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Obviously, there's no official definition of companion, and there's no way we're going to come up with any definition here that isn't at least somewhat vague, but it would be nice to have some kind of semi-official discussion that people can refer to, and maybe a place to discuss whether people count.

The article List of companions has a section for "disputed companions", but that doesn't really help. That just means we need to draw _two_ lines, one between disputed and official and another between disputed and not at all. Some of the people on this list seem pretty questionable. Is Borusa or Rodan really any more of a companion than, say, Ida Scott? Why is Adelaide Brooke more of a companion than Jackson Lake? Just because Sarah Jane's companions and Jack's team appear on Doctor Who, does that make them companions of the Doctor? And so on.

While we're at it, it would also be nice to have some guidelines for what it takes to add a companion. It seems like you need (at least) the following steps:

  • Add the category and template for the appropriate Doctor to their page.
  • Add them to the template.
  • Add them to List of companions, either in the top section or in the disputed section, as appropriate.
  • If they're not disputed, add them to the set of pictures at the top of Companion.

Anything else? --Falcotron 07:13, May 23, 2010 (UTC)

One more issue: Category:Non-canonical companions includes, with one exception, all, and only, companions of non-canonical Doctors, not companions from non-canonical appearances of canonical Doctors. For example, the robot Master and Alison from Shalka are included, but Claudia Sermbezis's character from the Extras special and the kid from A Fix with Sontarans aren't. The one exception is The Viewer (who CzechOut has, I think rightly, argued needs to be deleted). (I don't mean that the viewer himself needs to be deleted--if you kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock you up--but rather the article.) --Falcotron 07:52, May 23, 2010 (UTC)

I suppose my suggestion would be that we should recognize a few classes of companion. A full-time companion would be one who travels (by which I mean in the TARDIS) with the Doctor for a whole series, or at least for the majority of the episodes in the series. Here we would have the likes of Susan, Romana, Sarah Jane, Ace, Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, etc. A part-time or recurring companion would be one who travels with the Doctor for a short time only, or travels with the Doctor intermittently. Captain Jack Harkness, River Song, and Mickey come most immediately to mind. A one-off or temporary companion would be one who travels with the Doctor for just one or two stories, like Kamelion, Grace, Adam, Adelaide, Wilf, and Nasreen Chaudhry. This definition could probably be expanded to companions whose names are listed in the title sequence, like Astrid Peth and Jackson Lake. You might be able to create a fourth category for people who assist the Doctor and are invited (implicitly or explicitly) to travel in the TARDIS, but are unable to do so, like Sara Kingdom and Lynda Moss, or merge it with the previous category. It's not a perfect system by any means, but the present system lumps together companions who stuck around for years, like Rose and Sarah Jane, with one-off companions who didn't even see inside the TARDIS, like Astrid and Sara Kingdom. That's no good, is it? --Kudzu1 16:22, May 23, 2010 (UTC)
Let's just be strict. If someone did not travel in the TARDIS for at least two stories, we should not count them as a companion, and also include people explicitly stated to be companions by the BBC. The latter category includes Christina, Astrid, Wilf, Adelaide, Sara, and I think the UNIT people. If we list everyone who helped the Doctor or took a brief ride in the TARDIS, that would basically make the term companion meaningless. --Golden Monkey 19:07, May 23, 2010 (UTC)
I guess my problem with that approach is that there's no legitimate reason why Wilf should be considered a companion when Nasreen is not. They both were allowed inside the TARDIS. Neither of them traveled through time. Sara Kingdom and Astrid Peth died before they even saw the TARDIS, but they're considered companions in this "strict" sense while in the "loosest" sense Jackie Tyler and Nasreen Chaudhry (or even the Bowie Base underlings whom the Doctor flew home to Earth) are not considered companions at all. For me, the only thing that makes sense is a tiered system, because there's no way Nasreen or Jackie are as legitimate of companions as Romana or Rose, but there's also no way they're less legitimate than Sara or Astrid, who never rode in the TARDIS at all. --Kudzu1 21:30, May 23, 2010 (UTC)
Because User:CzechOut replied on Disputed Companions instead of here, there's a lot more discussion on that thread, and I don't want to try to repeat it all here. So, instead, I'm going to go over to that thread and try to summarize the points from this one. I hope that's OK with everyone. --Falcotron 02:13, May 24, 2010 (UTC)
To categorise the companions we could have Time Travelling Companions, the name speaks for itself - under than goes people like Rose Tyler, Sarah Jane Smith, Martha Jones etc. Then we can have Semi-Companions people who have helped the Doctor on his adventures, filling the companion role - such as Wilfred Mott etc. And lastly we can have Assistant Companions people who have helped the Doctor in his adventures, but are not classified as companions, such as Sara Kingdom etc Mini-mitch 17:49, May 30, 2010 (UTC)
It would be more useful to put that on Forum:Disputed Companions with the rest of the discussion, as I said above. But honestly, I don't think it solves much. Do we really want Liz Shaw in a "Semi" group with Wilf, while minor companions who happened to time travel once are in the main group? Also, "Assistant" is usually used (both by the production team and mainstream media, and within the show) as a synonym for "Companion". --Falcotron 21:10, May 30, 2010 (UTC)
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