Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)/Archive 21

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Independent of the subject

What's the thinking on the addition of the phrase "independent of the subject"? I don't want to edit war on it, but I just feel that it is pushing the guidance back to the position it was in when it was disputed. The discussion up above seems to indicate that the consensus is that commentaries and the like are good sources to use, and that we would rather have good and featured articles than notable articles, yet this addition conflicts with that consensus, so I'd be interested in debate on this position. Are we building an encyclopedia of featured articles or an encyclopedia on what some consider notable topics. Hiding T 09:53, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

My feeling about the notability guidelines in general is that their purpose is to keep original research out of the encyclopedia. Those involved with the creation of a work of fiction are generally the best and most reliable source of information about it (both real-world and in-universe), so excluding them is self-defeating.--Father Goose (talk) 10:43, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
What an article needs is secondary commentary, and I personally don't care where it's coming from (producers, NY Times) as long as it is an acknowledged reliable source. Third-party coverage, which usually exists to a minimum when 1.5 sources exist anyway, is always nice but not strictly necessary unless you want to take an article to GA and/or FA. – sgeureka t•c 11:04, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Since the section in particular is about the real world impact of the work in question I do not feel the creator of the work is totally reliable. While I can accept that independence is counter productive in the specific case of documenting the work's development. In the case of the work's impact and historical significance the originator of the work is not such a good source. Taemyr (talk) 11:10, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
The section also refers to development (production), which usually makes up a significant part of fiction-related GAs and FAs. Also, the development phase (at least for TV) has an obvious real-world impact on the dozens of people producing the fictional element. Generally speaking, it is usually the 1.5 sources providing production details (via interviews and "self-published" commentary), so not allowing an article just because it is at the moment not possible to write a reception section is IMO the wrong way. – sgeureka t•c 12:01, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I think independent sources should be encouraged to be used when at all possible. Only if independent sources cannot be found should self published sources (including commentary) be used. I see no harm in spelling that out in the guideline. Karanacs (talk) 16:40, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I know there's somewhere in policy that says something to this extent for verification. (I can't find it at WP:V at the moment). However, we need to be careful here. Obviously, we don't want this clause to allow someone's fan fiction to become notable just because the author came back and created a separate commentary article. There are definite extremes to the usage of this, but the middle ground is very unclear and we need to state something that makes it less so (but still flexible as per being a guideline) --MASEM 16:50, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
You don't mean WP:SPS, part of WP:V, which Karanacs just linked to? My thumb of rule is that anyone who has had a wikipedia article about them for a while, is generally "reliable" as a self-published source. But even the term "self-published" is vague - a producer's blog is obviously self-published, but what about audio commentaries (kind of self-published because they can say what they want) or interviews (they are limited what they can say, but these interviews still present a transcript-y type of commentary... – sgeureka t•c 17:08, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I think interviews would qualify as independent because the interviewer is given the opportunity to fact-check. They can ask follow-up questions to clarify, and they usually do research about the topic beforehand so that they can point out inconsistencies or untruths. The biggest question is who is doing the interviewing, because if it is that person's mother, for example, I don't think that should count ;) Karanacs (talk) 19:18, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
It would have to be an interview published in an independent work. In that case, I don't really see how it would be any different from any other third party coverage. It's also worth considering exactly what "independent" means. I've had a discussion about whether a record label releasing an album counts as "independent" coverage of the band that recorded the records. (I'd say it does.) The same thing might apply to DVD commentary, but most of those are prefaced with the DVD company saying "we don't necessarily endorse anything you'll hear" or something like that. —Torc. (Talk.) 19:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I am going to readd the independence of the subject comment. It is an essential component of the idea of notability, any subject, fictional or otherwise can recieve coverage by non-independent sources through promotion, interviews, etc. By no means do I think that this type of source should be excluded from the article, especially in regard to the fictional elements they are often reliable but that does not mean that third party coverage should not be required. We should be aiming to build an encyclopaedia of good and featured articles on topics deemed suitbale for inclusion by the consensus of the community, by consensus notability is currently a criteria for inclusion. Guest9999 (talk) 21:04, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Where is "independent" defined? —Torc. (Talk.) 21:06, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Independent is definated at WP:NN
""Independent of the subject" excludes works produced by those affiliated with the subject including (but not limited to): self-publicity, advertising, self-published material by the subject, autobiographies, press releases, etc"
which then has a link to the following statement at the bottom of the page.
"Works produced by the subject, or those with a strong connection to them, are unlikely to be strong evidence of interest by the world at large. See also: Wikipedia:Conflict of interest for handling of such situations.". Guest9999 (talk) 21:22, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Bleh, "those affiliated with the subject" is horribly ambiguous and open to interpretation and misuse, but that's not really a topic for this talk page. —Torc. (Talk.) 22:17, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused. To summarize as I see it, the question is over the line, "fictional concepts can be presumed notable if they have received significant real-world coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject." and whether the last clause about sources being independent of the subject belongs. From what I see, this line is a very small synthesis from the line quoted above it from WP:N. Whether the clause is included or not, WP:N still applies, and independent reliable sources are still required for a fictional topic to be notable. I softly lean to the opinion that the clause should remain because silently dropping it damages the soundness of the flow of logic the section presents.
Again the statement is about proving an article to be notable, not in proving that an article is allowed to exist. This document says that sub-articles are allowed to be non-notable so long as they follow the procedure described.
I may be reading comments wrong, but there seems to be come confusion between Notability as a criteria for article creation and verifiability as a criteria for content of the article. The existence of content in a DVD commentary does not demonstrate notability. On the other hand, DVD commentary can be used as hints of sources of evidence of notability, made-up example, a directory commentary saying, "I had no idea this concept would be big. I recently found out that some guy wrote an entire article in reputable science publication X, describing the implications of this fictional whatzit." which alerts the editor to seek out the article in question to be used for notability. (An exception would be things like commentaries from the Criterion Collection, where respected independent parties discuss the signifigance of a film). Commentary is not an independent source, but it is a secondary source. Again, we don't want this article to bleed into WP:WAF, so that sort of clarification is not terribly appropriate here.
