FANDOM


This Forum has been archived

Visit the new Forums
Forums:Archive indexPanopticon archives → Is The Infinity Doctors canon?
This thread has been archived.
Please create a new thread on the active forums if you want to talk about this topic some more.
Please DO NOT add to this discussion.

I move that we rule The Infinity Doctors non-canonical, in the sense that it can't be used as a valid soure for other articles.

  • The incarnation of the Doctor is uncertain, with different reviewers saying "it's definitely the Eighth Doctor", "it may be the First Doctor prior to leaving Gallifrey", or it may be a future or alternative timeline version of whom we've never heard elsewhere

He's clearly not the eighth Doctor of mainstream continuity. He does look like Paul McGann.Lance Parkin [[src]]

  • The time setting is, by the author's admission, intentionally vague. With no clear setting, how can we possibly speak of any of the events with anything like certainty?
  • Reviewers can't seem to agree whether the book even happens in the normal DWU
  • Lance Parkin said in an interview with the old BBCi that it was meant to be book one of a two book series, with the second book containing a "reset button" that would allow the story to return to the "normal" DWU. Without this reset button, the story languishes in a weird nether world
  • Because of the vast narrative uncertainties, it is extremely problematic to allow even basic information from this story into our other pages. Basic factual writing requires that we define the who-what-when-why-and-how of situations, but the novel doesn't allow us to precisely know the who, what or when of almost any statement we'd care to craft.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting that we delete the page The Infinity Doctors, but I think we do need to quarantine it from the rest of our pages. Thoughts?
czechout@fandom   04:57: Fri 20 Apr 2012 

I agree. It doesn't make any sense in the context of DWU canon. Tardis1963 talk 01:02, April 22, 2012 (UTC)
I also agree. Just makes pages weird and confusing. OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 12:17, April 22, 2012 (UTC)

I vehemently disagree. If we start picking and choosing what is canon we're no better than the Trek people. If the BBC breaks its longstanding rule and comes out and says it's not canon, then OK. Otherwise what's next - the entire Eighth Doctor Adventures line? "Fear Her"? What about all the comic strips? Don't fall into that trap. Simply police the thing to remove speculation based on facts not in evidence, and restrict the use of events in the book to something like "during an unknown incarnation XYZ happened". Simple. If this licensed book or any other licensed work is declared non-canon just because it's inconvenient or difficult to work with, then delete everything that isn't directly taken from TV, or simply kill this website because it'll be useless. 70.72.223.215talk to me 19:36, April 22, 2012 (UTC)

You do have a point there... But I think the problem here is that nearly everything written about the book would have to be either speculation or very careful. But you do have a point. OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 19:59, April 22, 2012 (UTC)
Also keep in mind that Telos published 2 novellas with unspecified Doctors too - The Cabinet of Light being one. And that one pegs the entire Time Hunter continuity. So you can see where a domino effect is possible. 70.72.223.215talk to me 20:13, April 22, 2012 (UTC)
I think you've missed the point, 70.72, that the author himself does not believe the book to be in continuity. If the author doesn't believe it's the "real" continuity, why should we?
I'd point out, too, that the issue isn't that it's an "unspecified" Doctor. It is, rather, that the author has explicitly said that it's "not the eighth Doctor of mainstream continuity". There's a big difference between an unidentifiable Doctor and a Doctor who's positively identified as being out of mainstream continuity. We also know details about how there was supposed to be a second book, and that the second book was going to show the relationship between the universe in which The Infinity Doctors took place and the genuine DWU. Because that second book didn't happen, however, there was no "reset button" and The Infinity Doctors was left out on its own island of continuity.
Though I understand your concerns about bad precedents being set, you're overreacting. This thread is only talking about the very narrow issue of this one book, where there is significant evidence — just as there is with The Curse of Fatal Death — that the piece is not a part of the normal continuity.
That said, thanks for raising the issue of precedents so that I can categorically state that the thread is not setting one.
I think, too, you're misapprehending the current usage of the phrase "Is X canon?" on this wiki. We're not trying to stop anyone from believing what they want to about their personal canon. Nor are we actually trying to define what canon means for DW fandom in general. What it really means is, "Is X allowable under our canon policy?" All we're saying is that there must be limits to what this wiki covers. The flip side of what you're arguing is very much scarier for me. If we have no limits, then the wiki will become unmanageable. There must be some metric by which we define our borders, or we'll be pickin' Rose/Dodo lesbian fan fic off the walls. This is why we have recently introduced the very simple notion that the fiction must be licensed by an appropriate copyright holder and it must not be parodic or obviously intended to be out of continuity. This arose from a longlived and productive discussion that's ended with formalisation about which specific BBV releases are covered here and which aren't.
All of this still lets in a heck of a lot of stuff, and firmly protects the EDA range, the John and Gillian stuff, and most everything you've mentioned above. In fact, I've probably uploaded more John and Gillian-related stuff to the wiki than anyone!
So don't worry, this isn't the first battle the long campaign to turn this into a TV-only DW wiki. Nor is this an effort to actually delete the page. The Infinity Doctors will always be on this wiki. It's just that it will not be a valid source for the writing of other articles. This will force all information about The Infinity Doctors to be on that page, which will make that page much better and clearer.
czechout@fandom   23:56: Mon 23 Apr 2012 

I disagree with this suggestion as well, though perhaps not as vehemently as the anon above. I think that the key phrase in the Parkin quote is "of mainstream continuity". The Infinity Doctors exists as a sort of side-step from the main EDA range, but it's not parodic and it's just as authorized.

In terms of continuity, I think it's similar to the situation with the Faction Paradox range. Thanks to The Ancestor Cell, pretty much all of the FP-branded fiction — and indeed some of the previous EDAs touched by the War — take place in an "aborted timeline." But we include information from the FP series, with appropriate caveats. Now, we don't know exactly what the relationship between TID and the rest of the Eighth Doctor stories is, but the possibilities include an alternate timeline for the Eighth Doctor, or a young Doctor prior to An Unearthly Child. It could even be the Eighth Doctor of the regular timeline, between The Gallifrey Chronicles and the Time War. That's sufficiently outside of any established narrative to be apart from mainstream continuity, but it could conceivably still be part of the same timeline.

I think that saying "we don't count this" is too easy. I agree that including it is a challenge, but I don't think it's an insurmountable one. Overall, I think that OS25 has it right when he or she says we have to be "very careful". Rather than excluding TID altogether, we should just decide on a standard phrasing ("according to one account", perhaps?) which allows for TID's ambiguous status, and allows the reader to decide whether and how to fit it in to the larger narrative. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 15:00, April 24, 2012 (UTC)

I also agree with the above 70.72 anon.
It's not speculation and we can't take what the author says to be a ruling on whether it's canon, it was published by the BBC, it's a narrative published by the BBC, it's got Doctor Who stuff in it. That is how we've worked through the canon policy and how we've worked through the BBV stuff that CzechOut mentions. This novel was published and licensed and approved by the BBC.
Authors in the past have declared their Doctor Who fanfic to be canon and we disallowed that. Isn't that just the reverse of this statement? What of the many things Lawrence Miles has said with regard to the Enemy arc and the Faction Paradox related stuff?
So the argument is it should be got rid of because it's TOO HARD?! to fit into article??!
What of The Dalek Factor which is also ambigious about its Doctor and outcome?
I do agree with OS25, we need to be careful with how we use the information in this novel, and refrain from using vague information, but explicit information like any other narrative source should be used. And as Josiah Rowe says we can also fall back to our "one account states" phrasology when conflicting information is present. --Tangerineduel / talk 15:55, April 24, 2012 (UTC)

I think The Infinity Doctors is a legitimate source for descriptions of Gallifrey and Gallifreyan culture, but not necessarily a legitimate source for describing events that happened in the life of the Doctor of "mainstream continuity." The background detail is in accord with other references to Gallifrey, but the particular events of the novel may have taken place in an aborted timeline. For example, one of the founders of Gallifreyan civilization mentioned in The Infinity Doctors was also mentioned in The Ancestor Cell. That said, people are free to disregard the source if they want to in their role as viewer/reader/interpreter. It may be appropriate to warn readers of the wiki that the legitimacy of the novel is in question, but I don't think it's appropriate to "quarantine" the novel entirely. -- Rowan Earthwood talk to me 16:06, April 24, 2012 (UTC)

I sympathize, Rowan, but that's setting the boundaries a bit fine, don't you think? Boblipton talk to me 19:10, April 24, 2012 (UTC)

I'm not quite understanding the level of negativity to this proposal. This is a perfectly ordinary part of our normal processes, consistent with other specific inclusion debates. We've had enough of them that there's a whole category of them. Yes, we have a general rule that goes something like, "As long as it's licensed, it's included". But I think the last few posters have forgotten that we do make exceptions. We have to. The BBC has played with its property in ways that are clearly outside its own continuity. The Curse of Fatal Death was decisively rejected by our community, with only one anon user voting in its favor.
There is no difference between Curse and this. Both are fully licensed stories. But we reject Curse totally on grounds of authorial intent. It was intended as something out of continuity. The same thing happens in other fandoms, as with Star Wars' "Infinities" or DC Comics' Elseworlds ranges. And lest you consider responding with "we're not Star Wars or DC Comics," don't forget that we have Unbound and a few comic stories that are absolutely parodic. I mean, Dicky Howett's entire body of Doctor Who work — which spans years and years — is outside of what we allow to be used to write in-universe articles. Why? Because it's not licensed? No. Because it's not professionally published? No. It's solely because Doctor Who? is parody, meant to be read as out-of-continuity. Similarly, we don't run around talking about the time the Doctor was a woman who worked in a grocery store, because the non-parodic, fully licensed Exile is clearly labelled as Unbound. Also, we reject Scream of the Shalka, not because it's parodic, not because it's unlicensed, not because the BBC told us it wasn't canonical, not because the producers (initially) told us it wasn't canonical, but because RTD told us not to believe in it.
Tangerineduel has made the point that we can't believe a writer who says that their work is canonical. That's very true. But, in my opinion, he's incorrect on the reverse. I think we do have to believe a writer who declares, "Look, this isn't a part of the mainstream continuity." After all, we've believed it before. I don't see any rational argument for doing something different in this case. Moreover, it's kinda stupid to say that as the author, unless you mean it. Saying something is out of continuity will have a negative impact on sales. So if someone says it, you do take it seriously, because they're acting against their self-interest.
I think for reasons of easy administration, we've got to cut this thing off at the knees. Otherwise we'll get a completely unmanageable situation, like the thing Rowan Earthwood is suggesting. Do we really want to count what the book says about Gallifrey, but not what it says about the Doctor? That's tantamount to assigning "semi-canonical" status, which isn't really possible. Yet I suspect that's what people actually want to do, and why there's so much resistance to this proposal. I think people are reluctant to let go of The Infinity Doctors because it's arguably the most detailed description of the mysterious Gallifrey. But if those revelations are made through the use of a Doctor that isn't a part of normal continuity, they're no better than the descriptions of Tersurus in The Curse of Fatal Death.
My argument is absolutely not "it's too hard to fit into articles". Obviously, inconsistencies are the rule in DW canon discussions, not the exception. I am only after the bath water, not the baby, so I'm in no way suggesting anything that's out of line with a series of other steps that have been pretty easily accepted by the community. The Infinity Doctors exactly fits the arguments used to rule other things out of our canon policy. It's simply illogical to deny the BBC-licensed The Curse of Fatal Death, Doctor Who?, A Fix with Sontarans, and Dimensions in Time but keep this.
Generally, everything licensed is an acceptable source for writing articles. I firmly believe that's the best metric for shaping the boundaries of the wiki. But there are exceptions. And this is one of them.
czechout@fandom   21:03: Tue 24 Apr 2012 
I'm not sure why you're lumping this in with licensed-but-parodic works like The Curse of Fatal Death. Dimensions in Time is perhaps a closer fit, but even that isn't quite the same. The Infinity Doctors was published as part of an ongoing line of novels, but doesn't fit with that line in terms of narrative continuity. To my mind, that makes it more like The Shadow of the Scourge or TV Action! ... or even Mission to the Unknown, if that hadn't been followed by The Daleks' Master Plan.
I think you may be reading too much into Parkin's use of the word "continuity". In context, all that I think it means is that it doesn't fit into the ongoing narrative of the BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures, not that it's any less a part of "real" Doctor Who than they are. We've got several other versions of the Eighth Doctor, whose narratives may or may not be compatible. This could just be another one. (Or a pre-Susan Doctor.) I don't see why this should be treated any differently than The Cabinet of Light or The Dalek Factor. They could fit into the ongoing narrative of the Doctor's life — we just don't know exactly where or when. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 22:01, April 24, 2012 (UTC)
I hear ya. But the flaw with it, in my opinion, is that it requires an assumption you could only make after about 2000 — and Infinity was written in 1998. If this book were written after there was Big Finish, after the EDA range had started to lay down some continuity that was a bit incompatible with the comic books, and especially if it were actually an EDA, then there might be an argument for the idea that it was some sort of meta-textual riff on the Eighth Doctor's continuity issues. But it's a very early PDA, written most likely in 1997/early 1998, prior to the establishment of much of anything' in the great "tripartite" Eighth Doctor continuity. There was no Big Finish at this time, and the books and comics were just getting started. Moreover, this was commissioned and published as the 35th anniversary story. So it's really just a book that's trying to do something "clever" for the anniversary, by going out of continuity in order to examine Gallifrey in a "safe" way that doesn't actually establish anything that .
I think, too, that the fact that it's part of the PDAs, rather than the EDAs, makes it more vulnerable to dismissal from our canon policy, since we put another PDA —  Scream of the Shalka — outside the fence, too. And the PDAs that are novelisations of audio stories are nominally the inferior, or secondary, versions of those stories. The PDAs are just a different editorial deal, because there is no "BBC Books continuity" going on with them, except maybe with Fear Itself. They're all self-contained adventures, so pulling one out doesn't invalidate the whole range.
And I'm not lumping this into "licensed but parodic" works. I'm saying it's a part of the "licensed but outside continuity" gang, which includes not just parodic stories but also Unbound, Shalka and other "serious" stories. I stressed its relation to The Curse of Fatal Death largely because there was a clear and well-remembered forum discussion about that particular story in our recent past. Also, the issue of whether a story is comedic or straight really has nothing to do with whether we consider it allowable under our canon policy. A story is a story is a story. So therefore you can hold up a parodic example against a straight story, and vice versa.
czechout@fandom   05:00: Wed 25 Apr 2012 

