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IndexTech notes → Infobox: Episode format
Spoilers aren't cool here.
(Try The Howling, instead.)

Can we split the format of the episode into two different bits: length (either the exact running time or near enough) and the number of episodes/CDs etc. Take some examples here:

  • Blink
    • Format: 1 episode
    • Length: 45 minutes OR 43'44

The Invisible Enemy

    • Format: 4 episodes
    • Length: 25 minutes

Forest of the Dead.

    • Format: 1 episode (of 2)
    • Length: 45 minutes

Blink is the only one I can find, at the moment, the exact length of the episode since it is on BBC iPlayer. MM/Want to talk? 17:55, March 12, 2012 (UTC)

I understand what you're trying to do, but I have heavy reservations about it, to the extent it would be applied to modern television. It's fairly straightforward to say how many episodes are in a serial. And maybe there could be a variable for that, like {{{episodes in serial}}}.
But there's no way you could use it for BBC Wales DW like you're suggesting. Each episode of modern DW is of a format of 1 episode, with the exceptions of Dreamland, The Infinite Quest and The End of Time. Forest of the Dead isn't 2 of 2. It's 1 of 1 or, more properly, 2 of 12. The fact that it wasn't broadcast in immediate serial succession doesn't change the fact that it's the second part of a whole story that begins with Silence in the Library and (currently) ends with The Wedding of River Song.
The format of DW nowadays is single episode, with overarching narrative threads. The fact that some stories are formally identified as two parters doesn't change the fact that Silence in the Library is part 1 of a story that's taken 4 years to tell. Day of the Moon might be the second half of the narrower story segment having to do with Richard Nixon, but it's only episode 2 of a multipart story concerning the unveiling of the true identiy of River Song, episode 8 of the even larger River Song story.

If we were only to use it on stories that actually have formally numbered "parts", fine, there's some utility there. We probably could use it on:

  • SJA
  • old DW
  • comics
  • audios that have formalised parts with explicit interspersions of title music
  • new DW that is titularly serial
  • Novels that are explicitly titled with a number (Interference, books 1 and 2) or that share an overarching title like Cat's Cradle
  • Children of Earth
  • Miracle Day
So that's a lot of stuff, but it's not everything, and, importantly, it's not the story pages that tend to receive the most edits.
Now as to the other part of format, yeah, this is tricker. You're saying that for modern episodes of DW, the runtime should be expressed in terms of the number of minutes in that particular episode, but for classic DW, it should be expressed in terms of the average length per episode? That seems wonky to me. I think it should be total duration, not length per ep. It'd probably be easier to find that number anyway, since it's gotta be given to BBFC for certification. And it'd be one variable versus up to 12. Remember, too, that the overarching goal of this infbox makeover is to control the size of the infobox. Noting the length of each episode would be an unnecessary expansion.
But yeah, I can see in theory why you'd want to have length split from number of parts. And it'd be helpful for other media, since you could easily co-opt the same variable and repurpose it for page count.
So, broadly — but with the signnificant worry about BBC Wales pages — I do support this proposal.
But it won't be easy to change. Over the past eight years, people have not universally used the same pattern to fill out the {{{format}}} variable. Theres's "1 X 25 mins" "1X25 mins" "1-25 mins" and on and on. That's a nightmare scenario for the bot. And my first temptation was just to say, "It's not possible with the bot; you have to manually edit every one of the thousands of story pages." But, there is actually a way forward, if you're interested in doing a little work. Here's my plan:
  1. Search through at least 10% of the pages in every subcategory of Category:Stories. In smaller categories, look at 1 story that begins with each letter of the alphabet. The minimum from each category should therefore be 20, since some categories don't have one story for each letter of the alphabet.
  2. Cut and paste the exact contents of the format variables you see to this page in an orderly list. Please don't retype it. Cut and paste it, so that you're getting exactly what's there.
  3. I'll then be able to program the bot based upon those results to find common patterns.
  4. I'll then run the bot and whatever the bot doesn't touch is something that will have to be manually adjusted. Hopefully, thoguh, if we get upwards of a few hundred examples, the number of cases that slip through will be tiny.
Basically it's a pain in the ass, but it probably can be done in a way that won't require editing every single story page.
Still, I urge you to consider this very much something that can be done in a month or so. We have more pressing hand-editing to do, such as ensuring that each companion is listed only by their first name, compacting the amount of material in the setting variable, fixing navigational problems that exist because people got too clever with the prev/next buttons, and the like. Let's get the current variables working better before we start splitting existing variables.
czechout@fandom   00:00: Tue 13 Mar 2012 
Actually, the listing of companions by first name is a total bot job. Don't spend any time on it. Compacting of the setting/year variable is completely impossible by bot. That's where your energies should go now.
czechout@fandom   07:33: Tue 13 Mar 2012 
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