This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments or questions on this topic should be made in a new Senate Hall page rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. 1358(Talk) 20:39, February 14, 2012 (UTC)
Hey, everyone. I'd like to open a discussion about our definitions of Appearance and Source as they apply to our articles. I'm still really confused about what the difference is, and the only thing close to a definition I can find is what's in the Layout Guide: "These [Appearances] are de facto references or sources, but they are listed separately because they are in-universe."
But in-universe/out-of-universe does not seem to be the guiding logic for how we differentiate the two categories, since, for instance, we consider Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races, First Edition, to be a Source and not Appearance, despite its in-universe nature. There are tons of other examples of in-universe works being considered Sources, so something else must be at play.
I've been told that the distinction is whether a particular item is an in-universe narrative, which helps clarify things somewhat. But, then, what differentiates an IU narrative from an OOU one? The distinction seems arbitrary at best; we tend to include roleplaying adventures among Appearances, yet screenplays among Sources. A game like Knights of the Old Republic (which we include among Appearances) includes gobs of OOU material, like Hit Points, character stats, etc. Meanwhile, we include "Dex's Diner" among Appearances, despite the fact that it tells no story at all.
In sum, our way of distinguishing Appearances from Sources seems to be arbitrary in many cases; it seems that one person starts listing a particular category of material a certain way, others follow suit, and no one ever really questions the logic of that designation. Is it time to rethink how we differentiate Appearances from Sources? Why not use some metric like "narrative" vs. "non-narrative" to distinguish Appearance from Source? Whatever happens, it might be a good idea to add a definition of Appearance and Source to the Layout Guide, or to create a special page that designates what counts as what. What say you, teeming dozens? ~Savage 17:48, May 14, 2011 (UTC)
In some situations, a case-by-case basis of determining whether or not something is a source or appearance is more appropriate than a general rule. With things such as roleplaying material, the distinction is not always clear and the best action is to try and determine whether the term "source" or the term "appearance" best reflects the material at hand. Such a process requires taking into account a number of factors, so a single set of rules for determining whether something is a source or appearance may not be applicable or helpful in such situations. The best approach is the use of editorial judgement, which is what we do at the moment. However, I do agree that the Layout Guide is too vague and in need of amendment, and that some Appearance/Source conventions should be more consistently applied. --Jinzler 19:42, May 15, 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. I'm all for allowing editorial interpretation, but the problem is that we seem to have a few instances where those interpretations clash. It would be nice to have a firm rule that says something like, "An appearance is a narrative," or "An appearance is an in-universe narrative," or even "An appearance is anything in-universe." And then apply that across the board. ~Savage 17:48, May 16, 2011 (UTC)
Most people would say that The Phantom Menace is an appearance. But what if the information just comes from the commentary tracks or the Making Of bonus stuff? Then it's a source. It might even be both. A number of releases, DVD/Blu-rays, Video Games (w/ databanks), RPG supplements, and magazines could really go either way. There are even a few articles of the Fact Files that appear to be written IU. The same source can provide IU narrative, but then they also provide OOU details. I think that defining the difference between appearances and sources is something needs to be done, but that is something that could argued endlessly, and I think there may always be confusion. The easiest solution would be to have a "when in doubt" rule. If something could arguably fit in either category, then it needs to default to one or the other. SinisterSamurai 15:02, May 17, 2011 (UTC)
Good point about the commentary tracks/databanks. I doubt there'd be anything specifically mentioned in The Phantom Menace commentary track that wasn't also featured in the movie in some way, but I do know that the Star Wars: Rebellion computer game does feature a large internal databank that mentions quite a lot of stuff not mentioned in the gameplay itself. It might be that we need to say something like, "An appearance is a reference that is primarily a [narrative / in-universe narrative / in-universe source]." The brackets are for whatever we decide an appearance really is. That would allow for the wiggle room you speak of. ~Savage 15:19, May 17, 2011 (UTC)
The ultimate difference between Appearances and Sources is storyline. If it is a story like the movies or majority of comics, books, and video games then it is an Appearance. A Source relates previously or newly stated facts without storyline. However, Wookipidia should never truly depend on Sources over Storyline. Story must hold more wheight than the Sourcebooks, especially since there are many Sourcebooks that get things wrong or describe cannonically conflicting items. For example, the fandom should ignore the Sourcebook that said that the Twi'lek Su had children with a human. This conflicts with Republic Commando and even though it may have been the writers intent to break the rules they didn't state it in storyline so we should ignore the Sourcebook —Unsigned comment by18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs).