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See also Forum:20th/21st century individuals for the truly original discussion on this matter, and Forum:Home Era layout for a closely related one.
czechout@fandom   17:40:57 Sat 28 May 2011 

Original discussion

You know, I've noticed recently the changing of home era in the infoboxes to be century-specific rather than decade or year-specific. This is a more accurate usage for the label, I realize. However, in a few cases, we do seem to lose info by doing so. Specifically, just recently the Billy (Delta and the Bannermen) page was updated. And in this case, we lose what time he is from. I mean, when the character is contemporary to the show, it doesn't really matter. But in this case, now reading the article, I don't know that he isn't from the '80s when the episode aired (well, except his clothes). I feel like I've lost relevant information about the character. Or would have, if I hadn't seen the episode yet (certainly I hadn't when I first read the article shortly after discovering this site). I know I could get that info by looking at the episode article. But would it be okay or advisable to, when changing over the home-era to add a reference to the narrower range (or specific year) in the body of the article? I was thinking of trying to work the year into that article, is all. But I don't know if it's really wanted by anyone else. Tzigone 16:16, October 19, 2010 (UTC)

I've noticed this, and I think we are loosing information in this change.
Surely era can mean specific periods like the '50s etc. Rather than just the century?
Wikitionary gives era as "A time period of indeterminate length, generally more than one year.". --Tangerineduel 16:22, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
I don't see why we couldn't just give a century, (millenium if necessessary) then if again possible, or just to make it more accurate add in brackets the decade (i.e '50's). I'd also be in favor for using (present day) for characters who are from present Earth- the majority of companions and spinoff cast etc. - I. Am. Excalibur-117-(talkcontribs) 16:33, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
But what about those who are born in say... the 40s and appear at different times throughout their lives. Do we put 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s etc? I feel the century option is the best and, in their biography, it can easily state the year. Take Ocean Waters for example, her biography states "In 1972...." and "In 2010..." which I think is a fine way of doing it. --The Thirteenth Doctor 16:52, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
To be fair, the current system works. I think a real problem is that we lack a definite view of what constitues a Home Era. Is it where they're born, or when we last saw them residing? Most of the characters were born in the 20th Century, but live through part of the 21st as well (we usually just say the latter, but sometimes both are used.)- I. Am. Excalibur-117-(talkcontribs) 17:02, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
I consider it when they live. Jack was born in the 51st century, so that's his home era. He travelled to many different eras, but never had a "home" as such there. But he actually lived and set up "home" in the 20th and 21st century, staying in those places by choice. If the Doctor had decided to stay on Earth for the entire 21st century, setting up a home, we'd probably consider it his home era as well. --The Thirteenth Doctor 17:06, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
I changed a number of pages in this way as a characters life likely lasted longer than a decade and in some cases I've seen specific years in the info box. This was the case with a number of pages related to The Romans i.e. Nero. Maybe a century is too long though.--Skittles the hog 17:08, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
A possible solution could be to list the era they were born in, as well as the one they currently reside wherever possible. For example(just watched VoS, first that came to mind) Rani Chandra : Home Era: 20th Century(Born), 21st Century(Current). Everyones happy, and it allows for the most accuracy and personal intrepretation. - I. Am. Excalibur-117-(talkcontribs) 17:26, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
Bit of an overload in an already cramped infobox.--Skittles the hog 17:28, October 19, 2010 (UTC)
Stay with the current system I think, the infobox is meant as a summary of the article, so to assuage Tzigone's concerns I think it's the writing of the article that needs to be looked at, rather than the infobox. Perhaps the lead sentence or so in articles should specify when an individual lived / was active.
Would it make it clearer to change the Home era section of the infobox from "Home Era" to "Era active"? --Tangerineduel 12:41, October 20, 2010 (UTC)
That'd work too.- I. Am. Excalibur-117-(talkcontribs) 15:23, October 20, 2010 (UTC)


Recently, myself and Skittles have come to blows over what a person 'Home Era' is. I said that it was an era an individual considered their home/ the Era we see a person in (i.e Andy Davidson was only seen in stories set in the 21st century, so his home era would be the 21st century.)(basically how it is now). Skittles, though it depended on their age, and that all characters over that are over a certain age (i.e 2008 = over 8 years old) their home era would be the 21st century as well as the 20th century. So basically, what is a person's home era? What should a person home era be? Mini-mitch\talk 22:16, February 14, 2011 (UTC)

