hey folks, I’m gonna introduce you to two very important fandom terms and they are watsonian and doylist
they come (obviously) from the sherlock holmes fandom, and they are two different ways of explaining something in a story. say I’m a fan and I notice that, in the original books, watson’s war wound is sometimes in his leg and sometimes in his shoulder. the watsonian explanation is how watson (that is, a person within the story) might explain it; the doylist explanation is how sir arthur conan doyle (a person in real life) would have explained it.
sherlock explains the migrating war wound by making the shoulder wound real and the limp psychosomatic. the guy ritchie films explain it by having the leg wound sustained in battle before the events of the film and the shoulder wound happen onscreen. the doylist explanation, of course, is that acd forgot where the wound was.
this is very important when we’re discussing stuff like headcanons and word-of-god. I see this when people offer watsonian explanations for something, and then a doylist will say something like “it’s just because the author wrote it that way,” and I see it when a person is criticizing bad writing/storytelling (for example, the fact that quiet in metal gear solid v is running around the whole game in a bikini and ripped tights) and someone comes back with “but there’s an in-story reason why that happens!” (that reason being she breathes through her skin).
there’s nothing wrong with either explanation, and really I think you need both to understand and analyze a text. a person coming up with a watsonian explanation has likely not forgotten that the author had real-life reasons for writing something that way, and a person with a doylist interpretation is likely not ignoring the in-universe justification for that thing.
but it’s very difficult (and imo often useless, though there are exceptions) to try to argue one kind of explanation with the other kind. wetblanketing someone’s headcanon with “or it could just be bad writing” is obnoxious; dismissing someone’s criticism with “but have you considered this in-universe explanation” is ignoring the point of the criticism. understanding where someone is coming from is important when making an argument; acting like your argument is better because you’re being doylist when they’re being watsonian or vice versa is not.