Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)/Archive 12

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Now that there has been such a huge discussion of the proposal to change WP FICTION, and there is no consensus, does that mean that the proposal is rejected and WP FICTION remains as it was? I am just wondering at what point do we decide we have a resolution as to what is going to happen to this page, as, I believe I can say this without bias, there is clearly not a consensus for most of the proposed changes, if any. I am just curious. Judgesurreal777 (talk) 21:56, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

The question is, what is the version that was consensus agreed before there was a large number of edits in the past week? Is it the one from a week ago, is the one from May? I agree that the changes in the last week are disputed, though many of them are aimed at short-term alleviation of "delete first" approaches. --MASEM 22:18, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
It means we're not done discussing these things yet. -- Ned Scott 23:17, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Dude, you're going much too fast. --Kizor (talk) 00:32, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I know dude, asking questions makes me a Speed Demon! Judgesurreal777 (talk) 20:00, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

One thing alot of editors are also not doing is trying to look at the article and see if there are ways are shortening it and then merging it to a character list. I mean taking out unnecessary material or merging material from several paragraphs into fewer paragraphs wouldn't hurt either and with Tv or game characters when it comes to episodes or storyline plot it would be wise to try to compress it down to make it simplier since we don't need to detail every little thing, just the vital facts are needed. Lastly another issue with these AFDs is that since many people involved with these pages are unaware of whats happening pages are being unfairly deleted since those people are unable to help express their opinions. - (talk) 21:11, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The problems with this guideline and the current proposed rewrite

Part of the wording of the original guideline, which had consensus for over two years, was thus:

  1. Major characters and major treatments of such matters as places and concepts in a work of fiction are covered in the article on that work. If an encyclopedic treatment (a real world perspective backed by sources independent of the work) of a character causes the article on the work itself to become long, that character is given a main article.
  2. Minor characters and minor treatments of such matters as places and concepts in a work of fiction are merged with short descriptions into a "List of characters." This list resides in the article relating to the work itself, unless it becomes long, in which case a separate article for the list is created.

For some reason, a group of editors decided, a few months ago, to change this long standing consensus, to the present guideline. To me it appears to be based on an overly strict interpretation of the "Wikipedia articles are not plot summaries" policy and the general notability guideline, and is now being edit warred because that overly strict interpretation does not have consensus.

If this current guideline were a Wikipedia article, it would have to be rejected as original research that synthesizes sources (in this case the plot policy and the general notability guideline) to "advance a position" (that articles about fiction must contain significant "real-world information" sourced to "secondary sources").

The fact is, however, that nothing in the plot policy or notability guideline prohibits "in-universe information" sourced to "secondary sources", or "real-world information" sourced to "primary sources". Even "in-universe information" sourced to "primary sources" should be OK, as long as it is presented from an out-of-universe perspective in a real-world context.

If there are multiple reliable sources which do nothing but describe and analyze the plot of a work of fiction, this constitutes significant coverage in reliable sources even if there is not a lick of "real-world information" about it. An encyclopedic article can be written based on these sources without being "solely a plot summary" because an analysis of the plot and a desciption of significant plot elements is not a "plot summary". A plot summary is a narrative description of what happens. A description of plot elements, such as characters or geographical settings, presented in a real-world context (regardless of whether it has significant "real-world information") is not a "plot summary". The proposed guideline is even worse than the current guideline as it codifies the idea that any description of plot elements are "plot summary" and are thus not allowed without sufficient "real-world content". This interpretation suggests that List of Shakespearean characters: A-K, for example, is unacceptable unless we were to add a sourced description of the "historical origins", "critical reception", "information about derived works", and/or "sales figures, release dates, and other commercial data" about each and every character.

Finally, the general notability guideline "presumes" notability based on significant coverage in reliable sources independent of the subject, but it does not "require" such coverage; in fact, it also allows for "an accepted subject specific standard". The general notability guideline is therefore not a straitjacket to which this specific guideline must conform. We are free to decide by consensus that certain things are "notable" even if "significant coverage in reliable sources" is difficult or even impossible to find. For two years, lists containing short descriptions of minor characters in major works of fiction were presumed notable by consensus regardless of the existence of secondary sources. I see no evidence that this long-standing consensus should have been overruled in August and even less evidence that it should be overruled now. DHowell (talk) 08:21, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

(In no particular order) There already were a couple of proposals to rename the notability guidelines on wikipedia because not real-life popularity or fame establish notability ("real-world notability"), but significant secondary sources establish article inclusion ("wiki-notability"). Wikipedia only cares about the latter.
Most editors are not as strict with lists of fictional elements as with articles about single fictional elements when it comes to establishing wiki-notability. Additionally, lists are often considered a convenient trade-off between what driveby fans think should definately be mentioned in the fiction coverage, and what longtime editors believe has a fair chance to be expanded for truly encyclopedic(see WP:FA) in-depth coverage down the line.
You're right, basic descriptions ("Tommy has a blue shirt") are not plot. But the longer the descriptions, the more it is likely that WP:NOT#PLOT ("Then he wore a yellow shirt and finally a red shirt") and WP:OR ("Tommy is a brave kid[He stood up to the bullies once.]) creeps in.
Even the "old" summer version of WP:FICT mentioned "encyclopedic treatment". Per WP:NOT#PLOT, plot alone is not considered encyclopedic treatment, and even main characters should not be given a separate article unless/until sections for character creation and reception etc. is included. So, whether we keep the current guideline, go for a rewrite, or go back to the summer version, doesn't change that a significant portion of fiction-related wiki articles are up for review and possible merging/redirection/deletion. Now we have to decide what the best way for review is. If we don't (soon), then editors will start taking matters into their own hand to make progress (AFD, proposing mass merges, etc.).– sgeureka t•c 11:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Writing "in-universe" has always been guided against, per Wikipedia:Check your fiction, which was established in 2003 and included the following paragraph:
  • By 2004 it was looking like this, [1], and that's pretty much still what the consensus community wide is still following. The crux of the dispute is this whole idea that every single topic has to be written about in multiple secondary sources, and if it hasn't been, then it must be deleted. This guidance conflicts with WP:N, WP:GTD, WP:DP, WP:CONSENSUS, WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:PLOT, and yet attempts to edit it are resisted. I can't work out a way forwards if we can't edit the page. I think there are at least three rewrites doing the rounds, as well as the three versions of the page that currently exist. I'm starting to think that maybe we should put up the six versions for some sort FICT-IDOL poll competition.

