Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)/Archive 25

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Forget notability, scholarship is at stake

My two cents are that few combined pages are always better than many stand-alone pages. This is better for editorial oversight. Even if we allow lots of plot summary, it would be duplicated on each character page, the episode pages and whatever other pages there are. This duplication allows errors to persist by diluting the number of experienced editors working on each page. For example, look at this contradiction between Lorien (Babylon 5) and Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?. Lorien asks Sheridan, as his life hangs in the balance after he nuked the Shadow city on Z'ha'dum,

In Lorien (Babylon 5) it says that Sheridan answers, but not what his answer is. But, in Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?, he answers "Delenn". The outlines of this scene, one of the most important in the whole series, is given or alluded to in several other Babylon 5 articles, with varying levels of accuracy. This is shamefully bad scholarship. After all, even if our goal is a compendium of all human knowledge, we owe it to the readers to get the information right. AnteaterZot (talk) 01:38, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

And those types of errors are exactly the sort of thing we are attempting to deal with in this guideline: we must prevent the over-simplification or exclusion of in-universe information vital to understanding the subject, while also preventing the over-division or expansion of in-universe information into an impenetrable labyrinth from which the non-fan cannot distinguish essential information from trivia. --erachima formerly tjstrf 01:55, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Well said, erachima. This seems like a minor discrepancy, in and of itsself. However, I think the majority of editors would agree with your concern for scholarship and verifiability. I think the spinouts this discussion is speaking of are different than the one you referenced. The solution WP:FICT advocates is a List of Babylon 5 Characters and a List of Babylon 5 episodes. Each of these list would contain a short summary and may not contain the answer or the question in either article. Ursasapien (talk) 01:58, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Proposal or notability guideline?

The page is currently tagged as both a proposal and a generally accepted notability guideline. Which is it? SamBC(talk) 16:57, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

It should only just be proposed, but there are editors that feel the fact that it is a notability guideline needs to be there too. However, there's no standard for a "proposed notability guideline". --MASEM 17:04, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
✔? The following English Wikipedia notability guideline has been under continuous revamping for months on end. Although it is still under development, it represents a generally accepted standard that editors should follow. However, it should be treated with common sense, the occasional exception, and checked for stability before use.

--erachima formerly tjstrf 01:49, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

-) Lol Geometry guy 09:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

New concept for sub-articles - a possible line of compromise?

I've been following the "spin-out article" debate here for a while, and would like to propose a solution that hasn't been discussed yet.

An encyclopedia should be organized by topic. While typically each topic should be covered in one article (or on one page), we all know that in some situations, more than one article is needed per topic. (Just think of George Washington.) I think there are two cases in principle, and one has to decide for each topic which case applies.

  1. The topic can be divided into two (or more) sub-topics, related but clearly separated, each of which is notable (as evidenced by sources). Then, Wikipedia should treat them as two separate topics.
  2. We deal with only one topic, which is covered on more than one page for reasons of size, readability, etc., per WP:SS. Then Wikipedia should treat these articles as only one topic. That means that notability is judged only for the entire topic, not for each individual page. But it also means that the topic should appear only once in categories, disambig pages, the alphabetic index, etc. Distribution of content across pages would not be an issue of WP:N, but purely of WP:MOS. (Of course, content policies such as WP:NOT apply.) The topic should also be viewed as one unit with respect to the AfD process, etc.

For fictional topics, I think we often meet the second case: There's a lot of material, but it's still only one notable topic. List of recurring characters in XYZ Comics is not a separate topic from XYZ Comics, not something one would expect to find separately in the alphabetic index of an encyclopedia. Treating this as sketched above will not solve WP:NOT issues; but it will reduce the impact of possible violations of WP:NOT on the overall structure of the encyclopedia. Maybe this is a compromise.

I think we currently lack a good model for the second case, where one topic is split into several (sub-)articles. I'm prepared to make a more detailed proposal on that, which would be somewhat more complex, involving changes in a wide range of areas. It would also not be restricted to fiction. But I'd first like to see whether you think that this might be the way to go. --B. Wolterding (talk) 08:05, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

  • I don't see the difference between this and the wording of the current section on spinouts ("Spinout articles should be judged as if it were still a section of the parent article...") Percy Snoodle (talk) 08:36, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
    • The current wording applies this only with respect to notability. However, I think one needs to be consistent. If it's only one topic - then treat it so. Do not list non-notable subaspects of the topic on disambiguation pages, for example. Do not list the sub-articles in categories. Make it clear that a sub-article is not a main article, even on a technical level, e.g. using the subpage feature. Then we may disagree as to what level of detail coverage is required, but the impact of this disagreement on the overall encyclopedia will be low. --B. Wolterding (talk) 09:24, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
      • Ah, I see; we've talked about this above at #Identifying spinouts (Was: Partial revert). Percy Snoodle (talk) 10:00, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
      • Subpages are a technical feature that are strongly discouraged for any page in mainspace, which is why we started using "spinout" over "sub-article". This is not to say we cannot have some template on a talk page that identifies a spinout article for future editors, while the prose on the content page should be very clearly obvious what article the spinout supports. However, just as redirections are cheap, sub-topics in a spinout page should be populated in redirects and disambig pages to allow for ease of searching, even if the term itself is non-notable; at worst, the reader is redirected to the main page of the work of fiction containing that character and thus will now know where to go to learn more. --MASEM 12:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Some topics are necessary to understand others