Just a brief discussion of Czechout's statement that the story being a PDA rather than an EDA makes it more liable to dismissal as non-canonical. While there are undoubtedly issues that would make a PDA more likely to be dismissed -- mostly due to lack of eidetic memory causing the author to contradict something on the label of a can of pasta, a problem that grows with the antiquity of the can -- the general rule should be:

1: All licensed narrative works are canonical until removed from canon. 2: Once removed from canon, nothing in a work is canonical.

Please bear with me while I discuss these points at length. The basic issue is that this Wiki need a relatively easy set of rules to follow -- there is far too much detail, I am convinced, in the manual of style as it is. However, back to the point I am trying to make: if you have a canonical work in front of you and are adding information to the Wiki, just add it. Other requirements would be unreasonably onerous.

Likewise, once an item has been declared non-canonical, a "semi-canonical" status is simply too difficult to parse. Some people wish to include the descriptions of Gallifrey from The Infinity Doctors. I have not read the book, but filtered through the lens of a non-canonical overview, every chapter, every sentence, every comma would be subject to examination to see if it be suitable for inclusion. Does this statement contradict anything in canon? Do any of the implications contradict? Is that a serious statement or a joke? Might it be a typographical error?

The net result would be to get into Talmudic arguments that are not worth the time and energy of almost all the people involved -- as an aside, this is why I think we should declare the TV movie non-canon while leaving the novels, audios and strips canonical, but that's another issue entirely.

I appreciate that people would like to include the information offered by The Infinity Doctors on Gallifrey. However, even if we were somehow to decide for our purposes what information should be included, could we do so with any sense of certainty? The author has stated that the book is not mainstream continuity -- id est riddled with lies. We see a building. Is that building there in mainstream continuity or not? I can't tell. We can argue about it endlessly. I do not wish to argue about it endlessly.

Likewise, the suggestion that we add "according to some accounts" is a complete crock. "According to some accounts" is an acknowledgment that someone screwed up and we are in trouble -- check the article on Anji Kapoor and Lance Parkins' comments. "According to some accounts" is a kludge to deal with problems. It should never be an excuse to create more problems.

Finally, let me note that I have an issue with the lines of reasoning in support of including some material from The Infinity Doctors in canon. It is Bat Logic. It is starting from the conclusion -- "this "fact" should be in the wiki" actually, "I want this fact in the Wiki" -- and searching desperately for a line of reasoning, no matter how specious back to a proposition. It is intellectually despicable. Boblipton talk to me 12:23, April 25, 2012 (UTC)

Well, I'm convinced. OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 14:08, April 25, 2012 (UTC)
I'm not. To be clear, I'm not arguing for "semi-canonical status", whatever that might mean. I'm arguing that we treat The Infinity Doctors as fully canonical but of uncertain placement in the Doctor's timeline. We would be saying, "Everything in this happened, but we're not sure which Doctor it happened to." It's exactly the same as The Dalek Factor.
We exclude Scream of the Shalka, The Curse of Fatal Death and Death Comes to Time because they're just not reconcilable with the rest of the Doctor's life. That's not the case with The Infinity Doctors. It can fit in at least two spots in the Doctor's long life, putting it in roughly the same narrative position as Shada. Including TID is far less problematic than saying that Human Nature happened twice to two Doctors, but we live with that. Why is this different?
Finally, I strongly reject the accusation of intellectual dishonesty.The difference of opinion on this hinges on two debatable points: how much weight to give the author's statement that this is "not the Eighth Doctor of mainstream continuity", and how to interpret that phrase. In light of the splintered nature of the different narratives told about the Eighth Doctor, I think it's perfectly reasonable to suggest that a remark made by Parkin in 2011 could indicate that this should be treated as yet another "strand" in the tangled rope of the Eighth Doctor's history, rather than as a point on one of the previously established strands. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 14:54, April 25, 2012 (UTC)
I would also like to state that I did not mean to apply semi-canonical status to The Infinity Doctors in using statements like "some accounts state", I was merely alluding to how we deal with contradictory information like information concerning Leela presented in Lungbarrow and the Gallifrey (audio series). I didn't think the suggestion would cause any more problems than the ones we already face with similar information.
I was under the impression we removed Shalka because of the BBC's statement of non-canon evident between the first and second editions of Doctor Who: The Legend Continues and not anything that RTD said (I wasn't even aware that RTD had said anything on the subject).
I disagree with lumping this in with other stories CzechOut has mentioned; Fatal Death etc are all parodies or things like it.
I'm a little confused about CzechOut's argument in response to Josiah Rowe, about where this could fit in. Does it matter? There are enough references in the novel I believe to make a good attempt at placement of much of the information.
Lance Parkin says himself in AHistory (Second Edition) about The Infinity Doctors "is a story set on Gallifrey that takes all information from every previous story (in all media) set on Gallifrey - and other references to it - at face value and incorporates them into the narrative". This would suggest that if we look at the wider stories there shouldn't be anything problematic in incorporating it into the wiki. I admit he also says "The Infinity Doctors' super-adhearance to established continuity actually makes it impossible to place at a particular point in continuity without contradicting something established elsewhere." This, I don't consider an issue because we deal with contradictory information all of the time. He also states in the same body of text that "References in Seeing I, Unnatural History, The Taking of Planet 5, Father Time and The Gallifrey Chronicles all make it clear that The Infinity Doctors (or at the very least events identical to it) took place in the "real" Doctor Who universe." --Tangerineduel / talk 16:08, April 25, 2012 (UTC)
One further point: if TID is declared non-canonical, Patience (which is already confusing) will become completely nonsensical. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 20:44, April 25, 2012 (UTC)

I really can't believe some of the arguments I'm hearing with this topic. It's clear to me that most of you haven't actually read the book, and therefore you should really learn more about the content of the book before making these opinionated judgements. It has never been the policy of this wiki for us to base the majority of an argument on what writers say about the product, in fact, quite the opposite, we make policy on the sources themselves and the in-universe content of them. So really, what Lance Parkin has said about the book, in large part, is irrelevant. I agree entirely with Tangerineduel on this one, several sources which are listed above refer directly to events that take place within TID, and some even have characters that overlap with the book. Seeing I is more or less a sequel to TID where the I are concerned, and certainly without TID, most of Seeing I's plot wouldn't make sense. And then we have the example of Larna; who crosses from TID into both The Gallifrey Chronicles and Unnatural History. Therefore from an in-universe perspective, it is clear that TID does have quite a large overlap with the DWU; even if there is doubt as to whether it takes place within the same timeline as our "mainstream Doctors". --Revan\Talk 22:15, April 25, 2012 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with you, Revan. Everything we've put outside the canonical wall has been placed there precisely because of out-of-universe arguments. We throw out Curse of Fatal Death because we've made a judgement its genre is parody, aided by what Moffat and Curtis told us in the "making of" video. We've thrown out fanfic because it has no license by the BBC, not because of anything to do with its narrative. We've thown out "analagous literature" like The Stranger for much the same reasons. Rejection of material from our canon policy has always, and will always, be because of out-of-universe reasons. We must have an out-of-universe reason to throw it out. Otherwise, we're making a value judgement about the narrative. I'm not saying there can't be other, narrative reasons mentioned in the inclusion debate, but we have to have a valid out-of-universe rationale for exclusion. What Parkin says about his work, what scholars of the DWU line say about the work, are vital to this discussion.
czechout@fandom   15:28: Sat 28 Apr 2012 
I apologise to others for being away from this discussion for a few days. I'm still rather stunned by the amount of opposition to this rather simple idea, and wasn't expecting to have to devote so much energy here. Before I get into detailed responses, I would again urge people not to get hung up on the fact that I used parodical examples initially. There are equally valid comparisons to be made to "serious" stories, if you need those, as I think there's no reason to keep this while debarring Shalka, the Dalek movies, and the Unbound range.
Authorial intent is obviously important to whether we consider a work a firm part of the DWU. In my view, Parkin is far, far too hesitant about whether this is the DWU as we know it. Let's take a look at a couple of things from AHistory which Tangerineduel has usefully supplied.
  • "...The Infinity Doctors (or at the very least events identical to it) took place in the "real" Doctor Who universe." Well, which is it? Did The Infinity Doctors or merely events identical to those described in The Infinity Doctors take place in the DWU. The distinction is massive. Plot elements might be shared between two stories, but that doesn't mean the significant descriptive details are. The Infinity Doctors is known for its elaborate prose regarding Gallifrey. I'm not prepared to admit those details as read if the author can't even decide whether they're true, or whether merely the events that occurred against that backdrop are true.
  • "... impossible to place at a particular point in continuity without contradicting something established elsewhere." Guys, that's the definition of anti-canonical. It's not that it's been eclipsed by later stories (though it has). It's not that it's fallen out of continuity. He wrote the story in such a way that it was canonically impossible in 1998.
  • "... takes all information from every previous story (in all media) set on Gallifrey — and other references to it — at face value and incorporates them into the narrative." This doesn't mean that they've been incorporated into the narrative in a way that makes sense. It just means they're there. As he admits by the quote immediately above this one, the references aren't put together in a way that confirms then-existing continuity. Not the mention the fact that he's writing before the existence of Big Finish, before there's an audio series called Gallifrey, and while the DWM comic strip is still monochromatic, so the "in all media" proviso means a helluva lot less than it appears to.
As to Josiah Rowe's recent and well-made arguments, well, lemme start with the Shada/Human Nature one. I found this a fascinating argument, but one that's not quite as close as you're making out. Human Nature is really two different stories with the same name. To my mind they aren't in (major) contradiction at all, because they happen to two separate Doctors — well, except for the bit where the supposed 10th Doctor makes an appearance to the 7th, but that's hardly a major plot feature. Much of the detail of the plots is quite different. As for the Shadas well, we've ruled at Forum:Are deleted scenes canon? that the Tom Baker version of Shada is essentially one big deleted scene, and therefore not within our canon policy. Another case like this is of the TVCs with the Fourth Doctor that were initially drawn with the Second or Third Doctor. But we've basically taken to just saying "either the Third or Fourth Doctor did such and such". None of this really fits into what's going on with Infinity. The aforementioned stories are told twice with known incarnations of the Doctor. Infinity is a single story told with multiple, unknown versions of the Doctor. Maybe it's the Eighth Doctor. Maybe it's the First. Maybe it's McGann as the First Doctor. Maybe it's the Third Doctor in exile on Gallifrey instead of Earth. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
I'd again point out that the issue here isn't simply that we don't know which Doctor is present. You can quite easily have a story with an unknown incarnation of the Doctor as long as you know approximately when the story takes place If we're told that the story features the 21st Doctor, that's fine. Or if we just get enough references to know we're "after the one with the ridiculous bow tie", that's cool. We have a frame of reference that lets us place all the other details in the book. So we'd know, for instance, that the Gallifrey being described is one that existed after the planet's restoration following the Last Great Time War. Without being able to even generally say which Doctors are represented here, "there's no context", as the genuine Eighth Doctor once said. And we really do need context in order to be able to use the information the book gives us.
But this contextual confusion is the authorial intent. The book is a metaphor for Doctor Who. This is what DWM are getting when they say in their 1998 review:

this Doctor [is] an embodiment of the character's ethos rather than a specific representation. The same appplies to all the book. This is not a coda to already-sung Doctor Who but a fugue — an improvisation based on known themes, and not an extra verse. Once assimilated, this notion is truly intoxicating. The author has the freedom to be more explicit than would otherwise be possible with the Doctor's recollections of his family, and he can assume the role of romantic lead without the shock of 1996's televised kisses. The Infinity Doctors is a fugue not only on the series' broader recurring themes, but also on some of its most specific passages . . . The meaning of the title becomes clear; this is how it might have happened — the details and even some of the broader facts are different, but the essence of the Doctor remains.DWM 271

