocate for sourced statements and to use RT and MC for their statistics. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 12:20, 30 March 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate everybody's comments and I agree with all the points presented. Just to avoid any confusion though, I don't bring this topic up to dispute any particular article. I just think there could be a less disruptive and more unified way to present the material that eliminates any potential bias from editors. And unfortunately, currently, the only way around that it to present only the actual scores and not the summaries along with it. DrkBlueXG (talk) 15:59, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, no, that's not my opinion (if you meant me). My opinion is that aggregator data is nearly worthless for summarizing a film's reception, whether that data is reported as a number or an adjective. If anything, numbers are worse, since they convey accuracy and objectivity (which is why I guess the adjectives were invented). I suggest we recommend against using aggregators unless consensus agrees they add valuable info to a movie's reception section; which I suggest generally only happen in the rare cases the aggregators agree a film is really bad or really good. For perhaps 80% of movies, aggregators can only obscure personal reviews - they're used by editors to "say" that a film isn't really that bad, or isn't really that good. Or worse, to provide a source to essentially the claim "There was a movie. People had opinions", which is what "mixed reception" nearly always comes down to, and not "few people though it to be really bad or really good" or "the reception was really mixed; many people hated it while others loved it". Or even worse, when critics and audiences hated a movie, but a vocal fan base or a concerted ad campaign still pushes aggregator up into the "mixed response" category; which allows editors to "hide" the real opinions which would have shone through if we instead picked a few individual reviewers (and did not allow editors to point to the aggregator data to argue any such selection is biased: "look, the reception is mixed because MetaTomato says so, we need to balanced all the bad reviews with some good ones, or at the very least remove the bad ones and just report the aggregator scores".)
TL;DR: Our policy should encourage people to write reception sections that rely on individual reviews, and it should preferably discuss how aggregator data is statistics rather than objective data, and however briefly point out how easy it is to misuse statistics to distort data. Cheers, CapnZapp (talk) 10:59, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
I'll chime in with general agreement with the direction of this thread, though I don't have anything concrete to add at present. I, too, have long thought that there was both a lot of PoV pushing in this kind of assessment, and too often a useless statement of that reviews were mixed; they always are.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:24, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

Betty described it well, we agree that "mixed to positive" and "mixed to negative" are unacceptable equivocating nonsense. I don't have a problem with most films being described as having a mixed response because that is an accurate assessment of most films. I'm okay with mixed, positive and negative, with mixed being the big central half of a bell curve, with very rare cases of "critical acclaim" or "panned" for maybe a a few percent at the very top and very bottom and even then only when that is paraphrasing multiple sources. -- (talk) 21:45, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Moving info out of the Box office section to other sections[edit]

I recently made some changes to the MOS to move info listed as appropriate in the Box office section to more appropriate sections. This was "the number of theaters the film was released into" and "audience demographics". The former is not box office information; it is release info. It should be placed in the release section of the page, and that is where I moved it to in the MOS. The latter, I moved to the "Audience reception" part of the MOS, because that should be listed with the CinemaScore information if that exists. That is more critical reception than box office, but regardless, that wording should be in this section of the MOS. Flyer22 Reborn undid my edit saying they were open to discussing, as well as saying how users such as Erik prefer including this info in the box office section. I'd like to see what others think, because this data to me (especially the number of theaters a film released into) is not box office info (or should be considered box office info first). - Favre1fan93 (talk) 18:51, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

It really depends on how you are using the information. If it has been released into a record number of theaters—and that is the main purpose of introducing the information—I would put that in the "release" section, but if we are using it to contextualise box office i.e. highest-grossing per theater film, then it might make more sense to have that information in the box office section. As for audience demographics you can make the case for either: for instance, it probably makes sense to put something like the number of admissions alongside box office totals, whereas some editors may want to put the Cinemascore metrics in with the critical reception, and it may be even more appropriate to discuss gender/age breakdowns in the "release" section. Guidelines should prescribe content and structure but we should stop short of telling editors how to actually write articles. If the audience demographics would be better placed in one section over another then the guidelines should grant editors the autonomy to make those calls. Betty Logan (talk) 19:22, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Favre1fan93, I would state more, but Betty summed up my thoughts on this. Like I noted when reverting you, though, I prefer that the CinemaScore material go in the Critical response section. If there is an Audience response section, I would prefer it go there instead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 04:41, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

