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Hello everyone, Brodie-001 here. With a new year comes new change for Halo Fanon. Having discussed this at length with my fellow Administrators recently, I have decided that it is high time to update our Canon Policy. Why? Well, the last proper amendments were made in 2010 shortly after the release of Halo: Reach. Back then there was still a lot of speculation and dislike of 343 Industries taking over the Haloverse, and for the past five years we have considered their work to be of lesser canon work than Bungie's main Halo Trilogy and the novels written around it. Since then we've had several new Halo games, novels and general content put out by 343i, and it only seems right that our wiki moves with the times.
As such, our updated Canon Policy will require that all new fanon work follow the official Halo canon. This largely has to do with post-Human-Covenant War material such as the UNSC Infinity, the events of Halo 4 and the introduction of both the SPARTAN-IV Program and the Spartan Branch. I'm well aware that a number of users are not fond of some of these new changes, but on the Halo Fanon Wiki it is our goal to produce high-quality content that remains canon-friendly within the Halo Universe, and after years of allowing work to ignore 343i's additions to the Haloverse the time has come to amend that. This post is largely just to notify our community of this major update.
After some discussion, we have decided to give some a chance for exemption from these changes. This is not a way of favouring some users over others, and is simply a way of allowing some of our older EU's to exist without doing away with years of hard work. As such, all universes made BEFORE January 30th, 2015 do not have to abide by these changes. Any articles or Expanded Universe projects made after this date that are not part of these older universes must follow our revised Canon policy.
Please note that this new policy is subject to change as it is discussed by the community; what you see above is most likely not the final version.
If you have any queries about this update in policy, feel free to make them here.
Amendment Suggestion: As discussed with Brodie, a possible exception could be created to allow for Expanded Universes to deviate from the established canon post-Halo 3, thereby allowing users to choose what canon aspects of the 343i era they wish to incorporate. Secondly, all articles created not within an established or personal EU, must adhere to both Bungie and 343i canon. Joshua (Talk) (Contribs) 01:26, January 18, 2015 (UTC)
What if we create articles that contradict the new canon. Well, we cant really predict what is going to happen anyway right? So lets say we create a blue weapon and canon states that the weapon is red, so does that mean we have to change our blue weapon and all its info we created to fit the canon of the red weapon, even though, we had no idea it was going to be red in the first place? This concept has happened to me several times.--Andromeda Vadum (talk) 11:30, January 18, 2015 (UTC)
In response to you Chak, no, I disagree highly. What you are suggesting is no change at all from what we've already had as unofficial site policy for 4 years now. It's time to end that and start anew: an all or nothing deal, as it were it. I cannot and will not support your suggestion.
And Andromeda, the situation you have suggested is no different from anything the Canon Policy has dealt with previously. Those were always the rules. Often, however, the changes needed are minor, can be explained away very simply, or have fallen into such a "couldn't predict this at the time" territory that we have chosen to leave as pseudo-AU material
I guess this was always going to be a difficult patch to deal with, seeing as not everyone can decide whether they are in favour of the current canon or not. That said I do agree with LOMI to a certain extent, if we are planning on making a change it shouldn't be a rewording of the current rules. Personally I'm in favour of the changes, the Halo Universe is expansive and deep enough to allow for a variety of events to happen without interfering with the true canon, just look at all the stuff we've done with the galaxies outlaws for a good example. And even if the current canon is patchy and in some places makes little sense it's still something we have to accept exists and will do so for as long as people are writing on Halo Fanon.
My main issue LOMI with the rules highlighted above is that it does not effect the older users with universes in anyway (myself included), I do not think that is a fair suggestion at all. My way, while not perfect, is not what is currently used, but an adaptation of the canon rules which are not broken, they just need a tweaking. It accepts everything already set above by Brodie, only it allows an exemption for Expanded Universes, with an option to adopt what canon they like. Joshua (Talk) (Contribs) 17:04, January 18, 2015 (UTC)
While I feel that an EU exemption is something we need to tread extremely lightly with, I would support it as long as we set specific criteria for what constitutes an "Expanded Universe." At the end of the day, I am most concerned with conserving the quality of articles on this site. I personally feel that we have been far too accommodating of people's dislike of 343i for far too long. That being said, I would rather have a canon policy that allows for some canon flexibility while ensuring the quality of the articles themselves.
Though we try our best to avoid bias, it is an undeniable fact that we have on occasion allowed older users to get away with ignoring or altering canon simply by virtue of their ability to justify it through their connections to the community. Meanwhile, new users are held to the full expectations of the canon policy. I don't think that said policy is or ever has been hard to follow, but again it is an indisputable fact that older users have an easier time finding workarounds than newer ones. With this in mind, I feel we should either institute Chak's amendment or remove any EU loopholes entirely, making it policy for all articles, regardless of age, to adhere to both Bungie and 343i canon.
