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Overview

I've been quite unsatisfied with the infoboxes here for a while. They require you to type in way more than you need to in order to put up a picture, they produce a lot of blank space if you don't fill in every variable and they're "thin black line"-heavy. So here's a side-by-side comparison of the exact same variables in two different styles of infobox. The one on the left is my proposal of what we should change to (although colors can obviously be changed easily).

General infobox (people, objects, astronomical objects, species, etc.)

Template:Infobox test

Note the differences between the two boxes. The new one has no border around the whole box, but a fully colored interior that frames the picture. Most strikingly, the old one is almost as long as the new one — and it doesn't have a picture on it!

The new version also automatically links the picture. To get the picture up, all I did was type in image=Tegan.jpg. Simple, easy, no worries about inverted brackets, missing punctuation or anything else. As long as you know the simple name of the file, the picture appears. More importantly, it gives editors no choice as to the width. All pictures using this infobox are 250px, period. This will achieve uniformity across the stie, something another thread has been complaining about.

But you can see the major downside. It'll obviously mean that every single existing infobox will have to have its brackets manually edited out. Controversial, to be sure, but ultimately massively beneficial. Yes, the new box can be rewritten to handle the existing format, but we'd lose the ability to set the width automatically.

But here's the unambiguously better bit. Variables not entered do not produce a blank line, or try to substitute a word like "unknown". Note how "type" appears in the old box as "unknown", but doesn't appear in the left at all. If the information's not available, no space is wasted on it. There are a ton of species where we don't now, nor will we ever, know the planet of origin. Likewise, there are a lot of objects of unknown origin or planets of unknown location. If the canon doesn't tell us, don't leave a blank space for someone to fill in with conjecture out of a misguided need to fill it out "the best way possible." This style will be especially beneficial to, say, comic infoboxes, where many early comics don't have a credit for, say, inker or pencils, but they do have a credit for "art" or "artist". There should be flexibility in the box to fill in the precise credit, by allowing certain categories to fade away depending on available information.

This sort of thing can be done for every infobox on the wiki. We could get real control over our infoboxes by putting a whole lot more style into them. We can even put little icons into the infoboxes, if we wanted, so that on series episode pages there's the logo of the programme in question. Maybe a small TARDIS for DW, and the faces of Captain Jack and SJS for their series. Check out the SMDM episode template for an idea of what that might look like. CzechOut | 07:47, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I like your proposals. I would put in a space for relatives and aliases and keep the current color scheme. also, as I have suggested here before, I think that companions and Doctors should have their own kind of template, listing (in both cases), their introductory story (in both stories) and then they left or regenerated (respectively). --Stardizzy2 15:34, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Comic (but adaptable to episodes, novels, radio plays, etc.)

Okay, here's another iteration for more complicated story pages. This one is specifically the comic template. Please note that the infoboxes in this section are based on template:infobox test comic2, not the current template:infobox Comic. Thus, the infoboxes seen in this section do not perfectly represent the current look and behavior of the infobox. Template:Infobox test comic2 As before, the big goal was to make most of the existing variables work. However, as above, there's still the idea we have to go in and manually edit the brackets off picture names. Unfortunately, this one requires a bit more than that. Honestly, if I'd been here from the beginning, I'd have pushed for most variables to be just that: plain variables. You can program those variables to go into brackets, giving you much greater control. It's kinda silly to have repetitively typed [[Second Doctor]] in al these infoboxes when one little edit to the infobox would've linked every instance in an infobox, wiki-wide. Anyway, I've left most of the variables alone, cause it would be so laborious to go back through and do it by hand.

Nevertheless, to streamline navigation, all story names would have to be de-linked at the same time we de-linked the picture names. You may wish to head over to template:infobox test comic2 to see all the possible variables. Most are collapsed in this simple example.

The template gives you the ability to set up navigation amongst three different story arcs, along with the simple chronological-by-publication-date navigation. It also allows a greater range of credits than you'd ever use in a TV Comic story like this one. Pencillers, Inkers, Letterers, and Colourists are all possible with this template; whereas Pencillers and Inkers don't seem possible in the original.

Also, note that icons are possible to liven up the box. This might be slightly more important on those many stories for which we don't currently have pictures. I'm not particularly pushing for the one I've included, but it seemed to get the point across most easily. If you create a transparent .png pic (i.e., one with an alpha channel), it looks pretty cool, emphasizing the irregular shape. It's also clickable, taking you to the master page for all comic stories.

