D&D General WotC: Novels & Non-5E Lore Are Officially Not Canon

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At a media press briefing last week, WotC's Jeremey Crawford clarified what is and is not canon for D&D.

"For many years, we in the Dungeons & Dragons RPG studio have considered things like D&D novels, D&D video games, D&D comic books, as wonderful expressions of D&D storytelling and D&D lore, but they are not canonical for the D&D roleplaying game."


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"If you’re looking for what’s official in the D&D roleplaying game, it’s what appears in the products for the roleplaying game. Basically, our stance is that if it has not appeared in a book since 2014, we don’t consider it canonical for the games."

2014 is the year that D&D 5th Edition launched.

He goes on to say that WotC takes inspiration from past lore and sometimes adds them into official lore.

Over the past five decades of D&D, there have been hundreds of novels, more than five editions of the game, about a hundred video games, and various other items such as comic books, and more. None of this is canon. Crawford explains that this is because they "don’t want DMs to feel that in order to run the game, they need to read a certain set of novels."

He cites the Dragonlance adventures, specifically.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

JEB

Legend
I don't think that I've done such a thing. I merely said that this gives an official stance of what argument is or isn't correct. Whether or not the other side accepts it doesn't matter. They're still wrong, and that matters.
Why?

I haven't been able to read up on that yet. Care to give an explanation of what your point here is?
Advise you check out the successor to this thread: D&D 5E - WotC Explains 'Canon' In More Detail

But the short version is:
  • only the core rules for 5E are confirmed to be canon (plus a few quiz answers, I suppose)
  • there's more canon beyond that for 5E, but it's not "public-facing", so the rest of the 5E lore is in question
  • Perkins indicated that they "think twice" about overriding well-established lore from older editions
 

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Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
For the purpose of the argument, at least. If one side is objectively in the wrong, it doesn't matter if they accept it as long as it's clear that they are. It's the same reason why it doesn't matter if I can convince a Flat-Earther that they're wrong by using logic and science, so long as I can show that I'm right to both myself and spectators.

Being right matters, even if the person/people you're arguing against don't accept it.
Advise you check out the successor to this thread: D&D 5E - WotC Explains 'Canon' In More Detail

But the short version is:
  • only the core rules for 5E are confirmed to be canon (plus a few quiz answers, I suppose)
  • there's more canon beyond that for 5E, but it's not "public-facing", so the rest of the 5E lore is in question
  • Perkins indicated that they "think twice" about overriding well-established lore from older editions
Thanks for the rundown. I've been a bit busy lately (in the middle of the move), so I hadn't been able to catch myself up until now.

I don't see how that counters anything I said.
 


Why?


Advise you check out the successor to this thread: D&D 5E - WotC Explains 'Canon' In More Detail

But the short version is:
  • only the core rules for 5E are confirmed to be canon (plus a few quiz answers, I suppose)
  • there's more canon beyond that for 5E, but it's not "public-facing", so the rest of the 5E lore is in question
  • Perkins indicated that they "think twice" about overriding well-established lore from older editions
What I took from the article is that wotc is not going to be prescriptive about lore (or rules) and lend their authority, such as it is, to DMs to define what they want to use. If players have a problem with a dm (either in terms of their interpretation of rules or lore), that's a problem to be resolved at that table and not by wotc (the sage advice thread is relevant here).

It's consistent with 5e being the "don't think about it too hard" edition. Think about acquisitions incorporated and dice camera action, if you are familiar. They bounce around adventure paths and campaign settings and don't seem to sweat the details on lore or rules consistency.
 

JEB

Legend
For the purpose of the argument, at least. If one side is objectively in the wrong, it doesn't matter if they accept it as long as it's clear that they are. It's the same reason why it doesn't matter if I can convince a Flat-Earther that they're wrong by using logic and science, so long as I can show that I'm right to both myself and spectators.

Being right matters, even if the person/people you're arguing against don't accept it.
I can see the objective value to winning an argument with a Flat-Earther, because folks believing that the world is flat has real-world implications. I'm not sure I see the objective value of winning an argument over what's canon in D&D...

Thanks for the rundown. I've been a bit busy lately (in the middle of the move), so I hadn't been able to catch myself up until now.

I don't see how that counters anything I said.
I'm loath to give ammunition to pedants, but I can think of a few loopholes:
  • You can't lean on any details outside the core rules to make a canon argument for 5E, because we don't officially know what's part of the non-public canon. For example, Wizards may have decided that SCAG isn't actually canon anymore, so anything it establishes about the Realms might not "count". You can reasonably argue that it's pretty unlikely not to be canon, since it's an official 5E product... but that little space of ambiguity prevents a clear "win".
  • If a piece of lore from older editions is well-established, and nothing in 5E explicitly contradicts it, how would you know that Wizards has overridden it? Maybe they thought twice and decided to keep it, and we simply don't know yet.
  • You can also interpret the "think twice" clause as "anything not explicitly contradicted by the current edition could still be true, until they decide otherwise". Which, again, prevents an easy "win".

About the only time, under this policy, where you can "win" a canon argument for sure, is when an established fact in the 5E core rules specifically contradicts an older edition. Anything else, officially, is uncertain. (Crawford's simpler version was actually better for folks who wanted to win arguments...)
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
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Chaosmancer

Legend
That's at least two posters now in this thread that assumed they knew what's going on inside my head. It's kind of interesting. Wrong, but interesting.

Not that it's any of your business, but for the record:

a) Yes, I do like D&D canon, because I think canon is fun; it helps a fictional setting feel more "real" to me, and also gives me a common starting frame of reference with other fans. However, I can happily play in a "non-canon" game, because the only canon that matters at the table is what that DM decides.

b) I'm not particularly afraid of getting the lore wrong, though it is true that I like to work within it, because it's a fun exercise to me. Of course, I'll also happily subvert lore, and I'm a big fan of "that was just one story; there are many others". (The 5E gnoll backstory is just Yeenoghu-cultist propaganda in my games, for example.) If I do get lore "wrong", then oh well, guess my campaign just diverged, no big deal.

c) No, I don't require canon to remain immutable; I'm quite content with retcons, probably thanks to being raised on superhero comics. Erasing things from canon without an explanation is annoying, because it messes with verisimilitude, but sometimes that's just how it has to be; besides, you can always make up your own answer if you must. Obviously, I'll also be disappointed if a retcon removes something I really liked, but that has nothing to do with accuracy to canon.

d) I've never believed my knowledge of canon held me above others, and I've openly criticized folks in this thread who would use canon as a bludgeon to ruin the fun of other players. If someone can't stand playing in a canon-inaccurate game, find another game, don't try to ruin the fun of other players who don't share your obsession.

The point I'm trying to make with all the above? Don't assume that there's only one way to engage with canon, nor that there's only one outcome to being a fan of canon. Everyone is different.

I'm sorry you feel I misrepresented you, but I will direct you to the following quotes:

- Only Wizards themselves knows what the "real" canon for 5E is.
- For those fans who liked the idea of an official canon, and want to know what is actually "true" for 5E.
- is a sort of quantum canon, possibly "true" or "false" for any given product, and not to be relied on.
- So what is "true" now may not be (and probably won't be) true for the rest of 5E.


Four times, in three paragraphs, you talk about "true", "false" and "real". Combining that with Max's post about not being "led astray" paints a picture. Perhaps you don't really care that much if you are using canon or not. Perhaps you don't really care that much whether or not canon changes.

But as a point where I was answering "what do I see as the problem with the single canon model" this is it. This language is it. You aren't trying to bludgeon people with canon... but you are very insistent that there is a "true" version and a "false" version of the lore. Maybe the only canon that matters is what the DM decides.... but the DM has to choose between the "true" version and the "false" version. Maybe it doesn't matter that the campaign diverges.... but you mentally mark that boundary, where you went from the "true" version, to the "false" version.

And this perception adds up. Even if you don't actively attack people with Canon, there is this pressure. This point that people should know that these things are true and real, and those other things are false and fake. And if it truly didn't matter... then you wouldn't even bother to ask the question.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Dude. You're waaaaaaaaaay overthinking what I said. All that sentence meant was that it was a safe assumption to make. It didn't imply that anything was wrong, or bad, or involved any kind of fear, or...

The above is nothing like what I said or meant.

Max, you have made it very clear to me that you are always very careful with your words. Time and Time and Time and Time and Time and Time again.

Why is it a "safe" assumption? What danger is there in not using canon lore except the "danger" of... not being canonical?

You, who have always told me how utterly careful and precise your use of language is, are talking about "being led astray" of "safe assumptions". How are we supposed to read that and not feel like there is some sort of fear or danger involved? If I told someone that "I'm safe in my house" I am implying there is a danger. If I talk to someone and I tell them "that is a safe assumption" then I am saying that is an assumption that avoids being wrong. That is what that turn of phrase means.

The language you are using gives this impression that not following canon or thinking you are following canon but not actually following it, carries a danger of being wrong. Which... is sort of the problem with the "there is only a single canon" model.
 



Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
I can see the objective value to winning an argument with a Flat-Earther, because folks believing that the world is flat has real-world implications. I'm not sure I see the objective value of winning an argument over what's canon in D&D...
How is there a difference there? Flat Earthers aren't doing anything inherently harmful by believing that the Earth is flat. Sure, they're denying reality, but that's just as inherently harmful as someone that insists that the Dragonlance novels are canon in 5e now are after this statement by Jeremy Crawford. Yes, they're different situations, and yes, there are different possible outcomes from both situations, however, they're both denying reality.

