Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)/Archive 50

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Archive 49 | Archive 50 | Archive 51

What does the second prong do?

A straightforward question - aside from all discussions of its calibration, what do you all see the point of the prong as being? What important principle about fiction does it protect? Phil Sandifer (talk) 23:18, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

  • A *lot* of fictional works pass the first prong. And if a fictional work has a developer blog or DVD commentary, there is bound to be real-world information on virtually anything -- how they set up the room in the second act, or how they rendered the trees in the minimap. The second prong is what holds a lot of the cruft back, so we focus on the truly major parts of a work. Randomran (talk) 01:35, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
    • Mmm, but as it stands, my concern is that the second prong is effectively plot-centric. I'm starting to think it runs against WP:NOT#PLOT and WP:WAF. What if we were to scrap it, and instead raise the bar of the third prong to try to exclude real-world coverage that amounts to trivia? Phil Sandifer (talk) 02:39, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
      • I'd be open to that. I think that would gain us some support from the anti-bureaucracy wing of Wikipedia. Too many prongs can be a bad thing, let alone if each prong requires a lot of discussion rather than a bright obvious line that most people would agree to. But all in all, there is no consensus to have an article on every subject covered in DVD commentary. Randomran (talk) 02:45, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
        • Nor on every episode, and any effort to swap things around would have to preserve the concept that most episodes are placed in lists, and only exceptional episodes receive articles. As someone pointed out, there are more episodes of Pokemon than there are beasties.—Kww(talk) 02:52, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
          • You know, I'm really warming to the idea of collapsing the second prong into the third prong. Not only would it make the test tighter, for all those who oppose it on the basis that it's too bureaucratic... but I can see it in practice. To prove importance (with the possible* exception of characters and episodes), we won't accept primary sources. And real-world coverage necessarily requires going beyond the primary source as well. Basically, most fictional elements are going to require something outside the primary source that doesn't just provide any old information on reception or development, but also explains why the topic is important. For example, "The lead designer said the crown's graphics were designed to take advantage of the latest 3D graphics" would not be enough. While "The lead designer said the crown's graphics had to be grandiose, to reflect the fact that it is the main object that drives the conflict between all the characters," would at least begin to get us there. I know that's probably not the best example, but I'm hoping to get a brainstorm going. Randomran (talk) 03:13, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
            • And it has the helpful effect of really pushing us away from in-universe importance as such. It lets us deal with things like, for instance, Four to Doomsday, an unremarkable Doctor Who story interesting because it was produced out of sequence, and was actually Peter Davidson's first episode as The Doctor. Or other cases where something minor has a particular importance in production. Phil Sandifer (talk) 03:26, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
              • Doesn't that open things up to effectively becoming a production trivia guide? Items that are neither important to the story nor important enough to have attracted attention from third-party sources, but have some interesting facet in their production sounds like it opens up things like "the Buffy episode where Angel's makeup kept running under the heat of the lamps".—Kww(talk) 03:41, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
                • It depends on what kind of real-world coverage we think proves importance (that doesn't come from significant coverage in reliable third-party sources). Randomran (talk) 03:49, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
                  • As always, I'm concerned about shifting from clarification to revision. But, assuming for a moment that we were going to revise, I'm still having difficulty understanding what a real-world assertion of importance might be that is distinct from the GNG. A direct quote from the creator saying "I think this episode is important"? How is that "real world" as opposed to our current standard? Don't rush with an answer if you don't want to ... bedtime's here.—Kww(talk) 03:54, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Pretty much what Randomran said, but stronger. There's a legitimate and real need to compromise. The purpose of allowing the limited exception encoded in this version of WP:FICT is to take care of the cases where a fictional work can not be adequately covered in the main article, and some level of spinout article is required. That being the purpose, it follows that only important aspects of the work can be spun out without regard to WP:N: those things without which the fictional work cannot be adequately understood. That may include a limited number of characters, or a limited number of crucial episodes, or a few macguffins. It can't logically extend to every character, episode, or location that happens to be covered in DVD commentary.—Kww(talk) 02:08, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I prefer the phrase "Granularity Out Of Proportion To Influence," or GOOPTI, as coined by User:Antaeus Feldspar, as opposed to mere "cruft". It's basically what remains of the old old FICT, which, in practice, established that an article's probability of being an article was proportional to its importance, because it makes sense to start trimming WP:PLOT at the least important stuff and work up. It also helps against redundancy, because setting up the context for a character's article is additional "overhead" that in its worst form has zero payoff. Nifboy (talk) 02:33, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • My willingness to support any guideline at this point would have to include a specification that content on characters and episodes be merged into real combination articles, not bare lists (however titles), and that sufficient content be present, in proportion to the importance of the overall fiction (and the importance of the character, if relevant) and the amount necessary for adequate description NOT PLOT is less a problem in combination character articles, because one does not have to retell the whole plot to maintain context, and, of course, for episodes, the plot aspects support each other for most shows. But the content must be sufficient to be encyclopedic, not the extremely short one or two sentence summaries that violate NOT TV GUIDE. And, in view of recent challenges at AfD, there would need to be an explicit statement that the individual characters or episodes need not be individually notable. DGG (talk) 04:48, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry DGG, but giving exemptions to various classes of spinout article in any form won't stand up to peer review, because exemptions are a type of blanket inclusion criteria that are not based on objective evidence. In answer to Randomran, I don't understand why we need to merge the second and third prongs, when the third prong is already the strongest. If anything, we need to split the thrid prong, which is actually a dual test for significant coverage and real-world coverage, both of which are key to writing encyclopedic articles. I have tried splitting out the third prong, and I would encourage other editors to consider this approach because significant coverage and real-world coverage are to some extent the type of objective evidence that make a good basis for tests. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:21, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Pretty much what everyone else has said. We need something that stops trivia coming through, even when it is included in creators commentaries. Consider, for example, Peter F. Hamilton, who has published an entire 230-page book of background information on his series The Night's Dawn Trilogy. Without some additional filter on the information, all of the content of those 230 pages could effectively be replicated here, which would be an unreasonable amount of information to support the understanding of a work of information consisting of less than 4,000 pages of total fiction. So we do need some kind of importance criterion. I don't see the issue with it being a subjective test, though, so I think we should keep it simple, not specify in detail what kind of evidence of importance is acceptable or isn't, and then lets see how it's treated at AFD before tweaking it to get better results. JulesH (talk) 11:10, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • With this proposal, I encourage people to take a look at the FICT version of December 2007 when the whole dispute over fiction-related policies and guidelines began. If the second prong was merged/removed (I don't care), FICT is pretty much returning to what it once was. Does that mean we're about to start another circle of discussion that is to end in early 2010 with similar results, or does it mean we're realizing that a working FICT will draw from WP:N, WP:NOT#PLOT and WP:WAF, no matter if implicitly or explicitly? – sgeureka tc 12:03, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I still think the second prong should be based on whether the topic is the subject of relaible sources - that is a good test and makes a useful contribution towards writing encyclopedic articles. Here is my proposed amendment:

Role within the fictional work: The element must be an important element, and its importance must be verified by objective evidence, such as commentary from reliable sources. Sometimes importance can be established through the use of sources connected to the creators of the fictional work, such as commentary from the author, but in any case, bald assertions of importance are insufficient.

I feel this is very close to version edited by Phil Sandifer at 17:34, 24 January 2009[1] and should be acceptable to all. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:21, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I feel that your feelings are unjustified, and that you are misrepresenting the text of the second prong in the version you are pointing to.—Kww(talk) 14:37, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Can you give me a hint as you why you feel this way? I would say that reliable sources were thought to be key to this prong from the outset. Also, if you are unhappy about this wording, can you suggest an alternative that would work better? --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:57, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not referring to your feelings about what ought to be, I'm referring to the implication that Phil Sandifer approves of this wording. I will also point out that if your intention is to prevent the use of primary sources to validate importance, you haven't succeeded: primary sources are permitted via WP:RS, and WP:NOBJ refers there. You are back at the problem of having an intent which goes counter to your writing, and that causes no end of trouble.—Kww(talk) 16:23, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I do not see how outside evidenceis necessary to show that the protagonist of a really notable fictional work is an important element in the fiction. If we can accept this, and accept combination articles on middle-importance characters, we could agree. I do not think we will agree without this. DGG (talk) 16:52, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Alas, outside evidence is necessary, because neither the "protagonist of a really notable fictional work" nor the "middle-importance characters" can be defined or identified in an objective way. Once you realise these labels are arbitrary, can be easily challenged and even overturned by citing reliable sources, then I think you will understand that this approach is a dead end. --Gavin Collins (talk) 17:21, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
For reasons that I don't need to repeat, the ability to pass the prong by primary sources is not going anywhere. Our only options are to leave it as is now, where someone verifies something with a primary source and everyone discusses whether that's important enough. ... or to talk about the level of importance that would need to be verified in advance, so that AFDs can run more smoothly with less Wikilawyering and battling. Randomran (talk) 04:17, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you can "verify something with a primary source". Sure, citations from the work itself can add weight or provide a point of reference to a personal opinion, but Wikipedians have to look reliable sources to provide direct support to idea that an element of fiction in important to understanding the work, as it common practise at AfD. In which case, I think this simplified version fits the bill:

Role within the fictional work: The element must be an important element, as evidenced by commentary from reliable sources. For example, importance can be established through the use of sources with a connection to the creators of the fictional work, such as author commentary, but in any case, bald assertions of importance are insufficient.

This version does differ from Phil's original, in that there are no exemptions for certain classes of elements, which would have been challenged anyway. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:01, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
We cannot use creator's commentary to assert importance to the work; they can be used for other real-world aspects under the third prong, but cannot be used here. By definition, a creator is going to believe all aspects of a work are important (otherwise, why include them?).
And the problem is that we cannot get hung up on objective evidence. It is great for academic topics. It does not work for fiction, because rarely is a third-party source going to come up and outright say "X is important". This is why WP is built on common sense and where "Ignore all rules" comes into play. We need to assume that editors can understand that not every element of a work can be of the same importance as to require an article. Some yes, but not all, otherwise they are crying wolf. --MASEM (t) 16:07, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I think we do have use reliable sources, as the only alternative would be to rely on questionable sources, and I don't think you would wish to advocate using fansites. I don't understand your aversion to objective evidence, because this is what Wikipedians use all the time to resolve editorial disputes and differences of opinion. Reliable sources don't have to say a character is important per se, as importance, like notability, can be inferred from them. I think this is a good time to point out that I am not asking for independent sources as evidence of importance, just a good quality source other than the work itself. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:40, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Objective evidence for importance is great if is exists. The problem is that for most contemporary works of fiction, this does not occur, and thus sets a barrier that is too high for most fiction to meet, which is not going to be acceptable for those that want to include more fiction. (Remember that "importance" and "real-world" are two different factors of an element). To point to an example that you pointed to, Xander Harris has no non-primary sources that say he's important to the show, yet I doubt that anyone that watches a handful of random Buffy episodes without knowing anything about the show before hand will be able to conclude that Xander's important. Both the first and third prong are also sufficiently passed, so there's no reason not to have an article on Xander. --MASEM (t) 17:19, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Xander Harris is actually a problematic argument. As it stands, it certainly fails the third prong, even though it clearly passes the first and second. I know it would cause an explosion to take it to AFD, but I really wish that someone would work on getting it to be a good article, because I think it should be able to pass the third prong as well.—Kww(talk) 17:28, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Gavin, have you even read WP:PRIMARY? We use primary sources to verify unoriginal, descriptive claims all the time. Randomran (talk) 17:20, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I am sure that is true when discussing the in universe detail of say, Xander Harris wearing a red coat and not a blue coat, but in terms of commentary or criticisim, i.e he is important or unimportant from a real-world perspective, I don't see how you can use primary sources other to dress up personal opinion to look like it is fact.
In answer to Masem, I seem to remember that you supported this guideline in the RFC when the version was based on objective evidence, the only difference being that the exemption for certain classes of characters and episodes has been removed. I am sure some reliable source can be used to support the arguement that Xander Harris is an important character (Phil would love this[2]), and I would not be be over concerned about this prong being a barrier - there are lots of sources on fictional sources out there just waiting to be harvested. --Gavin Collins (talk) 18:19, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I support anything that's going to gain consensus, and it is clear that it's not going to be if the guideline does not allow for sufficient carve-outs outside of objective evidence. I don't doubt your assertion that there's plenty of sources for fiction elements, but my issue is that these sources are mostly going to describe the real-world aspects (which is necessary for the 3rd prong), but not about the importance of an element to the work. Granted, when checking the Zander article, I did realize that most characters, if they are important, are going to be listed in previews for the show prior to the pilot, or between seasons, or something to that effect, through press releases from the broadcaster, but this is a very limited case. Episodes are rarely called out as being "important", and when you get past TV shows, everything is even much less so going to likely have something to describe the "importance" of an element. That's why relying on requiring a third-party source to state importance is not going to work for most elements, causing them to fail the second prong, and thus being to exclusionary (as best as I can tell from past discussion). Either we require sources to importance and carve out exceptions, or we use determinations that can be evaluated by the primary work to determine importance; anything else, and I don't see this getting consensus from those that want more fiction coverage. --MASEM (t) 21:19, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Masem, lets face it, we are not going to get consensus for the third prong based the alternatives to reliable sourcing, such as questionable sources, or worse than that, personal opinion dressed with a garnish of primary sources. No source is going to say an element is important per se - this is not what evidence is about at all - it is about demonstrating that a fictional topic is important because there are reliable sources other than the primary source. It seems to me that you pleading for characters and episodes to be sourced only from the orignial work in order to justify plot only articles, but this is a common mistake of treating characters and episodes as elements of plot, not elements of fiction. --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:25, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
This importance that you are implying is not the same importance that (at least for myself) what is read in the second prong; that is, if the second prong is "importance to the work", the third prong is "importance outside the work". Now, these are related at times, yes; something that is "important to the work" is likely going to be the first element that is "important outside the work". But the reverse is not true: We cannot take "importance outside the work" and assume the element is now "important to the work". For example, Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor brough iconic symbols of a long multi-colored scarf and jelly babies to the character, and these typically are part of any allusion tot he character. Yet they aren't critical plot items (I think he might have used the scarf once as a subplot in an episode) thus they aren't "important to the work". Or, taking an example where a popular show has creators' notes all over the place to describe every element left and right on the influences of every single character - enough to meet the third prong and the "importance outside the work". However, none of that can be used to determine those characters' "importance to the work" - there's no way every character is important to have an article (this is the fear I believe Kww had with episodes of any show with DVD commentary). --MASEM (t) 11:02, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Masem, I fear you have got your nickers in a twist over "importance". Whether an element is important "outside the work", "inside the work" or "to the work", you still have to present some form of evidence, even if it is only an editor's opinion as you advocating. However, objective evidence is always going to trump an editor's opinion, so we may as well agree on objective evidence now. As regards whether the scarf and jelly babies of Doctor Who are important or not, I am afraid objective evidence from reliable source is best, otherwise we we risk opening the doors for crufty articles based on speculation and hearsay from fansites. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Which is exactly why 99% of the versions offered have required secondary sources confirming the importance of any element that is not an episode or character. That's already been covered.—Kww(talk) 11:39, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Agree on rewrite - new title: WP:When and how to create a sub-page of a fiction article

This sums up Notability (fiction) quite neatly

And that's it. I feel that the questions raised by Notability (fiction) are answered within Summary style. Notability (fiction) is a muddled attempt to say what is said clearly enough at Summary style.

Notability (fiction) could, however, be usefully rewritten as a WikiProject essay on procedures to be considered when looking to break out a section of a fiction article into a new page. As such its aims as an inclusion guide should be removed, and it should be renamed. The inclusion criteria discussed in Notability (fiction) is summed up neatly in the third bullet point of the existing nutshell: "an article that meets the general notability guideline is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article", as we already have the GNG we don't need Notability (fiction) to repeat it.

