Due to a discussion raised here on the Canon Policy talk page, a vote is being tabled to decide whether or not to change our current policy regarding the Canon status of various media within the Harry Potter universe as it is presented on this Wiki.
I encourage all voters to both read the evidence presented by Yin&Yang who has proposed this change, and my own statement as to what this would mean for the Wiki itself. Both are listed below. Also, a thorough reading of the discussion on the canon policy talk page should be undertaken.
Voting will last for one week, and be closed on the 25th of November, 2009. However, if it is clear that one option has significantly more support before that time period has elapsed, then the vote will be closed early.
New Canon Policy Proposal, as proposed by Yin&Yang
The following is the basis supporting the ‘for’ side of the argument which proposes to remove the second and third tier from the Canon Policy as a means of following the statements of J.K. Rowling who views the books/her own creative story/her word-of-mouth information and the films/videogames as “separate entities”. This adheres to part of the policy which essentially states that Rowling’s word is law. The overlap between the “separate” storylines in this wiki is very great, often blurring the boundaries between what should be separate (according to Rowling) and what is not. If the aforementioned tiers are removed, this would NOT mean that all the references, sources, articles, in-text quotes or images pertaining to the films and videogames found within the wiki would be deleted, but rather, no longer included under the title of in-universe.
There are two possible repercussions to this; and a choice would need to be made between Situation [a] and Situation [b]. The former ([a]) would mean that any language found within text that is written from the perspective of in-universe would require editing to conform to the altered policy. For example, the line: Bellatrix was present during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower in 1996, a statement worked from the current policy, would be changed to: In the film, Bellatrix was present during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower in 1996. Also included under Situation [a], would be that all article pages devoted entirely to a character, location or object existing only in the films or videogames would be given a tag identical to those present given to the current out-of-universe pages e.g. those relating to the actors of the real world.
Situation [b] would still include the use of tags on pages wholly dedicated to films or videogames, yet would differ greatly and admittedly require fewer alterations to in-text language, than if Situation [a] was selected. If Situation [b] is chosen, then there would be a rule enforced to ensure that all relevant articles have ‘Behind the Scenes’ sections in which it is clearly pointed out that a certain event only occurs in a film or book. Since most, if not all pages, already do that, there would be very little effort required to conform to the change in policy.
Supporting Evidence for Reason of Change
The current policy regarding ‘canonical’ information, while well thought out, fails to cover all the appropriate aspects of what should be included as an in-universe topic. In other words, there is a loophole in which contradicting versions of the Harry Potter storyline crosses over inconsistently. Here is an example of such a case:
Sirius Black's death: The book (Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix) does not describe the colour of the fatal jet of light that strikes Sirius's chest. This is most unlike the film adaptation which clearly indicates Bellatrix Lestrange murdering Sirius with the Killing Curse. The article, Sirius Black, states that Sirius was killed by an unknown spell due to the book’s omission of the spell’s description. According to the current policy however, an omission from the book allows the film priority meaning that it was the Avada Kedavra that indeed killed Sirius. This is where the consistency halts, however. If it is accepted that the Killing Curse destroyed Sirius, and the Killing Curse itself, as laid out by the books, causes instant death then that does not explain why Sirius took a slightly extended period of time for him to die (again as described in the book). In conclusion, only a policy that firmly stands by Rowling and her books would be consistent.
I believe that the proposed policy would, if adopted, be a disaster for this Wiki. The greatest strength of the Wiki has always been its individuality, and with the current Canon policy we can confidently say that we are one of the only—if not the only—Harry Potter encyclopedia to deal with canon in this way. I have always been immensely proud of this Wiki and the way it deals with integrating the various media in the Harry Potter universe into a single, cohesive whole. I am proud to be a member of this community, and to administrate it.
When I joined this Wiki almost two and half years ago, it was not as comprehensive as it is now. Through the efforts of many editors, we have made this Wiki into one of Wikia's largest wikis, and are among its most active communities. This could only have been done through the addition of material from the various adaptations—film, video game, etc. And I firmly believe that the addition of this material was only done because our existing Canon policy allowed it by treating it as part of the Harry Potter universe and not segregating it.