IMO, making it clear that your side is reality is important in almost all situations.
I'm loath to give ammunition to pedants, but I can think of a few loopholes:
  • You can't lean on any details outside the core rules to make a canon argument for 5E, because we don't officially know what's part of the non-public canon. For example, Wizards may have decided that SCAG isn't actually canon anymore, so anything it establishes about the Realms might not "count". You can reasonably argue that it's pretty unlikely not to be canon, since it's an official 5E product... but that little space of ambiguity prevents a clear "win".
It's pretty simple. It's canon as officially published until it's not anymore. The SCAG version of the Bladesinger was canon until Tasha's came out, when that became canon, both through reprints and errata.

That doesn't seem like a loophole to me.
  • If a piece of lore from older editions is well-established, and nothing in 5E explicitly contradicts it, how would you know that Wizards has overridden it? Maybe they thought twice and decided to keep it, and we simply don't know yet.
They override it when they publish something that overrides it. If something was well-established in previous editions, and it hasn't been contradicted yet, that neither means that it is or isn't canon. It's just more likely to become canon (or considered to be made canon by WotC) in future official 5e products.

Again, not a loophole. A bit more complicated and harder to wrap your head around, but it's not a loophole or contradiction.
  • You can also interpret the "think twice" clause as "anything not explicitly contradicted by the current edition could still be true, until they decide otherwise". Which, again, prevents an easy "win".
It could be true, but isn't true unless WotC officially says it is (which they specified would be in 5e products).
About the only time, under this policy, where you can "win" a canon argument for sure, is when an established fact in the 5E core rules specifically contradicts an older edition. Anything else, officially, is uncertain. (Crawford's simpler version was actually better for folks who wanted to win arguments...)
Sure, it makes things more complicated, but I don't see any loopholes or contradictions here. It just clarifies things a bit.
 

JEB

Legend
How is there a difference there? Flat Earthers aren't doing anything inherently harmful by believing that the Earth is flat.
Folks suggesting that scientists are making up the Earth being round (or worse conspiracy theories) is a little more of an issue than, say, insisting that the Drizzt novels are canon. But that's getting off-topic.

It's pretty simple. It's canon as officially published until it's not anymore.
Where in the policy do they say that? They don't say anything that clearly defines the place in "official" canon for 5E books beyond the core; they certainly don't adjudicate contradictions or updates to 5E lore.

They override it when they publish something that overrides it. If something was well-established in previous editions, and it hasn't been contradicted yet, that neither means that it is or isn't canon. It's just more likely to become canon (or considered to be made canon by WotC) in future official 5e products.
Right, as I said, if you have something in a core rulebook that directly contradicts older-edition lore, you're in the clear. But an argument that relies on anything else has room for litigation.

It could be true, but isn't true unless WotC officially says it is (which they specified would be in 5e products).
1) Your "it isn't true until they say it is" could be your opponent's "it isn't false until they say it is". They don't know what's in unannounced 5E canon, but neither do you. (Unless you have some spies within Wizards.)

2) When did the policy specify that any 5E products outside the core rules were canon? It may be implied, but it's definitely not stated. (Possibly on purpose - one reason I mentioned SCAG is that some fans think it's an unfavorite of Wizards, and a future Realms setting book could overwrite it.)

To be clear, your arguments all seem reasonable to me... I'm just trying to demonstrate how this 5E canon policy doesn't give you a quick, easy win against folks bringing up older-edition canon in a debate. Outside of stuff defined in the core rules, it could easily turn into a stalemate, if the other side is determined enough.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I'm looking at it in terms of stories because you can't have a "body of lore" without some sort of story. You can't even have history without some sort of story. Those elements are vital unless we are talking something purely instructional like a "how to build a shelf" guide. And I would say there is likely no body of canonical lore that is largely made up of instructional manuals on how to do something.

But, let me break down your definition again. "which is that it's a particular realm of imagination which is conceptually grounded where an authority defines what is and is not part of the body of lore."

"Particular realm of imagination" = story
"conceptually grounded" = that you don't control
"what is and is not part of the body of lore" = Authority over what is true and what is false.
You're overlooking what I mentioned before, where there are instances where the authoritative definition conflicts with something else that's also been authoritatively defined. In which case, there's a conflict of information as to what's canon. In that case a reconciliation is necessary. Hence, the definitional aspect (or rather, an understanding of it) is also required. That's an issue that's separate and beyond the issue of an authoritative designation unto itself, since it runs up against the issue of a defined area of understanding with regard to what is and is not part of the conceptual framework.

But this ignores the question that I put forward earlier, which is that even if we were to grant the idea that only an authority over what is an is not canon - which, you'll notice, is distinct from "what's true and what's false" - why is that something you object to? That's really the heart of the discussion, insofar as what I can understand you're investigating, and so I think that should be what we turn our attention towards.
I actually have a pretty easy example of this, of why I find it to be insidious and what I think this does. I will also address your point of "people using it wrong doesn't make it wrong" as part of this. Early in the other thread, I saved these two posts. I'm going to cut a lot of the first one to make it easier to highlight the language I'm looking at.
I'm somewhat dubious with regard to using posts by other people from a different discussion, here. While I won't go so far as to say that it's quoting out of context (simply because I haven't read the other thread, so I don't know what the context is), I don't think it should be overlooked that both of the individuals you're quoting promptly showed up in this thread to say that you misunderstood them. It's an example of why we're (you and I) are better off sticking to speaking for ourselves than anyone else. To that end, I'm going to jump to the next part, where we bring the discussion back around to us.
And I know you want this to be about what is "grounded", what is immutable... but that isn't the case. Because both these people have been using this lore, and that lore has not changed. Not a single thing has been published that contradicts a single word from the Lore of last week. What has changed is that they are no longer certain it is "true" that they may be "led astray" by false lore.

And, this is consistently the position of everyone who has been upset by the change. You say you don't really care one way or the other, the people who do care? Who are saying they care? This is their position again and again and again. "We need to know what is true. We need to make sure we aren't using the wrong lore"
I'm of the opinion that you're misrepresenting the people who care about what's canon and what's not, here. Leaving aside the individuals you quoted saying that you didn't represent them correctly, the entire point of engaging with canon as a mode is because you want to have that particular conceptual area be clearly defined in a way that's external to yourself. Without that, there's no reason to make a distinction between fanfiction and "official" lore, for instance, and a lot of people are making it clear that, for them, that impinges on that particular mode of engagement. They don't "need" to know what is true, they "want" to, because that definition (and again, I think using "true" connotes a value judgment that isn't part of this) is part of the draw. Without canon, the entire mode of engagement collapses, and that's something that the people who enjoy that aren't happy about (which is different from being unhappy about the way a particular canon develops, I'll note).
Which begs the question... wrong in what way? How does it make a difference if the Mayor of Baldur's Gate is a human or a half-elf or a Genasi? What is wrong with any of those options? Only that one is "true" and the others are "false" and they need to make sure they know the "truth". Not even that they are using it. Maxperson has said that he often goes through canon and takes what he wants and doesn't use the rest. This isn't about what he is using... he needs to know the truth. He needs to not be "led astray" by the false lore. To the point that he has started talking in the other thread about the "hidden canon" that WoTC is using, but not telling players about. That there is a secret truth, that only those people "in the know" know about.

And this is what canon does as it is currently understood and defined. This is what the position of "there is only one canon" inevitably seems to lead too. People who vehemently know "The Truth", that have the special status granted by being right. That are secure in that status because it isn't just their opinion that they are right, but that the outside, authoritative agency has said they are right, and that this is truly the truth. And thus, they prove that they are the most diligent and true fans. Because they invested the time in making sure they know the true truth of the work.

That is why I find the model of a single canon insidious, because there is no avoiding this phenomena. If there is only one truth, then there will be people who seek to use that to hold themselves above others. That is why I prefer viewing canon as a multiplicity. There isn't a single truth, there are as many truths as there are versions.
I think we've come to the heart of the discussion here. While I certainly won't deny that there are fans who use what's canon and what's not as a bludgeon, I don't think this is something that's inherent to the nature of canon (as I've defined it) unto itself. Rather, I think that it's a misapplication, one that's as overstated as saying that "lore doesn't matter, because you can always change it in your home game." Modes of engagement are separate and distinct from each other, but they're also lacking in any sort of inherent value beyond what each individual finds personally worthwhile.

To say that "there is no avoiding" people who act like knowledge of canon gives them some sort of "special status" - and that therefore the entire concept is somehow corrupt - strikes me as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I can tell you from my personal experience that I've had more negative experiences with people mocking the entire concept of canon, and by extension, everyone who enjoys it. While I won't go so far as to quote any particular individuals here, you don't have to look outside of this thread to find people jeering both the idea and its supporters.

To put it another way, the point you've raised isn't specific to canon; it's about people mistaking a mode of engagement for some sort of qualitative justification for saying that what other people enjoy is "badwrongfun." That strikes me as the real insidiousness; to the extent that "canon" is used as a bludgeons in this regard, I think it would help cut down on that if we (by which I mean fandom as a whole) had a better understanding of what canon is (and thus, what it's not).
However, in practical concerns, this means that you give the ability to define the truth to the person with the largest pocketbook. The "true" version of spider-man isn't the version the most people like, or the version that the most people are aware of, but the version determined by the person who spent the most money.

Yes, IP's change hands all the time, and that is something that will always be the case (well, unless a miracle happens in regards to copyright law) but just because someone can be the official version, doesn't mean we also have to give them the key to being the only "correct" version.
I'll note that this doesn't mean that the "ability to define the truth" (which I'll say again strikes me as an overwrought way of defining the authoritative aspect involved in canon; being able to declare what is and isn't part of a world of imagination isn't something I'd call "true") goes to the person with the largest pocketbook. For one thing, the original owner has to be willing to sell, and sell to the person with the most money, which doesn't always necessarily happen. That's just harder to cite examples of because we need to point to all of the times something doesn't occur, which naturally presents problems.