Suggested title: WP:When and how to create a sub-page of a fiction article. SilkTork *YES! 14:12, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I've put some text into WP:When and how to create a sub-page of a fiction article to give a pointer to how Notability (fiction) could be developed. SilkTork *YES! 14:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
(EC)"we already have the GNG we don't need Notability (fiction) to repeat it." - That's not the intention of this proposal. The reason why we need a Notability (fiction) is because fiction related AfDs are currently a battleground. While in Wikipedia as a whole we have a consensus that every spinout should meet the GNG, at fiction related AfDs--where mostly editors !vote who are interested in fiction--that standard is a good deal lower. - A restatement of WP:SS for fiction can't solve that problem, because WP:SS itself relies on the GNG and SNGs to determine if splitting is even appropriate. -- Goodraise (talk) 14:36, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
This is a bit of a summary - if it's wrong, I trust someone will correct me. I think you're right, Goodraise, that SilkTork is rather missing the gist of this proposal, which is, as I understand it, to mitigate the fiction-related AfD battleground by creating a new notability guideline for elements of fiction that will have consensus. As the recent history of this page shows, it is proving difficult.
The original version of this guideline apparently followed the majority of the other eight live SNGs in dancing around the GNG, but basically ending up saying that it must be satisfied. The trouble was that at AfDs many articles on elements of fiction that did not meet the old version of this guideline (or the GNG) were being kept anyway because that's what the consensus at those AfDs said. This was a clear indicator that the guideline needed updating to conform to actual practice. Such an update will involve compromise from both inclusionists and deletionists, and any proposal that doesn't deal with this point isn't really relevant here.
Of those eight live SNGs, only WP:MUSIC, when dealing with musicians and ensembles, appears to buck the "meet the GNG" trend. It lists the normal notability criteria as only one of 12 possible independent routes to notability. The whole guideline seems to have been written to allow a much lower standard of inclusion. That guideline looks as if it's pretty stable, so if it can get away with a lower standard, I'm sure it can act as a precedent to show that this one can be written to do the same. The difficulty is, as always, in the detail.
My suggestions above are just an attempt to inject some new material into this stale discussion. I hope it's evident that I'm not very interested in how high the bar to inclusion lies, just in progressing towards a resolution.  —SMALLJIM  16:43, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
All the other guidelines are "either one of these criteria or the GNG". The GNG is a catchall for these guidelines, however, all those "other criteria" are designed to approach the GNG because they are facts and references that can be sourced eventually to make the article to standards. --MASEM (t) 16:58, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I suppose if you read the other SNGs carefully then "either—or" is what they imply, but most of them are worded very cautiously and they don't all give that impression on a cursory reading. But this is digressing - yes, I may have been wrong in singling out WP:MUSIC. (But as an aside, I have to say that WP:PEOPLE is a real mess.)
Back to the main point. Is the consensus that is demonstrated at AfDs for articles on elements of fiction (EoFs) further away from the GNG than it is for the other SNGs? In other words are more articles on EoFs of lower notability being kept than, say, articles on less notable people or films, etc? If so, then it's likely that the cause is the unique dependency that EoFs have on their already-notable parent articles. And the main hope of approaching the necessary drop in notability in this guideline to match that AfD consensus is to take advantage of this uniqueness in some way.  —SMALLJIM  23:04, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Gavin Collins' proposed version of prong 2

I fail to see how this isn't setting a stricter standard than WP:GNG. If we have to verify the importance of the element through independent secondary sources, then isn't the GNG passed for any subject that passes this proposed phrasing?

Frankly, I'm more than willing to consider an element of a work of fiction important just because its author says it is. Who knows the subject better than the author? Obviously prong 1 must be satisfied with reference independent sources, but I really see no reason why any other prong should need them. JulesH (talk) 13:37, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Because the secondary sources don't need to be independent of the creator ... they can be things like DVD commentary. I don't support that version, but it isn't stricter than the GNG.—Kww(talk) 13:41, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I think we have to admit that the Randomran version does not work, because it provides a questionable exemption to characters and episodes that won't standup to peer review. As regards JulesH suggestion that the author knows his own work best, I thought we had this coverged in the second prong, which used to say "Sometimes this real-world perspective can be established through the use of sources with a connection to the creators of the fictional work, such as creator commentary". I am not sure why he revered, as this guideline will offer far more guidence to this end as long as it remains focused on substantial real-world coverage from any source. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:13, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Too many subjective terms and will be thus prone for abuse. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 17:15, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Covering the ability to use commentary on one prong doesn't mean it's automatically covered on all of them. Both the 2nd and 3rd prongs need to be satisfiable with creator commentary, and other non-independent sources like series guides and universe encyclopediae, otherwise both will be extremely hard to satisfy.
I also think the 2nd prong (i.e., importance of the element, as there seems to have been some confusion over the order of them lately) needs to be satisfiable with primary sources: the simplest way to demonstrate importance of an element within a work would be to effectively say, "what effect on the whole would it have if this element were not present". In many cases, this is extremely obvious from primary sources.
For example, try describing the plot of Babylon 5 without Michael Garibaldi, and you won't get very far: he's clearly an important character who is the subject of or key actor behind several of the most important plot points in the series. Try doing so without Na'Toth and you may have more luck; the character is involved in a number of important plot points but can be glossed over. So I'd say that Garibaldi's importance can be verified through primary sources, but Na'Toth's cannot.
Yes, this is a subjective test. I don't really think this is a huge issue. The question of whether a source is significant (as the term is used in WP:GNG) is also slightly subjective. Does this cause huge issues? No. Sometimes there's a disagreement over whether a source is significant or not in an AFD, at which point the closing admin may have to make a decision over what the consensus with regards to that source is. The same will apply here. Other notability guidelines that include subjective tests include WP:PROF (what exactly constitutes "significant impact"?), WP:BK (what does it mean that an author is "so historically significant that any of his or her written works may be considered notable"?), WP:MUSIC (how do we judge that an act "has become the most prominent representative of a notable style or of the local scene of a city"?), WP:CREATIVE (what is a "significant new concept, theory or technique"?), etc. JulesH (talk) 19:09, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Let's not play the WP:OWNERship game. Kww had just as much role in writing that version as I did. And I fail to see how something that passes the second prong using primary sources would somehow fail other guidelines, considering we require real world information in the third prong, and require independent sourcing later in this guideline. Not every prong needs to be a fortress. Randomran (talk) 19:22, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • You can read anything you want into the primary source itself - it just takes a little imagination. A test of importance base on primary sources is a sham test, because it boils down to what your personal opinion is about the plot. --Gavin Collins (talk) 23:28, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • It certainly does no harm. You agreed it does no harm and could live with it being in the guideline, largely because the other two prongs are so effective. (And we've since tightened up the requirement for independent sourcing, if you look elsewhere in the proposal.) Moreover, I don't think it's just harmless, I think it's mildly helpful. Yes, the second prong might be susceptible to the whims of mobs and fan-groups. But I'm willing to defer to the wisdom of consensus. As Kww put it, a well-reasoned argument based on primary sources should allow something to pass the second prong. The converse is true: a poor argument based on primary sources will probably not pass the second prong. I'd *love* to outline here what we consider sufficient verification of importance from a primary source, but there is some resistance to that idea. But if you had some suggestions that would take us away from WP:ILIKEIT while still accepting that verification can come from primary sources for just the second prong, I'd back you up. Randomran (talk) 01:31, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • In answer to Randomran, in the earlier version you refer to, there was no mention of primary sources. The second prong was based on a test that required objective evidence in the form of reliable sources. Unless I am mistaken, reliable sources directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made. I feel we are all getting our wires crossed over this issue, because I think we all are trying to broaden the inclusion criteria, whilst at the same time trying to draft a version of WP:FICT that will stand up to peer review. I thought we had achieved this with the earlier version, but a test based on primary sources will cause more problems becasue in editorial disputes, you are asking rival editors to resolve their difference using arguments based on different but equally valid points of view, and that sounds like a reciepe for deadlock in my view.--Gavin Collins (talk) 08:42, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The old version that you referred to said "Arguments based on primary sources like 'this character appears in every episode,' or 'this episode is the season finale' can also help satisfy this prong". The goal is to make sure this guideline has broad appeal among moderate inclusionists and deletionists. Part of that means embracing the middle ground proposed by Kww, who felt that a *reasonable* argument based on primary sources would be persuasive -- and only for the second prong. Randomran (talk) 06:14, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I do not agree with giving a free pass to episodes or characters, but I believe being able to use primary sources for those is a reasonable compromise. If someone disagrees that someone is important they'll have to show how they appear in every chapter/episode in prominent roles or how it is near impossible to explain a large segment of the plot without them. Furthermore with the 3rd prong it makes certain that an article won't be just plot. If it is, then it should be merged or the information added.じんない 06:52, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't see the value of having a test based on primary which every element can pass - it is just a sham, and offers no guidance (see previous discussions for my take on this). We know from prong 3 that significant coverage and real-world coverage is need - why not make one of these requirements the basis for the second prong? --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:58, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The point about working with some type of importance to the work is there to address the case where director's commentary or other close-to-the-source real world sourcing may exist for every single fictional element of the work (enough to pass the third prong) and that editors would want to break out separate articles for each characters and episode and the like based on that. Stressing some importance to the work prevents this type of splitting, but rarely is the importance of a plot element going to be pointed out by a third-party source (the creators' commentary should not be used since they could state every element is important). Allowing some common sense, good-faith distinction that can be reviewed at AFD about what is important is what is needed to compromise here; yes, there may be those that will assert every element important, but you can only cry wolf so far; furthermore we still need to fall back on editorial standards and avoid short articles that just can't be expanded further. --MASEM (t) 14:34, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I personally think that even a token requirement for importance will weed out the most obvious riffraff, which is why we need the second prong. Me personally, I'd rather clarify what kinds of evidence from primary sources would help you pass the second prong. But if we were to get rid of the prong altogether, I would be strongly against adding a new prong, because that would seem like complexity for the sake of complexity. After a quick glance at the RFC, the last viable way to expand support for this proposal is to make it less bureaucratic. A two prong test (or simple sentence with two requirements) would help satisfy that need. Phil Sandifer, below, is suggesting an idea along these lines, where we drop the second prong, and make the third prong on real-world coverage tighter to compensate. Randomran (talk) 16:34, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't that be similar to the one that was brought to the ArbCom? Right now we have it so that we also need to show importance within the work, without that while not gramatically the same, in function it would be almost the same as what got us in this mess to begin with.じんない 00:56, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Gavin I contest your claim that everything can pass the 2nd prong using primary sources to show relevance to being central to the plot unless you are trying to pass it through a bunch of low intelligence people or those who don't care. I want you to show me some proof how even the minor item or character can since you are the only one claiming this and proclaiming it with a staunch attitude that you are absolutely positively right because frankly I don't see how it's possible except given those two extremes I mentioned above.じんない 00:45, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Jinnai, I can understand why you should contest any staunch attitude, but I think the reasoning behind my view that "every fictional element can be judged to be important enough to pass the 2nd prong using primary sources" does stand up to close examination, which is why I am opposed to it. Firtstly, if I want to create an article, I am hardly going to admit that its topic is unimportant; for this reason alone, no article on fiction will fail this test as long as it is influenced by the inherent bias of personal opinion. Secondly, what is important to you, may not be important to me. Take for example the article Xander Harris - surely 3,000+ words of plot summary "proves" that the character is important? I just can see how primary sources can be used in this context - a test based on personal opinion goes against the spirit of WP:NOBJ. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:41, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Outside of works treated in a scholarly manner (read: have treatments like Cliff Notes) you are not going to find sources that describe elements as "important"; they may describe other real-world aspects of the elements (why person X was casted, the influence of the creation of character Y) but these don't equation to "importance".
This is the point that we need to compromise on. We need to assume good faith that editors of fiction will recognize that calling every character of a TV show "important" is going to be very hard for others to stomach. If we don't allow this, we're back at a point where sourcing is pretty much impossible for many of these. Sure, we can add language that says that "importance" is preferably derived from third-party sources, and that claims of importance that lack evidence that show this may still be challenged at AFD. We can also clarify what "importance" usually means - such as a lead/major character that appears in every show, an episode that establishes key plot elements, and so forth - as well as what it doesn't mean. But for this FICT to be a compromise and gain consensus, we need to assume authors are not going to abuse it and allow importance to be ascertained by the primary source, with the caveat that this facet can be challenged at AFD if its not shown. --MASEM (t) 16:39, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
That is just the point, Masem: no editor will be acting in bad faith when they assert that their favorite character is important based on their reading of the primary source. It is where you get a dispute between two editors with differing opinions that are equally valid that is the problem. That is why editorial disputes are resolved by asking for objective source to break such deadlocks, and why we need to have some sort of objective evidence as proof that a topic is important, in the same we ask for objective evidence as proof of notability. My fear is if we allow primary sources to be used as test of importance, that will be interpreted as an encouragement to create of plot only articles based only on primary sources along the lines of Xander Harris. --Gavin Collins (talk) 17:13, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
But this is also why the third prong is important. I'm willing to give the benefit of doubt that a cameo or minor character is "important" if there's several sources that describe the casting or influence of the character (and thus which starts to tip the edge into GNG, which doesn't need "importance of the work" to have an article). That's why these three prongs aren't in vacuum with each other. None of these prongs is an absolute "yes/no", it's a matter of how all three prongs are met. --MASEM (t) 20:04, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Gavin, this is why we have a policy called WP:CONSENSUS. Not an essay, not a guideline, a policy. You say a character is important by citing the primary source. Fine. 99% of the rest say it isn't, then it isn't. What using the primary source allows you to do is to cite instances which would make it clear to the others that the element is important. If you or only a minority agree with that, then it fails prong 2.
Therefore I do not think prong 2 is an open floodgate you want. If you want I could add reference to consensus policy in there to strengthen it so that using a primary source to show importance would require consensus.

'Role within the fictional work': The element must be an important element, and its importance must be verifiable. The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated through the use of secondary sources or through consensus using primary sources, while the importance of other elements must be validated in independent secondary sources.

じんない 00:30, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Jinnai, I am not saying that you can assert importance by citing the primary source - I think we need to drop any reference to primary sources altogether. Your version states that "The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated...through consensus using primary sources" actually means "through citing the primary source in order to support an editor's personal opinion". I still contest that this approach goes against the spirit of WP:NPOV and WP:SYNTH. In theory, we can ignore all the rules in the name of consensus, as strictly speaking, the content guidelines which I have mentioned don't apply to drafting guidelines, but it seems to me that applying inclusion criteria using apporaches that can't be used in writing articles is contraversial, if not in error. I would ask again that you reconsider, as each test in the three prongs need to be based objective evidence, in the same way objective evidence is the basis of notability. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:55, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Consensus is a core policy and you can't just ignore it because it doesn't always fit your criteria. The idea of using primary sources for characters and episodes has a large backing behind it and it is consensus that determines ultimately what Wikipedia does. For major protagonist,antagonist, characters who play a pivotal role, and most serialized episodes that how things are done. We do not make policy because we like it, but we use consensus and compomise.じんない 03:04, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I see that the idea that a primary sources can be used to support an editor's opinion that a character or episode is important seems to be popular at the moment. However, you are failing to recognise "every" element of fiction can be demonstrated to be important in this way, as citing primary sources is simply a superficial dressing or garnish to disguise an inclusion criteria based on WP:ILIKEIT. In the same way it is not possible to prove that I like or dislike icecream, it is impossible to prove or disprove that an element of fiction is important, unless you use objective evidence. The use of primary source as "evidence" of importantce is an intellectually bankrupt premise on which to base inclusion criteria for ficitonal topics. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:42, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

archive time increased

Since this talk page has become somewhat less active after the RfC, I have increased the archive time from 7 to 10 days.じんない 09:03, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

the darkening future....

And I see the "prongs" are back... and I read the latest draft very carefully... and then considered an example where it would work to the detriment of Wiki... and there are thousands more. A Phaser is one of the more important "elements" in the Star Trek series and is included in the comprehensive List of weapons in Star Trek. Now I have no doubt that Star Trek as a television series and as a set of films can be shown to exceed the WP:GNG (the proposal still requiring something to exceed current notability standsard), so fictional "element" of a phaser would meet PRONG 1 of this proposal. And a phaser can be easily WP:V'd as esily meeting PRONG 2... but even understanding its importance, specially where it is an "element" seen and used in every episode and every film, those cannot be used as WP:V per PRONG 2 because one has to show coverage away from the Primary Source of the series itself. Now one has to go find sources which speak of its use. Fine. And then, we get to "the most important" PRONG 3, with its use of the subjective phrase "significant coverage". I can well see how there will be hundreds of sources that say something like "by firing his phasers, Kirk was able to destry the Klingon vessel". A major part of every episode, the series and the films... but failing PRONG 3. SO then the search will be on to find the different sources that speak in depth of the fictional element.... and they do exist... so PRONG 3 might then be met. But I chose this example specifically because this "element" in this list of "elements" of a notable subject, might be found to meet the three "prongs" and stay... but the list itself (like thousands of other such) does not curently have the sourcing required under this proposal. Look for yourselves if you wish... 98% back to primary sources. Uh-Oh. LIke zsherman's March to the zsea... I can see well-meaning editors tagging this and thousands of other such articles for deletion because in their current state they do not meet the much more stringent criteria of the proposal. The words have beem moved about, but matter is essentially the same as it was last month (though thankfully less obfuscated), im a increased beauracracy that will cause a massive wave of deletion proposals all across wikipedia. What might the authors here propose to stave off the bum's rush to delete? Though articles may be improved while in AfD, even this one example would require dozens of hours of reseacrch to make its many, many elements meet this proposed criteria. If there are thousands of articles tossed into AfD with a matter of days (and this is frighteningly and extremely likely probability, admit it), it will become impossible to address the new concerns of all before their ticking clocks runs down. I see it as a purge that would make Kristallnacht seem like a teaparty. Just recently, a set of episodes was tossed to AfD... and even as I and others were struggling to meet the AfD's concerns, there was just too many on the table and not enough time to get to then all. The entire set was tossed after portions were merged. Multiply that by thousands... I shudder at the inevitable disruption to the entire project. What answers? What answers? Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 08:25, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

What was deleted? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 08:31, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry and correcting.... it was a merge where substantial content[3] was lost. However the recent response make my fear even more real... see my response below. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q.
In answer to MichaelQSchmidt, I disagree with your interpretation. Looking at the content Phaser, I note there it does not cite any real-world coverage that is independent of the primary source, i.e. coverage beyond what is revealed in the plot of the fictional work, Furthermore what coverage there is is not substantial - there is mention of the creative influences, design processes, critical commentary, and cultural reception that would indicate why this fictional weapon has had such a persistent influence on science fiction. It is quite possible that sourcing could be imroved, but the coverage of this topic seems to me to fail two of the three prongs. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:40, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry you confirm my worst fears. As I chose the example of the phaser because I fully understand it does not meet the critera as currently proposed, although it specifically could BE made to meet all required "prongs"... but only after much, much, much work Goggle, Google books, Google scholar. Your response here, and I accept it the very best of good faith, is what I would expect a thousand-fold toward the thousands of articles requiring extreme amounts of editor time to "bring up to code" if this were a guideline. It would be a bloodbath of apocolyptic proportions. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 08:52, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
As a WP:Article Rescue Squadron member, I already see WP:FICT being used to delete articles. The dark future is already here.
As (in)famous TTN said:
"You'll never really get rid of those kind of people [franchise fans]...Now they only have any sort of "power" over the big series like Harry Potter due to numbers, but things like that will always go slowly due to numbers anyways. I'm just sticking with picking off smaller [articles], and then trying to tackle larger ones every once and a while. Once the weaklings are fully gone, it'll probably get easier to deal with the larger ones."[4]
Every once in a while, an editor drops the passive agressive facade we must all wear, and comes out and speaks frankly and candidly, and is inevitably punished for it.
See also This surprisingly frank admission by a former Wikipedian.
Ikip (talk) 09:10, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
In answer to MichaelQSchmidt, I don't accept your suggestion that, if Phaser were to be article, the article would be deleted - see Articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria for guidance. Remember, WP:FICT is several times removed from the process of deletion at WP:AFD, and all nominations have to be peer reviewed, and my gut feeling is that this topic would be preserved even though it is not well written at the moment. Personally, I think a good article could be written about Phasers, in the same way other elements of science fiction, like HAL 9000 have been written up. Not every element is as important, however, which is why I think the three prongs are a good test to identify which ones would make good articles, and which ones are better off as being included in the over-arching work from which they are derived. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:03, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Phaser was simply an example. And not as an example THAT could not be improved. Only of what would be deleted. I assert that it would be tossed into a huge and growing bonfire... and if not improved, it would be deleted. And peer review or no... if the number of articles pumped into AfD by well-meaning editors in a good faith interpretaion of FICT were to jump into the multiple of multiples of thousands per week instead of the multiples of hundreds, that only a few would survine long enough to be improved is a near certainty. You yourself looked at phaser and granted that it did not meet FICT. I know it did not before I looked for it as an example. I used it as an example and want to stress that if ten thousand articles are tossed to AfD in a matter of days.... very few would survive. Period. Even if they had the "potential" to be improved, the tendency is to toss to the dogs and move on. God bless the edotors who do... and I admire them that do.... but sadly very few actually improve an article they toss in the fire. They make a notation about it failing a guideline and there it sits. Other might discuss and show the difference and the artickle returns. But as the volume of new AfDs would be more massive than could even be imagined, Phaser would find its way to AfD along with others in the grand pogrom. And the disruption caused by the overwhelming explosion of content into AfD's will not work to improve Wiki.... quite the opposite. The eruption of Vesuvius and destruction of Pompeii will be seen as a weenie roast by comparison, as well-meaning editors toss averything into AfD with a speed and volume that will absoultely overwhelm any efforts to improve articles. It will be a bloodbath. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 10:51, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I think you are exagerating somewhat. For instance, a short search suggests to me that there is real-world coverage of phasers [5] which would support my view that fictional elements which are important in terms of prong 2 would survive AFD. In my view, this draft of the guideline works, and works well. --Gavin Collins (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
To GavinCollins, This is no exageration. It is a real exmple of what will be destroyed. Yes, phasers "could" be improved when sent to an "afd". But would they? If something such as phasers (by example), an "element" which even you agree "could" be improved, were it to show up as part of the Massive AfD creation that FICT would inspire... the question and problem is.... would it? The number of new AfD would become astronomical... and articles will be deleted that might have been worth saving. Not an occasional one or two.... but hundreds and thousands will never have the chance for there are only so many hours ina day. I have already run across editors using FICT as a reason to nominate to AfD. If this overzealous proposal were to be made guideline, wiki would be thrown into such incredible chaos, that it as almost beyond imagining. Talk about disruption.... Woah. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 17:10, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
MichaelQSchmidt, what's so bad about unsupportable, non-notable topics being upmerged or removed? You write as though that's some horrific thing, but really, it's not. It allows us to write a denser main article about many topics, giving a notation, probably in the form of a dependent clause, to the many elements of a show which aren't notable beyond their in-universe roles. We're left with a more comprehensive main article, one in which more readers get more info with less clicking to other articles. Sounds like us fulfilling our goals MORE, not less. Nothing says articles cannot be spun out when they do have sufficient coverage. ThuranX (talk) 12:50, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
ThuranX, what's so good about a guideline that will encourage a massive pogrom? First, notability is a subjective term, and always will be... and if any article is crappola, it will go, one way or another. But what is absolutely horrifc is that no one seems to be addressing the reality of what will transpire. Articles that are percieved as not meeting FICT will be tossed into the bonfire... not by the dozens.... not by the hundreds... but by the thousands and thousands... and not in a trickle so interested editors might address the concerns which brough them to afD... but in a deluge that will overburden the AfD system in an incredible and extreme abuse-of-process. It WILL happen. That's not crystal. And if even one article gets deleted that could otherwise have been corrected to meet the more restrictive proposal but was not because of the sheer volume of what will be tossed on the ash heap.... that acts a disservice to all of wikipedia in a disruption that does not serve the prohect. Consider.... Pre FICT: You and I are standing 15 feet apart. I have two coins in one hand and I toss them to you. One coin is gold and the other lead. As they travel at you through the air, you might be able to catch the glint of gold and catch the coin of value. That's our AfD process now... where we have time to react and catch the articles with potential and dismiss the ones without. Post FICT: You and I are standing 15 feet apart. But I am not alone. I have 100 others beside me. We all toss coins at you at the same time. How many are gold? How many are lead? Quickly... The are flying at you. You do not have time to look at every coin. You catch one... but realize too late that you saw 10 others that might have been gold too. The potential for immediate and extreme harm through major disruption to the project is a reality that cannot be dismissed. I have already crossed paths with editors sending something to AfD and quoting failure of meeting FICT as the reason. Test cases? It will be a bloodbath. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 17:10, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
"Kristallnacht", "Bonfire", Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii, "pogrom"- do you want to tone down the hyperbole just a tad? Reyk YO! 23:39, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Speaking as an semi-expert in hypertext usability, this is the opposite direction from the one we should be moving in. But that's a stylistic issue, and somewhat tangential to the one of notability. JulesH (talk) 13:38, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm curious to know how merging to lists (which with the use of {{anchor}}, we can link directly to any part) is against hypertext usability? --MASEM 14:22, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
The most common advice for writers of hypertext is to use pages that are as small as you can to convey the message you want to convey. See, e.g. Jakob Nielsen's book Hypertext and Hypermedia for a rationale. In Internet applications, this is modified slightly by the delays for page loads, but still the ideal page size is somewhat shorter than most Wikipedia articles. JulesH (talk) 19:19, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
That's what I thought, but WP's MOS is to avoid small articles even if they are "complete" (per WP:STUB, WP:SS, and WP:SIZE). Not that this isn't good advice in general, but I think the general consensus is generally against this. --MASEM 20:28, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • In answer to MichaelQSchmidt, I still don't accept your suggestion that, if Phaser were to be article, the article would be deleted - see Articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria for guidance. AfD is a peer review process, and believe me nominations get stopped in there tracks if there is even a mere hint that the topic has potential to be improved. The real question is how many articles on fiction that will be deleted and could never be improved to meet any of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, and this question falls outside the scope of our discussions becuase nobody knows. --Gavin Collins (talk) 17:17, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Gavin. Forget phasers. They were only used an example of what could/might/will be lost in the shuffle and confusion of the inevitable mass set of deletion nominations resulting from FICT. My worry being missed here is that in this ill-conceived proposal, even if offered with the best of intentions, has the dire potential for a bloodbath across all of Wiki. Yes... AfD is supposed to be a peer review process. I know. I have participated in them. Nominations (hopefully) get stopped in their tracks if there is even a mere hint that the topic has potential to be improved. But I have repeatedly had editors ignore that "hint of potential" and not dig through the extra few pages of a cursory search. I have repeatedly seen nom's themselves not consider WP:BEFORE or WP:POTENTIAL or WP:ATD. I have repeatedly seen noms use AfD as a means to force improvements when an article had sat too long (in their minds) without improvement, contrary to there being no WP:DEADLINE for such to happen. The grim reality is that this peer review system, subject to abuse either intended or accidental, will become so overburdened by the influx of new AfD nominations that it will fail to work. If an editor has the time to donate himself to in-depth reviews toward the concerns of only 20 AfDs a day (an arbitrary number only for example purposes), what happens when the number of AfDs multiply by a factor of 10... of 100... of 1000? The process will cease to work. Perhaps you may remember an early episode of the TV series I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel get a job wrapping bonbons as the come through a slot in the wall on a conveyor belt? The two ladies do okay... grabbing the bonbons and wrapping them... they get a rythym going that accomplishes what they are there to do. Then the line speeds up... faster and faster... until bonbons are flying along the conveyor at breakneck speed and spilling all over the floor in a huge mess. This is what FICT will create at AfD and it will not be funny. You write above, "The real question is how many articles on fiction that will be deleted and could never be improved to meet any of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, and this question falls outside the scope of our discussions because nobody knows." THAT is exactly my concern. Nobody knows... and so nobody is addressing this. Ignoring this very real concern is not in the best interests of the project. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 19:54, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Just a note, in general, the second ArbCom case for Episodes and Characters has edicted against any fait accompli mass nominations that overwhelm editors to try to improve.
  • However, much of your complaints is about the AFD process and not FICT in general. As long as advise like WP:BEFORE are optional, or that we have no other process like "Article for Discussion" to help improve articles and not deletion, AFD will continue to remain chaotic as you suggest, FICT or no FICT. The end result of FICT is only a barometer to say whether notability is shown or not. If that's used at AFD to delete articles with potential, that needs to be addressed there; we can advice about potential and the like, but we can't stop those hard-set that believe notability is an absolute that must be met. --MASEM 20:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Well, my "complaint" I suppose is about the interpretation and how I see that the "barometer" will be used as a club and not a scalpel. As I wrote above, editors are already using it in their nomination explanations... and it is not even an essay, much less a guideline. If that is any indicator of what the future holds... I dread it. I still believe it requires the parent to be more important than other parents for them to then be allowed "children". Can you provide a link to that ArbCom case? I think I will have to keep it right at hand... just in case I come across more multiple nominations. Thank you. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 02:19, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Here's the ArbCom stuff:
  • Episodes and Characters - Initial complaint after TTN's actions, end result was "Parties urged to work together".
  • Episodes and Characters 2 - Second complaint after TTN's actions, end result was "Parties urged to work together", as well as asserting TTN's fait accompli approach and placing a 6 month editing restriction on him.
  • Episodes and Characters 3 - Complaint after TTN's Ep&Char 2 block was completed, but was rejected.
  • I also know of at least two "arbcom enforcement" complaints against TTN after his 6 month block was lifted but before Ep & Char 3, but resulted in no action. --MASEM (t) 22:51, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Masem, there has been no "Episodes and characters 3." Collectonian, a former supporter of TTN, made a request for arbitration against TTN. Coren later refiled that request, naming it "Episodes and characters 3" for some reason. Earlier, Phil Sandifer also made a request — to extend the editing restrictions imposed upon TTN in E&C2, because of TTN's mass nominations which TTN began right after his restrictions expired. TTN is just an upset Shonen manga fan. Again, you pull out that tired old line that people's complaints are with the AFD process. If someone tells you their problem is with FICT, try listening. You still don't understand how FICT was used when it was a guideline. But no matter, Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) is not going to be guideline anytime soon. The problem now are people citing this proposal as a reason to do anything. --Pixelface (talk) 13:03, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • There was a request titled "Ep&Char 3" and it was closed without being accepted, partially on the basis that the arbcom was aware that a new FICT was close to being proposed and thus were expecting that to help with the problem. If there is another case involving episodes and characters it will likely be named Ep&Char4, regardless if it is accepted or not. And no, not everything that is wrong is just AFD, I was addressing the points Michael raised. There are also problems with FICT, but Michael's concerns, when boiled down, is what happens at AFD, with cases that just happen to involve a yet-confirmed FICT. And yes, FICT should not presently be used as a reason at AFD, and you should point that out to those. --MASEM (t) 14:37, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Rewrite it

This proposed guideline differs from other subject-specific notability guidelines because all the articles that it concerns itself with (elements of fiction) are always sub-articles of others (the parent works of fiction). Yet, as presently written, the guideline doesn't mention WP:Summary style at all! I propose that the guideline should be completely rewritten to take this core concept into account. Can I suggest a nutshell along these lines:

The second bullet seems to me to be another important and useful point that has been overlooked.

I hope this might be the basis of some productive discussion.  —SMALLJIM  10:33, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

It is clear from a previous RFC on WP:N that spinout articles founded only on the notability of the parent article are not warranted; individual topics need to show individual notability to be included, though there is some (but not yet defined) support for certain types of lists. This approach also begs for being games based on "more notable a work is", as editors passionate about certain types of fiction will figure some way to make sure their work is high notable to allow numerous sub articles. --MASEM (t) 10:48, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Quick response. WP:AVOIDSPLIT (part of WP:SS) says "Editors are cautioned to not immediately split articles if the new article would meet neither the general notability criterion nor the specific notability criteria for their topic". (my bolding) Well this guideline would provide the specific notability criteria for elements of fiction - you can still discuss what those criteria should be. And surely these passionate editors will have to show notability by citations, which can only be a good thing.  —SMALLJIM  11:09, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
It should also be renamed as Notability (elements of fiction) for clarity, per the consensus here.  —SMALLJIM  00:00, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
There is no consensus there. Reyk YO! 00:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Ignoratio elenchi.  —SMALLJIM  11:20, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I think we've lost sight of our goal


So I drew up a pretty picture to make sure we're all trying to do the same thing here. At the risk of being WP:POINT-y, I'm hoping to get everyone to at least agree on what this guideline is trying to do so we stop being bogged down in minutiae and proclamations of stonewalling this proposal.

The short version is, it helps our credibility immensely when our rules match what actually goes on in the application thereof. Sending newbies to WP:N right now feels as though we ask a pound when a penny will do, in terms of requirements solely to maintain an article. A competent WP:FICT would keep us from having to go through ArbComm over and over again when someone actually wants to enforce policy and suffers an immense, unwritten backlash because of it.