In a sense, this picture is a bad one to demonstrate the template, because it's long. It's making the whole template elongated. But if you look at the way it fills out the old infobox on The Night Walkers page, you can see that this new infobox saves a lot of space — mostly horizontal. CzechOut | 15:32, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Other comic examples

Here's another example with a more modern work where every creative staff position is filled out. Note what happens to the old temple when you don't put in "artist". This thing whereby it automatically returns the variable expression {{{artist}}} has contributed to a lot of articles simply giving out false, incomplete information. By allowing the choice of "artist" or "penciller + inker", the infobox can actually provide the correct information. Note, too, that this new infobox will track reprint areas as well — something of great importance with most DW comics.

I should point out that this box shows us one element of the programming that's not yet enabled. If the box doesn't find a picture, it will substitute its own. Because NoPic.jpg doesn't yet exist, it's currently a redlink. But if we decide to go forward with this, I'll certianly whip up an appropriate little expression of emptiness. Template:Infobox test comic2 This one brings to mind another expansion I'd like to do, but may not, given the manual editing involved. Note the "Printed in" line. See how people have interpreted the "Published in" line of the old template as a place to put not just the publication title (as the variable was originally named), but also the issue numbers? A superior design would be to introduce the variables "first issue" and "last issue". Then you'd create a new line, "Issues", and fill it with the auto-linked result of the expression

[[ {{{publication}}} issue {{first issue}} | {{first issue}} ]]

The result would be something like:

Publication: Doctor Who Monthly
Issues: 273 - 276

How do we get the full publication title to be just the initials? Well, again, manual de-linking is required. Then you can either write a new template or an "if-then" statement that converts to the appropriate acronym. I'm thinking a template might be the most useful way, so you can use it throughout the wiki. One massive thing that converts all long form name to their prefix.

The question remains though: do other editors like the new templates enough, and think there's sufficient additional utility in them, to do this easy, but laborious, de-linking? It should be noted that while we're doing the process of de-linking, there will still be linked information there. It'll just look ugly. Here's what one box will look like the instant of the transfer of infoboxes: Template:Infobox test comic2

It's still basically usable, there are just some ugly extra brackets around. Also, note another problem. This editor has interpreted the variables differently than editors in the previous example. For some reason, he/she has linked the name of the comic strip on its own page. Were this infobox actually on the page itself, that wouldn't be too much of a problem; it just would appear as bolded (extra white). But it is a little against general conventions to link to the page you're on. Note too that this editor has chosen to be extra-complete by stating there is no letterer. Not a problem, but we can see how the old infobox gave the impression one had to do this. (Oddly, it's not actually true of the lettering variable, whereas if you don't put in an artist, you get the ugly variable name instead. Not sure why the original treated the same kind of variable differently.) Also, this editor treated the "format" variable differently. He/She chose to see it as a place to put in that it was part 4 of 4. Understandable, cause it is, but it does point out the problem of that variable. I think it's kinda weird how consistently people have chosen to state the obvious and say its format is that it's a comic, because of course they're comics. Not exactly necessary to say that. That's why (as you'll see in "The Fallen" example, above) new optional variables {{{pages}}} and {{{parts}}} have been included to supercede the ambiguous {{{format}}}. And the "part x of y" business has been changed into the story arc business at the bottom. More dynamic and linked than just saying that it's "part 4 of 4".

Anyway, the point is that even with no editing at all, the box still basically "works". So while we were in the process of manually fine-tuning the boxes, you'd still have a functioning (if slightly less pretty) box. It doesn't "break the box" for us to have some manual editing to do.

Well, that's it for now. I'm not quite sure how we get to "greenlight" with all this, but please do lemme know your thoughts. CzechOut | 15:32, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

