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Notability Policy Discussion

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I've gone ahead and created a draft version of the notability policy we need badly. Some of the criteria are arbitrary, such as the requirement that fan sites must be at least five years old to have a separate article, but the hope there was to allow for articles on major sites like MuggleNet while ruling out articles on minor ones.

If you have an idea for how the draft policy could be improved, feel free to suggest it. Then we can vote on the final version. Starstuff (Owl me!) 02:57, November 4, 2011 (UTC)

I read over it a little while ago, and on the whole, I think it looks quite good. The only thing that maybe gives me slight pause is the bit about anyone at all who worked on one of the Harry Potter productons can have an article. And then, sooner or later, someone starts posting up a whole bunch of articles for things like "third assistant technical director" of such-and-such Harry Potter video game. How about, for this part, they can have a page so long as they have an existing article on a site such as IMDb, or else have been quoted in a verifiable source?
P.S.: As for the arbitrary nature of the five-year rule, perhaps we could include some other qualifications as well, such as for example, if a site wasn't that old, but had more than a certain amount of regular traffic? ProfessorTofty 03:22, November 4, 2011 (UTC)
Good point about people involved in Harry Potter productions. But unfortunately, if someone is listed as "third assistant technical director" in the end credits of the PS3 version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game), this would probably count as a "verifiable source."
With actors, everyone down to minor extras is currently treated as notable, and I don't necessarily think we have to change that practice, because actors appear as characters in the HP universe, and thus could be seen as more notable than minor production crew members working behind the scenes. I don't know what we could do to create a notability threshold for production staff. Perhaps people who played a major to moderate role in creating the films could have separate articles, while those who only played a minor role ("second assistant gaff boy") could be listed in a "hub" article like "List of production crew members for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)."
Cover artists, editors, and translators of JKR's books would also be considered notable.
How would we go about determining the traffic of fan sites? Alexa rankings? Starstuff (Owl me!) 04:29, November 4, 2011 (UTC)
Alexa rankings are usually a good start. I'd also say sites that haven't been around for at least 5 years, but have received recognition might be worth an article. In this case, it would require demonstration of their notability. Things like receiving mentions in news stories (of reputable news organisations, not just random news sites), recognition from official sources such as JKR, etc. Just some thoughts :). Cheers, grunny@talk:~$ 04:47, November 4, 2011 (UTC)
Alexa rankings were what I was thinking. I don't really know of any other good way of determining site traffic. In any case, if a site that had been around less than five years is managing to pull similar (or, by some chance, even greater) traffic than some of the ones that have been around that long, then they would perhaps be notable. As far as production staff-- yeah, that would seem to be a good solution, though I'd be interested to hear if others don't agree... ProfessorTofty 17:32, November 4, 2011 (UTC)

If I can move to another topic briefly (and thus I'm resetting the indent), I don't like the wand guidelines. Particularly, that any wand "seen or mentioned" is notable enough for an article. Every character who has cast a spell presumably has had their wand mentioned (if in print) or seen (if in flim/game). That's a lot of wands where the article would be:

Roonil Wazlib's wand was made of unknown core and materials. It was presumably purchased at Ollivanders Wand Shop when he was 11. It was once used to cast Sunshine, daises, butter mellow at Vernon Dudley during a duel. End article.

