Ten ForwardNew page layout proposal (Reply | Watch)

I've set up the Balance of Terror page to test out an adjusted layout for episode/novel/comic/etc pages. It pulls together all the bottom of the page stuff under an Appendices section, which seems a more appropriate name for all the bits that are in there and also gets rid of the Connections sections for those who hate it so much, while allowing external links to return as a sub-section.

You could even go so far as to extend to in-universe pages too, to remove the connections section but maintain a place for navigation boxes to float about in, while also providing a home for background sections, appearances and references, and other end matter to collect. (Testing this on the Vas Hatham class page)

We already have a scattering of appendices sections on a handful of pages. I think making a conscious effort to introduce it as part of a standardised page layout will improve the cohesiveness of the site. --8of5 03:30, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I've further updated the Balance of Terror page to include an idea inspired by the discussion below. Character listings are now a sub-section of references. I also moved related stories into the appendices section, as appendices and information didn't really seem to require separation. That brings the page to quite a nice neat layout formula too, just three main sections; summary, references and appendices. --8of5 19:08, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I thought trying this on a completed page might help show it in operation as it were, so I've set up Devil in the Sky with the new layout too. Any good? Anything need changing? --8of5 19:17, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't see any obvious problems; the Reference section looks fine. For characters, I'm getting about 15 per line on my screen. I'd guess that somewhere around 60 would be the max you'd want to get to without subdivisions (except for really minor or "list" characters), but such things aren't hard and fast. At any rate, here the name count is low enough that it works just fine as a single group. And nice work with the photomanipulations. I missed the actual vote, but chalk me up for two additional "Approved"s.--Emperorkalan 00:43, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

One thing I've noticed that we'll need to account for -- if you have two subsections with the same name, the TOC will only link to the first one -- so instead of having more than one section named "Other" we should specify "Other characters", "Other ships", etc. so that you will be able to wikilink to #Other ships and actually have it go to that point in the article. -- Captain MKB 14:16, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Good point, though in reducing the frequency we split up the character lists that should become less of the problem as there will be fewer occasions when there are instances of multiple others rather than just one general other at the bottom of the references section.
If there are no objections to this new proposal I'll go ahead and change the style guide to reflect this and we can get on with integrating it into pages all over the place as and when we edit them. --8of5 16:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Characters[edit source]

Can we leave this to the subdivisions "Characters" and "Referenced"? The theory behind "Regulars" and "Others" is great on TV, but pointless in novels when we often deal with entirely new casts on a regular basis. – AT2Howell 01:35, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I disagree that it's pointless in novels, a lot, the majority in fact, do use a regular cast, especially so in many of the continuing series we have at the moment. However the subsections for characters are always flexible for whatever the source dictates as the most sensible way to divide them up.
Dividing them up more than just characters and referenced is very handy, especially for novels which can sometimes features A LOT of characters. For instance for the Avatar page there's a regulars section, then the rest are divided up into smaller related groups based on distribution of types of characters in the book, there isn’t even one "referenced" section, instead I've used the {{ref}} template to note the referenced characters for each division of the characters section.
Light of the Day on the other hand has a small cast so is set up just as you have suggested, while Beneath the Skin divides the characters into two sections, either Klingon, or Federation, as the "regulars" heading isn't really suitable for that comic as it doesn't have a large prominent cast of regular characters.
The characters section is always flexible like that. The basic regulars, others and referenced headings are just used as the standard layout to start a page because more often than not that’s a suitable way to start to divide up the characters. --8of5 16:11, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I say no to the "regulars" categories
How do we define the regulars? New Frontier started out with a core group, but has added more than twice that number in supporting cast over the year -- and many regard Primus, Mueller, Arex, M'Ress, others as regulars even though they were not part of the core group, and appear only intermittently, but they've taken on core group function as many of the original regulars have left the fold of the core group. Do we have a mandate to decide this -- shouldn't Peter David decide who the NF regulars are, and not us? Its not like any publication (save a few) actually has a list of "this is the main cast"...
Even TOS has this -- is Rand a regular, or Chapel? In all technicality, Leslie and Hadley appeared in more episodes that Sulu and Uhura, and in a couple rare cases had just as many lines -- the only TOS regulars, according to the opening credits, are Kirk and Spock, with McCoy not even being added to the credits until later.. -- Captain MKB 16:24, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Good point.--Emperorkalan 16:32, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely. This is the point I was trying to make. You just did it so very much better. The idea of "Regulars" is way to hard to define. – AT2Howell 17:00, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
In that case (8of5's, for clarity), we need to clarify what constitutes a "regular". Would Worf be a regular in an IKS Gorkon novel? I'd argue "no", even though he's usually mentioned at least once and appears in about half of them. (The point being, regulars in one series are not necessarily regulars in another.) I'd suggest reserving the "regular" heading for cases where the subject is part of a distinct series (e.g., TOS, TNG, DS9, GKN, TNF, COE, but not, say, The Articles of the Federation, and most TLE novels don't lend themselves to "regulars" either.) Use in crossover series (Brave & the Bold, Badlands, Dominion Wars) would vary depending on the base sub-story setting. Other thoughts?--Emperorkalan 16:30, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree it's a somewhat ambiguous descriptor, but think it's useful to pull out the main and recurring characters rather than having them jumbled up amongst Mr one-line transporter technician Bob and his pal Derek. Of course you could easily do that by renaming it "Main", "Featured" or some such thing thus still providing that separation for the key players without having to worry about the semantics of the word regulars.

