Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Novels/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Once an article has been created for a novel, it can be entered into a number of lists to allow easier browsing for viewers. All novels should be included in the Lists of novels. Each novel can be included in lists based on the alphabet, year, language, genre, country, etc. that a novel can be included in.

Just curious, I know that Lists of books exists, but are the novel lists currently under construction? Is that why these are redlinked? María (habla conmigo) 17:13, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Something to debate :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:24, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Cover caption

First edition should be the "normal" cover to use - if no other reason is available it is the literary world and history's edition of note. Thus the associated cover would the one to go for. I do take the point that we should not be hostage to that notion, however the reasons to use other covers will be few. Perhaps varying by genre. What I tend to see in vast numbers is people using for old titles, recent covers that have no clear merit above any other edition. In such situations the "first edition" should be used. Also as an example the "cover caption" text you replaced my edit with doesn't quite "hack it". I would be uncomfortable if that was used as it. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:06, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I just don't want to encourage mindlessness and instructions such as "always use first edition" or "use first edition" tends to do that. An instruction such as "use the most historically significant edition" means that the editors actually have to stop and think about what they are doing. Far too many infoboxes are just slapped onto articles for no real purpose and filled up with false and misleading information. The "first edition" covers are part of that. I don't want to have a big debate about it, so I'm not going to post and repost and repost and revert and revert, etc. But please do think about how such instructions appear and what their general outcome will tend to be. Awadewit Talk 08:12, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I do agree with the tenor of what you say, I don't think "first edition" by default is quite so much of a problem as you appear to think. I would say that the "recent edition" by default is far more of a problem that really exists. I'm not wedded to the wording as currently in the "image_caption" line - but as an example line I could easily see plenty of editors just putting in the text as you had it. Another small point the caption doesn't need to reherse the novel title, and should aim to give a terse discription of the edition chosen and if possible an reason (again terse). It might be we can think of a better line, but I can't at present. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:23, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Spoiler warnings

In light of the current discussions on the use of {{spoiler}}-warnings in articles, I want to make sure that the current wording in this wikiproject's guideline on the issue really is as agreed upon here. It currently reads:

"Be sure to include a {{spoiler}} template, which will warn readers of the article not to proceed if they do not want the novel "spoiled" for them."

This is a rather strong statement ("Be sure") and good arguments have been made for not using spoiler warnings, especially in articles on classical works of literature or when the section header is "Plot" or "Synopsis" or otherwise makes it very clear that the plot is being discussed and revealed in that section. If the agreed upon style guideline for this wikiproject indeed is as it currently reads on this issue, then fine. More power to the wikiprojects, I say. And in the same way that WikiProject Opera banned the tag from their articles, I'm fine with this Wikiproject making up their own mind about the issue. But I just want to make sure that people indeed should "Be sure to include a spoiler template" if they want to follow WikiProject Novels agreed upon style guideline. Shanes 14:08, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your input - the line we tend to take here is that "Plot introductions" are for spoiler free discussion of the plot, i.e. what could not be seen as adversely affecting anyone's enjoyment of the novel and also givin a taster so someone has an idea of the "type" of story to expect. The "Plot summary" is for a more exentended treatment of the plot and is "highly" likely to cause "spoiling" for someone about to read the novel for the first time. There are clear differences here. What is encyclopedic is a moot point, but with all discussions of this type simple acknowledgment that people read them (other encyclopedias) and wikipedia for different purposes and we should aim to cater for as many as possible, with a bias toward serious study and properly referencing all we do. I trust that helps. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:40, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Plot summary length

Is there a recommended limit on the size of a plot summary? Gimmetrow 02:34, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

There probably should be - however I would not want anything too restrictive. A discouragement to being too detailed or overblown might be enough. The thing is different importance of novel requires different treatments, different genres require different treatments. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 07:58, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
OK. WP:MOSFILMS#Plot recommends film plot summaries be 400-700 words, but allows for more in some cases. Gimmetrow 16:01, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me add it yourself if you could. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:28, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
The majority of articles about Novels which have reached "Featured Article" status have summary lengths of 9+ paragraphs. Shouldn't the guidelines here be altered to reflect that? --19:17, 24 September 2007 (UTC)Davémon
The disconnect between the example set by Featured Articles and the guidelines given here was noticed over at Talk:The Hobbit#Overhaul. Plot summary paragraph counts for some currently featured novels: The Old Man and the Sea (6ish), Uncle Tom's Cabin (9), Starship Troopers (9), The Well of Loneliness (5). The plot summary in the FA for Make Way for Ducklings, a children's picture book, is three paragraphs.
Also, Bleak House is cited as a good example of length, but I don't see a clear plot summary section in that article. --Mrwojo 23:09, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Slightly unusual example that given the structure of the piece the plot elements are contained in the character descriptions. The probably some be some plot overview, but the novel itself should give some idea of if the needs for such a section. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 07:48, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I noticed that WP:Plot summaries#Length of plot summaries currently recommends 300-500 words. Just for comparison, a few articles on novels when promoted to featured status: Uncle Tom's Cabin - 925 words, The Well of Loneliness - 600 words, Starship Troopers - 850 words, Oroonoko - 600 words, To Kill a Mockingbird - 550 words, The Country Wife - 820 words, The General in His Labyrinth - 825 words. (Starship Troopers expanded after it was promoted.) These books are studied in academia and have a body of criticism, so it might be argued they need a longer plot summary for the description of that criticism to make sense. I think the WP:FILMPLOT guideline fits the existing practice for novels fairly well: "Plot summaries should be between 400 and 700 words and should not exceed 900 words unless there is a specific reason, such as a very complicated plot." Gimmetrow 21:10, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Infobox necessity

On Wikipedia:WikiProject_Novels/Style_guidelines#Infobox we're told that the infobox "is strictly optional". Yet on some novel pages (such as Talk:Splendeurs_et_misères_des_courtisanes, where I'm working as part of WikProj Balzac, the text says "This article needs an infobox template!" (With an exclamation point, no less.) Which page has the correct sense of urgency? -- Scartol 00:42, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Bear in mind that this first is a general statement for "all" types of article so what it is saying is, 'across all types of article an infobox is not always important'. The Novels and books related guidelines are saying that there is a case for infobox in most cases. In other words 'the level of common information that can be formally collected together is such that an infobox is desirable'. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I missread the first reference, so change that first line it wasn't really true for "Novels" guidelines. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:12, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Reception before film/TV adaptations?

