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For quite a long time now, the categories Antagonists and Reformed antagonists have bred endless confusion among our contributors. In some cases, it is a matter of character—"Why is Rarity, the main character, listed as a bad guy?" they ask. In others, it is the highly contentious matter of multiple incarnations of a character being covered in one article—"Why is Celestia being called a bad guy when it was really her evil twin?" they wonder. And in others yet, the confusion arises from instances when the characters are not in a right state of mind—even now, a debate is going on over what Ponies of Dark Water means for our heroes.
These questions are always answered in article comments, often very eloquently. However, the recurrence and frequency of these questions suggest the matter ought to be given more attention. For all the explaining we do, the fundamental need for explanation remains.
The crux of this problem is that neither category betokens the magnitude of the antagonism in question, including the character's intention and volition in the dastardly deeds. Most importantly, there are characters who are given the same brand as the changeling queen because their counterparts from another dimension, who are entirely beyond their control I might add, did something nasty.
Therefore, I encourage the wiki to approve a new category, hereafter referred to as Circumstantial antagonists. The following definition might apply (though, like the name, it is open to revision):
- A circumstantial antagonist is a character who performs an antagonistic role for reasons that cannot be attributed to malice on part of his or her usual state of being. This category applies if the character may be considered an antagonist due to external magical influence, the actions of his or her counterpart from an alternate universe, or any other impetus entirely beyond the character's control.
This definition addresses the glaring problem of tacking categories upon character articles for the obscure injustices of their doppelgangers. It should not be added alongside other antagonist categories. Moreover, the most predominant version of the character—predominant in the same sense we use for settling character names; recall the Bon Bon vs. Sweetie Drops debate—should be the deciding factor. For example, although Princess Luna becomes Nightmare Moon in the comics due to the influence of the Nightmare Forces, she visibly transfigures herself in the show proper. The category would not apply to her article.
That said, I believe this could be the best method of addressing the perennial perplexity surrounding the categories mentioned above, and I trust you readers will evaluate it with the shrewdest judgment. Thank you.
- Support Go for it! Some antagonists aren't antagonists on purpose, so why call them something they had against their will? --Mega Sean 45 (talk) 21:19, August 31, 2016 (UTC)
- Support I like this idea, it nicely cleans up antagonistic actions for a character who is not usually an antagonist. The predominant does make assigning such a category difficult, largely in the case of Sombra, who has a very different vision between the show and the comics. Digdux (talk) 21:28, August 31, 2016 (UTC)
- Support Ok that'll work, I don't see how it can't. Whitehorse24 (talk) 22:25, August 31, 2016 (UTC)Whitehorse24
- Weak oppose While I sort of get the reasoning behind this kind of proposal, I feel like it would cause more confusion in the long run instead of making things less confusing because of how loosely the series plays with its villain roles. The category description in particular could call the inclusion of certain characters into question, like "Is Trixie an antagonist because she took over Ponyville or a 'circumstantial antagonist' because she was corrupted by the Alicorn Amulet?" I feel it would make things even more subjective than they currently are. 22:55, August 31, 2016 (UTC)
- Even if Trixie is corrupted, she buys it with intent to use its power against Ponyville. Since the deed originates from her own malice and not any "impetus beyond the character's control," the proposed category would not apply. As for subjectivity, I tried my best to make the above definition as tight and clear-cut as possible around the material we have at the present with the "any other" leaving room for the future. Guildmaster Grovyle (talk) 23:06, August 31, 2016 (UTC)
- Support This works, but I agree with Jasonbres on the name. How about "Indirect"? (Though that may not apply to Celestia.)
- Also, I have to ask: Would there be characters who have both this new category and Category:Reformed antagonists? GoldenLine (talk) 23:53, August 31, 2016 (UTC)
- Weak support Sounds pretty good, though I'm also concerned about what Imperfect said. 15:11, September 18, 2016 (UTC)
Comment I have a counter-proposal. Categories should not be used for transient, confusing, or debatable properties. You can try clarifying the category name like this, but I'm sure there will still be confusion - especially about the "predominant version" exception. I think it would be better to do away with the antagonist categories entirely, except for characters who are only ever antagonists in all their appearances, and instead, create an Antagonists page. That way, each character listed can have a description of the frequency, depth, and willingness of their antagonism, and any confusion would be cleared up. Further, this would avoid any speculation about what might have motivated a character and whether it was under their control or not.
- Support I guess it does help in helping distinguishing in what type of antagonists they were, it'll help in someone like Rarity and Celestia into how they got onto this list of being an antagonist although Celestia was one in an alternate universe, if it helps users figuring out what they were then I think it's a good idea. 03:51, October 8, 2016 (UTC)
Comment I think the biggest issue with this is that there's a problem with how characters are included into these categories. It should be specified that reformed antagonists are characters who started out as antagonists but changed over the course of the show, such as Princess Luna and Starlight Glimmer. Other characters, like Princess Celestia and Rarity, should have a different category, either based on the fact that these portrayals are from the comics (which seems like the biggest issue, could be something like Comic antagonists) or it could be literal and have a name like Temporary antagonist to signify it was a one time thing. With instances like King Sombra, I don't know how to do that. The category descriptions at least need to be updated a bit to rule out certain cases.04:30, October 13, 2016 (UTC)
- Adding the category proposed above to make such a distinction would entail editing the other categories to explain the distinction. In other words, in setting aside a new category for "certain cases," there would be a necessity to point out why those cases were moved from their previous category in the letter of the old category itself. Guildmaster Grovyle (talk) 04:45, October 13, 2016 (UTC)