Make no mistake, the above proposal is not a simple adjustment or improvement. It is, in effect, a 180 degree U-turn from our current policy. 5,000 plus articles will need to be checked and corrected (or in some case completely rewritten), tags will need to be applied to many articles, and, in some case, articles will need to be renamed. For example, Wool's Orphanage; the name comes from the films, so it would need to revert back to a name like Tom Riddle's orphanage.
The current proposal is also hypocritical; by deeming elements from the films and games as non-canonical, then surely by extension this would mean the removal of images from those media in articles? Apparently not: "We don't have to tag every page to indicate a non-canonical image if it is written in the policy that all images are classified as non-canonical anyway; there is no hypocrisy in that." (Yin&Yang, from the discussion on the canon policy talk page) I would have to disagree; using an image from other media to illustrate a policy that only regards the books as the "true canon" is hypocritical. If you wish to have a "true canon" policy, then surely any images from support media dilutes this and then only serves to confuse the reader as to the intent of the Wiki? Why portray film and game events as non-canon and then happily display images from these media alongside the "true canon"? This, apparently, would even extend to declaring artwork by Mary GrandPré as non-canonical despite the fact that they are including in the novels themselves.(Yin&Yang, from the discussion on the canon policy talk page)
Also note that this policy does not only mean to change the Canon policy, but also to change part of the general policy, specifically the section that states that articles must be written from an in-universe perspective. By accepting this proposal, in-universe events from the films and games will be replaced with out-of-universe quantifiers such as "In the film", or "In the game". I can understand this being done over at a general encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, but we are a dedicated Harry Potter Wiki—we can be better than Wikipedia; in fact, we are better.
As Yin&Yang notes above, confusion can become apparent, and cites the complications surrounding Sirius's death. Fair enough, but a total retooling of a long standing policy should not be undertaken to fix these minor contradictions. Perhaps a rewording of the existing policy should be discussed to fix this—and other complications—rather than throwing out a policy that underpins the entire Wiki just to correct them.
I love this Wiki for the way it handles Canon, and I suspect that many of my fellow editors feel the same or you would not be here. Since the policy has been in force we have seen an influx of talented and dedicated editors that have done their best to build this Wiki into the achievement it is today. This policy makes us unique, and I believe it is the reason many editors chose to come here and contribute their time and effort to making this Wiki what it is. There is no new Harry Potter stories from Rowling on the horizon, but we do have the last films coming. Do we accept this new policy and possibly alienate new editors who come here off the back of watching the films? Every time a new film has been released, this Wiki has seen an upsurge of interest and activity. Do we dare to risk the viability of the Wiki? I say no. I say the Canon policy, while not perfect, has served us well and makes us a community and an encyclopedia with a unique and fresh outlook on the Harry Potter universe.
Since this vote will impact the entire wiki and its contents, I am tightening the voting eligibility to stop single issue voters, possible sock puppets, and newly registered users from deciding the fate of the wiki. As such, voters will have to have made their first edit at least one month prior to the opening date of this vote, which by my calender is the 18th of November, 2009. This means any user whose first edit was after the 18th of October, 2009, is ineligible to vote.
Any user caught using sockpuppets registered before that date will also have their votes—their own and their sockpuppets—struck. There are ways of checking whether or not you are using sockpuppets, and I will be checking any vote considered to be suspicious.
As always, unregistered users will not be allowed to vote. All ineligible votes are to be stricken using <s> and </s>.
When voting please follow this format: #~~~~
In favour of adopting the new policy
I am not aiming to cause a serious overhall to this wiki. Read my above comments about the two Situations [a] and [b]. If [b] is selected, then language is unchanged. No article would be drastically affected and the content will be completely unchanged. All versions i.e. films and games will remain, just not considered canon. Remember, Rowling herself accepts that her books and the films are "separate entities". Therefore, "Rowling's word is law" is hypocritical to a combined universe. Yin&Yang
This Wiki is great because it includes all versions of Harry Potter, this change would seriously detract from the quality of the Wiki and make it lose much of its individuality. Grunny(Talk) 12:23, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
I was going to comment, but, Cavalier One has said it all for me. Jayden Matthews 12:50, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
I agree.--Rodolphus 13:23, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the whole Sirius Black/Avada Kedavra thing mentioned above, I actually think there's enough in the books to establish that it was NOT the Killing Curse, even if we can't determine exactly what did hit him. Therefore, the existing policy regarding conflicts between book and film canon would still be valid in this case. I've outlined some points on the talk page, here. - Nick O'Demus 13:44, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
I joined this Wiki when it was a pup, literally. Back then everything was written from an out of universe point of view and the wiki was a bit of a mess. In the two years since I joined, this wiki is unrecognizable. It is of the best quality encyclopedia's there is, and this community is a real pleasure to be a part of. As far as I'm concerned the proposed policy would be nothing short of - as Cavalier said - "a 180 degree U-turn". –K.A.J•T•C•E• 15:09, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
I think the policy works well as it is now. Changing it would muck up the whole wiki. --Cubs Fan(Talk to me) 18:51, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
I strongly agree with Cavalier One, like he said "the proposed policy would, if adopted, be a disaster for this Wiki". Come on. This is a Online ENCYCLOPEDIA. If we all follow the proposed policy, Hundreds of cool informations will be wipe out. I strongly agree that all Harry Potter related informations that was made through the films, video games although not mentioned in the books are considered CANON, since JK Rowling gave her 100% support to all of them. --ÈnŔîčö DC(Send me an Owl!) 22:46, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
Changing the canon policy at this stage in the wiki's history would be highly counter-productive.Jayce•Avada Kedavra•Crucio•Imperio• 23:39, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
I think the wiki is fine the way it is and changing the policy could possibly do more harm than good to the wiki. -Smonocco 00:27, November 19, 2009 (UTC)
Quite frankly, it's more work than it's worth. While I don't want to take sides in this, (both proposals have their advantages and disadvantages) I think Yin's suggestion is going to take too much work, so I'm opposing. QuidditchLover(My talk)(contribs) 03:06, November 19, 2009 (UTC)
I agree with previous commentators that it's this wiki's broad and inclusive definition of canon that sets it apart from other references like the Lexicon. The proposed changes to the canon policy would have a drastic impact on content and would require a considerable amount of work to implement fully. I believe it is possible for the current canon policy to be modified to address most of the concerns that were raised. ★ Starstuff(Owl me!) 01:37, November 20, 2009 (UTC)
I agree that, at least at the present time, the current canon policy makes the most sense, and makes this wiki more in-depth then other HP encyclopedias. The current policy should definately stay, in my opinion. ----Parodist (Send me an Owl) 17:52, November 24, 2009 (UTC)
I think, the Canon Policy is brilliant now. Don't change it--Thorning 17:58, November 24, 2009 (UTC)
I think that the current policy is fine. Edge578 02:20, November 26, 2009 (UTC)
The proposition given by Yin&Yang would make worst in the structure of the page of Hundred articles because if we follow it, It Does mean that we should place the "Out of universe" template in all articles derived from movies and video games. You know, since i saw that template in the page of J. K. Rowling, I always thought that if one time she visit this site and what if she read her own page. The "Out of universe" template would possibly be a big insult to her. We all know that all informations in Harry Potter's world are came from her. Sometimes, i want to ask the administrators about this but i don't because on the second thought, i also want to respect the existing Canon Policy here. --ÈnŔîčö DC(Send me an Owl!) 23:43, November 18, 2009 (UTC)