In the list of components for the body of novel pages, a section on reception is indicated after film/TV adaptations. But I wonder if this shouldn't be reversed? (In this reader's mind, the immediate thought is that reception of the film/TV version is being addressed.) -- Scartol 13:54, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Totally agree I will change this straightaway. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:04, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

French novel titles?

I'd really like to get a ruling on how to title pages about novels originally written in foreign languages. A quick glance at Category:French novels reveals that almost exactly half of them are in French and the other half are in English. I don't want to have to spend time renaming the pages in La Comédie Humaine if I can get it right the first time through. Thanks. -- Scartol · Talk 17:47, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

It is one of those areas that isn't too clear even from the wiki's guidelines. The way I understand the essence of what is said is based on one overriding observation: this is an English wikipedia. Ok, so that means is that most names should be in English, however two basic provisos seem to apply. Firstly, where the title is so well known in the Original language that it is best to use that. And, Secondly, if the title is so new / obscure that it hasn't appeared in English yet it "may" then appear in the Original language. Now a complications appear when the translation of the novel (etc) is published in a number of variants. No clear guidance seems to have been given here, but I tend to go for the most widely used or respected translation's title. Now in practice everybody seem to do what they like so some order to this is long overdue. More thoughts? :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 11:51, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm very confused about all of this, and I'd really like to work on organizing the Balzac pages – but I feel like this naming business needs sorting out first. (Of course, it's clear that there's no clear rule for me to follow, so I suppose I'll end up trusting my gut in some shape or fashion. What I really need is someone to tell me: Just use the French titles! Heh.)
I've very rarely seen the title Father Goriot, even in English discussions/texts. It's almost always Pere Goriot. WikiProject France's guideline seems to back up the idea that we should use French titles. But then WP:UE says to use the most common English translation. Argh! Well, it can all be aided and repaired later with redirects, so I'm going to use French.
If anyone wants to stop me, do it quickly before I get in too deep! – Scartol • Tok 16:32, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I would use French only when there is no English translation or where the French title is better known in English. It would be nice to have the reasons for the choice clearly given in the article. Just a single phrase that discusses the title would do. do bear in mind that this "is" the English wikipedia and you are addressing English speakers etc. Thanks :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:44, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
We have had this discussion before. I think go with the name that is actually used most often. I don't mean used most often by English speakers, but the name used most often counting all discussions. For example, if a French work had an English translation whose name was used in English discussions, but the majority of the discussion regarding that book had been in French and used the French title, then IMO we should use the French title. Loom91 (talk) 19:34, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, that is basically another perspective on the same view. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:41, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Plot summary vs. WP:NOR

I don't understand how plot summaries (which are clearly accepted) interact with WP:NOR (which is a generally accepted policy). It seems to me that a priori, Wikipedia ought not to provide a plot summary unless the summary itself can be sourced: otherwise it is original synthesis, which is specifically forbidden by WP:NOR. (I've already looked at Talk:The Hobbit#Overhaul, which illustrates the WP:NOR concern rather well. A comprehensive ruling is probably too much to expect, but how about some guidelines? TIA. --John Cowan 23:32, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Interesting observation. However have a think about this. How are you to write a Plot Summary that is based on another parties research when you are unable to quote all of it. i.e. copyright infringement issues. Even if you selectively quote then the result will likely become a difficult blend of original and and secondary research. I don't beleive their is an easy answer to this one. Lie all simple statements like WP:NOR the world is never that straightforward. What do others think? :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:46, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I think the conclusion we draw from this is that a plot summary should be a pure precis, with nothing that's not immediately present in the original book. The plot summary for The Sound and the Fury, to pick just one example, is full of unsourced critical claims. The problem is not restricted to plot summaries; A Confederacy of Dunces has no plot-summary section at all, but sources not a single claim about the book's content! Someone added "citation needed" tags to various other statements, but left sections 1, 2, and 4 alone, as if everything about the content is immune to WP:NOR altogether. I suspect (but have not verified) that in the domains of movie and TV episodes the WP:NOR violations are even worse. --John Cowan 21:47, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Oh, in addition I don't quite agree that "Talk:The Hobbit#Overhaul, which illustrates the WP:NOR concern rather well". I do see it struggles with some of the resultant issues. But it doesn't as far as I can see address the problem directly - in the terms you have anyway. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:51, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I replied to this the other day, but it looks like it was lost in the shuffle: As plot summaries probably implicitly reference the primary source, it appears to fall under the guidelines regarding the descriptive use of primary sources in WP:NOR. This covers the example discussion regarding alleged OR analysis ("quixotic") found in The Hobbit synopsis. Plot summaries are also mentioned in WP:NOT#IINFO. The selection of content (e.g., should the Beorn visit be mentioned?) is often discussed per-article, without many general guidelines. Wikipedia: Television episodes#Plot summaries has an interesting angle: "The only purpose of plot summaries is to provide context for the rest of the information." These related guidelines should be taken into consideration if another guideline is produced here. --Mrwojo 20:35, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Book reviews