It isn't as simple as all that. The problem is most articles aren't long enough for a release section and that information is usually non-notable except in the context of the Box office figures. I'd prefer to see that information blended into the Box Office section than left out entirely, and more often than not that demographic information comes from Box Office Mojo articles or other articles discussing the box office totals (and there is no way of knowing where Box Office Mojo got their demographic information from). When the demographic information is coming from Cinemascore anyway keep it with Cinemascore information, but because those polls are only opening weekend polls and Cinemascore if doesn't track the demographics for other weeks. -- (talk) 21:51, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

WP:FILMLEAD tweak[edit]

I'd like to propose a minor tweak to WP:FILMLEAD to include a brief note on how to treat language information in the lead. In Indian cinema, films are produced in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, and numerous other languages and dozens of articles on these films are being created every day. Language is a crucial piece of information and the change I'm proposing is maybe best illustrated in a before/after, with new text in green.

The lead section should introduce the film and provide a summary of the most important aspects of the film from the article body. At minimum, the opening sentence should identify the title of the film, the year of its public release, and the primary genre or sub-genre under which it is verifiably classified. For presentation of foreign-language titles, see the naming conventions for foreign-language films.
The lead section should introduce the film and provide a summary of the most important aspects of the film from the article body. At minimum, the opening sentence should identify the title of the film, the year of its public release, and the primary genre or sub-genre under which it is verifiably classified. If the film was produced in a language other than English, that should be noted. Ex: "Drishyam (English: Visual) is a 2013 Indian Malayalam-language thriller film." For presentation of foreign-language titles, see the naming conventions for foreign-language films.

The addition would be useful to unify articles about non-English films and to reduce ethnic warring. As odd as that sounds, a film like Baahubali: The Beginning was produced by a company from the Telugu film industry, but was filmed simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil (perhaps to avoid entertainment taxes in Tamil-speaking regions). There were numerous contentious arguments about which ethnic film industry owns the film, rather than the relatively uncontroversial focus of what language it was filmed in. Huge difference. Similarly, it's very common for people to forget to include a country at all, focusing instead on the ethnic industry. This doesn't result in strong articles and codifying this would make it easier to manage the confusion. I'm curious if anyone would have any thoughts about whether to link to the language Malayalam or to Malayalam cinema, since that seems to be an area of confusion as well. To me, the former seems most logical, as we are describing a language. Thanks, Cyphoidbomb (talk) 16:22, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Your proposal seems mostly reasonable, but we only need to do this for countries that have different languages. For example, we don't need to say that "Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a French-language French film", for instance. Betty Logan (talk) 13:52, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Hi Betty, thanks for your feedback. You make a valid point. I'm cool with some clarification. Any thoughts on wording? If the film was produced in a language other than English, or in a nation like India, where multiple languages are prolific...? (That's really clunky, I know, but I'm hungry and not thinking straight.) We can assume that a French film is made in French, we can even assume that an American film is made in English (even though the US doesn't have an official language). India's lingua franca is Hindi, but it wouldn't be smart to leave out the language... I need food. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 01:28, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
I suppose we could state something along the lines of "The language should also be included if it cannot be reasonably inferred from the nationality of the film". That would cover India, but also a place like Wales which has two official languages (English & Welsh) and should probably be clarified. Betty Logan (talk) 14:09, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
What about an English-language film made in Spain? I've seen people label that. It doesn't bother me, but I don't recall ever doing that myself. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 22:22, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
I would have no problem with noting an "English-language" Spanish film, since it is a counter-intuitive scenario. Whether it is worth mentioning is a matter of editorial discretion I guess, but I am not opposed to it. Perhaps we can relax the proposal slightly: "The language may also be included if it cannot be reasonably inferred from the nationality of the film". Betty Logan (talk) 23:47, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
NinjaRobotPirate, Betty Logan: All good points. Maybe something like:
It is beneficial to note the language or languages a film was produced in (ex: "Drishyam (English: Visual) is a 2013 Indian Malayalam-language thriller film.") If a nation's common language is reasonably inferred, (ex: France, England, Mexico, United States, etc.) this detail may be omitted to avoid awkward phrasing such as "Open Your Eyes is a 1997 Spanish Spanish-language film." or to keep the lead concise.
Thoughts? I'm not 100% confident about the last part. I was thinking of additional text to address Betty's note, like, "For instance, "American English-language film" is probably unnecessary, but for a nation like Wales, where Welsh and English are both common, clarification might be necessary." But it occurred to me that this might contradict the text about awkward phrasing, since " a 1997 Welsh Welsh-language film" might look odd. Sorry I fell away from this discussion, by the way. Cyphoidbomb (talk) 04:07, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
One possibility is to give a brief overview and then use the standardized "example text" templates ({{xt}} and {{!xt}}). So, maybe something like:
If a film's language is not obvious from context or the country of origin has multiple official languages, it may be useful to state the language in the opening sentence.
  • Drishyam (English: Visual) is a 2013 Indian Malayalam-language thriller film. India has several official languages, and it is helpful to distinguish between them.
  • Buried is a 2010 Spanish English-language thriller-horror film. An English-language film made in Spain is counter-intuitive, so editors may wish to highlight the language.
  • The Terminator is a 1984 American English-language action film." It can be reasonably inferred that this is an English-language film. The same is true of a French-language film from France, for example.
Just an idea. I think anything suggested so far is fine. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 06:13, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
I think you've nailed it. Betty Logan (talk) 06:18, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
I like it, NRP. I suppose I'll invite some opinions over at the main talk page to see if anyone wants to poke holes in it. Thanks to you both! Face-smile.svg Cyphoidbomb (talk) 04:15, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