Since the section I added to try to explain which list and list-like spinouts we want to include doesn't seem to have been too controversial, I've added another section, Wikipedia:Notability (fiction)#Some topics are necessary to understand others which tries to explain the non-list spinouts we want to include without allowing a blanket exemption for all spinouts. What are people's thoughts about the new section? Percy Snoodle (talk) 09:57, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I nearly coughed blood when I read this: "Generally, these fictional elements are described in the plot summary of the main article and do not need to demonstrate independent notability." This is beyond the pale.--Gavin Collins (talk) 11:01, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
That's referring to the section in the notable article, not to an independent article. Perhaps that should be made clear. Percy Snoodle (talk) 11:04, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
OK, done. Better? Percy Snoodle (talk) 11:06, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Not really. The way the section is written, it basically gives carte blanc for people to write tons and tons of articles filled with fancruft and minute details of their favorite bit of fiction because they can use the excuse of "well, it was just so much detail I had to put it in its own article." Where are the limits? It is too ambiguous and gives far too much leeway and wiggle room to allow for fansite creations within Wikipedia. It is not necessary to understand every last element of a fictional topic in order to understand it from an overview perspective. AnmaFinotera (talk) 12:47, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
It only allows for an independent article if a reliable source has described the topic as essential. If it's only the editor's opinion that it's essential, tough luck. Percy Snoodle (talk) 12:51, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, but say one reliable source makes a comment about some element of fiction, like work x was set in the fictional town Y. What stops anyone from claiming "okay, now I can write a huge lengthy article about topic fictional Y because some source happened to mention it in passing. It needs to be clearer that reliable sources (more than one) have actually given the topic extensive coverage, not passing mention, and that it needs to be a non-primary source. It also needs to be clearer that the focus should still be on the real-world aspects, otherwise one is likely adding excessive plot detail in attempting to spin out the article. AnmaFinotera (talk) 13:01, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
That's a problem, yes; we should definitely mention WP:PLOT in that section, and the source(s) involved definitely need to be secondary. I'm trying with this section to specify the individual elements that are suitable spinouts, so it's possible that the condition may be weaker than the full WP:N criterion, which is why I put it in the singular; if you feel that making the requirement be for multiple sources to say that, then I'm OK with that. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:11, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
OK, that's done; how now? Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:25, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
That's better...though should something be noted to also defer/refer to the relevant MOS when trying to determine spin outs? For example, with television episodes, DVD releases should almost never be spun out, but included in the main or the relevant episode lists without excessive detail. And to note that creating a spinout should not be the first step. I.E. Don't just create a character article if the main is a stub or there is no existing character list first, and that discussion within the article before spinning out would be appropriate to confirm that such a spinout is suitable? It amazes me how many fictional articles will have a stub for a min article, while having lengthy plot filled individual articles for every character. Also, for the issue of size, to make sure the main article isn't to big due to needing clean up. In my experiences, many times people claim they spunout something because of size, but the size issue was caused by the main article having a beyond overly long plot section, bad formatting, excessive unsourced fan rumors, etc. AnmaFinotera (talk) 13:37, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's probably a good idea. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:41, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I know what you are trying to do with this, and its a good effort. The problem is, before these recent changes, this guideline was already just a bit too long; now we've got two new conditions (even though they are using existing text). I think this new case is a subcase of the first, most general case of being a notable topic, [break]
This is when there is a notable parent topic and a non-notable but essential subtopic. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:11, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
though adding the condition that if the RS saying it is important to understand an element to understand the main work, people will bend that to think that if a review or the like mentions an element but does not elaborate on it, that means it can be included. [break]
Yes, that's a problem; the one which AnmaFinotera is worrying about. We should find a way to deal with that. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:11, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
We need to be trying to make this less complex, even if that means we need to rely on sub-guidelines for highly detailed guidance. However, the core of FICT needs to be clear and concise, otherwise, new editors will "tl;dr" and ignore it completely. (Yes, I know it wasn't there before, the problem is that we are still adjusting it, wordsmithing should come later). --MASEM 12:55, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, what I'm hoping with these two sections is that we'll be able to do away with the spinouts section, and still keep the good spinouts. The spinouts that are left after these two sections are added in are lists with little or no coverage, as a whole or of their parts, and individual elements that are not important to understanding the parent topic. Both those categories of spinout seem to be the sort we can agree we don't need. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:11, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
As a long term goal, yes, but not in the short term. We need a process to ween such dependancies away (if that is the ultimate direction WP wants to go), but not cold turkey.
Here's what I think we need to do. We need to step back, revert recent changes on this and get back to a FICT that reflects current consensus even if it is contrary to certain policies. (What would be missing then would be outlining what types of spinouts are appropriate). This has been "disputed" or "proposed" for nearly a year now, let's make it stable, even if it is not 100% meshing with policy and guidelines. We make sure we say that certain aspects (spinouts) are often questioned so that editors are aware it's not a perfectly resolved issue (and possibly one covered in a separate guideline). Get all that set, let it sit for a few months and make sure that there's no major issues with it. Then we can start proposing alterations, using RFCs and other notifications to get community-wide consensus. Restrict spinouts to certain types? Sure, if the community goes for it. Prevent any spinouts on fictional elements lacking notability? Again, sure, if that's how we want to proceed. But let's get an updated stable FICT that reflects what has happened over the past year in place before trying to create new issues and potential problems. --MASEM 13:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I think we can do that simply be removing the spinouts section. I know you've put a lot of time into it, but it's the only part that is substantially disputed, and now it's largely redundant. Reverting to before it was added seems like a huge step backwards. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:52, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Subpages?

This keeps coming back to me when I look things over, so I'm actually going to ask; is there any reason not to use subpages in mainspace? If not, then why can't we use that to indicate where an article is intended to be considered a "sub-article"? It would be unlikely to be found on first-search in the search box by people who don't already know what they're looking for, although it would turn up on search results. It would be reached by random article. That sounds like good characteristics. Does anyone object to that idea, apart from people who think that there should never be this sort of "sub-article", however it's arranged? Barring there being a technical or core-policy reason not to do things in this way, of course. SamBC(talk) 13:30, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Well, that was about my suggestion above... Subpages have once been used in mainspace, later they were disabled; I think we could now re-enable them for a well-described purpose (in fact a different one than they have once been used for). --B. Wolterding (talk) 13:33, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
  • WP:SUBPAGES, disallowed use #3: Using subpages for permanent content that is meant to be part of the encyclopedia. --MASEM 13:35, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Is this possibly something worth opening up a discussion on more widely? SamBC(talk) 13:36, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

(re SamBC): I would be interested in a discussion, perhaps let's prepare a more detailed proposal first. --B. Wolterding (talk) 13:41, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Subarticles (i.e., subpages of the main article space) were disabled because they are a bad way of organising articles. Instead, the category system was introduced. I give two examples which illustrate some of the many problems with subarticles. First, History of biology: is it a subarticle of Biology or History of science? Second, Al Gore: this is not, one would hope, a subarticle of List of recurring human characters from Futurama!! These are just my favourite (even slightly silly) examples, but they illustrate why subpage organization doesn't work. Geometry guy 19:21, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
But this suggestion wouldn't suggest a complete hierarchical-organisation of articles, the only subarticles would be spinouts. I see there are other difficulties, though. SamBC(talk) 20:30, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I understand, but this suggestion is unlikely to gain encyclopedia-wide support, because of the many problems involved in enabling main space subpages. Also the concept of a spinout depends on article history (I think History of biology may have been spun out from Biology rather than History of science, but I'm not sure) whereas content guidelines should be independent of article history. Geometry guy 21:25, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The point is that the subarticles would provide an alternative structure to categories: (Notable) topics would be organized in categories, while (not independently notable) detail material is organized in subpages to the "main article" (which alway exists per WP:SUMMARY.)
I have put up some private thoughts in that respect here: User:B. Wolterding/New subarticle concept --B. Wolterding (talk) 21:06, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Your thoughts contain a lot of good ideas, but fundamentally, as Percy Snoodle has pointed out, a "subarticle" is usually about a particular topic within the parent topic. The topic of List of 30 Rock episodes is "Episodes of 30 Rock" (not "30 Rock") and the topic of Janie Fricke discography is "Singles and albums by Janie Fricke" (not "Janie Fricke"). These topics are notable: they can surely be found in reliable secondary sources, even if the current articles don't always cite such sources. There is no reason to make them subpages. Geometry guy 21:25, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Disputed sections & subsections which conflict or are inconsistent with existing guidelines

I have reason to believe that this whole section and its related subsections should be removed from this guideline, as they conflict with the existing consensus of WP:NOTE and WP:V that are applied in other Wikipedia guidelines.