Can I/should I post questions here? If not, please move me to a more appropriate location (and a note on my talk page!). I'm trying to see if there's guidelines on linking to book reviews from external sites, and book reviews in general. The closest I've found so far is Wikipedia:WikiProject_Novels/Style_guidelines#Reception. The question sources from this discussion and something said about any reviews being better than no reviews, even if they're non-professional. I'm trying to find out if I'm holding to an unreasonably high standard for ELs or if it's appropriate. And finally, I realized this might be a more appropriate venue. Any comments, opinions or archived discussions I could be referred to? WLU (talk) 12:21, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

The aim is to get comment from professionals or at least those unbiased by being fan cruft types, Literary magazines, newspaper reviews and to a lesser extent genre related trade journals etc. the more literary weight to the grist the better. Does that answer or not!? :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 17:47, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
My problem is that's the standard I'm aiming for, but on the AN posting I've comments from people who think the external page that started the discussion is notable enough to get posted. Here is the website posting for one author, here are the reviewers writing reviews. I thought it was a relatively innocuous removal per WP:EL, but was smacked down : ) When that happens, I'm curious if I'm missing some key interpretation, being overzealous, or in some other way being out of keeping with the opinion of 'the community'. Sometimes it's hard to tell.
Thanks for responding, much obliged! WLU (talk) 18:30, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
My thought having looked at these links is that the reviews are clearly borderline. On balance I personally would include them for lack of anything else. However I would remove them if better sources for reviews became available. The reviewing base just seems to informal. Just slightly up from "fan cruft" types (i.e. people who are fans of "the author" anyway), these are more like "genre cruft" types if you see what I mean. No harm in that but not quite the same weight. As I say include them for lack of others, but I might be nice to indicate in the reference the nature of the type of review. The Kahooper comments are all very interesting, bit self serving although not strictly advertising much. Can you quote the article that caused your original comment? :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:33, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
There were several, but basically review Kahooper's contributions Kahooper (talk · contribs) - Janny Wurts, Cornelia Funke, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavirel Kay, Anne Bishop, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, Merideth Ann Pierce, Poul Anderson, Matther Anderson, Lloyd Alexander, Alma Alexander, Joan Aiken, Daniel Abraham, Joe Abercrombie, as well as the Fantasy, List of fantasy authors, Fantasy literature and List of fantasy novels pages. Basically her sole actions on wikipedia have been adding links to her website, creating an article about her website, and attempting to keep her article and links to her webpage on wikipedia. No content has been added. Also note that the page does get remuneration from book sellers if people click to amazon from her page. This is just the list of Kahopper's additions. There's also a variety of anon IPs adding the links to pages, though there's only a couple that Hopper has stated were added by her as an anon and I think there were a couple other users who were doing the same thing (not socks, just people who felt the page should be added). I think there's a sincere belief that they are helping, a small portion of self-interest, and a large dearth of understanding of wikipedia's policies. WLU (talk) 20:21, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed the selling element of the site - oops - that does make it a "no no" then. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:34, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate the constructive discussion about this. It's much better than just being reverted. We have links to Amazon mostly as a courtesy for readers. You've got to tell them where to get the book and it allows me to show the book cover legally. Nearly any review site will do that. We get a small commission, but added up, it will probably cover only the costs of our web hosting and domain names. We are not making any money, in other words. None.

So far I have only added links to Wiki articles for authors we have mostly positive reviews for because I figured that authors monitor their pages and will just delete us if we have negative reviews. It seemed like it wasn't worth the effort. So, I wasn't even going to try adding a link to Terry Goodkind's article, for example. But, if you look at the site, we have plenty of negative reviews. We are not trying to sell these books -- we are warning readers against them. There are very few books that we suggest that people actually buy. We most often recommend library loans and Paperback Swap. I know you don't have the time to or inclination to go exploring my website for all of that information, so I thought I should jump in and mention it here because I think you might have the idea that we are promoting books that we want people to purchase from us so we can make money. That is not the case.

WLU, I think you mentioned advertising on the site. I have now taken off all but what I considered the necessary ads: those for finding the book on Amazon in the US and UK and also audiobooks on (readers NEED this information.) I will not put the other ads back on. I know that linking on Wikipedia will not increase my search engine results. So, I'm not trying to make money or increase my rank. I sincerely believe we've got a resource that readers want to know about. And, in fact, we got lots of hits from Wikipedia before my links were reverted, which shows that people did consider it a useful resource.

Again, thanks for the time and effort on this. Kahooper (talk) 22:28, 21 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