Of course I could be completely off the ball here. In which case, ignore all these comments and instead interpret it as a request for clarification of the issue. -Verdatum (talk) 22:34, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
How I see the situation. WP:NN states - "A topic is presumed to be notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject.", therefore a fictional topic is notable if it "has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject.". In addition to this WP:FICT outlines certain specific circumstances where creating articles on non-notable elements of fictional works may be appropriate (although it's a proposed guideline and as such it is uncertain whether there is a consensus for this), that does not change the base criteris for notability. As with all areas of Wikipedia all article content must be verifiable by citing reliable sources. Guest9999 (talk) 23:49, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Are "topic" and "article" synonymous? I'm still of the belief one topic can encompass multiple articles. —Torc. (Talk.) 00:05, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Emphatically no. A topic is not the same as an article, and exactly as you say, can encompass several articles. This is necessary to support the concept of sub-articles as having notability being given by the parent topic. --MASEM 01:32, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but can we just clarify that WP:N is not the only form of determining notability, per WP:N. A lot of people seem top be of the opinion that this page has to restate WP:N because that page is the only possible formulation. If that is the case, I suggest they rewrite WP:N first, since that page makes it clear other options are allowed. As to the dispute at hand here, the reason we have avoided independence is the difficulty in defining such a subjective term. It was agreed it was too contentious to include. Are proponents for the inclusion interested in addressing that concern? Hiding T 23:57, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • As a proponent, my opinion is that it shouldn't be contentious. The addition of a requirement for independent sources shouldn't be a problem for any work of fiction that is notable. Almost all fictional works are subject to reviews in multiple independent publications and major works will likely have editorial pieces, academic works, award nominations, etc. If there is no independently sourced information it is unlikely that the topic is notable but the main body of WP:FICT (as it is currently written) gives numerous examples of when articles on such subjects may be appropriate anyway (largely for reasons of style). Independence of the subject is defined in WP:NN and it doesn't seem to complicated, I'd say any source from produced by or with the involvement of a person or group with a significant conflict of interest should not be considered independent. Interviews with authors (and producers, directors, etc.) in reliable sources may be a questionable but the existence of such interviews represents a depth of coverage that would seem to make it likely that unambiguously independent sources also exist so it shouldn't be an issue. Guest9999 (talk) 14:54, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

List vs. sub-article in discussion of WP:SS, and related paragraph in WP:FICT

Looking at discussions above, particularly here and here, it seems many editors are using the words sub-article and list interchangeably, or always together, "sub-article list." I must ask, what is the difference to you then? Of course this seems to be supported by the wording of the main page, to discourage the formation of any non-list subarticles.
From the main page-
Sub-articles on one character or element should be created only when appropriate; if they do not demonstrate independent notability, then they may be merged back into the main article or to a more expansive sub-article on multiple elements.
I find this restriction troubling, and conflicting with both WP:SS and WP:N. Reading the rationale section, sub-articles are created not because a subtopic has gained notability, but because comprehensive encyclopedic treatment (non-trivial to the subject, non-speculative, verifiable through RS) has made the section a distraction by it's sheer length. Notability is not even mentioned (do a word search). Before someone goes to fix this "error", it's been that way for a long time and for a good reason. The creation of sub-articles has to do with content, and by our notability standards, content is not subject to notability. We are saying that fictional subjects are for some reason different, and non-list subarticles need to "demonstrate idependent notability." If we are to indeed say that, then we also say WP:SS should be more strict.
but then it would end up contradicting itself -
This information should not be removed from Wikipedia: that would defeat the purpose of the contributions. So we must create new entries to hold the excised information.
non-trivial, non-speculative, verifiable information would be removed as "cruft", or we would end up having insanely large articles without the ability to move them because the content we want to move isn't notable on it's own (in non-list cases). The only way to justly limit this info is by now requiring content to be notable, thus rewriting WP:N. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 15:24, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
The root of the problem you're describing is two-fold.
  1. It seems that when wikipedia started out, it had a bottom-up approach. However, WP:FICT encourages a top-down approach because it makes sure that new articles are only started when the main article is already in a good enough shape (i.e. cannot hold more desired real-world information). Now, the problem is that WP:FICT is trying to "enforce" the summary style approach for articles that have already been created, which is a huge task to perform retroactively and which will take many months to finish. Once this is done, we will be much closer to WP:SS.
  2. Per WP:NOT#PLOT, plot is not considered encyclopedic information per se. So there is no good reason to start articles per WP:SS just to hold this kind of undesired information. However, a lot of people (newbies) don't know this, while others (usually well-meaning fans and inclusionists) actively fight this.
Listy subarticles are currently the only solution that seems to work to ensure at least some kind of quality. – sgeureka t•c 16:00, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
it seems necessary to discuss this one on one... i agree that "plot" as a loose term is not always desirable as the only material. however in cases where an element appears in multiple fictional genres, even small, balanced amounts "plot" tend take up too much room to include all the elements together on a specific page. i think the plot-ban tends to lose common sense when elements covering many genres, or complex and involved plots that would distract on the main page are thrown into the mix. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 18:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Sgeureka hit the point I was going to make; a fictional element without any information on notability or real-world aspects pretty much is going to be plot only, and per WP:PLOT, should not be encouraged; if a spinout feels like its needed, the first step should be to try to trim and transwiki material to avoid it. But because this is a guideline, and the use of "should", there are potentially times where a singular fictional element that is plot only may be better in its own article, but this likely an exceptional case, and those that I have seen like this can easily be culled and merged into "Universe of X" or the main article.
A key point here is that when we create an article on a singular topic (fictional or not), we as WP are implicitly stating that it is notable on its own, because we have given it its own page. On the other hand, articles that are "List of X in Y", or "Setting of Y" or the like imply further coverage of a larger topic and thus alone the information may or may not be notable, and we can then assume we can look to "Y" to find why "Y" is notable in the first place. Thus, it is preferred to present non-notable but "important" subtopics of a topic (in this case, the characters, setting, and so forth of fictional works) as belonging to that topic from the get-go - the article name - simply to avoid the implicit declaration of notability. --MASEM 16:16, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Good points Masem. I have an idea, why not create a essay or guideline along the lines of Wikipedia:Summary style in fiction? It could address these sort of "best practices" regarding dealing with long fiction articles (or fiction topics that have already been spread accross multiple articles through WP:SS. That way this guideline, that whould really just answer the question of whether or not an article on a fictional topic is notable, will not be bogged down with this type of procedural information. -Verdatum (talk) 16:41, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) an element with no notability or real-world aspects (which aren't necessarily synonomous) prolly can't have enough info to break itself out of a list in the first place. but one or the other is going to give it more than just plot. Take the Pokedex for example. A non-notable element of a notable fictional franchise. No published material outside of the work exists. However, it was made into a toy, in multiple incarnations, and it's plot material becomes extensive because it exists in the anime, TCG, and video games. I'm just saying notability shouldn't be the only requirement for a stand-alone sub-article. The "culling" you're talking about is the opposite of what WP:SS is trying to say. Plot is not bad, while ideally more should be in a sub-article than that - removing plot (and subsequently decreasing understanding of the topic as a whole) is what's bad, especially when it's more for the sake of making it "fit" into a list, rather than decreasing redundancy and improving articles. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 18:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
There was a lot more on SS articles which I have since moved to WP:WAF which covers more of the procedural aspects. However, this is an area where notability and MOS overlap heavily, so it's really hard to prune the concept from one completely. --MASEM 18:14, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
(wrote this yesterday, but the DB barfed) I see it now. I apparently either hadn't seen it or just forgotten about it. Looks good. -Verdatum (talk) 18:56, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
(Double edit conflict, this was composed before reading Sgeureka and Masem's comments) OK, After reading this a couple times, I think I see the problem. It appears to merely be one of tone. It says a sub-article may be merged back into the parent article, but does not mean to suggest it is required. The proceeding sentence of the article is important, "A sub-article should be viewed as an extension of the parent article, judged as if it was still a section of that article, and identified in the lead section as an article covering elements within a fictional work." I think the wording was an attempt to suggest that notable sub-articles may be allowed to exist even in the case that both the parent and sub-articles are small enough to allow a merge, and not to take the guideline as a directive to go about merging articles together merely because they are small and follow some logical hierarchy.