The main issue that is have with this that it becomes part of a guideline, which in practice means its mandatory, which I really really dislike. There are many different ways to phrase that information and we have no business in micromanaging our authors in how to phrase such information. Even more there are complex cases where you can't simply assess an single language that easily. In some international productions people talk in different languages on set and gets synchronzed afterwords (possibly in several languages), some movies use a variety of languages in the final product by design. Also in many cases a default language is usually implied unless otherwise noted, in such cases speaking of "x language film" is redundant from an information perspective and imho awkward from a language and style perspective. By the way already the lead suggestion is imho problematic. Instead of demanding that information in the lead, it requires it to cramp it all in the opening sentence, which imho questionable micromanaging as well.--Kmhkmh (talk) 20:55, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

The MOS is a guideline, not a policy, so it implicitly accepts there are always exceptions to the rule i.e. guidelines are built around the general case. Basically the purpose of a guideline is to say "It's good practice to do this, unless there is a good reason not to". A reader should be able to glean all the essential information about the film from just the lead i.e. the year, the nationality, the genre, the director, the stars, the basic premise of the film, its commercial and critical reception, any major awards etc, and I would also include the native language among that essential information. If there are several synchronized versions then that is a mitigating reason for not including the language in the opening sentence and putting it elsewhere in the lead. Betty Logan (talk) 00:11, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I didn't say it is policy (read again) and a guideline is much more than a mere recommendation (unless the guidelines explicitly states it as a mere recommendation).
My issue is not with the information in the lead, but with it being in the opening sentence and with "standard phrases".--Kmhkmh (talk) 00:19, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
You said it was mandatory which guidelines are not, because only policies are mandatory. A good example of this is the plot length: most film plots are capped at 700 words, but that is not a mandatory limit: if the complexity of the film's plot necessitates a longer length then that is permitted as an editorial prerogative. What is being is being suggested here is that if the language of the film is not clear then it is recommended to include it along with the country. I don't particularly care if it goes in the first sentence (although along with the country in the first sentence is the most sensible place to stick it), the second, or at some other sensible place in the lead, but it's perfectly reasonable to include the language in the lead since it is information that most readers would probably consider important. Also, nobody is insisting on any particular phrasing: NinjaRobotPirate has just given some sensible examples of how to approach the issue. Betty Logan (talk) 02:04, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I said it is mandatory "in practice", which it is more or less.--Kmhkmh (talk) 02:20, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, ok, we're going off at a tangent here so let's take another tack: do you agree or disagree with the premise of this discussion that it would be beneficial to readers to include the film's language in the lead, if not obvious by its stated origin? If you do agree how would you like to see this incorporated into the guideline? Betty Logan (talk) 02:25, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm fine with simply stating that the language of the film if not obvious from the context should be stated in the lead (but not necessarily the opening sentnce).--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:48, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Side comment: "Drishyam (English: Visual) ..." is improper style. If the film was released under an English titles (or RS regular refer to it with one), treat it as a title, e.g. a lead start of "Dryshyam (English: Visual) ...". If it's just an English gloss of the title, treat it as one per MOS:STRAIGHT: "Dryshyam (English: 'Visual') ..."  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:17, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Average Rotten Tomatoes scores[edit]

Opencooper and I recently had a disagreement on the article for Her. I argued for describing the film's average rating on Rotten Tomatoes as "8.5/10" with a slash, since that's how it's put on RT and on most other film articles on Wikipedia. Opencooper preferred to describe it as "8.5 out of 10," saying using words would be "more encyclopedic" than a slash.