no offense, but I did not read through the text. I think either the first and third version of the comics infoboxes look good, as long as you go for less drab colors than just gray. if you start going into story arcs in the infobox, I think people will abuse it by trying to make connections which may not exist via their continuity fixes and fanwanks,
as for greenlighting, IMO you don't have to ask permission, just make the changes, you know? like I said, though make things less monochromatic and you have a winner.--Stardizzy2 17:55, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I should point out that there aren't three versions of the box here. It's all the same version, with different features coming to light as variables are given a value. As to the story arcs, yes, it came to my mind that people could abuse them. Maybe I've absued them by suggesting in "The Night Walkers" that it's a part of the Exile on Earth arc — although it's actual authorial intent that it leads into Spearhead from Space. Nevertheless, I'd argue that story arcs are definitely a part of the modern comic structure. Thinktwice does, in fact, follow on from Hotel Historia (comic story) narratively, even though it chronologically follows The Time of My Life. Likewise, it's not fanwank to say that Bad Blood follows on narratively from Oblivion (comic story), even though its immediate predecessor is the completely unrelated The Land of Happy Endings. In fact, most of the "Destrii/Izzy body swap arc" is fairly noncontiguous, what with the way that the Seventh Doctor story, The Last Word, suddenly plops down between Beautiful Freak and The Way of All Flesh. (And, indeed, The Last Word is the coda to the "Timewyrm arc" that otherwise appears in the PROSEs.)
Yes, there is a bit of a "judgement call" aspect to the proper use of the story arc thing. I wouldn't think it acceptable, for instance, to devise a thing called "the Auton arc" and include Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, Plastic Millennium, and Rose (TV story). At the end of the day, though, there are a lot of genuine story arcs out there — a lot of obvious prequels and sequels — and the facility should exist for them to be navigable. I think this especially true with spin-off material, like comics, where one-part stories have often broken up what was otherwise meant to be a single narrative.
But you could legitimately use the feature in a different way. It could be useful for navigating between stories featuring recurring characters. For instance, Maxwell Edison is a character that's important to the DWM continuity, but his appearances are broken by years of absence. Instead going to his main page, then tracking down his appearances one-by-one, this facility offers the ability to just set an arc name to "Maxwell Stockbridge appearances" and leverage the content of the wiki differently. It seems to me there's more of a case for tracking Mxx or Frobisher appearance than there is for enemies, because there is something of a narrative content to their appearances there. Max is a specific character, whom we know has a building relationship with the Doctor. There are shout-outs to the past adventures, even if the stories themselves don't form a single narrative. CzechOut | 20:03, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
okay, well. the main thing, I think it looks good with the exception of the color scheme. some good work. --Stardizzy2 20:06, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I've just had a quick look at the above and while a lot of it has gone straight over my head, I like the direction it seems to be heading. I particularly like the fact that it looks cleaner without the bold boxing, that where no information is shown it doesnt show anything (although I hope on editting the box, the option to include further lines is still displayed) and re: the comics, I especially like the top heading bit with an illustration obviously denoting the (appropriate !?) Doctor and clearly identifying the page as being comic strip material. Incidentally these were two things I wanted to try in doing the Battles in Time comic strip pages. At the time I didn't realise that the series would be extended so far!! I should also add thats why I havent as yet gone through each page and corrected some glaringly obvious mistakes and added further information hopefully from source - still working on that! But back to the boxes if you want to test it out on the BIT strips Im happy to help if you guide me through it, particularly as Ive loads more strips I want to do hundreds in fact! On the credit lines I would like to add that they like the strips, seem to have evolved over the years from where the credited artist maybe did it all, so unless its specified on the strip itself it is hard to establish a credit. But thats not saying the information may come to light at a later date.
I read through in more depth when I get a moment. Thanks for the invite CzechOut - oh and I'm male by the way. The Librarian 22:48, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I've also read the above proposals and I agree with, at least, the changing of the variables to disappear from the infobox if nothing is entered into them. The other changes (by that I mainly mean the auto-linking of images) will, as has been mentioned, cause the infoboxes to look ugly until they have been changed. However, I suppose that will probably be fixed eventually (and we should look to the long-term future and not just a few hours or days).
I think the main reason why nobody made it so that the variables disappeared when nothing was entered for them was because... nobody knew how at the time. So I think that should be changed as soon as it can be.
~ Ghelæ -talk-contribs 06:58, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

I Agree with Stardizzy2 looks great except for the colour scheme --Dark Lord Xander 10:46, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

The new boxes are OK I guess, but can we keep the thin black lines? I like them, and think they make the boxes look more serious and encyclopedic. solar penguin/(talk)/(contribs) 12:58, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Implementation

These new comic boxes were put into place a few minutes ago, based upon the general agreement that seemed to be present on this page. Note that I've tried to incorporate various suggestions that have come my way, either through this page or discussion pages. I even managed to get something like Solar penguin's suggestion in, even though it went against the core philosophy that started the project. Still, I think the box is better having tried to re-incorporate some version of "grid lines".