sgeureka wrote There already were a couple of proposals to rename the notability guidelines on wikipedia because not real-life popularity or fame establish notability ("real-world notability"), but significant secondary sources establish article inclusion ("wiki-notability"). Wikipedia only cares about the latter. That's not true. Wikipedia does not only care about the latter. Have a read of m:deletionists and m:inclusionists. Wikipedia cares about writing an encyclopedia. Certain editors believe that topics have to be notable, but not everyone does, and certainly the consensus is hard to judge. And if most editors are not as strict with "lists of" articles, why are we saying the opposite in this guideline. Oh, and as to original research and "Tommy is a brave kid[He stood up to the bullies once.], up until recently, we used to guide that people rewrote rather than removed or deleted. So you would edit to say that Tommy is shown within the novel confronting bullies on page 54, the writer revealing that Tommy "felt braver than ever before, because of his lucky blue shirt".This author "That book". What's got to be decided is where the middle ground is. Is the middle ground to encourage people to write encyclopedically, source, avoid in-universe, keep plot summary to being a summary within an article, try and build lists and sub-articles in summary style from a main article and debate notability at AFD, or is it somewhere else, in telling people to go edit at a wikia, we only want to be Britannica? Hiding T 11:34, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The intro and the nutshell of WP:N make clear what that "fame", "importance", or "popularity" don't really matter, but significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject. There is only a difference because the term "notability" grew with wikipedia. I have read the meta essays a couple of times before, but they are old, and it seems that they are now replaced with WP:N's "find reliable secondary sources, and it doesn't matter whether your're a deletionist or an inclusionist." WP:FICT has a special place because covering fiction all in one article, especially when the work of fiction is popular, is near impossible, and deletionist/inclusionist/mergist editors have to agree on a consensus about subarticles, which is obviously hard with all the wiki philosophies. I agree with your middle ground, but if we allow for the addition of material, we should also allow for the removal of "unencyclopedic" material (whatever that is) that got superceded by better, preferably secondary sources. All articles should satisfy other wiki policies and guidelines in the end. – sgeureka t•c 12:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The secondary sources phrase did not appear in this guidance until the 4th of August, introduced in a change that doesn't mention adding it and which notes people are ignoring it. Up until that point it is unclear whether the secondary sources applied to fiction, per WP:N and WP:FICT. Since WP:N allowed separate subjects to have extra criteria as well as the secondary sourcing, and WP:FICT made no mention of it, it is unclear whether there was consensus for the change. That edit roughly marks the midpoint of the edit history of the page. What that means is that about 250 edits were made between September 2003 and August 2007, and 250 edits since. Half the edits to this page have been made in the last four months. It took four years to make a similar amount. Makes you think about where consensus lies. The removal of unencyclopedic content is already catered for in WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:NPOV, WP:NOT, WP:EP and many more besides. We don't need even more guidance on how to edit or improve. Unencyclopedic material is stuff that does not fit WP:NOT, to be debated at WP:AFD. That's the point, that the place for debating what stays and goes is at afd, not on guidance pages. Hiding T 17:22, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
"editors will start taking matters into their own hand to make progress." This has already occured and the impatience and resultant edit-warring is what has led to the RfAr. Ursasapien (talk) 11:19, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
This is what I was actually referring to, showing that this guideline is both ignored and taken too literally. Now it's up to us to decide what the proper measures are, even if some think it is too weak, and others think it is too strong (i.e. there will always be editors on opposing ends clashing). Remember that people reading this guideline are new to it and just want an overview of current consensus, even if that consensus is established by averaging out the opinions. – sgeureka t•c 12:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I am in agreement with sgeureka in this discussion, which I note for the purpose of gauging consensus. Eusebeus (talk) 14:02, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree here too -- there is a middle ground, which I think we all accept that character list articles (and equivalents) are usually acceptable, as long as they are written in a style that strongly suggests they are written as summary style, and that good faith effort is made to try to include notability information. This is a two way street: people that write the material must be aware of what such lists should strive to look like (Characters of Final Fantasy VIII), but at the same time, concerned notability editors need to understand that there is no deadline to demonstrate notability (though good faith effort needs to be done), and that such character list articles are appropriate (again, I note the suggestion of this {{In-universe rationale}} template I created that can be included to show that a character list didn't magically appear, it was determined by discussion to be appropriate. I know we're trying to deal with editors seeking to remove articles due to notability, but I think at the same time, this guideline needs to provide the guidance for writing about fictional articles, how it should be a top-down process instead of bottoms-up (which, admitted is much easier but leads to poor quality articles). --MASEM 14:57, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Masem's position here as well. I should be clearer though: a very legitimate concern has been expressed that this guideline is the product of a small group of editors. Since this discussion is long and convoluted already, rather than simply repeat the same points already well-expressed (although good for my edit count), I mean to "proxy" my support and indicate that I am firmly behind the positions outlined above by sgeureka, Masem and Ned Scott. Eusebeus (talk) 15:16, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Ned's already said elsewhere he agrees with me, and since I agree with DHowell and DGG, I think we all agree. If that is so, why is it so hard to write guidance? Is there any real issue with simply reverting back to the page as it stood in July. [2] We know that had broad consensus, and everything that seems to be causing a dispute was introduced after. Thoughts on that? Hiding T 17:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think the problem with that one is that the main body does not obviously include WP:N (it's in the header, but not the lead) - that needs to be stated (which the present version does). Again, remember that WP:N added "significant coverage in secondary sources" in May 07, so what happened after this July revision was to include that language in WP:FICT. However, when that is added to the text present in the July revision, the rest of the guidance given doesn't seem to support that issue: there's little about secondary sources or demonstrating notability - it simply allows for more fictional content to be created but no guidance where a line should be drawn. Additionally, going off something Hiding said above, in that WP:FICT is nothing special as it merely reiterates obvious policies/GLs like PLOT and N, when those two are spelled out as they are, they suggest a strong line for what fictional notability is, one that is not apparent if you read the two aspects separately, and because of that stronger line, this is what likely led to this entire "deletionists" thing in that people used it to be bold about putting up non-notable articles for AfD.
I think we can take that guideline, what we have now, and various intermediates and come up with a guideline that does the following:
  1. Explain what policies are being considered as to create "fictional notability" (PLOT and N)
  2. Additional rationale why this guideline exists
  3. Methods of writing and handling articles as to demonstrate notability, and creating sub-articles (char lists) that fit with summary style
  4. Examples of both good and bad articles wrt to notability.
  5. Methods for handling of articles that lack demonstration of notability (notify, AGF, merge, transwiki, deletion last resort)
Again, its not so much that we're creating new policy or guidelines, I think a rewrite needs to provide the guidance for fiction and notability, both to those writing and to those copy-editing; this is above and beyond WP:WAF, which is more how to organize an article, or at least can be considered a larger discussion of specific aspects of article organization. --MASEM 17:45, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I like the July version for it's focus on WP:Plot, but it fails as far as a notability guideline. If we can make something that emphasizes WP:Plot and notability I would be happy with it. It just needs to be made clear that there are rules about fiction that supersede notability. You can have 10,000 sources but if none of them add real world context then you may pass notability, but you fail WP:Plot. Ridernyc (talk) 18:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

tl;dr, but will read later. I just have to say this first: List of Shakespearean characters: A-K is the most absurd example I've seen used on this talk page. To think that WP:FICT calls for its deletion is a bit much. When a work of fiction is this old, and has an impact that this has (tons of additional adaptations, tons more of indirect adaptations and inspirations, and more), then yeah, you get to have these kinds of lists. This is the kind of list that part two of WP:FICT#Notable topics deals with. The parent topic covers the notability and justifies the list, but for style reasons it exists as a simple list. -- Ned Scott 20:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Going a little deeper into this thread: I'm not really sure if you can say that the major/minor point of the original WP:FICT is different from what we have now, it's just no longer explicitly said. There are pros and cons to that. The old wording as simple, straight forward, and did help us easily deal with many plotty articles. But we also want to deal with main characters who might not need their own article, and we want to deal with minor character/element lists that are very excessive (listing very minor characters and very minor details about them). I can see the wording being used again, or not being used. Examples would likely be key, helping people understand what some of the limits of lists there are, and evaluating what is a main character, or if that information really is better organized as an individual article or also in a list.
During the last big dispute, there were ideas about having multi-level "notability" for fiction. I can't remember all the details right now (I'll reread the archives in a bit) but from what I can remember, mixed with my own personal advice, I can see three levels being defined:
  • Notable by multi-source- independently notable. Even as a sub-topic, it passes WP:N and can stand on it's own.
  • Notable by real-world information- Same as above, but without multiple and/or independent sources. Since it's still a sub-topic, I can see a reasonable argument for not requiring multi-sources as much, and being in it's own article because the main topic contains a so much information (style reasons). The only time I've really seen this somewhat backfire on us is with articles like Spoo (a very minor element having a large amount of real-world information), but those are pretty rare situations, and there isn't even much agreement on the extent of what should be done for them. Normally, real-world information normally helps self-regulate this kind thing. Takes care of the only-plot concern, and more often than not, does result in relevant information that we desire.
  • Style/technical reasons- Similar to part two of WP:FICT#Notable topics, in that the sub-article might lack any real-world information. Born for reasons of style or technical whatever, but limited by asking that such content be seen as part of the main article, and cut back as needed. Basically, this would consist of lists/groupings, with examples to help people understand what limits should be used. A tricky level to define.
-- Ned Scott 21:21, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Does merchandise indicate notability?

Is the passage "For articles about fictional concepts, reliable secondary sources cover information such as sales figures, critical and popular reception, development, cultural impact, and merchandise; this information describes the real-world aspects of the concept, so it is real-world content." intended to indicate that the very existance of merchandise confers some measure of real-world notability on the subject of the merchandise? -Malkinann (talk) 01:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

It can, though in many cases it's pretty standard to have merchandise for any given work. It depends on the context. For example, Star Wars toys becoming valuable collector items. It probably would be good to clarify this in some way. -- Ned Scott 01:27, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It's mostly supplemental information. It's good for it to be talked about on some level (though entire sections are a bit too much), but it cannot really assert or establish notability in most cases. TTN (talk) 01:30, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think the notability of the merchandise itself needs to be considered. Nearly every anime character has some cosplay item or custom model to go along with them ... it doesn't convey much extra notability to the show. Something like Hello Kitty or Tickle Me Elmo does create notability ... probably more people recognize those two characters than have ever watched a show with either character in it.Kww (talk) 01:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Reason why I'm asking is that WT:MOS-ANIME is attempting to establish style guidelines for anime character articles including a "Reception" section (to help establish the notability of the character), and sales figures for character merchandise are being recommended, which will be difficult to come across. -Malkinann (talk) 01:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It would be foolish to try to make such information mandatory, but if it's available, it could go a long way to establishing notability. Whatever the yen value of Doraemon merchandise sales is, it must be astronomical, and could probably establish notability all on its own.Kww (talk) 02:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Sometimes, though, information about merchandising for a series is conflated together - so while grand totals may be available, it's impossible to say the sales figures for items of an individual character. What would be an acceptable alternative to sales figures of character merchandise? -Malkinann (talk) 02:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I would be veeeery careful here. A toy line across numerous characters demonstrates notability of the characters, but not necessarily individual characters. A specific, unique, toy (aka Tickle-Me-Elmo) may help to demonstrate individual character notability. And I have to agree that just the existence of the toy line alone is not enough (see toyetic where toys can precede the fictional medium), info on the sales/popularity have to be taken into account. --MASEM 02:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "A toy line across numerous characters demonstrates notability of the characters, but not necessarily individual characters." Sales and popularity of the merchandise may not be available for any given character, except, possibly, for mascot characters like Doraemon. Hopefully any character "Reception" section would not solely be comprised of a list of toys, but would have other information too. If merchandise exists, whether in toy line or individual form, does it help give a character notability? -Malkinann (talk) 02:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

You have the gist of what I'm saying - mechandising is generally across the whole cast of characters and not just one (save for like Doraemon or Pikachu). Saying that "such and such a line of toys sold well" is good to support a list of characters for notability, but it is not specific enough to support one single character, unless the info included "character X outsold the others in the line by more than double". But again, this is not alone enough to demonstrate notability. --MASEM 02:55, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Say that you initially only have the information that there were toys of these characters - you might have information about that the character was represented in key rings, capsule toys, plush toys, fashion dolls, T-shirts etc. Say that the franchise is outmoded, or that the toy manufacturers were being cagey about sales figures, or both. Is this a start on helping to provide notability? -Malkinann (talk) 00:10, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
My opinion is that that's not enough to demonstrate alone but is supporting for notability. Again, the example of toyetic franchises where they make the toys and then the fictional work around it is technically all primary sources. --MASEM 00:16, 17 December 2007 (UTC)


If there is a worry that there is a lack of participants in this debate, is it worth making an RFC? I've added a pointer at WP:VPP, but I don't know how widely read rfc and the pump is these days. Is it an idea to put pointers on relevant project pages, or even into project banners, to get the word out? Hiding T 17:34, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I would make if an RFC. If you read some of the comments in the current ARBCom case one thing that they are pointing out is these guidelines are being written by small groups of editors and do not represent consensus of the community as a whole. Ridernyc (talk) 18:18, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but after we get a good replacement draft that we (the small group here) agree on, and then pose as an RFC to get more eyes on the subject. --MASEM 18:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Read it again, Ridernyc. Only WP:EPISODE was commented on. -- Ned Scott 23:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Read it again Ned. "The dispute centers on the existence of articles regarding individual episodes or characters from television series, and is part of a broader disagreement regarding the interpretation of notability guidelines with reference to fictional and popular culture topics." (my emphasis) Hiding T 00:16, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
The arbcom have not made any comment on the consensus status of this guideline. From the same quote you've shown, the rest is interpretation of such guidelines, not the consensus status of it. -- Ned Scott 07:23, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Be Bold. Ask for input at the Wikipedia:Community Portal. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 18:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I was bold. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 19:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

depth of coverage?