The amount is irrelevant - making any money at all or any advertising is a reason to not link. And I disagree that it will add anything to the pages - the books require reliable sources and discussions with notable authorities. The problem for me is still that your page is the opinion of random people. Judging by your comments, you are the one who selects reviewers and reviews, but there is no evidence of you being a reliable source or noteworthy expert on fantasy literature. Finally, usefulness is not the criteria for anything on wikipedia (among other things we are not a how-to manual), reliable information is. Reliability is discussed here and here. I would consider a request for comment to be a way of resovling this independently and conclusively (for me). If the RFC says the links are adequate, I'll leave them alone.
Authors should not be editing their own pages. WLU (talk) 18:40, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Whether or not a review site has advertising is irrelevant. Even sites like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and so forth have advertising of one kind or another. The new York Times site has advertising. Advertising on the site is irrelevant. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 01:45, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:External_links#Links_normally_to_be_avoided, point 6. Also, CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC are all unambiguously reliable sources (for limited types of info, I wouldn't use 'em for a medical articles). I also would not link them in the EL section, I would embed them as inline citations. The only page I would consider those to be appropriate ELs would be the CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC pages respectively. News stories are not good ELs, per Wikipedia:External_links#Links_normally_to_be_avoided #1 - a news story doesn't add anything a well sourced and written article can/should contain. WLU (talk) 01:56, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
So, how do you define "objectionable amounts"? Just because a site has advertising does not mean you should automatically discount including the site as a potential source of reviews. As I've indicated, many sites which are considered reliable sources include varying degrees of advertising (from very little to ads all over the place). A genre review site should be considered a much better source for reviews than a non-genre "academic" site, especially since most "academics" don't have a clue about what makes good fantasy or science fiction and generally don't review science fiction and fantasy unless they are runaway best sellers (NY Times list, for example). Most books should have at least 2-4 links to external reviews (both positive and negative) in order to provide content or insights not appropriate for inclusion in the article itself. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:41, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Personally, any. My objection isn't solely based on the advertising, it's one that pushes it further into unacceptable. Advertising applies to ELs, not reliable sources by the way. I'm not advocating 'scholarly' review sites, just notable ones - national papers and magazines. Your opinion on the number of links to external reviews - personal, or based on a specific wikiproject, policy or guideline? Personally I disagree, but I'm willing to be trumped by policy or guidelines. WLU (talk) 00:06, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

But this doesn't seem to be relevant for other websites that have linked to fantasy authors. Many of them have links to pages that link to Amazon (which means they get a kick-back) and/or have google ads. For example, there are many links to SffWorld, Scifan, IBDoF, and fantastic fiction. All have links or ads. Please visit Stephen R. Donaldson and Carol Berg for example. These were the first two I thought of and I checked their pages and found Google ads on the links. I purposely did not put Google ads on my site because I didn't want readers to think I wanted them there for their money.

About notability and reliability: the external link guidelines clearly state that reviews are welcome and should be linked:

"4. Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as reviews and interviews." contains reviews and interviews and therefore, according to Wikipedia guidelines, should be included. Reviews are, by nature, subjective, so I wonder if the "reliability" issue means the same thing for a review as it does for facts. But, even if not, we are not "random people." Amazon reviews are "random people." We are people who have been reading and reviewing in this genre for years and we have a passion for it. If you take a look at the reviews (I know that's asking a lot -- this isn't your job), I think you'll agree that we are serious about this and are as reliable and neutral as possible. Just because we have recently put our reviews in this format (a relatively new website), doesn't make us unreliable or non-noteworthy.

BTW, I know that authors should not be editing their own pages. But, I'm sure they read them and if we are linked to them and they don't like what we say, they will get the link off. But, I'm willing to try. . . :) Kahooper (talk) 21:49, 22 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

For others coming to this discussion, we have also discussed these issues previously in these places:

Brandon Sanderson talk page
Nihonjoe talk
kahooper talk
Deor talk and again
It's also a matter of what the link adds - if it's an interview, then the link is completely justified per WP:EL. If you look at SRD's ELs, you've got the author's website, an on-line project hosted by a university, an ISDB (which I'm not sure is a good thing or not, I've never seen an opinion but has a template so I assume is good), and an interview. The rest I've removed per WP:EL. It's difficult to use other pages as examples of what does, or should exist because it is a wiki and anyone can edit. The only real exception are featured articles, otherwise we have to go by policy and guidelines. On Berg's page, there is her own site (clearly passes WP:EL), an interview (clearly passes) and the ISFD (someone put in a template, which means someone knowledgeable about wikipedia built a template, which means it's probably been OK-ed somewhere). These pages unambiguously pass WP:EL as links to be included so the advertising isn't a barrier. In contrast, your site does not appear to be a reliable source (try using it to justify text somewhere, see what kind of reception you get), or notable, nor are your reviewers RSes or notable, and you have advertising links. No strikes for, a strike against. If you probed at WP:EL, I think you'll find that when it says 'reviews', it means professional reviews. And you could find amazon reviewers who have been reviewing for years, or who has been reviewing for years. But still, these pages can not be linked. There are many people who are serious about what they do, but they don't get wikipedia pages and they don't get to be reliable sources without some official acknowledgement. Has your site received awards? Has it been covered in a major newspaper or on-line source? Has it recieved any attention from a notable person who has published this in a WP:RS?
If you do get interviews with authors, then you are welcome to post those on the individual pages.
Someone discussing their own page on the talk page aren't really going to get much weight, they are just as bound (even more so really) by the guidelines for WP:BLP and WP:V/WP:RS. They are not themselves a reliable source. WLU (talk) 22:18, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

What is annoying is that those links (like the ones you removed) are all over the place. I realize that that doesn't mean they should be ("if your friend jumped off a cliff . . ."), but it's a big part of why I thought I was justified and it's annoying that I'm the one who got hammered for it and those links stay. But, that's not a good argument . . .

You are right that we are not "professional" reviewers (although one of us is, two of us have been asked to be in Amazon's Vine projects, another of us is a master's student in literature and studying to be a critic, and I teach writing). Perhaps I should pay them. But I don't make any money off this, so I can't.

But, in the section that says "links to be considered," #4 seems to apply to us: Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources.

I carefully read the section about links to avoid. We don't seem to violate any of those guidelines. About advertising, it says to avoid "links to sites with objectionable amounts of advertising". I really don't think you can call what we have "objectionable." There are no Google ads or banners and we only have "ads" for the 3 places where people need to be able to see the book or audiobook they're interested in. It is clearly not a commercial site.

We add information that's important to readers of an author (and we got a lot of visits from Wikipedia until the links were removed) and we don't try to sell people anything. Don't you think this fits the spirit of: #4 Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources  ? Kahooper (talk) 00:11, 23 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

They are everywhere, which is why I am death on links that don't comply with WP:EL. Imagine seeing that for months, over a year, and people who keep replacing them all the time. Remember, you are justified in removing them, and it would do wikipedia a great favour.
Paying them isn't the problem, its that they're not paid by The Ottawa Citizen, The Washington Post, Time, CNN, FoxNews or some other reliable source. You guys wouldn't be considered knowledgeable in my opinion. Again, look into WP:RFC if you think I'm wrong, or bring this up elsewhere. There's three editors who don't think there's merit, one who does, and one of the 'no' sides is Kevin Lewis. See #46 here. I'd respect his opinion if he gave it (incidentally, I'm on there too, but you don't have to listen to either of us because of us).
Also, remember the first pillar - we are an encyclopedia. Our content is kept to a high standard because of our policies and guidelines. Would you accept technical writing advice from someone who wrote screenplays? The point is relevant experience and recognition. I was a Masters student in psychology, but I'm not qualified to completely re-write the psychology articles because of it. Even were I to write, submit and have accepted a thesis, I can't cite it until it's published in a journal. Standards like this make wikipedia a better, more reliable place to get information from.
I appreciate the civil dialoge by the way. I hope I'm conveying why you are facing resistance and the background behind it. WLU (talk) 00:56, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

I totally understand your point (and also appreciate the civility), but I hope you can see how frustrating it is that my links have been blackballed (for not being sneaky enough, perhaps) while other links have not. I understand that you don't like the other links, either, but other editors have allowed them to stay. So, I hope you can see why I've pursued this. It didn't make sense that we got edited out while the others didn't. We have been noted by Preditors & Editors as an "impressive" review site (and did will in their contest) and we've had very positive feedback from several authors.

BTW, I had to share this since it came by email last night: one of my reviewers (not one of them mentioned above as studying to be a critic, or paid reviewer, etc.) has been "nominated for two Pushcart Prizes for an essay in Colorado Review and a group of short stories in Rosebud." Some of the others have won awards for writing (not reviews, though one IS a professional reviewer). My point is that I think I've carefully put together a team of excellent reviewers and I'm hoping that others will consider (as Nihonjoe does, and there were a couple others who I can't remember) that links to good reviews are informative and fit the "links to be considered" spirit. Kahooper (talk) 15:14, 23 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

If you are as offended by spurious ELs as I am, you could join WP:WPSPAM or simply excise the links as you find them. I will almost certainly agree with you as my standards for ELs is quite high, meaning I remove a lot of them. The best response to a whole lot of low-quality links clogging up pages is, in my opinion, not to add more that themselves do not meet with a high standard. Your page might be better than some review sites out there, but it's still not of the professional quality that I think are the only ones that should be on wikipedia. Congrats to your reviewer, if they ever become a noted professional in a national or international magazine or news medium responsible for reviewing fantasy books, invite them to add their reviews published in those media as external links. WLU (talk) 15:56, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'll certainly remove the next portal I see.

I have added my links to interviews with 2 authors because it seems like you gave me permission for that. But, we still have not answered the question I asked above: "Don't you think this fits the spirit of: #4 Sites which fail to meet criteria for reliable sources yet still contain information about the subject of the article from knowledgeable sources"? Clearly this guideline is talking about linking to "unreliable" sources (such as and we contain information that is not available in the article. That guideline is talking about information like "unreliable" reviews.

Nihonjoe said "the page offers several reviews which may be useful to people, please do not remove this link again" in his edit summary on the Brandon Sanderson page, and at Nihonjoe talk he said "In this case, I (re)linked to it because the page provided reviews for three of Sanderson's books, they were decent reviews, and were likely to be useful to someone interested in quickly learning more about the books in the context of a review. Rather than simply removing them, I find it infinitely more productive to have the link there and only replace it if you can find something better. Yes, it may not meet your almost unattainable qualifications, but it provides something useful to the reader of the article. Removing it only removes that opportunity for the reader. The reviews on that page may or may not be "professional" (which is really a very subjective term for measuring, as very few sites give any indication that their reviews are edited, or that the reviewers are somehow compensated), but they are the ONLY reviews anyone has ever linked to from the Brandon Sanderson article. I think it is better to give the reader SOMETHING, rather than NOTHING." So, it seems to me that he gives permission for linking reviews in articles that don't have reviews. Kahooper (talk) 21:46, 23 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

Yup, I have no problem with links to interviews. I don't really 'give permission', I have no real authority or power to do so, but I agree that the content is suitable. Nihonjoe is more capable of 'giving permission' because he (she?) is an admin and can block, but ultimately it's not up to one person it's up to WP:CONSENSUS.
I see #4 as clearly providing a spirit of professional reviews - knowledgeable means notable in my mind, or passes the buck to 'how do we determine someone is knowledgeable'? I've brought it up at Wikipedia_talk:External_links#Question_about_criteria_4 for an opinion, hopefully a useful discussion or opinion will come up (and possibly adjust the guideline if they think it's worth clarifying). I do have a fairly strict interpretation of guidelines and policies, maybe I'm missing the point. Your point about reliability seems to mix two points. In what should be linked #4, I think sites should be reliable. In Links to be considered, there is no mention of reviews or interviews, and would be more about opinions from notable blogs and experts where sources are self-published.
The opinion that the reviews were 'decent' is just that, an opinion, I see it as an aesthetic judgment. If someone disagrees, who is right? If they think they are terrible reviews, do they get removed or not? I've always hated the 'find something better to replace this one' because it implies that there must be links. WP:EL says, a lack of links is not a reason to add one, so I find the comment to be without merit, particularly since WP:NOT#PLOT says plot summaries are out on wikipedia (but then again, your site is not wikipedia). I've also hated the argument that things should be 'useful'. Things should be informative, 'cause wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not useful because we are not a how to manual. WLU (talk) 22:44, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

