Canon-language terms and Sue image. Edit

First, may I ask why my request to bring up changes to the content here first is being ignored? I didn't think it was that much to ask. If you disagree, please tell me why instead of just ignoring my wishes.

On to the actual changes: I question whether Sindarin/Quenya terms for "Mary Sue" are so widely used by or integral to the PPC that they need to be included here. I flatly object to just jamming them in with the standard, directly derived terms; if anything, I think they belong in a sub-section about canon-language or alternative terms, or in the "Mary Sue and the PPC" section, which deals with in-universe stuff.

Here is the content in question, which I've taken off the main page for the time being:

The Quenya term "Mól-Cáralawen" and the Sindarin "Mûl-Ceredirwen" are both interpreted to mean Mary-Sue. The literal meaning of both terms is "Thrall-making girl."

hS, IMO, "no reference exists yet" means "should not be added yet." Also, "Mary Sue" isn't hyphenated anywhere else on this page (because it isn't hyphenated in "A Trekkie's Tale" where the term was coined). Consistency plzkthx.

Another Sindarin version is "Bainthoreth" or "Vainthoreth" for a Mary-Sue, and "Bainthoron" or "Vainthoron" for a Gary-Stu. The literal meanings of these words are "Foul-beauty" (feminine) and "Foul-handsome one" (masculine). Agent Eledhwen Elerossiel has been heard to use the term "Bainthoreth" during a mission.

Apart from Eledhwen's (just one?) use, these terms come from an external site, not us. This article is about our usage, not the Internet at large. Also, again with the hyphens.

(I did keep the addition of the term "anti-Sue," since I think it's relevant and fits with the rest of that section. Anon's other changes have been removed, since they are completely redundant once you know what the PPC is.)

Mary sue

A typical Mary Sue.

Finally, this image -------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

I disagree that it's representative of a typical Sue, for one thing, and I don't want to give the impression that we consider any blue-eyed blonde in a pink dress to be a Sue, for another. If images are wanted, perhaps a gallery or somesuch is the way to go? Or maybe one of those "anatomy of a Sue" drawings, if anyone has one lying around? It would have to fit with the definition we're using here, though, which is not focused on specific physical traits or abilities.

Your thoughts, please.

~Neshomeh 18:08, May 20, 2013 (UTC)