@Echowaffle: The Alternate template has been far too easily abused in the past by people seeking to escape NCF tags or justify unrealistic things, and should only really be used for things such one-off stories or RP's. Having an entire universe with the template isn't allowed.
As Actene stated, the EU Exemption would be easily abused and used to manipulate the rules - Template:Alternate has served the same purpose in the past for various users. And as Actene also mentioned, we allow older users to get away with all manner of crazy ideas simply because we respect them and can justify them, while the newer users are driven off because we come down like a mighty hammer (not that some don't deserve it)
We need to draw a line in the sand. With this canon policy update, we'd allow everything we've made previously to exist only according to Bungie canon with optional 343i input. Probably we could just use an era icon or something like the previous "Template:Contradict" to denote the status of these articles. After all, it's only going to matter to those users that still remain active on the site.
After this point, we'd require everything new to follow all the new canon. And isn't that what we pride ourselves in? Our adherence to canon? Is that not what we are known for and use to set ourselves apart from users at FF.net or FanFictionHalo or any other fan site?
Perhaps I sound like too much of a stickler for the letter of the law here, but at this point I'm ready to get it over with or else we never will. No more excuses.
That still is exempting older users from rules. After discussions with Actene, I think EU should be exempt if we have a strict criterion to define what constitutes an Expanded Universe, secondly, we could have a place where people have to have their EUs approved. This eliminates the 'older user exemption' feeling this canon policy has. More than that, how many new EUs do we have being created? Very few. This way we allow for the older EUs to exist within canon. Frankly, the old arguments for such strict adherence to canon are completely obsolete. We have far more material to choose from, a change of developer and a culture that was created in the time gap between H3 and H4. Strict adherence to canon is not the way to go, we have the opportunity to move away from that (some what, not a dismantling of canon). Joshua (Talk) (Contribs) 19:28, January 18, 2015 (UTC)
I would count myself as a vote for new canon compliance being a requirement, despite that we all have our gripes with it, but the last thing I want is to grind work to a halt on users' EUs into which they've put a lot of work. To me, having this policy going forward doesn't seem like a prior user vs new user issue, but a respect for creations like the Swarm War or AAO or Necros because of the effort involved. When a new user comes in, wanting to disregard canon, we head them off before an extreme amount of work is put in that they're reticent to change, both because of the time they've already spent and their affinity for the ideas they've already come up with. I feel that, in part, is what caused the Task Force Bravo group's disagreement with us. They had an RP off of our site where we couldn't so easily keep an eye on it, and when they came to join us, didn't want to change events or ideas to fit our policies.
From the perspective of respecting effort put in, an evaluation of all the site's EUs sounds like a good idea. Not to judge whether it can exist, but to get a count of which ones are still active and want an exception, and which ones already fall in line with 343i info.
That wasn't my intention when I mentioned that evaluating EUs, but it works. It's more putting it in to allow for the existence of EUs that disregard post-Bungie canon. In theory it would allow new EUs to disregard post-H3 but because new universes are so rarely created and codified in the sense of my Res Publica or Brodie's Sigmaverse, or Matt's Swarmverse, that it's a policy that would rarely need enforcing. As well as that, I am definitely for making that all non-EU articles must adhere to all canon. We have to give the opportunity to new users to be on the same level as older users, even if it means creating a policy amendment that is rarely enforced. I'm more than willing to work on the 'what classifies an EU' with anyone who wishes to. Joshua (Talk) (Contribs) 22:15, January 18, 2015 (UTC)
I grant I haven't been very active on the site as of late, and with no truly accurate way of gauging how busy I am regularly or how busy I will be in the near or far future, I still don't quite have much of an idea as to when I'll be able to continue editing and adding as much content as I'd like to. To add my input, however, for what it's worth:
Way back when I was still in office and the Administrative Staff had members who have since moved on to other things, 343i was starting to introduce its new wave of canon in the wake of Bungie's departure, with no small amount of controversy among the fanbase. Though I cannot speak for the entirety of the Halo following considering that I am simply a man and not a god, I can say that the divisiveness of this new content did affect our userbase, and we were left wondering what to do considering there were a considerable number of users or potential users that ran the gamut from not taking kindly to 343i's retcons and new additions, to those who refused to accept it entirely. As such, we made the decision with no small amount of discussion and consideration to allow users to either allow 343i canon into their EUs, or exclude it entirely. This decision, in large part, took two primary things into consideration: that many users on the site had already written post-war content that conflicted with new additions, and that to change it all in the interest of conformity would not only be impractical, it would also run the risk of ruining or severely disrupting existing storylines or settings. Second, that the fanbase remained quite divided on the issue of 343i's canon not only among our editors but among the many Halo fans that constituted potential members as well. This, I feel, is important. It is true that allowing users to keep their existing EUs intact would resolve the first issue, but in the interest of fairness the second necessitates that we also give this choice to prospective members, lest they be turned away by the fact that they would have to conform with canon that they do not feel is in keeping with the spirit of the original setting. I know that I feel that 343i is taking Halo in the wrong direction, I know that many users on the site feel this way, and I know that many fans feel this way as well: such an imposition would only serve to turn away new members, when many prospective editors are already turned away by the current system of adherence to canon and reasonable realism that we proudly maintain to distinguish ourselves from other websites.