Please visit the talk page to see our full discussion, but long story short, I think there needs to be a consensus on whether words or a slash should be used on Wikipedia. (talk) 18:43, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

I've weighed in at that talk page discussion agreeing that the slash is informal and unnecessary, and here are my thoughts about specifying this concern in the MOS. If there's evidence that removing the slash is being met with widespread pushback, then perhaps it would be justified to make a change to the MOS and recommend that the informal slash be avoided. It's a very minor formatting concern, so a proactive change to the MOS could be seen as unnecessary and unwarranted, and possibly even a form of instruction creep. I would support a change, however, as I suspect this will cause quite a few knee-jerk reversions by other editors who, like you, initially claim this has been a long-term standard in other articles (along the lines of WP:OSE). --GoneIn60 (talk) 21:37, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Actually I'd see it as instruction creep. One reason so few people actually look at our guidelines is become they've become way too big.--Kmhkmh (talk) 22:05, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, definitely something to consider, no doubt. It would be a very minor addition in this situation, but I can empathize with that viewpoint for sure. --GoneIn60 (talk) 22:30, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Why would resistance to removing the slash indicate the need to change the MOS? Wouldn't that indicate that the slash is the more popular option by consensus? (talk) 04:18, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
The point of the discussion here is to see if there's consensus to add it to the MOS. What may or may not happen within individual articles is just speculation at this point. Consensus here or at WT:FILM should be sought before widespread removal, and if no consensus is determined at either location, then whether or not to remove the slash would be left up to localized consensus at each individual article. It would be nice to figure it out one way or another at the higher level to keep things consistent. Otherwise, one-offs like what happened at Her (film) will keep happening. --GoneIn60 (talk) 07:00, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
It's also worth noting that MOS:SLASH permits the use of an unspaced slash to express a ratio. In light of that, I seriously doubt there's going to be a lot of interest to ban it from film articles. I'll mention this at that talk page discussion as well. --GoneIn60 (talk) 07:14, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Generally speaking I'd say both option are fine and widespread enough outside of wikipedia to be easily understood. We do however (like in real life) have the unfortunate tendency to "legislate" all our style and format dispute, which one hand provides some clarity but one the other creates a bit of bureacratic/sclerotic mess and unhandy reading material. As a rule of thumb I'd recommend the "smart gives in"-approach, that is if there are two valid versions and you have to deal with somebody insisting on changing it to a particular one, then in doubt let him. Your time is spend much more productive elsewhere than in a format dispute that does about nothing as far as improving the article is concerned, no matter who wins that dispute. Another thing is that out of respect for the work of others it might be a good idea to leave the decisions to those editors who are the primary content providers of the article in question. Overwriting them against their explicit opinion is - absent of any gross policy and guideline violation - usually a bad idea and recipe for driving contributors away.--Kmhkmh (talk) 08:52, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree. I appreciate that this is expressed as a potential concern, but I think either version is fine and that this would distract from time that could be spent on more significant matters. Cheers. DonIago (talk) 13:10, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I also agree. I've left my final thoughts at the article's talk page and will be moving on at this point. --GoneIn60 (talk) 21:09, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Clarify genre guidance[edit]

There has been a substantial increase in genre warring in recent months so some film project members would like to add clarification to WP:FILMLEAD. Where it states "At minimum, the opening sentence should identify the title of the film, the year of its public release, and the primary genre or sub-genre under which it is verifiably classified" it is proposed that an extra sentence is added to this to reconcile it with existing policies: At minimum, the opening sentence should identify the title of the film, the year of its public release, and the primary genre or sub-genre under which it is verifiably classified. Genre classifications need to comply with WP:WEIGHT and therefore should be representative of the majority of the sources that are regularly used to source film articles.