I think it should be amended to "where materials are known, or where something other than the spells it has cast can be said about it (particular design, changing loyalty, etc.)" with any wand with a unique design in the films automatically being notable due to the "particular design" part. Just my two cents. -- 1337star (talk) 18:12, November 4, 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I think wands would do well to just have a section in their owner's article, but I can see that they are possessions, and having a section in the owner's article for each possession or pet is illogical. I agree with this notability policy, we'll have much the same thing on the "new" wiki as well. Thanks,
LuciusMalfoy777 Ministry Notifications 02:04, November 5, 2011 (UTC)
I agree with 1337star's suggestion in regard to articles on wands. Also, I'm not sure about the proposed guidelines for characters. I really think they should be individually judged on their potential as articles. Take the "squat, wheezy man", for example. He is a 1st tier canon book character, who also appears several times throught both DH films. Under the proposed guidelines his article would be deleted, wheras "unidentified barman at the Three Broomsticks" would be kept. Jayden Matthews 12:21, November 5, 2011 (UTC)
(Bumping thread) Jayden does have a point. How about adding additional criteria for the dreaded unidentified character articles, and creating a special panel of users with the purpose of reasonably assessing the "grey area" cases, whist following them those guidelines? I was thinking something among the lines of "Does the article's subject make recurrent appearances in canon?" (so that "Squat, wheezy man" would be kept, and "Unidentified barman at the Three Broomsticks" wouldn't), "Is there unique and substantial information on the article's subject?" (so that "Unidentified female Hogwarts teacher" would be kept, but "Unidentified Hogwarts student who fought against a Death Eater with a golden spell" and other articles with ridiculously long and overly descriptive titles wouldn't), "Is this individual only seen in the background and plays no other part than just being there? (so that "Unidentified male Death Eater killed on the Hogwarts Seventh Floor" would be deleted and "Unidentified Death Eater that duelled with Arthur Weasley" would be kept). This, of course, would only apply to the film unidentified characters; I think unidentified characters mentioned on Tier 1 canon should automatically have their own articles. Thoughts? --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 19:25, November 11, 2011 (UTC)
I agree with everything except that last bit, about Tier 1 canon characters being automatically notable. I can already see Unidentified wizard gossiping about the Potters outside the bakery near Grunnings (I), Unidentified wizard standing in line to get water at the 1994 Quidditch World Cup (IV), etc. Everything else you said is perfect, though. -- 1337star (talk) 19:49, November 11, 2011 (UTC)
Discussion about this seems to have died off, so I'm bringing it back up, since I really think it could solve a lot of the issues we've been having. It seems like most people agree on most of the major points, with just a few details here-and-there to wrap up. So once we get that all hashed out, then we can go ahead and get it posted up, and then we won't have to spend so much time dealing with all these pointless articles. We'll finally have a policy we can point to outlining what belongs and what doesn't. ProfessorTofty 23:14, November 28, 2011 (UTC)

Bump. I think it's clear we need to come to a final decision on this A.S.A.P. It's been over a month now since this was proposed, and no one seems to be against it in any substantial way. -- 1337star (Owl Post) 17:34, December 16, 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. We are in dire need of passing this policy. --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 18:43, December 16, 2011 (UTC)
Same, it looks fine to me, and definitely needed espeically with all the unidentified wand articles and teachers we have.BachLynn(Send an Owl!) 01:36, January 2, 2012 (UTC)
Okay, so we're nearly three months on from the first posting of this with no more forward movement. Everyone that's chipped in here has pretty much agreed with pass, the only quibble being some of the specifics. So let's outline what we have. Here are the elements of the policy that nobody has made any objection to whatsoever:
  • Fan fiction - No surprises here, already matches the current policy that fanfiction is not covered.
  • Parodies
  • Podcasts
  • Unofficial guidebooks
  • Wrock bands


And here are some things that may still need a little work:

Fan sites - Some concern that the five-year rule was a bit arbitrary. Proposed solution - Alexa rankings, if a site is still relatively new but is pulling rankings similar to that of well-established sites, then that would make it worthy.

Real people - Concern over the possibility that the rule that anyone involved in the production of a film, video game, etc., leaves the door open for articles on individuals of dubious notability, i.e third assistant technical director and such. Proposed solution: establish a threshold for crew notability, while more minor staff would be listed in a "hub article."

Characters - Some objection to proposed guidelines - solutions include creating a panel of users that would work to determine notability, as well as applying guidelines such as whether the character recurs and whether the individual actually plays a role in the story, or is simply there. These seem quite agreeable.

