Wikiquote talk:Fictional characters

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Cirt (talk) 16:16, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Theme pages about fictional charactersEdit

As I remarked at Village Pump, I do not support a general exception for theme pages about fictional characters. Such quotes belong in a Criticism or About section of an article on the work (which may be a body of multiple works or, in some cases, a franchise) or the author. ~ Ningauble 16:29, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Hrm, I dunno, especially if they have received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject - from Notable authors, scholars, fiction critics, etc. - then I think this would be a fine inclusion on Wikiquote. Cirt (talk) 16:34, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
It is indeed a fine thing to include notable, quotable criticism in an article about a work. A character is not a real thing: the work is the real subject of such criticism. (Exceptions are not inconceivable, but I think valid ones would be extremely rare, and can be accommodated by the principle of common sense overriding slavish adherence to rules.) ~ Ningauble 16:51, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Could you give an example of a page/character you'd delete, and one you would consider an exception? Cirt (talk) 16:53, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
We have a page on Indiana Jones which currently serves as a directory of the media about this character. I think it would be appropriate to have quotes by the character that have been used in some context outside the films, and quotes about the character separate from the context of any particular film. BD2412 T 20:10, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Ok, some examples may help clarify the discussion. Before getting into quotes about characters, let me toss in some examples involving quotes of characters.
I would keep Superman as the best way to handle the original comic franchise: it is about an identifiable body of short works, and seems to be the best way to aggregate them. I am more ambivalent about Dick Grayson because it feels to me like a case of borrowing characters and backstory between what are essentially distinct bodies of work, but that is debatable. As a spinout from articles on fictional works, Albus Dumbledore should definitely be merged to the works and redirected to the series disambiguation page. I would delete all of the King of Fighters characters because I see nothing worth merging, unless somebody actually does merge them before I get around to constructing a 30+ member mass-nomination for deletion.
Now, as to quotes about characters, let me begin with remarks about the articles above. Quotes about the iconic Superman comics would belong on the Superman page. The Dick Grayson article contains quotes about, and I will discuss it in detail below. Literary criticism regarding Albus Dumbledore et al. should be on the J. K. Rowling page. About King of Fighters, I suspect there is nothing to be said.
There are two sets of quotes about Dick Grayson, "in fiction" and "in reality". Assuming for the sake of argument that we want to have a single article for the diverse works, I think they need trimming. The quotes of characters about characters "in fiction" are at odds with the way we normally structure coverage of literary works: we don't generally divide an article on a work into sections by subject matter. For the most part, they seem to have been included to document "biography" or to cross reference between works, rather than for their inherent quotability. Quotes "in reality" are appropriate here (or alternatively, at a Nightwing article), but for the most part these do not seem very strong on quotability. Not everything said on a notable topic is quotable, but it can be a tough call and I would not be in a hurry to trash them.
Now, about those putative "theme about" pages: I would be surprised if there are five or more extant examples, which is why I said "extremely rare" above. (Forgive me if I don't read through everything in Category:Fictional characters and its subcategories to hunt down any that are "themes about" rather than "quotes of." There are an awful lot of awful articles in the category, and looking at too many would make my blood pressure go up.) I have seen a lot of fictional character articles, but I only recall one that actually met the description of a theme of quotes about a character. Mickey Mouse was a collection of quotes from the occasion of Mickey's 75th anniversary, some of which were rather quoteworthy. Had they been sourced the article would have been a keeper, but none were, so it was prodded.
The hypothetical BD2412 describes sounds like a plausible exception but, being unaware of any successful examples, I am not sure it is prudent to invite contributions in an area that would likely fill with cruft. I would bend over backwards to fit any really good quotes of this nature into the context of a work. Failing that, one can make an exception without adding a policy statement that throws the barn door open. If numerous good exceptions arise in practice then the policy can be broadened.
That, in a nutshell, is my opinion. I guess it would have to be a coconut. ~ Ningauble 20:43, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Consider a quote like the following: "Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak. He's unsure of himself. He's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race". This is from Kill Bill: Volume 2 - but it is in my opinion a quoteworthy commentary on Superman, but not necessarily on any particular Superman media. The generic "Superman" page is the appropriate place for quotes like this. BD2412 T 21:12, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree that it is quoteworthy and that, since it does not relate to a specific work, it belongs on the page about the primary work. ("Primary" in the sense of being first, although this might not apply in situations where an original work is not notable but a subsequent franchise is.) ~ Ningauble 21:27, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Need to stop referencing WP:NOREdit