By "useful," I have meant "useful for information."  :) People come to Wikipedia articles about fantasy authors for information about that author's work. It seems like reviews, lists of epics in order, cover art, publishing dates, book synopses, etc are exactly the kinds of information they are most likely to be looking for. We've got that. I sincerely do admire and appreciate your efforts to keep Wikipedia from being a free-for-all (that's a tough job!), but might you be overzealous on this point? I really just can't see how we are not considerable in light of "links to be considered #4." Kahooper (talk) 23:14, 23 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

If it's useful for information, it should be a reliable source and an embedded link; also, book pages are mostly supposed to be about real world impact and interest rather than in-universe information. Sadly, this is not the reality but it should be. I would agree with everything except reviews. I could be overzealous here, hence the attempt to get input from other editors. WLU (talk) 00:06, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, WLU, I appreciate your consideration and the discussion. Kahooper (talk) 01:34, 24 February 2008 (UTC)kahooper

Is there any objection to adding the "Wikipedia style guideline" category to the page?

The infobox says this is a style guideline, and it has the style bar on the right side, but it's not in any category. Should I add the category? - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 02:13, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

talk about novel first?

Scartol and I are having a minor disagreement on the order in which material should be discussed. It might be simplest to just look at two different versions of the lede for the article La Peau de chagrin and see which seems to make sense (only the order of the paragraphs are different):

My contention is that it's best to talk about the novel first, and then follow it with a discussion of the role of the novel in the author's career. Scartol considers that part of the novel's "Background", which following this guideline, means that it should be more prominent. (I think that's a fair summary, but corrections are welcome.) -- Doom (talk) 19:44, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I feel that it's especially important in La Peau de chagrin, since it contains a number of important autobiographical elements. Ultimately, I don't think it's crucial to impose one structure or the other – and as a result, it seems like leaving it as is would be the most logical path here. – Scartol • Tok 20:55, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
My complaint isn't about the emphasis on the autobiographical aspects of the novel (which aren't discussed until much later in the article), but the emphasis on the role of the novel in establishing the author's career. And at present, the first two paragraphs of "Background" look like they belong in the article about Balzac, rather than in an article about the novel. -- Doom (talk) 19:59, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
But my point is that the background info on his career set the stage for explaining the autobiographical elements. Without the first paragraph of "Background", the first paragraph of "Themes/Autobiography" would need a significant amount of explanation.
The second paragraph of "Background" – while not essential for discussing the book itself, but significant for later reference in "Reception", especially insofar as Mme. Hanska first discovered Balzac through La Physiologie du mariage – is important, I feel, for situating Balzac at the time of the novel's composition. Just as the third and fourth paragraphs of "Background" explain what France was like at the time in terms of literary tastes and social politics. – Scartol • Tok 16:28, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
One part of me (the writer or reader: I'm not sure) doesn't care (or wouldn't notice) which order – the lead is well-written and provides an excellent overview. The other part prefers the first version (218728050) because I find it flows better: from plot to focus/elements to theme to publication to career significance. Disclaimer: I didn't read the rest of the article. ÷maclean 17:29, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
I've read it back and forth a couple of times and I'm a bit stumped. Both versions work well for me, and although the emphasis is subtly different, I can't say that one emphasis or the other is clearly more appropriate. It possibly boils down to where you fall along that whole spectrum of how significant the biography of authors are to their work. For me the two different versions are a coin toss. (Sorry if that's no help; on the other hand, hopefully it's no stress which ever version it ends up with.) --JayHenry (talk) 04:24, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

'Editions' Section

In some articles, such as HP7, there are 'Editions' sections, which I really do like and think that it brings to the article, but is the format used in the HP article the proper way to do it? Or was it just created for that article, and basically anything goes? ~ Bella Swan? 15:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Looks rather too much like advertising to me there is little sence of bibliographic record just ISBN numbers and bindings. The section "publication history" or "publication details" would be a better way to go. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:28, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Battle Royale

I keep coming across character articles from Battle Royale that appear to be nothing more than a non-notable summary of that character with no real-world context. Anyway, there are 42 character articles that I'd like to trim and merge into a character list, I'd like input from the group before I do it so I can have a consensus. --Kraftlos (talk) 18:44, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Propose Reword of Reception

Since this a bit bolder than some of the other edits I've made lately to the style guides, I'm posting here for discussion first. I'd like to propose replacing the current reception section:

Understanding the novel's position in its own society and in later literary and cultural traditions is crucial; this material should be presented in a "Reception and legacy" section (clearly, a modern novel can't have much of a legacy yet). You should analyze how the novel was received by critics, meaning professional or well-known reviewers at the time that the novel was published, and not comments from members of the public. (Quotes from users on and blogs do not count, as these are self-published). Comments from influential opinion-makers are acceptable, however; for example, it may well be interesting what Queen Victoria said about a particular Victorian novel. Your research will tell you what is important and what is not.
Relying on your research, also indicate what the public reaction to the novel was. Sales figures can help indicate this, but do not rely exclusively on reviews and sales figures for this section. Since reading habits were different in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it is helpful to include descriptions of readers' responses to the novel as well as descriptions of how the novel was read. For a good example of this, see the "Style" section of Uncle Tom's Cabin which explains the "sentimental" style of the novel and how readers responded at the time. Such descriptions help the reader understand the novel within its historical and social context. If the novel is a cult novel, an explanation of how the "cult" label developed would also be appropriate (again, all of this information would come from your research).