I'd say all of that seems reasonable. As to bringing up changes to the content before making them, I didn't know, and I apologize; I just saw that Elvish terms were being added, and wanted to add the ones that were both more familiar to me and that I had seen used. (I do think Eledhwen has used the term more than once, it's just that that mission was still fresh in my mind.) Sorry about any offence/confusion/annoyance my changes caused.
One thing, though, Neshomeh—how did you do the formatting for the pieces you took out of the article? I'm very curious, and it doesn't show up in the html from what I can see.
DawnFire (talk) 18:29, May 20, 2013 (UTC)
To answer your question about the pieces from the article, the way to do that is just to indent the first line of the paragraph by one space. It's a wiki thing, not an HTML thing. {= )
~Neshomeh 16:55, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Oh, interesting. Thanks. Not sure when/if I'll ever get to use it, but cool.
DawnFire (talk) 17:11, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Well, now I'm glad I didn't add the My Little Pony Sue name that World-Jumper created ("Glitter Do"). I do think such terms should be listed, but moved to another section. I also agree about the picture, because it reinforces the "beautiful characters are always Mary Sues" viewpoint, when the PPC is very clear that the beauty is the symptom, not the disease.
~ Hermione of vulcan (talk) 21:58, May 20, 2013 (UTC)
As flattered as I am to see Eledhwen mentioned on the page, I agree that it'd be cool to have a compilation of canon terms for Mary Sues in a subpage or something linking back to this one. We could add other languages too - I'm sure someone out there knows what Mary Sue translates to in Klingon or something.
Yes, I also think there should be a gallery of Sues? I could draw an anatomy of a Sue thing if you really want me to, but we could just use Ensign Sue in place of the above picture or something (and credit the creator) since she's well-known and stuff. We could also add the Sue from that Sparklipoo parody in the gallery; she's an example of someone who looks ordinary - until you see those colour-changing eyes.
Considering plenty of people on the Pit know to avoid the stereotypical signs of a Sue, I don't think any blatant rainbow-haired or cat-eared girls are suitable for the gallery. Instead, I suggest we go Circle-diving - the illustrations for Sues from the Circle of Lemmings (and illustrations for Sues on FFN if available - Alexis Gilmore, for example, is supposed to look like Alexis Bledel or something) that have been missioned could be put into the Gallery. Personally, I don't want the PPC to go out of its way to create illustrations for the Sues, because chances are our own biases will cloud the portrayal. Instead, we just have the Sue-illustrator show his/her intentions in the depictions of the Sues.
Lily Winterwood (talk) 05:38, May 21, 2013 (UTC)
I just want to urge a bit of caution about using Suethor's images on the wiki. It might feel a bit too much like we're singling those authors out for mockery. (CoL authors tend to use pics of themselves, yeah?) Also, there is a difference between using some lines from a badfic to critique it and using an entire picture that someone else drew or edited.
Doctorlit (talk) 13:40, May 21, 2013 (UTC)
may I ask why my request to bring up changes to the content here first is being ignored? The reason is that, if you don't deliberately switch over to source mode, the note you left looks like this:
Picture . That tiny 10x10 image in the corner is the only hint that there's something there - quite simply, I didn't even notice it.
As to 'no source', the term comes from the mission I'm in the middle of writing. So it would be more accurate to say the source isn't quite published yet. In fact I'll probably change the Sindarin form to match the one Lily has used, for consistency - but as you can tell, I made the note to the page before that was added.
I disagree in general that 'not in a story = shouldn't be on the wiki' - and even more that 'only mentioned once = shouldn't be on the wiki', which I've seen a few times. How many times was the Wisteria named before I used it in Crashing Down? Once - when Nenya and Rosie joined. How many times has the Toffee Tree been mentioned in stories? I know Fix-It is still on the wiki - and what about that massive list of bleeprin derivatives? I'd be amazed if there were multiple sources for all of them.
It would have to fit with the definition we're using here, though, which is not focused on specific physical traits or abilities.
I agree that this is an excellent goal, but... I'm not sure it's realised. We open with a quote about appearance, for example. I think that, to meet that goal, the following changes should be attempted:
  • Emphasise more that point at the top of 'Secondary Traits'. They are neither required for a Mary Sue (I do hate spelling it without the hyphen, you know), or only present in them - they're just commonly associated with them, and so serve as warnings. As it stands, we pay lip service to this idea, then go on to describe why anyone with them is a 'Sue.
  • A new primary trait: a Mary Sue is a badly-written character. As defined by the PPC, I think this is and has to be true. Yes, it is possible to write an entertaining, non-parody, canon-warping OC - but in that  case, she is no longer a Mary Sue. I feel very strongly that this ought to be the first and defining primary characteristic.
  • A one-to-two sentence definition of Mary Sue, as understood by the PPC. As it stands, the article is the definition - which is all well and good, but not very friendly if we get into another argument and want to say 'No, this is what we mean'. I propose the following for dissection and editing:
    • A Mary Sue is a badly-written character who warps the canon world and characters around them, significantly altering them without explanation to serve the Mary Sue's story needs.
  • The above excludes all mention of appearance (which is good), but does lose the point about 'not reacting realistically'. Perhaps this might serve better:
    • A Mary Sue is a badly-written character whose reactions are inappropriate for the events taking place around them, and whose interactions with the canonical world and characters exist for the sole purpose of telling the Mary Sue's story, regardless of how out-of-character that drives the canons'
  • This one gets rid of that vague term 'warping'; I'll leave it at that for discussion.
  • I also have issue with the final primary trait (special just because she exists). While that part is true, it then goes on to describe uniformly positive examples - which gives the impression that 'all the elves hate her because she has magickckck powers!' isn't a Mary Sue.
  • Oh, and I agree about the image. If a Mary Sue isn't about appearance, then either have no image, or have one which describes her in terms of what actually makes a 'Sue. Huinesoron (talk) 07:11, May 21, 2013 (UTC)

Wow, that's a lot more response than I expected! I can't address everything in full right now, but I do want to reply to a few things:

