Forums: Index > The Wizengamot > Canon Policy Discussion

With the permission of the wonderful moderators on this wiki, I would like to open up a discussion on the current canon policy. Across the wiki, I have seen notable discussions on talk pages that are openly antagonistic towards the canon policy. Many users, including myself, believe that only J.K. Rowling material – the main series, the supplementary books, the short prequel, the Daily Prophet newsletters, and any information released via the author’s official site, Pottermore, or an interview – should be considered canonical.

We believe this for numerous reasons, but here are the highlights:

  • J.K. Rowling may have allowed filmmakers and video game designers to interpret and adapt the Harry Potter series, but she never has accepted their new material as canonical. At times, such as concerning the Shrunken Head, she has said “I wish I thought of that” but did not consider it fully canon.
  • Most Potter fans do not consider anything but what I shall call the umbrella term of JKR Material canonical. If you did a poll on, say, Mugglenet or the Leaky Cauldron, or another notable site, very few Potter fans will accept non-JKR Material as canonical. As someone who knows many Potter fans, I have asked them this question multiple times, and nobody has said they consider the films to be canonical, let alone the video games. Why is this important, you say? We are aiming to create not the most complete, but the most USEFUL guide for these ardent Potter fans.
  • Some articles, which stretch the boundaries of the rules of the Potter world and sometimes clearly contradict canon, especially regarding information deriving from video games, lowers the quality of articles on this wiki. I personally like the wiki format more than, say, the Lexicon, as it is immediately updated, goes more in-depth and has more structure and images, but I am tempted to visit Mr. Vander Ark’s site when I see such articles on this wiki.

I also sense that it is possible, and I do not hold this against the character of anyone on this wiki, who has done excellent work, that some users do not wish to change the canon policy simply because that would mean deleting all of the wonderfully-written work they have researched and written that contains information outside of JKR Material. I ask people to look past the exemplary work they have done on this site in favor of, whichever policy it may be, betters the wiki and makes it more useful and logical.

So, again, with permission of the wonderful administrators, I would like to have a reasoned, pleasant, healthy debate concerning the wiki policy. If there is a resounding census that the wiki policy should stay as it is, after a lengthy discussion, I would also like to discuss the policy of the creation of a sister wiki that follows only JKR Material (but uses images from licensed sources and contains out-of-universe articles regarding major licensed content such as each of the films and video games.) I believe we could build a healthy community on both site, as major contributors would likely overlap, with some users preferring one canon policy over the other.

So, a lot to discuss, and hopefully both “sides” can share their thoughts. Yours,

LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 00:13, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

I think a bit of historical precedent might be useful here. I would be curious to know what discussion, if any, there was before the current canon policy was created. From what I can tell, DarkJedi613 (an admin who is no longer active on the Wiki), was the one that originally developed the policy, possibly along wih Cavalier One. But I can't seem to find much of any discussion about it before it was created, but if there is any, I'd be interested to see it. As for me, I personally am just fine with the current policy. Rowling may not have personally written everything related to movies, etc., but she was intimately involved in their creation and even personally vetoed certain things like "little people" - saying "no, that's not part of this universe." So I personally don't have a problem with the idea of including information so long as, as the policy says, it's not contradictory to what we all agree is the primary source, which is the books. ProfessorTofty 00:35, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
Oh, no, I was referring to discussion after the creation of the canon policy in angst over the inclusion of several items. My argument is that, while she did veto certain things, she allowed the filmmakers to take numerous choices that she might not have used, even if she can realistically accept them for the purpose of telling the story cinematically, or for a video game. If we asked J.K. Rowling what her policy would be, and this is purely speculative, she would probably say that it is her universe, and that only her creations were the true creations. What say you, then, of a possible sister wiki? Although we should probably get a few more opinions first.
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 00:47, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that most wikis cover all official content, regardless of its canoncity. A Super Mario Wiki would have articles on the old TV shows and movie that fly in the face of game canon, Wookiepedia has articles covering the whole spectrum of the expanded universe (I don't think we yet have anything as weird as Buick or Simon the Killer Ewok), etc. Now, I know we are not a Super Mario Wiki, nor are we Wookiepedia, nor any other of the various wikis out there. But general consensus across Wikia and the other wikifarms seems to be a wiki should cover all official content within its scope, regardless if it is non-canon or even completely is against established canon. I don't see why we should be any different.
Now, perhaps a template indicating an article consists entirely of content from a non-Rowling source might be in order, but I am against removing any of our flim/video game/whatever else content. -- 1337star (talk) 01:09, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
A valid point, but we must customize our rules to fit our wiki. The Star Wars universe was intended to include all content, and Mario hardly has a canon of its own, our "geekdom" has much more of a plot and established continuity. I agree with the template idea, however what of articles such as, say, any major character that is not entirely non-Rowling, but contains non-Rowling elements? There would be no way to completely de-non-Rowlingize (wow) the wiki without either deleting all the material or splitting into two wikis.
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 01:13, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
I currently like how the policy is and how the wiki is. Like 1337star said, we aren't any of those wikis. I completely think that our flim, video game, and book articles are completely fine, even though if they are outside JKR material. I do not want to remove any articles, this wiki is completely fine at the moment. Whether its not canon or canon, I don't think we should be any different.  Speedysnitch   Talk  01:24, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