Personally though, I feel this policy is not at all specific to fictional articles; issues such as selection criteria and notabilty should instead indeed by addressed in WP:SS (In fact, that's where I started with my concerns, and the discussion was taken over here). It just so happens that this issue of long articles with subsections that are unable to assert independent notability happens most often in fictional topics. -Verdatum (talk) 16:34, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
you're right about fiction being the most likely area of this occuring. but like i said before, stricter guidelines on SS means we start grading the notability of content, b/c SS isn't about what to do when a notable aspect of an article pops up - it's about what to do when an aticle becomes too long or unbalanced (POV and topically), and it's basic principal is that the information which had been there and made sense in the parent article should not merely be deleted or trimmed-to-fit because, "that content is just plot/nn/etc."
as for the interpretation of the phrase -
A sub-article should be viewed as an extension of the parent article, judged as if it was still a section of that article, and identified in the lead section as an article covering elements within a fictional work.
I think you put in meaning that's just not there. You say the sub-article was meant to be notable, and the wording was suggesting small, mergeable articles be kept seperate. This is a complete contradiction of what SS's definition is. It's talking about breaking apart larger articles, not keeping small ones seperate. And debating what was "meant" is like debating the Bible. I'll gladly discuss what is actually said, but not what is meant. You throw notable into the mix, and it starts meaning that content needs to be notable, it just doesn't make sense or sync with the other guidelines out there. "Sub-articles" are merely a special breed and need to be handled as such. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 18:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I did not say "the sub-article was meant to be notable". I'm afraid you've lost me on that. My interpretation was so soft that there is absolutely no reason to explicitly mention it per WP:BEANS. I fully realize SS is not about keeping small articles separate. But this is not SS, it's WP:FICT. And debating intent or desired intent is exactly what this page is for. Unlike the bible, we can edit these guidelines, so if it is the case that the intent achieved by concensus doesn't match the wording of the guideline, then we change it. But I'm sure you know that. I'm still having trouble understanding your argument. When you say "You throw notable into the mix..." are you speaking specifically about my above comment, or are you speaking in the generic sense in regards to the project page? Will you please quote the exact passage that makes any implication "that content needs to be notable", as I can't find it. I think we all still agree on intent here; we're just not fully understanding eachother. Making another guess at the issue, when I say that WP:SS should address inclusion criteria and notability, i mean that it should explicitly say that notability does not apply as inclusion criteria for a sub-article. -Verdatum (talk) 19:44, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
i apologize for my rather off-the-top-of-my-head comment about debating intent. i was worried the conversation would turn too speculative, and it seemed, as i said above, you were adding words to the meaning. By that I mean, your statement-
I think the wording was an attempt to suggest that notable sub-articles may be allowed to exist even in the case that both the parent and sub-articles are small enough to allow a merge, and not to take the guideline as a directive to go about merging articles together merely because they are small and follow some logical hierarchy.
I just became confused as to why you started talking about merging right after a quote from SS. But at any rate I think we're in agreement, see the bottom of the discussion. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 16:26, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
If the issue is over the word may, people may want to clarify the definition of the word may and also look at WP:V, which states that unverified material may be removed. The word may empowers users to remove unverified information or to merge back to a parent article, i.e. can I do this, yes you may. However, it acknowledges also that this doesn't always happen. For example, why have you removed that unverified fact/merged that article, when those other unverified facts/un-merged articles exist? The word may is telling us what may be performed. On Wikipedia, nothing "must" happen, since we can ignore all rules. The word may expresses the consensus behind this guidance, as well as the possibility and the option and the permission, such as it is needed. I hope that clarifies. The word may does not mean you can obstruct on wiki-lawyer grounds. It means you can do otherwise where consensus is that the otherwise improves the encyclopedia. I think the consensus on Wikipedia is that the default position to take is to follow guidance. I am happy to be corrected on that score. Hiding T 17:01, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
My comment may have been unclear on my position, to clarify, I agree completely with this. I don't feel any real need to reword the quoted passage. -Verdatum (talk) 18:36, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Just to expand a little more, the word may acknowledges that it may not have happened yet in other articles. Part of the arbitration into redirection and merging has shown that this guidance is applied inconsistently. That doesn't necessarily invalidate the guidance is the current consensus, I believe. Hiding T 17:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
The common sense meaning of may is may, when appropriate. The detail of when it is appropriate will depend on the article. This is what happens in the analogous case; there is a clear consensus against removing everything that is unsourced unless it is in some way controversial or challenged for some reason. It's not a matter of IAR, its a matter of a guideline being flexible. DGG (talk) 18:06, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Heh. I tend to view the fact that guidelines are written as flexible to be a direct relation to the fact that we can ignore all rules. For me WP:IAR is the first rule on Wikipedia, and it is the basis for all others. Other people are of course free to disagree. Hiding T 19:29, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
it has nothing to do with may. It has to do with notability. In a section that discusses WP:SS, it contentiously discourages non-notable sub-articles even though WP:SS is all about content and therefore has nothing to do with notability. I'm a different sort of fiction-inclusionist/delusionist. I don't try and say that the Klingon language is notable (except maybe that there's even a Klingon Google), but that it offers comprehensive understanding of Trekkies and Star Trak as a whole, and therefore must be judged as a section of those notable articles, not on it's own (taken from WP:SS). -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 18:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Klingon language is a poor example of what I think you are trying to suggest, because it does appear to have notability (sources outside of Trek to explain how it actually has real-world influence, as well as the written Klingon language writing]]. Let's take United Federation of Planets as a better example, since, as the Klingon language, it is a facet of the Trek and makes sense to call out as a separate topic -- however, all that can be written on it is from primary sources, the UFP has no significant notability outside of Trek. So while presently the UFP has an article, this would be a case where this article isn't acting as a spinoff per SS, written primarily in-universe, and thus is better treated from an encyclopedic viewpoint as a element of a larger article, say "Major nations & races of Star Trek" (along with several others that fall under that class), which then is more appropriate as a spinoff of the main Star Trek article. --MASEM 19:07, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
You're not that different a sort of Wikipedia from where I am standing, nor probably from where DGG stands. Both of us have argued that some articles need to be viewed as if they are still sections of a main article. I think Torc2 feels the same, and if you check through the archives of this page, there are a large number of others. As I have said above, and DGG has better made the point, this is about two different approaches to Wikipedia, and how we solve our differences is the important thing. One of the issues with this guidance was that before it made no nod at all to WP:SS. We've tried to address that. However, since we've had the independent sourcing phrase re-added, I tend to agree with your broader point. For me sub-articles don't need to demonstrate notability to justify their inclusion. They simply have to improve the encyclopedia to justify their inclusion. Hiding T 19:29, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Well put Hiding, I agree. Conversely, a merge of such an article back into the parent simply has to improve the encyclopedia to justify its execution. -Verdatum (talk) 19:53, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. The problem seems to be how we work out how such things improve the encyclopedia. It's no good only using one criterion when others are equally valid. It tends to work out if we all follow WP:CONSENSUS. It tends to fail when people defend their own viewpoint to the detriment of listening to others. I think that's the nut currently before arb-com regards televisions episodes. Hiding T 20:06, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Whenever this comes up, my mind goes a million directions, so bear with me.
