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Originally a Mary Sue is a character that is a shameless self-insert, poorly developed, without flaws and stupidly overpowered. /tg/ hates Mary Sues.
Unfortunately, after so much rage and so many troll threads, /tg/'s definition of Mary Sue has become blurred; no one can agree on what the phrase means, to the point where the mere mention of Mary Sue is enough to set off shitstorms across the board.
Some accept nothing less than the above description, and will sooner gut you then look twice if you say it's anything else. Others prefer a more generalized definition, which refers to an overly-idealized character who exerts an unjust amount of influence upon their respective setting or story. Others still carry this meaning out to extremes, and use the term to describe anyone who isn't a homeless junkie or a brooding sociopath with an alignment of chaotic neutral.
The term is commonly used by trolls, and can most easily be spotted by a blanket accusation of a character being a Sue without attempting to justify actual reasons behind it. More clever trolls will attempt to offer some explanation that is deliberately intended to get under the offended party's skin.
However, there is a conundrum regarding the definition. If the character is part of the established story (such as some portrayals of Wolverine and Batman), some say that this is not a Mary Sue, as they are a canon character. For them, the term "Canon Sue" is used; to qualify, a character must be overpowered, lack realistic flaws, be an established character in the story, and be a wish-fulfillment for the creator of the character (NOTE: few people will admit if the fictional character they create is for wish-fulfillment). For the sake of this page, the definition of Mary Sue will also include Canon Sues.
In case you were wondering, the name "Mary Sue" comes from a short piece of Star Trek fanfiction called A Trekkie's Tale (and by "short", we mean four paragraphs long). First written in 1974, the original Lieutenant Mary Sue was a parody of the half-Vulcan jailbait and other shameless self-inserts that had been clogging up the Star Trek fanfic magazines. The trolling was so epic that her name became permanently ingrained in the vocabulary of every fandom on the planet.
It is worth noting, however, that very rare authors have the skill to pull off the Mary Sue, creating a character of such epic awesomeness (Re. Jean Luc Picard) that no one gives a shit.
 Never Ending List of Mary Sues
See List_of_Mary_Sues because holy shit it is huge
 How Can I Tell If My Character Is A Mary Sue?
Each "Yes" answer gives your character a piece of Mary Sueness.
- Does their personal morality always perfectly match objective reality? To put it another way, would there be any difference between describing their opinion and simply narrating what was actually going on in a scene?
- Do they start the story at the pinnacle of achievement and have no way to grow or improve?
- Is it a fan character that is better than the canon characters?
- Do all the canon characters suddenly start talking about a fan character, with their presence in the story largely relegated to providing opportunities for the new character to show how pure, powerful, good-hearted, etc they are?
- Are they someone's self-proclaimed fursona? (If so, stop reading this list and burn them for heresy).
- Do they always make good decisions? And bad ones that are suddenly revealed to have been a good choice?
- Do you use absolutes like "always," "everybody," or "never" when describing their abilities?
- Do they feature an entirely contrived "weakness" that doesn't affect them any time it would harm them (such as being clumsy unless they are required to perform a great feat of athleticism) or isn't really a weakness (such as being too kind or righteous "for their own good") which was clearly added solely so the author could point to it when accused of writing a Sue?
- Do you find that, rather than figuring out how the characters can work together to solve a problem, your primary concern as a writer is usually explaining why this one character can't do it on their own?
- Did Matt Ward write this character?
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