So, no, Revan, it's not a matter of ignoring the contents of the book. It's rather the reverse. Having paid close attention to the book, I oppose its continued inclusion as a valid source because it's just not meant to be read for details of plot, incident or description. As an anniversary tale, it's a celebration of the meta-fictional concepts related to Doctor Who. By treating it like any other book in the range, which we mine for picky li'l details, we're doing it a disservice. And we're confusing the hell out of our casual readers.
czechout@fandom   19:30: Sat 28 Apr 2012 
CzechOut, you are correct in what you say about the metafictional value of TID, but you're wrong in suggesting that that value precludes using it as a narrative. To my reading, that's the genius of the book: it works both as a commentary on 35 years of Doctor Who in multiple media and as a Doctor Who story in its own right. The one does not prevent the other; in fact, each level enriches the other. It's like a fractal, with the larger continuity image containing an image of the smaller within it, and vice-versa.
  • I disagree strongly with the statement that there is a "massive difference" between saying that the events of The Infinity Doctors took place in the Doctor Who universe or events identical to them took place. If the events are truly identical, then by definition there's no difference. The suggestion that what Parkin means by that is that the plot may have taken place against the backdrop of a different Gallifrey is, as far as I can see, unsupported. To me, it looks as if what Parkin is saying is that the fact that major plot elements in TID are drawn from previous novels (e.g. Cold Fusion, Seeing I) and are carried on into future novels (e.g. Unnatural History, The Gallifrey Chronicles) shows that it's part of the overall tapestry of the Doctor Who novels.
  • " '... impossible to place at a particular point in continuity without contradicting something established elsewhere.' Guys, that's the definition of anti-canonical." How is that any different from Mawdryn Undead saying that the Brigadier retired in 1977? Or, more recently, Amy Pond having two contradictory histories (with and without parents)? The Doctor Who universe contains contradictions. We have to accept that, or we'll go crazy. Once we start cutting out bits that seem not to fit, we're no better than Light or Griffin.
  • "Human Nature is really two different stories with the same name. To my mind they aren't in (major) contradiction at all, because they happen to two separate Doctors ... Much of the detail of the plots is quite different." But not the essential details: hiding from alien hunters, the Doctor becomes a human teacher named John Smith at a public school near Farringham, shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. While in this identity, he falls in love with a nurse named Joan Redfern, and one of his students, a boy named Tim, steals the receptacle of the Doctor's identity and takes on aspects of his Time Lord nature. The aliens pursue the Doctor, and in order to save the local residents, the Doctor's companion must convince John Smith to become the Doctor again. Yes, there are differences (1913 vs. 1914, Farringham School for Boys vs. Hulton College, etc.), but the story is similar enough that it's absurd in a strictly linear sense to say that it happened to the Doctor twice. And yet, we don't exclude either version of the story, because they're both valid. They were both authorized Doctor Who stories, and they both "count". And we muddle through. TID is no different.
We should accept that there will be contradictions like this in the Doctor Who universe, in part because it's a universe in which history can be re-written. In attempting to codify everything that's happened as if history hadn't been re-written, we're playing a sort of Jenga game, and at certain points (like UNIT dating) the Jenga tower will collapse. But that doesn't mean that we stop building, or that we exclude a certain block because it makes the tower more likely to fall down. We just start over, and rebuild, because that's what the game is about. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 02:22, April 29, 2012 (UTC)
Okay, not exactly about the novel, but I completely disagree that Shada (TV story) is non-canonical. The story is not really a deleted scene at all. Think of it like this, if someone were to post a picture from the special EDition of The Five Doctors (TV story), then it would be okay, because that falls within our canon policy. In the same way Shada is just a really sisapointng special edition. Besides, the BBC sure seems to think that the TV story is the indefinite article! Besides, because Shada is a TV story, despite never airing, it would be silly to mark it as non-canon. Think of it like this, many people who visit the wiki use the "TV stories only" clause, meaning that the TV stories are the only or the main continuity, so to mark one as non-canon would be silly. That'd be like if we made stories that have been wiped as non-canon. It's a silly clause that needs to be further discussed. OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 15:35, April 30, 2012 (UTC)
@OS25, start a new thread on the matter of Shada if you like. This thread is already complex enough without throwing in a full scale revisitation of established policy on another story.
@Josiah Rowe: The phrase, "events identical to it", doesn't mean that the details are the same. Just because the main plot events might be the same doesn't mean that we should trust the (largely plot-irrelevant) musings about Gallifrey. It doesn't mean, either, that his account of the Doctor's physique is correct. It doesn't mean any descriptive passage is correct. Let's look at the simplistic plot description, "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water." That phrase could be applied to any Jack, any Jill, any hill, any pail, any fetching methodology, and any need for water. Events aren't detail — and it's detail that this enyclopedia cares about.
Meta-fiction is okay narrative. Is it? It means we have to separate the meta from the fiction. We have to declare which parts of the book aren't meant to be read literally and which are. As Boblipton has stated upthread, we can't have a book be halfway in and halfway out of our borders. It's either all in or all out.
" '... impossible to place at a particular point in continuity without contradicting something established elsewhere.' Guys, that's the definition of anti-canonical." You've missed the point of what I was saying. The author is telling us, flatly, that at the time he wrote it he knew the story was going to be out of continuity with several stories. He intended it to be out of continuity. This is different from Mawdryn in that Grimwade wasn't trying to be out of continuity. He, Saward, JNT and everybody else were just ignorant of continuity. And in series 5/6 it's a point of the narrative that Amy has dual lives, and that her "life doesn't make sense". In other words, it's a part of continuity that her existence is discontinuous, as proved by the Night and the Doctor sketches. I don't actually think this Amy example has much relevance at all to Infinity. What's different about Infinity is that the author knew full well as he wrote the work that he was creating something discontinuous. By trying to include all these little nods to everything he could put his hands on — and particularly things that weren't a part of canon, such as plot elements from unmade stories — he knew he was creating something that "fit" nowhere.
czechout@fandom   14:25: Tue 01 May 2012 
Just to go back over something, CzechOut are you saying because an author deliberately wrote something knowingly that it would contradict common continuity that we should disallow it?
Would that not also nullify works like Verdigris, while I don't recall if Magrs stated in an interview that he did so, the content of it and its references make it quite difficult to place the events accurately due to the various references to stories.
There's also John Peel's War of the Daleks which is written to nullify the events of Remembrance of the Daleks through gigantic retcons, none of which really line up with any other story. --Tangerineduel / talk 15:03, May 1, 2012 (UTC)
If metafictional applicability were cause for eliminating something from the wiki, we'd have to delete every instance of the "Doctor Who?" running joke. When the Doctor told little Amelia about his adventures in The Big Bang, it was also a commentary on the ongoing adventure of Doctor Who — but it simultaneously worked in the story's plot. I don't see why the metafictional aspects of TID are any different.
If continuity is, as Terrance Dicks put it, "what the writer can remember", then TID is in continuity, because later authors referred to it and wrote plots which develop out of it. And I'd maintain that the apparent discontinuities of The Infinity Doctors are just as much part of the novels' overarching narrative as Amy's contradictory pasts. Heck, it's right there on the book's back cover:

Sing about the past again, and sing that same old song.
Tell me what you know, so I can tell you that you're wrong.

Maybe the Gallifrey of TID is the same as the Gallifrey of other stories, and maybe it isn't. But it's hardly alone in that: the Gallifrey of the comics, for example, bears very little resemblance to that shown on television. But we include material from the comics, appropriately sourced, so that readers can make up their own minds about what 'counts'. I don't see how Parkin's remarks change that at all. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 02:08, May 2, 2012 (UTC)
An afterthought: if a story's metafictional content means that it can't also be part of the fiction, we'd better start getting rid of just about everything with Iris Wildthyme in it. <Groucho>Personally, I never metafiction I didn't like.</Groucho> —Josiah Rowe talk to me 19:37, May 2, 2012 (UTC)
Guys, I can go ten rounds with you on all this stuff, and we'd have fun, but we probably would spend so much time lookin at the rabbit holes that we'd end up goin' hungry. Let's take it as read that I in no way agree with either you, Josiah or you, Tangerineduel. I've spent a week or so trying to convince you of my position, but to little avail. So let's turn it around. I think you boys should spend some time convincing me.
I think — and by that, I mean it's my opinion —  you've got to agree that Parkin himself has said that he was writing something that didn't fit into continuity — precisely because it was trying to fit everything and the kitchen sink into the novel. I think you also have to agree that he's said that the star of the book isn't the mainstream Eighth Doctor. He even shows us on his personal website that he is, to this day, ambiguous about who stars in the book, since he classes the book as both First and Eighth Doctor. Every single damn person who has ever written about this book professionally always hedges their bets as to whether it actually occurs in the DWU. I think you further have to agree that there is a degree to which this book is definitely metaphor, not reality.
So explain to me why something like this should be given the same weight as a story that is unambiguously intended as a narratively ordinary speck of continuity? What is so damned special about this alternate reality that you guys wanna make the writing of articles about Gallifrey so much more difficult and confusing than it needs to be? Cause I don't understand why I should be forced to accept anything in this book as "real". Everything in my bones tells me it's like that great Star Wars Tales story where Darth Vader meets Darth Maul on Tatooine. Why is it not that? What's the logical grounds on which I can accept the description of Gallifrey in this book, but not the description of Tersurus in The Curse of Fatal Death? (And please don't use the words, "Because Curse of Fatal Death is parodic".) What makes this account of Time Lords more believable than those we see in Exile? At this point in the discussion, I really don't understand why this book is such a sacred cow, when it bears all of the hallmarks of other things we've readily eschewed.
czechout@fandom   00:57: Thu 03 May 2012 

As I noted above, I've never read it, but allow me to anticipate: it's a well written work of fiction that fills in a blank area in people's vision. I don't find that a compelling argument, but some might. On another point, some people have accepted it as part of their personal canon. Without saying anything about the right or wrong of this particular issue, a decision to remove this from canon could be seen as a statement that those who accept it as canon are wrong, just as a decision to leave it in canon could be seen as a statement that you are wrong.

Of course, neither course would be a statement about one or the other. However the distinction is rarely so clear when one is in the middle of a heated argument. For example, there's been a lot of discussion of the metafictional qualities of this work. As metafictional details concern themselves with things outside the incidents of the story, it has no reference to the in-universe "facts" of the story, any more than, say the references to Narnia in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe: perhaps a "behind the scenes" note, but no more. Boblipton talk to me 01:23, May 3, 2012 (UTC)

Thank you, Bob. You're absolutely right about the metafictional elements: they're really irrelevant to this discussion, a complete red herring. However, you're wrong in saying that I want this included because of its quality, or because of my own vision of the Doctor Who universe (I abhor the phrase "personal canon", since it's a complete oxymoron, but that's neither here nor there). I want this included because there is textual evidence in several other novels, both prior and subsequent, that it should be included. The Infinity Doctors either introduces or gives key information about Patience, Savar, Marnal, the I, Daniel Joyce, Larna! Saldaamir and probably many others, all of whom appear in other novels; and in most of those cases, their other appearances are informed by their roles in TID. In several of those cases, removing TID would critically diminish the entries for these characters. This, I think, is what Parkin means when he says that "References in Seeing I, Unnatural History, The Taking of Planet 5, Father Time and The Gallifrey Chronicles all make it clear that The Infinity Doctors (or at the very least events identical to it) took place in the "real" Doctor Who universe." And I maintain that it's not impossible to reconcile either the events or the details of TID with other stories in the Doctor Who universe.
That's not the case with The Curse of Fatal Death. The Rowan Atkinson Doctor clearly says that he's in his ninth incarnation, and he then proceeds to regenerate four more times. It's just not possible to reconcile that with, say, the Matt Smith Doctor explicitly saying that he's in his eleventh incarnation. The uncertainties of TID are of a completely different quality from that.
It's possible that we're at an impasse here. CzechOut, Tardis1963 and (I think) OS25 say it should absolutely go; Tangerineduel, 70.71 and I say equally strongly that it should stay. To me, that looks like "no consensus". Now, on Wikipedia, "no consensus" defaults to "keep", but that may not be the case here. (I don't know whether a precedent was set while I was inactive here.) But I think that we're not likely to get much further trying to convince each other on the grounds of TID; perhaps we might get farther on the question of "what do we do if there is no consensus in an inclusion debate?" —Josiah Rowe talk to me 02:45, May 3, 2012 (UTC)