Topics may be spun out of main articles due to either size or style considerations. It might just make more sense to put an in-universe topic on its own page even if the parent article isn't butting up against the 32kb or 50kb or 100kb limit. That doesn't make the article a stand-alone article, and it doesn't mean there's an article that's entirely plot: the article is still part of a larger topic, and the main article on the topic will not be plot-only and will include all the necessary secondary coverage required to establish notability. When viewed as a whole, the plot information will be a small piece of Wikipedia's overall coverage of the topic, even if it dominates an individual subarticle. The key point is that the content itself won't be any different if it's spread over several easily navigable Wiki pages than if it was all on one page, so we really shouldn't treat it any differently.
It's also worth noting that while a single sub-article might fit back into a main article without exceeding size restrictions, merging all associated subtopics on something like Futurama or Star Trek into the main article would break size. It's easy to look at a single article and say "that can be merged", but there's no reason to pick just that article and not any of the others. Maybe the better approach is to try to coalesce smaller subarticles into larger subarticles. It was tempting during the mass AfDs and redirects a couple months back to just dump all the removed information into the main article, where it would be covered by WP:NNC. I thought doing that would come off as too much of a WP:POINTy edit though.
"Plot" and "in-universe information" are not synonymous. Character and location descriptions are not plot. Primary sources are still reliable sources. Non-interpretive descriptions of primary sources are not WP:OR. Nothing about the sub-article structure violates any main Wikipedia policy; in fact, it makes it easier to satisfy WP:NOT#PLOT ("not simply plot summaries") by ensuring the real-world information in the main topic is considered when viewing a subarticle.
None of the above precludes us from ensuring the level of detailed allowed is reasonable; we still it's just a defense of the subarticle structure. We should be looking for a threshold of inclusion for content that is not based on WP:N or secondary coverage, but that is limited primarily by the WP:OR guideline.
Anyway, I just wanted to dump all this off. —Torc. (Talk.) 20:55, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe there's necessarily anything against what we're trying to write/codify/explain in this FICT that goes against what you seem to be looking for. I see absolutely no problem that a topic could have one or more sub-articles that rely on the parent for notability, and from those, additional sub-sub-articles that are non-notable as well, relying on the base topic article. There is a common sense limit of course to this, but the key thing is that these should follow the spirit of WP:SS, that sub-articles could theoretically inserted back to the main article without issues, and similarly with the sub-sub-articles (of course, excluding SIZE concerns.) I will politely disagree, in that character and location information taken from primary sources is plot, but I do strongly agree that the summary style approach with appropriate primary sourcing doesn't violate any other policy, and WP:PLOT should only be used to prevent sub-articles from bloating into excessive long descriptions and biographies of the fictional elements; the idea of undue weight should be considered for the entire coverage of the topic and its subarticles, as well as within the article itself, which is where the depth of coverage becomes important.
A key thing that may need to be added is that FICT should not say that a topic should not be covered if it lacks real world/secondary sources; as long as it can be sourced to a reliable source (primary or better) it should be included. The only thing that changes is how that topic is covered: a topic only supported by primary information should be included in a larger grouping of equivalent non-notable elements of a notable parent article, or within the context of the notable parent article, while if it has secondary sources, it may very well deserve an article of its own. --MASEM 22:46, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
you've been using "plot" in a very broad sense, that equates with what i would call "fictional content"; surely in a more exact sense you recognize that while describing the plot (or writing it) involves describing the characters, these are aspects that are conceptually separate. Put all the characters of War and Peace together, and you would not have War and Peace. Conversely, what we know about the characters is not just what they do in the book, but what they think, and which is told to us by the author within the fictional content of the book, but outside the action itself. Pierre does relatively little in W&P, but he thinks a great deal, & most of Tolstoy's intent in the book is manifest in these thoughts. The same is true about Hamlet--except that shakespeare makes it very clear that he is never going to let anyone know just what the author's actual view of things is. In simpler fictions there can be less difference. Almost everything that happens in Harry Potter is explicit in the narration. If the author wants to make a moral, Dumbledore or Harry says it aloud. You could describe what takes place, and you would know everything about the characters. Not so in Hamlet, or War and Peace, or in Mrs Dalloway or Ulysses. (thus the greater appeal of simple works for fan fiction: one can invent just the same way the author did--there is nothing fundamental about the characters to constrain you). I know this is a somehat elaborate essay for the occasion, but the point is that fiction is not necessarily simple and neither is the writing of it. Along with theology, it has been one of the two major intellectual concerns of mankind.
This does not mean that I disagree with your general solution to the problems here. DGG (talk) 04:31, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Yea, I know I've been equating "plot" to "fictional content", but this is the approach taken by WP:PLOT, where the distinction is made from real-world context to, well, anything else that's not real-world context. We should make sure the FICT guideline doesn't blur this too much as much as I'm using more casually here. --MASEM 05:01, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Hopefully, I'm not just nitpicking, but I believe what is meant when the word plot is used by many in these related discussions, they refer to Primary information from fiction. I think there's just a natural bias toward using the word "Plot" because it's established in such places as the shortcut WP:PLOT; that and it's such a lovely, quick, one-syllable word. -Verdatum (talk) 18:50, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
It's strange to me that Wikipedia insists on independent verifiable confirmation for every fact presented, yet seems to have no problem redefining words like "plot" and "notability" in its documentation out of convenience. —Torc. (Talk.) 19:27, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I only just skimmed the discussion here (I really should be packing right now..) but I just wanted to throw in a response to part of the original post. It's a fine and often arbitrary line between a list and an article or sub-article in many situations. I view most of the "lists" we talk about in relation to WP:FICT as articles in a list format, rather than just a list. -- Ned Scott 05:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

as for "plot" vs. plot, i didn't know how contentious the subject was! like masem, i just use it as a general term for everything about a fictional element which comes straight from the fiction. anyways, it seems then that no one here is of the mind that sub-articles need to be notable. my request then is that we rewrite the sentence-
Sub-articles on one character or element should be created only when appropriate; if they do not demonstrate independent notability, then they may be merged back into the main article or to a more expansive sub-article on multiple elements
i feel the current wording can be used as a reasoning for saying, "This article doesn't meet WP:N so I'm going to strip it of everything but the most basic material and put it in a list." so we should remove the sentence about merging and notability and instead clarify on what we mean by "appropraite" -
Sub-articles on one character or element should be created only when appropriate; that is, when the amount of content on that element would be distracting or otherwise too long as described in WP:SS.
-ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 16:26, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
... no one here is of the mind that sub-articles need to be notable - I would say sub-articles (suitable for GA) should always be able to readily demonstrate notability (as in, "give me 30 minutes, and I'll come back to you with at least two non-trivial real-world-content paragraphs"), but should ideally already have such content at the point of creation. However, I do in fact have no hard-and-fast notability expectations of sub-lists (suitable for FL), although they should IMO still be able to have some (even trivial) real-world content. As for what your interpretation of the current wording: "basic material" can still mean "three or four paragraphs" to me, which is usually more than enough to give the reader an overview without going into original research or excessive plot. I therefore have no opinion about your proposal. :-) – sgeureka t•c 16:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I see what you're looking for - the language was trying to mix what to do with new articles vs existing ones. Plus it's a bit strong. So, I've rewritten it as follows:
A sub-article on a single non-notable character or element may be appropriate when the amount of content for that element would be distracting or otherwise too long within a parent topic or sub-article, as described by summary style. Editors should attempt to trim and transwiki details of the singular fictional element prior to the creation of a sub-article on it, as this may remove the need to create this sub-article. Editors are cautioned that articles on singular, non-notable fictional elements may be contested by other editors; more often, the contents of such an articles can be included into some grouping ("Characters", "Setting", or the like) within a sub-article list of the notable parent topic.
Language is more aimed to the general existence of these articles (old or new), the tone is altered: (should only be) replaced with (may be appropriate), and note that I've added the caution that these articles are likely to be challenged - this is comparable to , what I think Hiding added to the mass merge point described in the latter section. --MASEM 16:50, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
It's good that you mention the possible challenge, but I think this again creates too many situations where a fiction-related article "escapes" WP:NOTABILITY (and WP:NOT#PLOT and WP:OR) just because it is fiction-related, which I guess many people would contest. But could you give an example for a single non-notable character or element that you think most people here would feel is appropriate to have their own article in the long run? Or did you define notability here as strictly third-party source, allowing "non-notable" elements with significant 1.5 sources? – sgeureka t•c 17:07, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Sgeureka - well we both agree OR is bad, but the phrase "excessive plot" is a debatable one. In a sub-article, who's whole point is to give the reader more detail, more plot details are exactly what is required. a work of fiction is it's plot. and now we need to differentiate between "plot" and plot. I agree, any article that gives paragraph by paragraph, or minute by minute, summary of a work is too much plot, basically bloat, and potentially a copyvio. But when this "plot" info discusses what a character did at pivotal moments in a work, important relationships with other main characters, how they evolved throughout the work - that can take up much more than three or four paragraphs. This becomes even more compounded when dealing with elements that exist in multiple genres of a franchise. However, if the consensus is for this distinction, it should be explicit. I wanted to find a well-written element, but since this is my 2nd or 3rd edit conflict i'll just settle for Mewtwo vs. Mewtwo. Some poor writing and OR-like comparisons aside, there's more relevant detail in the old version than the current one. Neither is really good so i can't say it was improved or worsened by being put into a list, but i think that content was lost. This character has featured in several movies, an anime, a manga, a trading card game, and two distinct video games (the pokemon franchise, and Super Smash Bros. Melee). If i wrote just a paragraph on each, that would give me 6 paragraphs of "plot" content with a few trivial real-world things put in like dates, creators, and merchandise.
Masem - yes, i think this version works much better! I think it emphasizes caution rather than a deletion justification. However, do you think it would be helpful to link to guidelines on what "trimming" actually is? and what kind of details should be transwikied (unencyclopedic how-to, speculation, etc.) ? -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 17:31, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:NOT#PLOT and WP:WAF, I take plot as a service for the reader so that he understands the real-world informatation. If there is no real-world information, then the need for plot beyond basics (three to four paragraphs) is simply not there. If an editor adds significantly more plot, it becomes a fictional "historical" account or analysis very fast, which is undesired in an encyclopedia. What I see in the old Mewtwo article is the attempt to list every appearance of this Pokémon and elaborate on it. I have never edited character articles where characters span several "works" and hence have not really formed an opinion if listing every appearance is really necessary, but I have so far always been able to trim down a character's in-universe arc to three/four paragraphs in the articles I want to become GAs and FLs, and explain the rest with secondary sources. – sgeureka t•c 18:07, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
per WP:SS, the real-world information is within the main topic articles themselves. So in effect, the Mewtwo sub-article would be a part of Pokemon (video game), Pokemon (anime), Pokémon: The First Movie, SuperSmash Bros. Melee, and a couple others. Taking the real-world information in each and stacking it up against the "plot" for Mewtwo puts it in perspective. I argue that if the Mewtwo sub-article were to be hacked into six pieces and redistributed, the amount of "plot" would be just the right size for helping the reader understand the fiction as a whole. (and yes i know, it was not a very good article. i ask that you not dwell on what was actually there too much, but on it's potential... another might be Katara, although some OR needs to be rmed) -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 22:47, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
My personal standard for "excessive plot" is that if it is great that no one except a fan of the work could understand it, it's too detailed. There's been a good deal that falls into that section.--the ones that go into every subsidiary plot element and obscure what happens to the main characters. DGG (talk) 12:20, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
well, "only a fan could understand it" makes the article poor for the same reasons many math-related articles are poor... but i agree that things like - "so-and-so enjoys eating strawberry popsicles because they said so in one episode" are too much, but that tends to fall under WP:IINFO. I think we should offer guidelines for fiction articles to judge what they might be putting in which is relevant to the plot, and what isn't. Personally i use a guidline borrowed from non-free images - "Would the article/topic be significantly changed if I was to replace this sentence with a different one along the same vein?" Does saying cherry instead of strawberry change the character? if it's something about them that's very integral to the story, then "yes", and the sentence would remain. If it's really as trivial as it sounds, then "no" it should be removed. but we're kinda getting off-topic. my argument that the real-world content to balance the plot exists in a sub-article's parent article(s) still stands. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 17:14, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposed rewrite

As I do not regluarly contribute here I am cautious about being bold... After reading WP:WAF#Plot summaries, I am unsure how wise it is to have two different guidelines discussing essentially the same thing, and it is probably preferable to direct editors to that page instead. perhaps all we should reiterate here is that a sub-article's notability is dependent on the main article itself. overall, wherever it goes, below is a proposition that I feel is more neutral and explanatory (changes are such):

If a main article is concise but still becomes too long, then it may be appropriate to remove details by creating succinct sub-articles. For fictional works, these sub-articles tend to be lists of characters or other elements....