With something along this line:

Reliable sources should be used to determine how the novel was received, including sales figures (where available), award nominations and wins, and, primarily, critical reception. Critical reception should be sourced to professional novel critics, though reliable sources from notable persons or experts connected to the topics covered by the novel may also be cited. The use of print reviews is encouraged. Commentary should also be sought from reliable sources for critics' consensus of the novel. These will be more reliable in retrospect; while recently released novels may need to refrain from trying to summarize the overall consensus until sufficient reviews are available. To maintain a neutral point of view, it is recommended to quote a reasonable balance of these reviews, showing both positive and negative reviews. This may not always be possible or desirable (e.g. novels that have been almost universally acclaimed or panned), and best judgment should again be used.
For older novels, seek reviews from the period of the novel's release and the present to determine if a novel's initial critical reception varies from the reputation it has today. If there are sufficient reviews from the novels period of release and more modern times, it may be useful to include subsections for "Contemporary reception" and "Retrospective reception". Reception section from the novel's country of origin are both recommended, and required for high class articles (i.e., Chinese reviews for a Chinese novel, French reviews for a French novel). Evaluations from English-speaking territories are also desirable and useful, but again, strive for balance and avoid systemic bias. Do not quote comments from members of the general public (e.g., user comments from or personal blogs), as they are self-published and have no proven expertise or credibility in the field.

I feel the current version unintentionally encourages WP:OR and does not clearly define what reception is, and emphasize the need for all reception to be from reliable sources. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 03:57, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 21:04, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Plot Bloat Warnings

Hi there. I've created a couple of user talkpage templates, template:uw-plotsum1 and template:uw-plotsum2, that can be used in cases where editors are significantly bloating plot summaries in violation of the guidelines. I'd appreciate any feedback you may have, preferably left on the talk pages for the templates themselves rather than here. You're also welcome to make any changes that you feel will improve the templates. Thanks! Doniago (talk) 14:07, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment: I have created a thread at Template talk:Uw-plotsum1 copying over all comments made up to this point. Please take any further discussion to the template talk page. Big Bird (talkcontribs) 19:36, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

RFC which could affect this MOS

It has been proposed this MOS be moved to Wikipedia:Subject style guide . Please comment at the RFC GnevinAWB (talk) 20:53, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

poetry and prose collections

We could really use a MOS for poetry too. If there is one, haven't spotted it. Thanks Spanglej (talk) 23:12, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Potential changes to WP:WAF

There is currently a discussion over at WP:BIO with regard to how we present fictional characters' names in the lead paragraph of their articles (i.e. whether they should be listing commonly used names, or any full variation that is reliably sourced as they do for real people). It would be good for the WAF guideline to be an accurate reflection of the community consensus on this issue so that we can identify it as such in the actual guideline.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 21:20, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Appropriate section?

Is something like this -- a list of titles for a work's various translations -- an appropriate section? I don't see it in the structure guide, and it seems a bit trivial. Input? --EEMIV (talk) 18:36, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

I mentioned translations in Pattern Recognition (novel)#Publication history. I think translations are important enough to mention, but I think this list here places undue weight on their importance relative to other aspects of the novel. Not a rule, but my opinion is that they are best displayed in footnotes, like I did here: The World Without Us#Publication (footnotes 17-22). maclean (talk) 19:51, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
For that particular case, it would be better to prosify the list, saying which languages and/or countries the book was translated and published in, the level of detail right now is way too much, Sadads (talk) 21:46, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

RFC: restructuring of the Manual of Style

Editors may be interested in this RFC, along with the discussion of its implementation:

Should all subsidiary pages of the Manual of Style be made subpages of WP:MOS?

It's big; and it promises huge improvements. Great if everyone can be involved. NoeticaTea? 00:42, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Boldfacing Character Names in Characters Section?

My understanding is that per MOS:BOLD, when there is a list of characters provided in an article for a novel, the characters' names should not be in boldface. Boldface would be acceptable if the article was a list of the characters, but not when the article is about the novel. I am in discussions with an editor who feels that with regards to the Characters section of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry the article is improved if the character names are boldfaced. I reviewed MOS:NOVELS and the Characters section doesn't appear to discuss formatting. MOS:FILM makes it explicitly clear that character names should not be in boldface, but I don't want to assume that the same guidelines apply to novel articles. Thanks for your input! Doniago (talk) 12:19, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Input was provided here. Based on that I'll assume the answer is not to boldface unless I get more feedback to the contrary. Doniago (talk) 19:38, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
It clearly states on MOS:FILM that:

Cast lists should not use table formats (see Wikipedia:When to use tables). Neither the actor nor role name should be bolded.

The editor who responded to Doniago (talk) here, stated that MOS:FILM should be applied to MOS:NOVELS as well, and I would think it would then logically also apply to MOS:TELEVISION SHOWS. If this is true or has been reached by consensus in the past, then I suggest the following language should be added to MOS:NOVELS:

Character lists should not use table formats (see Wikipedia:When to use tables). The character names should not be bolded.