The one thing I did not change was the colour scheme. That's because this box does not live in isolation. It's a part of a series of otther boxes, each with their own colour schemes. Some sort of graphite box just seems appropriate to me based upon the content of this particular box. All comics start out as pencil or ink on paper, after all. I think we want each of these boxes to immediately stand out based upon their colour schemes — quite unlike the way infoboxes now work on the site. I mean, prior to my tinkering blue/white meant DW television episodes, comics, individuals, and probably a few other things. Each color scheme should be used once — for one kind of thing. I don't think it's inappropriate, therefore, to keep the comic color scheme at duotone grey.

I would encourage all editors to please read the extensive usage notes at template:infobox Comic, as there are a number of "hidden" variables which you'll not easily find any other way. CzechOut | 01:36, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Hmm. This is what happens when I'm not around for a week.
I don't mind it all that much. (Though I've always rather liked the infoboxes (not the original ones, which if you look back through the history of the original TV infobox you can see what we started with).
Just going with the current TV infoboxes, I quite like their simplicity with their black lines and everything.
But on the comic (and other boxes), I think it would be good to have the previous and next story actually written rather than just an arrow as I really think it helps to have the name of the next story/release. --Tangerineduel 07:52, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, didn't know you weren't around. I left the discussion open for a pretty good length of time, I personally invited many individual users to the discussion, and thought I got a reasonable consensus to act. I just figured you weren't that interested in this discussion. I'm saddened that you dislike one of the key features of all these new infoboxes. To me the navigation area is the most useful innovation of the whole thing. No more do we have to have those awkward "timeline" sections outside of the infoboxes on BFA pages. We can now navigate not only by order of BFA release, but by the order the adventure comprises within a particular Doctor's life, or a particular companion's life. Surely you can see the advantage of being able to track BFAs not only by release order, but also by Sixth Doctor order and Eighth Doctor order and Charley order?
And of course the "arrow method" does give you the name of the story. You just hover your mouse over the arrow, and the name pops up. Actually including the name of the story simply takes up too much space and is comparatively harder to understand. I'm gonna have to stand firm against the idea of re-introducing the story name in navigation boxes, as it would literally break the design of the whole box. It's just more elegant this way. I think you'll like the concept if you see how it plays out on a fairly complicated navigational situation. Check out Polly the Glot and I think you'll like how simply the multiple navigation is conveyed. Compare that to, say, Fire and Brimstone, which hasn't yet been given a final polish. Including the story name takes three lines to say what can be done in one with arrows. CzechOut | 21:15, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't take up that much extra room. The issue I have is it's not instantly recognisable as to which story comes next, you can't casually read through the article, you have to move the mouse over it, it's a usability issue for me, not everyone uses a mouse to navigate and read through articles, mouseovers while assisting in several ways do mean that we loose some degree of ease of use that I'm not happy with.
Perhaps there's just too much trying to be compacted into the navigation pane?
Also...what's with the talking marks around the story titles?
I'm also not sold on the rather large speech bubble at the top of the article.
Also through many of the comics articles I was adding links within the specific numbers of the comics such as 95-97 so those numbers were actually clickable and would take you to DWM Issue 95 and 97. Which is still there on the Fire and Brimstone article. --Tangerineduel 15:54, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Also Timeline is often, especially with the books often an educated guess based on information around rather than definitive information, which is why it should stay out of the infobox (which I feel is more about definitive information). --Tangerineduel 15:58, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
I would rather not try to make guesses, educated or otherwise, or to try to incorporate later continuity. previous to my mind means the audio previous, the television story previous or previous comics story. otherwise you get into speculation. (some fans and writers even think that the comics, audios and novels of given Doctors take place in different times from each other.) leave it, just stick to what we know, with the real world as the arbiter. (with exceptions made sparingly for works like So Vile a Sin which got published last of all the Seventh Doctor NA's for reasons of practicality.) --Stardizzy2 16:32, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
We are always incorporating later continuity as we write each subsequent article as information comes to hand.
Even going by the real world there are times when we need the timeline such as when placing multiple characters within the timeline for example Journey's End, even this there are some conjectural elements.
As we treat the whole of the Doctor Who universe as canon (more or less) as the same there needs to be a way of viewing each story in relation to others. --Tangerineduel 17:38, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Where do we go from here?