Just to put it out there, since it crossed my mind today: what about instead of calling this "notability" we call it something like "fictional depth" or "depth of fiction coverage"? It's not really about what is notable or not, but rather how we organize it, and how much detail we place on it. It might help give some perspective on what we're trying to do. Just a thought. -- Ned Scott 07:31, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

That sounds reasonable. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 15:17, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I think this still is a specific application of notability (and thus is still "Notability (fiction)"). And while I agree that, to some extent, we are talking about depth of coverage, we're not guidance directly related to that: we're not telling people exactly how deep in details they can go, but more that the depth of coverage they can provide is affected by a number of factors, with notability being one of the more critical ones. I do not want to say, explicitly, that a work of fiction can have an article about elements X, Y, and Z.
But it is still a good term to include, a section on it can't hurt. I think a lot of its discuss starts to fall out from WP:UNDUE in addition to other elements. --MASEM 15:27, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking that as well. How different factors determine the depth, etc. Even if the guideline itself stays at it's current title, giving some perspective as "depth" will help people understand that many of these characters/ elements are not black and white, totally include or totally exclude. -- Ned Scott 04:20, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Proposed change version 2 - One proposition to rule them all

Looking through the arguments people put on this page, all of them can be summarised into one

"Many notable fictional concepts/people do not have reliable secondary sources as the only source of infomation is from the writers of the anime/cartoon/film(and that is primary)" it is the same as problem as the proposed change version 1(the one on top of the page)

the difference is solution

Now, secondary sources are used to assert the notability and because they are used ONLY to assert notability, unreliable secondary sources would still count and make the articale notable. In addition to that, popularity = notability(as discussed above) so if the articale is popular, we know its notable.

So notable fiction articales would get written from primary sources as long as they have secondary sources(reguardless notable or not) or a good popularity ranking.

This is just to discuss this change as I want to see what the community thinks of this and hopefully we will get some response from people and fix anything that isnt good and get this policy changed. Af648 09:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

And that is supposed to mean? In what way does it contridict? *Cough* WP:VAGUEWAVE Af648 08:15, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
We also have WP:IAR, WP:CONSENSUS, WP:NOT#BURO, (and the related essays WP:CREEP, WP:DOSPAGWYA, and WP:WTF? OMG! TMD TLA. ARG!, and yes, the irony is intentional). "Contradicting policy" is not in itself a sufficient argument, especially when you haven't demonstrated such contradiction, but only asserted it. DHowell (talk) 12:30, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
It's pretty obvious how such a statement directly conflicts with our core policies, which we don't ignore, nor can a consensus over ride those policies. However, I'm not sure if we have the same things in mind. Like I asked Af a little bit below, what examples do you have in mind? I'm not sure if we are on the same page here. -- Ned Scott 21:44, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Sorry for being so cryptic - Af proposes to take unreliable sources into account, while an encyclopedia needs reliable ones for verification. Af proposes to write from primary sources, which is considered original research. (Unless, of course, you restrict to "descriptive claims" and "make no analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims", which is then very likely a mere plot summary.) Better? --B. Wolterding (talk) 16:46, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Again, it has been my impression that the primary source is the work of fiction itself, and the reason we ask for other sources is to find real-world information. So I cannot support such a proposal. -- Ned Scott 20:43, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not saying that we dont use reliable secondary sources if we can find them, we will use unreliable secondary sources to assert notability if there are no reliable ones Af648 08:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
"we will use unreliable secondary sources to assert notability" uh, yeah, that's not going to happen. We're not going to use forum posts or rumors to assert notability. I don't think that is what you are suggesting, though, so I must ask, what are some examples of "unreliable secondary sources" that you had in mind? -- Ned Scott 21:44, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
And why are we trying to demand the same standards for "reliability" for fiction that we use for subjects such as science, history, and biography? Unlike those subjects, primary sources for fictional topics are widely available, accessible, and easily understood without specialized knowledge or training. Unlike experimental results, historical artifacts, or eyewitness accounts, which typically require specialized analysis to determine their reliability and applicability to their subjects (which is why we require secondary sources in those cases), fictional works are the most reliable and authoritative sources for information about the fictional topics and elements contained therein. Also, if there are independent sources which deal with fictional topics from an in-universe perspective (including published derivative works and published plot descriptions and analysis), why are these any less valid as "reliable sources" than sources written from an out-of-universe perspective describing "real-world information"? If there a many novels written by multiple authors about a particular fictional topic, that ought to be evidence of notability without requiring secondary sources giving "real-world information". If there are published encyclopedias or companion guides to a work of fiction which significantly cover various fictional topics in an "in-universe" manner, those still ought to be allowed to establish notability. The fact that there are many novels or guides written by several authors about a topic is real-world information which we can cite to the existence of those sources, and we shouldn't require a secondary source to say that the topic is the subject of many novels or guides in order to prove it. DHowell (talk) 12:30, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
You are correct in that we are not (or we shouldn't be) treating notability in the same way as those other examples. We've never really had a problem with sourcing the plot itself with primary sources, and that isn't the intention. That's not really the point, though, rather it's that "other sources" go hand in hand with "real-world information". We want real-world information to justify additional articles beyond what is needed for a basic understanding. -- Ned Scott 21:48, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking using things such as fansites(that are not too off) to assert notability, not to use them as a source.Af648 03:11, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that's going to fly. -- Ned Scott 07:23, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Draft #2

I've edited my draft to include some of the issues discussed above, to wit:

  • There's almost a class of sources between primary and secondary, while I will call "1.5 sources" - these are interviews, commentaries, and other materials generally by the creators, but typically made at some point after the release of the work, and generally not self-published. There is precedent in past consensus on AfD and other projects that these are acceptable to show real-world information and thus notability. I've worded parts of this to allow such aspects to be included.
  • I've tried to word more about deletion, being that you do NOT want to go there if you can take any other route as deletion means its gone forever. Discuss, merge, transwiki, all good options, but deletion has to be the last resort.
  • Strengthen that sub articles still need to meet V, OR, NPOV
  • Added FF8 characters as example, but we still need more (both good and bad ones).