Something similar to this was proposed and voted on two years ago. The overwhelming consensus (17 to 1) was for maintaining a canon policy that allows for the inclusion of material from the films and games.

Now, I understand the perspective that Harry Potter "canon" should be considered to include only material produced by JKR herself (I call this the "core canon"), but I'd like to think that the Harry Potter Wiki doesn't presume that the definition of "canon" it uses for its own purposes should be considered the one, true, correct definition of "canon."

In the early days of this wiki, a decision was made to incorporate material from the films and games because no other Harry Potter site did at the time, and doing so would set us apart. The goal of the canon policy isn't to tell Harry Potter fans they should rightly consider non-JKR-produced stuff "canon;" it's basically to lay the groundwork for creating an encyclopedia that includes material from the HP franchise as a whole.

In addition, not only would shifting this wiki's coverage to strictly the core canon take away its unique "draw," but, realistically speaking, it would be prohibitively difficult to carry out at this stage in the game. It would kind of be like trying to implement a "no Extended Universe stuff" policy on Wookieepedia. I can think of more worthwhile ends to which editors could dedicate their time. We need to work toward setting up a notability policy, because the "unidentified X" articles are getting out of hand, to say the least.

Setting up a core canon-only sister wiki to this one seems like a good compromise. Starstuff (Owl me!) 01:36, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

That would probably be the best idea. I can see why, yes, this would take time to implement, and would slim the articles currently on the wiki. Discussion can still continue on this thread, of course, but do you mind if I set up a thread in the Wizengamot to "recruit"/discuss for the creation of a sister wiki?
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 01:45, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
I, personally, wouldn't object to this, but I can't speak for other admins. The sister wiki idea seems like the best solution here, because that way there would be a wiki-format, core canon-only HP resource available without having to seriously alter the scope of coverage on this site. Starstuff (Owl me!) 02:16, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
I don't think making a sister wiki would be um I dont know i just don't really like the idea. I still love the way all the characters were casted and I would love to include pictures of them. I think changing this wiki's policies would work more. I mean the series is over only grammatical errors and further pottermore continuation can be updated. If people wanted more edits they can work on changing it to book format, but continue to list the differences between them. Like LuciusMalfoy777 this is JKR's universe I don't think anything that isn't from Jk should be canonical. I mean she created it all so why even consider others?User:MinxelfinforeverI Love Boulderon|User talk:Minxelfinforever 06:44, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
Well, for the next few years or so, information from Pottermore will have to be added, and the kick-off of a new wiki would draw editors. There are always things to be done, even if you're not adding new articles: you're rewriting them as part of a featured article system or because they are poorly written, adding images, making sure they confer with the wiki's manual of style, etc. As for images from the films, I completely agree. Whether anybody likes it or not, most people think of the actors and set/prop design when re-reading the books, including myself, mainly because I think they are fantastic. On a less subjective note, the sister wiki articles would be bare without them, so yes, there will definitely be images from the films simply to illustrate and add life to the articles.
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 12:55, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

There is one thing that you must realise overall. If you were to strictly follow your own words there would not be any images from ;

A. the books

B. the films.


c. the games allowed.