Demonstrating notability for fictional topics

The sentence "Such sources can include creators' commentary and interviews regarding the work or topic, bearing in mind the restrictions if the work is self-published" conflicts with WP:RS, which requires sources to be independent of the authors, publishers, their publicists, agents and distributors. Deleting this section does not preclude citing such sources as references, however, this sentence is a reversal of exisiting policy because it attempts to establish notability of a fictional subject through sources that are not independent. "Intellectual independence" is a safeguard to ensure that advertorials and other promotional material cannot be used as evidence of notability.

Agreed. Notability can not and should not be established from self-published sources. That opens the door for every fan-written work ever created to claim their stuff is notable for inclusion on no other basis than their writing a commentary about it. AnmaFinotera (talk) 13:50, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, doubly agreed. Creators' commentary and interviews are good sources for meeting WP:V, but not notability. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:55, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Notable groups of topics merit aggregate articles

The statement that "In many cases, while individual elements cannot establish notability individually, a grouping of elements may be able to do so" conflicts with WP:NOTE and WP:V directly. I disagree that fictional topics can possess notability simply by aggregating primary sources or coverage from unreliable sources. Although aggregation may at first appear attractive where there is a large volume of material that can be used in an in universe plot summary based on synthesis, it is a poor substitute for reliable sources. This is why WP:WAF goes into great detail why this style of article is just not appropriate for Wikipedia, primarily because it encourges content that does is devoid of real-world content, context, analysis or critisism. A grouping of elements can only establish notability if there is sufficient real-world content supported by reliable secondary sources to justify a stand alone article for each element.

Some topics are necessary to understand others

The statement "if a reliable source describes a fictional element as necessary or critical for the understanding of a notable topic, and the amount of detail necessary to explain that element would be distracting or otherwise too long within either the parent topic or in an aggregate article, then that topic merits its own article" again conflicts with the requirements of WP:NOTE and WP:V. Where content is not substantiated by real-world content from reliable sources that are independent of the topic, it should be cut out not aggregated. Furthermore, one reliable source is not enough: there must be multiple reliable secondary sources containing real-world content to justify a stand-alone article.

This section now uses the plural. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:42, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Summary style approach for spinout articles

The statement "A spinout article on a single character or element that lacks sources of real-world coverage may be appropriate when the amount of content for that element would be distracting or otherwise too long within a parent topic or spinout article, as described by summary style" conflicts with WP:NOT#PLOT, WP:NOTE and is an attempt to cirucumvent WP:RS. Where content is not substantiated by real-world content from reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it should be cut out not not spun out.

I am not sure how my objections can be catered for within the context of current discussions, as I am seeking a rollback to the point where this guideline more strictly adheres to WP:NOTE, WP:NOT#PLOT, WP:RS and WP:WAF. The reason why I object so strongly is that I have seen the damage caused by the spamming of articles with no real-world content that have no reliable secondary sources as evidence of notability. If you take a look at Dungeons & Dragons spinout articles, you will see that not only are they mainly comprised of in universe plot summary, but the style of the articles is almost identical to that employed by the publisher. If we are to stop the steady creap of publisher's spam, then we have to be firm about insisting on guidelines that discourage synthesis. --Gavin Collins (talk) 13:39, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm working towards a point at which we can remove this section; most of the cases it was created to include are now adequately covered by the previous two sections. That's my belief and hope, anyway. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't conflict with WP:PLOT and by definition cannot contradict WP:NOTE since WP:NOTE accepts that specific notability guidance can offer differing definitions. "A subject is presumed to be sufficiently notable if it meets the general notability guideline below, or if it meets an accepted subject specific standard listed in the table to the right." On that basis I've removed the tag, and hope that serves to rebutt Gavin Collins assertion that this guidance must adhere to WP:NOTE. I suggest if Gavin wants to pursue that agenda, he discusses such a fundamental change to WP:NOTE on the talk page of WP:NOTE, rather than attempting to circumvent that established guidance here. Hiding T 14:04, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
In fairness then, if you do not accept that this section and its subsections are disputed, then I request that they be removed.--Gavin Collins (talk) 14:16, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I accept that you dispute them. All I have done is shown that the grounds for your disputing them are baseless. If you want to remove them, remove them, but state your grounds. If you want to add the disputed tag, add it, but state your grounds. Be aware, however, that other editors are within their rights to re-add them. And in fairness, make sure you quote the exact portions of policy you believe contradict with this guidance, because it may simply be your interpretation that is the issue. Hiding T 15:48, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Please, a précis

This page is 386Kb and my print preview says it would be 123 pages. To someone seeking to follow this without having been here all along, this is daunting. Please archive, summarize, something.

I'm concerned about the spinout of non-notable stuff. This is somehow necessary? No, it is merely desirable from a fan perspective. I just referred Gavin to a very notable commentary on an underlying concern about commercial pop culture; see Amused to Death and listen for the message. The title derives from a comment by a future alien anthropologist about what happened here. Cheers, Jack Merridew 14:02, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Of course even that article has lots of unsourced statements, several peacock words, and, arguably, "trivia" (viz. some parts the section entitled "Miscellenea"). Ironic isn't it? --Craw-daddy | T | 14:31, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't referring to the article; rather, the actual album, and by implication, the actual book that inspired it (which I've not read and wish I'd picked-up during a recent visit to one of the best book stores on the planet). The real irony is that I posted this request a few minutes before Masem raised much the same concern in the following section. Cheers, Jack Merridew 14:44, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

... or do you want the full half-hour?

Note that a recent AFD nomination of a stack of Monty Python sketch articles resulted in Keep All even though the articles were in a fairly poor state. My impression is that this sort of thing is notable in the practical sense of passing AFD easily but quite hard to find good sources for. Some sort of inherited notability is needed for major franchises like Monty Python, The Simpsons, Shakespeare, etc. Colonel Warden (talk) 16:56, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

It's very common for mass listings to fail like that - it doesn't always reflect on the individual articles. Percy Snoodle (talk) 17:55, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Individual noms for single eps don't fare that well either. It's the difference between the wider community and editor who frequent these guideline pages. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 18:31, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Individual works, yes; individual characters and other elements are a much more mixed bag. Episodes tend to get more coverage because of listings magazines, so they have an easier time meeting WP:N. Percy Snoodle (talk) 19:32, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
It ended in keep all because it was too many in one with many saying delete some but not X or Y. That's why the first probably was train wrecked. In general, such group noms are a bad idea as people will not look at each individual article. If nominated on an individual basis, I suspect most would be deleted but a few. AnmaFinotera (talk) 18:37, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah. Such AFDs should probably be closed as no consensus rather than keep - the articles stay, but it doesn't prejudice future AFDs. Percy Snoodle (talk) 19:32, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Don't institutionalise lists