Now, eventually, IPs recognized as popular (and profitable) will change hands over a long enough timeline, and so likely end up in the hands of larger corporations as things are bought by larger and larger corporate entities. But that still seems like a vague nod to the idea that there's something wrong with certain groups being the externalized authority that defines the areas of a particular canon. That doesn't really speak to the nature of canon unto itself.
And yet, you have made that distinction. The state of mind does matter, because it determines which things are derivative and which are canon. But it seems that you are thinking about this in terms of IP law, which starts getting a bit murky in certain areas.

Also, IP law specifically goes against your view of a single canon, because it allows for Public Domain, which is giving the canon authority to multiple people.
The distinction between something that's taking thematic inspiration from something else (or using the same general idea without using the same particular implementation of that idea) isn't a matter of IP law specifically; it's just that IP law concerns itself with that question a great deal. In this case, you're also bringing up that issue, but we can make the same recognition that IP law does (i.e. that there's a difference between using something particular to a canon work and using your own take on a particular idea) without necessarily getting into a legal discussion.
Why? Why can we not simply assume that an enclosed body of work contains within it its own canon? Why do I need to ask if Elementary or BBC's Sherlock are fanfiction, non-canon or canon? Why can they not simply be canon for their own body of work?
"Why" is a question that's going to be personal to each individual involved. You don't "need to ask" anything with regard to what's canon or what's not. If you don't care about that particular mode of engagement, there's no value judgment involved in that. While you might run into people who try to frame the discussion in that regard, you're not under any impetus to do so, anymore than someone saying that admiring the technical skill of a statue of a historical individual necessarily means you therefore agree with everything that individual did in their lifetime; it's a different mode of engagement (in that case, technical skill vs. historicity).
I fundamentally disagree. It is entirely possible to write a fanfiction that requires no knowledge of the canon to be fully understood. The authors of these works make sure that there is nothing that needs you to know canon to understand. I'd think about "Darth and Droids" or "The DM of the Rings". Neither have any need for you to understand the canon to understand the work itself. Or at least, no more than you would need if you were encountering Star Wars or LoTR for the first time.
I likewise disagree. While it's certainly possible that a fanfiction author will go out of their way to present definitions regarding the canon elements that they're drawing upon, I'm of the opinion that the totality of the work is so great that any such presentations are all but guaranteed to miss out on some particular aspect of the canon presentation. Now, the important thing to remember here is that doing so might not matter with regard to how those canon aspects are presented in the fanfiction itself; they might serve the context of the story just fine. But it strikes me as a stretch to say that any particular overview, in that regard, is going to inform your understanding of those elements just as much as engaging with (the entirety of) the canon would.
I disagree.
So, to be clear, you think that it is possible to reach objectively-correct conclusions about a person's state of mind, without having them explain themselves and/or disregarding any explanations that they make in that regard?
But canon is given more weight simply because it is canon. Even if it is worse. And that lends itself to ignoring anything that isn't canon, because it is only canon that matters.
It's given more "weight" in regard to that mode of engagement, because that's the mode by which the material is being engaged with. If you think that Venus Callipyge is hot, you're not going to care about the statue's being referenced in the Deipnosophists, and will likely resent any implications that that particular mode of engagement is somehow qualitatively superior to your own.
I can't rewrite "Of Darth and Droids". Control of that story is external to me. Equally external to me as the movie "A New Hope."

This value of externality is not what makes something canon or not. Every piece of literature you ever read, unless you wrote it yourself, is external to you and unalterable by you.
It's externality without the authority - or rather, without full authoritative governance over the entirety of what's being referenced - however. I've mentioned that before: that the understanding of the canon material being referenced is subject to change if the canon is subsequently understood in a new way. That's a potential which might never be realized, certainly, but potentiality in that regard is a conceptual aspect, which is something that can't be dismissed lightly with regards to the conceptual frameworks (i.e. realms of imagination) which we're discussing.
To a degree. By saying there can only ever be a single true authority over any given space, you necessarily devalue the authority of anyone else who is working in that space and making their own versions.

Every author and creator has authority over their own work. Readers can never change that work, only ever make different versions that are then theirs. Trying to say that there is then only one "true" authority, lessens the others.
It's not that you're "devaluing" their authority, it's that you're pointing out the self-evident truth that they have no authority in that particular conceptual sphere.

At this point, I feel it's worthwhile to point out that there are different understandings of our use of the word "authority" - notice once again the limitations of the verbiage involved - in this part of the discussion. An author, including one of fanfiction, has "authority" over their work in terms of determining the course of the narrative. They don't have authority to determine what's canon with regards to the elements of the canon work that they borrow, nor the understanding of those canon aspects.

You seem to keep missing this point, and I'm not sure how better to explain it.

A setting is a setting. Whether I set my story in New York or Skairn doesn't matter in whether or not it is the setting of the story. Marvel has canon that deals directly with New York. They have declared (canonically) what is true about their version of New York. At the same time, TMNT has canon about New York. And they have declared (canonically) what is true about their versions of New York (they've made a few different ones).

But, you seem to be of the opinion that a setting that is based on the real place of New York is different that a setting that is purely fictional. Because you are saying that there can only be one canonical version of Equestria (which isn't even true)
I don't believe I am missing the point; rather, I'm simply disagreeing with you. I believe that it's taken as a given (to use a turn of phrase) that fictional depictions of parts of the real world are different from depictions of places that are fictional in their entirety, at least insofar as saying that the former do not necessarily share anything of substance (insofar as defining their respective conceptual frameworks) beyond the understanding of "this depiction of a real place necessarily includes everything taken to be true about that place (at the time it's depicted), unless and until the events of this particular imaginary world make alterations."
So, you want to declare that settings based in the real world are fundamentally different from settings that are not. But, this causes issues.

For example, the Bubble Gum Kingdom from Adventure time seems entirely made-up... but it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that used to be "the real world". It is still Earth and a place on Earth, just a different version. The exact same if we decided to take New York from "I am Legend" which features a post-apocalyptic version of the city. (and has two canon versions)
Except it's not the "exact same." Quite the contrary, I think that anyone can look at the settings of "I am Legend" and "Adventure Time" and see that they're quite obviously different. Which is sort of the point: taking an aspect of the real world - or even merely inspiration from it - doesn't mean that two canons which make use of those necessarily feature any sort of conceptual overlap. Insofar as I'm aware, no one is saying that "I am Legend" is canon to "Adventure Time" or vice versa.
I'd say I'm familiar enough with it. I know that the two versions are heavily distinct, owned by the same company, and feature many of the same characters and setting. I declare that they are two different canons. Two different versions of the same concept.

You say that one must be canon (and true) and the other non-canon (and false). That you wish to study them to figure out which is which is your own perogative, but I don't see the value in making that determination. What value do you gain from this, except to make sure that you know "the right version" of the story?
The value would be the entertainment gained from doing so unto itself. Which, again, I think goes to the fundamental heart of what's being discussed. If we say that there's no wrong way to play D&D so long as everyone is enjoying themselves, then that same merit should be writ large with regards to various modes of engagement with media. People who enjoy canon (for whatever reason) shouldn't bash people who don't care about it, and the people who don't care about it shouldn't mock the people who do.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You're overlooking what I mentioned before, where there are instances where the authoritative definition conflicts with something else that's also been authoritatively defined. In which case, there's a conflict of information as to what's canon. In that case a reconciliation is necessary. Hence, the definitional aspect (or rather, an understanding of it) is also required. That's an issue that's separate and beyond the issue of an authoritative designation unto itself, since it runs up against the issue of a defined area of understanding with regard to what is and is not part of the conceptual framework.

But this ignores the question that I put forward earlier, which is that even if we were to grant the idea that only an authority over what is an is not canon - which, you'll notice, is distinct from "what's true and what's false" - why is that something you object to? That's really the heart of the discussion, insofar as what I can understand you're investigating, and so I think that should be what we turn our attention towards.

I think I get into the second part later, but let us look towards the first part. Because, you want to make this not about True vs False, but this is exactly where that definitional aspect leads.

Why is it important that if an authority says to contradicting things that a reconciliation is needed? Because both things cannot be true. Therefore one must be false or there is a lack of information which when revealed allows both things to be true. And we are right back at the core issue. Canon is about an authority telling you what is true and what is not. And in a single canon viewpoint, that is compounded and inescapable.

I'm somewhat dubious with regard to using posts by other people from a different discussion, here. While I won't go so far as to say that it's quoting out of context (simply because I haven't read the other thread, so I don't know what the context is), I don't think it should be overlooked that both of the individuals you're quoting promptly showed up in this thread to say that you misunderstood them. It's an example of why we're (you and I) are better off sticking to speaking for ourselves than anyone else. To that end, I'm going to jump to the next part, where we bring the discussion back around to us.

The context is this exact discussion, only Perkins blog post instead of Crawford's comment.


I'm of the opinion that you're misrepresenting the people who care about what's canon and what's not, here. Leaving aside the individuals you quoted saying that you didn't represent them correctly, the entire point of engaging with canon as a mode is because you want to have that particular conceptual area be clearly defined in a way that's external to yourself. Without that, there's no reason to make a distinction between fanfiction and "official" lore, for instance, and a lot of people are making it clear that, for them, that impinges on that particular mode of engagement. They don't "need" to know what is true, they "want" to, because that definition (and again, I think using "true" connotes a value judgment that isn't part of this) is part of the draw. Without canon, the entire mode of engagement collapses, and that's something that the people who enjoy that aren't happy about (which is different from being unhappy about the way a particular canon develops, I'll note).

I obviously don't think I've misrepresented their words. And if you checked into the quotes, you'd see one was a direct response to the other, and the context is this same discussion, just from a different thread.