Wow. Okay. I have to say I'm feeling a bit frustrated at this point. I put out a call for people's responses. I waited just over a week to act. I had a few side notes with users on their user pages or on discussion pages. At various stages along the "development phase" of the project, I tried to incorporate other editors' views, and gave an explanation for the one request I didn't honor — the colour scheme. I've already moved well beyond this one comic infobox, to make a TV box on the site, and to create a quick editing environment on my local machine, so that I can turn around all the other infoboxes virtually overnight. I don't think I could have been more clear that I was starting a project to change ALL of the infoboxes on the site, as there's little point to just changing one of them and leaving the rest alone. At no point did I receive one note that made me think, "Wow, okay, I've got this all wrong, I better stop." Instead, I got encouragement and suggestions for how to improve the design. I never would have put this process into motion if I didn't feel like I had general consensus for the "design philosophy" of the box.

So I'm really not sure what to do with your objections, Tangerineduel, because I feel they come very late in the game. That's not your fault, because you weren't here. And it's not my fault, because I did specifically invite you to the discussion on 15th May. But the comments are late. Implementation started. I already have put in a massive amount of work changing over all the rest of the boxes. And, even if they'd come earlier, you'd be the lone dissenting voice. You've basically attacked every innovation of the box, everything that I see as important to its design. If I were to implement your changes, basically we'd be back to the original infobox — which is really what I'd gather you'd prefer. I've given a response to one round of your objections, and you've rejected that response. So we're at something of an impasse, and I don't know what to do about that.

I guess I can try to persuade you again, but it's a sorta half-hearted attempt, cause I think you're just opposed to this design, period. Still, here goes.

Arrows and story names

Your "arrow fear" is unfounded cause people do use mouseovers. You know how there are some editors who assiduously change every instance of Incarnation# Doctor to [[Incarnation# Doctor|the Doctor]]? The reason they do that is not for readability. Honesly, most of the time people would rather see the incarnation number in the text. They do it because they know readers are savvy enough to do a mouseover. And it's obviously not just that. What about this popular li'l switcheroo: [[the Doctor's TARDIS|the TARDIS]]? What about the thousands of times that completely ordinary words are linked to specific articles for the sake of text flow? I'm sure that at one point of another you've written/seen a line like this:

The Doctor's dog arguably had more of a bite than the typical Earth canine.

Basically, I think your attack on the arrows is an attack on the very nature of wiki markup text. It's flexible for a reason. Take any in-universe article on this wiki and you're likely going to find tons of blue links that don't match up exactly to the text seen in the article.

The other point that we'ver not really discussed yet is that a lot of these pages already have a template at the bottom which lists all the stories in that general time-frame. It's therefore redundant to to have both a template and an infobox giving the same information.

Unlinking DWM issue numbers

This in part answers your other objection, about the unlinked DWM issue numbers. Those templates currently have linked issue numbers already. But my design point in unlinking them is that you need the raw data (the simple, unlinked number "61", for instance) to be able to later create an expression which combines the title name and the issue number to link to the Issue page automatically. No, the infobox doesn't do that yet, but it's certainly possible for it to do so. (I described the process up above somewhere.)

Another point to mention about this is that having a linked issue number is not nearly so universal as you believe. First of all, there will likely never be pages for individual issues of the Polystyle stuff or the individual issues of the Radio Times with Eighth Doctor material, or maybe even the COMIC issues You just couldn't write enough information about TVC Issue 1201, for instance, to justify a whole page for it. So my real impetus for having the unlinked numbers is that I wanted to come up with an expression that could link it when the publication was DWM, but not link it when the publication was TVC.

The icon

As for the balloon icon, this is something that hasn't been specifically vetted by other editors. I think the idea of there being an icon of some type has gotten a generally positive response — but we can debate the merits of any particular icon. It's not something that is difficult to change, and in fact the design has gone through three icons already. Ultimately, the best thing might be a suggestion made by someone else, above, who said the icon should change depending on the Doctor involved. I like that idea, but it'll require de-linking the doctor variable, and a fairly complicated expression. It's not something that I want to stop and figure out before proceeding with the further implementation of this infobox. (Personally, I kinda dug the lil Frobisher icon I had at one point, but I figured it might be too obscure a reference for the uninitiated.)