I think we're getting closer to something that will help satisfy both sides and the middle ground. --MASEM 19:33, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

  • I think the lead needs to be clearer: Something like Individual articles dealing with fictional works or topics need to demonstrate real-world notability, backed up by reliable secondary sources. The real world context of fictional topics should be the principle focus of the article. Articles written from an in-universe perspective, such as plot-summaries or character biographies & development are typically discouraged. Writing about such works is more fully defined in the Writing about Fiction manual of style. While fictional topics should provide readers with an appropriate context of their fictional setting, it is important to ensure that the main focus of the article remain its real-world impact. I know that's a bit repetitive, but I think we need the emphasis on real-world impact/notability. Eusebeus (talk) 20:42, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I haven't read the latest draft in detail yet, but before I go to work, I wanted to point out that I very much agree with the "1.5 sources" that Masem mentions. This is similar to the "dependent notability" that I mentioned a ways up in the discussion. -- Ned Scott 22:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Eusebius, as comment on your suggested lede, I am going to basically disagree that "Articles written from an in-universe perspective, such as plot-summaries or character biographies & development are typically discouraged. " They are to be 'encouraged, and written properly and proportionately. they are describing the nature of the artifact being discussed. It is as appropriate to describe the plot of fiction as the workings of a machine. The problems come when they are written over-long and incompetently, as is usually the case here, which has given them a deserved bad reputation. If we paid them proper attention , we would be able to do them better. I am also going to disagree with the focus on "article" the focus is on the article or articles on a work of fiction, seen together. The draft has it better. DGG (talk) 02:40, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
      • Agreed, plot information gives a description of what the character, episode, whatever is. We need to define what we're speaking about before launching into secondary data of rewards, popularity and marketting campaigns. Too much focus has been on trivial, secondary matters to the expense of the reader not having an understanding of what the article is about. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 00:13, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • But in the draft, why in the second paragraph should plot take precedence over characters? Plot, characters, setting, theme--these are all relevant aspects and the article or relevant article must describe each of them. Whether it takes separate articles on the aspects depends on the importance of the work, which affects how much there is to say. DGG (talk) 02:38, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
By WP:WAF, it is a given that a good article on a fictional work will describe the plot. This plot, of course, will discuss characters, settings, and necessary aspects, as the plot is the overall embodiment of these elements. However, it is not always the case that it is necessary to describe the characters, setting, or the like in any depth outside of the plot - it can happen (and often does, and a case that we still want allowable by rewriting this), but not every piece of fiction (particularly one shot works like books or movies, or short lived TV shows) need to have a separate, called out character/setting/etc. section. Also, while characters, settings, etc can all be broken out from the article, it is never acceptable to remove the plot as describing what events take place during the work from the article about the work (that is, there is no allowable plot sub-article), thus it has to be treated more importantly than the other facets of the fictional universe, which all help to support it. --MASEM 08:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Would such things as mentions in "episode guides" count as establishing notability and verifiably under this? My position is that they should absolutely not, and only fictional topics with applicable real-world impact should have it. For instance, Leopold Bloom is notable, as is Doctor Who, but perhaps not Gowron or Elayne Trakand, as they have not had a real world impact. I think this is what you are trying to get at, but it could maybe be a little clearer. Lankiveil (talk) 06:51, 16 December 2007 (UTC).
An episode guide that does not point out anything else besides what happened in the episode is, IMO, not my "1.5" source but a pure primary source, even if written by a third party. If the guide did include additional details that help with real-world impact, it falls into my suggested "1.5" category and would be suitable for the notability demonstration (assuming it also reliable). --MASEM 08:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Per DGG's point above, his suggestion, as I understand it is: Articles written from an in-universe perspective, such as plot-summaries or character biographies & development, are typically encouraged, and [should be] written properly and proportionately. Are you asking, therefore, that the guideline be rewritten to promote coverage of in-universe topics and to diminish the importance of real-world significance? We would also need to rewrite WP:N#PLOT per your suggestion. That seems a bold proposal but one that I think we can certainly discuss. But you are in disagreement, therefore, with more than just my rewrite of the lead. Eusebeus (talk) 20:16, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if his suggestion is that extreme, but I was also a bit unclear about it. I think what he means is that we don't discourage writing the proper amount of plot-summary information, which is true, but also kind of a given. -- Ned Scott 04:25, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I would definitely not include the word "encouraged". We don't want to make in-universe taboo, but we don't want these to flourish without rationale discussion and consensus by editors to make sure such articles are appropriate for the core material. --MASEM 04:30, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, DGG can answer for himself, but the statement: It is as appropriate to describe the plot of fiction as [it is] the workings of a machine. The problems come when they are written over-long and incompetently, as is usually the case here, which has given them a deserved bad reputation suggests that DGG believes the real-world significance of fictional topics is not important; hence his disagreement with my rewrite & apparent willingness to accept articles written from in-universe. I think that is a defensible position (one I disagree with of course), but it would change substantially the intent of the guideline, both as it exists now and as Masem has re-crafted it. Eusebeus (talk) 14:32, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • As for "It is as appropriate to describe the plot of fiction as the workings of a machine": In a way I agree; and I would definitely not want to read a technical manual or operating guide of a Nokia 8265i here. Of course, it is encouraged to write how a mobile phone works - there are plenty of independent sources about that -, but the same does not hold for a single model. Similarly, an encyclopedia should not retell the plot of a particular TV series or episode (while it should explain the characteristics of a soap opera).
    I also think that the draft might make that even more clear - define what real-world content is (with examples), define what in-universe content is (with examples), state that real-world content is the goal for an encyclopedia, and in-universe information is supportive. --B. Wolterding (talk) 17:17, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, let's be clear about the choices being considered in the rewrite (and I salute Masem's efforts here). I think there is a legitimate concern that drive-by references to real world context (DVD commentary or a Nielsen rating, eg) can in turn justify extensive in-universe details. That invites gaming the system if consensus remains that Wikipedia is not a repository for fan-driven, in-universe content. Either we encourage the creation of individual articles on fictional topics that offer a wealth of in-universe content as encyclopedic (per DGG) or else we do not. And that needs to be made clear in the opening paragraph of the guideline. The rest is details. Eusebeus (talk) 17:46, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