Funnily enough, I think that is the main reason why so many people oppose my idea, Quidditch Lover - 'it's too much work'. This isn't aimed at you only Quidditch, but that really shouldn't be the focus point here because (a) this is for the good of the wiki and (b) it wouldn't take more work effort to add tags to certain pages than going about our day-to-day editing anyway. Think about it, would it seriously take so long to add an 'out-of universe' tag to the top of a page after visiting it? It would literally take no longer than a minute. There is no time frame to when all the (film/game-based) pages would have to be covered, either. So long as the "project" is underway, it doesn't matter if it took a year (which I doubt it would with all the dedicated wiki members here) to tag the necessary pages. The majority of the articles in this wiki are book-related so there aren't as many articles in need of tagging as you all might think. I hope this helps to put things in perspective. Just so you know, when this is all over, I hope there won't be any animosity between us; this is a strictly political debate, right?--Yin&Yang 07:12, November 19, 2009 (UTC)
Of course it is. What you may not have realised is - when someone votes against your proposal, or diagrees with you in a forum discussion - it's not because they hold any animosity towards you. It's because they don't agree with what you're saying. Period. Everyone just fights for what they believe in. It's never personal. Just as long as you accept the community's decision once the vote's closed. Jayden Matthews 12:49, November 20, 2009 (UTC)
I promised I would and I am a man of my word, trust me;) I'm sure I have been out-voted anyway (as you can probably tell by now), but I have recently had a small discussion with Starstuff on the talk page of the Harry Potter Wiki:Canon article in which he has said that he once felt as I do now about the way the policy includes all-facets of the Harry Potter universe as one; but he also implied that it is too late to change anything now the way I've suggested it. That, I can understand. So I explained that the ignition for this debate started with a discussion I had a while ago with Seth in which I tried to remove a part of the Bellatrix Lestrange article that states that she was present at the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. The method I suggested of changing the policy was the only way I could think of to even that particular page out. So, Starstuff mentioned that that wouldn't be necessary if the Policy could be slightly altered to make it a more stringent Canon policy capable of accomodating the Bellatrix, Sirius and Ollivander arguments previously discussed. I think he's right. Your thoughts? -- Yin&Yang 13:19, November 20, 2009 (UTC)
I won't vote, because I do think all parts of the Harry Potter universe are important. Yet, I think the movie and video game pages should be very separate, as in mentioned on different pages, i.e. "Bellatrix" and "Bellatrix (Movies)" or something. Yet, going through and simply mentioning it's in a different context is silly, sorry Yin&Yang. I personally think it's pointless. If you can't tell the difference in what happens in the books and movies, you probably shouldn't be here, contributing. I think a new policy would be a lot of work, but not too much trouble. Instead of using the "Out-of-Universe" terms, like you said, J.K. herself would be included in that, we should make completely different pages probably. I haven't been around this website for very long, but it seems some book/movie discrepancies should be explained, not just in forums. If you made two different sections, that didn't cross-relate over book/movie/video games, it would probably be the most effective if you were doing a complete overhaul like Yin&Yang said. Sorry if this didn't make much sense to you, I wrote it the best I could. -- User:LaurNelson 19:46, November 23, 2009
LaurNelson, I understand what you're saying, but I think your idea of creating new pages for each character that exists in both the films and the books would require even more work than what my original idea suggested. What I have said, although you seemed to have overlooked it, is that the idea of categorising certain pages as non-canonical was a bid to try and correct the overlapping contradictions present in the cases of Bellatrix Lestrange, Ollivader and so on. Since, I have had a discussion with Starstuff and we both seem to agree that rather than alter the definition of canon, we as a community should devise a way of tightening the loose-ends in the policy that make cross-overs between two very different storylines. Also, I never said I had trouble distinguishing the books from the films. On the contrary, I am very conscious of the differences between the two versions. I am just trying to prevent any misconstrusion that may occur to other wiki visitors; I'm very meticulous when it comes to presenting the right information so I do my best to make sure all the other Harry Potter fans understand the story fully. This is, I am undoubtedly sure, the ultimate goal of the other users on this site.--Yin&Yang 08:46, November 24, 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page, such as the current discussion page. No further edits should be made to this page.