Okay, my last take on this: I don't think it's our role as wiki editors to declare things as canon or noncanon. First of all, we don't have the authority; only the BBC has that authority, and they've declined to exercise it. Any vote from us boils down ultimately to "it's uncanonical because we say so," and that's not very satisfying. What does our vote on the matter prove other than the personal opinions of a relatively small group of fans? It's fair to point out any continuity problems that a given source represents, but in my opinion not meaningful or relevant to say "we don't think this is canon." Why should the casual reader care what we think, or how we voted? So absolutely we should point out that Lance Parkin thought of his story as taking place in a separate continuity, but we don't have the authority as a community to say "this isn't a legitimate source." I think that applies equally to something like Dimensions in Time, Scream of the Shalka, and Curse of the Fatal Death. Sure, they may be difficult to reconcile with other sources, and that's relevant to mention, but our opinion is simply our opinion. Why should anyone else care that random people on the internet took a vote? I say we should present the issue to the reader and let them decide for themselves. Our opinions aren't relevant. -- Rowan Earthwood talk to me 15:56, May 3, 2012 (UTC)

Actually, I agree with you (and Paul Cornell) that there's no such thing as canon in Doctor Who, but I'm afraid that ship has sailed on this wiki. We have a Canon policy, under that name. And while I would probably support a general revisitation of that policy, that's far too large a topic for the current discussion. As things stand now, we do decide which sources we consider valid and which ones we don't. But within that context, we just don't have a consensus on whether this particular novel should be included. And I don't think we're likely to. So, within that context, what do we do? —Josiah Rowe talk to me 20:31, May 3, 2012 (UTC)
That's a misrepresentation of wiki policy. Yes it's currently called "canon policy", but it is not the policy of this wiki that we're trying to set canon. This wiki pre-dates Cornell's now-infamous essay to which you allude, which means we were quite innocently using the term "canon" in a completely ordinary, fan-understood way before Cornell poked his nose in and upset the common understanding of the term. We do not mean, as I have labored to explain, "you must believe this is canon" when we have these inclusion debates.
We are merely trying to limit the scope of this wiki. What can be used as a source and what can't. What will be clear to our readers and what will not. This discussion is a part of the process of rewriting the policy, which has been underway for about a year now. The current revision can be seen at user:CzechOut/This wiki's scope. It is important to nail down this odd stragglers so that when I write the policy I can point to a thread where we ruled something either "in bounds" or "out of bounds".
I'm not done with this thread yet. I'm not at the point of throwing up my hands and wondering what to do. I'm still waiting for the answers to my question. I want to be convinced. I need the language so that when some editor a year from now asks, "Why do you guys allow that crazy Infinity Doctors book?", I've got an answer. Cause I still don't get why this book is any damn different than The Curse of Fatal Death, Scream of the Shalka, or Exile. You say Curse is fundamentally incompatible with the DWU as we know it, but why couldn't it be the same damned alternate universe situation that this is? It's been said upthread that the uncertainties of Infinity are wholly different than the uncertainties of Curse, but how exactly? I don't get it. And that's not the same thing as saying I don't want to get it, or that I'm not going to get it with sufficient explanation. I'm saying that the other side of this argument hasn't proven their case.
It absolutely is our job to set the boundaries of what this wiki covers. Without such an effort, anything could count. And we can't have that, because we write in an in-universe style. There is wide community support now, as there was from the very beginning of this wiki, for the notion that we write from an in-universe perspective, and that we prize in-universe sources as primary ones. We therefore must define, specifically, what the scope of the universe is. Defining the universe is the very first job we must do or the wiki simply won't work.  And we've been putting off these story-specific discussions for far too long on this wiki. The Panopticon archives are full of threads where people, in one way or another, simply don't understand our "canon" policy and therefore have a difficult time figuring out how to operate within it.
That confusion is coming to an end. We will figure this out. In fact, this is one of the last specific stories that we need to thrash out.
czechout@fandom   02:39: Fri 04 May 2012 
The Infinity Doctors is different from The Curse of Fatal Death in that it was written as part of an ongoing Doctor Who series — in this case the BBC Books line. (Incidentally, I'm not completely certain that we were right in referring to it as a PDA earlier in the thread — sure, it was released in a PDA slot in November 1998, but was it ever listed as a "Past Doctor Adventure" by BBC Books, or by DWM?) TID was one of BBC Books' monthly novel releases. That's equivalent to being an episode of the television series. The only other release from that line which we exclude is Scream of the Shalka, and we exclude that because it's a novelisation of a webcast which we treat as outside the Doctor Who universe. (Incidentally, you're right that we need some rules on what we do and don't cover here, though ultimately I'd love it if we eventually got rid of the term "canon".) As I've pointed out several times in this thread, elements of The Infinity Doctors were picked up in subsequent novels.
The Curse of Fatal Death is completely different, in that it was a one-off charity special. There is no ongoing Doctor Who strand of which it is a part. There have been no other licensed Doctor Who stories featuring the Joanna Lumley Doctor, or the Master with etheric beam locators, or the farting Tersurons.
The fact that plot elements from The Infinity Doctors show up in later novels shows that it was treated, during the line's publication, as part of that series' narrative. What Lance Parkin said more than a decade later is largely immaterial — and even if you don't agree that it is, I've shown that the phrase "not the Eighth Doctor of mainstream continuity" is at the very least open to multiple interpretations. It's an awfully thin rail to hang an exclusion decision on, especially given the fact that narrative elements from the novel show up elsewhere in the same line. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 03:27, May 4, 2012 (UTC)
The canon policy should more accurately be called the "what this wiki covers policy", see Canon for an article on what canon is and how the term's used fan wise.
I do not view Parkin's statement as anything relating to how we should deal with The Infinity Doctors.
Generally speaking what we cover and why is defined by who has a licence for particular things, The Infinity Doctors was part of a licenced series published by the BBC.
However in part we also use the BBC's statements on things. An interview featuring the author cannot be taken as a 'word of god' because god is the licencee, not the author.
So, we treat Curse of Fatal Death and Scream of the Shalka the way we do because the BBC has said in one text or another that they aren't "Doctor Who" in the conventional sense. With the latter it's, as I've stated above between Doctor Who: The Legend and Doctor Who: The Legend Continues the BBC's perspective changes with regard to the Shalka Ninth Doctor. For the former, The Legend's actual wording is there "There has only ever been one legitimate 'spin-off' production, and two 'special' productions of Doctor Who outside the normal run of the series". The two special productions are Dimensions in Time and The Curse of Fatal Death. --Tangerineduel / talk 15:38, May 4, 2012 (UTC)
@TD: I think you'll find the copyright holder on the book is actually Lance Parkin, isn't it? So what he says does matter, at least as much as what Terry Nation or Bob Holmes or anyone else says about their own intellectual property. You kinda can't argue one way for how we include BBV stuff and another way for BBC stuff. This isn't Star Trek or Star Wars where spin-off material is copyright Paramount or Lucas. The opinion of the author does in fact matter, legally, a bit more than in other fandoms.
@JR: Now, come on, be fair. Curse is obviously continuous; the parody works primarily because it's rooted in the "truth" of the series. Why is Atkinson explicitly the ninth Doctor, why are they on Tersurus, why do they use footage from the TVM, why is the TARDIS basically similar to how the TARDIS looked before, why do the Daleks have the same voice actors as on "serious" episodes, if not an effort to tie into the known continuity? We aren't excluding Curse for any narrative reason, but because the authors tell us it's not meant to be in continuity. There is nothing which narratively preventing us from just assuming it to be an alternate universe within the DWU. This was the whole basis of the earlier, well-attended, but ultimately defeated challenge to our exclusion of Curse.
I vigorously dispute the notion that authorial intent/out-of-universe declarations are an "awfully thin rail" on which to hang an exclusion decision. Such is what we've consistently used. It's what we must use, because inclusion debates are ones in which we discuss the narrative from an out of universe perspective. Some fan fiction is actually truer to the continuity than some televised episodes. But we dismiss them purely on the basis that the author has informed us they have no license from the BBC. You'll note that all stories bear a real world banner. Discussions about whether to keep them happens because of real world assessment, as I've explained in greater detail up thread.


And I'm not sure I can let you get away with implying there's some sort of time limit on the validity of an author's statements. It matters not one whit it was a statement from "a decade later". If we applied this notion more broadly, then we couldn't use any classic era DVD infotext, commentary, documentaries, nada. Absolutely contemporaneous statements are hard to find, because 1998 is going back a bit far for most internet archives, and because he didn't give a print interview to DWM. Unfortunately, too, the book falls at that awkward time when nobody other than DWM would have given a damn, and when fanzines were very much on the wane. As far as I know, there's nothing contemporaneous to be had, aside from the substance of a contemporaneous DWM review, which clearly puts the book into the Land of Metaphor. Besides, you've consistently attacked the very first quote made on the page, without noticing there is a pattern of statements from Parkin. He's never declaratively said outright the thing is in the proper DWU. He's always hedged his bets, even in Ahistory, even on his personal website. Whenever he's his own editor, his own writer, his own publisher, he consistently refuses the opportunity to just say, "Yeah, it's straight-up DWU." There's always a proviso, always a way out, always a tricky little wording that lets him hedge his bets. As of yet, I've never seen any quote from the author in which he tries to claim, unambiguously, that the book takes place in the DWU.
You say, "The Infinity Doctors either introduces or gives key information about Patience, Savar, Marnal, the I, Daniel Joyce, Larna! Saldaamir and probably many others, all of whom appear in other novels; and in most of those cases, their other appearances are informed by their roles in TID. In several of those cases, removing TID would critically diminish the entries for these characters."
Would it though? I mean Patience is, as you've alluded, a difficult character to understand. Would it really be more difficult to understand her if this book was declared verboten and the information on the page were thus moved to the behind the scenes section? I've never been talking about removing the information outright; just moving it to the behind the scenes area.
Moreover, I dunno about you, but I've got a lot of experience with other franchises that have stories declared, for some reason or another, "outside the fence". I'm not, therefore, seeing how the odd mention of a concept from this book in another book means the entire book is within the DWU. Doctor Who? is replete with continuity references, but that doesn't make it something you can reference in in-universe sections.. Scream of the Shalka has continuity references in it, but that doesn't make REG the "real" Ninth Doctor. If I read an Elseworlds comic, it may have Lois Lane in it, but I'm completely capable of understanding it's not the Lois Lane of any part of the DC continuity. But that doesn't mean that an Elseworlds concept might not get pulled into the current continuity. For instance, there are many concepts from The Dark Knight — an explicitly extra-continuous story — which did eventually get pulled into the mainstream DCU. There's perhaps no single work that's as informative to the character of the Batman as The Dark Knight. But it's explicitly outside the boundaries of the main continuity. Equally, people we just accept as part of the DCU — like Jimmy Olsen and Harlequin — were pulled into the main DC continuity from other, "non-canon" stories. I mean, sure, "Donelli's Protection Racket" might feature the first actual appearance of Jimmy Olsen, and all subsequent serials of The Adventures of Superman might well have informed us greatly as to the basic character and function of Jimmy, but that doesn't make TAOS a valid part of Superman canon.
I suppose what I'm saying is that just because a story "informs" another story that doesn't automatically make it a valid source. Frankenstein informs The Brain of Morbius. Does that mean Frankenstein is a valid source for this wiki? No. Equally, The Curse of Fatal Death completely informs Let's Kill Hitler. Why do we accept the silly lil timey-wimey "hide the gun from River" scene? Because we've seen it before in Curse and we collectively say to Moffat, "I see what you did there, sir, I see what you did."
And just to underline a point that may have gotten lost, declaring a fully licensed work invalid as an in-universe source doesn't mean that we have to deprive a page of whatever light that book might shed on it. It only means we move that info from the in-universe section to the "behind the scenes" section. So the Patience thing that worries you wouldn't be overly affected by this. The only thing truly lost would be pages about things that only exist in Infinity.
And if the thought of banishing Infinity to "behind the scenes" sections doesn't agree with you, I'd be equally happy with the "Star Wars Tales" solution. At Wookieepedia, they do this inline demarcation thing where they set off a block of text with a warning that whatever appears within the bracket holds an uncertain position in canon. There's a whole raft of such templates, found at starwars:category:advisory templates, but one in particular that comes close is starwars:template:talesstart. I would think that something like that would accurately reflect the stalemate here.
See, as an operating principle, "lack of clear agreement means we do nothing" doesn't work for us. It's appropriate enough on Wikipedia, where you've got a substantial number of people participating, but here discussions rarely have more than 3 or 4 active participants. A lot of our discussions ultimately end up with two participants finally settling the matter, no matter how hard we try to get people involved. Yeah, the occasional extra voice might be heard, but basically a lot of these discussions are 2-, 3- or 4-handers. Witness the classic example, Forum:Italics or Quotation marks? We'd never get anything done if all you have to do to stop a proposal is argue a notion into a stalemate. It kinda goes without saying that consensus isn't about the number of people on each side, anyway. It's about shaking out the best and most equitable solution from a discussion. Often, there is indeed a correlation between "number of votes" and "best idea". But sometimes someone comes up with a great idea late in the discussion, long after most people have visited the thread and left their opinions. And sometimes I think it's important to report an inability to decide anything — as we've done at Companion#Term as used on this wiki. And, as things stand right now, a more accurate description of this discussion is that our community is divided about whether Infinity should be included within the scope of this wiki. Giving people a clear warning that we've not been able to decide one way or the other every single time information from the book is discussed in an article is an adequate reflection of this discussion as it now stands.
For instance we could try something like this:
The following statements come from The Inifinity Doctors, a book containing substantial metaphor and ambiguity. This wiki's community is of equally divided opinion whether the book actually occurs in the Doctor Who universe.