I've had this same discussion with respect to the categories, like category:20th century individuals. Personally, I think the whole exercise of dating someone by a range of years is futile and should be abandoned so we can get on to more important work. An infobox should be for stone-cold solid information. If there's a field which produces consternation, like this one most certainly does, the answer is simply to remove it. Like TD says above, the burden is on the article itself, really.
I'm for the elimination of the line in the infobox, and, frankly, for the utter destruction of the "nth century individuals" categories, too. It's a bloody waste of time which at the end of the day produces nothing of value. "Home era" means nothing in a universe where time travel is the central conceit.
Actually, "home era" means nothing in the real world, either. What would you call your "home era"? Having a hard time with that? Do you in any way use that phrase in common speech? Exactly. Get rid of it. It's stupid.
Reading your comment, I agree. It's very difficult to come up with what someone's home era actually is, and time travel makes the matter even more confusing. People consider different dates to be their home era. I agree 100% with you about deleting the categories and the line in the infobox. Mini-mitch\talk 11:46, February 15, 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the removal of line in the infobox.
I agree in principle with getting rid of the Cat:Nth century individuals (it just mildly annoys me that several hundred articles will end up back in the Cat:Individuals category). Though I'm sure some other sub-categories can be dreamt up! --Tangerineduel / talk 14:04, February 15, 2011 (UTC)
Locking at infoboxes from other wikis, there are quite a few sections we could add, such as: loyalty, family, age, title, status to name a few. But if we were to put a new section into the infobox, it should not be done until we decide what to do with Home Era. Mini-mitch\talk 16:11, February 15, 2011 (UTC)

I'm not exactly sure how this jumped from a duplicated word to "remove the line" but okay, it sounds good.Skittles the hog--Talk 18:09, February 15, 2011 (UTC)

Less than a quarter of the individuals the Doctor meets are time travellers. The time travellers he does meet usually aren't wandering the universe like cosmic hobos. Time Lords and Time Agents (while there was an agency) generally have a fixed point in space and time which they return to. In The War Games, a Time Lord says to Jamie and Zoe that "We're going to send you home, back to your own world and your own time." Jamie moved out of linear time for a while but let's see who his contemporaries were.

"Do you in any way use that phrase in common speech?" I have never had to introduce myself to someone from another planet much less someone from the 51st century or from the 15th century. All of these example categories are small enough that they don't need to be organised like Wikipedia:Category:20th-century people.

"Hello, William Shakespeare. I've spent a week here but my home era is the 21st century."
"I'm Grant Morrison from Earth. I came here because my former editor, Tharg the Mighty, told me about a great job in the Betelgeuse system where William S. Burroughs is worshipped as a god."

What was the original topic again? --Nyktimos 05:38, February 16, 2011 (UTC)

SO i take it you'r against the deletion of the categories? Also, I was pondering whether to put the deletion tag on the 'x century individuals' pages, but I did not, as I though it would be better for a decision to come here. My plan was to direct people to this forums to voice their opinion when they see the deletion tag. Also, since there are quite a few of these page, it would have taken a lot of time. - which I must also ask, CzechOut, if we were to delete these categories, would your bot be able to do it, an remove the line from the infobox? Mini-mitch\talk 16:33, February 16, 2011 (UTC)

I'm a bit on the fence. I agree that the vast majority are not time-travellers. However, some characters cannot be defined in this way.--Skittles the hog--Talk 17:13, February 16, 2011 (UTC)