Wikiquote is a collection of quotations. That means we want primary sources and original research, not secondary sources, whenever they are available. Secondary sources are just hearsay as far as WQ's mission is concerned. 121a0012 01:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I think the intent here was to address notability of the subject. While well intentioned, I think it goes against the principle we are trying to establish here: notability of a fictional element does not by itself justify forking quotes to an article separate from the work. Q: "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" A: At Romeo and Juliet. — I am removing this item from the list of exceptions. ~ Ningauble 14:48, 15 September 2009 (UTC)


Combined two that were removed with no discussion, into one new one: [1]. I think this is important and should remain. Cirt (talk) 15:31, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Don't be alarmed. It's still a draft, and we are discussing it. ~ Ningauble 16:38, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Of course, no hard feelings. :) Cheers, Cirt (talk) 17:08, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Notability exceptionEdit

I removed an exception stipulating that it is ok to fork a character article if the character is, essentially, notable in the Wikipedia sense of the term.[2] A similar exception has been reinserted [3], but I think it is inconsistent with what we are trying to accomplish here. I believe the general intent of this policy is straightforward: that quotes of and about fictional works belong in articles about the works or their authors, and generally ought not be forked into separate articles on fictional characters. There has been discussion of making an exception when a character is associated with a franchise encompassing multiple works, which makes sense to me as a practical matter in some situations. I believe that making an exception for all notable characters is unnecessary, and is so overbroad that it undermines the purpose of the policy.
I strongly oppose this exception, and welcome other opinions on the question. ~ Ningauble 16:43, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I strongly support this exception, and I think the combination of the two together into one exception, is more stringent than either one of them by themselves [4]. Cirt (talk) 17:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Ningauble and oppose this exception. I still believe that it is always the best course to keep the quotes with the work, rather than the character. And even in cases where a character is associated with a franchise spanning multiple works, there could be a character page that is a disambig page, listing the works in which he or she appears. ~ UDScott 17:11, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Wikipedia-level notability alone should not make the cut. BD2412 T 00:05, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps this wording could be kept in some format [5] in addition to the other exceptions, as opposed to stand-alone. Cirt (talk) 13:40, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Do you mean to say that we should only have theme pages on a character where it is eponymous to the work and also is the subject of external commentary? BD2412 T 21:03, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
No. I am saying that this sort of descriptive is useful in formulating exceptions. Cirt (talk) 03:00, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
How is this different from the second exception outlined, a theme page on the character? More exactly, do you propose that lines given to the character be included in such a page as quotes, or only that the page contain those quotes about the character derived from the referenced secondary sources? BD2412 T 04:43, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd propose moreso the latter, but also that quotes would be deemed worthy by the character itself, if quoted/discussed in secondary sources by notable scholars. Cirt (talk) 05:34, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm guessing something like Dirty Harry saying "Go ahead, make my day" would qualify under that rationale - this could still be folded into exception number two. Can you find an example of a quote from a character who is not the main character of a series of works for whom this rule would apply? BD2412 T 15:02, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Sure, I suppose any supporting character that is independently notable, and also the subject of external commentary by notable scholars. Perhaps something like Robin, for example. Cirt (talk) 15:09, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Wait, are you saying that the character alone would have to be the subject of external commentary? I thought you meant that quotes made by the character would themselves have to be the subject of such commentary. I think I can go that far, but no further. BD2412 T 15:39, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, both together would then be a more stringent requirement, which is a good thing. Cirt (talk) 15:58, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
(outdent) Would someone give a couple examples of existing articles that would have to be merged if this exception were omitted? I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the drawbacks of merging when considered only in the abstract. I understand how Wikipedia uses such criteria for "covering a topic" but I don't quite see how it applies here. ~ Ningauble 16:42, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I still don't understand what the drawbacks are to having this language on the page. Cirt (talk) 17:15, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps someone could give some specific examples as to why this wording is a concern? Cirt (talk) 04:38, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
My sense is that we, as a community, have pretty much reached the conclusion that we can accept entries on James Bond, Batman, and Indiana Jones that meet the criteria of the first two exceptions outlined, but we'd rather not have articles on secondary characters such as Miss Moneypenny, Robin, The Joker, or Marion Ravenwood, no matter whether others have written about these characters individually. A strong rationale would be the identification of the name of a character with the body of work itself. Batman comics, episodes, or films featuring Robin or the Joker are still considered Batman works, for example. BD2412 T 18:04, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Good point. However, a few of the examples mentioned do satisfy all of the criteria. Cirt (talk) 18:11, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Do you mean a few of the examples of the secondary characters? BD2412 T 18:18, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the point can be made that they satisfy criterion 1, 2, and 3. Cirt (talk) 18:24, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Not criteria 1, since the secondary character by definition will never be eponymous to the work. I could see how a secondary character would come under 2, but I don't think we would have a page under criteria 2 unless the quotes already satisfied criteria 3 (since it only applies to "quoteworthy" quotes, which must be verifiably sourced to people of some level of notability). We may need to come up with some more particularized language to deal with secondary characters that occasionally appear in media that excludes the primary character with whom they are associated (for example, the Joker does an occasional crossover appearance in Superman comics). Comic book characters may be a bad example for this, as lesser lights among comic book villains are often used as foils for different heroes in the same comic book universe - a number of out-of-universe appearances might be required. BD2412 T 18:50, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Per your last comment, perhaps we could merge criteria 1 and 3 together in some format? Cirt (talk) 18:54, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I would think 2 and 3 are the ones that need merging together; 1 is just a sort of housekeeping issue. BD2412 T 21:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I would be okay with merging 2 and 3 together. [6] = better? Cirt (talk) 00:52, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm good with that. BD2412 T 02:54, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Great! :) Cirt (talk) 04:34, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Comment: I agree with what was done here by BD2412 (talk · contributions): [7]. Can we mark this thread as resolved? :) Cirt (talk) 21:05, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

