Thank you to everyone who participated in it. Like most if not all of these things, it showed that not only is there no consensus, but often what people want/do, differs depending on the fandom/the circumstances.
The comments also revealed that quite a few people want/need something different from what they actually warn for, people need/want less than they warn for. For example they personally might only want/need a warning for the death of the major pairing, but they will warn for more than that. Some people even said that although they personally don't need warnings, they would, even though they weren't forced to do so by the rules of a community/list, be likely to give death story warnings.
Overall the poll revealed that, although different people want to be warned for the death of different characters, more people want a warning of some kind than those who don't. 70.2% of people wanted some kind of death warning, compared with 29.8% who didn't want/need any kind of death warning.
However, there wasn't any real consensus amongst those who wanted a death story warning exactly as to whose death should be warned for. An equal number of people said 'major canon characters' as said 'only for the main pairing', and the number of people who wanted a warning for any canon character was only slightly less than these two groups.
This seems to imply that if writers wish to err on the side of caution, that they should warn at the very least for the death of any major canon character and indeed maybe any canon character.
For whose death would you generally warn/expect to be warned in a fanfic story?
Anyone and everyone. If their death is mentioned in the story, whether they appear in the story or not, then the story should carry a death story warning. - 0 (0.0%)
Anyone and everyone. If they appear in the story, even for one line, and die, then a warning should be given. - 1 (1.2%)
Any canon character. - 18 (21.4%)
Only major canon characters. - 20 (23.8%)
Only when it's the death of one or both of the main pairing. - 20 (23.8%)
None. I don't give/want death story warnings. - 25 (29.8%)*
*Note. Although the number of people who don't give/want death story warnings is, by itself, the largest percentage for this question, I have chosen not to highlight it, as it is a lower number overall when looking at the 'yes' and 'no' answers as a whole.
This question dealt with whether people want/need a warning for the death, in multi-pairing fandoms, of a major character who isn't part of their pairing. The divide between the combined 'yes' and 'no' answers here was a fairly small one. Overall 54.2% of people wanted/needed to be warned for the said death, whereas 45.8% of people didn't want/need this.
When looking at the pro-warning figures alone, there is an overwhelming consensus in favour of warning if the story shows/mentions the actual death. And almost half the number of people who said 'no', said so because they didn't give/want warnings, rather than because there was no need to warn for the death.
Again, this seems to imply that if you wish to err on the side of caution, then as a writer you should indeed warn for the death of any major canon character, as long as the story in shows or mentions his/her actual death, even if that person isn't part of your pairing.
Should there be a warning, in multi-pairing fandoms, for the death of a major character who isn't part of your pairing?
Yes, even if the story doesn't show or mention his/her actual death. - 3 (3.6%)
Yes, but only if the story shows or mentions his/her actual death. - 42 (50.6%)
No - there's no need. - 13 (15.7%)
No - because I don't give/want death story warnings. - 25 (30.1%)
On the question as to whether a warning is needed for the death of a character who dies in canon, there does seem to be more consensus. 71.4% of people felt that the death didn't need warning for, whereas 24.5% wanted a warning.
And when breaking down the results further, the numbers of people who wanted the such a warning for any character and those who wanted it only for their pairing was very close; the former outweighing the latter by only two people. Of those who didn't want/give warnings, over twice the number of people who said 'no' did so because they felt such warnings weren't necessary, as opposed to those who simply didn't give/want death story warnings.
I found this reverse in the reasons as to why people said 'no', when compared to the death of a character who doesn't die in canon, very interesting and intriguing.
So for this particular type of death, it appears as though writers don't really have to worry about giving a warning. However, if they feel they should/want to, then again erring on the side of caution it should be for any canon character, rather than just if its part of the writer's own pairing.
Should there be a warning for the death of a character who dies in canon?
Yes, even if the story doesn't show or mention his/her actual death. - 0 (0.0%)
Yes, but only if the story shows or mentions his/her actual death. - 13 (15.5%)
Only if it is the death involves part of my own pairing. - 11 (13.1%)
No - there's no need. - 43 (51.2%)
No - because I don't give/want death story warnings. - 17 (20.2%)
MY FURTHER RAMBLINGS
I found the results very interesting and the discussion, as well as the results, made me review and reconsider my own take on warnings. I always have and will always continue to warn for the death of one or both of my pairing, duly phrased as: 'major character death'. However, whilst I said that this was the only warning I needed/wanted, upon reconsideration I realise that in some cases I would actually like to be warned for more than their deaths.