Insert statement from TID here.

Information from The Infinity Doctors ends.
(Obviously, this isn't the final form; I'm just using a div class that springs to mind and is easy to insert on-the-fly. It would clearly be redesigned. Also, the statement would clearly link back to this discussion, allowing the reader to better understand the difficulties of assessing TID. )
But I don't think we're necessarily finished talking. I'm not suggesting that as a way to end the discussion. I'm just saying that, no, we will not be setting the precedent that an apparent tie means we take no action. I've read every thread ever started and there's no way that our decision-making process could remain viable if we said "1-1 splits mean the motion is defeated." Now of course, there are instances where all parties sorta forget about a thread, and it goes cold without clear resolution. But that's a bit different to this thread, where the matter has been hotly contested. Something will result from this, if only because of the current rewrite to canon policy which everyone I've ever talked to on this wiki agrees needs to happen. "No action because of non-consensus" is simply not an option. A consensus for something — even if it's to say that we're not agreed — will emerge.
czechout@fandom   17:29: Fri 04 May 2012 
Wow, lots to respond to there. I may not be able to get to all of it, but a few points:
  • Curse is continuous in only one direction. It works as a (parodic) follow-on to the Doctor Who which preceded it, but not as a precedent for any of the Doctor Who which followed. TID is continuous in both directions: it builds on elements which came before, and elements from it are picked up in the narratives that follow.
  • I'm not disputing the value of authorial intent statements per se; I'm disputing the value of these particular statements. As you say, Parkin's comments have always been ambiguous: that goes in both directions. Yes, he's never definitively said that the story is in the DWU proper, but neither has he ever said that it's not. And no, saying "not the Eighth Doctor of mainstream continuity" is not the same as saying that the story didn't take place in the DWU. (After all, Commentator Theta Sigma isn't the Sixth Doctor of mainstream continuity, but that doesn't mean anything about the canonicity of Forever.) Perhaps that's the point: it does a disservice to TID to say either that it definitively takes place in the DWU, or to say that it is "outside the fence". It might be either, and we should be able to live with that ambiguity.
  • To that end, I think that the inline demarcation is a reasonable compromise, though as you say the dividers should be redesigned, preferably to something much less intrusive than the example above.
I could say more on the examples you give from the DCU above (which, on the whole, are helpful and intelligent), but it's really a bit off-topic. The point is that the canonicity of TID is deliberately ambiguous, and we should find a way to respect that ambiguity. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 20:38, May 4, 2012 (UTC)

I hate it, Czechout. It's "information" offered with a wink. I don't think you can be a little bit pregnant. Either the book is canonical or it's not. Given my position, stated above that a work of fiction is canonical until it's declared non-canonical, and still with the proviso that I havn't read the thing, I vote it's canonical. Boblipton talk to me 21:00, May 4, 2012 (UTC)

You can be a little bit pregnant in Doctor Who, if you're the non-pregnant Ganger/Flesh duplicate of someone who is pregnant and remotely controlling you. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 23:06, May 4, 2012 (UTC)
Licensing wise that's not really what I was saying. The copyright may lie with Parkin, but the story was commissioned by and approved by the BBC and between then and now the BBC hasn't made a ruling in their publications (unlike Curse or Dimensions) against it being "real".
What Parkin is saying is notable, but it doesn't matter to how we classify the story along side all the other commissioned / approved / licensed works, it's a piece of information on the side like many Miles' statements.
That Parkin's statements are always written with a proviso, that they are often ambiguous would suggest that we shouldn't listen or believe any of his statements in relation to this novel or indeed any other work.
I agree with Boblipton, it is information but with a proviso, and a kinda insulting one at that. It suggests that because a work contains metaphor or ambiguity we have to fence it off from the other information, like other works don't contain some metaphor and ambiguity, and exactly where will we draw the line between metaphor, ambiguity and even a poetic statement? --Tangerineduel / talk 13:50, May 5, 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't get too caught up on the wording Czechout proposes at this stage; we can work out a better phrasing if we want. I agree that "metaphor and ambiguity" is not the right wording, but the principle of letting information from TID stay in main-body text but with a boilerplate note seems like a good compromise to me. It could be as simple as saying, "The following information comes from The Infinity Doctors, which may or may not take place in the Doctor Who universe." This goes against Boblipton's proposed absolutism, but I think that the Doctor Who universe is flexible enough to allow a sort of "quantum canonicity". Since we can't come to a conclusion on whether TID should be counted or not, why not leave the wave function unresolved? While we keep the box closed, the cat is both alive and dead. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 03:31, May 6, 2012 (UTC)

I don't object to compromises but I do object to compromises that look ambiguous. We should always strive to offer our readers information cleanly and clearly. Currently we have 1: Canon; 2: non-canon; and 3: "According to some accounts", which means it's canon even though it contradicts other canonical work. Now we're going to have a fourth category: it's canonical but some people here think it should be non-canonical. I foresee a fifth case for, say, Faction Paradox, of non-canonical but some people think it should be canonical and, doubtless we will shortly see a dozen other categories of weasel-wording. Not only will it be confusing to someone trying to get a straight answer, it will be a b***h to administer. I go through this wiki for, among other things, clear grammatical errors and not a day goes by when I don't find several that I consider idiotic. Given that a lot of a our contributors can't tell the difference between a situation that calls for a comma and one that calls for a paragraph break, how can people who look to us as experts be expected to parse this situation?

If Lance Parkin had kept his mouth shut, this debate never would have occurred. The Infinity Doctors would have been another BBC book, perhaps a bit better written than most with some interesting views of Gallifrey. But because he likes to draw back the curtain and talk about the process of writing and to gossip about his fellow writers, he has confused a lot of the people around here. What by rights is important to us is 1: the BBC logo on the cover and 2: what is on the page. Anything else is irrelevant.

When I sit down to a meal, I don't care what the cook was trying to accomplish with this particular dish. I put some of it in my mouth and taste it. We need to do the same here. I have pointed out above that metafictional considerations have no bearing on what we do here. Neither, apart from the article on Lance Parkin, do his opinions on what he has created. Boblipton talk to me 11:43, May 6, 2012 (UTC)

I still agree with Boblipton, especially with regard to the editing perspective. It does look like we'd be making work for ourselves by adding an additional layer to our "what we cover policy (aka canon policy)" by making the The Infinity Doctors a "poetic work" that's not covered in the body text the same way as everything else.
Were it not for an interview, which reading it is not all that clear, it's certainly not cut and dried enough to build this whole discussion around or even to begin a discussion.
To go back to CzechOut's initial reasons why it should be removed from standard coverage, which seem to boil down to 2 interviews one with the quote at the top of the page and another in which Parkin states there was to be a "reset button" second book. The book still stands on its own, it's not like Interference where if one was removed the other wouldn't make sense.
Then questions regarding time setting and reviewers, since when have we relied on reviewers to make judgment calls about what goes into the wiki? --Tangerineduel / talk 14:39, May 7, 2012 (UTC)
Tangerineduel, I think you're betraying your rather significant knowledge of 1990s Doctor Who when you, with a straight face, suggest that The infinity Doctors "stands on its own". How in the world does a book which gives you no firm notion as to its setting or its protagonist stand on its own? If you gave Infinity to someone who knew nothing about Doctor Who I can't imagine it would make any sense at all. If you gave it positive fans of televised Doctor Who — which is to say those fans who watch every week religiously but who have never picked up a Doctor Who book of any description — I would think it clearly baffling, because it doesn't actually jive with the continuity with which they're familiar. It requires you to be deeply immersed in the culture of early-to-mid 1990s Doctor Who — which, of course, means the Virgin Books, very early BBC Books, the TV movie that actually was, and the TV movies that almost were. Far from being a standalone book, it's the most "inside baseball" Doctor Who story ever written — and yet the average television-only fan — which is to say the average fan, period — will come away from it thinking that it describes the game of football, not baseball.
@Boblipton. You say "we should always strive to offer our readers information cleanly and clearly." That is my entire motivation in this thread. The Infinity Doctors completely complicates any description we might like to offer about almost everything having to do with Gallifrey. Let me give you one example. The vast, vast majority of stories tell us that Time Lords are a species. Infinity goes to great lengths to tell us that this is not so. Its position on the differences between Gallifreyans and Time Lords are detailed, unambiguous, and thoroughly incompatible with almost everything else. The treatment of The Infinity Doctors as any other narrative is the thing largely responsible for the existence of an article at Gallifreyan. (You wouldn't know it, because, oddly, Infinity is never cited in the artcle as it stands. But check out Talk:Gallifreyan.) It would be much, much clearer to get rid of Gallifreyan, and then have a section of Time Lord which explains that The Infinity Doctors is a dissenting position. A boiler plate like the one I suggested upthread, would make it even clearer to our readers that it's really not a typical kind of book at all.
The virtue of the boiler plate is precisely the clarity that you want, Bob. It would push people towards this discussion, and let them understand that The Infinity Doctors' position is in fact one of narrative ambiguity. It is important that the distinction be made between a book that's metaphor/occuring in an alternate reality/whatever and a book that is merely the sole source of a concept. For instance, "Looming" is an idea that really has minority support from within DWU fiction. But we can't say that Lungbarrow is anything but an adventure that solidly takes place in the DWU. Going towards non-Gallifreyan examples, it's basically a theory of just The Seeds of Death that humans stopped using space flight in he mid-21st century. This is contradicted by The Waters of Mars. But both happened quite unambiguously in the DWU. So in that instance, we can just use the old "according to one source" phraseology and be on our way.
The reason that phrase doesn't work with Infinity is that there is obvious dissent in our community that Infinity actually is a valid source. If we're going to continue to allow the book to be cited, the only way I'd only be happy if we attached a note saying, "Our community is of divided opinion as to whether the following statements accurately describe the DWU, because we disagree as to whether its source material is actually set the DWU." Or words to that effect. As Josiah Rowe says, we can quibble about the wording later.
@Tangerineduel: This doesn't represent an additional layer to this wiki's scope. The Infinity Doctors is, as far as I'm aware right now, unique. It literally would be a single-line entry in a table in which we referred back to this discussion and said all statements must be enclosed in {{infinity}}. Again, the motivation for this discussion was to find a way to clearly explain how this work fits into our scope. So I wouldnt be proposing something that I thought would make the re-write of that policy harder.
A formal decision of "maybe it is DWU, maybe it isn't DWU, so therefore tell our readers we don't know" is actually very clear. It's certainly clearer than what we're doing now. Currently, our line is something like, "We don't know what version of the Doctor this is, we don't know what setting it is, we don't know whether Ulysses is the Doctor's father, we don't know if the Doctor actually had a romantic relationship with Larna, but treat this like any other story. Cite it like it's absolutely as tangible a narrative as Vincent and the Doctor. Don't bother telling our readers — many of whom are too young to have bought this book when it came out, anything about how unique the work actually is. Just say, flatly, "Gallifreyans can regenerate, but they're not all Time Lords" because that's what The Infinity Doctors says. And there's no possibility whatsoever that a piece of BBC-licensed fiction bearing a proper DW logo might not be set in the DWU. (Except for Curse of Fatal Death, Shalka, A Storm of Angels, Deadline, The Doctor Who Fun Book, and about 20 other things we don't want to mention for reasons of inconvenience.)
It is our duty to be as clear and honest with our readers as we can be. It is dishonest and more than baffling to portray The Infinity Doctors as just another entry of the PDA range. It's not. It's a 35th anniversary story, whose production history is important to understanding that it was a book set outside the DWU that was meant to be reconciled with the DWU in a book that was never written. So not only does it not stand alone, but it's missing the book that would have made it possible for us to say definitively that it's definitely a proper, Pete's World type of parallel universe.
(As an aside, Josiah wondered whether it was actually part of that range or not. Of course that "range" doesn't exist at all. As far as I can tell, none of the BBC Books bear a range name. PDA, EDA, NSA are all inventions of our own making, or DWM's marketing, derived no doubt from the fact that Virgin actually did specifically label their ranges NA and MA.)
Finally, I draw attention again to the fact that the book is ©1998 Lance Parkin. It would be a serious break with policy to do as Bob has suggested and be concerned only with "1: the BBC logo on the cover and 2: what's on the page." Our entire inclusion policy is based on honoring whoever holds copyright. This is how come we cover BBV stuff, and it's why we cover the K9 TV series. Tangerineduel is saying that the reason we deny Shalka, for example, is because the copyright holder tells us to deny it. Yet you want us to discount the copyright holder of The Infinity Doctors. That makes inclusion policy much harder to write and understand. It would be very difficult to justify the continued coverage of the BBV stuff and K9TV, because we only have Bob Baker's word for it that this series is the legitimate continuation of the K9 Mark I story.
So it's gotta be one or the other. Either we respect Parkins' musings about his work — however late in the day they come — or we don't get to call K9 a part of the DWU. It's really simple and binary, actually.
I think the copyright holder's consistent hesitation over time, and his complete failure to clearly and unambiguously state that it does occur in the DWU — even when he's been at absolute liberty to do so in later books — means that it does not take place therein. If you guys want to keep this book around, we have to be honest with our readers and tell people that the copyright holder himself doesn't firmly place the book in the DWU, so therefore [this fact here] may not actually be true of the DWU. The only other alternative I can think of is that we say the BBC is our guiding light, and if they haven't licensed the story, then it doesn't count, but everything they have licensed does count, unless they've told us otherwise. Which would mean the expulsion of BBV (except for P.R.O.B.E., for which we know they licensed the character of Liz Shaw), K9TV, and maybe some Dalek-only stories (but that's a minefield and a half.)
So what'll be your pleasure? Compromise over this one little book? Or destruction of large parts of the wiki? Or do you see some other option that's totally eluding me at the moment?
czechout@fandom   16:25: Tue 08 May 2012   