I also don't see how them "wanting" to know what is "true" is any different. Perhaps they don't have a need for it, but there is a clear imperative, and it still strikes to the same root. One version is true, and one version is false. And they want to engage with the true version.

And again, I am baffled by this concept that somehow Fanfiction doesn't check all the same boxes. When Timothy Zahn wrote "Star Wars: The Last Command" in 2011 he was writing a novel based off an existing universe, bound by things that he could not change and were out of his control. His readers couldn't alter the book if they wanted to, it existed externally from him. Lucasfilms said it was canon... and then a few years later, Disney said it wasn't. The only difference between him writing that story, and Alraune7096 writing a fanfic about She-Ra is that outside authority finding it and saying "yes, I accept this".

Both stories are external and unalterable by the reader. Both stories are based in existing properties. Both are currently considered Noncanon. But, a few years ago, one of them was canon. The only difference, was that an authority recognized one and not the other. It gave it the weight of "true canon" and then took it away. And if Disney decided to reverse that decision, or someone bought Star Wars and reversed that decision, then Last Command is once more "True Canon" and usable to understand the world of Star Wars... which is currently can't be because Disney has said no.

And yet... people in 2011 did use it to understand Star Wars, and there is no reason I can't reject Disney's assertion and decide that I want to use this book to help understand Star Wars. Well, except, then I wouldn't be following "the true, single canon"

I think we've come to the heart of the discussion here. While I certainly won't deny that there are fans who use what's canon and what's not as a bludgeon, I don't think this is something that's inherent to the nature of canon (as I've defined it) unto itself. Rather, I think that it's a misapplication, one that's as overstated as saying that "lore doesn't matter, because you can always change it in your home game." Modes of engagement are separate and distinct from each other, but they're also lacking in any sort of inherent value beyond what each individual finds personally worthwhile.

To say that "there is no avoiding" people who act like knowledge of canon gives them some sort of "special status" - and that therefore the entire concept is somehow corrupt - strikes me as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I can tell you from my personal experience that I've had more negative experiences with people mocking the entire concept of canon, and by extension, everyone who enjoys it. While I won't go so far as to quote any particular individuals here, you don't have to look outside of this thread to find people jeering both the idea and its supporters.

To put it another way, the point you've raised isn't specific to canon; it's about people mistaking a mode of engagement for some sort of qualitative justification for saying that what other people enjoy is "badwrongfun." That strikes me as the real insidiousness; to the extent that "canon" is used as a bludgeons in this regard, I think it would help cut down on that if we (by which I mean fandom as a whole) had a better understanding of what canon is (and thus, what it's not).

I'll note that this doesn't mean that the "ability to define the truth" (which I'll say again strikes me as an overwrought way of defining the authoritative aspect involved in canon; being able to declare what is and isn't part of a world of imagination isn't something I'd call "true") goes to the person with the largest pocketbook. For one thing, the original owner has to be willing to sell, and sell to the person with the most money, which doesn't always necessarily happen. That's just harder to cite examples of because we need to point to all of the times something doesn't occur, which naturally presents problems.

Now, eventually, IPs recognized as popular (and profitable) will change hands over a long enough timeline, and so likely end up in the hands of larger corporations as things are bought by larger and larger corporate entities. But that still seems like a vague nod to the idea that there's something wrong with certain groups being the externalized authority that defines the areas of a particular canon. That doesn't really speak to the nature of canon unto itself.

The problem is that the nature of canon is explicitly tied to this idea of "the truth" especially when you say that there is only a single version of canon for any property. You can quibble and say "true for this fictional world" if you really want to, but the idea is still the same. Canon represents the "real version" the "true version"

Opening up canon, to allow for multiple canons based on the author, continuity, and context would eliminate that. But, when Perkins suggested such for DnD, canon fans immediately declared that it was the death of canon, that now that everything is canon, nothing is canon, and none of it matters. And this happens pretty continuously. People defend the idea that there is a single true version, and that that is their version that they follow, and anything outside of that version is by necessity less important.

"Why" is a question that's going to be personal to each individual involved. You don't "need to ask" anything with regard to what's canon or what's not. If you don't care about that particular mode of engagement, there's no value judgment involved in that. While you might run into people who try to frame the discussion in that regard, you're not under any impetus to do so, anymore than someone saying that admiring the technical skill of a statue of a historical individual necessarily means you therefore agree with everything that individual did in their lifetime; it's a different mode of engagement (in that case, technical skill vs. historicity).

But this "mode of engagement" is literally in defining whether or not the work is "true" or not. To take your statue example, it would be like someone going to view the Venus Callipyge, and there being a lot of people who are incredibly concerned with whether or not the statue really was associated with the Temple Aphrodite Kallipygos at Syracuse.

And you might say "well, that's fine, what does it matter to you if they care about that." But, it always carries to the next step, that if it isn't associated with that Temple, then it shouldn't be on display. Or they may say that only the recreations of the statue by Jean-Jacques Clérion should be in the museum, and the versions by François Barois don't count as "real" versions of the Venus Callipyge. Or they may be insisting that none of these versions count, that only the original Greek statue that we've never seen and we only think may exist is the one true version, and we should dedicate our efforts to finding it to replace all of these "false" versions.

These are things that I have actually seen people say about "canon works". That if they aren't associated with the correct brand, they shouldn't be considered. That if they were made by the wrong author, then they shouldn't be canon. If there is even a hint of a "hidden canon" they want nothing more than to uncover it to replace all other versions. This is a direct result of saying there is only a single canon, and that canon is the authoritative truth.

I likewise disagree. While it's certainly possible that a fanfiction author will go out of their way to present definitions regarding the canon elements that they're drawing upon, I'm of the opinion that the totality of the work is so great that any such presentations are all but guaranteed to miss out on some particular aspect of the canon presentation. Now, the important thing to remember here is that doing so might not matter with regard to how those canon aspects are presented in the fanfiction itself; they might serve the context of the story just fine. But it strikes me as a stretch to say that any particular overview, in that regard, is going to inform your understanding of those elements just as much as engaging with (the entirety of) the canon would.

That is a strange concept. "Oliver Twist" is not a terribly long work. I believe it would be quite easy to present a significant amount of the canon of that work in a fan sequel. Or at least, the same amount of material that would be present in a "canon" sequel. And it is actually still a much longer work than "The Velveteen Rabbit" which is only 42 pages.

Or, is this an indication that you feel that canon only applies to works of a certain size? This is something I've noticed, by the way. Discussions of "canon" only seem to come up in regards to large IPs that have had multiple versions of them. We never bother with the question of "what is canon for Oliver Twist" but we do care about what is canon for Marvel Comics which has multiple dozens of different stories, events, timelines, movies and games. It is only when "knowing the real version" becomes difficult, that it becomes important to speak about "canon" and what it is and isn't. Actually, it really is also determined by the "importance" of the material to a certain community as well. I googled "Junie B. Jones Canon" and got... nothing. The closest to a conversation was someone saying that she is canonically autistic. And it wasn't even a discussion, just an image and the title. Maybe if I dug I could find something, or maybe if I went to a different property like "The Magic Treehouse" but the discussion of what is or isn't canon for these works, or for something like Matilda that was made into a movie... never really happens. While if I googled "Marvel Canon" I get dozens of articles, definitions on wiki's, theories about is this canon, is that canon, will this be canon, how are they ignoring canon.

This "mode of engagement" only seems to apply to a very small number of IPs, in a very small section of communities.... and seems to be solely for the purpose of separating "the truth" from "the falsehoods"

So, to be clear, you think that it is possible to reach objectively-correct conclusions about a person's state of mind, without having them explain themselves and/or disregarding any explanations that they make in that regard?

I believe it is possible to have correct conclusions about what a person has said, and what that likely means without having them explain themselves. If we couldn't, it would certainly make history and Language Arts far harder subjects of study.

It's externality without the authority - or rather, without full authoritative governance over the entirety of what's being referenced - however. I've mentioned that before: that the understanding of the canon material being referenced is subject to change if the canon is subsequently understood in a new way. That's a potential which might never be realized, certainly, but potentiality in that regard is a conceptual aspect, which is something that can't be dismissed lightly with regards to the conceptual frameworks (i.e. realms of imagination) which we're discussing.

But, as I pointed out, this is entirely true for canonical works too. For example, the entire idea of the "white savior" trope is because of a fundamental change in how we understand and interact with certain works that depict a "civilized" individual "saving" a group of "savages". This was an incredibly common narrative back in the day, and many many works engaged in it. And now that topic is understood in a new way, and that changes how we understand those canon works.

There is no qualitative difference, unless you are speaking exclusively about a spin-off work being written at the same time as an original work is still being made.

It's not that you're "devaluing" their authority, it's that you're pointing out the self-evident truth that they have no authority in that particular conceptual sphere.

At this point, I feel it's worthwhile to point out that there are different understandings of our use of the word "authority" - notice once again the limitations of the verbiage involved - in this part of the discussion. An author, including one of fanfiction, has "authority" over their work in terms of determining the course of the narrative. They don't have authority to determine what's canon with regards to the elements of the canon work that they borrow, nor the understanding of those canon aspects.

Or, put a different way, one author doesn't have the authority to define the work of another author.

Eichiro Oda is the writer for One Piece, and one of the big mysteries of the setting is what is the treasure One Piece and what is the significance of D. If I write a story that answers these questions, and Oda finally reveals his plan.... Oda has no authority to tell me that my version of the story needs to be changed or understood differently. Just as I have no authority to tell Oda that same thing.

