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Canon Edit

Hi Xenos, in reference to your edit to the Ninth Era page, this wiki does in fact document certain unlicensed materials deemed relevant to our readers' understanding of the lore. The authorial/canonical philosophy implied in C0DA, although still somewhat controversial, has come to be accepted by a significant portion of the TES community as an appropriate way to view the lore. It is for this reason that we record all the things you can find in the "Unlicensed Texts" category, even though they are not "canon" in the strictest sense of the word (copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company). Unlicensed content is denoted as such with a special reference group so that readers can distinguish it from licensed content. —Atvelonis (talk) 21:55, December 29, 2018 (UTC)

Hey Atvelonis, where do you have it listed that this wiki considers some non-licensed content canon? The Lore page lists canon only being events that happen ingame, in any novels, or the in game books. There is no reference to the Ninth Era in any of this, and only C0da. C0da is non canon since Bethesda has not mentioned it being canon or non-canon, which would mean it should be expressed and assumed to be non-canon until stated otherwise. Xenos001 (talk) 22:14, December 29, 2018 (UTC)
I don't think the page you linked actually says that. Mainspace articles are not really a good source for information on wiki policy anyway, we have a separate namespace for meta content. Our policy on information sourcing has a section reserved for unlicensed references, which describes what sort of content is permitted. We obviously don't document random works of fanfiction, but a lot of readers rely on us as a source for the apocrypha.
The distinction of something being "canonical" is largely made up/arbitrary in TES. It isn't a term that Bethesda has ever really been fond of throwing around, which is reflected in our approach to content documentation on the wiki. The company doesn't have a rulebook of what is considered canon, so we don't actually have a concrete reason to describe the novels, games, etc. as canonical and the apocrypha otherwise—just a tweet here and there (many of which are totally contradictory), which is insufficient. So their not commenting on something's canonicity does not mean that it is automatically non-canon, it just means that it's a gray area. We're inclined to respect that in the mainspace.
The licensed/unlicensed system is used to differentiate these "gray area" works from things that Bethesda legally has the rights to, not because either of those categorizations are more or less canonical than the other, but simply because this is an objective classification that happens to ensure that readers are not misled (e.g. without this sytem someone might assume that external content from an AMA actually appeared in a game, like the bit in The Song of Pelinal about Pelinal's sexuality regarding Huna). Copyright doesn't really equal canonicity, and, even if it did, a lot of readers would still want access to the non-copyrighted content (this is why Wookieepedia still documents Star Wars Legends content, for instance) so we would probably continue to document it anyway. Does that clear things up? —Atvelonis (talk) 23:11, December 29, 2018 (UTC)
If that is the case, why does this wiki not classify what is in C0da? It would make far more sense to consider what is known from games, novels, and any other ingame sources and regard them as canon. While anything outside of that as not being verified canon. The Ninth Era page was listed as lore despite only being in content that is connected to C0da. I don't see how the bit about Pelinal Whitestrake's sexuality could get confused on being canon or not, as the bit that was alluded to his sexuality was omitted from the final version and thus would not be considered canon unless Bethesda officially released the original version. Xenos001 (talk) 01:35, December 30, 2018 (UTC)
I think you're still misunderstanding what I'm saying. Canon is not a concept that exists in The Elder Scrolls in any fundamental way; any perception that it does is simply a projection of one's personal beliefs about how canonicity related to copyright (which you need to be careful not to miscontrue as canon). In reality, the lore is just not designed like that. If Bethesda intended for us to treat their word as Truth and all else as drivel, they would have said so very definitively, like Disney did when they squeezed the life out of the Star Wars universe a few years back. However, Bethesda has not done that.
  • Matt Firor, 2018: "So I don't have to tell you guys this, but the lore – maybe some of your readers will know this – but the lore in Elder Scrolls is never definitive, it's always told through the eyes of people that live in the world, which gives developers – not just us, but everyone that works on Elder Scrolls – certain leeway to kind of find what that person meant when they were telling the story."