Kalan, are you suggesting maintain regulars for the series that have a regular cast there? Because I'd certainly agree with that, as the example I gave above, Beneath the Skin, shows, not every stories does have a regular cast so of course sometimes it's not suitable at all. --8of5 16:35, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

After a bit more reflection, no. While in some cases it's useful to break out the series regulars from the guests, where to draw the lines and when to abandon it altogether are subjective enough that it's just going to cause problems. If I or any one of this were doing this on our own, we could choose our terms as we saw fit, but here it's practically begging for arguments: there are too many exceptions. So nix "regulars", and just distinguish between characters which appear in the work vs. those which are just mentioned.--Emperorkalan 17:47, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Not sub-divide in any way at all, ever? Even when there are a tens, maybe even a couple of hundred characters? --8of5 18:15, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Now is that really what I said? I believe I did note one form of sub-division. But I think making "regulars" a standard (or even mostly-standard) item is too likely to have people getting it wrong or disagreeing over what character belongs where, all for what is in most cases a minimal gain in organization. Extraordinary cases might invite additional subdivision. If you need more specifics, then produce some of these cases with "tens, maybe even a couple of hundred characters" who all require their own entries, and I'll make appropriate suggestions.--Emperorkalan 18:39, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm with the Emperor on this one. Subdivisions (Starfleet, Klingon...etc) can be used when needed, but "regulars" needs to be kicked to the curb. – AT2Howell 19:02, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Some cases in point are TOS novel: Dreadnought! where a list of over a dozen Starfleet personnel are listed from the computer.. or My Enemy, My Ally where dozens of Enterprise crew are listed as being prepped for the landing party, few if any appear, less than that have dialogue, the rest are referenced only. The Dianes - Duane and Carey - both have a propensity for adding lists to their writing. -- Captain MKB 18:48, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

And doesn't that itself suggest a method for dealing with such situations? A sub-section of "Mentioned", like "crew listed on roster", perhaps?--Emperorkalan 18:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Well I would point to Avatar again, that currently has 126 characters, and it's not finished yet. Or A Time for War, A Time for Peace, which has 194. And I'm sure good few other of the more recent continuity heavy, chuck in every reference possible, novels will have similarly high figures.

That said when I was thinking about the proposal above I did consider making characters one of the subheadings of the reference section rather than a section to it's own. So if we were to scarp dividing up the characters (or at least to only do it on sources with exceptionally high numbers of characters) we could neaten up the pages by doing that.

This conversation has swayed me, I move to making characters the top sub-section of the references section and only subdividing when the numbers get rather larger, say above 100 characters. (and shall amend the Balance of Terror page to reflect that idea in the new layout scheme) --8of5 19:00, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I think we can kick in with ad hoc subdivisions at even lower numbers; once you have more than 3 or 4 lines of names certain lines of division will become obvious. A Time for War, A Time for Peace is nearly a perfect example. But just keep it simple.--Emperorkalan 19:16, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Organisation of references[edit source]

AT2 please note references should be organised in alphabetical order, not just a botched list as you tag more onto the end. And also please be aware that the {{ref}} template should be used to designate references which are only referenced, rather than appear, in a story. See the References section of the style guide for more information. --8of5 05:46, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

It's Organization, with a "Z". I clean those up as I go, but they seem to be everywhere...
Any roads, you do realize that you're referencing the reference section, right? I mean, it's good and all in characters, but beyond that is just silly. – AT2Howell 06:02, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
To quote the style guide: "It should be noted whether or not references were actually featured in the story or just referenced within the story. For instance "The strange new alien rather reminded the Captain of a Gorn", references a Gorn without one actually appearing in the story. Referenced only references should be listed in sub-section of the main references section, headed with the {{ref}} template."
There are references within the stories, which are only references, rather than appearances. Unfortunate use of the same word maybe, but useful in not making things misleading, dividing the two makes it clear what actually appears in a story, and what is just talked about. --8of5 06:25, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Like this...
====Referenced characters====
====Locations referenced====
====Species referenced====
===Governments and organi'''Z'''ations===
====Governments and organi'''Z'''ation referenced====
===Starships and vehicles===
====Starships and vehicles referenced====
Do you see the problem? It's dumb. It's all "referenced" so why keep noting "referenced"? How big of a problem would it really cause to have referenced Cardassians just be called Cardassians? – AT2Howell 06:33, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Well for starters you wouldn't be using all those subsections, just the title provided by the ref template. And the problem is it's misleading to just lump them together. If a user is looking for a comic featuring the Cardassians and find them listed in the races and cultures section of A Matter of Dates, they're going to be disappointed if they decide to go and get that comic and find all they get is a passing reference to them.