However, you want to say that one of us should be considered "more true" than the other. Now, this is threading a needle a bit, because I'm talking about an Author and their original work, and in regards to one of the primary mysteries of their setting. Clearly, I wouldn't try and say my version was Oda's original intention. But, there is this disconnect where it seems my own work wouldn't be able to be seen as anything except an inferior version of Oda's. And this is where I struggle with this insistence on a single canon. Why is my work, no matter what it is, lesser? We certainly don't consider the work of Brian Michael Bendis (a writer for spider-man) to be automatically lesser than Steve Ditko's (one of the Creators of Spider-Man) yet he certainly is just writing based off the work of another author.

But, a company decided that he was allowed to write "canon" so its okay?

Except it's not the "exact same." Quite the contrary, I think that anyone can look at the settings of "I am Legend" and "Adventure Time" and see that they're quite obviously different. Which is sort of the point: taking an aspect of the real world - or even merely inspiration from it - doesn't mean that two canons which make use of those necessarily feature any sort of conceptual overlap. Insofar as I'm aware, no one is saying that "I am Legend" is canon to "Adventure Time" or vice versa.

Exactly. So they can use the same "real world space" and not overlap in canon. So why if two works are using the same "fictional world space" must they overlap in canon?

The value would be the entertainment gained from doing so unto itself. Which, again, I think goes to the fundamental heart of what's being discussed. If we say that there's no wrong way to play D&D so long as everyone is enjoying themselves, then that same merit should be writ large with regards to various modes of engagement with media. People who enjoy canon (for whatever reason) shouldn't bash people who don't care about it, and the people who don't care about it shouldn't mock the people who do.

I'm all for no one mokcing someone for the things they like, but the point I've tried to get across time and again is that "canon" carries with it a qualitative element. It is about the "true" version, and as such, it immediately gives rise (even if only slightly) to judgement over other works.

And you can't seperate this element of "trueness" from canon as long as you stick to a single canon paradigm.
 

The unacknowledged thing (well, perhaps, I haven't read all 82(!) pages of this thread to find out for sure) is that earlier editions of D&D had plenty of people who were fans and buying books despite not playing much (or, at all). This coupled with a robust novel release for many of the settings basically encouraged a subset of the fandom being "setting-fans" rather than hardcore players. Dragonlance rapidly became one of these settings (lots of people buying the setting products to gain a deeper appreciation of novels, think about the most iconic Dragonlance characters, are they better known for their appearances in novels or sourcebooks?) but even Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Eberron, Spelljammer and the other settings sold novels.

With the demise of the novel lines I guess WoTC feels this group is not a measurable part of their customer base now and they don't have to cater to them.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I think I get into the second part later, but let us look towards the first part. Because, you want to make this not about True vs False, but this is exactly where that definitional aspect leads.
No, I remain convinced that saying definitional authority necessarily leads to "true vs. false" is a misstatement of the issue, though even if that were correct (and it's not) it wouldn't then lend itself to any sort of conclusion along the likes of "therefore, it has value beyond other modes of engagement."
Why is it important that if an authority says to contradicting things that a reconciliation is needed? Because both things cannot be true. Therefore one must be false or there is a lack of information which when revealed allows both things to be true. And we are right back at the core issue. Canon is about an authority telling you what is true and what is not. And in a single canon viewpoint, that is compounded and inescapable.
First of all, that's overlooking the definitional aspect of what's there. It's not enough that there's an authority making a declaration. There also needs to be an understanding that the declaration creates definition, hence why something canon that's conflicting with something canon therefore creates an issue where the understanding is impinged. Authority alone, in other words, isn't enough.

But this gets back to what I was pointing out before, which is in fact your core issue rather than the core issue. You're fixated on the idea that because an authority is being exercised, that this necessarily gives something greater qualitative value. Can you back up why that is? Because so far, you haven't actually supported this particular view. All you've put forward is that other people tend to misunderstand that, and use it as a bludgeon with regard to putting down other modes of engagement, which isn't actually an indictment of canon itself. When something is being misused outside of its intended purpose, that's not a compelling reason for the thing to be discarded (particularly since discarding it wouldn't seem to stop the tribalism which you seem to be really indicting).
The context is this exact discussion, only Perkins blog post instead of Crawford's comment.
No, the context was another thread, regarding a different development on this topic. Or rather, the context was the discussion in that particular thread, in which both of the posters you quoted presumably said quite a bit more than what you quoted here. More notable is that both then showed up in this thread to say that you'd misrepresented them.
I obviously don't think I've misrepresented their words. And if you checked into the quotes, you'd see one was a direct response to the other, and the context is this same discussion, just from a different thread.
Except that's up to them to determine, and both have said otherwise. Given that they're the ones being quoted, I'm of the persuasion that I should presume they're more correct when it comes to their own words.
I also don't see how them "wanting" to know what is "true" is any different. Perhaps they don't have a need for it, but there is a clear imperative, and it still strikes to the same root. One version is true, and one version is false. And they want to engage with the true version.
Again, you're misstating this by framing it as an issue of "true vs. false." The reason for that is a work of imagination has no independent existence with which to verify its truth; an authority gets to define the particulars of the concept, but that doesn't imbue it with any sort of objective existence (to use a loaded term; begin the countdown until this thread starts getting into Descartes and solipsism), it simply means that the labile nature of that particular work is held in suspension for everyone (other than the authority) who engages with it.

Leaving that aside, however, let me ask you something: can it be the case that you want canon to be an issue of "true vs. false" because you're of the opinion that it makes canon necessarily contain a value judgment which indicts non-canon works? Because that seems to be the conclusion you've decided you want to reach, and are attempting to frame all discussion on the subject toward that.

If so, there's no agreement to be had here, since I disagree with A) the idea that "canon" connotes "truth" and with B) that "truth" necessarily connotes value (in this particular context).
And again, I am baffled by this concept that somehow Fanfiction doesn't check all the same boxes. When Timothy Zahn wrote "Star Wars: The Last Command" in 2011 he was writing a novel based off an existing universe, bound by things that he could not change and were out of his control. His readers couldn't alter the book if they wanted to, it existed externally from him. Lucasfilms said it was canon... and then a few years later, Disney said it wasn't. The only difference between him writing that story, and Alraune7096 writing a fanfic about She-Ra is that outside authority finding it and saying "yes, I accept this".

Both stories are external and unalterable by the reader. Both stories are based in existing properties. Both are currently considered Noncanon. But, a few years ago, one of them was canon. The only difference, was that an authority recognized one and not the other. It gave it the weight of "true canon" and then took it away. And if Disney decided to reverse that decision, or someone bought Star Wars and reversed that decision, then Last Command is once more "True Canon" and usable to understand the world of Star Wars... which is currently can't be because Disney has said no.

And yet... people in 2011 did use it to understand Star Wars, and there is no reason I can't reject Disney's assertion and decide that I want to use this book to help understand Star Wars. Well, except, then I wouldn't be following "the true, single canon"
I'm honestly having trouble comprehending what point you're making here. Having something non-canon be unable to provide greater definition to a particular work of canon borders on being tautological. The entire point of the mode of engagement with regard to canon is to understand the canon, to partake of an imaginary realm that is grounded in a manner that's external to one's self, having been defined (in terms of how things are in that conceptual framework) by an authority who isn't you (in the general sense of the word "you"). I've stated that many times now.

You say that fanfiction has all of the same properties, and yet you previously admitted that it lacked the property of authoritative declaration (which you're fixed on for what seems like the aforementioned reason of it necessarily connoting a value judgment). By that token alone, when a canon work is declared no longer canon, then it doesn't lend itself to that particular mode of engagement any longer. Or are you actually suggesting that not just any but every work of fanfiction - for every imaginary world - necessarily informs the reader about the "true" (to use your term) nature of said world?

Because if not, then how do you decide which works offer greater insight into those worlds and which do not? How do you find any common ground with others who might not have read the same fanfics as you? Does someone who's read a story which has a wildly different take on the characters, plot, and world-building elements to the point where they no longer resemble the original work have any particular expectation of that being the "true" state of the conceptual framework involved? Or is there a recognition that such works don't occupy the same mode of engagement as the canon material?
The problem is that the nature of canon is explicitly tied to this idea of "the truth" especially when you say that there is only a single version of canon for any property. You can quibble and say "true for this fictional world" if you really want to, but the idea is still the same. Canon represents the "real version" the "true version"
Except that's an easy problem to solve, since "canon" is not tied - explicitly or otherwise - to the idea of "the truth." Canon is simply a designation, one that carries a definitional connotation for what lies within a particular mode of engagement. Saying that it somehow has some sort of inherent quality of being more "true" than other such modes is not only false, but opens the door to misunderstanding that truth connotes a judgment of value.

You've previously put forward that you don't like the idea of using "canon is true, so it's better than non-canon material." So why argue in favor of that interpretation now? I'm a fan of what's canon (and also a fan of what's not) for the various series that I enjoy, and I'm telling you that's not the case. Do you not believe me?
Opening up canon, to allow for multiple canons based on the author, continuity, and context would eliminate that. But, when Perkins suggested such for DnD, canon fans immediately declared that it was the death of canon, that now that everything is canon, nothing is canon, and none of it matters. And this happens pretty continuously. People defend the idea that there is a single true version, and that that is their version that they follow, and anything outside of that version is by necessity less important.
Much like with the two individuals who say you misrepresented them before, I don't think you're correctly representing the beliefs of canon fans now. I'd say it's better that we stick to talking about ourselves in this discussion to avoid similar problems occurring. To that end, I can tell you that as a canon fan, I didn't like this announcement - which I'll note doesn't mean not recognizing that WotC had the authority to make it - because it fractures what was previously a greatly-defined area of imagination, impinging on the mode of engagement.
But this "mode of engagement" is literally in defining whether or not the work is "true" or not. To take your statue example, it would be like someone going to view the Venus Callipyge, and there being a lot of people who are incredibly concerned with whether or not the statue really was associated with the Temple Aphrodite Kallipygos at Syracuse.
Except that's not what the mode of engagement is. To continue with your extension of my example, suppose that a lot of people were concerned with the statue's association with that particular temple. That's in no way an impingement on someone who appreciates it for the technical skill it took to sculpt it in the first place. Which feeds into what comes next...
And you might say "well, that's fine, what does it matter to you if they care about that." But, it always carries to the next step, that if it isn't associated with that Temple, then it shouldn't be on display. Or they may say that only the recreations of the statue by Jean-Jacques Clérion should be in the museum, and the versions by François Barois don't count as "real" versions of the Venus Callipyge. Or they may be insisting that none of these versions count, that only the original Greek statue that we've never seen and we only think may exist is the one true version, and we should dedicate our efforts to finding it to replace all of these "false" versions.