The intention of the revision is not to change the application of the guideline, but to reduce misinterpretation. The genre classifications should be representive of the sources i.e. editors should not be cherry-picking sources in order to add their preferred genres. The guideline as it stands should be applied in conjunction with WP:WEIGHT, but it would help to explicitly incorporate the WP:WEIGHT policy into the guideline so it is clear that this isn't just a case of sourcing, but also representation.

If anyone thinks they can improve on the wording feel free to propose alternatives Betty Logan (talk) 09:04, 29 July 2016 (UTC)


  • Support. Most of the problems come from genre warriors trying to put in their preferred sub-genres, usually from cherry-picked sources. When disputes arise, we should be able to point to the MoS and emphasize WP:WEIGHT. - Gothicfilm (talk) 09:44, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support – Per Gothicfilm and nom, though I recommend shortening it a bit. Here's one idea: "Genre classifications should comply with WP:WEIGHT and represent what is specified by a majority of reliable sources". Not a deal-breaker if we keep it the same as nominated, but I thought I'd throw this out there. --GoneIn60 (talk) 13:31, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm happy to go with the shorter version, although I think we should stipulate "a majority of mainstream reliable sources". Part of the problem is editors digging up horror fanzines or niche sci-fi websites etc which will often claim films where horror or sci-fi is only a secondary genre. We want classifications to represent the mainstream view. Betty Logan (talk) 22:45, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Ah yes, I didn't think of that angle. Adding "mainstream" would likely be a good workaround. --GoneIn60 (talk) 17:00, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support the clarification per nom and Gothicfilm and support the wording proposed by GoneIn60. I think GoneIn60's version is more concise yet still states the point Betty was saying. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 18:57, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Makes sense - good call. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 19:00, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support - Though, questions...are we saying that a citation should be explicitly provided to demonstrate that the film has been "verifiably classified" as whichever genre? Should we provide guidance as to how disputes about genre should be handled (my personal favorite would be as soon as it's contested, remove genres pending a consensus)? DonIago (talk) 20:31, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Under WP:BRD, we should restore a disputed article to its pre-dispute condition. As to your first question, no one source will give WP:WEIGHT, so I would say no. When there's a dispute, someone should give a tally of the various sources on the Talk page. Betty has shown a talent for this, but others can do it as well. As to GoneIn60's wording, if others prefer it I'll go along, but let me point out a majority of sources don't really specify - we have to give a representation of the majority of the sources that are regularly used to source film articles. We should discourage using less-used sources. - Gothicfilm (talk) 22:31, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Betty's suggestion above to add "mainstream" might fix that glitch. Good point though. --GoneIn60 (talk) 17:00, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:17, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. - I'd prefer the original wording since, to concur with Betty Logan, I believe fannish editors will go to horror niche sites and the like and just edit-war with that additional ammunition. --Tenebrae (talk) 13:37, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support, but... I wonder if "representative of the majority of the sources that are regularly used to source film articles" wouldn't be better replaced with "representative of the way the film is generally described in {del>the reliable sources like the ones cited in the body of the article". My reasoning is that "sources that are regularly used to source film articles" is incredibly vague and broad. While I understand that the majority of the recent genre-warring is probably centered around recent large Hollywood films and these articles generally have a certain type of source that is used, this is not the case for old films, foreign films, films widely studied and discussed in academic circles, etc. I am also not a fan of using the word "source" as both a noun and a verb in the same clause. Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:33, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
A lot of the edit warring was over older films, and there are no problems finding regular sources for them. We want the WP:WEIGHT of regularly used sources, not just the ones that happen to be cited on a certain page. No page uses all of them. And an edit warrior could change or add their preferred source. - Gothicfilm (talk) 03:30, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
@Gothicfilm: I know there are no problems finding regular sources for articles on older films. The problem is precisely because there are regular sources; with regular sources, "the majority of the sources that are regularly used to source film articles" is impossible to quantify, unless what is meant is "the kind of Hollywood trade publications and reviews by professional film critics that are typically the best sources available for new films that are not yet being discussed in scholarly literature". However, with older films that are discussed in scholarly literature, there are no "sources that are regularly used" to source them (or at least there shouldn't be). As for your concerns that my wording limits it to the sources cited in any one particular article, thank you for pointing that out. I did not notice this potential misunderstanding, and have altered my proposal accordingly. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:48, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
It seems to me you're going into detail not normally seen on guidance pages, and I don't see a problem with sources for older films. Sometimes things have to be worked out on a case-by-case basis. No progress here for five days, but everyone supported the proposal in some form. We should finalize the wording. I still believe Betty's original text works best, and most people supported it. - Gothicfilm (talk) 01:42, 8 August 2016 (UTC)