No, Czechout, it's not a choice of one book or the Wiki. It's hard work to do it right or give up. I vote for hard work. Boblipton talk to me 20:15, May 8, 2012 (UTC)

Hard work is no match for logic, Bob. And there's no logical argument I can think of that allows us to ignore the statements of the copyright holder in this instance, but value them in others.
czechout@fandom   00:50: Wed 09 May 2012 
And, Bob, please stop oversimplifying what I'm saying. I never, ever said anything like "it's one book or the wiki". You know I was talking about the phenomenon of author-owned material. Because we do accept the words of authors in some cases, it would be fundamentally illogical to ignore Parkin's decided ambiguity in this instance. After all, we cover one of Parkin's other creations, I Scream, solely on the basis that he, the copyright holder to the I, has told us that it is a legitimate extension of the story of the I. That being the case, the logic by which we can ignore his statements in regards to Infinity eludes me.
I don't mind a hard fight or tough talkin', Bob — but play fair.
czechout@fandom   01:02: Wed 09 May 2012 

I thought it was clear from what I said earlier, but I consider Mr. Parkin to be a good writer whose pronouncements about Doctor Who are as reliable as Moffat's. You may feel his pronouncements about what he intended to accomplish with a particular work to be worthy of note. I think intentions are nothing. Take a look and see what he has done in the pages of the book, not something he wrote on his blog at 3 AM after a night on the tiles.

I wrote about ten more lines before I realized I was repeating myself. I will leave this thought in: enshrining what a bunch of people thought some time ago in opposition to what a different bunch of people know wnow about attitudes and information is ridiculous. We no longer think the Sun is a big burning hunk of coal and see no reason to leave that in astronomy textbooks. Appeals to authority don't appeal to me. Boblipton talk to me 01:38, May 9, 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the indicia page says "©1998 Lance Parkin". But it also says:
Original series broadcast on the BBC
Format ©BBC 1963
Doctor Who and TARDIS are trademarks of the BBC
CzechOut seems to be arguing that Parkin's copyright and the BBC's are in tension here. I don't think they necessarily are. And I don't think that Parkin's carefully worded, ambiguous statements are enough to justify jettisoning the book from our scope.
CzechOut argues above that "Whenever he's his own editor, his own writer, his own publisher, he consistently refuses the opportunity to just say, "Yeah, it's straight-up DWU." There's always a proviso, always a way out, always a tricky little wording that lets him hedge his bets. As of yet, I've never seen any quote from the author in which he tries to claim, unambiguously, that the book takes place in the DWU." That is, of course, correct. But I don't think that that alone is justification for kicking TID out of our scope — not because I completely reject authorial intent in this matter (can we exclude Shalka without it?), but because Parkin's authorial intent is clearly to say that this may or may not be part of the DWU. As CzechOut points out, he's had plenty of opportunities to claim "this is in the Doctor Who universe" — and he's consistently declined to do so, unambiguously. But he has just as consistently declined to say, "No, this is just a 'what if' story, like the Unbound Doctors." (Unlike Paul Cornell and Shalka.) Parkin has refused to say that TID never happened to the "real" Doctor, the one currently played by Matt Smith. And neither has anybody else with any authority over Doctor Who. Why should we be any more exclusionary? —Josiah Rowe talk to me 03:12, May 9, 2012 (UTC)

...Which makes me suspect that he's just stirring the pot for publicity's sake. "Read it yourself and find out! But first, buy a copy."Boblipton talk to me 11:30, May 9, 2012 (UTC)

That's an illogical conclusion, Bob, since we've established these statements were made long after the books were pulled from first-run booksellers, and therefore his financial interest in sales ended. He's got little financial interest in the book, much past the year 2000, by "stirring the pot". However, his financial interest will have returned in 2012, because I think the book has just been put back up for sale as an e-book. But certainly no statements made in the whole decade of the 2000s have no plausible financial motivation.
And Josiah's most recent post puts things in a way I can agree with. Parkin has sewn ambiguity in a way that no other copyright holder ever has. So let us clearly mark statements drawn from that book in a way we don't with any other book. A unique situation demands an equally unique response from us. A boilerplate announcement — although one much less obtrusive than the quick sample shown above — is something we can agree on.
czechout@fandom   18:06: Fri 11 May 2012 

A new proposal

At this point, I am convinced to modify my initial proposal. I withdraw my request to remove Infinity from our scope on the condition that we reference it differently than we do other works, as befits its uniqueness. I move that we require references to Infinity in in-universe sections to be set off by a clear boilerplate.

The following information comes from The Infinity Doctors, a story which may or may not be set in the DWU.
One view held that regeneration was not a gift of Time Lord society, but that it was merely an evolutionary circumstance of all Gallifreyans.

We can argue form and wording later. But for now, I'd like to hear views on the general concept of using a boilerplate — that is an inline template with a top and bottom clearly setting off the text within it from the rest of the article.

I want to make it very clear that this does not set a foreseeable precedent. This method is only talking about modifying the way we integrate material from The Infinity Doctors alone.
czechout@fandom   18:06: Fri 11 May 2012 

I still object to the imposition of yet another category of information. I still believe that something should be either canonical or non-canonical for this wiki. Period. Furthermore, stating that this is a sui generis solution strikes me as disingenuous. There is more to reading and writing than the ability to compose a sentence that does not violate any of a limited number of rules. The fact that it has been done will inevitably be used as an excuse for it to be done again on subjects ever less marginal, all in an effort to avoid the awful chore of thinking. It will be easier for the bureaucratically minded to cite this as a precedent rather than actually have to think about how to fit a difficult work into canon. Declaring it "non-precedental" is as ridiculous as the US Supreme Court's addendum to that effect in their consideration of the 2000 Presidential election. Foreseeing that, I cannot approve of this ridiculous decision, no matter how many times you write "of course." As Donald Knuth wrote, “Nearly every example of faulty reasoning that has been published is accompanied by the phrase ‘of course’ or its equivalent.”Boblipton talk to me 20:13, May 11, 2012 (UTC)
I still can't agree with you CzechOut, as I still have issues with the initial premise under which this discussion was started.
But, I too am willing to step beyond this discussion and make a suggestion, it is somewhat of a compromise. Based on what you suggest.
Your suggestion of a boiler plate is a good one, but too limited in scope. I still agree with Boblipton's point that introducing a split concerning "what we cover" on this wiki over a single work will be problematic to police and explain.
So, instead of this boiler plate being used only for The Infinity Doctors only, it would be used for all contradictory accounts or information.
There are several accounts concerning Andred's fate. All accounts covered by our canon policy are presented below.

Account 1

Account 1 information

Account 2

Account 2 information
In doing this, we can as you have said CzechOut separate out the information from the rest of the article. But this will help in how we deal with contradictory information across the board and give editors a frame work that they can easily use. As The Infinity Doctors is by far not the only work that has vague or contradictory information. --Tangerineduel / talk 14:23, May 12, 2012 (UTC)
I like Tangerinduel's suggestion. It works according to the ideas of canon, acknowledges a difficulty and does not offer an opinion besides the obvious ambiguity, shows we are alert to these issues and gives the reader a chance to read intelligently. The only thing I object to is his choice of color for "canon policy" which on my computer (Firefox/Mac) only shows up when I put the cursor over it.Boblipton talk to me 14:54, May 12, 2012 (UTC)
I think this is probably a good idea. The only significant problem I can foresee is that this might introduce the potential for conflict between editors who disagree on whether two accounts are really in conflict or not. We all know that fans can be very creative when attempting to reconcile apparent continuity errors (that's why we have the Discontinuity index). So we may end up with a situation in which one editor wants to say, for example, that the account of Sarah Jane Smith ending up married to Paul Morley given in Interference is in conflict with the account of Sarah Jane never having married in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, while another editor might have an elaborate theory that the marriage and children implied in Interference either take place after Sarah's adventures on Bannerman Road, or she married and divorced Paul Morley at some point before School Reunion, and for some reason lied about never having been married in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. Using the "two accounts" format might be seen as favoring the former editor in such a dispute. I'm not sure that this is a particularly strong objection, but it is a possibility we should be aware of before implementing this.
From a formatting standpoint, I'm not sure whether we'd want each account to have its own sub-section, as the division isn't immediately apparent for editing purposes. (When I went to reply to this discussion, I initially clicked on the "A new proposal" section, not realizing that there were two section divisions in Tangerineduel's post.) I'll also add that the color problem isn't limited to Bob's computer — it's completely invisible on my iPad, and even selecting the text doesn't make it visible. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 03:16, May 13, 2012 (UTC)
The color for "canon policy" doesn't work in Google Chrome, either. It just looks like a gap in the text. --89.240.255.103talk to me 04:08, May 13, 2012 (UTC)
Josiah, there are already disputes over these subjects -- there was one that wen on for months over "other names" and a short, sharp one over the page name of "River Song". They fall into two categories: someone keeps reverting until the other side gives up or it goes to the talk page or forum -- there was a grumpy one that covered the "River Song" name; it may have been archived. Since these do occur, the template might even help by calling attention to a problem. Boblipton talk to me 11:31, May 13, 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely and positively not. I can't tell you how opposed I am to this second suggestion. I did not ask the initial question to create a precedent whereby we get a boilerplate for conflicting accounts. The Infinity Doctors is a unique situation. It deserves a unique response. I'm not about to agree with something that is going to dirty up many, many pages on the wiki with this unnecessarily awkward construction. Think about it. This would be on every page of every major character, every major object, every major concept. How many places on the page TARDIS alone would you have to use this boilerplate? How would it even work on a page like Peri Brown or Ace? There'd be boilerplate after boilerplate after boilerplate. I've infrequently truly been unwilling to compromise on any issue, but this is in no way a reasonable alteration of my suggestion.
The entire point of this thread, from my perspective, is that TID is not just "another account". It's an account which many, many people — including the copyright holder himself — cannot definitively place within the DWU. It is different, set apart, and, yes, Bob, absolutely non-precedental. This new proposal of Tangerineduel misses the point by a country mile. And a half. And then a few more country miles. And then a couple of AUs.
(BTW, the reason that canon policy doesn't show up is because the link color is the same color as the header color. If you put something blue on something blue it becomes invisible. I've fixed that, and I've stopped the internal headers from interfering with normal editing of this section.)
czechout@fandom   15:32: Thu 17 May 2012 
I should just add that Tangerineduel's proposal is a hijacking of the thread. This thread is about The Infinity Doctors. It is completely inappropriate to use this thread for a massive change to general policy that will impact hundreds of pages that have nothing to do with the subject of this thread. The name of this thread is Is The Infinity Doctors canon? — not How do we best handling conflicting accounts?
czechout@fandom   15:44: Thu 17 May 2012 
I have seen this question of CzechOut's of "is The Infinity Doctors canon" as one of two things, it's either an extremely isolated and unique question, so much so it perplexes me as to why it's asked given the scope of what we cover and the vagueness of other texts.
Or it's something which is a worthy of isolating because it's not the only example of questions like it and therefore needs highlighting or isolating.
CzechOut your question about the boilerplate's placement highlights the issue of having it at all and having to exclude information from The Infinity Doctors at all in articles.
I don't believe it's a massive hijack, but as I've said deciding that this novel is not part of the DWU is a policy changing decision and that any decision we make does leave us open for further issues in the future.
However, I am also willing to modify my proposal, because I honestly don't think it's worth continuing as I don't believe any further discussion will be able to change CzechOut's mind on this matter (as much as it pains me to do so).
If CzechOut is set in his mind that it must be in a boilerplate, then I propose hiding it entirely. If you want it removed then so be it. Put it within a show/hide frame work that the reader can un-hide at their discretion. Having it within a boilerplate as is illustrated here merely highlights its status and introduces further disharmony into the page's structure.
I'm using the Navbox framework as illustration only because I can't be arsed creating something just to illustrate this idea.
So we treat information from The Infinity Doctors in a similar way to other wikis and forums do with spoiler information; hide it. If the reader wants a bit more extra information that some think shouldn't be within the main text, then they can look for themselves. --Tangerineduel / talk 16:00, May 18, 2012 (UTC)