These are things that I have actually seen people say about "canon works". That if they aren't associated with the correct brand, they shouldn't be considered. That if they were made by the wrong author, then they shouldn't be canon. If there is even a hint of a "hidden canon" they want nothing more than to uncover it to replace all other versions. This is a direct result of saying there is only a single canon, and that canon is the authoritative truth.
This is a slippery slope argument, which while not necessarily a fallacy, is still predicated on the idea that A = B, which means that B will equal C, and that C will equal D, all the way down to Z, which is bad. In other words, you're extending the debate beyond what's actually under discussion.

Ultimately, from what I can tell based on what you're saying, you seem to want to discard the entire idea of canon because it's intrinsically based on the idea that other modes of engagement are somehow qualitatively inferior to it. Your basis for this is that you've seen people (mis)use it that way. This despite my saying that not only is that not the case, but also pointing out how canon is an entertaining and informative mode of engagement for those who enjoy it.

This sounds a lot like saying that hammers are intrinsically harmful, because while some people use them to build houses, other people can sometimes use them to knock down your house. Ergo, hammers are bad (and we should start looking for ways to get rid of hammers altogether). Do you agree?
That is a strange concept. "Oliver Twist" is not a terribly long work. I believe it would be quite easy to present a significant amount of the canon of that work in a fan sequel. Or at least, the same amount of material that would be present in a "canon" sequel. And it is actually still a much longer work than "The Velveteen Rabbit" which is only 42 pages.
You misunderstood what I was saying here. It's that any restatement of something is going to miss out on crucial context that's innately going to be found in the original presentation. Like with a game of telephone, the original message is distorted as it's presented over and over again. Regardless of length, the restatement of something won't present the same material in the same context in the same manner as you'd get from partaking of the original work. Ergo, the understanding is going to be different; how different is always going to be up in the air, but the difference in understanding will still be there (especially if the work is presented in a different medium from the original, often compounding the issue).
Or, is this an indication that you feel that canon only applies to works of a certain size? This is something I've noticed, by the way. Discussions of "canon" only seem to come up in regards to large IPs that have had multiple versions of them. We never bother with the question of "what is canon for Oliver Twist" but we do care about what is canon for Marvel Comics which has multiple dozens of different stories, events, timelines, movies and games. It is only when "knowing the real version" becomes difficult, that it becomes important to speak about "canon" and what it is and isn't. Actually, it really is also determined by the "importance" of the material to a certain community as well. I googled "Junie B. Jones Canon" and got... nothing. The closest to a conversation was someone saying that she is canonically autistic. And it wasn't even a discussion, just an image and the title. Maybe if I dug I could find something, or maybe if I went to a different property like "The Magic Treehouse" but the discussion of what is or isn't canon for these works, or for something like Matilda that was made into a movie... never really happens. While if I googled "Marvel Canon" I get dozens of articles, definitions on wiki's, theories about is this canon, is that canon, will this be canon, how are they ignoring canon.

This "mode of engagement" only seems to apply to a very small number of IPs, in a very small section of communities.... and seems to be solely for the purpose of separating "the truth" from "the falsehoods"
See above for issues related to the size of the work, i.e. that's not relevant. The reason I think this tends to come up with regard to larger bodies of lore has to do with the what I mentioned before, since it's largely an issue whereby greater definition tends to feed the imagination more. Ergo, the particulars of that canon's definition are often queried, indexed, catalogued, and analyzed because that helps to keep straight the large amount of material so that it can be better put to use by way of engaging with it, and thus enjoying it. A shorter work doesn't really require that since it's short enough that you can keep all of the relevant details straight without needing any further analysis. All of which is orthogonal to the points regarding what canon is and if it's good or bad (or rather, why good and bad aren't really issues at all).
I believe it is possible to have correct conclusions about what a person has said, and what that likely means without having them explain themselves. If we couldn't, it would certainly make history and Language Arts far harder subjects of study.
How can you be certain that your conclusions are correct if the person isn't there to verify them, though? What if they tell you flat-out that your conclusions are wrong? Both @JEB and @Maxperson said that you didn't correctly present their positions; are you calling them liars?
But, as I pointed out, this is entirely true for canonical works too. For example, the entire idea of the "white savior" trope is because of a fundamental change in how we understand and interact with certain works that depict a "civilized" individual "saving" a group of "savages". This was an incredibly common narrative back in the day, and many many works engaged in it. And now that topic is understood in a new way, and that changes how we understand those canon works.

There is no qualitative difference, unless you are speaking exclusively about a spin-off work being written at the same time as an original work is still being made.
The identification of tropes isn't an issue of canon, however; at the risk of turning this into an instance where we start quoting dictionary entries to each other (which is always the death knell of any conversation on the Internet) a trope is a convention which makes use of a particular stereotype, convention, motif, etc. Canon is an issue of specifics, hence why the use of a laser sword in one canon doesn't imply that any sort of utilization of the lightsabers from Star Wars.

The issue of a particular work of fanfiction being understood differently if the canon it draws from changes is with regard to it making use of (specific) elements of that canon which the readers are presumed to be familiar with. Now, as noted above, it can try and restate those elements, but a restatement will in some way be different than the original statement. More notably, if the canon is subsequently understood in a different way because the governing authority introduces a change, then that will affect how those same elements are understood in a work of fanfiction.
Or, put a different way, one author doesn't have the authority to define the work of another author.

Eichiro Oda is the writer for One Piece, and one of the big mysteries of the setting is what is the treasure One Piece and what is the significance of D. If I write a story that answers these questions, and Oda finally reveals his plan.... Oda has no authority to tell me that my version of the story needs to be changed or understood differently. Just as I have no authority to tell Oda that same thing.
It's not an issue of (in your example) Oda telling you that your story needs to be understood differently. It's that the readers would understand it differently because the reference that it draws upon has subsequently become different in the source material (e.g. its nature wasn't known before, but is now).
However, you want to say that one of us should be considered "more true" than the other. Now, this is threading a needle a bit, because I'm talking about an Author and their original work, and in regards to one of the primary mysteries of their setting. Clearly, I wouldn't try and say my version was Oda's original intention. But, there is this disconnect where it seems my own work wouldn't be able to be seen as anything except an inferior version of Oda's. And this is where I struggle with this insistence on a single canon. Why is my work, no matter what it is, lesser? We certainly don't consider the work of Brian Michael Bendis (a writer for spider-man) to be automatically lesser than Steve Ditko's (one of the Creators of Spider-Man) yet he certainly is just writing based off the work of another author.

But, a company decided that he was allowed to write "canon" so its okay?
Again, there's no "should" going on here. I'm in no way making a value judgment; I'm saying because the fanfiction draws upon elements of canon, it's understood with regard to the context of the canon, and that subsequent changes will necessarily alter that context. No one is introducing an issue of inferiority here except you.

I feel the need to restate this, as I'm of the opinion that it gets to the core of the issue here. Canon contains no inherent indictment of non-canon works, and any use of it in that regard is a misapplication of the entire mode of engagement.

I'll go one step further. While I've said previously that I don't think it's worthwhile to speak for anyone else, I'll suspend that now: as someone who believes that canon is a worthwhile mode of engagement, I apologize to you on behalf of all canon fans for anytime someone attacked, mocked, belittled, or otherwise denigrated a non-canon work that you enjoyed by comparing it unfavorably to the canon work. Those people were wrong. No one should be told that the thing they like is inferior to what someone else likes.
Exactly. So they can use the same "real world space" and not overlap in canon. So why if two works are using the same "fictional world space" must they overlap in canon?
In the case of "I am Legend" and "Adventure Time," I don't believe they were using the same fictional space, if I'm understanding you correctly.
I'm all for no one mokcing someone for the things they like, but the point I've tried to get across time and again is that "canon" carries with it a qualitative element. It is about the "true" version, and as such, it immediately gives rise (even if only slightly) to judgement over other works.

And you can't seperate this element of "trueness" from canon as long as you stick to a single canon paradigm.
I disagree. I think that's demonstrably false, and that simply charting out a defined, immutable area of conceptual space, with the recognition of a governing authority that gets to make that definition, does not have any sort of qualitative value judgment. Some people might have presented it that way, but that's incorrect. Authority is not truth, and "truth" (with regards to elements of imagination) is not "better."
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The unacknowledged thing (well, perhaps, I haven't read all 82(!) pages of this thread to find out for sure) is that earlier editions of D&D had plenty of people who were fans and buying books despite not playing much (or, at all). This coupled with a robust novel release for many of the settings basically encouraged a subset of the fandom being "setting-fans" rather than hardcore players. Dragonlance rapidly became one of these settings (lots of people buying the setting products to gain a deeper appreciation of novels, think about the most iconic Dragonlance characters, are they better known for their appearances in novels or sourcebooks?) but even Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Eberron, Spelljammer and the other settings sold novels.