The bot's not required to remove the line from the infobox. That's the beauty of a template. If you don't want the line displayed, you just snip the line from the template and it disappears from every page on the site. Basically:
  • time to get rid of the line: 5 secs
  • time to hand edit the field on every page to the way you want it: ? days
As for categories, the bot would be able to do it simply. It would take a little while, even for the bot, though, just because there are so many affected pages. But yeah, it's dead simple to define a category and say to the bot, "Go, wipe this category from every page in the category." Of course, if there are any pages solely defined by an "nth century" cat, then they will suddenly become uncategorized. I don't know how many pages this will mean without doing it, though.
I think my point about "home era" being a part of natural speech has been misconstrued a bit. Obviously, the DWU is a fictional universe and things that happen within it wouldn't be things that happen to us. So, no, none of us are going to be introducing ourselves to aliens from the 32nd century, or the like, by saying "My home era is the 21st century". But because it also doesn't really occur in DWU stories, it's hard to justify the term. It's one that we have wholly invented on this site in an effort to put some kind of timestamp on an individual.
As for the categories, the thing we have to remember is that since DW only began transmission in about the last third of the 20th century, the vast majority of its characters in stories set in the "current day" are people who probably existed in the 20th and 21st centuries, but we don't know for sure. I mean, we've seen the Brig in both the 20th and 21st centuries, but can we assume Benton's in both centuries? Or some of the lesser UNIT flunkies? Do we really know that Mel made it to the 21st century? And which version of Ace do we assume to be the "correct", categorizable one? The one who ended up going to Gallifrey to be a Time Lady, or the one who died in DWM? Did either actually make it to the 21st century? She was young enough to, but did she? And what about all those much more minor characters? Take all the kids around the table in The Empty Child. They're certainly young enough to make it to the 21st century. Did they? Did the DWU's Queen Victoria make it to the same age she did in the real world? Can we safely put her in the 20th century cat? So we get into these little arguments from time to time, where we say, "Well if character X was 11 years old, and it's 2004, then he must be both 20th and 21st centuries." And then someone else pops up and says, "Ahhh, but if it's not actually in the canon, we shouldn't assume. He might've actually been born in 2060 and then transplanted to 2004 at the age of 11." We've gone round and round on this one several times. And the truth is, we just don't know for most of them. As long as we allow this kind of category, we're going to have editors who say — quite rightly in my view — "well, because they're XX years old and the story is set in YYYY then they must be in both ZZth and AAth centuries." And then the argument will flare again a year from now. We should always consider carefully anything we construct on the site that makes logic an enemy of canon.
So let's just stop the cycle of discussion/confusion by just removing the cat altogether. Even when you look at wikipedia's 20th century individuals categories, it's clear that they're far from exhaustive. Most of those subcats have less than 50 pages. On Wikipedia. A site whose collection of pages on 20th century people is, I would wager, close to the total number of article pages on our site. Some of the biggest figures of the 20th century aren't in 20th century individuals pages on Wikipedia.
And there's a very good reason for that: at the end of the day, the century in which a person lives is just not something that meaningfully identifies them.
I'm fine with deletion of the categories and the infobox section. The main biography should be stating the years in which certain events happened to an individual anyway. However, isn't the infobox supposed to be a quick summary of the character's page? Because even if we remove "home era", I think something such as "Year/Era Born" should be put in, but only if we know it for certain. --The Thirteenth Doctor 14:02, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

The time travel aspect of Who only strengthens the argument for keeping it. The Doctor meets people throughout ages and so it is useful to distinguish them in this way.--Skittles the hog--Talk 16:17, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

Not really. The biography sections of their page are always in order of their timeline, and each event they are involved in should mention the year that it happened in. The biography section makes it clear which era they live in and for how long, if we know. --The Thirteenth Doctor 16:32, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
Czechout: "But because it also doesn't really occur in DWU stories, it's hard to justify the term."
Maitland: "What century do you come from? The 21st, perhaps?"
Barbara Wright: "No, the 20th."
Maitland (a little later): "We come from the 28th century."
One of the oddities of the exchange is that Maitland takes it for granted he even can talk to someone from the 21st century. Why would it sound odd to define Albert Einstein as a 20th century Earth scientist? --Nyktimos 19:36, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
I'm struggling to understand the point you're trying to make. In the Sensorites excerpt you give, Maitland doesn't say, "What's your home era, Babs?" He says, quite specifically, "what century do you come from?", and so Barbara answers the question he asks. Once the conversation has oriented to those terms — that is, once they start talking in terms of centuries — Maitland just continues on with that and later offers the century from whence he comes. It's a conversational pattern triggered by Ian and Barbara's reminiscences about London as they knew it, one that alerts Maitland immediately to the fact that Barbara and Ian can't possibly be from the current century. Asking about centuries makes sense, because the London they're talking about hasn't existed for a time period measured in centuries. It's a very specific and unusual conversation; not every day chitchat in the DWU. And of course Barbara didn't just live in the 20th century. Sarah Jane's research appears to indicate that she made it into the 21st century without looking a day older! So what would her "home era" be in that instance? Yes, at the time of The Sensorites she says that she's from the 20th century, but that's only true at that moment. If we're to have the perspective of chroniclers existing after the collapse of the DWU, and we're therefore looking back at every event in the DWU, we can't adopt Barbara's Sensorites view of her life. We have to look over the course of what her whole life was. Because most people can place themselves in more than one century, it greatly diminishes the efficacy of the category.
Your use of Albert Einstein is spurious and misleading. He's a known quantity. As someone who existed in the real world as well as the DWU we kind of know him and think of him as sort of the "ultimate" 20th century scientist. But of course, he was 21 in 1900 so that makes him really a 19th century individual, too, doesn't it? Well, maybe and maybe not. Again, we run into the problem of whether we can assume he has the same biographical details in the DWU that he has in the real world. And we just don't know the answers to that. And there will be editors lining up on each side of this issue. Some will say, "Well, it's not sensible to believe he's not a 19th century indvidual." And others will point out that canon doesn't really establish Einstein's age relative to a year, so we can't tell.
Thus, we should remove the argument entirely and not attempt this personal categorisation by century. It's just easier in the long run. If this was giving us any vital information, I might try harder to make it work. But it's not. It's just a category system we've been applying by rote without even thinking if it usefully organises people.
The Home Era is confusing, and the centuries, like people have said, provide no vital information. I am fully behind removing them, and I'm all for a discussion to arise to see what else could be included in the infobox. Mini-mitch\talk 22:06, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