In The Professionals I would also like to be warned for Cowley's death, but not for any other canon characters.
The same applies in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I would want to be warned for Mr. Waverly's death, but not any other canon character.
In Due South I am more than happy not to be warned for anyone other than Fraser or Vecchio.
In Sapphire and Steel I would also like to be warned for the death of Sapphire, as well as my pairing.
In ensemble shows such as NCIS, I would like to be warned for the characters I personally liked, but would not be bothered by a warning for any other canon character, major other otherwise. For example, I would like to be warned for the death of Abby, McGee, Jimmy, Fornell, but wouldn't be at all bothered by a warning for DiNozzo, Jenn, or Ziva.
When it comes to writing death stories again I said that I'd feel it necessary only to warn for the death of one or both of my pairing, and this is kind of death story that I have written. However, in light of the above poll results my views have changed a little, and should I write a story that features the actual death of someone other than my pairing, I would almost certainly now warn for the deaths of other major characters - at least within certain fandoms.
I would warn for Cowley's death and for Mr. Waverly's death and for Sapphire's death. However, I think I would phrase my warning slightly differently. Rather than simply say 'major character death', I would say something like 'non-pairing major character death'.
With a fandom such as Due South, where in effect for many people the two pairings constitute to an effect two separate fandoms my feelings are different. The reason being that whilst there are people who 'swing both Rays' and thus happily exist in both pairings, generally people are either solely Fraser/Vecchio or Fraser/Kowalski fans, and care very little if any about the Ray who isn't 'theirs'. Therefore I wonder whether it is necessary when writing a Fraser/Vecchio story to mention the death of Kowalski? Or vice versa? Or would it depend on whether the actual death was shown/mentioned in the story? My feeling is that with this fandom I would continue to only warn for the death of my pairing, especially if the story didn't mention or show in any way the actual death, and any reference to it was simply: 'Ray Kowalski died six months ago'.
With ensemble shows, I would certainly warn for the ensemble characters whom I liked, and also for a character whom I might not like, but whom I know is liked by many. For example, I might not be bothered by DiNozzo's death in a NCIS story, but I know many people would be. And from reading and writing in this fandom, I am aware that people do read outside of their pairings, far more so than in a fandom like Due South. Again thought I would phrase my warning slightly differently. Rather than simply say 'major character death', I would probably say something like 'non-pairing major character death'
However, what about a canon character who appears to be almost universally disliked? Is it necessary to warn for her/his death? In every poll and discussion I have seen within NCIS fandom that deals with disliked characters, Jenn Shepard has topped the list, and not just by one or two percent, but by a considerable number. The most recent one I ran on my ncis_gibbsducky Community, which ended up being answered by more than just members of the Community, 80.6% of people said that Jenn was their least favourite character, implying that few people would be bothered by her death. So is it necessary to warn for her death?
Personally, I don't think so and I can't see myself actually doing that. Having said that when I rather tongue in cheek made a comment to the effect that maybe I should start to warn for 'Jenn bashing', one person said that if they saw that warning on a story, they would be even more inclined to read it. I wonder if that would be true for the death of a universally disliked character? And if so, what do you put in your warning 'death of universally disliked character'? Okay, it gives it away more than simply 'non-pairing major character death', but it also reassures people who might be worried that their favourite character might be the one killed off.
Having said that, despite the high percentages for her in polls, there probably are people who like her. After all there is Jenn/Ziva slash around, so I'm assuming that those who write it actually like the character, so maybe if one is going to warn for all major character death, then that should cover even those who are pretty much universally disliked.
I did think about running another poll on this subject, but decided that a poll on the back of results of a poll was maybe a little strange. So I'll keep it for another time, or maybe, given that as far as I personally go this will only occur in one fandom, keep it for my own Comm.
Thank you again for answering the poll and/or commenting.