My draft

User:Masem/wp-fict-proposed It's not perfect, but I think this incorporates a lot of the language that has come up over the last few days. I'm sure the language itself can be improved, I'm just trying to get the concepts down for further discussion points. --MASEM 18:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I came here as a result of the note at the Village pump. I like Masem's draft better than the other one -- it is more concise and seems to emphazise the key points better. However, I'm against any text that tells other editors what steps they have to follow before they can list an article at AfD. To me, this is saying you shouldn't ever send a fiction article to AfD unless you've left a note on the talk page and tagged the article and then waited 1 month, and that is not something the fiction notability guideline should be concerned with. Karanacs (talk) 19:22, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I am unaware exactly how tagging show be dealt with (it seems like there's different standards for each tag type), but if it is outside the concerns of fictional notability, I would definitely want to point to its preferred/consensus-agreed usage. Do note that the reason deletion and other methods are spelled out in details is the relative recent amount of articles going to AfD due to lack of notability, and the result issues with people asserting this is the wrong way to do it - the previous draft left it too open that deletion was a possible first option and the attempt here is to outline it as the absolute last option. --MASEM 20:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
This proposed rewrite is much better than the others, as it finally acknowledges some of the points that we have been raising (though I would still like a concession that sources for "real-world information" should not be a necessary requirement for notability; that independently-written in-universe and fictional sources should be allowed to establish notability as well, and that we can describe sources from a real-world and out-of-universe perspective without the sources themselves needing to be out-of-universe perspectives of real-world information). And we should be discouraging AfD until other methods of dealing with the problem have been attempted. AfD is one of the poorest approximations of consensus we have, it has all the problems described in WP:POLLS regardless of how much we call it a "discussion" and talk about "!votes". In my ideal vision of Wikipedia, all deletion would be handled through speedy deletion and proposed deletion (actually my ideal vision of Wikipedia would have pure wiki deletion but that is apparently never going to happen here); all other material would be edited, trimmed, merged, redirected, or improved as appropriately decided by the consensus of those truly interested in the topic. DHowell (talk) 13:24, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that there is some precedent that "once removed" primary sources are ok - these would be commentary by the creative artists of the work typically post-release of the work, interviews with such, and third-party books that summarize the fictional work - as evidenced by how many Simpsons episodes are of Good Article quality or better by primarily rely on the DVD commentary and a third-party guide. But again, this has to be real world information from those sources - how the work was influenced, possible feedback, etc, and not about details of the fictional universe. Right now at WP:NOR there is a big issue on discussing exactly what primary, secondary and tertiary sources are (as WP's definition tends to differ from literary science definitions), but once that seems to be settles, I would think it wise to get their input on that. The key here is that we're guided by WP:N's requirement of secondary sources, and as we want to provided real-world information, can the example sources be considered secondary for that purpose (since they are not directly tied to the body of fictional work). It seems obvious they should, but we need to be careful here. --MASEM 15:59, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
    • If you don't point to the alternatives, you shouldn't point to deletion. Our guide to deletion makes the same points. WP:N makes the same points. If we have to synch with WP:N on the common notability clause, we should synch with it on what to do if an article may not appear to meet the common clause. I'm not keen on the new draft as it asserts interview is a primary source and not suited for judging notability. I think that's too tight. There are times an interview is primary and times it is a secondary, depending on usage. The coverage itself is indicative of being worthy of note; not every author gets interviewed. Also, can we get better examples than Hamlet and Superman. They are kind of no-brainers. Anyone think of any? I think Anarky is still a good article, are there any featureds? Hiding T 21:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Instead of making the deletion process longer, why not simply reduce the harshness of the guideline, and have fewer deletions? The problem people have is the strictness of the guideline. I would suggest encouraging exceptions for very popular or very highly regarded fiction.--Nydas(Talk) 21:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree somewhat. I'd rather say that sub-articles can rely on their parent article for notability, if the parent article can demonstrate sufficient sourcing and if a consensus of Wikipedians agree. That way you just let everyone know that afd is the place to determine it, and arguing at afd that it fails WP:FICT is not on. You have to say why. Say in afd that Wikipedia can't cover the folds on Superman's cape in a single article, but on the other hand, also say that yes, we can cover his supporting cast in an article. It's a see it when we know it thing, and we need to acknowledge that. Articles should be deleted based on the arguments at AFD, not because this page exists. Hiding T 22:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
(to Nydas) By notability guideline standards, WP:FICT is hardly harsh, and is far more forgiving in what it asks when you compare it to other topics on Wikipedia. The bar has been set very low for these articles.
(to Hiding) The point of having a guideline, or most any project page on Wikipedia, is so we don't have to repeat ourselves for things that most of us agree on, so saying an article should not be deleted by this page isn't right. Even if it was an essay without a consensus, it's still an argument that holds weight on its own merit, and should be judged as such. We certainly should not allow individual article series to decide their own inclusion criteria on their own (not to say that no per-case-evaluation should take place, but we need criteria in addition to that). Articles lacking in real-world information, and are excessive for basic information, should be removed. That has always been the aim for WP:FICT. -- Ned Scott 23:33, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
You and I will have to agree to disagree then Ned, because I don't agree that it is enough to say delete, fails WP:WHATEVER in a deletion debate. It's lazy, sloppy, elevates guidance over core policies, fails to judge the article on its merits and is basically I DON'T LIKE IT. It may be I don't like it because it doesn't meet WP:WHATEVER, but when you have been instrumental in creating WP:WAHTEVER, you're basically saying it doesn't meet what I like. We don't have guidance to avoid repeating ourselves, we have guidance to describe how things are done. At the minute we don't have that here. An article is deleted because a consensus emerges at AFD to delete. An admin closes in accordance with the rough consensus taking into account policy. Not guidelines, policy. This guideline has no bearing on a close for an afd, and any participant in an afd acting in good faith to build a consensus should give a better reason to delete than per WP:WHATEVER. Even if all they do is state that the article has no sources that denote third party coverage. Whether you believe we should not allow each debate to set its own standards is beside the point. That's what deletion policy and guidance for admins on closing deletion debates states happens. Each debate is closed according to the strength of arguments advanced. Hiding T 00:10, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
As to what you believe to have always been the aim for WP:FICT, you are mistaken. The aim was never that "articles lacking in real-world information, and are excessive for basic information, should be removed." I think you need to re-read Wikipedia:Editing policy again, for starters. The original aim Of WP:FICT was that articles lacking in real-world information, and are excessive for basic information, should be improved. I think now we begin to understand what has happened to the guidance, and why deletion has moved up the ladder. Hiding T 00:13, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Well said, Hiding. The confusion over this issue has lead to issues such as TTN's current rampage-- a focus on improvement over deletion should always be followed. Jtrainor (talk) 00:44, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
It would be foolish to believe that every article on fiction even has the potential to be improved simply because some editor took a few seconds and clicked on a red link. -- Ned Scott 02:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
It would be equivalently foolish to believe that every article on fiction does not have the potential to be improved simply because some editor took a few seconds to slap a tag on an article and people weren't able improve the article within a certain timeframe. DHowell (talk) 13:24, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
You and I completely agree on that. -- Ned Scott 21:50, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Hiding, are you still just mad that I reverted you on WP:FICT? Why are you acting like this? If you want to nitpick at my wording then go ahead, but removed/improved, I only meant that: "what currently is there should not be there", nothing more, nothing less. You also completely missed the point about my comment of AFD discussions. I'm sorry there are people who blindly say "delete per" whatever, but there's a lot of us who are not doing so in a blind way. I myself try to make an effort to explain why I believe something doesn't pass a guideline, not just "PER WHATEVER", and I believe all people should actually give more than just a per whatever. But to say that a notability guideline has no place an an AfD discussion? What? -- Ned Scott 02:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
At no point have I implied that you do any such thing Ned. I'm also not sure where I have led you to believe I am in some way mad at you. I was unaware I was acting in any way other than attempting to discuss the issues with this guidance. As I have never argued that notability guidance has no place in an afd, I'm not going to defend that point. If you want to take the other issues to talk, that might be better. Hiding T 15:22, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, ok. Sorry about that, then :) -- Ned Scott 21:50, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Question then (to much of the above): Is what is in the proposed rewrite too strict or too lax? I did try to write the process such that deletion should be always considered as the last option when there is no option left available.
I have seen how some of TTN's cycles have gone for AfDs, though since he's been warned on AN/I at least once, he's been better. The problem is that this often leads to the following process: TTN tags an article non-notable. TTN comes back a month later, nothing's been changed to address non-notability. TTN proposes merging followed by deletion. Numerous "keep" votes are given, most following WP:ILIKEIT reasoning, or otherwise a rehash of WP:N/WP:FICT/WP:RS. Either the issue is dropped or the AfD/Merge is closed as being "keep", notability is not demonstrated. Yes, there is no timeline to demonstrate, but I also believe that leaving articles that lack notability demonstrations and do not reflect appropriate summary style too long will encourage the creation of more articles without those aspects by WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. To that end, I think it needs to be stated clearly that if an editor suggests a merge & trim of information on your article, you should not take that personally (hopefully) nor a slight on one's writing: merging will keep the key details of the information and if new information relating to notability does arise, great, recreate the article. --MASEM 02:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Compared to the de facto standard of other areas of Wikipedia, WP:FICT is very harsh. Train stations, major roads, hamlets, national level elected officials, tiny islands, species of beetle, London bus routes, horse racing events and asteroids are presumed to be notable, regardless of sources beyond evidence they exist. Fictional characters, on the other hand, are treated as little better than Internet memes (with some glaring exceptions).--Nydas(Talk) 10:13, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