Tangerineduel, this last proposal strikes me as satirical. Boblipton talk to me 21:08, May 18, 2012 (UTC)

I don't mind the notion of the boilerplate being collapsible — though I think it's unnecessary — but I do very much mind the wording "this information is contentious". The message must be specifically tied to The Infinity Doctors. I don't at all want to create something which could be applied in any other circumstance. TID is completely unique. It would be inappropriate for this thread to result in anything which could be repurposed to allow for usage with other narratives.
czechout@fandom   23:06: Fri 18 May 2012 

I believe it's clear by now, Czechout, that not everyone shares this opinion: certainly not to the extent that it needs to be awarded a special category in which it is uniquely half slave and half free, half canonical and half not. I see it as someplace on the continuum running from authors who delight in retconning points to make everything match up nicely, to people who simply ignore continuity (John and Gillian..... Who?), to people who write Doctor Who Unbound pieces, exacerbated by Parkin's delight in being annoying. Let's put this aside for a year or two and maybe by then either you'll be too tired to propose this or the people who scream about it will be gone: the democratic process. Boblipton talk to me 23:43, May 18, 2012 (UTC)

Actually, Bob, it is a long held principle of wiki decision-making that WP:NOTDEMOCRACY. In any case I don't accept that mine is the substantively minority view, as you seem to be suggesting.
Unfortunately, I can't just let it go because ultimately I have to write the rules surrounding the inclusion of this book. I have to find some language that actually works in the rewrite of canon policy, so it actually matters to me that this discussion come to a conclusion of some sort other than "we're all tired of fighting about it; let's forget about it for a few years."
Amongst the people still contributing to this thread, the only person who's not showing any flexibility in finding common ground here, Bob, is you. Instead of trying to just end this thing arbitrarily, please propose a compromise position of some sort, just like the rest of us are trying to do.
What this thread has proven is precisely that no one opinion is dominant. The compromise, it seems to me, is to clearly tell our readers that we have been unable to come to an agreement as to whether this work takes place within the DWU or not.
czechout@fandom   01:04: Sat 19 May 2012 
um, czechout,you are probably the least willing to budge of all the people on this thread. i agree with boblipton that we could use this Boilerplate or whatever for all works of questionable "canon", because even if this book is the only one now, chances are there will be something else in the future. shouldn't we try to avoid too many unique cases? maybe we can make a list of works of questionable "canon" which can be separated using this template. yet again, even if TID is the only work that is in there now, it would make the boilerplate future proof in case anything similar to this happens again. to those of you who have read/listened to a lot of spin off media, have you noticed any other works that could share a boilerplate category with TID? also, i like the idea of it being collapsible. i think it looks better than the other boilerplate proposals.Imamadmad talk to me 01:24, May 19, 2012 (UTC)
I am trying to maintain a level of good humor here and avoid rancor. I apologize if my jokes and a suggestion that the matter be tabled for a bit failed.
I agreed and still agree with with Tangerineduel's earlier proposal -- it clearly recognizes a general issue of sloppy continuity. You say it is a thread hijacking. I don't see it that way for the reasons I have already mentioned: it is a specific case of a general problem (the variability of Anji Kapoor's character, the many lives and deaths of Jo Grant and Dodo Chaplet and so forth), in brief, continuity issues that have not been retconned.
Up to now, these have been handled in behind the scenes sections such as "Will the Real Anji Kapoor Please Stand Up?" -- again, based on comments by Parkin -- or "Will the Real Dodo Chaplet Please Stand Up?" -- perhaps it should be titled "Will the real Infinity Doctor Please Stand Up?" In it you may quote Lance Parkin to your heart's content (no sarcasm intended), citing the issues, alerting people to the issues and allowing the careful, intelligent reader to draw conclusions, with the intellectual risks on view for that same intelligent reader.
I'm sure this has been suggested before upstream. If so, the amount of discussion that has gone on since may have rendered it more appealing.Boblipton talk to me 01:55, May 19, 2012 (UTC)

I wrote the comment below before seeing Boblipton's latest post. I had an edit conflict, and might have worded things slightly differently if I'd seen his post first, but I think that my larger point stands and is compatible with his.


It seems to me that we've got two different but related questions here. The first is the title question, "Is The Infinity Doctors canon?" The second is "If we cannot come to a consensus on whether a certain work is canonical, how should we treat that material?" All this talk of templates is an attempt to answer the second, but that presumes that we can't come to a consensus on the first. CzechOut originally objected to treating it as canonical, among other reasons, "because of the vast narrative uncertainties, it is extremely problematic to allow even basic information from this story into our other pages." But all the other proposals on how to treat TID also seem to be "extremely problematic" to someone. Saying "it's not canon" (CzechOut's preferred position) is extremely problematic to me, as I feel that there is no valid justification for its exclusion. Saying "it may or may not be canon" (my preferred position, which CzechOut has expressed willingness to allow) is extremely problematic to boblipton, who feels strongly that a text must be either ruled canonical or not, with no middle ground or indeterminate status. So... can we consider the first option again? Treating it as canonical?

Early in this wiki's development, a decision was made to be generally inclusive. There are plenty of Doctor Who fans who feel that only what's on TV "counts". There are others who love the books but look down on the comics, and others who are devoted to Big Finish but can't stand the novels. There are fans who include the DWM comics in their "personal canon" (abhorrent phrase, that) but reject John and Gillian. This wiki decided not to take sides, even though it might have been simpler if we had stuck with a "TV only" rule (as Memory Alpha does — yes, Paramount/CBS has a clearer rule on canon than the BBC does, blah blah blah, but you get my point).

The things we exclude are deliberately very limited. We don't count the 1960s Dalek movies because a) the Doctor's a human who invented the TARDIS, and b) it's a remake of a television story. We don't count the "Unbound" Doctors because they're deliberately outside of Doctor Who continuity. We don't count The Curse of Fatal Death and Scream of the Shalka because, among other reasons, the narrative of the TV series from 2005 on clearly doesn't follow the Doctor(s) depicted therein. And that's about it. Somewhat to my surprise, we count Death Comes to Time, even though that explicitly shows the Doctor dying in his seventh incarnation — something I'd have thought would be more problematic than an adventure which may have happened to the First Doctor before leaving Gallifrey or may have happened to the Eighth after its restoration but before its second destruction.

So, considering that our default position has always been one of inclusion, and that we can't seem to get a consensus to support either of the other options (exclusion or "quantum inclusion" [that is, "it may or may not be canonical"]), perhaps we should reconsider inclusion? —Josiah Rowe talk to me 02:37, May 19, 2012 (UTC)

@Imamadmad: I think you have missed huge parts of this debate if you think I haven't modified my stance. I said at the very top of this section:
At this point, I am convinced to modify my initial proposal. I withdraw my request to remove Infinity from our scope on the condition that we reference it differently than we do other works, as befits its uniqueness. I move that we require references to Infinity in in-universe sections to be set off by a clear boilerplate.CzechOut
This is a fair distance away from my starting point of total eradication, so I think it's completely unfair to say I haven't budged. I've by far come the furthest distance from my original position.
@ Josiah: Going back to simply including TID, without comment, doesn't work. We can not, must not, will not establish a precedent that "no consensus = no change". You've had no participants at all at Forum:Dark Disambiguation, but you've (properly, in my view) seen the lack of interest as consent. If we were to apply what you suggest to that thread, then you've had no authority to proceed with your disambiguation. We just don't have the numbers here to say that lack of agreement means no change.
The whole point of this exercise is to figure out the words we would use in policy to allow for the inclusion of this novel when we don't allow in Shalka, Exile, Curse or whatever other licensed, but not allowed, stories you'd care to name. How do we explain the position to a newbie?
Is this licensed? Yes, just like Curse. Has there been talk by the copyright holder that casts doubt as to it being set in the DWU? Yes, just like Shalka, just like Exile. So why is it different? Why do we allow it in, treating it like any other book in the BBC Books range?
Talking about this one, wholly unique book does not threaten the goals this wiki has had since 2004. We are still generally inclusive. But we do have a responsibility to make it clear to new users why this book — which has much more in common with Curse and Unbound and all the other things we don't consider "canonical" — is allowed in.
We have to be able to explain how this is different from Shalka, Curse and the rest in order to write the change to canon policy we all agree needs to be written. If we can't offer an agreed explanation, then we owe it to our readers to say that we can't agree.
It seems to me that everyone is agreed on (resigned to?) some kind of boilerplate. The devil now is in what that boilerplate will say.
czechout@fandom   04:01: Sat 19 May 2012 
It's a tangential point, but I think that there's a difference between what one might call a "passive" lack of consensus (demonstrated by a lack of interest, as at Forum:Dark Disambiguation) and the "active" lack of consensus (the result of prolonged discussion, with multiple participants) that we have on the original question here. In the case of the former, action is justified (in part because nobody else cares). In the case of the latter, inaction may be justified, if no action can be agreed upon by the participants.
But perhaps I've been too ready to give up. It's true that everybody has expressed willingness to go along with some sort of boilerplate, but we're not just debating the wording and formatting of such a boilerplate — we're debating its applicability. Is this something which should apply only to material from The Infinity Doctors, as CzechOut prefers, or can it also apply to other cases of unclear canonicity? (As an aside, has there ever been a discussion about Death Comes to Time? Some pages with material from that — e.g. Fraction — have notes saying "The canonicity of Death Comes to Time is unclear." I can't really disagree with that statement, but is it supported by any discussion or policy?) Do we want a template to set aside material from TID (or another questionable source, if we go that way), or do we want a template to incorporate apparently contradictory sources which are both canonical (for cases like the fate of Ace)? These are slightly different goals, and we need to know which one we're trying to accomplish. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 06:16, May 19, 2012 (UTC)
This is one of the things I continue to struggle with. Why bring this issue up as a question unless you want it struck from the record? If we looked hard enough we'd probably be able to find other authors/copyright holders/reviewers that claim that various works are not part of the DWU universe. I still don't totally understand why CzechOut singled out TID with a single quote from Parkin. The other points raised are based on readings of the novel by individual readers.
Other authors Paul Magrs for example delights in creating meta-fictional settings and characters that also sit outside the bounds of regular continuity, but we've yet to have a discussion about the viability of Iris Wildthyme, based purely on the fact her adventures are hard to quantify.
I think I've justified the exclusion of Shalka fairly well, it's in a published by the BBC text, it's stated very clearly it's not the Ninth Doctor. CzechOut's justification lays on one interview with the author. An interview that doesn't cite a date so we can't put it into context. WTF does "mainstream continuity" mean anyway? Especially put within the framework of what we deal with on this wiki. In the interview cited, it can be read that the interviewer leads Parkin into the statement he makes.
Is there any further proof, any other statements made by the author where he states straight that TID in his consideration isn't part of DWU canon?
Curse and Shalka have supporting evidence in BBC published texts that they're not part of regular Doctor Who.
The Infinity Doctors as far as I can find has no statements like this in BBC published texts, only in Parkin's AHistory, which I've mentioned above, and even then is not a clear yes or no, unlike Shalka and Curse.
Why do we let TID? Treating it like any other book in the range, because like every other book (except Shalka which as I've mentioned above has evidence) there is nothing tangible to suggest it's not any other book. We don't need to explain how it's different from Shalka and Curse we just have to show how Curse and Shalka are different from everything else.
Resigned to this is the best term, agreed, certainly not. I am still not convinced by the initial argument made for even beginning this discussion, let alone excising the work, even with a boilerplate.
I do agree with Josiah Rowe, that TID should not be viewed as a single case, cannot in fact, because it is very much incorporated within a release structure of other novels and has not in any BBC-signed off text been stated to be not Doctor Who. Death Comes to Time has as or an even more chequered history and story than TID. Death Comes to Time began as a radio pilot, turned into a webcast and does a lot to mess around with continuity, far more in some respects than TID does. --Tangerineduel / talk 12:03, May 19, 2012 (UTC)

We haven't as a community debated the merits of Death Comes to Time or Iris Wildthyme — unless you count Tangerineduel's summary judgement against the so-called "early Wildthyme books". It has been our apparent convention to handle these exceptions one at a time. Even within Forum:BBV and canon policy, we were involved in an itemised discussion. So mention upthread of the fact that we haven't yet got around to DCTT and IW we can't be used to detract from this discussion. This discussion is completely consistent with previous practice, and it is in no way appropriate to detract from it by saying that we've not talked about DCTT yet.