Everybody seems to be in agreement with the general sentiment i.e. Wikipedia should present the general view as presented in mainstream sources (i..e authoritative/general film interest rather than fanzine/blog-ish/special genre interest). Some alternative wordings have been presented but I have decided to install my revision of GoneIn60's: Genre classifications should comply with WP:WEIGHT and represent what is specified by a majority of mainstream reliable sources. It is basic, concise and clear and I think will move the guideline closer to what we want. I have rejected my original wording because it occurs to me that a casual editor might not be familiar with the sources "regularly" used in film articles. Similarly, I think Hijiri 88's suggestion could run into problems if you are using niche sources to source an article. If a debate emerges down the line about what constitutes a "mainstream" source (both Hijiri 88 and I have attempted this and have come up with very different ways of saying the exact same thing) then we can attempt to define what we mean by "mainstream", but I don't think we should tighten the screws unless we need to. I don't see the point in waiting another week, so I am just going to install the new wording. If it is unacceptable or you don't think it reflects the general consensus of the discussion then feel free to revert and we'll take it from there. Betty Logan (talk) 11:01, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

Looks good, reflects the general consensus and is consistent with the rest of the guideline. That should get the job done. - Gothicfilm (talk) 21:54, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

Applicability to "Foo in other media" sections of articles on fictional characters[edit]

A bunch of "interpretations in the form of labels" have been removed from articles on comic book characters as "blatant violations" of WP:ANTAGONIST, but the violations don't seem all that blatant to me, as the wording of WP:ANTAGONIST appears to refer primarily, or even exclusively, to (plot summary sections in) articles on films, not independent articles on the characters. Does anyone know when, why and by whom the current wording was written, and whether this edit summary is a fair interpretation of the guideline? Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:25, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Back in 2013, in a dispute at the Light Yagami article, I noticed that WP:ANTAGONIST was being used broadly. I don't have an issue with "main antagonist" and similar when it's well-supported by the literature on the character, and I have questioned WP:ANTAGONIST being used so broadly. Darkknight2149, since you are shown in the above link, any opinions on this? Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:07, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
This, this and this edit show what I mean regarding the Light Yagami article. Those last two edits were made by Vashti. And the article currently says "protagonist." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 23:18, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Hmm... if it's stuff like that that was the reason for the current wording of the guideline, then I think the guideline kind of missed the point, because the problem with the Light Yagami article is people thinking the word 'protagonist' means 'good guy' and 'antagonist' means 'bad guy', and inserting their own subjective interpretations and moral judgements into articles. This is covered under WP:NOR, so this guideline should be subordinate to NOR and simply summarize what it says on the matter; it should not be providing an overly elaborate interpretation of how said policy applies to articles peripherally related to film casts. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:02, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment I question whether MOS:FILM even applies to articles such as General Zod and Light Yagami since WP:FILM does not register an interest on the talk pages. Putting aside the technicality MOS:FILM is against OR labelling, not against specific terms. A character like Batman may be a protagonist, but isn't he also an antagonist too? And considering he is a vigilante who operates outside the law then labels such as "hero" and "villain" are subjective. I don't think MOS:FILM words this effectively (because it does indeed look like it is forbidding legitimate analytical terms) but I think the point is that we shouldn't be labelling someone an antagonist/villain etc unless the term is qualified i.e. it is used analytically rather than descriptively. Betty Logan (talk) 02:32, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

My stance on audience/critic scoring system[edit]

I think the current system is flawed because it limits the opinions to those of professional critics, and, people who saw the film on opening night. I think it would be more reliable if we were allowed to use audience scores from Imdb, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, etc. While it is true that these scores can be subject to vote stacking and demographic skew, the same can be said of Cinemascore, and the sort. I think Cinemascore is even more prone to demographic skew, since most people seeing the film on opening night fall under the film's target demographic. Rickraptor707 (talk) 05:53, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