...Editors should attempt to remove or transwiki original research, speculation, trivia details, and instructional information about the element prior to the creation of a sub-article on it - as this may remove the need to create this sub-article. Editors are cautioned that articles on singular, non-notable fictional elements may be contested by other editors; more often, the contents of such an articles can be included into some grouping ("Characters", "Setting", or the like) within a sub-article list of the notable parent topic.
...After starting a sub-article, editors are encouraged to create redirection pages for the topics covered within the sub-article....

-ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 19:57, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

given the disputes over the use of the word "trivia" , with the general view being that tivia sections should usually be integrated, it might be better to find another word for thisDGG (talk) 05:04, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not really seeing the conflict between FICT and WAF. Care to expand? -- Ned Scott 06:15, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
One thing I notice is this guideline seems to be drifting away from other notability guidelines. I recently started a conversation at WP:Music asking for an explanation on why according to their guidelines albums and other projects by notable artists are not automatically considered notable. So far no has been able to even come close to giving me an explanation. I also ran a crossed someone today that pointed that books by notable authors are not automatically considered notable. A quick look at our current wording of the guideline seems way more relaxed about this subject then other Notability guidelines. I think we have found a good balance here, just starting to get worried that the notability guidelines are diverging even further from each other and that they are starting to be a little over zealous, trying to make notability more important then other polices. Ridernyc (talk) 07:21, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
If they can't figure out why a given thing is a rule, it has no business being a rule. I've seen album and song articles deleted reflexively. Not merged, just deleted. (Well, maybe redirected; it amounts the same thing.) That's no way to run an encyclopedia. If we have hammered out a sensible approach here, we should try to promote it throughout the entire notability family. WP:N and WP:SS have long worked completely at cross-purposes; maybe we can finally fix that.--Father Goose (talk) 07:57, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm actually getting ready to quit editing because of these arbitrary and increasingly bureaucratic notability requirements that no one can ever seem to explain. Ridernyc (talk) 14:25, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the easiest explaination is that , at the end of the day, notability can only be demonstrated through sourced coverage, regardless of the topic. What guidelines like MUSIC and WEB and BIO do is state that there are cases that if certain conditions are met, notability is very likely, though you still need to do the legwork of finding those sources, because, ultimately, we need to follow WP:V as a policy. Nothing can be automatically notable without sources to show such. --MASEM 15:29, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
That explanation is logically untenable, since 'non-existence' of sources is impossible to prove.--Nydas(Talk) 17:18, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I thought this was Masem's point. We can't prove non-existance, therefore we have notability guidelines to predict the likelyhood of existance. Then we wait until an editor can "prove" the existance, or we delete an article after a while (days, weeks, or even years) if no sources are forthcoming. – sgeureka t•c 17:26, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. That's why some of the other guidelines like for MUSIC state that notability is likely there if the album is by a notable group or the like, because, 99% of the time, there will be sources for those cases, thus we don't push the editors hard to demonstrate it though it is still expected they show that. I have rattled my brain if we can create anything similar for fictional works and I have not been able to come up with any clear criteria where, if the criteria is met, a large fraction of the articles do have notable sources. (eg, a criteria cannot be "Major characters of Major works" because most characters don't get extra treatment outside of a work). Thus, FICT is less "rules" simply because these rules cannot exist, and thus we have to fall back on requesting notability demonstration as early as possible in the topic/article creation process. --MASEM 17:32, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
The film and book notability guidelines explicitly describe alternative routes to notability. The music guideline does not use the word 'likely' anywhere.--Nydas(Talk) 22:17, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I see nothing in either of those that does not dismiss the need for secondary sources. Mind you, they both provide criteria for notability that can, most of the time, be substantiated by sources. This goes back to my same point above: no matter which why I've tried to figure it, there's no clear cut criteria that can be used for fictional elements. --MASEM 22:30, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
That's an appeal to personal incredulity. How would one check that 'most of the time' albums with chart success have sources somewhere? Isn't it just a guess?--Nydas(Talk) 17:02, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Of course it's a guess. I very much doubt anyone involved in those projects have done any actual statistics to determine the number. The idea, however, is that when that criteria is presented as a "likely" route to notability, it gained consensus among the other editors that it would be a route to finding sources, in others building on the experience of the group involved. That's why at the end, it is an assumption that sources can be found but ultimately sources should be found to continue justification of a separate article for that album or book.
My point here is that if there are any simpler starting assumptions for notability for fictional elements where there is a very good chance sources can be found if that criteria is met, it would be great to include them, but from the discussions here, my own ponderings on the issue, on WT:EPISODE, the ArbCom cases, and so forth, there does not seem to be an agreeable criteria that can be used that, from experience, nearly always means sources are available. --MASEM 17:11, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
The 'group' is overwhelmingly composed of people connected by a mental bungee cord to science fiction and allied genres. Why should their highly limited experience decide what is allowable for all fiction? It may be distressing to give corny sitcoms and mawkish soap operas the same level of coverage as cheesy sci-fi, but it is neutral and fair. It's certainly better than WP:N + 'exceptions'.--Nydas(Talk) 10:48, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
You are not assuming good faith of those trying to resolve these issues. Yes, we've argued the existing bias of certain shows, and I've argued at WT:EPISODE a path forward that will remove that bias, as suggested by the ArbCom decision; as to all fictional elements, that's a much larger and more difficult concern, and if this is still about Spoo, we may absolutely need to rethink it as a FA. However, in coming up with these guidelines, I believe everyone involved is providing input from more than just the sci-fi space. Shows like soap operas, older television shows, and the like represent the lowest common denominator when it comes to the amount of information typically available for fictional works (which is: very little), and thus we have to craft guidelines around what can be done for fictional elements for those shows, making sure those are applicable for shows with much more information, and that's the point we've reached here, in that basically: the work of fiction is typically notable, but no single element of the work of fiction is notable unless it has secondary source coverage. --MASEM 13:48, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Soap operas, older television shows and the like represent the lowest common denominator in terms of what can be googled. Major fiction will have independent guidebooks, retrospectives or criticism which may not be on google. For example, the five books about Dad's Army (not counting cast bios), four of which are independent.
Nielsen Ratings is an interesting article. Notice the dominance of soap operas, sitcoms and westerns in the list of top rated US shows. Some, though not all, have character articles. A lot of these will be difficult to improve, and there won't be many editors working on them, but it's far preferable to leave them as stubs and start classes to attract new editors than it is to mash them into lists, which half the time get deleted as well.
I could nominate J.R. Ewing for deletion; it would be making a point, but it wouldn't be disruptive. The guideline as written totally supports the elimination of this character's article. All the usual stuff applies (not improved for 3 months, not much on google). Consider it a test run. If the deletion is angrily thrown out, then this guideline should be thrown out also.--Nydas(Talk) 23:06, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
You're missing the point of what we've been trying to do here if you think the J.R. Ewing article should be deleted; the entire reason we've been rewritten FICT is the fact that before with TTN and some others, that would have been step one was to put the article up for AfD. The correct step here is to approach the entire character cast of Dallas and consider a merge into a list of characters of Dallas. And as I've mentioned for TV episodes, I support "sloppy" merges over no merged information at all, at least that retains coverage of that topic. So a better test case of FICT here is to suggest a merge (which, presently, can only be talked about as the ArbCom case is still going).
