This help page provides instructions for how to create, organize and develop articles about character relationships.
Fans' engagement with the relationship between two or more characters can be documented on a pairing or ship page. You can create a page for canonical or non-canonical couples, triads, etc. of any gender. You can also create pages about platonic/nonromantic relationships between characters.
This page template includes wiki markup and sample sections for starting a pairing page from scratch.
How do I name the page?
Naming conventions for ships can vary from fandom to fandom. On Fanlore, our approach is to name pages after the punctuation/portmanteau/name order favored by each fandom - contrast Xena/Gabrielle with Pokéshipping or Wangxian. / or x are common punctuation marks for designating ships; & is often used for gen relationships.
There has historically been disagreement between Fanlore users about whether Fanlore should change this approach in order to adopt a standardised ship name format across fandoms, such as to require that ship names include the characters’ surnames or the name of the fandom, or to prioritize the ‘name/name’ format over smushnames. Some considerations include:
- In fandoms where there is not a singular widely adopted ship name, editors creating a ship page might feel unsure which name to use (read on for some pointers on this!)
- Adding surnames and/or alternate names for characters can make it clearer whom the page is about, but can also make the page title unreadable the more convoluted it becomes
- Using smushnames or ship names that only include first names can be confusing to fandom newcomers or readers outside the fandom. However, redirects with alternate ship names can be created, and will show up in search results, making it easier to identify the right page
- The most popular name for a ship may morph over time
- There may not be documentation of the most popular name for a ship, especially if different corners of fandom refer to a ship by different names
- Naming ship pages consistently within a fandom (e.g. always using a smushname or always using 'First Last/First Last' naming) is not important, as long as the name chosen for each ship page is popular within the given fandom and it is clear which ship it refers to
Previous discussions on this subject can be found on the Talk page for this article.
However, as a wiki that documents and describes fandom, we believe that Fanlore should continue to reflect the ship name that a fandom favours and that reflects the usage of fans, and err on the side of fannish documentation rather than standardisation.
When you are deciding how to name a ship page, in lieu of a clearly most popular name for the ship that you can use, here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Is the ship name you’ve chosen for the page used by others in fandom?
- Does the ship name you’ve chosen unambiguously refer to two particular characters in one particular fandom? If not, you might want to consider whether a different ship name would be clearer.
- Are there additional ship names or information about how the ship is named that you can add to the page?
- Would it be helpful to create redirects pointing from alternate names for the ship to the page you've created for it? (Our Help page on redirects explains how to do this).
If you're still unsure what you should name a ship page, you can ask for other editors' opinions on the Talk page for that fandom's page before creating the page, or you can add your reasoning to the Talk page for the ship page after creating it. If you think that the name of an existing ship page should be changed, unless the change is very minor (e.g. to correct a typo in the name), always suggest this on the Talk page for the ship page and begin a discussion about it rather than trying to rename the page yourself.
Ship pages should be top-level pages. However, because many ships are denoted by a slash between the names of the characters (e.g. Kirk/Spock), these pages will be interpreted as subpages by the wiki software. (Subpages are created automatically when you add a slash (/) to the page title.) In practice, this hasn't been a problem; we simply ignore the wiki software's treatment of ship pages as subpages.
Which templates and categories should I add?
Copy and paste the correct template into the edit window.
For pairings, use Template:PairingProfile. For moresomes or three+ pairings, Template:Moresome is preferred. For gen relationships, use Template:RelationshipGen. The template will automatically add the page to the appropriate relationship category. Be sure that all 3+ ships are included in the Category:Moresomes, no matter which template you use. If you're creating a new ship article, you can also copy and paste this example page template to help you get started.
Please also add:
- a fandom category (or relationship subcategory if one exists). For example, Xena/Gabrielle would get the Xena: Warrior Princess category. Harry/Hermione would get the Harry Potter Relationships category.
- a genre category. Currently we have:
- Crossover Relationships
- Femslash Pairings
- Het Pairings
- Non-Binary Pairings
- Slash Pairings
- Uncategorized Pairings
- Yaoi Pairings
- Yuri Pairings
RPF ships may not always belong to a clear-cut (easily named) fandom that has its own categories, and some RPF relationships may constitute their own fandom. In these cases, add one of the generic subcategories under Celebrities & Real People: Actor RPF, Music RPF, etc.
What content should I add?
Anything you fancy. Or, specifically, anything about how fans engage with the relationship. For example, you could:
- list popular fanworks about them
- discuss trends in fanworks about them
- describe significant meta discussions about them
- include a history of how the relationship became popular
- list conventions and other relevant fan activities
- document controversies
- add links to archives, journal communities, mailing lists, ship manifestoes, and other online resources for the relationship
You can also provide a brief overview of relevant canon background information. Note that it is not appropriate to use Fanlore to explain why your OTP is totally canon and those other fans are so wrong. However, it is very appropriate and desirable to describe fannish debates over whether or not your OTP is canon/is going to be canon and explain the differing points of view. Links to existing essays explaining why your OTP is totally canon are also fine. See also PPOV and What Fanlore is not.
- Aragorn & Legolas Friendship