BD2412 (talk · contributions) responded in affirmative. See [8] :) Cirt (talk) 18:20, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm OK with it. ~ UDScott 18:33, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I also agree about this discussion but I am not willing to create a Fictional Character page because it might get deleted by a Vote for Deletion discussion. I rather edit Real People pages like Bill Gates.(StarWarsFanBoy 00:26, 4 January 2010 (UTC))

An exceptionEdit

Having made a big deal about opposing an exception within this policy last year, I must now confess that I just created a fictional character article, Nasreddin, in the spirit of ignoring all rules.

Perhaps "fictional character" is not quite the right category for a centuries-old folktale character. I purposefully quoted a variety of works by different authors, not wanting to quote too extensively from any one collection of folktales, and not wanting to give authors undue credit for what is, after all, received legacy. Rather than codify an exception for this type of subject, I prefer to rely on the "common sense" exception. I realize that I am being inconsistent. If anybody has an issue with it, "I believe you are right." ~ Ningauble 19:01, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

This seems to me to fall perfectly within the exception for "themes about a character" where that character is the subject of extensive third party analysis. This typifies the sort of article we should have under this exception, and demonstrates why we need it. BD2412 T 21:28, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Guideline statusEdit

I propose that WQ:FC should be adopted as a guideline, as it follows our practise in dealing with fictional characters. —This unsigned comment is by Tryst (talkcontribs) 15:23, 1 June 2012.


  1. --Tryst (talk) 15:23, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  2. ~ UDScott (talk) 15:49, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  3. I would prefer to go ahead and make it policy, to avoid people trying to evade it on the grounds that it is "just a guideline", but this is a reasonable step in that direction. BD2412 T 16:02, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  4. Make it a guideline at present; see my note below.--Collingwood (talk) 06:04, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  5. Weak support under protest: Procedurally, the case for making this a guideline rather than a policy, as originally proposed, should have been discussed prior to putting it to a vote. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:41, 14 June 2012 (UTC)


  1. Though I can support guidelines which discourage fictional characters which have long existed I must object to such language as imply blanket banning of such as is used in the statement "why pages on fictional characters are not permitted." Though I have some reservations of promoting them, I support the idea that editors should be able to create pages for fictional characters if they are properly formatted and well developed. ~ Kalki·· 00:13, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Note that the policy as proposed includes exceptions for characters that are demonstrably independently significant, and have quotes distinct from their works. Absent such factors, any character will have sufficient coverage on the pages of the media in which it appears. BD2412 T 23:28, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


  • I support the language in the current draft, which has been stable for more than two years. However, this should be labeled as a policy rather than a guideline. I invite the proposer to provide a rationale for downgrading the draft from policy to guideline. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:00, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
    Extended remarks: This was originally conceived as a policy,[9] and has been labeled as a "draft policy" since the day it was created. Notwithstanding persons opposed to the whole idea, the designation of policy rather than guideline was not contested while the page was under development, nor at any time I am aware of prior to this thread.

    I believe that the concept and language are sufficiently concrete and objective, that the stipulated exceptions adequately encompass what is acceptable, so that there is no reason to treat this as anything less than policy for what is and is not acceptable, rather than merely guidance for what may be preferable. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:00, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

    I agree, but since the draft has always been labeled a draft, I consider "guideline" to be a step up from its current status. BD2412 T 18:10, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
    In response to Ningauble, I feel that this page should be a guideline because it is essentially a specific case of Wikiquote:Quotability which is also a guideline. Policy to me suggests hard and fast rules, and I'm not sure that they are needed here. If you still disagree with me, please feel free to change the original proposal to "policy". Thanks. --Tryst (talk) 04:50, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
    I do not think this is really a special case of Wikiquote:Quotability. WQ:Q is primarily about whether it is appropriate to include a quote. WQ:FC is primarily about whether it is appropriate to have a separate page for a topic, and includes it a couple sections about valid attribution. Neither of these directly relate to whether something is a quotable quote.