The rewritten FICT guideline is aimed at the removal of articles on fictional elements that lack the potential for secondary coverage. However, that is not to say we are removing coverage of the topic, we instead move and condense that information into a sub-article "List" that we don't require notability demonstration, which not only helps to remove the undue weight that individual articles typically give to the in-universe descriptions of fictional elements, but still provides some coverage of the topic, with appropriate use of redirects and disamb pages such that readers can still find coverage of the topic when they enter it into the search bar. Searching for "J.R. Ewing" should take one to a page that describes the character, even if that page is a list.
This is the key point that I don't know if it can be made stronger: FICT's goal is not to eliminate coverage of fictional element topics, but instead guide their depth of coverage to a presentation and a level of detail that is normally appropriate for these topics - as 99% of the time they are non-notable, they should be treated as part of the coverage of a larger notable topic (typically the work they appear in), grouped with similar articles, and using concise in-universe descriptions and plot information to establish that for the reader. We want people to be able to search on minor characters, episode article names, or locations and find information without hunting through a list of search results; it's just that likely that information won't be on a single page. --MASEM 23:25, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
You've ignored my points about google being an unsatisfactory basis upon which to claim 'experience' and expertise.
Mashing articles into lists is not eliminating coverage in the same way that cutting down a forest but leaving stumps is not destroying trees. A few might grow back, but most of them will wither and die. In any case, it is unlikely that AfD will consent to J.R. Ewing, the main character of an enormously popular TV show, being bumped down to a list entry just because google won't spit anything out. In which case, you can claim another 'exception', or we can dispose of this clapped out guideline.--Nydas(Talk) 01:47, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I never said google was the "experience". It is the combined efforts of the last 5+ years of building wikipedia from all editors that is where the experience comes from. That's why WP:MUSIC can state that an album by a notable group is likely to be notable, because the combined experience has shown that that is the case. It includes what can be found from google, but people have done footwork to find the paper sources when needed. Also, remember that we have transwiki as a resource; if we are cutting out a lot of potentially useful but non-encyclopedic information to merge an article into a list, it is only proper to relocate that to a wiki or the Annex or someplace. Yes, it may not come back for a while, but that's the nature of Wikipedia: it is a volunteer service, so people will work on what it interesting to them, and I doubt that the average demographic of the editors today would be anxious to make sure the Dallas articles are in good shape -- however, we don't prevent that ever from happening. Maybe at some point we have a featured television show drive that will encourage editors to help clean up these older series. I don't know. However, when an article in the shape that the JR Ewing on is in presently, which is all completely in universe or has trivial facts (who played him for example), it is better treated by making a list of characters, which can retain the first couple sections on that article (removing the storyline section completely) and still have decent coverage. I'm all for allowing the "brief/consise" plot summary from WP:PLOT run lax for purposes of sub-articles -- it shouldn't be excessive, but that achieves the balance of distilling information too much and not distilling at all. And again, I point out that if you dispose of FICT, that article still fails by WP:N and WP:PLOT. --MASEM 15:19, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
If it's a constant uphill struggle to induce fiction deletionists to consider 'foreign' fiction, then their experience is cursory and is almost certainly limited to what they've googled. It's inconcievable that twenty or so untrained and unqualified people would demand total sovereignty over all medical articles, yet this is exactly the situation we have here. The only 'knowledge' seems to be fan baggage, which is to fiction what granny's remedies are to medicine.
Fiction articles that have been razed will never grow back. Even for fiction with favourable demographics, it takes years to move from stubs and start classes to finished articles. With lists, it will never happen, especially once they've been hit by the fair use people, tagged into oblivion and the editors driven away. The notability of lists is still ambiguous, so they'll probably be deleted as well. The end result is exhaustive coverage of a few lucky franchises with token coverage of everything else. In other words, a fansite.--Nydas(Talk) 00:24, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
We've announced this rewrite as much as it can be; if editors have other suggestions, they don't seem to be coming forward with them, and the general consensus between here, WT:EPISODE and the ArbCom case is that what the current FICT is proposing is what fits into the current consensus. (the methods, on the other hand, are a big issue).
We can choose to have three states of fiction on WP: a state where we don't require any encyclopedic approach to fiction articles (the way it has been prior to last year) which makes this a fansite, a state where we have fiction articles that fall within the proposed FICT, NOTE, PLOT, and other guidelines which may make some of our coverage look like a fansite, but it should be an encyclopedic approach, or one where we take a heavy hand and disallow any further discussion of fictional elements for any work beyond a two sentence plot summary, removing any appearance of a fan site. The first and third approaches are unacceptable extremes, barring any changes to the Five Pillars, but the second attempts to achieve the necessary balance that is needed. Maybe if certain fictions manage to demonstrate a lot of notability for their works that most other fiction works cannot, we later propose an approach to reduce some of that coverage. However, I don't believe now would even be a good time to suggest harsher treatment of fictional articles, as the consensus is definitely not there. I also doubt that pruned articles will ever grow back. I think if we provide tracking of how articles have been merged, where information has been moved, and the like, such lists can eventually regrow back to full articles once references have been found. The thing that we have to encourage is to make sure the growth is appropriate within considering both WP:SS and FICT. There is a way we can give all fictional works a fair amount of coverage on WP without either either making it overly scholarly, and without making it read like obsessed fans covering the work and still satisfy the Five Pillars.
What I need to know from you is what you would do differently here. Get rid of FICT? That's fine, but you still will have NOTE being used to argue for article merging and ultimately deletion. We can't make FICT create exceptions for notability (see Geometry Guy's comments below), because that makes fiction works a special class which would not fly with the rest of the community (and as I've said, if there are articles that are sitting around in FA/GA as gross violations such as Spoo, we should do something about that). Go back to the old version of FICT? We'll be edit warring left and right since that version is what lead to the problems with the the ArbCom case and technically, going back to that without any discussion would be violating their resolutions from that. I've not seen anyone propose reasonable changes in NOTE or PLOT (I've seen Pixelface suggest that the way WP defines notability is OR, thus making it invalid, but that's a point many have dismissed for numerous reasons) that would require us to rethink how we handle fictional elements, again stipulating that this guideline is adding nothing new to either, only a way to resolve the combination of the two for newer editors. At this point, arguing over the larger picture of this guideline seems to be an exercise in futility only because I don't see a large outcry against this approach (If they are reading this, we need you to speak up about this), which is why I'm asking for specific suggestions of how to make this guideline work. It may not be possible to make it match your expectations, which I am sorry we cannot do because I know I and others have been trying, but it is going to be impossible to satisfy everyone with this, so we have to find the right middle ground that works in the existing framework of policies. --MASEM 00:54, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I've already made it clear that I do not subscribe to your revisionist views; that notability is a policy above all others and that stubs and start classes are forbidden. Call it an 'existing framework of policies' if you wish; it is a view which has no traction anywhere else in Wikipedia. Nobody is merging African town or Indian politician stubs into lists.