Otherwise, can an RFC be conducted to see what consensus finds here for MOS:NOVELS bolding character names? Does an RFC take an administrator to start or what? --RedEyedCajun (talk) 02:49, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Anyone can start an RFC. WP:RFC would be a good starting point. (smile) As far as modifying the guidelines themselves, I'm not sure there's a reson to add what shouldn't be done unless it's pernicious enough that there is a feeling that it needs to be explicitly delineated. In this case, defaulting to the more general guidelines suggests that bolding shouldn't be used. My opinion, of course. I have to admit, given what I perceive as relatively low activity levels here I get the feeling that either the project is going smoothly enough that there's rarely much to discuss, or not many editors are particularly invested in it. Doniago (talk) 14:09, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't know what our exact policy is, but I never ever put them in bold. None of the novel FA articles have character names in bold as far as I'm aware. Btw - the discussion isn't on the article talkpage where it should be. Can you link to it? Thanks. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 14:23, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
This one? Doniago (talk) 16:17, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Not the one to the MoS discussion - it had to have started somewhere else, but I haven't time to look. Anyway, I started a thread on the Roll of Thunder page with a few suggestions. That's where discussion should be happening, I think. Try to work it out on the article talk page first. I'm popping in & out, and a bit busy, but I'll add to the talkpage examples of novel articles where the character names aren't bolded. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 18:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I think I see what you're asking. An editor boldfaced the names on the RoT page. When I unbolded them because of MOS:BOLD they started a discussion on my Talk page. As the situation seemed to concern overall policy rather than policy for a specific article I started the discussion here, and when that failed to engender a response I went to the overall MOS page and linked to here. I'm not sure why the editor who felt the names should be bolded didn't bring it up on the article's Talk page, but editors going directly to editors rather than an article's Talk page seems to be a trend. Doniago (talk) 19:16, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Different language, different wiki

It would be really useful if there would be an equivalent in Romanian, can I just create it through a ro:Manual estetic/Roman link or do I need superior clearance or permission, or a particular format?-Eb00kie (talk) 12:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Manuals of style are guidelines developed within each language by that language community. If you are going to take part in developing a manual of style for Romanian on Novels, fiction, etc. you should propose a draft there and modify it per the language community. Remember, each language community creates it's own policies beyond the 5 pillars, thus some languages will find they need certain policies, while for others the policy may be unneccesary because the community isn't dealing with the same complex issues. This is particularly true of taking English policies to other communities, because English is dealing with much more complex issues because of its size and popularity then other Wikipedias, Sadads (talk) 14:20, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

More explicit Characters section guideline

As detailed in one of the previous sections, it is currently ambiguous (in the MoS) as to whether character names in the Characters section should be in bold. Even aside from this, however, there are still a lot of differing interpretations when it comes to the formatting of these sections. Many are formatted as lists, with *, **, etc. while more rarely they are organized in tables. The notability of the work and subsequent attention to its article mainly determine the number and detail of characters listed, which is not at issue. In the spirit of consistency, it may be worth considering the inclusion of more explicit guidelines on the style of the Characters section for fictional works/novels. This may or may not require a RFC, but in my opinion it would be worth the effort so the project may present a more unified front towards the inclusion and organization of character lists.

Please indicate if this is the appropriate place for a discussion of this scope. I welcome any constructive responses to this proposal. HectorAE (talk) 02:43, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

RfC: Should every novel include a Plot Summary?

D A Patriarche, BSc (talk) (talk) 04:44, 21 May 2014 (UTC) There is a conflict between the policy suggested here for plot summaries and "The Missing Manual". The latter is clear that Plot Summaries are not suitable Wikipedia content; Personally I think a Plot Summary is OK content, but I can see the the argument that it is not Encyclopaedic material: would Encyclopaedia Britannica have a plot summary for every novel listed? Perhaps major novels (however defined) should have a Plot Summary, for others a description of the genre of would suffice. D A Patriarche, BSc (talk) (talk) 04:33, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

  • Encourage but do not require plot summaries in all cases. I've read articles on works of fiction that have plot summaries and those that don't. I'm usually reading the article because I want to know "What is this book/show/movie actually about?" and articles with plot summaries answer that question much better than those without plot summaries. The kind of information usually covered in secondary sources, such as the critical response, production process or cultural impact, is far less useful if the basics are not addressed first. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:42, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Encourage, but don't allow the plot summary to be more than 50% of the article's content, per WP:PLOT (plot summaries are allowed and encyclopedic, but they must be put in real-world context). Also, note that whenever an informative page like "The Missing Manual" contradicts a policy, the policy takes precedence. Diego (talk) 08:58, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Please withdraw and close this RfC: there is no conflict here. "The Missing Manual" referred to by the OP is a help file that explains how we use WP:PLOT, and it does so erroneously. Because of this error, the OP is reading this literally and out of the original context of the original policy (WP:NOT) which specifies that "summary-only descriptions of works" are to be discouraged, not the inclusion of plot summaries in and of themselves. This is covered in its entirety by MOS:PLOT. Obviously, the help file needs to be changed because 1) it is wrong, and 2) it has confused at least one editor, and likely several more. I have remedied the problem here. Viriditas (talk) 09:46, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
  • +1 to the reasoning put forward by User:Viriditas to close the RFC. This is not a policy level issue, just a help manual that doesn't wholly interpret the community consensus well, Sadads (talk) 14:11, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Close Viriditas is correct, The Missing Manual was in error. --SubSeven (talk) 07:47, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

Fiction MOS?

There are some ongoing discussions relating to the Comics MOS which indicate that there would be a utility to having a broad MOS which deals with all works of fiction. This page might be counted, maybe, as being the most likely starting point for such. Would anyone have any interest in working to develop a clear MOS which would be able to deal with those works and characters of fiction which cross specific media and/or formats? John Carter (talk) 16:07, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Some thoughts

I've been working on some less formal guidelines, which may be easier for worried neophytes to deal with. DS (talk) 15:16, 26 May 2017 (UTC)