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Proposed Revision to the Canon Policy

The world is quiet here.

(Literally. All these policies, and not a single item on the talk page! Wait until the readers of the Wiki Punctillio hear about this!)

Let's cut to the chase. I think the current policy detailed in On the Matter of Canon cannot be allowed to stand. Specifically, I refer to the bit which proposes the Netflix series be considered “secondary canon”, to be used on in-universe pages where it does not conflict with book info, and discarded when it does. This is similar to what is done on the Harry Potter Wiki for the film adaptations, and what used to be done on the Doctor Who Wiki for the novelizations.

Thing is — this was, I assume, drafted in the days of Season 1, when it did seem that the series was only offering a slightly different retelling of the books. Certainly, the way the policy write-up's waxing lyrical about “what a faithful adaptation the Netflix series is” makes me think along those lines. And at the time it made sense, of course; but now that the series is complete, I think we must look back and realize we made a serious mistake.

Because the way that policy's worded, we have to acknowledge that we have a definitive answer of what's inside the Sugar Bowl. The Netflix series tells us; the books don't explicitly contradict its answer. Therefore we are to take it as canon that it was, ta-da, Hybrid SugarTM that makes immune to the Mycellium's spores. No gettig 'round it, that's what our canon policy is telling us is the Whole, Complete and Inarguable Truth.

Do I have your attention now?

The fact of the matter is that the Netflix series is not some other telling of the same tale as the books. It is set in a continuity all its own; its handling of the Opera Murder and Ishmael plotlines makes it clear enough, in hindsight, that this was always meant so. The main plot involving the Baudelaires and Olaf is broadly the same, of course, but the background history and lore is fundamentally impossible to reconcile with the books' account. That's not a knock on the Netflix series; adaptations have every right to propose their own universe. But then it's our jobs as Wiki editors to acknowledge that. Anyone familiar with comics and comic-book movies, imagine how doomed an enterprise it would be, to try to cover the Marvel Cinematic Universe as though it took place on Earth-616, systematically ignoring whatever contradicted the comic lore and trying to fit in what was left.

Sure, as the current policy states in its defence, Daniel Handler wrote for the Netflix series too. So? That's no evidence that he wrote it for the same continuity as when he was writing the books; consider if you please, if there are any Addams Family enthusiasts out there (seems plausible enough to me), how Charles Addams had significant input in the 1964 TV series, and even proceeded to reintroduce some concepts from the series into the New Yorker cartoons (i.e. Cousin Itt). Consider also that it would be sheer insanity to propose the cartoons and the 1964 series are in the same universe. Creators working on multiple, contradictory incarnations of the same basic story is far from unheard of, and goes back, at least, to 19th century writers who'd draft extremely fanciful stage adaptations of their hit novels, or vice versa.

I say therefore that we should take after the way the Wikis of the earlier-cited comic franchises' do things, and give the Netflix Series and the books equal, but separate, coverage as two different fictional universes that happen to bear more than a passing resemblance to each other.

(We could stand to broaden this further and give wider coverage to the Jim Carrey film as a third, walled-off but independently valid continuity; but it seems less essential than with the Netflix series.)

How would we do this, you ask? Well, I don't know for sure, we have many options before us. If we wish to continue to give the books precedence, we could simply banish al Netflix-derived infos to the "In the Netflix series" section of the relevant in-universe pages, as despite the policy, such sections have begun to crop up all over the place. Alternatively, we could, and this would be my favored solutions, for it would better cater to fans brought to Snicket by the Netflix series and who would feel rather like second-class citizens in the first set-up, we could make separate pages. There would be a Count Olaf (Books) page, and a Count Olaf (Series) page, and perhaps even a Count Olaf (Film) page. The main Count Olaf page would become a disambiguation page between those. And so on for every concept shared between the series and books.

(I suggested parentheses; this is what I am most familiar with. But we might just as easily copy the Star Wars Wiki's set-up, and have Count Olaf/Books and Count Olaf/Series.)

There are many ways to do it; but by Jove it must be done somehow. --Scrooge MacDuck (talk) 00:30, March 30, 2019 (UTC)

Haha well I can't imagine many users reading the all those rules you mention. I meant to respond to this a while back, but I was held up and I knew I could never create a response to justify all this. The bottom line is that I do very much agree with your reasoning. The vigorous attitude and justifications have convinced myself, and likely most who read this. That being said, while it is a great idea and suggestion, I'm not sure we have the users and the means to rework all 600 or so content pages. A few determined users could do it, but it would take more than just a few months. If I had to guess, I would say at least one year, just as the Goosebumps FANDOM workon a similar format through a small group of users.
Regardless, if we do go through with it, both of the initial suggestions of what to change seem extremely messy and unnecessary. The Netflix banishment does not mention the film and I hope against hope that the wiki does not end up with 200 disambiguation pages. Wookieepedia's set-up is alluring, and I feel it would work best, but we should have pages for characters that are only named in the television series begin with "Unidentified." Whatever we choose (and we may hold a vote for this), the television series was created as a way of putting Daniel Handler's works on the small screen to view, and even if a few details may have been altered, the aura of the books lives on. --Boot Lover/Riverdale Chauffeur (Wanna Discuss Something?) 19:51, April 3, 2019 (UTC)


I don't think we should have separate pages for characters in different adaptations, the wiki could get a bit cluttered. I can experiment with different ways to make collapsable sections for the pages of the more main characters who will eventually have much more information in "2004 film divergent" and "TV Series Divergent" canons, but it would be too confusing to navigate pages otherwise. I could also make a "non-canon" style template for the Netflix series, something like "This information is only considered canon to the Netflix Adaptation, and you should be careful when sourcing it in regards to the books." Neverland8 (talk) 22:04, November 25, 2019 (UTC)


The "different tabs" idea could work, couldn't it, though? Count Olaf would remain the page for the book version, and then you'd have Count Olaf/Netflix and Count Olaf/Film. (If we're going to do this, I see no reason to keep the movie just non-canonical in the same way as An Unfortunate Actor on Acting rather than acknowledging it as its own mutant goblin continuity.) Scrooge MacDuck (talk) 22:14, November 25, 2019 (UTC)
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