Talk:Science fiction

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Trimmed lede intro sect[edit]

Trimmed lede intro sect a tad bit.

Pretty sure I've seen in the past that it's been discouraged to have in-line citations and quotations in the lede intro sect at Wikiquote

Instead those have been encouraged to be at the corresponding Wikipedia articles.

-- Cirt (talk) 23:08, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

This was essentially a re-revert after being asked to discuss the matter (The BRD cycle does not contain another "R" after the "D"), and I am pretty sure that more was removed than the unnecessary references. In particular, I think the "literature of ideas" aspect ought to be mentioned but, rather than engage in an edit war, I am going to wait for actual consensus before rewriting the introduction. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:01, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
"Literature of ideas" seems a bit too verbose type wording for Wikiquote, more suited for Wikipedia. And yeah, glad we're in agreement about site consensus to remove the in-line citations from the lede intro sect. -- Cirt (talk) 20:21, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Regarding your first point:  How is that phrase verbose? Verbosity is not a "type" of wording, it is a quantity thereof. I am not sure how one could make the point more concisely than this stock phrase. Regarding your second point:  That is not what I wrote. ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:54, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, I'm pretty sure, from past experience, that in-line cites in the lede are to be discouraged. As that material is tied to an in-line citation, best to not have it, and also best to not have quotes in the lede intro sect, and leave that stuff instead to one-click-away-Wikipedia-articles. Hopefully that clarifies some of the confusion for you. -- Cirt (talk) 21:07, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
I wrote that the citation is unnecessary because the notion of science fiction as a literature of ideas is so widely discussed by critics and scholars that it should not be tied to, and does not depend on quoting, any particular essay on the subject. Just because the citation was superfluous is no reason to expunge the point.

I thought mentioning this concept was a very succinct way to indicate the thematic subject of the genre in a general sense, better in Wikiquote's context than Wikipedia's verbose but unavoidably incomplete enumeration of particular ideas the literature explores. However, I suppose that those who are unfamiliar with the particular field or with broad notions of literary theory and criticism might not be able to infer the meaning of this widely repeated phrase.

Note that the one-click-away-Wikipedia-article is tagged as not adequately summarizing the key points. We can do better than this. Even in its present state, Wikipedia's lede at least mentions generic theme rather than using motif alone to define the genre as your (repeatedly) truncated version does. The definition of what is and is not science fiction is a matter of notable and longstanding dispute in the field, and your version gives one perspective that does not, in my opinion, conform to our policy on neutral point of view.

I may offer a draft for a more neutral introduction in a day or two, but I will respect the principle of WP:BRD by refraining from posting my own version directly into the article while it is still a matter under discussion. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

The current lede intro sect is more than adequate, without needing to plunge Wikiquote intro sects into ivory tower academia type wording, which is unnecessary here. Best to keep that sort of debate at Wikipedia, thanks. -- Cirt (talk) 18:23, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I suppose the seeming rudeness of rejecting my draft before it is even written can be explained away by the anti-intellectualism you express, as such views do not generally encompass the possibility that such concepts might be expressed in terms readily understood by non-academics. I would also entertain the possibility that someone who has contributed nothing to this theme may not have read much variety of science fiction, and as a consequence may be ignorant of the large body of works in the genre that do not fit the narrow definition given in your version of the introduction.

Nevertheless, I remain undeterred from drafting something that will broadly encompass what is recognized as belonging to this genre, after I have reflected for a while on (1) how to make it neutral enough to circumvent debates in the field and (2) how to make it clear enough for even those who lack the vocabulary of a high school education but are actually interested in reading literature of the genre. Although you reject the draft sight unseen, someone else may be interested in considering an alternative to the version you consider more than adequate. ~ Ningauble (talk) 21:29, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I for one fully support and welcome a proposal for an expanded intro for this quite wide-in-scope topic (even one that might still be understandable for those who fall a bit short of a lofty educational background). Have at it! ~ UDScott (talk) 23:16, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I too would support and welcome a proposal for an expanded intro, and we could of course discuss proposed drafts once put forth. But the phrasing in quotes "literature of ideas" is unnecessary and just smacks of higher-than-thou sort of POV. -- Cirt (talk) 00:22, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Just because a phrase is put in quotes doesn't make it somehow convey a sense of elitism and I don't understand how there is any POV introduced. Or do you just automatically object to any use of quotes (similar to your objection to links or bolding)? It just so happens that this phrase is a quite common one used to describe SF and I don't a problem with using it. ~ UDScott (talk) 01:16, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
It just seems unnecessary. Rather than put all this effort into a Wikiquote intro, efforts should instead be placed into improving the Wikipedia article, and then using a small portion of the beginning of that intro. -- Cirt (talk) 01:48, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I have already acknowledged that the quoted phrase is not ideal here (because it is vague and unfamiliar to those who are not relatively well read), and have undertaken to express the point in a more clear and accessible manner, so you can let it go already. To the hostile philistine remarks bandied about here, I will only reply that I make no apology for using Wikiquote to target an audience that reads and appreciates literature.

(I will be "doing lunch" today with a writer who is well versed in the subject, and may get some ideas for how to introduce the breadth of this topic in a sufficiently brief introduction. However, we will mostly be having fun discussing the interesting history of dispute about what the genre really is or ought to be.) ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:56, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Just sayin' if someone's goin to all the trouble to work up a new lede intro sect, why not put that effort into improving the intro at the Wikipedia article page, so we can then use that, here at Wikiquote. Just sayin. Have a good lunch date, -- Cirt (talk) 20:28, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
The fact that one of Wikipedia's articles may be deficient is no reason not to improve a Wikiquote article. Although I have occasionally felt the temptation to tell someone here to run along and play somewhere else, I try to resist the impulse. Attempting to dissuade me, or anyone, from making useful contribution to Wikiquote is completely out of order. ~ Ningauble (talk) 23:29, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Critique of the trimmed lede intro sect[edit]

I had thought to add a little something about how the genre includes works that are about science and technology, in terms of their potential development and in terms of their impact on man and society, because this is a large part of what the expurgated observation about "literature of ideas" refers to. Some other observations about the breadth of thematic ideas might also be added. However, on further reflection it is evident that a complete rewrite is needed. The current introduction is not only less than adequate in that it leaves out any thematic aspect, but what it does say about the genre is simply wrong.

