Forum:What warrants an article at TG?
Some recent discussions at talk pages (here and here) have renewed an old topic mostly debated during the Tolkien Gateway IRC meetings (now defunct) several years ago. In short: what topic (or concept) warrants an article at Tolkien Gateway? I looked at our Manual of Style, and we currently appear to have no criteria for what merits an article (such as Wikipedia's notability). My personal views on the two type of concepts recently up for discussion:
- Actors should only get an article if it would be possible to flesh out the article with Tolkien- or "Middle-earth"-related information (a good example of such an actor would be Christopher Lee). For all other actors, we will never be able to compete with IMDB and/or Wikipedia.
- Publications: in my opinion we can be much more generous about Tolkien-related publications: in contrast to actors (who are well-covered in other websites), Tolkien Gateway has the potentiality to be a very unique and useful encyclopedia about Tolkien-related publications, whether English or non-English (the publication must of course be presented at TG in English, though).--Morgan 22:58, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
- Good discussion topic, Morgan. I did draft a Notability policy some time ago, but I was rather circumspect when it came to foreign-language publications.
- Actors - the wording I used in the notability policy was: "Each individual needs to be judged on a case by case basis. In general, authors, artists, actors, and others who have made a significant impact are included, but there is no need to include every actor, for example (especially if they've performed in a more minor role)." I think this wording is broadly still accurate. I don't think we can, or should, complete with either IMDb or Wikipedia, but I feel as if all actors of major roles should be included particularly if, for example, in the course of their role they have made some commentary on Tolkien's works. Just looking at The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, for me this means the actors who played the Fellowship, Elrond, Galadriel and Bilbo. Figwit is probably a slightly special case because the actor has more significance in the fandom than the role he plays deserves.
- Publications - I think we are all agreed that all English-language publications about Tolkien (and film adaptations) have a non-negotiable right to be on this wiki. Publications that are partly about Tolkien also have a claim depending on the extent of their reference to Tolkien.
I am slightly cautious when it comes to foreign language publications. First of all this is a wiki, yet I have noticed a tendency amongst some editors to treat Tolkien Gateway as part of their own personal cataloguing service. We are not a catalogue. Secondly, I think we need to be clear why a foreign-language publication should be included; Tolkien study and criticism is primarily printed in English - and this is an English-language wiki aimed at English speakers - so for me a foreign-language publication has to meet the following:
- The publication contains works by Tolkien never before printed in English (e.g. the interview in I fantasins världar)
- The publication contains Tolkien criticism/analysis never before printed in English (e.g. Curso de Quenya)
- The publication represents a significant milestone in Tolkien critical study (e.g. Hompen)
- As a result, there is a legitimate belief that the publication would be of interest to native English-language speakers. (e.g. Ring of Darkness)
- I actually think that most of our foreign language publications do meet this criteria. Right now, it's hard to say that Tolkien e l' Italia does, and in any case it is not in English so is a breach of policy anyway. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 08:17, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
- Oh, we had a notability article! :) Unless I missed something obvious -- shouldn't it be easier to find (for example, as a link from the Manual of Style)?--Morgan 18:55, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
- I would say the criteria you suggest for foreign-language publications are quite apt, and they should be added to our notability article. I'm wondering a little about the third ("significant milestone in Tolkien critical study") -- how would this be different from the second ("criticism/analysis never before printed in English")? For the third criteria, you give Hompen as an example; wouldn't something like "significant bibliographic value, for example early translations (Hompen, El hobito)" be a better description?
- For the book Tolkien e l' Italia, the criteria you suggest would probably mean that it should be deleted (especially since it has no significant English-language description of its contents). For the John Rawls article, I think we would be better off with a WP link to "John Ralws (actor)" in our article on Yazneg.--Morgan 21:18, 12 February 2017 (UTC)