If we can agree on that, then we have a frame within which we can work. Nifboy (talk) 01:22, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that represents what my interest is, though from a slightly different perspective. I think that competent editors can agree on a reasonable middle ground that doesn't precisely match AFD results, because AFD has an inherent mob-mentality problem that occasionally results in bizarre and inconsistent results.—Kww(talk) 01:29, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't think the bar should be anywhere below (or above) WP:N. I see nothing wrong with a universal notability guideline. Yes, some broad areas (such as individual television episodes) might not routinely meet this bar, in which case it is our duty to remove them in order to maintain a reliable encyclopedia. We can't have different policies for different subjects. When somebody cites Wikipedia in a paper, they shouldn't have to cite whether it was Wikiproject Literature or Wikiproject Films that they cited. To make Wikipedia as a whole a reliable source of information, Wikipedia as a whole needs to operate under the same guidelines. Themfromspace (talk) 01:46, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • In an ideal world, I'd agree with you. But the people that create those articles won't go away, won't stop, and exist in sufficient numbers that they are able to force an accommodation. The way it is now, it happens one article at a time when they get together and scream loudly enough that they override editors working in accordance with policies and guidelines. If we can establish a compromise that the more reasonable of them will help enforce, we can start getting somewhere.—Kww(talk) 02:03, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think Kww put it nicely. Whether you love WP:N or hate WP:N, you have to concede that there are parts of Wikipedia where it is harder to apply, particularly fiction. Not that fiction articles get a free pass, but the standard is obviously softer (e.g.: some level of sourcing, but not necessarily significant coverage in reliable third-party sources). We'll make more progress if we can find common ground between moderates from both camps: moderate inclusionists who agree that there are a lot of articles that are too unimportant with too few sources to write a decent article, and moderate deletionists who respect that fiction has its own set of standards. Randomran (talk) 03:45, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The standard is only softer in parts of Wikipedia because we aren't enforcing it as we need to. Fiction and popular culture in particular are "wild west" areas of Wikipedia, where the laws are more lax because they don't have enough defenders. All we need are more sheriffs and deputys in these regions, not a separate set of laws for them. Themfromspace (talk) 04:46, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think you need to be more realistic about the prospects of enforcing WP:N, for one. For two, Wikipedia is not a WP:BUREAUCRACY. We ignore all rules repeatedly, and our guidelines are meant to describe good practice rather than force Wikipedia in a new direction. For three, there's a consensus that notability guidelines are necessary to relax the GNG in certain areas, and that the GNG is not meant to be a catch all. Finally, you need to be realistic about the prospects of gaining a consensus that WP:FICT should merely duplicate WP:N. If you look above at the comments, you'll realize that there would be no consensus to do so -- just as much as there's no consensus to simply ignore notability requirements for fiction. Turning this proposal into a guideline is going to require compromise and middle ground. Randomran (talk) 05:05, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Moreso on the point, we have the option of defining what WP is and what it should cover. Clearly, from the past few years, WP is not meant to cover fiction to a very high detail based only on primary sources, but neither are we to simply give a cursory glance at the plot. The level of detail that seems to be apparent from considering what is kept through AFD is less than what WP:N aims to require, but not to the point where we rely solely on primary sources to describe fiction. ---MASEM (t) 05:44, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I disagree with Masem, because I think he sees the treatment of fictional articles from the fantasy perspective of plot ("very high detail based only on primary sources"), rather than the real-world perspective of an encyclopedia. This is a common mistake, as fiction is seldom addressed from a real-world perspective in most movie and TV guides, whilst most promotional material about works of fiction is written from an in universe perspective, all of which gives the impression that this is how fiction is generally treated. It seems to me that while Nifboy has thought about the issue of how to compromise on rewriting this guideline, his judgement is clouded by this same in universe perspective, which views fiction as a wide open realm of fantasy where there is no reason to provide the type of guidance given to other subject areas such as science that are rooted in the real-word.
    I agree with Themfromspace that we treat the subject area of fiction with kid gloves. We should be treating fictional characters in the same fashion as the Biographies of living persons, whereby WP:FICT should be very firm about the use of high quality references. In my view, articles and lists that comprise of purely unsourced or poorly sourced plot summary about fictional characters fail WP:NOT#PLOT, as they do not provide the real-world commentary, context, criticism or analysis need to write an encyclopedic article. It seems to me that there is a clear choice: either keep WP:FICT firmly within the orbit of Wikipedia's existing polices and guidelines, or adopt the inclusion criteria similar to that used by worthless depositories of fancruft like Wookipedia. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:30, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • This is one of the reasons these discussions don't ever lead anywhere. There's a hundred opinions on how deeply fiction should be covered and a hundred reasonings for each of them. Which one of them is right will not be decided here, ever. People (Gavin.collins and A Nobody, to name only one of each side) need to stop using this talk page to preach their revelation of what is the perfect Wikipedia and focus on the real question: "Where does the consensus lie?"
    WP:N documents consensus of AfD as a whole. At fiction related AfDs that standard is not upheld. To end the BATTLEGROUND there we need to find a compromise between WP:N and the practice at fiction related AfDs. People need to write a guideline they can agree documents the consensus of the community, even if they wholeheartedly disagree with that consensus. -- Goodraise (talk) 10:01, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • That won't wash, Goodraise. AfD is an entirely different ball game from this guideline. Existing Wikipedia policies and guidelines are consensus, and if there is any compromise to be had, it must be within the existing framework. Either we provide guidance on how to write articles about elements of fiction from a real-world perspective, or elements of plot from a fantasy-world perspective. Wikipedia or Wookieepedia. Its your choice. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:16, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • "Its your choice." - It must be hard to believe, but try to imagine it anyways. I refuse to choose. I don't care how inclusive or exclusive Wikipedia is. All I want is for the fighting to stop. The only reason I opposed during the last RfC is because I didn't see the proposal helping towards that goal. At least, please stop talking down to me like to a fanboy-ish inclusionist. I'm much more comfortable with being treated as "deletionist" "scum".
    You have a vision of how Wikipedia should be. That's great, but it doesn't help. I have a philosophy too. I'm a precisionist. The only thing I hate more than articles not following policy is policy not following consensus. But telling that to everyone on every occasion simply isn't helping.
    "AfD is [...] entirely different" - You're right. Consensus is made at AfD. No matter what the guidelines say, whether an article is deleted or not depends on the people discussing it at the article's nomination.
    "Existing Wikipedia policies and guidelines are consensus" - No, they are not. They document consensus. Whether we like it or not, Wikipedia has areas where certain guidelines have more support and areas where they have less support. Fiction is an area where WP:N has less support. That is no reason to let these areas simply ignore those guidelines. It is a reason to compromise, because if we do not, it means war. It's only a matter of time until TTN resumes his work. (BTW, I'm among the many editors who awarded him a barnstar and defended him at ArbCom.) By refusing to move even an inch away from "SNGs may not be less exclusive than the GNG" you're doing nothing but wikiwarmongering. -- Goodraise (talk) 11:26, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Gavin, I'll be blunt, activism is not going to write us a policy that has consensus. I don't think the community will get behind a rigid application of WP:N anytime soon; otherwise we wouldn't have annual ArbCom cases devoted to one user who attempts to enforce it as such. The point I'm trying to get across is, AfD frequently, consistently ignores N, and I'd like to get down on paper why that is, so the next guy who comes along and tries to perform a mass merge on Simpsons articles knows why he'll get hung up by his toenails for doing so. Nifboy (talk) 13:43, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Gavin, we have a policy Biographies of living persons not because of notability, but because of liability. That does not really exist for fictional characters.じんない 05:04, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Moderate correction, we have WP:BLP because of ethics, not out of legal considerations. Nifboy (talk) 17:06, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree with this way forwards and with most of what Nifboy, Goodraise, KWW, Masem and Randomran say. Hiding T 11:51, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree with Nifboy except I don;t see AfD as being reasonably consistent about anything in this field. That's the main reason we need some sort of a guideline--not that it'll make all the decisions uniform, but it may get the degree of variation down from disgraceful to merely problematic. But he is quite right that some sort of a practical guide will help people know what articles to write, and then we can concentrate on quality, which is where the real problem is. Let me put it this way: we can't make the situation worse. DGG (talk) 03:35, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I'm afraid Gavin is unrealistic about what's going to gain consensus here. Goodraise has realized what most of us have: that we're going to have to put aside a principled position, and get into the ugly process of making sausage. We're going to have to look at some AFD results that are inconsistent with guidelines and say "you know, some of these aren't that bad, and I can live with keeping these", just as much as people are going to have to admit that some articles are saved because of blind activism for the subject matter with no attention paid to quality. Randomran (talk) 04:18, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think a little reality needs to be injected into the discussions. Its nice to think that new inclusion criteria can be written that "ignore all the rules", but the fact is that they can't. What Nifboy's graphic does not show is the following hierarchy:
  1. Strictly policy-abiding articles
  2. Topics that fail WP:V and WP:NOT that are not encyclopedic
  3. Deletion, redirection and merger candidates
As I see it, you can't put aside the "principaled position", because the only type of sausage we are here to make is the variety that contains encyclopedic content: real-world commentary, criticism, context and analysis together with a concise plot summary is appropriate as part of the larger coverage of a fictional work, not plot only. The articles that are "strictly policy-abiding" are those that can standup to peer review and AfD and are more or less guaranteed to be kept and improved upon in the long-run. Everything that fails sits in a state of limbo, where it will be the subject to whim of editors personal opinion at any time (such as Spacecataz), or may be protected by an editorial walled garden for a slightly longer period.
An analogy might be viewing ficitonal topics as rocks on a beach - at each tide new ones will be added, and the old swept away, but only those viable topics protected by Wikipedia's policies will endure.
The biggest sticking point in this debate seems to be WP:V which says that "If no reliable, third-party sources can be found featuring significant coverage of a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it". If this guideline is ammended such that it no longer meets this requirement, then it is going to be ignored by serious editors.
At the moment WP:N fits fictional topics like a glove, so the preasure to keep within the orbit of existing policies and guidelines is already tough. In my view the only real option open to us is to construct a guideline that is at least as good as, if not better than WP:N. The risk that you face by "ignoring all the rules" is the creation of "WP:Fiction (lite)" that will be ignored by the community as being too light-weight, whilst WP:N will gain the ascendancy.--Gavin Collins (talk) 09:47, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
"At the moment WP:N fits fictional topics like a glove" it does not or the consensus would not be against you Gavin for the 2nd prong and the ability to show notability through creator commentary.
Right now I'd have to say that there is clear consensus that Gavin's view is considered a minority view along with anyone asposing there is no need for WP:N in reguard to fictional elements.じんない 10:02, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Let me summarize your position in fewer words: "We should not compromise because in the long run fictional articles that don't match the more general policies will be deleted anyways." You're stating an opinion on how guidelines should be. You're stating an opinion on what the community will do. If you want "a little reality", then I'll give you one: You are offering your opinion, nothing else. You're essentially saying that the two sides should go and fight it out at AfD because you won't agree to any change to the current state of policy and guidelines no matter what. -- All you're doing is preaching and consuming the time of those editors who actually want to get somewhere with this. You've made your position clear. Why not stand back until the next RfC and give your "Categorical Oppose: Anything that's less inclusive than the GNG is unacceptable." then? Because that is what every single one of your posts comes down to. I wonder why you supported at the last RfC. -- Goodraise (talk) 10:26, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Which is why I said, since it's clear Gavin is in the minority and unwilling to compromise, we should ignore him. It's not something I enjoy, but he is clearly holding the process back at this point from those, like Kww, who might still want a stricter guideline, but are willing to compromise.じんない 10:38, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think you may misinterpreting the recent RFC, the objective of which was to have WP:N overturnned. The creators of the Wikipedia:Notability/RFC:Reevaluation were not interested in WP:N as a set of inclusion criteria per se; it is clear that their objective was simply to demote it so that they could have carte blanche to ammend WP:FICT along the lines you have suggested. However, you will may wish to note that the consensus is that WP:N is here to stay from the level of support which it received. You are naive to think that my position is "against concensus" - the issues are broader than that.--Gavin Collins (talk) 10:55, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • No, you are unclear. Only the most fringe members were. Just as those on the other side were that all fictional articles and their spinoffs should be straightjacketed into WP:N. There was a large segment who believed the guideline was confusing and another large segmenet who believed it was overly beuracratic and there was a large segment who thought it was a at least a workable compromise. Those that thought it might be too beurocratic would likely fall into the middle soemwhere given less wording and those who were confused would likely have the same spread once they were clarrified. Therefore I say your assumptions are flawed and you are representing a distinct minority who is unwilling to make any compromises at this stage and deliberatly holding the process hostage till it gets what you want, no ifs ands, or buts despite overwhelming oppostion in here and, in the RfC and the last ArbCom that a comrpmosie what is best.
  • That WP:N is here to stay I completely agree with you on. However that it is the one guideline on Wikipedia that can't change is not. Consensus has shown that for fictional subjects WP:N is not cutting it, on both sides of the isle.じんない 11:43, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Gavin, here's reality for you, WP:N doesn't get used at AfD, at least not for the articles that we're discussing here. Looking through WP:VG/D (and the Video Games project is probably the most merge-happy bunch of folk on Wikipedia right now), here are the AfDs for February that I'd say fall under this guideline: Kilrathi War, Albedo (Xenosaga), Units in Age of Mythology, Monster Rancher monsters, Broken Butterfly (a gun from RE4), High Speed Ring (a race track), and Stop n Swap. Wikipedia:Notability doesn't get mentioned in any of these (not counting the one wrong nomination who said "It also describes minor characters, which goes against the notability criteria."). The discussion almost exclusively revolves around the question, "Is this article at an appropriate level of detail?" Sourcing is clearly a non-issue at AfD, and if you write a completely source-based FICT, it's going to get ignored just like WP:N is right now. Nifboy (talk) 17:47, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I could not agree with you more. AfD is whole different ballgame, and is at least twice removed from inclusion criteria. AfD inhabits the murky world of peer review. That is why you have to forget what goes on there when constructing inclusion criteria for standalone articles about ficitonal topics. --Gavin Collins (talk) 20:15, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
No, you can't. That's where the base of consenesus forms as to what is appropriate for Wikipedia and what not. It's not everything obviously, we have policies to follow and other guidelines we should consult, but it is a foundation (however murky it is) for what Wikipedians consider notable. But even then policy is driven by consensus. That is specifically worded into Wikipedia. If you don't like that, though. Consensus changes, sometimes stricter, sometimes less.じんない 22:54, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
The basis of consensus for Wikipedia policy and guidelines does not originate from AfD, anymore than the decision what we choose to put in our homes is not driven by what other people want to throw away. If you want to construct an exemption for characters and episodes in this guideline, you have to take responsibility for making such a proposal yourself. If you want to convert Wikipedia into Wookieepedia then you have to make it explicit, not try to dress up your personal views as "consensus". My personal view is that we should be building an encyclopedia by "Standing on the shoulders of Giants". Its my personal view, just as valid as yours, but it supports article inclusion criteria that is based on objective evidence in the form of reliable secondary sources.
Jinnai, if you want to construct a set of inclusion criteria based on personal opinion, or provide an exemption for characters and episodes based on personal opinion, then please state what that opinion is, and why you think your opinion is better than objective evidence. Don't hide behind "consensus". --Gavin Collins (talk) 11:10, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
What's the point of writing a policy that won't be adhered to? Nifboy (talk) 14:15, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
AFD represents policy and guideline in action, particularly for notability guidelines. That's our only useful measure of how notability guidelines are used and thus our only way to measure if they are accurately reflecting topics kept or deleted at AFD. If the trend at AFD is to keep a large number of articles despite a notability guideline saying otherwise, we don't change AFD, we change the guideline. That's the situation with fictional elements, and why Phil wrote these prongs to start -they reflect the general attributes of such articles that are retained from AFD; from that they've morphed to a set of common-sense checkoff points for how fiction elements should be handled that is intentionally weaker than the GNG, because the GNG does not adequately meet how the AFDs end up. That's consensus driving policy like it should. --MASEM (t) 14:30, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It is not so clear cut, and notability is usually last in line. I might agree with you if notability was the only reason why articles are nominated for deletion, but in practise there are so many other reasons for deleting articles. We should see WP:N and WP:FICT as defense against deletion, not as a catalyst for deletion. The problem (which I will repeat for you again) is that a topic that fails WP:N is very likely to fail one of Wikipedia's content policies such as WP:NOT. The consensus is that these polices are here to stay, so we need a set of guidelines that can stand up to scruitany, not ones that attempt to circumvent or provide exemption from them.
    The key issue for us now is how to bring WP:FICT into the orbit of WP:V. That means that ficitonal elements have to be subject to objective evidence in the form of reliable sources. The trick is to find wording that is as inclusive as it can be. --Gavin Collins (talk) 21:55, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Afraid to use examples

It seems we have a phobia with using examples, unlike WP:N which starts out using them, in footnotes. I think would solve a lot of problems with those worried about the beurocratic nature of FICT if they could get some examples to go by.Sadly, every attempt to add some kind of list or footnotes with examples have been met with oppostion which would help out.じんない 00:47, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I am very much in favour of using examples in these discussions, as I feel our debates can get overly abstract, and some of the language used can be obtuse at times. However, I am against footnotes being used in guidelines for two reasons: I think they are pretentious unless a reliable secondary source is being cited, and secondly they can give rise to one part of guideline being distorted by meaning given to in in the footnotes. Overall I would say if you can't provide clear guidance in the main body of the guideline, then you have to question why a footnote at the bottom of the page would be any better. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:37, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
There's a pragmatic reason against giving examples wiith guidelines: we might not find any we agree with except the totally obvious, which are not necessarily helpful, and it's safer to talk in generalities. To some extent this is true with all guidelines, and so Gavin is right that the rules will be cleaner without them. DGG (talk) 09:51, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd say it's not safer to talk about generalities because it leads to long-term problems with wikilawyers and bitter AfDs.じんない 02:32, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

So exactly what is presently wrong with how FICT is written?