I've already suggested 'major characters in major fiction'. You say this would allow character articles on Full House and Charles in Charge as well as Lost and CSI, subjectively claiming the former aren't 'major' enough for us. In that case, we can move the standard to include winning lots of major awards, in addition to being long-running and commercially successful. No doubt this will still allow subjectively 'non-major' shows to have character articles; in the Wikiverse, unpopular flops like Firefly and Star Trek: Enterprise are a thousand times more notable than hit shows like Dallas, Gunsmoke and Sex in the City. That's tough. Eventually, you'll have to accept that your worldview may not match real world. Either that, or we become a laughing stock.--Nydas(Talk) 14:52, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
The reason "major characters in major works" is not usable as a "likely notable fictional element" is because the chance that one can find reliable sources for supporting a major character from a major work as its own article are not as high as they are for "albums by notable music groups" or "received a major award". An award-winning work should of course note the winning of the award in its article. Maybe a criteria that can work from this is "a character who's actor has won a major award for performing that role", since there will be interviews with the actor or the characters' creator pre and post-award, but I don't think this is as cut and dried. But "major character from major work" begs the need to have sources. Yes, there are other issue with that as what constitutes a major work, but no matter how you define it, a "major character from a major work of fiction is nearly always notable (defined by WP)" is not a true statement.
Yes, admittedly, WP's view does not represent the worldwide view, because WP has to adapt what the worldwide view is in light of the Five Pillars. Verifiability from third-party sources, lack of original research, and neutrality in POV are non-negotiable. The discussion of African towns or minor roads in the US, from the whole of WP editors' experience, can be written to meet those goals, and thus it makes sense to let the stubs remain. The discussion of characters or other aspects of a fictional work can be done like this, but most of the time they cannot be, as only primary sources exist to talk about the work. Thus, while a stub (one or two sentences by definition) for a fictional element should be ok as likely someone wanted to avoid a redlink in another article, once someone's spent time to add in a bunch of primary details, the article no longer qualify as a stub but as a start class, and work should be done to clean it up: whether that's by adding sources for notability, or merging it into a larger context if notability cannot be demonstrated, giving time for the editors to do so, just as we'd do for any other type of article where notability (non-fictional) is not demonstrated. --MASEM 15:25, 2 March 2008 (UTC)


(undent) - That's one of the problems with the disconnect between WP:NNC and WP:SIZE/WP:SS/etc. If you include albums and tracklists in a notable artists' article, WP:N doesn't apply at all; if you keep it separate because that's the way it looks best, it's easiest to navigate, it's the most logical arrangement, and an artist article with 10 album tracklists attached would be too long, hideously ugly, and difficult to navigate, then the album article is at risk of deletion. But ultimately, it's all the exact same content. That's why I keep pushing the idea of subarticles - articles that are, for all intents and purposes, part of a larger article that exist on separate pages for organizational purposes. —Torc. (Talk.) 19:34, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Generally, I do not have strong opinions against m:separatism. But whereas the average artist produces five CDs or writes five books during his career, a one-year work of fiction has ~5 main characters, 20 semi-important minor characters, 20 episodes, and ten other important fictional elements, all backed up by 20 fifty-pages scripts (i.e. the plot). There is no easy "that's enough" limit for fiction, especially if you consider the original research that fiction always spawns. So WP:FICT is trying to create an artificial limit by using the existing real-world information (which is generally much rarer than in-universe information). – sgeureka t•c 20:33, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
There is no easy "that's enough" limit for fiction - I totally agree, but that doesn't mean the correct solution to this is a notability attack for subarticles. That's like giving somebody a bandage for a headache. I've seen pages come across AfD that I believe include unnecessary amounts of information, but I can't support deletion when the argument supporting it demands the parent article is ignored; that's an argument based on structure, not content. I honestly wouldn't care if minor characters were grouped into a single article (with redirects from the independent name) - even if the article was long and mostly primary sourced, the material would be organizationally consistent.
It'll be difficult and it's going to cause a lot of arguments, but we need objective content guidelines for fiction that don't depend on vague, subjective concepts like "notability" or "indiscriminate information". Arguments over the amount of in-universe content a specific fictional topic generates should never have to spill over to AfD (unless the entire topic is being considered for deletion - even a subarticle that is entirely OR can be redirected instead). —Torc. (Talk.) 01:46, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

One other reason WP:FICT is not a normal notability guideline because of things like WP:PLOT, which other topics don't have to worry about. We also are exploring the sub-article - notability relationship more than other guidelines currently are, which in my mind means we're ahead of the game in that respects. Some topic groupings have different concerns, which is why we have separate notability guidelines (and why WP:FICT was a guideline before WP:N even was). -- Ned Scott 04:19, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

You're right, but there are analagous relationships in other guidelines. Album articles are generally treated like sub-articles of their associated band articles. I think that's generally worked out well, though there are definitely problems and disagreements over the exact requirements. —Torc. (Talk.) 05:59, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
WP:MUSIC clearly states that articles on albums must individually meet the primary notability critera set out in WP:NN. "All articles on albums or songs must meet the basic criteria at the notability guidelines... Individual articles on albums should include independent coverage.". Guest9999 (talk) 14:08, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
which is kind of the opposite of what we're saying here, and it could be argued that WP:MUSIC is completely contradicting WP:SS - but that's what this page is about so i'll leave it at that. Anywho... it looks like a lot of discussion got put into this section that had nothing to do with my propsed rewrite of the sub-article section. But thankfully we're getting back on track.
DGG - ok, say we make recommendations the same way but remove TRIVIA? do you see any other issues arising?
Ned Scott - my argument wasn't that there is a conflict, merely that the section i'm proposing a rewrite to is redundant to the section in WAF. so perhaps it is better for WP:Notabilty (fiction) to not delve into details concerning sub-articles, details which are handled most appropriately by WP:Writing about fiction. Perhaps we merely make a statement like -
While sub-articles on fictional elements should always seek to include information from secondary sources, it is understood that some elements may not be considered notable in thier own right. As sub-articles are considered a section of a parent article or topic, it is the parent article or topic which must demonstrate notability per Wikipedia's standards. For specific details on recommended practices when writing sub-articles on fictional elements, see the Wikipedia Manual of Style.
This way we focus on the thorny notability issue, which is why someone came to this page anyways, and we leave the mechanics to MOS - which is where it should stay. so i guess this is my "alternative rewrite" if people agree with me. btw, would anyone be opposed to me moving the tangent conversation above to it's own section? this talk page is plenty full, and it makes this section look longer than it really is -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 17:45, 2 March 2008 (UTC)