Wands - 1337star suggested an amendment to what was posted in the draft that seems like a good idea, as what's currently in the draft would make for some short articles that wouldn't necessarily add much value for the wiki.


I would also like a propose one other thing - a template, {{Notability}}, that could be applied to the top of any article that didn't meet notability standards. This would help admins to quickly identify and remove articles that would no longer belong under the new policy. In the short-term, the policy may result in us losing a number of articles (and we were closing in on 10,000), but in the long-term, it will improve the quality of the wiki. ProfessorTofty 05:13, February 2, 2012 (UTC)

I agree with pretty much everything that's been said above, except the creation of a special group of users. We have been here before: Prefects, Unspeakables etc. They don't work. At least, not on this wiki. People are all too quick to sign up to these things in order to get a title and a shiny badge, but then aren't willing to actually do the work involved. What we need is action, not more stalling. If I may borrow a quote from Darth Sidious - "Wipe them out. All of them!". And that's my honest opinion. Jayden Matthews 09:59, February 2, 2012 (UTC)
I've went ahead and created the {{Notability}}, so that some of the work is done (if it turns out it isn't needed, I shall delete it). We do need to get this policy running. --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 00:00, February 5, 2012 (UTC)
My two cents on the various issues that need to be sort out.
Fan sites: I'll be completely honest and say I don't care too much about our coverage on this point. However, I do think any site that has gotten (or will get, if she starts handing them out again) that fansite award on JKR's site should automatically be worth an article, regardless of other criteria.
Real people: Again, not something I care too much about. What the draft policy says is fine by me.
Characters: I think that the guidelines should be able to be overwritten by community consensus (basically the "notablity panel" idea without the issues Jayen Matthews pointed out that come with it). That way we can keep articles on things like Unidentified female Hogwarts teacher that don't technically fit the notability guidelines, but are arguably still important enough for a separate article.
Wands: Well, I've already said my piece on this above, haven't I? -- 1337star (Owl Post) 01:47, February 5, 2012 (UTC)
With regards to real people, do what you want. But, when it comes to anything within the Harry Potter universe, be that wands or what not, publish it. These intricacies, including pages of unidentified characters are fine in my opinion, adding to the depth that makes this wiki so intriguing to navigate through. (User:Marktheseeker) 17:41, April 12, 2012 (UTC)
I really think we should pass this policy. Should we, at least, publish the policy with the points no one seems to object to? (ProfessorTofty summarised them quite well in his post above: elimination of anything parodies, podcasts, unofficial guidebooks and wrock bands) The policy needn't be perfect the first go, think of it as a "beta-version policy". --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 20:32, February 11, 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the ones where we might want to allow people a chance to weigh in before deleting them, what if we just used the normal voting policy instead of worrying about special panels and all of that? As for th template, looks good, except it doesn't really cover things that actually aren't canon, such as the wrock bands and the fan sites. Could it be edited to cover those as well? Or maybe another template, {{Notability2}}, which says something like "This article covers a real-world subject that relates to Harry Potter, but which may not meet our notability guidelines." In any case, I'm going to go ahead and edit the draft to reflect what's definitely been agreed upon. If nobody else has any major objections, then I propose we move to a vote. ProfessorTofty 00:47, February 23, 2012 (UTC)
P.S.: One other thing - the policy as is states no coverage of fanfiction whatsoever, which actually isn't the current policy. Under that rule, an article such as James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing would be out the door. ProfessorTofty 00:52, February 23, 2012 (UTC)
Should we add criteria for inclusion of fan-made works (not canon from them, however) to safeguard that particular article? I was thinking something like the second one of the "Parodies" section: "Produced by a fan [well, obviously], released non-commercially, and of lasting, widespread popularity." --  Seth Cooper  owl post! 13:42, April 5, 2012 (UTC)
The example of such fan-made work (but not a parody) could be Advanced Potion Making - a to-be-released book, written by yet uknown by name Harry Potter series fan. Here is the link, where you can see some of his already finished pages (site's not in English, though). In my humble opinion, even though it can turn out to be bestselling work, it should not have its own page on Harry Potter Wiki. Maybe if it got some kind of approval by any official website or something like this, it could be considered as a type of fan creation encompassed in real-world articles category on Wikia. As for the notability policy I believe it's almost impossible to establish regural rules refering to every articles here, due to very large variety of them.Colin Fletcher Owl Post 21:26, April 5, 2012 (UTC)
To be honest, I'm beginning to despair of anything even happening with the policy if we can't even get people to discuss it or even vote to at least implement the basics that we've already agreed to. I still think this policy is desperately needed, but is there anyway we can actually move forward on it, instead of the never-ending discussion? ProfessorTofty 18:41, April 14, 2012 (UTC)
I added some new content to care of the issue related to fan-works such as Elder's Crossing. As written, it should be good enough to save such articles, while keeping out articles on the umpteen-thousands (millions?) of miscellaneous Potter fanfics out there. ProfessorTofty 04:30, May 17, 2012 (UTC)

Vote to Implement Policy as Is

Objects

Huge bump, though I figured since this thread isn't closed, there was little point starting a new one on a different facet of the same topic...

I am intrigued to note the consensus about notability of characters and wands in the above discussions, and yet nothing appears to have been said about other objects. To simply indicate what I mean, I would have cited Minerva McGonagall's walking stick as the main example I know of, but then I discovered the even more utterly pointless Pansy Parkinson's watch. I fail to see any logic to dedicating an article to an utterly generic object that is literally mentioned once as a completely arbitrary choice of object for the Niffler to go for.

There are also some utterly unwieldy titles such as Percy Weasley's letter to Ronald Weasley (1995) II. The two letters written from Percy to Ron in one year warrant separate articles? Really? Or rather, all letters from Percy to Ron, since those are the only two. If they were both very lengthy letters then maybe, but the first of the two letters is exceptionally brief. As for the second letter, half of the article body text (i.e. not counting the letter itself) is literally just rephrasing the letter, creating absurd redundancy with the letter transcribed beneath it.

Perhaps it may be viewed as arrogant of me to waltz in, not really having contributed to this wiki, and criticise the setup. But my other wiki experience has very much taught me to abhor such immensely trivial articles -- Sorceror Nobody (talk) 17:11, March 28, 2013 (UTC)

I would certainly be open to a discussion regarding such articles, as I have often felt the same way myself. A while back, I had to delete an article somebody started called "Draco Malfoy's apple," but I didn't immediately delete it to make a point regarding such articles. It's certainly worth noting in the article about Peeves or about Minerva McGonagall that Peeves had borrowed the walking stick to chase away Umbridge, but do we really need an article about the walking stick itself? On the other hand, something like Alastor Moody's walking stick might be worth keeping because we have both multiple appearances and a clear image of the object. ProfessorTofty (talk) 17:58, March 28, 2013 (UTC)
For things such as Moody's walking stick... well, just looking at it, I can see it's a pretty good article, especially considering that it's a walking stick. It can certainly stay as its own page. Other similar but less detailed cases might perhaps warrant a subsection each on a combined page, much akin to the page for Harry's various scars. Here's an example I found just by glancing at the relevant categories: Category:Fay Dunbar's possessions. Three articles, all pitifully short, and a whole category devoted to the possessions of a character who only even appears in one game? It's sort of... so excessively organised that it becomes disorganised, if that makes sense.
Things like Percy's letters to Ron could, as I noted above, certainly be similarly merged, as I noted before. And then there are just plain things where one could be merged into another. For example, a cursory look at Category:Objects provided me with Filius Flitwick's desk and Filius Flitwick's tin, the latter of which is mentioned solely in the presence of his desk.
Frankly, I'm almost surprised there isn't an article for the sock of chalk. I can only assume this is because the sock's owner wasn't specified :P At any rate, I guess we can only wait for more people to weigh in -- Sorceror Nobody (talk) 19:46, March 29, 2013 (UTC)

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