  • Cartogriffi, 2017: ("What's Bethesda's relationship to lore and canon?") "We try not to make proclamations about the lore. So much of its richness comes from the fact that it's almost entirely encountered first-hand, and through texts written by in-world authors with their own biases, opinions, experience, and misconceptions."
  • Lawrence Schick, 2015: "Elder Scrolls is different from most fantasy campaign worlds, right? I mean, the typical paradigm, you know […] those all have histories and backgrounds that are all laid out and they've all got some lore-daddy who decided everything and everything is 'this is how it is', so everything works within the envelope of things that are already decided. Elder Scrolls - Tamriel - does not follow that paradigm. […] since you're playing in their world and you're playing a character in their world - what you think happened is as legitimate as what that NPC thinks."
  • Michael Kirkbride, 2013: "Tamriel never belonged to Bethesda. It was the other way around. As for canon, it's really all interactive fiction, and that should mean something to everyone. That said, I appreciate and understand the stamp of "official", but I think it will hurt more that it will help in the long run. TES should be Open Source. It is for me."
  • Pete Hines, 2011: ("Does Bethesda consider Obscure Texts and developer comments as "actual lore" or "canon"?"): "It depends."
  • Ted Peterson, 2006: "I would like to propose that instead of there being a black-and-white distinction between canon and non-canon, loreists refer to Primary and Secondary Sources. A Secondary Source, such as a comment from MK or a reference in the Trial or RP, may be 100% accurate and become a Primary Source when it is later published in a game; it may remain a useful reference, such as a scholar's commentary on Shakespeare, which is informed and likely true, though not actually part of a play or sonnet; or, it may be disproved on later Primary Source evidence."
C0DA and the Ninth Era most certainly are "lore," as is the bit about Pelinal's intended homosexuality from Kirkbride on Reddit. So, too, is every single TES-related piece of media on the internet: theories and analyses and fanfictions and all. They can contribute to your understanding of the lore, so they are, in some sense, lore. Now, whether or not you choose to consider such things to be accurate and/or canonical is an entirely personal decision (this is where the importance of headcanon comes into play).
It is not our duty as an encyclopedia to tell readers "you are allowed to believe this, but not this" as far as canonicity is concerned. The licensed/unlicensed reference tags are more than enough for readers to distinguish what is Bethesda's direct work and what makes up the apocrypha. They are intelligent enough, from there, to form their own opinions on the canonicity of all texts involved. If we stepped in and said, "C0DA is canon," or the opposite, we would just be inserting our own opinions and needlessly biasing our readers, contrary to the goals of the encyclopedia. —Atvelonis (talk) 05:12, December 30, 2018 (UTC)
"C0DA and the Ninth Era most certainly are "lore," as is the bit about Pelinal's intended homosexuality from Kirkbride on Reddit. So, too, is every single TES-related piece of media on the internet: theories and analyses and fanfictions and all. They can contribute to your understanding of the lore, so they are, in some sense, lore. Now, whether or not you choose to consider such things to be accurate and/or canonical is an entirely personal decision (this is where the importance of headcanon comes into play)."
I'm sorry, but what? That genuinely does not make sense, if that is the case and non-licensed material can be considered canon, even if it is fanfiction (like C0DA, even if you don't consider it to be the case), why doesn't fanfiction from other material other than Michael Kirkbride appear here? Should I be able to add a fanfiction page about how in the 12th Era Alduin comes back and has a pool party with Vivec? If so, I will do so, because it's canon despite being non-licensed. Xenos001 (talk) 02:55, December 31, 2018 (UTC)
It is the case. There is no overarching, definitive canon in TES like there is in, say, Star Wars. As shown by the quotes above, this is something that Bethesda has said themselves: it's not just my own opinion.