The discussion is revolving around lists, but this will lead to a hardening of the attitude that the only quasi-notable fiction article allowed is a list. Lists inevitably lose 'basic' real world info, get their pictures removed by the fair use people and create a false sense of equality between characters.--Nydas(Talk) 14:45, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Even if they did create a "false sense of equality between characters", which I doubt, why is that cause for worry?--Father Goose (talk) 19:31, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Lists are not NPOV - they are a Procrustean bed which distort a topic by fitting its elements into a uniform format. The proper format for a topic on Wikipedia is the article. Colonel Warden (talk) 02:50, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
they have their places--it is simply contrary to common sense to insist on a full article for really minor characters. On a practical basis, such insistance will forfeit sympathy. what we need to do is make certain it is plainly stated that a list can grow and spin off into articles as necessary, and that in general separate articles are appropriate for the principal characters of really major works or series. that's something we might be able to agree on. DGG (talk) 06:13, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Not really. Even "the principal characters of really major works" rarely are notable enough for their own articles. Only a relative few have more that can be said about them, with proper, reliable, third-party sourcing, beyond just the plot. Real-world info from commentary and other materials directly tied to the creators of the work can not be used to establish the notability for having their own articles, only act as supplements for expanding said article once notability is established. AnmaFinotera (talk) 06:36, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
This is where a few editors of guideline pages disagree with thousands of editors of editors of article pages, although I agre with the many myself. Let's build a list of AfDs. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 06:41, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
"Real-world info from commentary and other materials directly tied to the creators of the work can not be used to establish the notability for having their own articles." I think this runs directly counter to the current version of this guideline. Ursasapien (talk) 06:58, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
It's an interpretation of Wikipedia:Independent sources, which may or may not be overly strong depending on what you interpret "directly tied to the creators of the work" to mean. This guideline should address the concerns raised at WP:IS, to some extent, but perhaps less strongly than that. Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:41, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Commentaries are a sticky wicket - that's why there's a cautionary note in the guideline about SELFPUB sources. An article sourced only on commentary is likely to be questioned about notability, but if the work was sufficiently popular enough to warrant the creation of commentary, there is likely other material that can be used to better demonstrate notability, such as sources to state the popularity of the work. There's also a possible argument that, particularly for works that are produced by numerous people, that individual commentary could be seen as a secondary source, since that one person is providing their interpretation and analysis of the original work particularly if the commentary was created some time (months to years) after the distribution of the work. Again, if we are going for a compromise position to get us to a point where, like non-notable list/elements, we can then all collectively take a breather and decide if we need to shift around from the tentative middle point, we should be allowing for the use of commentary as the only means for notability should be considered - it's not an absolute guarantee either way, but it's better than no demonstration at all. --MASEM 15:12, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
This is not a problem: the lists can be ordered and have subheaders to give a rough approximation of the main/recurring/minor/etc nature of the characters, and then the text can explain the relative importance of each character. In fact, stand-alone articles are worse in this regard. AnteaterZot (talk) 19:15, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Re false sense of equality:

The false sense of equality is a problem because it encourages undue weight to be given to characters who are relatively unimportant to the narrative, misleading people who are unfamilar with the fiction. If there are three main characters who account for 90% of the dialogue, they're unlikely to get 50% of the list if there are many minor characters jostling for attention.

Re principal characters of really major works:

The view that 'most' principal characters of really major works aren't notable is just an opinion. My impression is that the fiction deletionists don't have any training or qualifications to make such a claim. Let's not forget that for two years, Alyosha Karamazov was cited in this very guideline as a 'good' redirect. Google is not research, and Digimon and Stargate are not 'really major works'. For century-old literature and certain kinds of film (Blade Runner or the Hitchcock films, for example) there is a superabundance of critical commentary which supports the creation of character articles.--Nydas(Talk) 22:24, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Which is exactly why individual character articles should be very limited to those that have the abundance of critical commentary; this removes any bias that the user may have towards the work.
For lists, taking the example that if 3 characters have 90% of the dialog, then obviously those three are major characters and likely will get 1 to 3 paragraphs in a list (assuming none are non-notable). Any other supporting characters should get one paragraph at most, and this assumes they are reoccurring; one-offs should rarely be discussed at all. This is more a manual of style approach that should tie in with such non-notable lists, but isn't a notability issue itself. --MASEM 22:34, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
The point is that notability is a given for principal characters from 'really major' fiction. There should not be a problem with stubs and start-classes for them, any more than there should be a problem with a town or politician stub. As for lists, even a 3:1 paragraph ratio is too much. In some cases, the correct approach is to have character articles first. Colonel Warden is absolutely right about lists being a Procrustean bed.--Nydas(Talk) 22:19, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
That's fine to say that for "really major" fiction, stub articles for characters are acceptable because yes, they are likely notable, no one's gotten around to sourcing them that way. But we're back to how to define "really major". I'm sure there's a good subset of works that are clearly "really major" (aka, pretty much any work studied in high-school English course, for a start), but I think the only save guideline here is if the core work itself is a basis for significant academic coverage, then characters of that work are likely to be notable and stubs of such characters shouldn't be merged away with the same tenacity as modern or contemporary works. The academic coverage requirement would mean that people have likely written essays to explain the motivations of certain characters, and thus will have sourcing. But any other definition of "really major" is open to a lot of interpretation. Given enough effort, I would likely be able to argue that "Spongebob Squarepants" is "really major" (within the area of modern cartoons) to the same degree that "Romeo and Juliet" is.
Also, in the creation of new articles on a work of fiction, one should be creating the main article first with a list of characters within it, breaking out the list of characters (notable or not) to a separate list per spinout, and only breaking out individual characters if notable on their own or in rare cases where it is needed for spinout. The key is that separate pages from a work of fiction should only be created after notability is demonstrated or necessitated by spinout. Of course, what we have now is a lot of separate pages to begin with as this approach is relatively new compared to the life of WP, and that newbies don't always read policy/guideline before creating articles. We need to make sure the approach to bring together non-notable articles into lists or main bodies gets us to the same result as if the articles were all new, and parts were split off per notability and spinoff requirements. As for the ratio of what major characters to minor characters get, this is where WP:UNDUE provides the right guidance. In the hypothetical example if it is truly the case that 90% of the dialog is around 3 characters, then I'd expect that the balance of the character list would be close to 90% content of the major characters. If the other 10% of the dialog is made up of 100 characters, obviously trying to list and describe each one is undue weight; the list here I'd convert to quick lists to group the characters but spend little time explaining each in detail. --MASEM 22:50, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
So that's one definition of 'really major'. We can just as easily come up with others.
You're wrong about lists being the only correct way to expand fictional coverage. I suspect this is down to the omnipresence of SF in fiction deletionist thinking, where the 'fictional universe' is king, driving the creation of minutae-stuffed lists. It would be ridiculous to have a List of characters in the Richard Hannay universe, but it's reasonable to have an article on Richard Hannay, the protagonist of John Buchan's thrillers.--Nydas(Talk) 10:35, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Remember, any other definition of "really major" has to lead to a path where sources are highly likely to exist, because just satisfying "really major" is not a free pass to not ultimately showing notability through sources.
And, not having read the work, I will assume that yes, Hannay would be a singular element, though since some of the works have been made into movies and film, there's a possibility that further notability can be provided for the character, though one could also argue that the book series itself could be made into a single article (notable, no question) and describe Hannay and other major themes within it. Regardless, yes, you'd never have lists, but if I were writing the Hannay stuff fresh, then the character description of Hannay would appear in the first book's article, using templates to reference it, and if I felt there were character changes throughout, a spinout may make sense. But still, that's shouldn't be done until I'm sure that a spinout would work better than just see-also templates to the first book or to a series article (effectively a notable wrapper around the character).
Remember, spinning out content is the justification to allow non-notable elements to have lists or their own articles - their approach and creation needs to be handled as such; lists are generally easy and acceptable, but there's often times that a singular element can be approached in a different way as to make the spinout unnecessary, though not all times, but this is why non-notable articles for singular elements are very commonly at AFD. --MASEM 13:20, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Lists are 'easy and acceptable' because they fit fiction deletionists' pre-conceived notions of what fiction is 'supposed' to look like. Fiction which doesn't fit is bashed until it does, no matter how distorting or counter-intuitive. Bodging the Richard Hannay character info into the first novel is a very poor solution. A series article is more sensible, although it's an open question as to which is more high profile, the series or the character.
As I've already explained, 'really major' is a free pass, since there is no way to prove non-existence of sources. As long as the principles are easily understood, transparent and likely to lead to sources, there is no problem.--Nydas(Talk) 10:04, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
If "really major" was easily understood and transparent, there would have been no ArbCom cases against TTN, instead of the two that resulted when TTN was trying to merge characters articles that weren't "really major"; our AFDs wouldn't be filled with highly contested disputes over fictional elements. We have to assume good faith for editors, but we also need to assume a lowest common denominator for editors' understanding of principles, and we should never assume something should be obvious to all if it's written out in a guideline or policy, because "really major" is going to mean 100 different things to 100 different editors. --MASEM 12:09, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
You misunderstand. I'm proposing a standard for 'major' be established on this guideline, like WP:MUSIC's many criteria. People may disagree, but they can contest it, and a acceptable standard can gradually be developed.--Nydas(Talk) 09:49, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
No, I understand that, and no, I'm not against establishing any "quick pass" to fictional notability; the key is that any such "quick pass" needs to be an assured criteria that will likely have real-world context. WP:MUSIC and WP:FILM have several quick passes, but ultimately each topic still needs to demonstrate that. For fiction, saying anything from "major works" or even "really major works" gets a quick pass at notability may be ok, but I argue that the word "major" in the context of "major works" is a highly subjective term, to a point that a quick pass criteria will not very likely have sources. (in comparison, "major" in the context of "major characters" is generally more objective, particularly when limited to just one work).
I have offered one idea: "Major characters from works that have received significant academic coverage", as if the works have been established in academics in that fashion, likely there has been analysis of the characters and so forth; this would make nearly any book that has Cliff Notes a likely possibility to have notable character articles. Another possible one is "Characters whose portraying actors have won a major award for portraying that character", as there are likely to be interviews with the actor and possibility the creator of the character, pre- and post-award ceremony. Any other quick passes for fictional notability need to have the likelihood that sources exist to establish them, so that's why we need to avoid "major works"; how is the work major? - what is major due to popularity, or was it major because of the influence on the arts, or .. and so forth. A more exacting definition of "major works" is necessary to consider how to take this further. --MASEM 12:56, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
Whether or not a work is 'major' is not the issue here; the problem is identifying major elements within works, as those elements are the topic of the articles in question. "Major characters from works that have received significant academic coverage" isn't relevant unless the academic coverage is of the characters, since notability is not inherited. "Characters whose portraying actors have won a major award for portraying that character" is fine, since the award is in a sense coverage of that character. Percy Snoodle (talk) 10:24, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
This thread reminds me of the drive to discourage succession boxes on WP:WAF, as they also had the side effect of creating a false sense of equality. -- Ned Scott 08:14, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

This thread raises another argument about allowing spinouts of all fictional topics based only on length, rather than notability of subtopics; it gives a false equality to top-level fictional topics. To avoid that there needs to be, at the very least, a prohibition of spinouts of spinouts. Percy Snoodle (talk) 11:33, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

While it's very likely that a spinout of a spinout is excessive, I feel we don't know enough of where exactly consensus/AFD handling of these cases sit to be able to say that. Also, we can't "prohibit" something, we're a guideline, not even policy can prohibit something, but only strongly discourage their creation. --MASEM 12:00, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
We can state that this guideline doesn't make an allowance for them, which would amount (in the context of an AFD) to the same thing. It would be better, I think, to add a note to that end now and remove it later, than to allow an infinity of articles on every fictional topic. I'll make the change now and see what you think. Percy Snoodle (talk) 12:51, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
You can't state that this guideline doesn't make an allowance for them, since it amounts to the opposite, which is also true. This guideline, quite rightly in my mind, doesn't comment either way because consensus is unclear and we don't want to load the debate. My view of Wikipedia differs from yours. Fortunately, both have equal primacy. Let that situation continue, rather than attempting to enforce your own particular view. That's one of the principles Wikipedia was founded upon. All the best, Hiding T 15:02, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand your first sentence. Do I take it from "My view of Wikipedia differs from yours" that you believe that every fictional topic should be allowed to produce an unlimited number articles to an unlimited degree of detail, so long as the top-level topic passes the notability requirements? Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:08, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
My first sentence means that if this guidance is to actually not comment on spinouts of spinouts, it should not comment on them even to the point of stating that it makes no allowances for them. Commenting on them from either side of the debate pre-loads the debate. As to what you assume about my position, my position has been stated many times here there and everywhere. You link to the essay on Independent Sources above. Before you assume anything more about my position, maybe you should review the history of that essay, and then attempt to better paint my position. I have stated that my view and yours differs, and that I have no wish to enforce my view, and that should be enough ground upon which to start a defence of your position. Do you have a desire to enforce your position? If not, what does it matter if someone wishes produce an unlimited number articles to an unlimited degree of detail, so long as the top-level topic passes the notability requirements? Is that a view you wish to eradicate or prevent? If so, then I strongly oppose you because I believe there is no current consensus by all editors of Wikipedia that that view holds no sway and should be barred, opposed, prevented or otherwise eradicated, discouraged or thought lacking, inane or treated in any way as being detrimental to producing Wikipedia. Hope that helps, and all the best. Hiding T 16:29, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I lost track of the negatives there again. You seem to be saying there's no consensus. Shouldn't we be working towards one? Percy Snoodle (talk) 12:21, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
What makes you think we aren't? Hiding T 12:40, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm confused by this conversation. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:10, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe Hiding's point is that we cannot use a guideline, or for that matter its footnotes, as a podium from which to state "Also, while this sentence doesn't have consensus and hence can't be part of the guideline proper, we'd like to say view X is a load of rot." If spinouts of spinouts are going to be disallowed (which as a general rule they probably will be, with the exception of some shows that are particularly ridiculous in length or character density so that Characters with names starting with 'Ba' through 'Bu' from the ______ series is a necessary list), then this must be established by consensus and editorial practice, not just us saying so. Once the guidelines on spinout articles have had a bit of time in the field, we'll be able to assess real consensus on the matter, but not before. --erachima talk 19:37, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Enough

You know, from where I sit it is quite apparent both sides in this debate need to rethink their positions and put things on the table and accept they aren't going to get their way on everything. Until that happens there is no point in even debating this issue, because everytime a consensus develops a new voice enters and drags the consensus in a different direction. Wikipedia and consensus forming simply cannot move to cover every voice, sometimes the voice has to move to where the consensus forms.

People need to focus on what we're actually debating. Some people want all articles written to an encyclopedic standard, some want articles only on the things they like, and some people want articles on everything. I don;t think there is a consensus for Wikipedia writing about everything, I don't think there is a consensus on what notability really means, but I do think there is a consensus that we write an encyclopedia, and that the featured article standards are what we aim for in an article. Maybe it is time to deprecate notability and a number of other ideas and tags and simply have one tag which states, this article does not meet the following standards, and then list where it fails. Let us not forget in all of this that notability developed as a way of discussing how to build the encyclopedia. Like all tools, we can put it aside and use a different one. The goal is to create an encyclopedia. Let's build it rather than continue to debate this issue. The guidance on this page clearly has no consensus, I think it is time to put it away. It is starting to become divisive. Hiding T 08:54, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Notability in general, not just for fiction topics, has much more support for it, even though there's always disagreers. Unless WP:N (and then by extension, WP:IINFO) is depreciated, saying that FICT is invalidated will not make the problem go away: deletionists will use WP:N as their main tool to delete things.
I don't feel these present arguments are bad. We have a guideline that's 90% of the way there in describing the current practice that is acceptable on WP, and the one area on spinouts is the one that we just need to be careful with as to match current expectations: it should not be a free pass for all material to be included, nor a free pass to remove all non-notable spinouts. Having this argument,, even if it is highly split, is not a bad thing; this is likely a lot more range of input than we've had in the past for this. --MASEM 12:39, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Masem. I see more agreement than disagreement here, and also more engaging discussion than divisive argument. There are plenty of middle ground editors here, e.g. Masem and Percy Snoodle. There are disagreements on matters of approach, but not, fundamentally, on what should or should not be included in Wikipedia. Geometry guy 19:09, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Deprecating WP:N would have no impact on WP:IINFO. I don't follow that reasoning at all. The two are un-related, and developed differently. WP:N already conflicts with WP:NOT, [[WP:V] and WP:NPOV, it's just not mentioned in reasonable company because it's accepted. So not having it wouldn't really add more conflict between policy. It might make Wikipedia less divisive. Before we had WP:N we used to see a lot more debate in afd's, because people had to present a case for every article. Now it's all drive-by. I agree there is a lot of agreement here, I just think the more caveats and words you introduce, the less good you will actually do. Look at the amount of time already spent on this issue. Is that really productive? Is this the bikeshed? Hiding T 19:24, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Acceptable spinouts

So - as Masem suggests (and without worrying too much about where they'll eventually go) let's try (again) to come up with the cases when spinouts are definitely acceptable, and when they're definitely not.

Definitely acceptable
  1. Minor topic lists that can establish overall notability
  2. Topics essential for understanding others (subject to (1) below)
Definitely not acceptable
  1. Topics that can be trimmed to fit into a parent or aggregate article
  2. Topics with no verifiable real-world information at all

What else? Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:27, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Driving by for a moment, I have to say that Topics that can be trimmed to fit into a parent or aggregate article is an result, not a criterion. Once you apply the basics (is the topic notable, and supported by real-world information), you get a list of acceptable spinouts. Everything else, no matter how much the author feels he would like to say, must be trimmed to fit into a parent or aggregate article. If it isn't notable and supported by real-world information, it just doesn't get an article, spinout or no.Kww (talk) 13:41, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I have a lot of sympathy for that position. There is, however, some feeling that there are topics that lack such support, which nonetheless merit articles. Confusingly, people have been saying that lots of different ways; I've been saying that some topics without coverage are notable, and Masem that there are non-notable articles which deserve inclusion, but we're basically saying the same thing. WP:N does make provision for the specific guidelines to add extra criteria beyond coverage, and we're debating what circumstances there are under which we should do that. Shall we take it that you, like Gavin, would say "no circumstances"? Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:50, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm pretty a much a "take no hostages" kind of guy on that topic. No exceptions. I would happily treat people creating such articles as vandals, as opposed to editors, and honestly believe that to be the case. Articles on things like Bulbasaur may be a common practice, as is asserting that every actor on the Disney Channel is gay, or substituting "penis" for the noun of the author's choice. Doesn't make them acceptable or desirable.
I'm also strict about sourcing. You can't demonstrate notability because the author of a work mentioned it in a DVD commentary. Notability comes from independent, third-party sources examining the topic directly and in detail. Once you apply those criteria, most cases that appear controversial become quite simple. Very few fictional spinouts pass.Kww (talk) 14:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Understood. I came to this page with pretty much that viewpoint, though perhaps with more of a soft spot for minor topic lists. I've since been convinced that there is some consensus support for a weaker position, so we should try to find a compromise between a blanket exemption for fictional topics and a strict application of WP:N. Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:05, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I would happily treat people creating such articles as vandals, as opposed to editors is the kind of attitude which scares me. If you think that the creation of articles like that amounts to vandalism, you really must read WP:VAND for what vandalism is and what it isn't. Sjakkalle (Check!) 08:03, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
  • But given that these guidelines are supposed to be more descriptive than prescriptive, that doesn't work, because that's definitely contradicted by widespread practice. SamBC(talk) 13:51, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
    • Sometimes it's contradicted, sometimes it's agreed. Both are widespread. If we can find a difference between the cases where WP:N is applied and where it isn't, we'll have our answer. However, I suspect that the difference is usually either (a) popularity of the work in question, or (b) the sympathies of the closing admin. Percy Snoodle (talk) 13:54, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
      • I disagree with SamBC: Just because WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, that does not mean widespread practise should be used as the basis for writing guidelines: Far from it, the tail does not wag the dog. Percy makes a subtle point that there are topics without good coverage which (in his opinion) merit an article; I would counter that by saying that if it merits an article, coverage will be found eventually, but that the guidelines should not be cater for a category of article which may or may not be notable, depending on whose crystal ball you are gazing into. I agree with Kww, real world coverage from reliable secondary sources is not only good evidence of notability, it is also a bulwark against in universe plot summaries based on synthesis.--Gavin Collins (talk) 14:07, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
        • It may be possible to identify the circumstances where coverage will be found eventually, using other means - for example, many of the other notability guidelines include winning a notable award. If we can identify those means, they should be added to our guidelines. Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:15, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
        • If in-universe plot-summaries are what you're worried about, that also covered by guidelines (writing about fiction, forget the link name) and by a nice solid policy (WP:NOR). SamBC(talk) 14:17, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
          • The style guidelines aren't reasons for deletion, though. An article which is entirely verifiable from, say, a fansite isn't OR - but it could be entirely taken up by an in-universe plot summary. WP:PLOT allows for a short plot summary, so without backup from the notability guidelines an AFD is likely to fail on grounds that "real-world coverage can be found", or something equally insipid. Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:23, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
            • A fansite isn't actually acceptable as a source per WP:NOR, either; that requires that stuff be sourced to a reliable source, and fansites aren't typically considered reliable. So while it may not be, strictly speaking, OR, it would still fall foul of WP:NOR.
            • All that said, it would be good if this guideline said, pretty plainly, that "if a fiction-related subject is notable, it will always be possible to include more in an article than plot summaries, in-universe information, and referenced from popular culture". Carving a suitable exception to that might accurately define what's an acceptable spinout in some senses, but it would also be a very good rule of thumb; "if it's notable, you can write more than that plot summary; if you can't, it's not notable, *splat*". SamBC(talk) 14:33, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • It's also worth noting here that WP:N is not one of the non-negotiables; it's not one of the pillars, and it isn't a policy. It's a guideline. That doesn't mean I' suggesting chucking it out; far from it. Personally, I come down on the side of permitting fewer spinouts than we currently seem to have. On the other hand, there is definitely cause for some, IMO. WP:POLICY indicates clearly that the primary method of defining policies/guidelines is documenting current practice and getting consensus that this documentation is accurate. Following WP:POLICY, that should be how we start out. That would pretty much mean saying "spinouts are great, go right ahead", which isn't something anyone on this page is suggesting. [break]
    • No, it wouldn't, and yes, they are. It is not current practise to allow all spinouts. While Masem isn't saying we should include all spinouts, he's trying to defend a phrasing that does exactly that. Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:40, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • So lets all try and compromise, eh? And basing guidelines on current practice isn't the "tail wagging the dog", it's the way it's supposed to be done on wikipedia. If you have a problem with that method, you need to be talking about it on a much wider basis. Try the village pump, or WT:POLICY. SamBC(talk) 14:27, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
    • I don't think anyone has a problem with the fact that these guidelines should reflect current practise - but some of us disagree about what that practise is, and some of us disagree about the terms in which they should reflect that practise.
  • I do have a problem with the proposed changes to WP:FICT, but not with the process of change (i.e whether it is the dogs or tails doing the waving, I am not bothered). Where I do have a problem with is that I think the proposed changes are based on POV. A good example of this is Percy's suggestion that an article on a topic without good coverage may be justified because it has won an award. Percy and myself have crossed swords on this before (so don't take my view as gospel), but in my view awards are not reliable evidence of notability on their own, and I have had this issue discussed at village pump and elesewhere. In my view this is an example of Percy believing a topic to be notable by looking into crystal ball and thinking coverage will appear, when in reality he can't see into the future. Since only Percy sees evidence of notability in his crystal ball, I don't think this is a basis for a change to this guideline, as other editors might not see it the same way. In my view, evidence of notability in the form of good coverage, not opinion, is the only basis for guideline on fictional topics. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:49, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • It's not a matter of looking into a crystal ball. Coverage is not the same as notability. Coverage is evidence for notability; there may be other types of evidence. I think that some awards do constitute that evidence. But we should always require some sort of evidence. Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry, when I said good coverage, I meant real world coverage sourced from reliable secondary sources. Anything less is not evidence of notability; awards in my view are not substitutes for good coverage, they are usually just the icing on the cake.--Gavin Collins (talk) 15:02, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I know. That's what I meant, too. "Real world coverage sourced from reliable secondary sources" is not the same as notability. You can tell that because WP:N uses the word "presumed"; if they were the same, there'd be no need to presume, you'd have proved it. Also, it says "If an article currently does not cite reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject, that does not necessarily mean the topic is not notable". "Real world coverage sourced from reliable secondary sources" is evidence for notability, and it's possible that there are other sorts of evidence. Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:07, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Awards are, by definition, evidence of the notability of a subject. If a field-specific major award is given to a subject, then the subject is, by the standards of that field, notable. I'm not sure that "coverage" should trump major awards. Snuppy 15:27, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
The question then becomes, does this apply to all awards, all nominees for awards, etc. Certainly, I wouldn't for one second say that the winner of the Booker Prize didn't deserve content. However, if, for some bizarre reason, there wasn't any independent review of the work in question, then we might have a situation where the subject would seemingly in a sense deserve an article but not have enough reliable, verifiable content to actually create one. Also, would this extend beyond the winners to all the nominees, which in some cases are staggering in numbers, or just the winners themselves? And what if there isn't a differentiation between nominees and winners? And what do we do about really minor awards? And will this yutz ever stop with the questions already? Happily, the last one is now answered. John Carter (talk) 15:37, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

