Dictionary.com defines a "foofaraw" as "a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant". For about two years now, I have been dealing with one of these kinds of situations that I began calling "antagonist fussing".
Starting about two years ago, I noticed that there were a small group of people who seemed to be spending a lot of time trying to say what kind of an antagonist characters are. They'd change their minds so many times and so frequently that I started viewing it as a form of vandalism, especially when I saw them contradict themselves and hide the fact that they were undoing changes other people were making so their antagonist label would be brought back. And some of these would contradict themselves across more than one wiki as they kept changing the antagonist label over and over again.
The more I looked at it, the more ridiculous and useless it became. It stopped being a case where maybe it was people just playing around and became situations where people started arguing and having edit wars over which of their rigidly-defined labels was correct. The more I saw it happening, the more I would think, "Guys, you're ignoring everything else that makes this character a person while you fuss over labeling them."
Since it happened mostly with antagonists instead of protagonists (bad guys versus good guys), I called it "antagonist fussing". I could see this was a problem, but exactly how much of a problem was it really?
The answer is, it's a big problem and it's not just certain people doing it. Here's what I found out when I did research into 2,262 edits for the character of Randall Boggs:
- People have come up with 161 ways of calling him an antagonist.
- One-third of all people who edited the pages engaged in antagonist fussing.
- One-third of all edits were wasted on antagonist fussing and reverting it.
- It wasn't the same group of people in each case. Many different people participated.
- People found ways to say "you're wrong for thinking that" by saying "here's what kind of antagonist other people think but here's what kind of antagonist the character really is".
- On four of the five wikis I checked, there was an edit war over antagonist fussing.
- One one of the wikis, the page was protected twice to stop edit wars over antagonist fussing, which lasted only as long as the protection was in effect, and the antagonist fussing started right back up again.
Think about that. People aren't just fighting about what kind of antagonist Randall is. They came up with over 160 different ways to fight about it. For as important a character as he is in both movies, that is WAY TOO MANY ways of describing him.
After doing this research, I have decided to put an end to the antagonist fussing on any wiki I am an administrator on.
It is now official. Antagonist fussing is prohibited on this wiki. This is now an official policy, with a main page about the policy and five additional pages explaining the research that was done and other factors relating to this decision.
People are no longer going to waste time arguing about how much of an antagonist a character is. Characters are either an antagonist or they're not, and in some cases may start or stop being one. There is not going to be any more squabbling over whether one character is more of an antagonist than another. Whenever possible, the word "antagonist" will not be used. If it's necessary to use that word (or "protagonist"), it's going to be kept real simple. "Main antagonist" or "minor antagonist". Nothing else.
This applies to descriptions in the main part of the page as well as categories.
In the six years I have been an administrator, I have never acted unilaterally like this before. My policy about policies is that the community discusses them first before they're put into effect. Not this time. This is how strongly I believe that this is a problem, and I'm going to do whatever I can to stop it from happening.
This goes into effect immediately and it's not open for discussion. If you want to make a recommendation about adjusting the policy, you can do it on the talk page for the policy.
But if you're going to try and persuade me to get rid of this policy, you better do at least as much research as I have and provide a lot of evidence why rigid labels for characters are beneficial and how they help people understand more about that character and what they do in the story. You will also need to provide a solution for the edit wars that will resume happening as people resume fighting over those rigid lables.
If you need a place to start, look at the analysis page and you'll see that there are 23,000 edits you can research for nine characters.
I am willing to change my stance on any subject if people take the time to explain why a different viewpoint is better. But I'll be honest. You've got a very tough road ahead of you in this situation. If you want to do the research and give it a shot, feel free. But until someone does that and shows me why it shouldn't, antagonist fussing is banned on this wiki.