With the demise of the novel lines I guess WoTC feels this group is not a measurable part of their customer base now and they don't have to cater to them.

I mean... if you were a fan of DnD novels and the not the game... and they aren't making novels anymore.... kind of yeah? I mean, if marvel stops making movies I don't think they are neccessarily going to cater to fans who only watched the movies
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
No, I remain convinced that saying definitional authority necessarily leads to "true vs. false" is a misstatement of the issue, though even if that were correct (and it's not) it wouldn't then lend itself to any sort of conclusion along the likes of "therefore, it has value beyond other modes of engagement."


First of all, that's overlooking the definitional aspect of what's there. It's not enough that there's an authority making a declaration. There also needs to be an understanding that the declaration creates definition, hence why something canon that's conflicting with something canon therefore creates an issue where the understanding is impinged. Authority alone, in other words, isn't enough.

But this gets back to what I was pointing out before, which is in fact your core issue rather than the core issue. You're fixated on the idea that because an authority is being exercised, that this necessarily gives something greater qualitative value. Can you back up why that is? Because so far, you haven't actually supported this particular view. All you've put forward is that other people tend to misunderstand that, and use it as a bludgeon with regard to putting down other modes of engagement, which isn't actually an indictment of canon itself. When something is being misused outside of its intended purpose, that's not a compelling reason for the thing to be discarded (particularly since discarding it wouldn't seem to stop the tribalism which you seem to be really indicting).

The definitional authority is the authority to say what is part of the definition. That is defining truth.

If your paradigm leads to pointing out that only a single version is "true" then you are placing it above other versions that are not true.

Understanding is impinged because two conflicting things cannot be true. If I say the Red's best pitcher is a red haired individual, and the Red's best pitcher is a woman, then there is no conflict. Because both can be true. If I say the Red's Best Pitcher is a red-haired individual and that the Red's Best Pitcher is a black-haired individual, then there is conflict, because both things cannot be true. Unless I add clarification that allows it to be true.

No, the context was another thread, regarding a different development on this topic. Or rather, the context was the discussion in that particular thread, in which both of the posters you quoted presumably said quite a bit more than what you quoted here. More notable is that both then showed up in this thread to say that you'd misrepresented them.

And I responded to them to explain why I said what I said. And yes, I did admit to cutting some of one of the posts, but you could trivially click on a name and read the entire post to make sure what I cut wasn't vital (it wasn't).

You have complete access to the entire context. And nothing I posted required anything more than what you understood from this thread.

Again, you're misstating this by framing it as an issue of "true vs. false." The reason for that is a work of imagination has no independent existence with which to verify its truth; an authority gets to define the particulars of the concept, but that doesn't imbue it with any sort of objective existence (to use a loaded term; begin the countdown until this thread starts getting into Descartes and solipsism), it simply means that the labile nature of that particular work is held in suspension for everyone (other than the authority) who engages with it.

Leaving that aside, however, let me ask you something: can it be the case that you want canon to be an issue of "true vs. false" because you're of the opinion that it makes canon necessarily contain a value judgment which indicts non-canon works? Because that seems to be the conclusion you've decided you want to reach, and are attempting to frame all discussion on the subject toward that.

If so, there's no agreement to be had here, since I disagree with A) the idea that "canon" connotes "truth" and with B) that "truth" necessarily connotes value (in this particular context).

And yet every discussion of canon is grounded in the idea of truth. Your definitions are grounded in the idea of truth, just in a different phrasing.

It doesn't matter if it is a fictional work which can only be understood to be true via an authority, or something in the physical world (much of which can only be understood to be true via an authority who has claimed evidence to support that authority) the idea is still the same. By making "canon" you are making the "real and true version" of a thing. You can say that is because they have defined the boundaries that are understood to be part of the conceptual framework of a fictional universe if it makes you feel better, but it is still claiming a truth.

I can even show you via something like this. Here is the definition of "canon" from the wiki for TinTin

Canon is a word used to describe a fixed collection of text. In Tintin Wiki, canon refers to the following:


  1. Latest of published Works by Herge
  2. Information from earlier published works by Herge if not contradicted by later works
  3. Information from Herge, from interviews, notes, diaries as long as it does not contradict a higher source, unless it is correcting a higher source
  4. Information from films, TV series etc based on Herge's works, made with the permission of Herge or his agents or executors can be considered canon as long as it does not contradict a higher source

Overall guideline (from Wiki Guidelines "Though this wiki is for all Tintin media, the comics take priority. While information can be added about movies, television and video games, information about the comics always comes first."

On the opposite end of the spectrum from canon is fan fiction, which consists of information, stories and supposition that has been created by fans but which are not actually addressed in any of the canonical sources listed above. Presenting supposition, conjecture or extrapolation as fact on Tintin Wiki would be considered as vandalism. Conjecture can be marked within an article by adding the tag "{{conjecture}}".

Note how it says that opposite of canon is fanfiction, and presenting fanfiction as "fact" will be considered Vandalism. And here is one for Marvel

Canon​


In the context of fiction, the canon of a fictional universe comprises those novels, stories, films, etc. that are considered to be genuine (or "official"), and those events, characters, settings, etc. that are considered to have inarguable existence within the fictional universe. Usually items that are considered canon come from the original source of the fictional universe while non-canon material comes from adaptations or unofficial items. In layman's terms, one could basically say that something that is canon is something that "actually happened" in that universe.

Most, but not all, comic books published by Marvel Comics are set in a shared world known as the Marvel Universe. The canon for this world comprises all the comics not stated to be set in an alternate reality, except those specifically contradicted by later stories. The events may not have occurred exactly as shown, however, owing to the floating timeline (for instance, during the 1960s, Ben Grimm said he had fought in the World War II alongisde Nick Fury; during the 2000s, Grimm himself considered that the idea of him fighting in the World War II was ridiculous, as he would be much older).

Alternate universes in Marvel Comics include, for example, the "Ultimate" line of Marvel comics, which have their own canon independent of the core Marvel universe.

Note the bold and underlined point. Canon is something that "actually happened". It is a true event. No discussion of what would be done with theories and fanfiction, but I assume they would be removed and not allowed on the wiki at all. Because they are not true.


I'm honestly having trouble comprehending what point you're making here. Having something non-canon be unable to provide greater definition to a particular work of canon borders on being tautological. The entire point of the mode of engagement with regard to canon is to understand the canon, to partake of an imaginary realm that is grounded in a manner that's external to one's self, having been defined (in terms of how things are in that conceptual framework) by an authority who isn't you (in the general sense of the word "you"). I've stated that many times now.

You say that fanfiction has all of the same properties, and yet you previously admitted that it lacked the property of authoritative declaration (which you're fixed on for what seems like the aforementioned reason of it necessarily connoting a value judgment). By that token alone, when a canon work is declared no longer canon, then it doesn't lend itself to that particular mode of engagement any longer. Or are you actually suggesting that not just any but every work of fanfiction - for every imaginary world - necessarily informs the reader about the "true" (to use your term) nature of said world?

Because if not, then how do you decide which works offer greater insight into those worlds and which do not? How do you find any common ground with others who might not have read the same fanfics as you? Does someone who's read a story which has a wildly different take on the characters, plot, and world-building elements to the point where they no longer resemble the original work have any particular expectation of that being the "true" state of the conceptual framework involved? Or is there a recognition that such works don't occupy the same mode of engagement as the canon material?

You are right. Fanfiction only lacks a "real authority" who legally owns the IP and copyright of the product. That is all it lacks.

Last Command was canon, then it wasn't. Nothing about the work, nothing about the research, nothing about the author's understanding of the material at the time changed. All that changed was a new owner decided they didn't want it to be canon anymore. Last Command holds no qualities today that an internet fanfiction doesn't hold, and if tomorrow Disney announced it is canon again... then it only gained that singular quality of being recognized by the legal IP holder.

If you are asking me "how do I decide if a work offers me greater insight into the world written by the original author", well, one of the things I would look for is the original author. This is not a consideration of canon, because canon is quite often written by people who are not the original author. I've read pokemon fanfiction that deals seriously with the concepts of having living beings fighting and being owned. Those are not "canon" I do think they offer some insight into how a setting like that would truly function, and since it is not how the official version functions, then I can assume that there is a difference between them That is an insight.

How do I find common ground with people who have not read the material I have read? I talk to them about the things we have read together, and then build from there. The same way I would talk to someone who watched the canonical Michael Bay Transformer Movies, but never watched the Canonical cartoon series.

How would someone react to a version that is wildly different from the original? By placing it in its own "canon" from the original work. Just like someone can read Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man (both of which are canonical) deals with them being wildly different takes and worlds. I'm curious, do you think that reading a canon Spider-Man story is a different mode of canon engagement if the Spider-Man is Peter Parker instead of Miles Morales? Both are canon, and engaged in Canon, but are wildly different takes on the character of Spider-Man. As was Miguel O'Hara.

These things are the same within a large enough canonical structure as they are outside of it. So, why is applying the same structures, engagements and logic that I apply to have a dozen different versions of Spider-Man any different than that a 13th version that isn't Marvel Approved?

Except that's an easy problem to solve, since "canon" is not tied - explicitly or otherwise - to the idea of "the truth." Canon is simply a designation, one that carries a definitional connotation for what lies within a particular mode of engagement. Saying that it somehow has some sort of inherent quality of being more "true" than other such modes is not only false, but opens the door to misunderstanding that truth connotes a judgment of value.

You've previously put forward that you don't like the idea of using "canon is true, so it's better than non-canon material." So why argue in favor of that interpretation now? I'm a fan of what's canon (and also a fan of what's not) for the various series that I enjoy, and I'm telling you that's not the case. Do you not believe me?