To put it briefly and in summary, to allow established users to ignore 343i canon, which I think we all agree is quite necessary, yet require that all new users adhere to 343i canon is simply not fair to the many potential users that feel 343i's Halo is not compatible with Bungie's, effectively denying them a good and friendly community in which to shape and grow their works. Respectfully, -- ARContactContributions
Here's some clarification from the admin team, just to clear some things up.
343i canon will not be retroactively enforced. That is to say, and articles made before the end of January won't be required to adherent to 343i canon (Obviously, they have to be adherent to Bungie canon). However, if edited after that date, they will need to be compliant to 343i canon. Simply put, old articles won't need to follow 343i canon, as long as they stay old.
Any EUs made before the end of January will not be required to match 343i canon, but again, must obviously adhere to Bungie canon. That is to say, any article that shares a category and/or an era icon. However, given that most EUs are old/inactive, this isn't much of an issue. This was put in place many of these EUs have a spectacular amount of effort put into them, and some are a part of the site's history, and correcting what would be made NCF by 343i canon would be a herculean task. Long story short, pre-existing EUs will not be required to match 343i canon, nor will they ever. However, if you start cherry picking parts of 343i canon, you'll be required to be canon complaint with all of 343i canon.
On the notion of opting in/out of 343i canon, or cherry picking parts of 343i canon. No. Halo Fanon has always been run on the basis of adherence to canon. This has acted as the greatest method of quality control when it comes to articles, and going forward into 343i next steps of the Halo franchise, it will continue to be. Choosing what little bits you want to be canon, and what you don't want to be canon, is a slap in the face to our rules and guidelines. Equally, simply choosing to ignore a part of the canon is equally as ridiculous.
The alternative template is not a viable alternative to 343i canon. The alt template is going to be undergoing some hefty changes in the next few weeks too, to limit its use to genuine alternative reality articles, instead of being a tool to subvert canon.
In all actuality, I doubt this change will actually affect much, if any one. We've set a deadline for non-343i canon compliance simply because retroactively enforcing it is both a dick move to users that are no longer here, and a herculean effort. Most of our new users have come with fresh experience of 343i's universe, and that's probably going to be the case going forward too. Adherence to canon has always been our golden rule on this site, and it will continue to be with 343i's universe.
With the deadline swiftly approaching, I'd just like to make a quick statement before the Administration begins to update the necessary pages over the next week or so. I'm well aware that a lot of people don't like what 343i did to the canon. There were also many people who thought that Bungie had ruined Halo's canon with Reach, or even as far back as Halo 3 giving them what they felt was an unsatisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Quite frankly, it's time that we just accept that Halo 4 happened and deal with it. Besides, for our older users with already-established universes they can continue as they were, or adapt said universes if they choose to do so.
Until now, the general timeline divergence point in the Haloverse has been 2553, coinciding with the end of Halo 3 and the Human-Covenant War. Since then the universe has moved to around 2558 or so and may move forward with new game, novel and comic releases. You think the Infinity is overpowered? Have it destroyed (with a damn good reason, mind,) in the 2560s. You don't like how the Spartan Branch is organized? Have a nice reformation a few years down the line. We're fanon writers, folks. This stuff should be clear as day to us. There's still plenty of untapped potential with future EU's that happen to obey the canon set down by 343 Industries AND have their own stuff going on at the same time. The site's got to move forward and get with the times. Most new users are going to arrive having experienced the more recent games, and are likely to simply follow site rules or leave, the same as we've had before with many others who were less than willing to abide by our website's policies. Contrary to what some of our users (mostly those who never edit regularly) have stated over the last few years, Halo Fanon is not dead. Far from it. We've got a decently steady stream of newer users coming in from time to time, and though it's only been a month so far I've got a feeling that 2015's going to be a good year for us.
Anyway, I'm typing this up while on a brief holiday, but when I return home in a couple of days I'll be sure to do everything I can to make this transition go by as easily as possible.