Home era is the time period in which you lived. However, its relevance is questionable. The Thirteenth Doctor states that this information is included in the article. Well, in most cases it is not and the infobox is designed to summarise. All appearances are usually mentioned as is race so your point is irrelevant. A discussion to decide on other possible fields would be good.--Skittles the hog--Talk 22:35, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

@CzechOut: What I don't understand is why you are distinguishing from the where and when someone would state they are from from the expression used in the infobox. A person from one century who lives into the next is a part of a continuous block of time. Since both young and dying William Shakespeare have appeared in Doctor Who media it would be fair to call him both. At the opposite points the 16th century youth and 17th century poison victim would define himself and be defined by others by a specific century. Why is it that this is confusing but when someone has more than one species listed or doesn't live on the planet they were born on there is no problem? I wasn't listing Einstein to be "spurious and misleading" but I'll give a different example anyways: Joe Nobodie was a hatmaker from 14th century Earth.
What information does it provide in categorising people? What other connection do the residents of Sardicktown and the crew of unnamed starliner have with each other? If a historical era has been visited a few times, why shouldn't we be able to find out who else was in it without an exhaustive search. Erimem's granddad Thutmose III was mentioned way back in Pyramids of Mars. Some of the other 15th century BC individuals that appeared in her stories or were mentioned by her weren't royalty or even Egyptian as in the case of the Mitanni. --Nyktimos 23:10, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
The infobox is to provide a quick summary of what's in the article. What's been shown by this discussion alone is that for a lot of individuals it's hard to define what their "home era" is, or we need more space than the infobox has to define when they're from.
If information about when they lived is included in canon then it should be included within the body of the article.
We write this wiki from the past tense, so while the Sensorites example is correct at that point in time, it's not for her whole life.
Within the Barbara article it can state "When Barbara encountered humans on a spaceship she said she was from the 20th century <insert quote here>". --Tangerineduel / talk 15:47, February 18, 2011 (UTC)
Can we come to a decision about this? I feel that we should roll on ahead with the removal of the line and categories, then starts a discussion of what else could be in the infobox? The only User who was really against it was Nyktimos, and Tangerineduel has since countered his arguments. Are in agreement to do this? Or is there anything people want to say? Mini-mitch\talk 19:36, February 27, 2011 (UTC)

Just because a point was countered doesn't mean we have consensus. I think it best to continue discussion rather than forcing change upon someone. I don't think the line is a problem, but I wouldn't oppose its removal.----Skittles the hog--Talk 17:13, February 28, 2011 (UTC)

I think I may have jinxed the closure of this debate by tagging on the idea of removing the "nth century individuals" categories. I'm happy to remove that issue for now, because, in truth, it'd take the bot in manual mode (that is, where I monitor every one of the bot's changes) to do the job usefully. And the bot, and I, are very busy at the moment. I think from my read of things that most of Nyktimos's objections were relative to the category abolition. So why don't we just table the cat thing for the moment and concentrate simply on the removal of the "home era" variable. That's a two-second fix in the code.
I think that Tangerineduel is the least-interested party to this one and he should therefore write the closing consensus. Or maybe Azes13 since he's not in the debate at all. I know I've closed some debates with which I was an interested party before, but it feels wrong of me to do it this time since there's significant, reasonable opposition to my own views. But I'd like to get this resolved quickly, as well, because it impacts (in a minor way) on the wiki redesign.
czechout@fandom   18:32:57 Mon 28 Feb 2011 

Basically, the line shows the century in which this person lived, correct? You guys want to get rid of the line because it is not really needed as the space of time stretches out to far. I think that instead of a line saying so and so lived throughout the 21st Century, a line should say "Date Encountered" or something like that (Date encountered sounds sort of animal-ish, so just come up with some other ideas) because that is all that is needed really. Do we really need to know when someone was born and died? Most of the data held in those few words, happens off-screen. We only really need to know the date when "Pete Tyler was saved" or when "Amelia Pond met the Doctor". All that we need to see is what is specific to the subject. Like said above, WIlliam Shakespere lived between two centuries, but is the date when he was born in the 16th Century and when he died in the 17th Century actually D.W Universe sutable? We just need to know when some In -Universe event happened, and the on a Real World page, that info is sutable to the subject. Sorry I have lost the plot a bit. Thanks. --Ghastly9090 18:48, February 28, 2011 (UTC)