Tangerineduel is insisting in his latest post to go all the way back to the beginning of the thread. The question before us is no longer — and hasn't been for over a week — the excision of TID. I again turn your attention to the top of this section. I have agreed with the majority that TID is a valid source for the writing of in-universe articles so long as we clearly have a note on each mention of material from TID which points back to this discussion.

I think TD is misrepresenting the thread when he says that Josiah thinks "TID should not be viewed as a single case". Josiah has actually agreed with me, saying, "The point is that the canonicity of TID is deliberately ambiguous, and we should find a way to respect that ambiguity" and "the principle of letting information from TID stay in the main-body text but with a boilerplate note seems like a good compromise to me". He has only rhetorically asked what the function of the boilerplate should be, in an effort to characterise the discussion so far. But his initial response to the original proposal of this section seemed to be in the affirmative. Obviously, Josiah can and should clarify, but I'm seeing that Josiah has said the precise opposite of what TD suggests.

I think TD isn't being very careful with his other assertions, either. He's saying that my entire argument rests on a single quotation from Parkin. Not only is that not true, but the one he alludes to is pretty damning. To admit that you have a Doctor who looks like Paul McGann but is definitively not the Eighth Doctor is no small admission. You can't just ignore such a statement.

TD seems to be looking for some way to disqualify the statement because "it doesn't cite a date" and because he thinks the "interviewer leads Parkin into the statement he makes". But we do know the date, basically. The interview dates from no earlier than 4Q 2011, because it was given in aid of the ebook releases that are coming in 2012. Not that time context is particularly important to this statement, but the "context" is, for all intents and purposes, "now".

And the suggestion that the interviewer goaded Parkin into saying something he didn't want to say is, frankly, ludicrous. The interviewer asks Parkin to give four books to put into a hypothetical "Lance Parkin Collection". He says, Just War, The Infinity Doctors, Father Time and The Eyeless. Completely unprompted by the interviewer, Parkin then says the reason for his choice is that "they're set past-present-Gallifrey-future; each one's a different Doctor". Because Father Time is an Eighth Doctor adventure, The Eyeless is a 10th Doctor, Just War a 7th Doctor, the interviewer naturally pricks his ears up and wonders if that means Parkin is confirming that TID doesn't feature the Eighth Doctor. And then we get the quote at the top of this thread. If anybody prompted anybody, it was Parkin himself. The interviewer merely asked a question that naturally arose out of a unforced statement that Parkin had made. The quote from Parkin cannot be disqualified or dismissed on any grounds TD has set forth. It's Parkin who led the interviewer; it's Parkin who said precisely what he wanted to say. To believe otherwise is to twist the obvious, common-sense reading of the quote. Taken in its entire context, Parkin is straight-up telling us it's not an Eighth Doctor novel, but somehow the Doctor looks like Paul McGann, which means that TID isn't "normal" DWU continuity.

TD asks, "WTF does 'mainstream continuity' mean anyway?" It's a perfectly straightforward phrase that I'm sure TD has encountered many times before and which he himself may have even used. It means a continuity other than the one that is typically viewed as one applying to a body of fiction. There is no reason to believe that Parkin meant it in anything other than a denotative way.

Moreover, I think TD has somewhat de-emphasised the quotes he himself introduced from AHistory. These are Parkin's words, too. And they absolutely introduce doubt as to whether the book occurs in the DWU. And if TD is going to be allowed to quote from AHistory, then my quote from DWM can't be dismissed. DWM is a valid resource under Tardis:Resources. The work of criticism there can't be adjudged as "inferior" to the work of criticism that is AHistory. The words of professional critics are instructive to the central question of whether the story's setting is ambiguous.

Finally, TD is still erroneously hung up on this notion that my argument is "based purely on the fact [that] adventures are hard to quantify". I am not saying "this is too hard; let's not do it". That's never been my central argument. Of the five points that started this thread, something vaguely like that was my fifth point. The first four points are squarely about out-of-universe concerns. As I have said over and over again in this thread, inclusion debates must hinge on out-of-universe rationales. They must bring forward statements from the copyright holders or legitimate critics or someone external to the narrative.

Thus I have demonstrated that Parkin has flatly stated that his Doctor in TID somehow looks like McGann but isn't the Eighth Doctor, which suggests we're not talking about the DWU as we know it, or as it will ever likely play out. I've shown that other industry professionals see the book as a metaphorical construct, equally unable to place it in the DWU. And I've raised the issue of the fact that it was known that there was supposed to be a second book which would have tied this book back into the "mainstream DWU". Because this book wasn't written, TID is therefore completely outside the DWU.

TD wishes to place the rule, "prove that it's not in the DWU", at the center of these proceedings. That's a really odd way of thinking. Generally, though admittedly not always, one tries to prove positive statements, like "this person is the murderer" or "this chemical reaction will produce this result", or "I think she'll say 'yes', so I'm going to ask that girl to marry me". Except in dictatorships, dourt cases are always framed so that the positive assertion is guilt, that you are the murderer. Thus, you only have to prove that you are "not guilty". The scientific method generally holds that you frame hypotheses positively ("I believe that by combining this amount of hydrogen an this amount of chlorine, I'll get hydrogen chloride"), and then note why that hypothesis failed ("That hypothesis was wrong because my ratio of H:Cl was incorrect."). And you don't ask someone not to marry you, or not to marry everyone else.

In the same way, I'm asking, "is this story set in the DWU?" and have created reasonable doubt, based on statements from the copyright holder, that it is. It's completely wrongheaded to ask, "Is this story not set in the DWU?" and then to have to prove a negative. If we applied this logic to a court of law, we would have to prove people were actually "innocent" rather than "guilty".

Yet even though I think I've adequately demonstrated reasonable doubt, I'm no longer even asking for us to put TID outside our fences. I'm only asking that we alert readers to the fact that there is reasonable doubt.


czechout@fandom   16:12: Sat 19 May 2012 
For the record, I don't think I've stated a position on the question of whether the proposed boilerplate should apply only to TID, or also to other ambiguous cases. CzechOut is right that my questioning was rhetorical, framing the discussion for clarity — but Tangerineduel is right that my preference would be for simple inclusion, with a boilerplate as an acceptable fallback position.
My asides about Death Comes to Time were partly requests for information. I wasn't certain that there had not been a discussion that I failed to find using the (currently wonky) search tool. I wasn't trying to "detract from" anything.
I think that CzechOut is slightly misrepresenting Parkin when he interprets "not the Eighth Doctor of mainstream continuity" as equivalent to "definitively not the Eighth Doctor", full stop. As I've mentioned before, "of mainstream continuity" could mean any of a number of things. One might, for example, say that the appearances of the Second Doctor in The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors are not the Second Doctor of mainstream continuity, since in the former he knows about the Time Lords wiping Jamie and Zoe's memories, and in the latter he's working for the Time Lords — neither of which fit with the "mainstream continuity" of the Second Doctor, which ends in The War Games. As I've said before, Parkin has always been deliberately ambiguous about the canonicity and placement of TID, and this remark is no different.
And that leads us to the question of whether we must treat TID as an individual case, or if there are other works which should be treated the same way. I think that depends on what decision we make about TID. There are other works whose canonicity may be disputed, but I don't think that there are any which were consciously created with an ambiguous relationship to the ongoing narrative of Doctor Who. Of the works we already exclude, they were either not intended as a link in the narrative chain (e.g. the Unbounds, Curse of Fatal Death) or were superseded by other developments (Shalka). The former in a sense cut themselves off from the canon upon their creation; the latter was cut off by diktat. Death Comes to Time chooses to ignore a major strand of the ongoing narrative (the Eighth Doctor) and attempts to strike off on its own, but such an attempt is by its nature not going to be part of the strand which it denies. TID is different from any of these. TID sticks its tongue out at continuity and says, "You don't know if I'm in or out."
Because of this, the continuity problems presented by TID are slightly different from those presented by, say, the multiple fates of Ace. Other continuity conundrums are usually caused by the interaction between two canonical texts. TID says "I may or may not be canonical". (As previously expressed, I think that its interaction with other novels suggests that it is, but I acknowledge that the text itself is ambiguous on the question.) So I think that if we do decide to use a template for TID, it should be a unique one. However, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't also have some sort of template — perhaps a similar one — for other cases of unclear continuity. The two might even be able to be combined, something like this:
Accounts of the Doctor's parentage are unclear. All accounts covered by our canon policy are presented below.

According to Lungbarrow, the Doctor was one of forty-five Cousins in the House of Lungbarrow, and had no parents.

The following information comes from The Infinity Doctors, a story which may or may not be set in the DWU.
The Doctor's father was a prominent Time Lord with a close-cropped white beard, and his mother was a human woman with grey eyes.
I don't know whether this will satisfy anyone: using the "may or may not" language is probably too uncertain for Bob, who will probably find it neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring. I'm just trying to find some middle ground here. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 04:36, May 20, 2012 (UTC)
I agree with almost everything else Josiah has just said about The Infinity Doctors. As he's just confirmed, The Infinity Doctors is unique. It demands a unique response. Therefore, using this thread to find some sort of general response to other "difficult" narratives is completely inappropriate. Please don't let's get off topic. If you want to propose a general "this is tricky" boilerplate, it should ideally be done in another thread, as it is a completely separate issue.
czechout@fandom   20:27: Sun 20 May 2012 
It's taken a while to find this, but here's yet more evidence from Parkin himself, from 1 Jan 2004:
... I realised this was a unique chance to do a story that could be outside the normal 'continuity' — about continuity. Which I found quite a fun idea. And I also realised that most of the readers would be expecting the bit where the universe goes all wobbly and turns back into the 'real' Doctor Who universe, and once I decided not to do that, it was very liberating. http://web.archive.org/web/20040930123308/http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/news/drwho/2004/01/01/13699.shtml
That seems pretty cut and dired to me. He's flat-out saying that TID is not in the real DWU, and that the point of the exercise was to write something which was both outside of and about continuity.
czechout@fandom   06:54: Mon 21 May 2012 
Thank you CzechOut for going through and finding this interview! This puts things in better context and frames how The Infinity Doctors came to be.
I think this information should be on on TID page and if the boilerplate is used it should link to that section with this information.
I'd also like to retract my proposal for it to be hidden in the proposed template above. In light of this information it frames the novel in a different light and I think CzechOut's boilerplate presents the information in a nicer way. --Tangerineduel / talk 14:05, May 21, 2012 (UTC)
I second TD's thanks. This certainly does seem to be clearer than any other interview I'd seen with Parkin. In fact, the interview makes me question my previous attachment to the "may or may not" wording: it seems fairly clear that this isn't part of the main Doctor Who universe. But we're still stuck with the fact that it's part of the Doctor Who multiverse, as it were: elements from this universe show up in DWU stories (Savar, Patience, Larna et al.).It would seem, then to b something akin to Pete's World: an alternate universe with significant impact on the main universe. It's still part of the narrative body of Doctor Who (so still shouldn't be treated as completely non-canonical), but it's not the same universe that other stories take place in.
Using Pete's World as a model, I suggest a different approach. We create a page for the TID universe, and for any information that's about that universe, we simply link to the page, like so:
In [[Infinity Doctors universe|one universe]], Gallifrey had six founders.
(We can probably figure out a better name than that.) But this way, the information is included in the main body of the text, but without having to resort to any templates, and without creating a new category of quantum canonicity. Howzat? —Josiah Rowe talk to me 18:06, May 21, 2012 (UTC)
As a DC Universe fan, I'm used to such expressions as, "On Earth-2, Batman married Catwoman". So Josiah's suggestion seems perfectly acceptable to me. No cumbersome templates, no awkward "maybe it is, maybe it isn't", no ambiguous "according to one source". This is a much more direct and definite way of referring to material from the book. Having a simple link pointing back to a page on which we can explain all this is a simple and elegant solution. I don't even have an objection to the proposed title. I say we just go with Infinity Doctors universe, and then if people have a better idea down the road, we can easily change it, later.
czechout@fandom   15:30: Thu 24 May 2012 
That sounds fine. Simple and easy. I have no objections. So, can we go ahead and do this or do we need to wait? --Tangerineduel / talk 16:05, May 24, 2012 (UTC)
I think we've had a full, even exhaustive, discussion, and all the major participants seem to be getting something they want. I think most neutral observers would have to say that we've arrived at an agreeable consensus. No need for further waiting.
czechout@fandom   17:30: Fri 25 May 2012 
Is the page title based on the OOU novel? If so, shouldn't it be "The Infinity Doctors universe"? Or is it based on an in-universe (at least, in-TID-universe) item called Infinity Doctors? I think it should be "The Infinity Doctors universe". Tardis1963 talk 12:39, May 26, 2012 (UTC)

Archivist's notes

This thread has been split into two parts. This first part deals with the question of what to do about The Infinity Doctors and comes to a pretty solid conclusion. How we clean up after this decision has now been moved to Forum:Operationalising the Infinity Doctors discussion.
czechout@fandom   22:05: Mon 20 Aug 2012 
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.