  1. It did occur to me after posting that anyone editing a particular section and not the whole article wouldn't see the note. I didn't know it wasn't visible in Visual Mode, either. That... is annoying. *adds to her list of reasons to hate Visual Mode* Anyway, I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions. But, I worked hard on this, and it sucked to suddenly discover several changes I'd never heard about.
  2. I don't think we should go around deviantART lifting people's own work without permission. The random photos on Quotev, I am less concerned about, but we should avoid copyright infringement at all times.
  3. There are plenty of cases where I think a single mention qualifies a thing for inclusion on the wiki—i.e. characters, items, afflictions, etc.—but not everything. As for things with no mention anywhere, when it comes to stuff from the past whose origins we can't necessarily track down, sure, we should include it for posterity; but when it comes to adding new stuff, I really think it ought to stand the test of time first, whether that means actually being used in a story (or RP or agent journal or whatever) or actually seeing extended use in the community. I always thought this was meant to be a record of Stuff We've Done, not Any Ideas We've Thrown At The Wall To See If They Stick. This is not the hub of our creativity; our stories and community spaces are. In short, I think the wiki is best if descriptive, not prescriptive.
  4. I agree with some of the proposed changes to the article, including "Sues are badly written." However, the reason there isn't an emphasis on "badly written" right now is that several people strongly disagreed with that when I was writing it in the first place, so that might be a problem. Also, as I think we've talked about before, we must be careful to distinguish bad plotting/characterization/etc. from plain old bad SPaG, so I don't think just saying "badly written" cuts it, hence why I've used language like "unrealistic character" so far. Plenty of people think that simply having good mechanics equals good writing.

Aaaand now I have to work, so more later.

~Neshomeh 14:09, May 21, 2013 (UTC)

A thought about the note: would it be sensible to create a 'Keystone Pages' (or something) category for pages which are considered central to the Wiki's description of the PPC - pages like this one, PPC itself, Agent, etc etc. These could then a) be a category, which could be easily read through to get a grounding, and b) each receive a template at the top identifying them as a Keystone Page, and asking that any changes be discussed on the Talk page first?
As to 'badly written' - I agree that it needs more description than that, and my suggestions were just meant as starting points. However, I do think it needs to be in there. The point I'm trying to make is that a well-written character is not a Mary-Sue. There are two primary reasons I say this:
  • We have a 'Department of Bad Slash', a 'Department of Implausible Crossovers' - and a 'Department of Mary-Sues'. Mary-Sues are de facto bad in the PPC - and we're not here to make value judgements. We don't write missions because we personally don't like a certain thing - we write them because something is objectively bad writing.
  • This. Specifically, a section I've pulled out into my 'Suequotes' file:
'Mary Sues are not criticized for the how. Sue Reports do not list "dizzyingly implausible leaps of logic" like "Uhura defers to a twelve-year-old who has not studied xenolinguistics because she can say a sentence in Klingon". They list qualities (She has "shining chestnut hair" and "dazzling blue eyes", people!) and the things the character dares to accomplish (She's got a crystalline singing voice! The nerve!).
'And the advice isn't, "Maybe you should put in a scene where she demonstrates her knowledge to Uhura so Uhura's support of her makes sense," or "How about you mention how often she practices singing, so she has a reason to be good."
'It's, "She has too many strengths. She's too awesome. Take out the singing voice. Why would Uhura like her?"
'Mary Sue these days isn't a criticism of skill. It isn't a criticism of writing ability. It doesn't teach the writer how to build convincing character detail. It teaches her to reduce her expectations for her characters.'
  • I do not want us to be the people she is talking about. We are (as I've said before) the sharding PPC. We invented charge lists, which allow us to do exactly that: criticise the writing, not the traits which it results in. But if we define Mary-Sue in a way that is focussed on traits (not just physical ones) rather than the underlying problem - that she is badly written - then we are heading straight for what people say about us. I've read the Boosette rant (link is to Araeph's response, which contains the full text). I do not see the PPC in her words. And I don't want to. Huinesoron (talk) 19:01, May 21, 2013 (UTC)
I like the idea of a template to warn about pages that require discussion before editing. I can't actually think of too many that really need it, though—just this one, Permission, and the FAQ For Other People spring to mind as particularly sensitive.
I wonder if a lot of what would end up in a Keystone Pages category wouldn't overlap with the existing Original Series category. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I dislike redundancy. In general, more discussion of what would go into this is probably needed, and this isn't the place for it. (I'm already getting lost in this discussion!)
On rewrites to the article: I will give it some thought and see if I can come up with a new draft for people to take a more focused look at, and probably move the conversation to the Board. I've actually been meaning to since the last discussion about Canon Sues.
~Neshomeh 16:55, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Another page that might use that template would be the Constitution, although I think that's actually mentioned in the article itself. Other than that, I've got nothing.
Although, while I'm here and (hopefully) have your the...whatever it's called, the bar at the top of the page with options to find things—under the bit marked Help and FAQs, there's a link to 'How To Make A Character Page'. When you click on it, it takes you to an intermediate page; from there, you have to click a link to get to the actual page.
I propose that someone with the power to change that (I don't have it, as far as I know) does, and makes the link go directly to the current, actual page. As it is now, it's annoying and a bit confusing.
DawnFire (talk) 17:11, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Oh, bugger, I can't believe I didn't change that when I moved the page. *facepalm* It's fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out!
~Neshomeh 19:10, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
No problem! I've just been using it a lot, especially recently, and then I spotted a moment to draw attention to it while the annoyance was still fresh in my mind. So I mentioned it. Thanks for fixing it! I look forward to making further agent pages without having to deal with an indirect link. :)
DawnFire (talk) 21:16, May 22, 2013 (UTC)