So to try to figure out how to move forward, it would be helpful to know what the regulars think is wrong with the current three prongs, which are:

  1. Importance of the fictional work: To justify articles on individual elements, the fictional work from which they come must have produced significant artistic impact, cultural impact, or general popularity. This is shown when the work (not the element) exceeds the relevant notability guidelines
  2. Role within the fictional work: The element must be an important element, and its importance must be verifiable. The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated through the use of primary or secondary sources, while the importance of other elements must be validated in independent secondary sources
  3. Real-world coverage: Significant real-world information must exist on the element beyond what is revealed in the plot of the fictional work. Examples of real-world coverage include: creative influences, design processes, critical commentary, and cultural reception. Sometimes this real-world perspective can be established through the use of sources with a connection to the creators of the fictional work, such as creator commentary. Merely listing the notable works where the fictional element appears, their respective release dates, and the names of the production staff is not sufficient. In practice, this is generally the most important of the three prongs.

Or, more to the point, since I think most of us agree we're trying to achieve what the consensus of AFD is like, what parts of this are too far off from what really occurs at AFD (not what conflicts with other policies or the like - we'll worry about that once we've assured this is what AFD really is). --MASEM (t) 17:32, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

  • As I see it, prong 2 is ineffective, since every character and episode passes it without objective evidence. It basically provides an exemption from WP:V and/or WP:N for virtually all fictional elements. Effectively you are saying "all spinoff articles are notable". Déjà vu, anyone? --Gavin Collins (talk) 17:50, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Gavin, you can make that argument in good faith about episodes and characters, although I disagree with you that it is that loose. How can you make that argument about "all elements", though? What does while the importance of other elements must be validated in independent secondary sources mean to you that would cause you to make that statement?—Kww(talk) 17:58, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Again, I'm not talking policy, I'm talking about what happens at AFD. Policy is driven by consensus, AFD is consensus on such articles, so it is improper at this time to figure out what policies this goes against that are not a result of AFD discussions. --MASEM (t) 18:08, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The problem is it's both too inclusionist and too deletionist for most users at the same time. Do they cancel each other out? Maybe. The only other problem is that it's too bureaucratic, and too friendly to Wikilawyers. Ideally, we'd have something more bright-line where it would be easy to distinguish between notable and non-notable subjects. But instead we have something that's going to lead to three dimensional discussions at AFD. Instead of applying a simple test, people are going to have to argue about three different factors: is the original work important enough? Is the element? These are pretty vague. A lot of people are opposed to this guideline just based on that vagueness, and the potential for this guideline to be applied wildly differently based on who's interpreting it. Randomran (talk) 19:40, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • In answer to Kww, if you provide an exemption for characters and episodes, that covers virtually all fictional elements with a few exceptions. There are a few notable non-character elements, like Excalibur, the Holy Grail and the Round Table, for example and probably lots of non-notable ones as well (the Rod of Seven Parts springs to mind), but non-characters are probably outnumbered by a factor of possibly 1:1000 by comparison with Category:Fictional characters, if not more if you were to add episodes as well. --Gavin Collins (talk) 20:27, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The three prongs try to define an accepted measure when a fictional element can (or should) no longer be covered in a parent article, which in large part asks questions about good spin-out practices. But wikipedia is at a point where fanboy newbies and the old-league inclusionists alike still seek to amass more knowledge (nothing wrong with that), while another group tries to record and pass down their experience how that knowledge is best presented and improved (in the GA-and-beyond sense). Unfortunately for wikipedia, the first group vastly outnumbers experienced editors, and of course a poll asking for the best practice will get responses from inexperienced and experienced editors, and editors with a (declared or subconscious) COI. Some fiction areas of wikipedia are doing great improvement work (WP:GAN and WP:FAC in general, and e.g. WP:VG, WP:SIMPSONS and WP:LOST in detail), and I'd like to hear/see if and how only these editors would define a FICT proposal, because wikipedia can only get better with their kind of input. The two results I foresee is that they'd either largely support the current FICT proposal (or a slight varion of it), or that even they wouldn't be able to agree on the best practice. If the first case turned out to be true, then FICT should be defined at the ideological loss of the less experienced editors or everything-deserves-a-stand-alone-article inclusionists. If it's the second case, any FICT proposal would be doomed anyway. – sgeureka tc 22:10, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Masem - I'd have to say with result to some Mecha series, the [mecha remaining sometimes are able to use primary sourcing to show importance. this one was kept more on it's real-world impact section though. This one was kept with really only WP:V primary sources citing both WP:SNOW and this proposal. Possibly mecha all pass like that because they are treated as characters, even though they are not. There are still a lot of merges, but if you replace "character" with mecha for the 2nd prong that's how I see it being used.じんない 23:03, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
  • In answer to Masem, these inclusion criteria should not driven by AfD - that would be an example of the tail trying to wag the dog. In the same way we don't want to fill our homes with the rubbish other people want to throw away, we don't want to build an encyclopedia out of articles that are nominated for deletion because they fail Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:25, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Then you are failing to understand the basis of how WP consensus is driven. Policy and guidelines are driven by consensus, not the other way around. That doesn't mean that core policies are going to disappear soon, but we have to recognize that whatever policies and guidelines we have are common sense and we ignore them when they get in the way of improving the encyclopedia, often leading to rewording of such if there's clear consensus to do so. --MASEM (t) 11:40, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I understand that the consensus for this guideline is written here by us, not by what goes on at AfD. If your view is that Wikipedia policies and guidelines "get in the way of improving the encyclopedia", that is your personal view, but you can't infer that is it is consensus by a vague assertion that what goes on at AfD supports this view. Sure you can cite the result of individual or multiple AfD discussions in favour of your viewpoint, but so can I to support of my views - we have discussed this before (see the archives discussion at Claimed AfD consensus). If you have evidence in support of your viewpoint, then bring it on, but don't claim your view represents consensus without it. Dressing up your opinion as "consensus" by claiming that there is evidence out there somewhere won't wash with me - you should know this by now that objective evidence is my standard.--Gavin Collins (talk) 12:55, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Gavin you don't have much ground to stand here. This proposal was brought forth specifically to help mirror as closely as possible the results that occur in AfD as that is where notability is truely tested, not in some feature article. We can't 100% replicate it because there are always exceptions, but we can represent basic trends and policy and guidelines are built on consensus from the ground up, which for notability AfD is the ground level. If something passes or fails there without a speedy keep/delete then it represents the basic level Wikipedia holds for notability. You're right, citing indivisual articles probably isn't the best way about it, but no one has gone through and collected every article about a fictional element within X time en-mass for us to anaylyze (which I can't).じんない 02:42, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • As I have said over and over, this guideline is about inclusion criteria, not deletion criteria, so if I "don't have much ground to stand here", then you don't have any legs to stand on. WP:FICT cannot mirror what goes on at WP:AFD as that would be an example of the tail trying to wag the dog; AFD is an entirely different process which is defined by Wikipedia:Deletion policy, not by WP:FICT. Furthermore, the decisions made at AFD are far removed from what is written in Wikipedia guidelines: decisions are made by peer review, such that a consensus of opinion must be reached before a decision is made, which in effect means that WP:FICT cannot be prescriptive, even if we wanted it too. Therefore the opposite is true: what decisions are made at AFD do not in any way drive how we choose to construct Wikipedia inlcusion criteria. At this point an analogy might be useful: just because criminals don't always get caught, or because they are not always convicted for their crimes at court, it does not mean that we should abandon or water down statute that prohibits criminal behaviour on the grounds that the process of law enforcement or criminal justice does not have a 100% sucess rate (which is probably close to 5%).
    Coming back to AfD, those articles that most likely to be deleted are those which fail Wikipedia content policies, because these policies provide relatively clear guidance on what content is not encyclopedic. Articles that fail Wikipedia's content policies also tend to fail WP:N, and vice-versa (Masem take note). A typical example are articles about fictional characters which fail WP:NOT#PLOT, such as Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Lieutenant Page.
    Jinnai, if I understand your position correctly (please correct me if I am wrong), you are proposing that WP:FICT should give an exemption for characters and episodes that fail WP:N because they don't always get deleted. I suggest you think again, because those articles that do get deleted definetely fail WP:N as they were topics that had insufficient sources to justify them having their own stand alone article in the first place, and as such had no defense in AFD discussions. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:51, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

The rules

The "rules" we have for content are "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability" and "Wikipedia does not publish original research or original thought.". "Notability" is a community guideline which aims to prevent trivial information being hosted on Wikipedia. Notability is related to discussions on trivia sections in the sense that it aims to prevent inappropriate and trivial content, such as fancruft and excessive information on fictional characters. Notability, however, is not a rule, and people are free to discuss notability at AfD. Notability guidelines inform participants in AfD how consensus has gone in previous discussions. These guidelines are often taken as policy or as rules, and people sometimes use shortcut algebra to sections within these guidelines as though that trumps and ends all discussion. Creating more algebraic shortcuts which aim to prevent discussion so a quick decision is made would not be helpful. Sure, discussion can be tough, and it's frustrating when people have different points of view. But it doesn't help the project as a whole to create a guideline that encapsules how certain people feel right now about elements of fiction, and then both assume and expect people to abide by this agreement for ever.

Consensus comes from discussion. Our guidelines need to be written so that they don't assume any sort of authority, and that they still allow discussion.

WP:N as written is a very useful guideline for notability issues. But it isn't a rule.

The relevent content rules are what Wikipedia was founded upon - WP:V, WP:OR and WP:NPOV. If an article meets WP:V, WP:OR and WP:NPOV then it can remain on Wikipedia. No other policy is needed. However, editors working in some subject areas have determined that following these inclusion policies leads to Wikipedia being swamped by too many minor and orphaned standalone articles that overload the project and result in poor navigation and poor quality, and so have created content guidelines to help shape the subject area. These notability guides are not policy, and nor should they be. And over time as we shape and organise the project better, so we find we are able to better handle more and more content, so the restrictions on what we accept become looser and looser. We should at this stage be reducing the influence of the main notability guidelines and indicating that they are, in fact, nothing more than advice on how to deal with content, rather than rules for inclusion.

If an article on a fictional element meets WP:V, WP:OR, WP:NPOV and WP:N then it quite likely meets consensus to be a standalone article. Some WikiProjects introduce slightly stricter criteria in order to have a tighter focus in their subject area, and to build fewer but more comprehensive articles rather than a rash of stubs. That's acceptable - but such guidelines are WikiProject essays, not Wikipedia guidelines. What is NOT acceptable is for any essay or guideline to attempt to subvert Wiki-wide consensus by introducing lower standards.

The question I have, is what is the aim of this guideline?

1) To make it easier to have articles on fictional elements 2) To make it harder to have articles on fictional elements 3) To give guidance on how to deal with articles on fictional elements

If the answer is #1, then it is inappropriate. If the answer is #2 or #3, then it can be a WikiProject essay. But I see nowhere that this should become another inclusion guidleine. SilkTork *YES! 12:13, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

That you are trying to say WP:FICT is irrelivant any way you shape shows your logic is flawed already and directly conflicts with the last ArbCom on it.じんない 12:48, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
You missed one additional tenet of Wikipeida: Wikipedia is not a collection of indiscriminate information. While WP:V may set a minimum standard for inclusion, WP:NOT and by association the various notability guidelines set a secondary standard to prevent random facts from being added. I would not be surprised if every editor participating on this page can meet the WP:V threshold, but we certainly don't have a mainspace page for every editor. In the same vein, detailed coverage of every element of fiction cannot be considered discriminate, but an overall summary with more detail when there's more real-world aspects of an element available is not. --MASEM (t) 14:11, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, along with the offshoots, is an interesting page in which over the years people have tried to define what it is we do and don't want in the encyclopedia. There are problems with a number of idea within WP:NOT (such as WP:NOTDICDEF which is ignored to such an extent we have Category:Words, Category:Etymologies and Thou). The difficulty with making a rule or policy, is that once it is in place it is quite hard to shift - even when it is ignored to the extent that WP:NOT is ignored. Wikipedia evolves, and as it evolves we no longer need some of the old rallying cries of WP is not a dictionary! and WP is not a directory!, as WP now includes these things. WP is a dictionary, and WP is a directory of geographic places, train routes, towns, villages and high schools. As for "indiscriminate information" - well, when we use categories the information we publish ceases to be indiscriminate. If elements of fiction are organised and have a rationale for publication then they cease to be indiscriminate. As for editors on this page passing WP:V - I am quite well known as SilkTork (though less so these days - I used to get over 13,000 hits when I was more active on the internet), and also as Steve Pereira because I have been a writer and editor for some years, but I couldn't meet "If no reliable, third-party sources can be found featuring significant coverage of a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it." You could find mentions of me in many places, but nothing significant in any reliable sources. I think WP:V is somewhat underestimated. SilkTork *YES! 19:56, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
MASEM is right here. You are basically saying that the position opposite to yours is so unacceptable that you are not willing to negotiate if it is a possibility. This is not a good-faith approach to finding a consensus. It's stonewalling. Any viable compromise is going to include thing I dislike, and also things that you dislike. I very much want to see 1/, a broadening of the acceptable limits as far as compromise will get it but that doesn't mean that it's a pre-condition. Given your view, and my view, if we each insist on it , how can we go forward. And don't say it will be by people who share my view giving in to you at the start. If you take that position it becomes a test of strength, not a reasonable discussion. Even when reasonable argument reaches an impasse, there is still a rationale behind compromise: if it does come to a test of strength, one might lose completely, and compromise is better than that. DGG (talk) 22:16, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
So what are you say DGG? That WP:V is not policy? At least admit that what he says has some reason. --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:45, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Some very specific items he says makes sense, but the conclusion does not.じんない 22:48, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
So what are you saying Jinnai? That it is acceptable is for any essay or guideline to attempt to subvert Wiki-wide consensus by introducing lower standards? Is that your position? --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:28, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
In anwer to SilkTork, my understanding is that for WP:FICT to function as an effective notability guideline, it has to have slightly stricter criteria than WP:V so that articles of fictional topics have a real-world focus, and to build fewer but more comprehensive articles rather than articles comprised soley of trivia and plot summary. In your view, is this a reasonable path for us to follow? --Gavin Collins (talk) 18:52, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not keen on having another notability guideline. I'd like to see this become a guide to how to deal with fictional elements, rather than a rule book on if they should be in Wikipedia or not. As DGG suggests, with differences of opinion and viewpoint we tend to get a Mexican standoff on notability in which it's whoever is voting on the AfD at that time who wins the day. The fewer inclusion guidelines there are, the clearer it is, and the easier it is to be consistent. With the existing policies and guidelines we have, the "rules" and guidelines are not followed. Add another handful, and that just makes the whole thing even less likely to be followed. HOWEVER, give some genuine, sensible advice on what to do with the stuff when it arrives on our door, and people will turn to the advice. I like to look at WikiProject essays on how to layout an article - they tend to give best practice advice based on consensus (well, the better ones do). Does it matter if Internal links (See also) go before the references while External links go after? No. But as there is a guideline that says put them before the references, that's what we all do. And we're all quite happy with that. When working on an article on a city, I check out Wikipedia:UKCITIES and Wikipedia:WikiProject_Cities/Guideline for guidance on the sorts of sections that might be useful, and the sort of names they might have. For notability of fictional elements we have existing policies and guidelines, for specific advice on how to deal with the fictional elements we have very little - and that's where I see this page being useful. SilkTork *YES! 22:59, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
We already have a guideline like that, and that's WP:WAF. And it prescribes that we basically don't break out fictional elements until there's enough to talk about. The problem is is that we have on the order of 100,000s of articles from WP's earlier days that weren't built from that advice, and more added by newer editors not aware of the problems with these articles. We need a guideline to handle both old and new articles, and that can't easily be done with WAF alone, thus the need for FICT. --MASEM (t) 23:10, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think it is important to have WP:FICT as a guideline for the reason which Masem hints at - articles written from an in universe perspective don't provide any encyclopedic content, no matter how well sourced they are. Because fictional characters have a dual existence, i.e. they are described in the fantasy world of their primary source, as well as in the real-world of secondary sources, it is important to emphasise that only real-world coverage is truely encyclopedic, although appropriate levels of plot summary does provide context. This issue has been addressed comprehensively in the current draft of WP:FICT, which I think is huge improvement over previous versions. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:04, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Removing the first prong

Well not exactly. What it would be is to cut it so that it would say:

Notability of elements within a fictional work

Articles covering elements within a notable fictional work are generally retained if their coverage meets two conditions:

  1. Role within the fictional work: The element must be an important element, and its importance must be verifiable. The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated through the use of primary or secondary sources, while the importance of other elements must be validated in independent secondary sources.
  2. Real-world coverage: Significant real-world information must exist on the element beyond what is revealed in the plot of the fictional work. Examples of real-world coverage include: creative influences, design processes, critical commentary, and cultural reception. Sometimes this real-world perspective can be established through the use of sources with a connection to the creators of the fictional work, such as creator commentary. Merely listing the notable works where the fictional element appears, their respective release dates, and the names of the production staff is not sufficient. In practice, this is generally the most important of the three prongs.