Doing so may lead to the wiki looking very bland. Also it would be silly to start up this wiki and then come back to this one and copy every single article. The information that you publish would have to be purely from the books and nothing else. My question is would you be prepared to follow such guidelines. Dave Stewart 17:23, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

Um, did you not see he wrote to he would add their images to add life to the articles?User:MinxelfinforeverI Love Boulderon|User talk:Minxelfinforever 20:19, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
Anyways, I say let's do the wiki we don't need their permission or opinion.User:MinxelfinforeverI Love Boulderon|User talk:Minxelfinforever 20:20, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

Dave Stewert - as Minxelfinforever wrote, images WOULD be included. Additionally, we would be doing our own writing not copying and pasting the articles on this wiki and removing what we don't like of them. And the articles concerning the films and video games would be OUT OF UNIVERSE articles, simply talking about them - for instance, there will be a page for The Half-Blood Prince movie, but Bellatrix Lestrange's page will not talk about the destruction of the Burrow or the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. The information will be purely from the books as well as other things written by J.K. Rowling - the supplementary books, the short prequel story, the Daily Prophet newsletters, and information released via JKR's official site, Pottermore, and interviews with JKR. Minxelfinforever - I am developing a site policy, featured article system, and other community pages and guides, and hopefully I will get help from a user on creating a worthy homepage and infoboxes, which are really the only things that are confusing to me. By next weekend at the latest I will give you the link to the new site, once I deem it semi-"presentable", and we will begin editing.Thanks,

LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 20:50, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

I didn't meen it to come across in a rude way, I just wanted to make sure that you knew everything that you needed to know and had everything under control. I think it's a great idea that you are planning to do this, and the fact that you feel it's appropriate to ask is only right. Everyone's opinion is valid in the end. I wish you good luck in your venture, and look forward to the link. Dave Stewart 21:21, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, don't worry, I didn't think you were being rude. Yes, I have a lot of experience editing wikis, so this should go smoothly. A question for administrators, if they would be so obliged - how did you get a background that is large enough to cover the page, yet has a small enough file size so as not to bypass the 100 kilobyte rule? Much obliged,
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 21:38, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
I personally think the sister-wiki idea might be detrimental to the quality of both wikis in the long run; as they say, "a house divided against itself cannot stand". We should, instead, combine efforts to make this wiki more editor and reader-friendly. Anyway, I don't think a wiki "split" is necessary, after all, despite the inclusion of material from the films/video games, all material is (or should be) tagged as such in the "Notes and references" section. Readers that do not consider those sources as "real canon" can simply check the sources of the information and choose to disregard them at their own criteria. --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 23:51, October 30, 2011 (UTC)
With no disrespect intended, Seth, I think we'll move forward with our wiki plan. I don't intend to split or defect from this wiki, I simply intend to make another one - and I would love to be affiliates with you guys. I think of it this way: interpeting Harry Potter is like interpreting the Bible. Some will go the literal route and say "only the JKR material" and others will go more freely and say "everything counts." Just as with religion, there will be some who cater to both ways, and some who, in the end, will use a mix of both.
If you wish to make reforms, that's fantastic, however I simply think the inclusion of such game and movie items lowers the quality standards on articles. I would love to talk about this further, but for now I think we'll go ahead with our plans. Thanks,
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 00:27, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
No disrespect taken, and none intended back, of course! If you intend to found another wiki you will, I am certain, have the support of a lot of people (myself included). --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 00:44, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
Thanks very much! I hope to continue a good working relationship with this wiki and, particularly, its fantastic staff and members. LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 01:12, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
I, also, wish you luck in your endeavour. While I can see the fears that creating a "splinter wiki" will be detrimental, I don't think it will be. As you point out, editors who wish to only include "JKR canon" info will be drawn to the new wiki, while those of us who have edited here for years will remain. Hopefully, there will be less conflict if editors unhappy with the policy have a place to edit freely. Affiliation is always welcome, and I believe we can set up a template that can direct editors who are more interested in "JKR canon" only articles to the new wiki, in much the same way as we send them to the fan fiction wiki. - Cavalier OneGryffindorcrest(Wizarding Wireless Network) 10:25, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, my sentiments exactly. In the end, people will receive two different views on Harry Potter, and they will like one better than the other, and they'll stick with whichever one that happens to be. That would be really great with the templates, as well, I'm sure on pages that are heavy with film/game information that is not included we could return the favor. Thanks,
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 20:49, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, LM777 have you created the wiki yet? Anyways, I spoke with a hospital doctor and a physics teacher and they both love the HP series. I questioned both of them whether a fall like that would be survivable. I assumed the balcony was about 12-15 ft. high. The physics teacher went into detail about what could happen and how they might land. He said since she had already been moving and the werewolf never harmed her she would be fine. The doctor said since the werewolf never bit her her injuries could have been the cost of her life. A punctured lung could've killed her, but since she was "stirring" it is likely she had a broken back. Which could be cured since they do have magic. They both think Lavender likely survived because if JKR intended her to die she would have been bitten or attacked. But since she fell from a balcony, she would more likely have broken bones than open wounds. Which could be fixed by magic. We also discussed the movie situation. I played the clip and neither of them thought Fenrir was actually biting her. The physics teacher thought he was sniffing her and the doctor thought he was examaning her. I spoke to a veterinarian about canine behavior and whether or not Fenrir would eat her. I let her know he was in a human form, but was imitating his werewolf side. I played her the clip and she said she noticed a pulse in her neck and she also said the only wolf she could think of off the top of her head was the gray wolf. Since Lavender didn't seem that dead to her neither lively she thought he was checking for life. She also included his liking for turning people into werewolves and mauling them. Since he may have thought she was dead then maybe he was thinking what's the point. Anyways, thanks for reading and yeah as you can see I like to stand up for characters I feel attached to. It's been a long day xD.User:MinxelfinforeverI Love Boulderon|User talk:Minxelfinforever 22:36, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