Back to the picture thing: Yeah, I can see where that's coming from. Maybe I'm just too immersed in the Sue Lord mission and seeing badly photomanipulated illustrations of the visual Sues that the requestors picked with the Doctor in degrees of eye burning. It's funny, most Circle Suethors don't use themselves - they use actresses and models and stuff. Once again, a sign of the media affecting Sue-creation.

I can draw (to the best of my ability, then) an anatomy of a Mary Sue sorta thing? Oh, you know what'd be great: we could make one that fits the "what my friends think I do/what the PPC thinks I do/what society thinks I do/what the Canon thinks I do/what I think I do/what I actually do" meme. It'd be funny and shows the Sue in the eyes of different people.

Lily Winterwood (talk) 21:30, May 21, 2013 (UTC)

I second the meme idea—it would be hilarious, and illustrate the variations in the ideas of what a Sue is rather well. (And it would be hilarious.) Although I think it shouldn't be the only illustration available, just to be able to cover the many types of Sues and their traits...perhaps there could be more than one meme?
What if there was a meme (or two) and then some illustrations of common Sues? Then again, the latter part actually sounds more like it's playing into what we're trying to fix/avoid right now, so perhaps not. I think I'll leave this at that I second the meme idea and think it would be hilarious (and that we could possibly make a PowerPoint Presentation in the style of the ones floating around Tumblr).
DawnFire (talk) 21:55, May 21, 2013 (UTC)
1) Nesh, please get on with locking that page; anon is seriously persistent.
2) --------------------------------------------------->
Mary sue meme
Lily Winterwood (talk) 00:03, May 22, 2013 (UTC)

That is hilarious. I like the fact that you've used different images for at least the top line of Sues - it emphasises that 'Not about appearance' thing. The only one I wonder about is the PPC one - it's certainly true of at least some segments of the population of HQ, but others - and us - are probably more inclined to the 'actually' version - out to make her story at any cost to the canon.
If you're taking comments - would 'What the Flowers think I do' work? It's less universally displayable (although I guess there could be two versions), but would turn this into a 'PPC's eye view' - and the Flowers /do/ see them as evil world-destroying fiends, so the picture is very apt for them.
I still think it's hilarious either way, though. ;)
Huinesoron (talk) 06:28, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
I like the meme, too, but second hS that I see Sues more as the current "What I actually do" image. Maybe there should be separate categories for "What PPC agents think I do" and "What PPC writers think I do"? Another suggestion for how the in-universe PPC sees them might be as something like a virus—not so much a megalomaniacal conqueror as an insidious, creeping plague.
Definitely like the different images. Is that Ebony in the first panel, Ensign Sue in the second, and Sparklipoo in the third? *g*
Mary sue meme-1
~Neshomeh 16:55, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Why yes, they are.
Here's an edited version with a slightly less megalomanaical Ensign Sue...
Yeah, so tell me if that works better?
Lily Winterwood (talk) 04:48, May 26, 2013 (UTC)
I like that version. It better encapsulates how the PPC - both inside and out - think of Sues - as canon-wreckers. Huinesoron (talk) 08:07, May 26, 2013 (UTC)

Protect this page? Edit

Anon is being rather persistent. Anyone object to me making this page protected, so it's editable by logged-in persons only?