The story arcs/timeline

I'm not quite clear on either Stardizzy or your objections, here. I think I've kinda already mentioned my views on this, but I'll try again. There's nothing at all speculative about the time placement of Charley Pollard. She leaves the Eighth Doctor in The Girl Who Never Was. Her next adventure is "The Condemned", with the Sixth Doctor. There's nothing ambiguous about this. "The Night Walkers" directly leads to Spearhead from Space. There's nothing speculative about that. I agree there is some potential for abuse, but that's like avoiding using fire to cook because it might cause a wildfire. In certain circumstances, you can, with reasonably certainty, define a narrative order which differs from the publication/broadcast one. And this infobox gives you a much more elegant and compressed way of tracking it. Honestly, that "timeline" section in the body of some articles is the devil. It's never defined how it's supposed to be used, and most of the time it actually follows the publication chronology. By having all your timelines in one little corner of the infobox, the uninitiated reader "gets it" much more quickly. And I honestly don't believe there's nearly so much speculation involved, at least when it comes to comics or BFAs, as might be feared.

In fact the real, hard-core utility of this feature will be most obvious in the TV iteration of the box. Using this feature, we'll be able to have navigation by production order, alongside navigation by broadcast. This site currently has no systematic recognition of the difference between these two orders; instead mention of production order is left solely to behind the scenes comments. And that's just not good enough.

The quotation marks

You know perfectly well why those are there, Tangerineduel. We've had the discussion before. They're there because they're grammatically correct. Of course they can be easily changed, but I would argue that they should exist in this one place. Graphic novels automatically italicized. Thus, you can tell at a glance of the infobox that you're dealing with one of the Voyager graphic novels rather than the "Voyager" strip. It's just really hard for me to go against what's actually correct. I mean, I've been writing about fiction for years. I really have a hard time breaking a fairly cardinal rule of formatting. So on articles I edit, you'll see tons of quotation marks, even if the MOS is actually changed. It's really not deliberate, it's just instinctual. Still, of all your objections, this is obviously the easiest to change. If I were to change it, what would it be, though? Just plain text? Or would it all be italicized?

Summary

So we appear to be at genuine loggerheads. While there is room for discussion about which icon we might use, or punctuation of the main title, you're otherwise asking for things that, to my mind, fundamentally break the design. And yet, we have six editors who've already given an explicit nod to the design philosophy. So what do we do? Clearly your views are important on this wiki, but I honestly don't know how to reconcile that against the fact that I followed proper procedure, opened a debate, got a reasonable consensus, and moved forward. I really hate the thought that you don't like these, though. I mean, it really does surprise and dishearten me that you've found so much to dislike. But at the same time, you're in what appears to be a minority of one. So how do we go forward? Help me out here, cause I've never quite been in a pickle like this.

Maybe we can come to a deal. In exchange for my refusal to change the navigation boxes, I'll put every subsequent design up here in the Panopticon and let you comment on it before I implement it? I dunno if that works for you, but it seems somewhat reasonable to me, because I wasn't going to put any more designs up for "approval", as the section heads made it clear that these were examples of a general type. CzechOut | 22:52, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Discussion Lateness

I really didn't mean to be so rejecting. (Though I would argue a week is hardly late.)
In general, you might be right. A lot of discussions, like our featured page nominations, in fact take months. But then again, one of the frustrating things about wiki "consensus discussions" is knowing when is the right time to close the debate. This one moved fairly quickly, with 5 yes votes amassing in less than 24 hours around the 15th May. Even so, I didn't take action on those votes for about another week, with the changeover only coming on the 22nd May. I can understand why you'd think a week isn't so long, but this discussion simply moved with greater speed. Regardless of the length of debate time, the central question is: what happens when a vote is 6-1? Does the motion carry or not?
Well yes it does carry, majority rules I think. I'll just argue with you all along the way (joke...kinda).--Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
That's cool, but maybe we could agree that all questions be in one place. I've just discovered that you (and others) have now added more to the discussion pages of the individual templates, which is is making it hard to keep up. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
And I should say that it is a nice and different design, especially the collapsing sections and appreciate the work done on it.
My objection isn't of the mouse overs, but of the overall casual readability of the page, on first glance you can see which story leads before and after the stories.
But I suppose it's alright for the comics if they all have templates at the base of the article.