Hey Minxel! Yes, I've created it, I'm just working on site codes, making a presentable-enough homepage (the sliders are actually relatively easy...) and such. I hope to give you the link by this Sunday at the latest. By the way, interesting, however, I don't think anybody can deny the filmmakers intentions to kill off Lavender. (It's actually been stated in Page to Screen.) However, nice work concerning the book's situation. LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 22:51, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

Discussion about Lavender's on-screen death (which has been proved beyond reasonable doubt, under our canon policy) is best left in the appropriate talk page. --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 23:16, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but I thought this wiki was going by the books. JKR's books.....User:MinxelfinforeverI Love Boulderon|User talk:Minxelfinforever 01:43, November 1, 2011 (UTC)
And the films, games, and merchandise based off of JKR's books.

Isn't it possible to aknowledge both the books and the films (and videogoames , theme parks, and wahatever else you want), without trying to fit it all into one continuity. Your canon system works fine for minor things (like Francis), but examples like Lavender Brown prove that your canon policy doesn't really work. The books and films clearly take place in two different continuities. Yes, the movie continuity is baseed on the book continuity, but they aren't the same thing. The fact that they conflict at all proves this. It's a bit confusing when some aspects of the movies are canon, and some aren't. Bellatrix's case is especially pointlessly confusing. You say that she was at the Astronomy Tower because she was there in the movie, but then almost nothin everything that she did there conflicts with the books, so you just say that she as there but hardly did anything. If you just go by the film version then it works because she howed up, was present for Dumbledore's murder, got a lot of creepy cackling in, burned down Hagrid's hut, and tried to kill Harry. If you just go by the book's canon, then it works because she wasn't there. Combining the two doesn't make any sense though-she went just to run around on the tables? There is no source that says that that was the only reason that she was there, this wiki is just making that up. It would make more sense to just describe the vevents of the film in that section of the page, then in italics say that she wasn't ther ein the book. Or give each character a movie section and a book section so that you can describe waht they do in both versions. The way it is now just makes no sense at all.Icecreamdif 05:22, November 8, 2011 (UTC)

"How heavily involved was J.K. Rowling in the envisioning of the film?
JK always wanted to keep the two things separate – HER books, THEIR films. That said, she was involved from day one making sure they got it right, and continued to be an advisory presence throughout. But I feel that once she realised she had the right people in place, from producer David Heyman on down, she was confident enough to let them get on with it, knowing that they felt as passionately about her work as she did. In the early stages of each movie, she would provide insight for the filmmakers, especially when they were unsure of what was going to come in the next book. And to the young cast she was a figure they could turn to on occasion. Many of them fondly recalled the personal letters they unexpectedly received from her, telling them how they’d brought things to life just as she had originally imagined them. Treasured items for all."
Source: [1]. Yep, Rowling's word is law.
LuciusMalfoy777Ministry Notifications 22:04, November 9, 2011 (UTC)