The referenced Cardassians are just called Cardassians, it's just made clear they don’t actually feature in the comic. --8of5 06:46, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Disapointment, eh? Is this a personal story? Tell you what, I won't delete any more. Will that make you happy? – AT2Howell 06:48, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Nope just taking into consideration the potential uses for this site. And indeed, it's on thing for you to be to not bother properly sorting references on pages you are establishing, quite another to actively dismantle properly organiZed pages. --8of5 06:51, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, don't mean to be a ... yeah. Just been on watch for a few too many hours now. It's not you. – AT2Howell 06:59, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Despite all the hubbub, I have to agree with AT2Howell's sentiment that it is absolutely stupid to have a note saying referenced next to certain objects (although acceptable for characters) in a section of an article which deals with references, seems a bit redundant to me. Just my two cents. (-: --The Doctor 09:16, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Right, best not clog AT2's talk page up with this if we're going to have a general discussion. I think I've said enough up there already for now, anyone else have a thought on this? --8of5 12:27, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I support making the sections known as "referenced only" -- as that will clarify that the characters were not physically present during the story, and did not have dialogue -- they were referenced only. -- Captain MKB 15:22, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
(Additional response posted on AT2's talk page--8of5 21:55, 24 February 2008 (UTC):) It is not stupid to have a referenced only section in the references for at least some items. For example, some books actually feature appearances of the Enterprise where others merely mention it (I remember when I was on the Enterprise...). This may lead you to think that there is something wrong with the heading "References", but when opposed to "Characters" it doesn't seem that bad. I have no perfect plan, but I do like separating the characters and ships at least. Similarly, for locations it is sometimes nice to know that part of the story actually took place on planet X versus somebody just mentioning something about X in passing.
Oh, and just to prevent a fight (and hopefully not start one), "organization" is the American spelling, "organisation" is the British spelling. We have users (and admins) from both. Is it worth having a general policy about how to deal with these issues? Or go on a case by case basis? I think that the 'z' spelling is sometimes used in Britain whereas to Americans, the 's' just looks like bad spelling (if that matters). --Jdvelasc 19:17, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

We have a policy; in that MB being based on an American franchise should be written in American English. I know I frequently cock up on that account as all I know of American English I learn here as people make note of how it should be done (and my spelling in either form is pretty appalling... though good enough to know that in proper English Z’s used where S’s should be look rather childish :P) --8of5 21:55, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I agree the American grammar can be preferred without making the site American-centric .. we aren't going to refuse additions on the basis of variant use of the same language, although corrections should be made to change things to the American standard. I've learned not to initiate conversation regarding it unless it is a frequent mistake or one that makes edits problematic for other users -- after all its simply two versions of the same thing -- I can read both :) .. -- Captain MKB 22:27, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
We can blame Daniel Webster. That guy intended on American being a separate language from English. It was his prediction that the day would come when the two peoples could no longer understand each other. – AT2Howell 17:50, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Back onto listing in alphbetical order...how exactly do you want to go about that? Example:

Albert Smoogen, Kira Blub, Kira Jimmy, Billy, Pagh wa A'atell, Mikmak, The Mongoose, and Waldo the Sane.  Arrange these in alphabetical order.

Do you go by the rules of english and attempt to identify all the last names? Or would it make more sense to take a person's name as a complete thought/title? In my book Albert would be first. – AT2Howell 15:38, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

... but not here.. We should alphabetize by last name for Humans, Cardassians and anyone else that uses a firstname/surname grouping. You would put him under "s" for "Smogen" -- Captain MKB 15:52, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Okay. It just makes tracking entries that much harder as you put them in. Will do. – AT2Howell 17:47, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
What about less clear names: Gilaad Ben Zoma: B or Z? Haroun al-Rashid: A or R?--Emperorkalan 18:03, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Once again, you make my point far better than I could. Back to my example above, we don't know Jimmy's last name, so shouldn't he be first by default? Pagh could be under P if wa A'atell is his home town, but what if A'atell is his father's name and wa means "son of" (like Mac or Mc in English)? What if all his people have wa as part of their surname (if you can even apply surname)? What about The Mongoose or Waldo the Sane? Is Waldo's last name the, Sane, or something else? – AT2Howell 18:59, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
It's not THAT complicated. Assuming you mean "Billy" instead of "Jimmy" (who'd use "Kira" if its established he's Bajoran), then yes, we use "B" because we have nothing else to go by. "The Mongoose" (assuming all we know is a nickname like that) would use "M" (as in "Mongoose, The"). Waldo the Sane would use "W" unless it was clearly established that "the Sane" was his actual surname, not just an appended descriptor. As for "Pagh wa A'atell", it depends on what we know about its species' cultural habits and naming conventions. If there isn't enough information to make a determination, default to "P".--Emperorkalan 19:26, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
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