~Neshomeh 15:13, May 21, 2013 (UTC)

That sounds like a good precaution. It's rather annoying to have to fix the anonymous edits.
~ Hermione of vulcan (talk) 16:06, May 21, 2013 (UTC)
Since Nesh isn't on hand right now, and people are getting angry - Oh Hey Look What I Can Do. (Protected for 1 week; no new or unregistered editors) Huinesoron (talk) 06:22, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Extending protection a couple more weeks due to troll.
Doctorlit (talk) 13:13, May 30, 2013 (UTC)
Extending to forever. Why ever deal with this again if we don't have to?
~Neshomeh 15:08, May 30, 2013 (UTC)
Er. Because that way lies protecting the entire wiki? Huinesoron (talk) 16:46, May 30, 2013 (UTC)
By that logic, the path of less protection eventually leads to doing nothing at all and letting the trolls run rampant. I don't think that makes any more sense than the other way 'round, personally.
~Neshomeh 17:21, May 30, 2013 (UTC)
General Question: Who exactly thought it would be a good idea to go and post this on the talk page of the Wikipedia user mentioned in the various edits? It is unnecessarily aggressive - definitely not Assuming Good Faith - and based on what appears after a very brief inspection - it took me maybe five minutes to track down the information I've replied with - to be an inaccurate assumption. Please, whoever it was, don't do things like that. Huinesoron (talk) 17:41, May 30, 2013 (UTC)

Rewrite. Edit

Okay, I don't have a whole new draft yet, but I think I may have an acceptable new definition. How's this:

A Mary Sue is an unintentionally flat fictional character recognizable by a marked disconnect between what the narrative says about it versus what the narrative shows about it. The Mary Sue character is almost always the central focus of its story, and the plot serves it rather than itself serving the plot. It achieves its goals with minimal effort, out of proportion to what the audience would expect given the setting(s), culture(s), and other natives of the universe it inhabits.

(Now with fancy CSS boxes!) Note that I don't want to flat-out say "bad" or "badly" anywhere if possible, given how subjective badness is. My intent here (and later in the Traits) is to describe something that is clearly, objectively an artifact of bad writing.

~Neshomeh 23:00, May 22, 2013 (UTC)

I like! It shows the more subjective side of the term as it's used by the PPC. :)
And I'll get on editing the meme pic as soon as possible. Lily Winterwood (talk) 23:55, May 22, 2013 (UTC)
Wait, what? I'm trying not to be subjective. We're looking for an objective definition. ^_^;
~Neshomeh 03:09, May 23, 2013 (UTC)
You say that 'badness' is subjective - but surely 'flat' is, equally so? I actually think this is a good definition - it seems to rule out the 'but he's a well-written character' point (since 'unintentionally flat' /is/ always bad writing).
Huinesoron (talk) 07:11, May 23, 2013 (UTC)
I went with "flat" specifically because it's an established term in literary criticism for a character who does not develop meaningfully over the course of the story (the opposite of a dynamic/round character). Flat characters are commonly used deliberately for minor/supporting roles, hence "unintentionally"—Sues are meant to be dynamic, but aren't, because they don't develop, grow, and change in any significant way.
I guess "meaningfully" could be considered subjective, but we can fix that: meaningful character development is that thing where a character eventually has to learn from their experiences and change because of them. Mary Sues don't do this; the rest of the world is expected to change to suit them, hence the unbelievable behavior and reactions described in the Primary Traits. The Secondary Traits are the various ways authors attempt to make their characters interesting by telling us they are, as opposed to showing us through their behavior, struggles, and growth.
For what it's worth, this is all starting to feel much more cohesive to me now. The current article doesn't quite hang together as a whole, but I think it will when we're done this time. ^_^
~Neshomeh 13:19, May 23, 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I mix up subjective and objective waaaaay to much. And yes, this makes much better sense; Sues are static rather than dynamic, and instead of changing themselves for the plot, makes the plot change for them. Lily Winterwood (talk) 04:17, May 24, 2013 (UTC)

History in-universe Edit

So we've got a massive article about the concept of Mary-Sue, but very little about her in the context of the PPC universe. Since we don't want this article in a half-completed state, I figure the best way to deal with this is to slowly work up a fully-referenced section here (as a subsection of 'Mary Sue and the PPC', before 'Sue byproducts') and put it in when it's finished.

This will include the early 'Origins' history, as well as the Factories when they come about, the various invasions, and (when I get there) the Mary-Sue portions of The Ispace Wars. And no, I'm not keeping this to myself: edit away.

History Edit

The PPC's first encounter with a Mary Sue came when it was still known as the Organisation. The Tiger Lily and Captain Dandy met an example named Princess Dreamflower, and were forced to kill her in self-defence.[1] They coined the term 'Merry Pseudo', since she was irrepressably cheerful, and her glitter blood identified her as not being a real living creature.[1] They described her as a living plothole generator, and from their encounter developed the idea of writing plotholes to create their own.[1]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Origins: Chapter 5", by Huinesoron
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