The main sentence of the current introduction makes a certain amount of sense where it appears in the Wikipedia article – in the third paragraph of the "Definition" section after some views on the relation to science and to fantasy have established context – but it is inadequate and misleading as a stand-alone "introduction used to identify an article's subject". Before offering an alternative, I will identify some of the errors and omissions in the present introduction, reproduced here for analysis:

Science fiction is a genre of fiction. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically-established or scientifically-postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).
  1. Use of the phrase "within the context of the story" does not really say what was apparently intended. Everything portrayed in a fictional work, unless it is framed otherwise, e.g. as the imagination or error of a character, is to be understood as not only possible but actually real within the context of the story. What matters when addressing this aspect of science fiction is its plausibility when viewed from the real world context outside the fiction.

    The example of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004) Ian R. MacLeod's The Light Ages (2003) [Amended this because I cited different book than the one I was actually thinking about. ~ Ningauble (talk) 14:56, 24 June 2015 (UTC)] may serve to make this point concrete. The magical arts are portrayed in the story as a kind of applied engineering that is fully consistent with the story's fictive laws of nature. From a real world perspective this is all pure fantasy. Its author and publisher identify the work as fantasy, and none of the diverse schools of thought about the genre classify this sort of thing as science fiction.

  2. Saying the genre "differs from fantasy" in some regard, without also saying in what regards it is similar, is of little help. Bearing in mind that all fiction is imaginary, consider how this characterization would apply to a work of "mainstream" fiction like Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868–1869): it differs from "fantasy" in that nothing imagined therein posits magic or other supernatural forms, and everything imagined therein is entirely possible within scientifically established laws of nature. This does not make it science fiction.

    The real problem here is that the introduction takes a point (a hotly debated one) that is really about what science fiction ought not be – too divorced from scientific plausibility – without saying what it actually is about this genre that pertains to science.

  3. The analogy with fantasy is not clarified by reference to "imaginary elements", a definite looking but actually undefined term. What feature is thereby identified as shared by these two genres as distinct from other genres of imaginative literature? Saying something is like the supernatural but within the laws of nature could be an illuminating simile in an appropriate context, but is by itself too oxymoronic to identify the referent.
  4. The phrase "imaginary elements" might be taken, by the analogy to magic and the supernatural in fantasy, to mean tangible or ethereal forces, concrete or intangible things, or some instruments or technologies thereof, that are somehow distinctly different from and could not arise in the author's here-and-now real-world environment. If so the statement would just be wrong – it describes only a part of what is included in the genre.

    One example of a category this excludes is works that do not imagine these things, but take things that actually exist in the here-and-now, particularly new or newly known ones, and imagine their potential impact on man and society. Another example is works concerned with the social sciences that make no reference to the physical sciences at all, for which analogy with "imaginary elements" of fantasy is not meaningful.

The scope of the genre continues to evolve over time, and there is no rigorously definitive way to delimit it. I think the best course here is to be broadly inclusive of what has been called science fiction without being so vague we fail to identify anything. I will suggest some wording to that effect at a later date. ~ Ningauble (talk) 23:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Still think it's a good idea to instead work on improving the Wikipedia article, itself. Best not to duplicate work and be redundant. -- Cirt (talk) 05:20, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
(See previous comment in main thread above, to which the remark above apparently pertains.) Nobody is stopping you from working on Wikipedia (within limits) so go right ahead, but please refrain from advocating against improving Wikiquote itself. ~ Ningauble (talk) 17:58, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Not advocating against improving Wikiquote itself. Just saying it seems silly to duplicate efforts in a redundant fashion, when we usually take our lead from ledes at Wikipedia, instead of engaging in our own research for Wikiquote. -- Cirt (talk) 21:24, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Why not make the same edit to both, and improve both at the same time? BD2412 T 01:58, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
An even better idea, thank you, BD2412! However, per w:WP:LEAD, any edit to the lede of the Wikipedia article would have to be supported by its body text, so one would have to improve that, as well, with references. -- Cirt (talk) 18:18, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

I have no interest in rewriting the Wikipedia article, and I really have to question the point of this line of argument.

Cirt makes the following assertions here and in a broader discussion from which this arose:

  1. The lede was too long, and expanding it would be welcome.
  2. It must not be redundant with Wikipedia, and it must repeat what Wikipedia says.

These are not coherent explanations of what was intended or accomplished when Cirt "Trimmed lede intro sect a tad bit". Rather, it appears to be a clear case of throwing up random objections with no rhyme nor reason, to see what will stick. In my opinion (as an involved party) the intent and purpose of Cirt's targeted campaign, to expunge perfectly acceptable content from articles I worked on, is not explained by the substance of these duplicitous arguments, but by the duplicity thereof.

Reversing my statement of 21:29, 25 February 2015 above, I have indeed been successfully deterred by this trollery from investing any further effort in improving the article introduction. If anyone else is interested in doing so, they might begin by copying Wikipedia's introduction (which includes a sourced reference to the literature of ideas).

Frankly, I am sick of this. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:43, 30 April 2015 (UTC)