arb break: my draft

User:Masem/fictspin is my first attempt, but it is not yet completed, in writing this as I see it needing to be written. --MASEM 14:28, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but that's just an extended version of the disputed section here. It still fails to establish a lower bound, except in a very watered-down way for certain sorts of article. It explicitly makes all lists of characters acceptable, which isn't right, and vaguely waves that individual elements aren't, which isn't right either. I *do* like the last section, though. Perhaps you would care to comment on the suggestions above? Percy Snoodle (talk) 14:36, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • No fictional spin out article is above WP:PLOT, and that should be the main point of a guideline dealing with spinning out fictional topics.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 14:34, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • The leading statement "...spinout articles dealing with fictional topics that do not have demonstration of either general notability or notability for fictional elements.. are appropriate at certain times.." is in my view POV, and is totally disputed as it goes against WP:N.--Gavin Collins (talk) 14:57, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • If the language makes it POV, that can be changed, but I argue that non-notable spinouts are within the bounds of WP:N as WP:N deals with topics (not articles nor their contents), and that a typical case, of merging of minor characters into a list, is mentioned explicitly within the notes. Now, I'm fully aware that these rub against PLOT as well, but again, this common practice today, and a necessary stake in the ground to establish in order to go forward with restricting these further, if the community wants that. --MASEM 15:11, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • As I keep pointing out, you can't actually go against WP:N in topic specific notability guidance since WP:N bows to topic specific notability guidance. If you don't like the changes, that's fine, but that's just your POV. Hiding T 20:57, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • (@Percy) the suggestions you made are basically already covered by FICT; if it's notable, it can be spunout, though what may result may not necessarily be what is considered as a spinout (it may be its own , fleshed out topic). If it's non-notable, we need to restrict it. --MASEM 15:11, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • They're covered because the blanket exemption for spinouts is present. What needs adding, if we remove the exemption for spinouts? Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:18, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • If the exception is not present, then there's no need to make any mention of spinouts, because what is already present in WP:SPINOUT and through WP:NOTE is sufficient to allow notable spinouts for fictional topics, a point covered by "Notable topics merit individual articles". However, I disagree that the exception cannot be present without harming the current environment of WP. --MASEM 15:24, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • The current environment doesn't support a blanket exemption for all spinouts - the harm that would do by allowing absolutely every possible article is far greater than the harm in excluding a few. But we don't even need to do that, if we can identify the ones we need to keep. Will you help to identify those? Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:26, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I have in the draft. It is absolutely not a blanket exemption as you're stating, because there are cases that I've included where spinning out is not acceptable to the community (such as individual character or episode articles). The problem is that each case is going to depend on the body of work its from and has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Yes, it would be great if the lowest common denominator was demonstration of notability, but that will not be an acceptable solution to the WP-wide community in the current environment. [break]
  • Unfortunately, that's just not going to be enough. You start by allowing all spinoffs, and then say that spinoffs on certain sorts of topic are "generally" unacceptable. Spinoffs on those sorts of topics will be constantly presented as the exceptions, and spinoffs on other topics can go as deep as they like. The spinout loophole remains unclosed. 15:56, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Again, the best we can do is state situations that are generally accepted, situations that aren't accepted, and warn as much as possible that any spinout may be challenged at any time. Remember, this is stating the situation we have now, and while there are some areas where there are out of control spinouts (the D&D cases), in the past year the number of such has decreased, so it is not like people are rapidly creating spinouts, we just need to make sure to spell these out to make sure that number stays in check; come fall when a fresh abatch of students get new internet accounts at high school and college, the process could start up again. --MASEM 15:46, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • The out-of-control spinouts may be few in number now, but by exempting them from notability requirements, your spinout advice is likely to cause a huge upswell. We can't start by saying "you don't need notability" then offer style advice. We have to extend notability to cover the articles we actually want. Please, please, please help us to do that. I realise you've put a lot of work into your spinout advice, and I applaud you for it, but we can't go about things that way. Percy Snoodle (talk) 15:56, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • This stems from the conception that notability is a requirement for articles. It is not; it is strongly recommended, but because notability is a guideline and not policy, [break]
  • That's a common misconception. WP:DEL is a policy, which states that articles not meeting notability criteria should be deleted. So while WP:N is only a guideline, it is still a policy that it's a requirement. Percy Snoodle (talk) 08:35, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
  • it is not a requirement, and furthermore, as it is written, it is applied to the topic level and not to the article level; this however is not a free pass to right every possible spinout as part of a larger topic. That's why the types and appropriateness of spinouts, as they are currently acceptable, needs to be defined, making sure that editors are forewarned these will always been seen by someone as being inappropriate. Mind you, I've changed the introduction a bit of the draft to make the creation of spinouts a negative but still possible solution, as to emphasis that these are not completely accepted by the community. --MASEM 17:31, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Just to raise Bignole's point again, it is important to stress that fictional spinouts cannot deprecate WP:PLOT. That needs to be clear. Eusebeus (talk) 19:37, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
    • Since WP:PLOT sits in WP:NOT, and WP:NOT is policy, can someone clarify how a guideline, a proposed guideline which also appears to be disputed, can deprecate a policy? Hiding T 20:59, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
      • The fact that we have in non-notable fictional element spinoffs (surviving AFD, etc.) that go against this policy implies that this policy is either not being enforced, or that there is a different way that this policy is read by those that really want these articles. I believe some people read "plot" to mean exactly that, being the plot of the work, but anything that is not plot (characters, etc.) is not covered by that and thus can be discussed at depth. However, I take the position that plot is anything in-universe, including characters and the like. So yes, arguably without considering notability, we should not have spinouts of just fictional elements, and in the long run I agree not allowing these is a better long term solution for Wikipedia. However, to suddenly disallow these will create a major uproar from the inclusionists and the result of that will not be good for the short-term of Wikipedia's social health. The fact that we have spinouts that exist, but tested through process, that "violate" plot means that current practices seem to have cases where it does not apply. Again, if one considers a spinout being spun out strictly on a technical basis to reduce article length, then the spinout information is being presented alongside (though in another article) real-world information on the overall topic. --MASEM 21:16, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
        • We have articles which do not cite any sources. That doesn't mean Wikipedia:Verifiability is not being enforced or that there is a different way that the policy is read by those that really want these articles. It just means we are a work in progress. The answer is to fix the articles rather than attempting to find the perfect piece of legislature that will solve all ills. We've been tweaking notability guidance for, um, four years now? In all that time, have we got more articles on topics deemed non-notable or less? WP:WAF already expands upon WP:PLOT. I am unclear what makes people think that other people won't wiki-lawyer whatever their magic set of words is. It's quite clear some editors simply will not agree on any given approach. The best way forward is to write and improve articles to our standards. Everything else is discussing the bikeshed. Save all this talk for deletion debates. Hiding T 21:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
          • That's why I'm trying to emphasize that what was in FICT up to a few weeks ago reflect common, if fallible, practice with respect to spinouts, with my suggested addition to expand on the current status of spinouts. We want to establish that as the metering stick to say "ok, here's where everyone agrees where we are". If, from that, the encyclopedia continues to improve, great, we don't need to touch anything. If we find people wikilawyering the language and the encyclopedia is not being improved, then we can talk about how to adjust that metering stick. --MASEM 22:10, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
        • What Masem says above is very true and we need to ensure that we approach these issues with flexibility. But the fact is that WP:PLOT cannot be deprecated by this guideline and the net result needs to make that clear. Various recent efforts to eliminate or weaken WP:PLOT have been consistently rejected. So far, therefore, consensus has upheld that injunction (however it is interpreted). The real problem is that admins don't close AfDs consistently enough with an eye to policy - that applies to BLP, V, as well as NOT - they tend to count vores, even though we all pretend AfD is not a vote (uh-huh). But that is not grounds for not striving to work out best practices grounded in our policies. I am unconvinced that defining notability in limpid terms is a Bikeshed issue. Eusebeus (talk) 21:59, 1 April 2008 (UTC)


Not sure if this has been addressed, this talk page has been busy today, but how on earth do you define Topics that can be trimmed to fit into a parent or aggregate article? That just seems to be another can of divisiveness waiting to be opened. One side will argue that you can cut an article back to one word, and the other side will argue it is all valuable information. Hiding T 19:15, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

That's certainly an issue - could you suggest a better wording? Percy Snoodle (talk) 08:35, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Hm, after thinking about it for a moment, I see your point. I believe that wording was intentially left vague because this is an article on topic notability, not on inclusion criteria for content. But it could be misunderstood as some implicitly defined special trimming. My suggestion would be along the lines of "Topics that can be trimmed in accordance with guidelines such as WP:WAF..." though I think that wording can be further improved, so I'll leave any edits to someone with greator conviction on the matter. -Verdatum (talk) 16:35, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I like that approach - it keeps the style guidance on the style page. Percy Snoodle (talk) 09:58, 3 April 2008 (UTC)