Easy, you've misunderstood what I didn't like. I don't like saying it is true, so it is better. Canon material is not better than non-canonical material, by defintion (it can actually be better in terms of quality, but not definitionally). I also believe you can enjoy both.

But you define what is spider-man by what is canon for Spider-Man. You, whether you use the terminology or not, are deciding that one version of events is "true" and the other is not. There is no other way to talk about "defining" something other than seperating what is true about that thing from what is false about that thing. Part of defining an apple is saying that an apple does not have legs. Therefore an apple with legs is false, because definitionally, apples do not have legs. It is the same process for defining anything.

Much like with the two individuals who say you misrepresented them before, I don't think you're correctly representing the beliefs of canon fans now. I'd say it's better that we stick to talking about ourselves in this discussion to avoid similar problems occurring. To that end, I can tell you that as a canon fan, I didn't like this announcement - which I'll note doesn't mean not recognizing that WotC had the authority to make it - because it fractures what was previously a greatly-defined area of imagination, impinging on the mode of engagement.

I could quote Max saying multiple times that "Everything is canon, so nothing is canon" but fine.

You say it was fractured, but I say that nothing fractured that was not already fractured. And nothing changed except that the stamp of WoTC approval was removed. That fractures nothing, unless you are concerned about what is "true" about the setting so you can accurately discuss it with others. Which you can still do. I can discuss non-canon work with others, and have done so repeatedly.

This is a slippery slope argument, which while not necessarily a fallacy, is still predicated on the idea that A = B, which means that B will equal C, and that C will equal D, all the way down to Z, which is bad. In other words, you're extending the debate beyond what's actually under discussion.

Ultimately, from what I can tell based on what you're saying, you seem to want to discard the entire idea of canon because it's intrinsically based on the idea that other modes of engagement are somehow qualitatively inferior to it. Your basis for this is that you've seen people (mis)use it that way. This despite my saying that not only is that not the case, but also pointing out how canon is an entertaining and informative mode of engagement for those who enjoy it.

This sounds a lot like saying that hammers are intrinsically harmful, because while some people use them to build houses, other people can sometimes use them to knock down your house. Ergo, hammers are bad (and we should start looking for ways to get rid of hammers altogether). Do you agree?

No. I want to expand the definition of "canon" to be closer to "continuity". To allow their to be multiple canons for a world without people having to define the "one true canon" of the world.

We already do this. You can already accept that Nolan's Batman films have a different Canon than the Justice League, which has a different Canon than the DC Animated Universe. We already utilize this model within canon works. This is why people started breaking up the various "worlds" of DC and Marvel. All I am saying is extend that. Allow a fanfic to contain its own canon, under the authority of the fanfic author. Then, whether or not a company or IP holder accepts a work isn't a question of truth or falsness, but just a preference for which set of canon they prefer to utilize.

You misunderstood what I was saying here. It's that any restatement of something is going to miss out on crucial context that's innately going to be found in the original presentation. Like with a game of telephone, the original message is distorted as it's presented over and over again. Regardless of length, the restatement of something won't present the same material in the same context in the same manner as you'd get from partaking of the original work. Ergo, the understanding is going to be different; how different is always going to be up in the air, but the difference in understanding will still be there (especially if the work is presented in a different medium from the original, often compounding the issue).

Sure, but this happens all the time anyways. There is no more crucial context being lost in making a fanfic Oliver Twist novel than there is when Jim Butcher releases the 19th novel of the Dresden Files. You can say "no, because I read all 18 previous books" but then... well you just need to read the original Oliver Twist. There is no difference between the two.

And trust me, there has been some major changes in understanding and context from book 1 to book 18. That is natural as the story progresses.

See above for issues related to the size of the work, i.e. that's not relevant. The reason I think this tends to come up with regard to larger bodies of lore has to do with the what I mentioned before, since it's largely an issue whereby greater definition tends to feed the imagination more. Ergo, the particulars of that canon's definition are often queried, indexed, catalogued, and analyzed because that helps to keep straight the large amount of material so that it can be better put to use by way of engaging with it, and thus enjoying it. A shorter work doesn't really require that since it's short enough that you can keep all of the relevant details straight without needing any further analysis. All of which is orthogonal to the points regarding what canon is and if it's good or bad (or rather, why good and bad aren't really issues at all).

It is interesting though that you ignored my further point. No one discusses the canon of Junie B. Jones. There is no major in-depth indexing, cataloguing and analysis of the material. And yet, it is a world, with characters, defined by a single author. It matches every single aspect of a single true canon... and yet that mode of engagement doesn't appear to apply to this body of work. And it is quite decently big, 28 books I do believe.

Can you think of why a book series like Harry Potter with only seven books (you can count them as 14 if you want, since they are quite large) has major discussions about canon, but a series longer (or just as long if you want to count them as shorter and reduce them to 14) has no discussions about canon at all? If it was simply a "mode of engagement" then shouldn't it appear in multiple places? I can certainly find discussions of other aspects of modes of engagement, such as technical skill, for many many IPs that have no discussion of Canon at all. Including not only ones like Junie B Jones, but also The Jetsons.

The identification of tropes isn't an issue of canon, however; at the risk of turning this into an instance where we start quoting dictionary entries to each other (which is always the death knell of any conversation on the Internet) a trope is a convention which makes use of a particular stereotype, convention, motif, etc. Canon is an issue of specifics, hence why the use of a laser sword in one canon doesn't imply that any sort of utilization of the lightsabers from Star Wars.

The issue of a particular work of fanfiction being understood differently if the canon it draws from changes is with regard to it making use of (specific) elements of that canon which the readers are presumed to be familiar with. Now, as noted above, it can try and restate those elements, but a restatement will in some way be different than the original statement. More notably, if the canon is subsequently understood in a different way because the governing authority introduces a change, then that will affect how those same elements are understood in a work of fanfiction.

I know tropes are different. My point was that that particular trope came up because a change in an element of the story the read is presumed to be familair with was changed, and that element is now understood in a different way.

This is IDENTICAL to the issue you say Fanfiction has, except that the change was introduced in a cultural shift instead of by a singular authority.

And a canon character can also be changed and understood differently in past works due to a new revelation in the present work. And if the present work was written by a different author, then it is the exact same situation. See Luke Skywalker in the Rise of Skywalker compared to the Return of the Jedi. A character, canonically seen very differently because of a new work by a new author than a previous work made them out to be.

Again, you are not proposing anything that cannot happen within a canonical work as the reason for this difference. The same things can happen to both types of work.

It's not an issue of (in your example) Oda telling you that your story needs to be understood differently. It's that the readers would understand it differently because the reference that it draws upon has subsequently become different in the source material (e.g. its nature wasn't known before, but is now).

No. Because my readers should know that I am not Oda. If they thought I was, then that is a very different problem.

I'll go one step further. While I've said previously that I don't think it's worthwhile to speak for anyone else, I'll suspend that now: as someone who believes that canon is a worthwhile mode of engagement, I apologize to you on behalf of all canon fans for anytime someone attacked, mocked, belittled, or otherwise denigrated a non-canon work that you enjoyed by comparing it unfavorably to the canon work. Those people were wrong. No one should be told that the thing they like is inferior to what someone else likes.

Thank you for the gesture.

In the case of "I am Legend" and "Adventure Time," I don't believe they were using the same fictional space, if I'm understanding you correctly.

Don't they? Both take place on a post-apocalyptic Earth. That is as equally large and vague of a setting as Equestria or the Planet Eternia. It is actually even more specific, because I could add "post-apocalyptic" to either of those settings.

We can have multiple hundreds of canonical earths, but only one canon Eternia?
 

Hello there. I'm a younger player. I have every single official D&D 5e book, two of the official box sets (Stranger Things and the Essentials Kit), as well as 5 of Kobold Press's 5e books, 200ish minis (nowhere near 1,000, but still no cheap feat), Four of the D&D board games (Dungeon of the Mad Mage, Princes of the Apocalypse, Legends of Drizzt, and the Wrath of Ashardalon), and hundreds of fantasy and Sci-Fi novels (no graphic novels, but that's largely irrelevant).

I also know plenty other younger players that spend money in similar ways to me. Whenever we get paid (yes, we have jobs), we spend it on D&D stuff.

Furthermore, the vast majority of Critical Role's fanbase is of younger players. Look at any of CR's Kickstarters, or self-published books/games, or any of their other merchandise's sales.

Younger players buy sh*t. We buy a lot of it, too.
Yes, yes. You and many other younger players have bought a lot of stuff. Far outpacing anyone older. The trajectory is clear, you will give WotC, no matter what they do, your money. Us older people are tightwads that never support any Kickstarters, because, you know, we're so technologically inept and not hip enough. In fact, we might break a hip trying to sit down. ;)

In seriousness Acererak, it is a different world than when they did the study of older people not spending money and younger people unloading their checks. I have no doubt, there are fervent gameplayers like you that do spend a lot of money. You, and others like you, definitely help support the boost in sales WotC has seen. I concede that. I was speaking in generalities. And I am going to speak in them again because we do not have the numbers of who buys what. But I know this, the amount of money most older people (say 40+) have to spend on their hobby exceeds the 20 year old in college, the 25 year old starting their first job and developing romantic relationships, the 30 year old trying to buy their first home, or the 35 year old having their first child. Most 50 year old players I know don't even blink at dropping a hundred dollars because the roof we bought last week was $14,000.

I am not disparaging the effects younger people have on the economy of roleplaying. They have, given their numbers, just as much an effect as older people. But per person, I doubt the average is comparable.

PS - I am open to being wrong on this. No problem with it really. In fact, it would make me have optimism that the hobby won't crash again. But, for that, numbers from a reliable source are the only way to show proof; not sure such numbers exist.
 

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