PathfinderWiki:Canon policy

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This page is an official policy on the PathfinderWiki.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow.

In accordance with policy, this page has been protected. You can suggest changes by following the revision procedure or discussing it on the talk page.

The goal of PathfinderWiki is to be a reliable, concise guide to all readers in its description of the Pathfinder campaign setting and associated material. Toward this end, it is necessary for us to restrict to some extent the type of information we accept. Ultimately, this will ensure that PathfinderWiki remains useful and authoritative for the widest possible range of fans.

This policy is not intended to mandate a single way of viewing the Pathfinder universe, and does not exist to promote any particular critical judgment on the various sourcebooks and fiction; it exists to permit an orderly cataloging of data into manageable categories with a minimum of conflict and a maximum amount of fidelity to the source material as written. With that in mind, chroniclers should at all times be tolerant and respectful of other viewpoints, opinions, and conclusions.

Summary of policy

Articles need to cite each resource used as the basis for their information. Generally, everything published in any Pathfinder sourcebook or fiction can be used as a resource for an article.

Information from non-production materials (such as Paizo's promotional blog) and creator clarification (such as errata or expansion from authors and editors on the Paizo messageboards or chat transcripts) are also considered valid resources, but should be cited as accurately as possible. More specific details and exceptions are below, and in our canon policy FAQ.

Article types

On PathfinderWiki, we differentiate between two types of articles:

  • Pathfinder setting articles or In-universe articles. These articles are written about subjects inside the Pathfinder campaign setting, using an "in-universe" point of view. Subjects can include events, objects, or anything mentioned in a sourcebook or novel. They must adhere strictly to the canon policy.
  • Pathfinder franchise articles. These articles are written from a "meta" or real life point of view, and are written about the Pathfinder franchise. Subjects can include articles about the publication of the books themselves, as well as articles about novels, sourcebooks, and other official materials, as well as pages about authors, editors, artists and publishers. These pages are not covered by the canon policy.

Citations

Pathfinder setting articles require that all statements of fact be supported by reference to identified source material that is a "valid resource". Failure to identify a referenced source, or use of a source that is not a valid resource, may result in removal or revision of the associated statement and/or article.

Pathfinder franchise articles should have citations as necessary, but the citations do not have to be to a valid resource.

Valid resources

Tier 0

  • Errata created by Paizo editorial staff

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

  • Web supplements released by Paizo
  • The Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play (note version number in citations)
  • World clarification from a citable source such as permanent message board post, chat transcript, or podcast
    • by a member of the Paizo editorial staff on any topic
    • or a freelance contributor in relation to a topic on which they are credited with having written

Tier 4

  • All licensed Pathfinder campaign setting material in non-Paizo sources including but not limited to:

Articles should not be created for subjects that are not included or referred to in an official Pathfinder source.

Errata and world clarifications from staff and writers should be cited as thoroughly as possible.

Invalid resources

The following resources are considered invalid and should not be referenced in any form in an in-world article:

  • Fan-made personalities, locations, deities, events, spells, items, or histories, including those in such publications as Wayfinder.
  • Fan fiction of any kind.
  • Fan reference works of any kind.

Conflicting sources

Valid sources are divided into tiers of authority, tier 0 being the most authoritative, and tier 4 being the least. In the case of an irreconcilable conflict between sources, the source from the most authoritative tier should be given preference (in the case of an intra-tier conflict, the most recently published source should be used, excepting extenuating circumstances or consensus to the contrary). However, in all cases is that valid sources should be construed so as not to be in conflict. The presumption should be that a conflict does not exist unless no other explanation is reasonable under the circumstances.

In the event of a conflict, the {{Conflict}} template should be used, and notes regarding the resolution of the conflict should be made.

Regarding dates

The Pathfinder campaign setting's Absalom Reckoning calendar approximately corresponds to our real-world calendar, with months occurring in the same order and in-world year sharing its last two digits with the real-world year.

For example, today's date is 13 Abadius, 4717 AR; the estimated Absalom Reckoning date for a publication from June 2013 is Sarenith, 4713 AR. For the Imperial Calendar of Tian Xia, add 2,500 to the Absalom Reckoning year.

See also: {{Golariondate}} and {{Golariondate/holidays}}

When entering an Absalom Reckoning or Imperial Calendar date for an event where one isn't explicitly specified, always take into account the source's year of publication and cite the date as an estimate:

... in [[4715 AR]].<ref>{{Cite book/Occult Realms|666}} Year estimated from publication date.</ref>

Explicitly specified dates should always take precedence over estimates.

Deleting invalid articles in whole or in part

If a Pathfinder campaign setting article contains nothing but information cited to invalid resources, it may be listed in the Articles marked for deletion and thereafter deleted in accordance with the then-current deletion policy.

If an in-world article contains information cited to invalid resources, cites a valid resource that conflicts with another valid resource without clearly addressing the conflict, or contains excessive amounts of background or non-canon data, the issue should be noted on the article's individual talk page. After a reasonable period of time for discussion, the article may be revised to include only appropriate citations to valid resources, appropriate notations as to conflicts among valid resources, and/or reduced levels of background or non-canon data. Prior to such reasonable time, and except in cases of vandalism, obscenity, and similar reasons, an article should not be edited to simply delete and/or modify the text.

Frequently asked questions

Specific sources

What about the old Compleat Encounters? One of them is called The Vault of the Whispering Tyrant. Are they canon?
While some of these products refer to people, or places from the Pathfinder campaign setting, Paizo staff have stated here and here that they merely serve as inspiration for the current incarnation of Golarion. As such, these products shouldn't be used as source material for PathfinderWiki articles.
I heard that the information in Guardians of Dragonfall isn't valid any more... what's up with that?
It turns out that there was some miscommunication with the the author of that Pathfinder Module, which led to some material being included that didn't fit Paizo's vision of how dragons should be portrayed. James Jacobs stated here that J2 shouldn't be taken as a source for information on Golarion's dragons.