I think that's a bad idea. Just look at the Ghostbusters IMDB user score breakdown to see how much a poll without controlled sampling can be abused. Also, you can see that something like the IMDB score is far more skewed towards male voters (there are three times more male voters than female voters in the case of Ghostbusters) and I have had a hard time believing Cinemascore would be that biased. Cinemascore will have bias, but that bias will be intrinsically part of the audience demographic, where as IMDB's bias reflects the internet demographic i.e. youngish males. Betty Logan (talk) 12:33, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Betty that controlled sampling is needed. That is why CinemaScore is okay even though the opening weekend audience may skew toward those who want to see the film most. It's definitely skewed toward political documentaries. I think box office performance is another acceptable metric to use. Second weekend in box office performance is something that is looked at. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 14:15, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, yes there appear to be fewer guys voting on Imdb, but, it isn't necessarily guaranteed to be an equally mixed crowd. This applies to both the professional critics, and Cinemascore. I don't see how that makes Imdb, and the sort more biased, just because they're open to the general public.

Rickraptor707 (talk) 05:27, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

Well the main argument for professional critics is not being unbiased but their traditionally greater cloud/influence in perception of a movie. The problem with audience opinions is that we don't seem to have any good assessment and the available approaches all have drawbacks and expecting a "true" unbiased representation of the audience is a misleading notion due not being available. It might be better to simply include various metrics and point out their caveats.
You probably could make an argument for imdb and rotten tomatoes audience scores, that is somewhat similar to the inclusion of critics. They can be included not for being an objective assessment but for their influence as it stand to reason that probably more people use IMDB oder RT audiences scores as orientation than professional critics.
I don't quite believe the "youngish male" bias of the internet that was referenced above, that is (pc b based) internet the of 10-15 years ago. Not the mobile and every day internet we have today. There might be "young (?) male" bias on the IMDB nevertheless, but it isn't based on any (non existant) young male bias of the current internet.--Kmhkmh (talk) 10:31, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

When it comes to the Database, the genders and ages of the registered users are also given in the voter demographics for any given film. In the case of Ghostbusters (2016), from what I can see on the chart,:

  • 35431 male voters and 12751 female voters.
  • 670 voters under 18. 463 of them are males, 198 are females.
  • 17569 voters between 18 and 29 years-old. 12243 are males, 5121 are females.
  • 19510 voters between 30 and 44 years-old. 15346 are males, 3884 are females.
  • 4116 voters over 45. 3121 are males, 926 are females.

Not that young men perhaps, but female voters are actually under-represented in this poll.

While I would not actually mind including the Database's ratings of various films and while I have been one of its registered users for over a decade, I tend to take most of its ratings with a grain of salt. Ghostbusters (1984) with all its fame and popularity gets a score of 7.8, the groundbreaking serial killer film Psycho (1960) gets 8.5, the groundbreaking science fiction film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) gets 8.7, Schindler's List (1993) and Pulp Fiction (1994) get 8.9, and the Top 250 list of the Database is headed by The Godfather (1972) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994) which each get 9.2. It is nearly impossible for most films to get a rating of at least 9. If I actually believed all the ratings were accurate, I would believe that more than a century of cinema has managed to produce only a few great films. I frankly doubt this is true for an art that keeps fascinating so many people. In the Internet negativity rules. Dimadick (talk) 22:14, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