Date encountered seems like a really good idea, but I think it may still get confused with Home Era. Unless it was 'First encountered'?. At the moment, I think we come to an agreement on whether or not to remove the categories and the infobox (both of which I think should go). Once the updates to this wiki are done, then I think we can discuss what to include in the infobox. Mini-mitch\talk 19:01, February 28, 2011 (UTC)
Date encountered seems like a good idea, except it's forgetting that this wiki's point of view is at the end of everything, so, encountered by whom? The statement or anything like it presumes a measurement of their life in relation to other people. And any statement like that needs explaining in a sentence or more, which is kinda what the article is for.
I endorse the removal of the "Home Era" section of the infobox.
As I've said above I have no objections to the removal of the categories. --Tangerineduel / talk 12:50, March 1, 2011 (UTC)
I've removed Home Era from the infobox, a per discussion, if you have any objections feel free to revert it. And whenever the bot is ready CzechOut, I presume the categories will be removed? Mini-mitch\talk 19:04, March 1, 2011 (UTC)
Ok, like I said, date encountered or as Mini-mitch says first encountered, sound a bit animali-ish, if you get what I mean. I'm now going to try to do somthing really clever now, lets come up with ideas, around the genre of "First Encounted":
Date Encountered
First Encountered
Time Encountered
Date of Discovery

Please carry on adding to the list. --Ghastly9090 18:58, March 1, 2011 (UTC)

Well, I was rather hoping Nyktimos would have weighed in before you went and deleted the home era line. It's an easy fix to put it back, so please don't take the time to actually delete the variable from individual instances of the infobox. As for anything else, we need to, I think, put that all into a different discussion. I know I introduced the idea of the deletion of the categories, but as the conversation developed, it became apparent that was a substantially different argument, deserving of its own thread. (Put bluntly, the removal of the category is not currently on CzechBot's agenda.) This discussion should remain about the removal of the home era line in the infobox. And I would still like to get Nyktimos' latest view on that, before I consider the matter closed.
[This business of replacing the line with something else goes against the entire spirit of this discussion, I think. The point, as far as I was concerned, was to get rid of any sort of time frame at all from the infobox. As TD has said, that's what the article is for.]
czechout@fandom   17:31:34 Sun 06 Mar 2011 

The Home Era category

It's been around two months since this was lasted debated, but we discussed earlier about the Home era category (i.e 21st century individuals). Most User's gave their opinion about whether or not this should be removed, and I am hoping to reignite this debate so we can reach an conclusion. How do people feel about the removal of the category? Should it be removed at all? All my thoughts about this are in the discussion above. Mini-mitch\talk 13:56, May 7, 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to have to go back to what I said before, or at least something around that basis. The category, home era, just doesn't fit everything. We can't say the Doctor's home era, or any other time travellers (excluding River Song). We need somthing around the basis of

  1. when we have met them,
  1. when we first met them, or, in River Song's case -
  1. they have given or it is obvious when they lived.

The problem is, we need something that will fit everyone. One thing is certain. We're not gonna get anywhere with Home Era. User:Ghastly9090/sig 18:32, May 7, 2011 (UTC)

I would personal like to for "When we have met them" - But i dunno how to word that as a category and I would much rather wait to make a decision on Home Era, rather than starting to think of a replacement, which would be the next stages. I like your ideas though. Mini-mitch\talk 18:37, May 7, 2011 (UTC)
I think the "home era" category works well for non-time travellers (Amy Pond=late 20th/early 21st centuries; Canton Delaware=mid 20th/early 21st centuries). --Bold Clone 19:15, May 7, 2011 (UTC)

The categories do work. Perhaps rewording could satisfy all parties.----Skittles the hog--Talk 19:22, May 7, 2011 (UTC)

I'm happy to keep them, if that's what going to be decided, and if we do need to reword it or even have policy that says "Home Era is only is Era we see them in or what they call they home era" (I.e Amy Pond would be 20th and 21st century, Henry Avery would be 17th). Also, we can't add the category because of their age. To say someone belong is an era just because of their age seems wrong. We don't know thier background, so we need to based it on what we know, not guess. Mini-mitch\talk 19:30, May 7, 2011 (UTC)
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