    Procedurally, I do not think it would be appropriate to alter a proposal on which voting has begun. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:45, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

    "Is the subject of a proposed page "quotable" enough to merit inclusion?", is given as a question concerning quotability at WQ:Q. WQ:FC deals with this question for fictional characters, and thus I think it is a special case. --Tryst (talk) 16:12, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I note that the text has been stable for some time, but maybe there has been little interest because there was no proposal to make it a policy or guideline. Why don't we make it a guideline at present, and then discuss whether the text really is final and if so make it a policy.--Collingwood (talk) 06:03, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
    I am aware that guidelines are sometimes thought of as tentative policies, which is why I did not initially !vote to oppose the motion. However, I think this is incorrect, that the proper distinction between policies and guidelines is a difference of purport, not degree of development.

    To wit: in my lexicon a guideline is either (1) advice on how to go about something: a guide to doing it; or (2) sometimes more specifically, a summary of, or advice for following, some policy; or (3) a generally recommended practice that is expressly understood to be inappropriate in many situations: a rule of thumb. In contrast, a policy defines what is or is not acceptable, and should only be disregarded in unusual circumstances with good reason.

    I am finding it very difficult to support the proposal because, although it may not have been the intent, this seems like a change from an "ignorably unofficial" draft to "officially ignorable" advice. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:50, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

    In my opinion, a policy should really have no exceptions. Guidelines should be followed unless there is a very good reason not to. As I mentioned earlier, WQ:Quotability is a guideline, but it still governs much of the work we do here. --Tryst (talk) 16:21, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
    Not to be trite, but it seems to me that if we are going to hold people to that understanding of the role of guidelines and policies, we should have a policy that says so. BD2412 T 17:40, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
    I agree - perhaps we should amend Wikiquote:Policies and guidelines in order to clarify this. We don't have a formal equivalent to IAR here. --Tryst (talk) 18:33, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
    From Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary: "guideline n : a line by which one is guided; esp : an outline (as by a government) of policy or conduct" [no other variant given], where the pertinent definitions of the verb guide are given as "1 : to act as a guide to : conduct 2 : to regulate and manage : direct". The colloquial connotation of a mere recommendation (which will get you into real trouble if you treat statutory guidelines as optional) is indicated in the {{Guideline}} template, so we don't really need a policy page to explain the wiki-dialect meaning. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:49, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Proposed guideline for last words in fictional mediaEdit

I propose the following guideline to deal with the question of having pages for last words in fictional media:

Writers of fiction often pen poignant and memorable dying words for their fictional characters. Collections of fictional lasts words from characters across different works in a specific franchise, by a specific author, or across a specific type of media, are therefore permissible, under certain conditions.
First and foremost, each individual quote in such a collection must meet Wikiquote's quotability requirements, and must be original to the work to which it is attributed. Short, non-quoteworthy exclamations generally do not meet quotability requirements, and will be removed from collections, unless there is some overriding rationale for containing them. For example, Last words in Doctor Who media is the only page that does, or reasonably could, contain the last words of each of the ten regenerations of the Doctor. Not every example would be individually quoteworthy, but some of them are, and being able to review the collection as a whole would be of interest to fans of the series. Therefore, the non-quoteworthy examples may be kept in the interests of maintaining a complete collection. Such an exception would apply only to central characters to a work. There is no comparable need to maintain a list of the last words of every character in a work.
Second, collections of fictional lasts words can not be used to circumvent Limits on quotations. Quotes may only be replicated in a collection if they are already contained on the individual page for a work, except where, as noted above, a quote is individually non-quoteworthy, but is kept to maintain a complete collection of the last words of a central character or characters.
Third, there is no need to have a separate page of quotes containing last words for an individual work, when all of the quotes for that work should be on a single page. For example, the 1997 film Titanic is a single, stand-alone work, and is not part of a larger fictional universe. Quotable last words from that film should already be contained on the film's own page. By comparison, works such as those in the James Bond, Star Wars, and Transformers franchises are spread across multiple books, films, and other media, making a separate collection the only reasonable showcase for last words across several different media. A separate collection is only permissible where there are multiple quotes across multiple installments of different media in the same fictional universe, such that this is the easiest way that all such quotes can be presented.

My goal here is to preserve some of the work that has been put into assembling collections of last words in fictional media, while establishing rules by which to reign in the excesses of some of those pages. Comments welcome. BD2412 T 04:15, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Return to the project page "Fictional characters".