Speaking of the demographics, here's a decent article that provides some insight into gender-based skew, as well as some general thoughts on the value these ratings provide:
‘Ghostbusters’ Is A Perfect Example Of How Internet Movie Ratings Are Broken – FiveThirtyEight
Clearly, men tend to pummel the ratings of films with female-centric plot themes. As we see from Dimadick's post, men are outnumbering women practially 3 to 1. It's hard to put a lot of faith into those numbers. Also, I find it interesting that in the case of the new Ghostbusters film, there were over 12,000 votes submitted before the movie was even released! These are just some of the issues surrounding the inclusion of audience scores from non-scientific online polls, and we're just scratching the surface! It's get uglier the further you dig. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:54, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Well you can game such voting systems via bots/ai and "fanboys" to a degree and some movies are leaked early, those aspects might explain those votes before publication.
As far as the ratio 3:1 and bias is concerned, this primarily only an issue if you expect the index to be representive for the population at large, which imho is an unreasonable expectation to begin with. Hence I see less of a problem here. As I said above the main argument for the inclusion of popular indices is their influence not their lack of bias (the same reason we include critics).--Kmhkmh (talk) 10:03, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
While I found the article on Internet Movie Ratings quite informative, there was one paragraph that might require further analysis. "Essentially, male users were more likely to rate television shows with a female-heavy audience lower than female users would rate male-centric television lower. Men were tanking the ratings of shows aimed at women."
The writer is speaking about television shows, not films. In this case, who is determining if the show is mainly aimed at a female audience, male audience, or both? I was under the impression that most shows try to appeal to the wider possible demographic (in order to get ratings) and do not have a specific gender as a target. Dimadick (talk) 12:22, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
I just found the article to be an interesting read that, like I said, is only scratching the surface. It's not meant to be a conclusive piece that we can base any real decision off of in this discussion. I think one of the takeaway points neither of you brought up, however, was the wide variance of results from site to site. Fandango audience scores skew the highest (much higher in fact) compared to the other sites for the same 146 films surveyed. But even between MC and RT user scores, there is a clear difference in the results. Notice the sharp peaks for user scores overall as opposed to a more distributed curve for critic scores. RT user scores are probably the most acceptable based on this data, but I still question the "value" of including audience scores in general, especially when there appears to be little variance from film to film within a given site (RT being the exception). --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:02, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
What do you mean by little variance? IMDB user scores tend to differ up to 8 points (out of 10).--Kmhkmh (talk) 14:07, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm referring to the normalized ratings in that chart. The tall, single peaks we see at IMDB, MC, and Fandango indicate that there is little variance in the "overall" rating for each film. For any given film at those sites, we can expect the rating to settle into a smaller range of values (at IMDB, this range is between 2.7 and 4.2 for the vast majority), as opposed to a much wider range in most professional critic and RT user scores (1.5 to 4.5) in which there are also multiple peaks. I'm just eyeballing numbers here, so let's not get caught up on exact measurements. The point is that this discrepancy is noticeably visible. --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:29, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
I see, actually i didn't look at the article before. One question what exactly the "normalisation" contains. Also i don't quite see why several peaks or greater variance is necessarily "better".--Kmhkmh (talk) 20:46, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Normalization in this case is the process of taking measurements of different scales and combining them into one common scale. Since each site varies a bit (1 thru 10, 1 thru 5, etc.), it's easier to make the adjustment through normalization so they can be compared in one easy-to-read chart. As for "greater variance", having multiple peaks and a wider range is what you'd expect to happen as the number of films increases (the greater the chance you run into bad apples and critically-acclaimed on both ends of the spectrum). It seems that those three sites I mentioned earlier have a much narrower range than they should have for 146 films. Rarely does a film get a very bad or very positive overall rating, and most of the time, a film will settle on a better than average rating (on Fandango, it is more likely to settle even higher).
So what value do they add to an article, when the numbers aren't really telling us anything? They're likely padding bad films more often than they should. RT user scores appear to be reflect the kind of variance we see in critic scores, so if we are to include them, perhaps RT is the way to go. I just think if we open that can of worms, however, you're just begging for user scores from all over the net to start pouring in. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:08, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't see why you would expect a greater variance or multiple peaks, as the normalisation (if it not just scaling) compensates for that. In fact I'd probably argue that majority of films gets a somewhat similar score is probably you'd expect (the normal distribution assumption).
I also don't see any good why the audience score should reflect the critic score. Imho that all of that is based on the imho problematic assumption that critic or audience is supposed to approximate some "true" value of the film, which imho is questionable. The reason from my perspective for WP to critic scores or audience scores is their influence/clout and not their approximation of a films "true" value. I.e. we should state an audience score if it is well known and often used by movie goers, i.e. it has influence and is of interest to readers. That also restricts/blocks the "user scores from all over the net" as we only include the very few most popular ones on net and not any other ones.--Kmhkmh (talk) 03:37, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
What should happen to the variance as the sample of films increases in number is debatable and would require a more in-depth study than we get in that article. Also, how much of an interest user scores are to most readers is not really a measurable stat. Obviously, we know they aren't reported anywhere near as often as critic scores, and when they are mentioned in a reliable source, it's usually to show a contrast with critic scores (like when they heavily disagree with one another). I think there are some situations where it might be appropriate to mention RT or MC user scores when a handful of reliable sources do, but I believe it should have proper in-text attribution when cited. If challenged, then it should be discussed on the talk page and handled on a case-by-case basis. --GoneIn60 (talk) 06:27, 15 August 2016 (UTC)