While I continue to lack the stability to actively participate in this discussion, I thank you for bringing that up. --Kizor (talk) 12:34, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely. We allow tiny African villages, small-market radio stations, and numbered highways to be presumed notable often with no more evidence than a map, a government record or a newspaper blurb, and yet that same type of evidence is routinely rejected for fictional topics as being "too trivial". We've set the bar for fictional topics way higher than for other topics. I understand the need to keep Wikipedia from becoming a fan-wiki, but we can trim most of the true "fancruft" by simply not allowing non-notable self-published fan-fiction or fan speculation to be used as sources. DHowell (talk) 13:24, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed 100%!!! And the irony is, were it not for a dynamic, web based collaborative environment like wikipedia, those things like obscure roads or brand new media could never get coverage. It is almost a crime to kill the coverage of it here, the only place that can do it well. Renmiri (talk) 15:16, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I take some issue with the above comments. 1) Even a tiny radio station exists in the real world. The comparison reminds us (Masem) that we have to be very clear in underlining the need to assert real-world significance in fictional articles. (2) A tiny radio station or hamlet is unlikely to spawn sub page after subpage after subpage. The equivalent would be if every single radio show on my local station had its own article. By encouraging articles to focus on real world significance we avoid becoming a repository for fancruft, we apply an encyclopedic standard and we prevent myriads of subpages from being created which can almost never satisfy the criteria for a standalone. (3) Finally, even if one accepts that the standard here is perhaps more stringent than elsewhere, that is highly desirable in my view and could be sued as a case for improving standards elsewhere. I am no fan of roadcruft, for example. Eusebeus (talk) 15:35, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
The other problem specifically with fiction is that there are two policies that can be easily broken when writing about detailed fictional elements that cannot be done by the real-world "minutiae" that Nydas and DHowell points out. One with original research - whenever you summarize a plot, you are partaking a bit into this aspect since you are writing about the fictional work's events in your own manner. Of course, as long as you don't attempt to analysis or synthesize on what is presented, its generally not considered OR. However, the amount of true WP:NOR violations that can come in when writing about a work a fiction is proportion to how much is written - it is bound to happen particularly with newer editors. It may be easy to correct, but by provide some bound by stating some inclusion threshhold for fictional details, it is much easier to maintain. Similarly, neutral points of view can also be difficult to maintain as the body of work grows, particularly if these are written by highly interested fans of the work. It can lead to undue weight on one character or aspect. Now there is also the issue of non-free fair-use of plot summaries. There is yet any requirement/ArbCom/policy on this but plot summaries are a non-free, fair use of the fictional work as it is a derivative work of the work of fiction. If we were only to provide plot details, characters, settings, etc. without additional commentary, as set by US fair use laws, for a fictional work, there may be cause for Wikipedia to be sued by the owner of the fictional work (there are two known cases where publishers of a book that strictly summarized the details of a fictional work (one being Twin Peaks, I forget the other) without permission of the copyright own were sued and lost in court). This at least points out the importance of a balanced coverage of a fictional work between in-universe and real-world information particularly for educational purposes. As Wikipedia both encourages the minimal use of non-free fair use materials and that has set standards for their use that may exceed what is generally accepted for US, as to avoid any such lawsuits, we should consider this as well for fictional works. This is not to say we can't go into any element of a fictional work in depth, but this does tie in very well with notability guidelines - by satisfying notability, you are very likely at the same time satisfying appropriate fair use requirements. Again, there is yet no direct policy on fair use and plot summaries, but this becoming a cautionary tale in other parts of WP's policy. --MASEM 16:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Tiny radio stations have spawned sub page after sub page. Broadcasting schedules per year, articles on shows, they've been branched out, and they've been successfully dealt with. By encouraging editors to write encyclopedically and to source their information and to allow others to edit and to make them aware Wikipedia is a collaboration, we can avoid becoming a repository for fancruft. I tend to ignore stuff I don't like, as long as it is written per WP:V, WP:NPOV and WP:NOR. Hiding T 16:53, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I should point out that regarding radio stations, not everyone agrees that they have some kind of inherent notability. There's actually been a bit of a dispute about that lately. As far as physical places go, they do tend to have more leniency since they are a physical place that have existed for years upon years (sometimes in the hundreds). Even a town or a village with a small population has a much larger impact when you consider that population over the span of its existence. The thing here is that these towns and villages are the topic itself, rather than being stub-topics of a work of fiction, which is what we deal with. You can make an article about a tiny village, yes, but you can also make an article about a book that has been published, but that most people have never heard of. Where we come in is if there should be articles for every element of that book. Depending on your perspective those examples can be considered comparing apples with oranges. And like with radio stations, even physical places get questioned from time to time, and get updated notability requirements.
Some of those other examples are a bit odd. Living people have a pretty good criteria for inclusion, but anyone who has WP:BLP on their watchlists will tell you that there are constantly disagreements about the exact details of it. Species of beetle is another odd example, since that's fundamental information on a form of life. If you want to compare an article on a fictional character to a living species, then you're nuts. -- Ned Scott 21:59, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
My point is that beetle species articles are not subjected to this 'good/featured-or-annihilation' mentality. They're given the benefit of the doubt in the event of poor or non-existent sources. Fictional things don't get anything like that. Other controversial things, like bus routes, don't seem to attract time-bomb declarations like 'clean up or else' to the same extent that fiction does.--Nydas(Talk) 22:38, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
What you are saying it true. People have a subjective opinion of what is notable that they then use the guidelines to remove. I think it's the word "encyclopedia" that makes people think fiction articles need to be held to a higher standard. It also seems like the hard core pedians are more likely to be into strict application of notability with regards to fiction. They hang out here and argue their case, while most of the people who have their content removed don't. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 00:51, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think people target fiction over other topics for any reason other than what they choose to work on. I don't edit articles about beetles because I'm not interested in articles about beetles. The reason there is such a focus on fiction-related articles is simply that a lot of people are interested in working on those articles. It makes sense, if you think about it, since it's easier for the general public to dive into such articles. Same for "hard core" Wikipedians, they're just as much fans of these shows as the people who are on the "other side" of the debate. It's a very common misconception that people who want to be tighter on article on fiction are not fans.
So in short, fiction is a high traffic area for Wikipedia, simply because that's what a lot of people choose to focus on. It's not because of double standards, or because people hate fiction, or anything like that. (at least not for the bulk of it, in my opinion.)
And beetle species self-regulate by their own existence. We can only write articles of beetle species that exist or have once existed. Fiction, on the other hand, has no physical limit for article creation. -- Ned Scott 07:16, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
That fiction articles attract a lot of interest is all the more reason to beware of fads and movements, especially when the hardcore Wikipedians are also 'fans'. That doesn't help. Most fiction does not have fans, yet the presumption here is that fans exist for everything.--Nydas(Talk) 13:23, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're saying in this last response. If I understood your original comments correctly, my response was that people don't "go after" fiction more than another topic because it's fiction, but rather because they're simply interested in working on that area of Wikipedia. Wether or not people are fans was just a side comment, since it's often a misconception that people who "cut" or "delete" a lot of fiction articles are not fans and/or are "anti-fan". -- Ned Scott 04:30, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
That people who are deleting fiction are fans is not a factor that invites fairness or balance. In my experience people are rarely willing to tackle fiction they're fans of. In addition, I've already noted how the requirement for real-world info militates against fiction without special effects (in other words, fiction less likely to have a 'fanbase').--Nydas(Talk) 09:02, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I guess I haven't observed the same trends you speak of for articles with special effects, since my focus is mostly on anime topics. I do understand what you mean when you say that some articles are kinda screwed for not having as large of a fanbase, and hopefully we can find ways to counter that. -- Ned Scott 05:09, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
The way to counter it is to move beyond thinking of fans as naturally connected to fiction. How many Nobel Prize in Literature winners have 'fans'? Crime, romance, historical, literary and general fiction rarely have 'fans'.--Nydas(Talk) 22:01, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Re beetle species self-regulation: But is it not said in policy that merely existing does not make something noteable? Jtrainor (talk) 02:54, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't know if it's said in policy, but generally, yes. This is why we don't make articles for beetle species that have been recently discovered and have no published information on them yet. The scientific community will eventually review the discovery, give context to the information, and provide further information. -- Ned Scott 20:50, 19 December 2007 (UTC)