I realize that this whole concept of interpretive canonicity might sound odd at first, but it only seems that way because of the ridiculous length of time that works remain outside the public domain in many countries (96 years in the US, an eternity for all intents and purposes). Because of this restriction—which really exists for monetary reasons, not artistic ones—people have erroneously begun to use something's copyright as a measurement of its validity in or importance to a body of works, when they should really be looking at its artistic merit/influence. It is completely possible to play around with someone else's work in a way that ultimately builds upon it, perhaps elevating it to something more interesting than the original material ever could be (see: film adaptations of content in the public domain, like fairytales). Toesock has a fantastic comment about this on the old Bethsoft forums that explains it better than I probably can.
"Canon is a modern concept that is really only relevant in an era that recognizes intellectual property rights. Where narrative is a profit-driven endeavor and stories are owned by corporations. The mythologies of the past were ever evolving, tweaked by hundreds of anonymous storytellers, changing, growing, self-contradicting and alive. […] It's not a new idea. Many people including myself have espoused this viewpoint for ages now. I suppose it is nice to hear it from someone whose ideas are often elevated above those of the rest of the community however. MK's Tamriel ain't more true than yours, so mutate his version to your liking. And then bring it to us, because myth doesn't become myth until it is shared."
In the same way that no one protests one translation of Homer's Odyssey as being "fanon" while labeling another as "canon," there is no reason for us to categorically reject works written by fans in regards to the lore of TES. You can reject it on your own, sure, and many people do. I do not consider every single stupid fanfiction ever written to be canonical, but that's my personal belief. This wiki is a neutral repository for knowledge, not a place for editors to lay out their opinions about the lore (subtly or not), so it would be foolish for us to exclude from it unlicensed works which readers consider important.
Michael Kirkbride is not the only author whose works are used on this wiki. We document texts by him, Douglas Goodall, Kurt Kuhlmann, Gary Noonan, Ken Rolston, and various other developers (even one or two significant but authorially ambiguous works, although that's about where we draw the line). I see that your point is more about the developer/fan divide than Kirkbride specifically, though. As pointed out on the wiki's fanon policy page, our inclusion of unlicensed materials is dependent upon their notability and nothing more. This happens to be partially dependent on the author's status as a developer (former or current), but in theory there is nothing stopping us from documenting a fan-written text if it is suitably notable in the eyes of the wider TES community. This is pretty unlikely, though. I wouldn't worry about it.
"TESWiki is not the place for fanfiction or roleplaying. The In-Universe part of the wiki is for canon information only. Any articles identified as fanon will be deleted. This includes both characters from fan fiction and player characters from roleplaying games. The exceptions are those fan fictions that have made an impact on the fanbase or canon itself. Such content is to be denoted as unlicensed with a separate reference group."
C0DA and other works by Kirkbride, for example, are viewed by a significant portion of the lore community as relevant to one's wider understanding of the lore, even though they are not explicitly copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company. A random fanfiction does not carry weight in the TES community in the same way. Adding non-notable fan-written works in bad faith is not really something you should consider doing. —Atvelonis (talk) 05:21, December 31, 2018 (UTC)

Oblivion PSP image Edit

Hi Xenos, would you happen to remember where you found the "Anticlere (Oblivion PSP).jpg" image that you uploaded to the wiki the other day? This wiki uses CC-BY-SA in order to host copyrighted content, and the resolution of the image would make me inclined to believe that it's a screencap from a video of some sort. This is acceptable if necessary, but we have to provide proper attribution or else the content cannot remain up. When you get the chance, please add the proper source to the file description. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks. —Atvelonis (talk) 03:43, January 6, 2019 (UTC)

Yes I do remember, here is the link in case you're interested:
I for one am not quite sure how to give sourcing for the image. Xenos001 (talk) 23:15, January 9, 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for the response. In this case you can just put the link as the argument for the "source" variable in the file description, instead of the name of the game. —Atvelonis (talk) 22:21, January 10, 2019 (UTC)
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