I does relax what would be currently the first prong somewhat, but it removes 1 prong thus gaining support from those who do not like bureaucracy and it still requires the work be notable (see the intro paragraph). The element itself still needs to be notable as well though. I believe this may actually be more in tune to practice than the current proposal as well since many spinoffs come from articles that maybe just meet the GNG or other appropriate SNGs.じんない 23:41, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I think this is a good idea, because we *do* need to shrink the test down. It's hard enough arguing over a test as simple as WP:N, and a three-prong test will require three times as much discussion, and open us up to three times as much wikilawyering. Two prongs would be a huge improvement. However, I think you've substantially weakened the proposed standard here, and might open Wikipedia up to a ton of articles on episodes and characters for unremarkable webcomics. If we go down this road, we need to strengthen the other two prongs somehow. Randomran (talk) 23:48, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
    • The only thing I can think of is to stengthen the 3rd prong in that it would require 2 out of the three: creative commentary, impact (cultural, commerical or industrial) or reception. Impact for commerical usually is merchandising, but can also be logos, mascots, etc. industrial is meant to be if it became a standard for future productions or would be used again in unrelated works (FE: Ivalice while not setting a standard has been used in multiple otherwise unrelated works).じんない 00:22, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I disagree entirely. While the attempt is admirable, Randomran is right. We don't need a million articles on some random show on nick, whereas a show like Star Trek has enough of a fanbase that our regular types of good sources will comment on it, making notability not that much of a problem. Thus the first prong makes sense, because it weeds out the minor things that aren't likely to have coverage in secondary sources, while making room for those that do. Sasuke9031 (talk) 00:17, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
    • We need to do something and attempts to remove the 2nd prong have failed and I cannot see attempts to remove the 3rd prong succeeding. See my response to Randomran how to strengthen it.じんない 00:22, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually...I don't think it weakens it all that much per WP:GNG the third point Sources has generally been interpreted to at a minimum needed 2. Therefore the current version of the proposal could be taken by the first prong to mean 3 sources. "This is shown when the work (not the element) exceeds the relevant notability guidelines."じんない 00:32, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Blecch. The whole purpose of this proposal is to codify a certain amount of leniency when it comes to creating spinouts of important works. That makes a certain degree of sense for extremely popular or influential works. There's no reason to extend that leniency to works that barely scrape past WP:N in the first place.—Kww(talk) 00:37, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Do you think there's a way to combine the first prong into either the second or third? Something that raises the standard, so that we're still excluding the characters from webcomics and obscure TV shows? Randomran (talk) 00:44, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
3rd one, no because that clearly deals only with the spinout article. It's possible to combine it with the second, but may leave us with something just as bad - a convoluted prong.じんない 00:50, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Here's an attempt:

Overall in-universe importance: The element must be an important element of a fictional work that exceeds the minimum standards of the general notability guideline or other relevant SNGs though cultural or artistic impact and/or popularity. The element's importance must also be verifiable. The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated through the use of primary or secondary sources, while the importance of other elements must be validated in independent secondary sources.

じんない 00:54, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Lets be clear about the first prong - it provides an exemption to characters and episodes that is not warranted. Why do we have to exempt these elements of fiction from the requirement to be validated in independent secondary sources when these are the best sourced elements? Its like saying we will give the rich exemption from taxes when they are the ones with the means to pay. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
in-universe importance would be the wrong term for this. An extremely minor character mentioned as having (let's say) saved the world in a fashion unrelated to the story, and never mentioned again, would be very important "in universe", as would the gods of fictional religions. Something like Importance in story might be better. / edg 23:13, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure this gets us back the teeth from the three prong test. The old test basically said that not every work of fiction will qualify for deeper coverage. That's not something we can deal with from the quality of the element itself. I wish I had something more constructive to offer, but I don't. I'm stumped. Randomran (talk) 00:30, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The first prong which tests "Importance of the fictional work" is probably not needed, as there may be instances of a character or episode being notable, but the ficitional work is not, but I can't think of a particular example to illustrate this point. In the same way a fictional element cannot inherit notability from the work from which it is dervied, I don't think it is necessary to have a test that infers that it can. Every element should be able to "stand on its own feet" so to speak. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:17, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The primary example of why the first prong is needed is something like webcomics - fiction that may get some notability but not the level that merits full detailed coverage of its characters, despite characters being shown to be important and that the artist has provided a host of notes on real-world aspects with each comic. --MASEM (t) 12:25, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes. The first prong is, I think, very important n this regard. I continue to feel that the second prong can be folded safely into the third. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:39, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe folding the second prong into the third is a much better idea to reduce bureaucracy. Do you have any ideas how that wording might look? Randomran (talk) 16:57, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
If you take it this way, (merging the 2nd and 3rd) then the overall proposal almost falls back to my previous suggestion that this can all be simplified to a sourcing requirement: at least two non-trivial sources, and at least one of those being a independent third-party source (as to avoid articles only based on creator's own input). --MASEM (t) 17:08, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Not necessarily. It could be real-world coverage that establishes importance, including DVD commentary or developer blogs. The key is we'd want to word it so it's connected to the actual importance of the fictional element/episode/character to the overall work, rather than any element where there is an interesting or quirky factoid ("This Episode was one of the more challenging ones for us to develop, because the lead actor was sick and still showed up to work." That doesn't establish importance, IMO.) Randomran (talk) 17:15, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

(outdent)The term may not be the best, in fact I'm not happy with in-universe, but was wanting a term I could think of quickly as I had to leave and that technically was applicable. However I think we could combine all three prongs together as long as we make it clear the primary work must meet the GNG or another SNG (like WEB).じんない 02:48, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

  • So are you still proposing that characters and episodes are exempt from GNG if the primary work is GNG compliant? Could you clarify by setting out your proposal? --Gavin Collins (Talk|Contribs) 13:50, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • This entire guideline is supposed to be a lower standard than the GNG -- although not a complete exception where any character or episode (or fictional element) gets to be included. Randomran (talk) 15:23, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I am not following you: what do you mean by "not a complete exception". Either a topic is exempt or not exempt. Could you clarify by setting out your proposal?--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:05, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • You're looking at it. It's not a complete exception to the WP:GNG. Randomran (talk) 18:43, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It's not a complete exception because you still have to present evidence and gain consensus that your idea is right. If you're the only one who believes that a 2-second appearance in 1 episode of a long-running TV series deserves an article, it will be deleted or redirected.じんない 23:24, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

What articles does this apply to again?

IIRC Masem said something about this having no relevance towards lists and compilation articles like "World of ____", the most "controversial" fiction categories. So that would mean this guideline really only applies to singular character/object articles that have tentative notability, right?

Exactly how many of those are left on Wikipedia? Really, how many? Any self-standing character articles that currently remain proved their rights to inclusion a long, long time ago while the rest have since been merged or deleted with no real hope of resurrection. Whether or not this thing has the word "prong" used in it or if there's an extra "IF" in sentence 24, paragraph B seems to have become completely irrelevant at this point.

Is this time vampire you people are feeding your free time to really as meaningless as it so blatantly appears? - Norse Am Legend (talk) 01:29, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

There are actually a lot of character and episode articles that haven't been evaluated per recent changes over the last few years (notably, most of the Star Trek TNG/DS9 episodes I've tried to plot-trim are like that). To say that the job is completed is likely only a pre-cursory glance at major works of fiction. --MASEM (t) 01:49, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I doubt most articles on major Western fiction like Star Trek/Wars, Dune and Seinfeld are ever actually going to go away or become truly solid despite what this and any other guideline/policy says/has said. It's all due to the hivemind concept of inherited notability. So that's a pretty futile battle unless someone with beyond TTN-magnitude abilities goes militant on them. - Norse Am Legend (talk) 01:59, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
There are hundreds of television episode articles newly created each week that would fail this guideline. It isn't a problem that has successfully been eradicated.—Kww(talk) 02:07, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, those dastardly television articles need immediate eradication before they destroy the scholarly credibility of the entire project all right. Or you could just let them exist until they become irrelevant and are merged to a list like they always are. - Norse Am Legend (talk) 02:13, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we could let them exist peacefully and merge once the fans migrate to the next series and only reasonable editors remain. Sadly, Wikipedia doesn't work that way. We have one side mass merging and nominating for AfD in the hope of one day getting rid of enough "other stuff" to be able to tackle the big series, because "[o]nce the weaklings are fully gone, it'll probably get easier to deal with the larger ones." The other side creates countless articles and votes keep on practically everything to maintain that wall of "other stuff". Because they realized "that the stuff [they] liked could only be saved by defending the stuff [they] disliked or disregarded". We can either find a compromise or continue wasting talk page space with sarcastic replies. -- Goodraise (talk) 03:53, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Disagree. It does work that way. Read the early versions of harry potter articles. They were fan forums. Read them now, they are much better. The transition is probably easier and quicker with a book series than TV, but give the TV episodes time to become old, and then we'll get them into shape. I'm thinking ten years will do. If you insist on forcing high standards too early, you'll just endlessly fight with the new enthusiasts, who, even if they are doing things "wrong", are contibuting. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:29, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't see where you're disagreeing with me. If those articles are in good shape now, then they were notable to begin with. Having a stub on a notable topic (read: a topic that has the potential to support a decent article) is not a problem. But having thousands of articles that will never be more than a stand-alone plot summary is. - Though it often works that way, notability should not be seen as a means to enforce quality. -- Goodraise (talk) 07:01, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
That's not really true at all. By Wikipedia's horrendously flawed Notability system any random crap article made about a fictional concept in Heroes has potential to become Notable if enough IGN bloggers say stuff about it. So watching, waiting and then cleaning up after the world has moved to a new show is the only decent method to do things, and is really the only method that will ever work due to this site's public editing deal. Also yeah, let me know how that "compromise" thing works out for you in another few years. Maybe the concept of waiting for the weaklings to be gone will work regarding wikipolicy too and a "consensus" will finally be achieved rofl. Oh wait that's how "consensus" always works here. - Norse Am Legend (talk) 00:00, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
There will always be new series, and new fans, many of them initially unfamiliar about Wikipedia. so we still need guidelines. DGG (talk) 09:49, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Forcing them to comply though is different. Letting them know by pointing things out may result actually in better overall practice. I believe that by showing them how it's done you might not achieve everything you want, but you'll get them closer to your ideal. Anything they embrace themselves to help their article that also helps comply with the guidelines/policy of Wikipedia is good and we shouldn't harp upon the problems they don't change if progress is being made.じんない 02:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Once again people misread notability. Candidate of the week—Norse Am Legend, come on down! Quote: "a fictional concept in Heroes has potential to become Notable if enough IGN bloggers say stuff about it." Per WP:RS, a blog would generally not quality as one of the necessary multiple secondary sources for the article to exist. Unless we can prove the person who wrote the article meets WP:SPS, or that the blog has the same amount of editorial oversight/fact-checking as the rest of the site, it's not permissible for notability requirements. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 13:26, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal is now being used a guideline

I have evidence that several times this proposal has been used as evidence now in AfDs and merge talks for keeping or deleteing articles. Usually "proposal" is added, but not always. That the community has already adopted this for use as basis of an SNG despite being a proposal is both telling and worrysome.じんない 02:44, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

This is not new. Even way the heck back when we were discussing WP:WEBCOMIC (late '05) proposed criteria would crop up at related AfDs. Nifboy (talk) 03:07, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not talking about 1-2 uses. I'm talking about it being used as often as any other policy/guideline of it's nature.じんない 03:11, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I think it's primarily a good sign. Last minute attempts to hijack it in both directions aside, the concept represented by the language was about as good of a compromise as can be reached. I think the current drives to simplify it by deleting prongs are misdirected: it really does take three prongs, and the current wording is about as simple as the wording can get.—Kww(talk) 03:24, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds about right for a proposal that has slightly over 50% support. WP:attribution was like that. Nifboy (talk) 03:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Are there example of it being used where the prongs are discussed? That would be interesting. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 05:05, 6 March 2009 (UTC)`
Yes, specifically the prongs and developer commentary are the 2 main points being used. Once or twice they were used to justify developer commentary as well for lists as meeting the aspect of "notability" for elements beyond characters and episodes, usually settings or other major aspects.じんない 05:59, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Jinnai, can you provide links to where this is happening? This sounds like an interesting developement. --Gavin Collins (talk) 08:22, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
And I'm sure admins like me have been disregarding it as per the process when closing. I've made mentions in the closing statements about it, and I'd urge others to do the same. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 13:27, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/S_Gundam, currently in WT:ANIME#Robotech, Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Anime_and_manga/Archive_34#Clow_Cards (this one is reporting someone else who was using it), Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/KOS-MOS, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/GN-0000 00 Gundam, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Zuckerman's Famous Pig, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Coalition for Freedom of Information. Those are just a few examples.じんない 09:22, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't see the problems here:
  • S_Gundam: FICT is specifically called out as contested or proposed by those stating it. (also was kept)
  • KOS-MOS: Don't see FICT called out anywhere (also kept)
  • GN-0000: Was called out, not necessary stated as proposed, so this would be a problem; however, AFD closed at no consensus.
  • Zuckerman's Famous Pig: FICT called out as proposed. (article merged)
  • Coalition for Freedom of Information: While FICT is used here (and not asserted as proposed) I'm having a tough time trying to connect why it was used, since this wasn't a fictional element (a real group created for the purposes of promoting a TV show). (article merged)
So far, these don't suggest a major problem. I'm looking for an AFD that was closed with delete or redirect where the primary reason would be that it failed FICT without any indication that FICT was only proposed. The uses of FICT above don't appear to be swaying the AFD to any great degree and at worst, a merge results. --MASEM (t) 14:58, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
The three prongs are a reasonable (instead of ridiculous or bad-faith) approach to decide what to do with fiction subarticles. Just like people are free to cite the essays WP:HEY and WP:FANCRUFT to !vote keep or delete in an AfD, there is nothing to stop an editor to cite the three prongs or FICT to back up his AfD recommendation. In the end, the comprehensible reasonings and explanations help the closing admin with the final AfD result, not a bunch of jotted-down links to essays, (proposed) guidelines or even policies. My take. – sgeureka tc 13:39, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Oracle Island was deleted primarily solely based upon FICT, for which it was also the only reason given for deletion.じんない 17:10, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
The closing admin didn't say it was deleted per FICT, and none of the four AfD commentators cited FICT as a reason for deletion either (they gave other reasons). So either the nominator was talking nonsense and four other people just happened to find good reasons why the article should be deleted, or the AfD gives evidence that FICT is a good rough rule when a fictional subject shouldn't have an article. – sgeureka tc 10:41, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Notability & Deletability

I am having some problems agreeing with the assertion that the objective of this new draft of WP:FICT is to reflect the so called "consensus" as to what happens to articles nominated for deletion at WP:AFD. In my view, this guideline is a supposed to provide guidance on when a fictional topic should be included in Wikipedia as a standalone article on the basis of encyclopedic merit, whereas guidance for AFD can be found at Wikipedia:Deletion policy. If a particular article fails WP:FICT, failure does not determine whether an article will or should be deleted; rather there must be a clear consensus of opinion do delete, and where there is no consensus, or there is some doubt as to the participants view, then the article is kept. An article nominated for deletion, no matter whether its content is encyclopedic or not, will be kept if consensus is not clearcut.
The problem I have with the current draft is that it is moving away from providing clear guidance on article inclusion, and instead becoming a guideline for articles that have been nominated for AFD, but inhabit a sort limbo where there is no clear consensus to delete. I would argue that this draft is no longer focused on topics which are sutiable for inclusion, but instead is an attempt define article inclusion based on "no consensus" decisions at AFD. The problem, as I see it that we are reading too much into AFD decisions; the fact is we should not be swayed by a wish to preserve an article where it fails Wikipedia policies and guidelines, because AFD is the one forum in which it prudent to ignore all the rules after all things such as article potential have been considered. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:35, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I agree that we don't want to give too much weight to "no consensus" decisions. A lot of AFDs end in no consensus not because there's a consensus to keep, but because there's consensus that the article needs some time to figure out its potential, or because there's consensus that maybe there's a better way to deal with the inappropriate article than deletion. A lot of the time, those no consensus articles are later deleted when the lack of potential is confirmed by failed efforts to improve the article, or they're merged when most people agree that some content should be preserved but the topic still isn't notable.
  • However, I think this proposal is pretty honest about what will or won't ever be deleted. I sincerely wish people luck trying to delete, say, the major characters of a critically acclaimed series, or entire season's worth of episodes of South Park -- even if you sincerely can't find reliable third-party sources. It's just not going to happen. There's a consensus, IMO, that these kinds of articles are kept regardless of WP:N. Randomran (talk) 19:45, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • That's exactly what this proposal is aimed to do. A true solution to fiction is not going to happen if we can't bring people to the table in the first place, and part of that is to capture the current process of AFD so that we don't tip the scales in either direction until a better approach and compromise on all of fiction can be reached. This is a stop-gas measure, not a permanent solution because without the stop-gap, determining the permanent solution is impossible. --MASEM (t) 19:50, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I feel that WP:FICT should be written from the perspective of topics that would contribute to the encyclopedia, rather than from the perspective of topics that editors feels should be deleted. The problem is that the Notability of elements within a fictional work does not address notability at all; rather it focuses on articles "are generally retained". The distinction is almost jesuitical, but I think there is some confusion between topic inclusion and article retention, the effect of which is to reduce the quality of guidance being offered by WP:FICT. Does it not seem strange that WP:FICT is now approaching article inclusion from the persective of poorly written, badly sourced articles, rather than stating what which topics would make good articles? Is it not a bit weird to judging fiction by articles that are failures, rather than focusing on what makes a ficitonal topic ideal for inclusionin Wikipedia? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:48, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand, but it doesn't seem like we need guidance on topics that everyone agrees are appropriate. Are you saying it should be like WAF? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 00:16, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
If "poorly written" (never a reason to take an article to AFD, btw) "badly sourced articles" are being kept after an AFD process, then that means consensus says to keep them. That's because there is no guidance otherwise for how to evaluate fiction. We can chose to rock the boat, to speak, and assert that we need X, Y, and Z in a fiction article that is much stronger than what AFD shows us, but that will incite the inclusionists. Alternatively, we can set the framework for further discussion by mirroring AFD results, and then say "Ok, now that we've got a working basis for fiction articles, let's sit down in a much more calmer environment to determine how to progress forward" to determine the larger solution. I can tell you which one is the preferred solution on WP. --MASEM (t) 00:31, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Trouble is, what happens at AfD is not consistent. The same "badly sourced" article that gets deleted one day might get saved by a squadron of fanboys if nominated another day. AfD is a battleground, with all the chaos and nastyness that goes with being a battleground. What we should aim for is a consistent, idealised version of what happens at AfD when AfD is working properly; not dysfunctional, arbitrary and suffering from multiple personality disorder. Of course, I might say it is working properly when the same rules are enforced for fiction as they are for everything else and someone else might say it's working properly when it admits a variety of special exceptions. We need to set out how AfD should work by discussion and then see to it that that is what happens- if we take too much of a lead from what actually happens now we can abandon all thoughts of fairness, consistency and consensus. Reyk YO! 04:01, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
A noble goal, but I don't think you'll find much agreement about what constitutes an "ideal" or "good" article. Even if we were to rest on such measures as the GA or FA status, you'll probably find a lot of people diametrically opposed to using that high "good article" standard as a measure of inclusion. Unfortunately, the closest thing we have to objective evidence about what's worthy enough to be included comes from AFDs and merges. Randomran (talk) 01:30, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you do know what constitutes an "ideal" or "good" article about fictional topic looks like, but maybe you are afraid to state it: an article that is written from a real-world perspective that cites reliable secondary sources is more likely to be encyclopedic than any other type of article. We know this because such articles don't normally get deleted, merged or redirected at WP:AFD, and also because they in the most part meet all other Wikipedia policies and guidelines. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:30, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
"Ideal" articles on fictional elements do not need a special guidelines - they pass the GNG just fine without that. But there is a large body of articles that do not meet the GNG by a long shot and yet are kept (though notably not considered of any high quality like GA and the like), and we have to ask ourselves "why?". To me, this tells me that we're willing to accept articles with potential shown by both limited references and assertions made by the writer to allow articles to be improved. At the same time, we're not willing to accept articles that only rely on primary sources and have no likely chance to be improved and thus delete them. That's what FICT needs to embody; where the line is blurred between "clear keep" and "clear delete" and what Phil's three prongs attempt to do, still leaving room for discussion and consensus as none of the three prongs are true absolutes. --MASEM (t) 14:18, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
We already know why a large body of articles that do not meet the GNG are not deleted: there is no consensus to delete. Where the line is blurred between "clear keep" and "clear delete" is where editorial discretion is exercised, but WP:FICT can't legislate for that. Unless we have clear examples of where articles where kept for specific reasons, we have as much chance of identifying the reasons for "no consensus" as we have of reading editors minds. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 14:36, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
But there are keeps that are kept even though they don't meet the GNG. That's the line FICT is trying to set (if you strongly meet all three prongs, you clearly get kept). --MASEM (t) 16:40, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Of course that's ideal, but that's actually a higher standard than WP:N. Do you honestly expect to gain consensus for "reliable secondary sources *and* real world perspective"? Randomran (talk) 15:57, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
In answer to Masem & Randomran, I can see where you are coming from when you say that it is the keeps that are kept even though they don't meet the Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. I am in agreement that there is a grey area about what sort of articles are kept at AFD, and that it would be useful for this guideline to address this issue in order to clarify which articles might be viable going forward. However, if this is what happens at WP:AFD, and this issue needs to be addressed in WP:FICT then the three prongs need to be moved to the section Articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:11, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
If there's a gray area, we should be honest about it rather than insisting upon a bright line at WP:N. We wouldn't be here discussing an SNG if we thought that the bright line was working properly. Randomran (talk) 17:19, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean "higher standard"? If I'm not mistaken, that's the minimum criteria for inclusion. --NickPenguin(contribs) 16:04, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
WP:N doesn't say anything about real-world coverage, although admittedly that's a part of WP:PLOT. But let's be honest about how many articles fail one or both of these standards and get kept, let alone have a snowball's chance in hell of ever being deleted. Randomran (talk) 16:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like we are thinking of two different things. You are thinking of an article when it shows up at AfD, while I am thinking about an article before it's creation. If the subject cannot be described with a real-world perspective, then the article should not exist. --NickPenguin(contribs) 20:23, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I think we're getting into the substance of the guideline, which it sounds like both you and I agree with: that's why we have the third prong. The issue here is whether we should pay attention to what actually happens at AFD. I don't think we'd even be discussing a new guideline here if people *weren't* concerned with how AFDs have become a battleground, with different mobs competing for influence. Any solution is going to have to respect some of the arguments at AFD that otherwise go contrary to WP:N. Randomran (talk) 20:32, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
So that's the tension. In what way is this guideline supposed to distill what happens at AfD, and in what way is this guideline supposed to change when fiction articles are created? Working on the second question is more important than the first, because getting it right eliminates the first question entirely. --NickPenguin(contribs) 00:53, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, we're in agreement here. I would never endorse mob rule where every AFD were simply a vote on how important something is to you. But I do think we have to acknowledge that sometimes the "mob" identifies an article that simply cannot meet WP:N but is well-written and important enough to warrant inclusion. And indeed, in these AFDs you see moderates making concessions that the article is halfway decent. I'd like to think this propsed guideline is close to explaining what's going on. Randomran (talk) 01:03, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok, well just listening to the mob isn't going to get us very far. A guideline says both what's going on, and what's got to stop. I was away for a while, and when I come back everyone is still focusing on the first at the expense of the second. How is the guideline supposed to determine when an article gets created? Somebody tell me without using the word "prong", please. --NickPenguin(contribs) 01:17, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this guideline can prevent the creation of non-notable articles. Whatever could do that would be way beyond its scope. That's sixth pillar stuff. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 01:27, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Copy what Peregrine Fisher said. I don't think we can prevent people from creating non-notable articles. An important part of Wikipedia is understanding that WP:IMPERFECT articles get created all the time, and we have to accept that it will take them some time to reach our guidelines. I think the goal is much more of an exercise in realpolitik than anything. If the standard is high, inclusionists backlash by swarming AFDs with keep votes. But if we lower the standard to something a bit more manageable, I think you'll see a lot more (but certainly not all) inclusionists working to improve articles to that standard. (And letting the other articles go peacefully.) As for how to lower the standard, I think this proposal does a good job, but we should be looking at the "swing vote" who will sometimes argue to keep and sometimes argue to delete articles without reliable third-party sources. Randomran (talk) 01:35, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok, maybe I said it wrong. This guideline needs to present something like a criteria for speedy deletion, or it's useless. But not like a CSD, more like a criteria for merging. I hate watching useful content get deleted when it can be more appropriately merged. Not all of it, but some. How does this guideline distinguish between articles that should exist and articles that should turn into redirects? --NickPenguin(contribs) 02:38, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't. Maybe it should. People, including myself, were worried that getting into merges and lists would make this discussion complicated, and make it harder to obtain a consensus. We thought we would kick the can down the road. But it's possible that redirects/merging will be an essential part of finding a compromise. Randomran (talk) 02:47, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, as it stands it looks like this talk page is running in frustrating circles. I think presenting some alternatives to deletion may stop AfD from getting clogged, and clean up the wiki at the same time. In the time since I've gotten involved with the project, I've seen the influence of WP:TRIVIA (and to a lesser extent WP:HTRIVIA) do more to guide improvement than anything that crept out of WP:N. --NickPenguin(contribs) 02:57, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Good point. I'll have to think about it, but feel free to propose some changes if you come up with any ideas. If you have any extra time, I'm really interested to hear about your experience with WP:TRIVIA and how it's guided improvement. Hit me up at my talk page. Randomran (talk) 03:00, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

(redent)Maybe we should boldly create a AfMerge process? Talk pages don't seem to be getting it done. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:12, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Couldn't agree more. You'd have my support. Hiding T 11:35, 11 March 2009 (UTC)\
You know, I think that's the best idea I've heard in a long time. Because clearly the culture at AfD is nearly impossible to penetrate, something like this should just sidestep that problem entirely. AfM would also help cleanup Category:Articles to be merged, which I occasionally spend some time attending. What would the official page be, and how quickly do you think we can turn AfD as a template for AfM? --NickPenguin(contribs) 15:03, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Rather than wait precious minutes, I have created a skeleton of a page at Wikipedia:Articles for merge, in hopes that others will be able to come along and fill things in. I basically just coped the lede of AfD and changed things around a bit. --NickPenguin(contribs) 15:17, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't have any problems with the current approach. Hiding T 17:38, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • There is a problem, in the sense that the current draft of WP:FICT is trying to provide guidance with two distinct processes - article inclusion and article deletion - without recognising these differences between the two. In particular, the phrase "Articles covering elements within a fictional work are generally retained if..." highlights this issue; if this statement was rewritten to make its real meaning explicit, it would say "Articles covering elements within a fictional work that are nominated for deletion are generally retained if...". This statement needs to be moved to Articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria, which should read something along these lines:

Articles that don't meet the inclusion criteria

A topic that does not meet these criteria at present may still be notable. In evaluating whether an article satisfies this guideline, one should consider not only the present state of the article, but also the likelihood that sources exist to satisfy all three criteria. Remember that all Wikipedia articles are not a final draft, and an article can be notable if such sources exist even if they have not been added at present.

Articles covering elements within a fictional work that nominated for deletion are generally retained if their coverage meets these three conditions:

  1. Importance of the fictional work: To justify articles on individual elements, the fictional work from which they come must have produced significant artistic impact, cultural impact, or general popularity. This is shown when the work (not the element) exceeds the relevant notability guidelines.
  2. Importance within the fictional work: The element must be an important element, and its importance must be verifiable. The importance of characters and episodes can be demonstrated with reference to the primary source, but bald assertions of importance are unlikely to be accepted.
  3. Real-world coverage: Significant real-world information must exist on the element beyond what is revealed in the plot of the fictional work.

Merely asserting that such sources exist is seldom persuasive, especially as time passes and actual proof does not surface.

In addition, no part of this guideline is meant to preempt the editorial decision of content selection and presentation; for example, a topic may meet all the criteria, but may be decided by consensus to be better covered in the article on the work of fiction itself instead of a separate article if there is limited information available.

If we can agree on this approach, the section on article inclusion can be redrafted, without the burden of having to accomodate both the front end (inclusion) and back end (deletion) guidance within its scope. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:05, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It has to meet all three, yes? I only ask in order to prevent any issues later in the debate. Hiding T 11:35, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Moving this test to "what we do if the article doesn't meet our inclusion criteria" and then drafting a new set of inclusion criteria is exactly what we shouldn't do. If people were opposing this guideline for being excessively bureaucratic and technical before, I think this would effectively seal this guideline's doom. Randomran (talk) 15:03, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
This is the path that has been chosen. You say yourself that " I think this proposal is pretty honest about what will or won't ever be deleted", and this is what this section is about. I don't see an alternative myself, and at the very least, you must admit that topic inclusion and article deletion are two different ball games. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 19:58, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
The only difference is the merge question. Inclusion speaks to what gets a stand-alone article. Deletion speaks to what doesn't belong in Wikipedia at all. Randomran (talk) 23:07, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Merger and redirect are effectively soft forms of deletion: in all cases, the topic in questions ceases to have its own standalone article. Perhaps if the wording is amended to "Articles covering ficitonal topics that are nominated for deletion are generally retained as standalone articles if their coverage meets these three conditions". --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:35, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think the current phrasing is pretty accurate. "Articles covering elements within a fictional work are generally retained if..." Randomran (talk) 15:14, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

A "Grandfather clause" approach?

Based on the above, an idea hit me this morning for another way we can do this, as long as people are aware this is a temporary measure.

Basically, I read into comments there's a lot of concern that there could be a vast creation of a large number of articles on fiction elements if the three-prong test is relatively easy to pass for some reason. To that, I agree - given the current state of WP:N, our advice for writing fiction element articles is pretty well defined by WP:WAF - don't expand unless you are close to passing the GNG and/or have an established history of doing so (in the case of Simpsons or Doctor Who episodes, for example). But that same advice doesn't work well for the existing articles that have been around for several months or more; that is, if we were to apply the GNG heavy-handedly to older fiction element articles, we'd have a rather large backlash against that, with calls of fait accompli for the amount of work it would be needed to retain such.

Thus, what if we used the clauses in a sense that Gavin proposed, as a general guideline for any fiction element article created before some date (say, Jan. 1, 2009) to determine if keep or delete makes sense, only to give time (a year, two years?) for them to improve, while articles created after that date need to meet a stricter standard (maybe the GNG, maybe a stronger version of the third prong by itself), with the ultimate goal in whatever time we allow grandfathered articles to improve, that all fiction elements are expected to reach the stricter standard. Thus, say by Jan 1, 2011, all fiction elements must meet the GNG (or whatever standard we pick), any that don't should be AFD'd for final consensus. There would be no fait accompli here, as this would be well announced and one-two years is a lot more time than seven days. It would also help with a moratorium on newer fiction element articles.

The only thing we'd need to make sure now is that if we want something weaker than the GNG but staying consistent with other policies, we figure out what that is. I would suggest something along the lines of "significant coverage from primary and secondary sources on the development, reception, analysis, and legacy of the element of fiction", as to give something that is the strength of the GNG but with consideration of the type of sources fiction elements usually get. --MASEM (t) 20:19, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like communism: works in principle, fails in practice. I agree with your general sentiments tho, I am seeing more than one problem: how to deal with what we've got, and how to deal with what's to come. --NickPenguin(contribs) 20:33, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't discount it too fast. It's clear there's two different treatments that we seem to be asking for as to not exacerbate the problem. --MASEM (t) 23:11, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, after I thought about it a bit, I think I was too quick to discount it, sorry. But I'm still not a fan of the idea, sorry about that too :). --NickPenguin(contribs) 00:50, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
An arbitrary date cut off won't work, and won't stand up to any form of scruitany, as the chosen date is chosen based purely as personal opinion.--Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Something like this is already done, but without a grandfather clause and so far not large-scale: tag PLOT-violating fiction sub-articles without established notability and wait somewhere between two months and sometimes more than a year (based on popularity, article length, year of conception of the article subject,...). Either someone has improved the article(s) by then and it's all fine, or no-one has shown up and no improvement to minimum standards can be expected in the forseeable future, so the article shouldn't exist and either needs to be merged/redirected or AfDed. It's been shown that claims of N and NOT#PLOT violations are often rejected at AfD when a fiction subarticle hasn't got sufficient template warning before, but being tagged for a year solves this objectively. The other problem is that large-scale tagging has often been regarded as disruptive, even if the reason for tagging was legitimate. But if there was a rough consensus for mass-tagging for lack of established notability and real-world perspective/information and wait a year, we could have something to work with in a year (per above) no matter if we have a working FICT by then (which we may never have anyway, but this cleanup issue shouldn't be stalled forever). – sgeureka tc 09:32, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
It would be worthwhile to see what ArbCom would state about mass-tagging with a year before any action could be done in conjunction with their E&C2 ruling on fait accompili. --MASEM (t) 13:43, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
It's my experience that tags do not lead to improvements (if only they did). Saying "it was tagged for a year, so sources must not exist" sounds good, but doesn't work in the real world. There are only a couple of thousand 'pedians who add refrences (I think), and the ones who do it on fiction articles are probably familiar to all the editors here. Not sure how that relates to a grandfather clause. Just my two cents. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 01:53, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


I realize that this page is not officially functioning, but I figured that most of you might like to take a breather and comment on some actual practices. There is currently a discussion taking place over at the List of South Park episodes concerning the notability of the majority of the South Park articles, and the possibility of merging any non-notable articles into newly recreated season pages (with the possibility of being recreated regardless of the episode merge given the length of the "List of" page...see Talk:List of South Park episodes#Reformatting pages for the discussion on simply reformatting the "List of" page). More opinions are wanted and needed at the talk page so that we can get a better idea of the consensus. Thank you.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 18:58, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I could very readily accept the concept of combination articles, but not when they merely consist of "The boys find an artifact which Barbra Streisand uses to transform herself into a giant monster and wreck the town. " -- or "The town is brainwashed by the curator of a planetarium. Meanwhile, Cartman auditions for a new Cheesy Poofs commercial. " and nothing more. That's a program guide, not encyclopedic. The real need is content, to say what takes place in an episode, not just hint at the setup. How to divide it up is secondary. The first few in season one are more like it, but they should include out-of-universe information, such as exact timing, and dates of production and airing, at the least. DGG (talk) 03:22, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I've no problem with a normal TV "full length" but concise plot description being in season episode lists, with the blurb version being in the overall list of episodes. That seems to be an acceptable compromise between a non-notable episode article and one or two sentences on the plot. --MASEM (t) 20:01, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd agree with this, except that even the blurb should not be a teaser. DGG (talk) 00:00, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Tag for this page

Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) has remained unstable for over a year now [6]. Is it time to mark it as rejected or historical?

I think the time has come to mark this one as {{rejected}} or {{historical}} and to move on. It's been going on for over a year now with no real consensus achieved [7]. It's clear the issue of which fictional topic merits an article is not one upon which much guidance can be offered apart from, it depends on a number of issues. Attempts to delineate those issues have foundered, with too many contradictions exposed. I think it is time to move on, and fall back to writing articles and working out from our experiences in article space what works as an article and what doesn't. The clear consensus established in Wikipedia:Poképrosal/Poll was that merging topics together was the best way forwards. I don't see any consensus emergent here to demonstrate that consensus has changed. The last version of the page to demonstrate any sort of consensus was probably this version, [8]. It may be an option to restore that version of the page. Therefore, I propose:

  1. {{rejected}}
  2. {{historical}}
  3. Restore [9]

Comments below. Hiding T 11:36, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Discussion about tag

At this moment in time I prefer option 1. Hiding T 11:36, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I would go for historical. Stifle (talk) 12:29, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The guideline was perfectly accepted until changes started to be made. I prefer restoring to the pre-altered version. - Mgm|(talk) 13:28, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • May I suggest "essay" with possible rewrites, to admit that there's no working FICT, but here's is the appearance of how fictional elements are kept at AFD? --MASEM (t) 13:42, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
    • To expand further, I'm going to userspace an essay that explains that there is no FICT notability, but some general rules of thumb are *whatever*; this should be moved to historical if this essay isn't ready/accepted before that wants to be done. --MASEM (t) 14:29, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Historical seems the best to me. It wasn't flat out rejected, and it really isn't in the proper format for an essay, as it was an attempt at a semi-rigid guideline rather than an opinion piece. Themfromspace (talk) 13:58, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I think that tagging this as historical but merging some of the content from [10] into WP:WAF would be a good step forward, especially the information on Wikisource and Wikibooks. Basically, the old revision as-is isn't an actual "notability" guideline, but really just a spin-out of WAF. If the current version is tagged historical and the relevant content from the oldid is added to WAF, I think that that could be the best solution for everybody. Basically, independant articles on fiction need to meet the GNG or a relevant SNG, but the merging of less-notable topics into "list of" articles and the main articles is strongly encouraged over deletion due to non-notability. (we'd then need a provision saying that things like "list of characters in..." get an automatic pass if the work that they describe the characters of is notable enough, so as to avoid having a bunch of articles merged and then deleted). –Drilnoth (TC) 14:26, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Update: I think that Randomran's proposal below would be better. –Drilnoth (TC) 13:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I do not think we should give up, but we might take a break for a few months to see if consensus should become clearer. (Personally, I think there is already consensus enough to reach a compromise except for the extremists from both sides). So Historical. It was not rejected. The lobbyists just prevented it from being approved, which is not the same thing. I will probably complement MASEM's essay with one of my own. (in fact, essays are one way of reaching consensus, because if they get cited enough & accepted, they in practice work as guidelines.) DGG (talk) 14:35, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • That's an idea. One way of doing it might be the old fashioned way, where an essay contained both sides of the argument. So both sides of the debate go away, craft their essays, and then we smerge them into one, like at Wikipedia:Notability/Historical/Arguments, which used to be all we had at Wikipedia:Notability. Hiding T 15:10, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd personally like to give it a couple of more weeks. We only recently closed the RFC, which gave us some information about where to go. Only then would I support tagging it as an essay or historical. Randomran (talk) 15:18, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Just to be clear, we should leave it tagged as "proposed" for at least a few more weeks. We've made a lot of changes to improve it, and I'm pessimistic that starting over will accomplish much. Let's make incremental changes that people can live with, and see where we get. Randomran (talk) 00:01, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Hiding, this is just another pointless RFC along the lines of Wikipedia:Notability/RFC:Reevaluation - it is proposal to smash or derail a Wikipedia guideline on article inclusion, but offers no positive or practical alternative. We have been down this road before and it leads nowhere. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:28, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • As per Gavin.collins; sorry, this article is actually quite useful in a lot of aspects. If worst comes to worst, however, I'll have to opt with restoration to a previous version. Cheers. Imperat§ r(Talk) 21:41, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Continue to tag it {{proposed}}, per Gavin. Nifboy (talk) 23:58, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Restore to version prior to August 2007 and update. That's the only version that really had any sense of consensus. DHowell (talk) 04:58, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Also, the past has proven that fictional material can be quite controversial. If we were to tag this guideline as historical or rejected, we'd opening the doors of hell as there'd be no more common ground to base deletion discussions on retagging as proposed or simply moving towards finding another alternative is better if the current one isn't working. - Mgm|(talk) 09:05, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Failed seems most appropriate: there have been multiple efforts to get this up, and it was rejected when it was proposed for adoption. WP:SCHOOL was marked as failed after a similar history of instability and failed attempts to get it adopted. Marking it as failed makes it clear that this has never been an operational guideline, and will help prevent it from being cited. Nick-D (talk) 07:57, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
    Except that, since it was a guideline, failed is inappropriate. Historical, maybe, but not failed. Sceptre (talk) 19:49, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Rejected. Enough already. I understand there have been 3 failed RfCs about this. Ikip (talk) 19:31, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Essay Alternative

User:Masem/Fict-essay is my attempt to summarize what the past amount of discussion has led to, without trying to take a firm stance beyond the fact that if you meet the GNG, you're notable to begin with. That is, per my comment above, I can accept placing this essay (with necessary changes, of course) in place of FICT to see how that works. --MASEM (t) 15:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

The key to understanding your essay is the sentence "from observations made from discussions at articles for deletion", which really means "in the opinion of Masem". Alas, your opinion, Masem, will never be a substiture for objective evidence, so it it is not suitable for WP:FICT, but it makes some good points nonetheless. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:58, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
That's why it's an essay and will remain as such if we agree to put that at FICT. --MASEM (t) 16:02, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • There's plenty of essays that are accepted by a number of people of the community that are in WP (see WP:OSE, for example). Even the heading for {{essay}} points this out. Now, I wouldn't move it unless there was a good consensus for it, because FICT is a highly visible target. --MASEM (t) 13:53, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Not to mention the often-referenced WP:AADD, which really should be a guideline by now. –Drilnoth (TC) 13:55, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Mark as failed

It is clear that any sort of unity of focus on a single proposal that we once had has dissipated, and that we are back to the useless state of half a dozen people pushing half a dozen different ideas. In light of this, it seems disingenuous to mark the current text as a proposal.

I have several feelings, most of them rather strong and uncharitable, on how we reached this state. But the fact remains - this proposal has died. Phil Sandifer (talk) 21:19, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

I've become convinced, after following the conversation, that it would be better to establish what an appropriate level of detail is for a given fictional X, and let that drive article/list creation, rather than jump directly from criteria to article establishment. And to me, the four measures from the original proposal were pretty good at establishing how much to write: narrative complexity, importance of work, importance of element, and real-world perspective. We got too focused on drawing the line and cut criteria that weren't "as important" to article creation, even though they had a big impact on something as simple as whether we even have a "characters" subsection in the work's article. Nifboy (talk) 22:54, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, this proves my point - everyone seems to be working on different things entirely. There is no push for a single proposal right now. Phil Sandifer (talk) 14:45, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I think we should revert back to the old guidance while/if this debate over a proposed new version continues. I actually think this version captures the consensus better than anything written since. Hiding T 15:11, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Walking in from the outside, I agree. Hobit (talk) 01:00, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Not really; it mentions naught about sourcing, which not only is evidences from AFD discussions but also from WP:NOT#PLOT (which if I remember right was created after this original version was created). This would not be an acceptable solution for the current situation. --MASEM (t) 01:09, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
I noted that Ikip had changed the tag to {{essay}} and was unconsciously going to revert it when I realized "this is probably right". It is an essay, one that we know is not sitting at either extreme but is something that got us close, so it is a reasonable reading for users trying to determine notability for fiction but has no weight of enforcement behind it. (I suggested an essay before as a solution for the present time until we decide what the next step is). While I agree that the version Hiding pointed out may fly, it's probably too "inclusionist" to be satisfactory to all, and I'd rather have an essay that reflects, even if its not agreed the best situation, what happens at AFD, instead of something that will continue to be edit warred. The only thing we have to watch is people using WP:FICT as the only means to delete an article. (WP:FICT, however, can be subservent to an call via WP:N for deletion). --MASEM (t) 22:05, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Because of the dual nature of fictional topics, namely that articles about fiction can be written from a real-world perspective (i.e. as elements of fiction) or from a fantasy-world perspective (as elements of plot), it will probably be necessary to have a guideline for this specific subject matter. I would not mark this proposal as "failed" or "essay" as yet, unless you think this subject area is of no particular interest or importance. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:19, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
In lieu of having a working proposal to deal with the duality, leaving something in place that is clearly not enforceable but speaks some sound advise is not going to hurt. A proposal for the duality issue hasn't really come forward yet, though if one is pending soon, then that throws this idea out the door. --MASEM (t) 22:30, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that this question hasn't been answered: What is the purpose of WP:FICT, beyond that already contained in WP:N for purposes of deletion, and beyond WP:WAF for purposes of advice for article improvement? It fails because of a lack of clarity of purpose. I agree with Ned Scott that here there is a lot of good stuff on important questions, and I admire Phil Sandifer's efforts, intellect and ideas. But, it is conceptually flawed, because it is trying to do too much under the dubious guise of "notability". --SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:04, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't think the concept was so fundamentally flawed. The purpose was to try and write a limited exception to WP:N that would provide a decent middle ground. I think we came damn close, and it's a shame that people on both sides tried to move goalposts at the end. A little bit of willingness to simply play fairly, and we could have claimed victory. Maybe not the 75% or 80% we all like to see, but the groups at both ends of the spectrum are larger on this topic than on most.—Kww(talk) 03:13, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
By “fundamentally”, I mean in the sense of underlying, rather than grossly. A flaw can be subtle. If the purpose is to modify or assist in understand an application of WP:N, then it needs to speak to the language of WP:N. Perhaps I misread, but I read WP:FICT as something to be read almost completely independently of WP:N. This did come close to approval. Perhaps there is the issue of too many cooks, which comes from the question and the stakes being too wide. I see the two ends of the spectrum each committed to a worthy goal. Perhaps a finely tuned question could reach agreement. Perhaps it is hopeless. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:10, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
(ec) One of the purposes was to grant a little bit of leeway because, in practice, fiction is treated somewhat differently to other areas of Wikipedia. Personally I'd be happy if WP:N was applied uniformly across the board, but that will never happen. This proposal was supposed to nut out a compromise between those who claim elements of fiction are notable because they're in a notable work of fiction, and those who claim every topic should establish and demonstrate its own notability in reliable secondary sources. Best practice would presumably fall in the middle. The problems we've run into include: 1) Some people just don't want to compromise. 2) This proposal, as you rightly point out, did stray too far into advice on how to write these articles rather than providing guidance on whether to do it, and 3) the shaky consensus that was established was torn down when people supported a certain revision, only to have it changed after the fact and being told "actually, this is what you agreed to". Reyk YO! 03:19, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps a solution is to nut out when an article can be justified as a spinout of a large article. If the fiction is notable, then to be comprehensive, we need to include all elements. But 100kB is too big? Perhaps explicit subpages of notable articles could be acceptable? Subpages could be limited in scope to support the content of the main article, and they could be written pre-supposing that the main article is read first. Perhaps, to ensure the clarity of what is, and is not, a subpage, subpages should have zero mainspace incoming links beyond the main article itself. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:10, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Phil had a pretty elaborate demo of a scheme based on that. It ultimately collapsed under objections that being a subpage didn't convey any special rights or status: a thing merits an article or it doesn't, and putting a slash in the name doesn't change the fact that it's a standalone article.—Kww(talk) 04:16, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Where can I read about it? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:50, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
If someone can remind me of the timeframe, I'll go dig for it. This debate has lasted forever, and searching can get exhausting when you can't limit the search.—Kww(talk) 12:18, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Notability/RFC:compromise, Phil's was A.1.2. --MASEM (t) 13:17, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I supported marking as failed when proposed after the big strawpoll, and I still support it. Far better that more stringent guidelines can be used to effect change than the watered down materials presented over and over here. ThuranX (talk) 04:33, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm a firm believer that good advice will spread regardless of the tag used on this page, and regardless of any agreements or disagreements on the talk page. Before we really had guidelines on these things we had essays, essays that people really liked and started to apply. They used those ideas and explanations in AfDs, talk page discussions, WikiProjects, and more. Maybe we just need to let that happen again, and see what ideas stick and what don't. -- Ned Scott 03:30, 23 March 2009 (UTC)