I think you will find that in fact, we do. There are hundreds of stubs for all sorts of minor species with nothing to show that they are particularly noteable and little in the way of sourcing. For that matter, there are hundreds of one-liner articles about little villages all over Europe, for that matter... Jtrainor (talk) 22:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Being a living species is pretty damn notable. A little village that existed for a hundred or so years is also notable. Peter Griffin's fight with a giant chicken cannot compare to that. -- Ned Scott 02:05, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
The first house I lived in has existed for more than a hundred years. Yet, if I were to make an article about it, it would be deleted for lacking noteability. Age is not an indicator of noteability. Jtrainor (talk) 03:04, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
We're not talking about one house. I don't doubt there are articles for very small places that should be deleted or merged, which does happen. -- Ned Scott 03:12, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
No one knows where Boven Bolivia is, and it is apparently under 3km from my house.Kww (talk) 03:21, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Then take it to deletion. -- Ned Scott 03:41, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

3rd Draft

diff from 2nd

Not much in terms of approach, just many language, trying to be more guiding, less prescriptive. --MASEM 18:27, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

My comments re: this draft:

  • Individual articles dealing with fictional works - this would extend the current guideline to include e.g. episode articles or the TV show / video game itself.
  • Characters of Final Fantasy VIII, while describing the major characters through in-universe style, contains notability aspects discussing the creation and popularity of the entire character cast. - I recently had a character list being basically GA-quick-failed for having the (short) character descriptions written in a slight in-universe style
  • paragraph Notability for such topics is based on Wikipedia's general notability requirement... There is too much explanation. Rather give a Good/Featured example.
  • I also note that this draft is similar to the de:WP:AüF (Articles about fictional things) from the German wikipedia, which is known to be überstrict. The main difference is that they don't separate between WP:FICT and WP:WAF, and let WP:N take care of the notability. Another is that they basically say, every fictional element must be covered in the main article except for things that span many works by different authors, e.g. Superman, Robin Hood and Mickey Mouse; everything else (namely fictional characters, locations and things) can only be covered in detail in so called accumulative articles. They say nothing about significant coverage in reliable third-party sources for these accumulative articles.

Ridernyc just said something relevant about WP:PLOT being a major issue, not so much notability. This is especially true for main characters of popular shows. Take Jack Shephard from Lost, where about 70% of the article shouldn't be there. But there is also Boone Carlyle, a minor main character of Lost, and since he has established notability quite well (I often use him as a good example), a merge proposal for the other dozen of main Lost characters cannot be successful if we're talking about "notability". If we however care about the presentation of currently available information, then a guideline merge with WP:WAF will be quite interesting. (I know, this proposal is not new and I'm getting ahead of myself.) – sgeureka t•c 15:53, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm thinking exactly in line with this. I have not added it (it will be 4th draft) but I want to add a para that outlines that 1) not all notable topics need an article 2) notability has to be appropriate for the scope of the article (notability on character cast does not imply notability of a single character) 3) grouping notable topics into a logical list/summary article may be much better than having several shorter (but still notable) articles on smaller topics. And I do agree, WP:PLOT is policy, WP:N is guideline, so the emphasis should be on keeping plot/in-universe details in line with PLOT while still demonstrating notability.
Which article failed GA due to having short in-universe items? Comparison always helps.
Please feel free to edit my draft if you have wording choice suggestions and improvements. --MASEM 17:49, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The draft is too long and too harsh. You've not made the core concepts any less strict (softer wording will have no effect), so this will never get consensus. I would suggest restoring the assumption that major characters in major works are notable, as is standard practice for elected officials, coins, beetles, etc.--Nydas(Talk) 18:26, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Which article failed GA due to having short in-universe items? - This revision, but I did a quick rewrite (basically the current version) and took it to GA Review so that it is a GA now. Maybe I just had bad luck with the reviewer, although I admit that the rewrite made the article better.
Please feel free to edit my draft - Will do. I don't like messing in other editor's userspace unless I know that I may. :-) – sgeureka t•c 18:31, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
That's a weird GA failing/promotion but shows the system works :-) - and definitely between that, Chars of Kingdom Hearts, most of the GA Simpsons episodes, and even Spoo (!!) I'm pretty happy with interpreting the notability guideline when coupled with present discussions about what "primary" and "secondary" sources are to come to this "1.5 source" idea that (I believe) does not reduce the quality of WP but still allows fictional elements to be covered appropriately. --MASEM 18:49, 19 December 2007 (UTC)