Article base templates

My concern is that if/when we move onto the novels there's 60 New Adventures which couldn't really be incorportated into a template (and I'm not really for breaking the NAs/EDAs etc into 'early', 'mid', 'late' as the comics are, as I'm still a little fuzzy on how we define an early, mid and late comic and where the cutoffs are).
Well, I shouldn't misrepresent this. They won't all have bottom templates. I doubt we'll ever really have the same style of bottom template for Polystyle stuff, because there will never be individual issues linked. I myself don't even like the bottom templates. It seems to me they were introduced to the pages without any discussion, which, considering the process I've initiated here, I kinda resent.
At any rate, It can't be an expectation that the page will have the next/previous stories linked by name on any part of the page. Which is exactly why we're in a frustrating place. You either like the clean simplicity of arrows or you don't. You don't, but you're the only one. So what do we do?
And for me it can't be a question of "if/when" we roll out the novel template. We are rolling it out, or we're rolling this one back. It's absolutely pointless to have just this one on the site, simply because it was the first one I happened to have propagated. It will look silly beyond belief to have this one highly stylized infobox sitting alongside ones of completely different design. I'm not being petulant here. From a visual design standpoint, all the infoboxes need to have the same sort of "look".

MOS arguments

Okay the talking marks, again it will be my vote of style over rules, the title is already bolded and on the top of the page, it seems as though it's a quote rather than a title. Yes I know it's grammatically correct but I just feel the talking marks take up a little bit too much room along with the icon.
Wow. I thought at first your objections to using proper English were based on a practical desire to avoid having to do a ton of tiny little corrections. Now it seems that you just don't like the way it looks. I don't like the way the word "pillow" looks — seriously, it freaks me out — but I still observe the common English spelling.
I don't really like the templates at the bottom of the articles either.
However you didn't really address my question, which is if this infobox should roll out to all the novels and TV stories will the story names remain. This I'm still quite adamant about, as I've said the ease and casual readability, plus the navigation of the page would be affected by replacing the names with arrows.
Especially as I've said the novels, BF stories and others don't have templates at the base of the articles.
On a side note, I'm not a fan of many of the bottom of article templates as they're very inconsistent despite their naming conventions Template:Master stories should have all the Master stories, but only has the TV ones.
They also seem to favour the TV stories over everything. (but this can wait for another discussion) --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
What exactly is wrong with the word pillow? (and I wasn't aware there was an alternate spelling of it, aluminium I could perhaps understand, or perhaps the tendency to drop the 'u' and replace the 's' with 'z'...sorry getting sidetracked...and in all cases I would change the spelling) --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
There's not an alternate spelling of "pillow". I just hate the way it actually is spelt. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Anyway, the title isn't bolded, it's just big. And you haven't actually answered my question, above. If we were to change it, how would your own internal MOS say it should go: plain text or italicized?
Yes, occasionally I will go for how something looks rather than practicalities...though isn't that partially what this infobox lark is about? (said in all good humour)
My first instinct was to say 'plain text', but as I recall our previous discussion over this and my argument of keeping things consistent, so italicised, to keep it all consistent throughout the site.
Alright. You win. Just promise me somewhere on the site there'll be a note that we know it's not grammatically correct. Of the three variables which can be used in this template for "name", one of them — {{{magazine name}}} — will remain unformatted, because there are some titles like Voyager and even Doctor Who, where you have to add a year number just to clarify the title. Thus, you need to be able to italicize the name, but not the year. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I will be re-writing / editing / restructuring the Manual of style at some point soon in the future when there's a lull in activity. --Tangerineduel 13:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Icon

On the icon, I understand the desire to have it. One alternative I was thinking was, when there's an image of the comic or whatever it's relatively evident what it is, so could we perhaps have various 'no picture available' for the various different things, so we have a comic image not available or whatever?
It just seems with the icon, quote marks and title the top of the infobox is a little bit crowded.
Well, it is an icon, rather than a picture. That is to say, it has several actual functions. It's actually performing the useful feat of linking to the top-level page of that type of box. In this case, it links to the master Doctor Who comic stories page. For the species box at the very top of this page, it links somewhere else. Making the icon linkable to the top level page of a type of information was important, because, in the case of story infoboxes, people were continually putting down two different things for the variable series. Take a look at something like "The Trodos Tyranny". It's still got this "double series" of Doctor Who and TV Comic. The icon here allows us to take that top-level "series" out of the series variable, but it still keeps it around in case anyone wants to do a link.
But it's also one of the fundamental parts of the design concept. The icon immediately tells you what kind of thing you're looking at, which can be awfully important sometimes. There are a number of times when I've clicked words in articles where I wasn't sure if the word means a person, an alien, a planet or a spacecraft. By having an icon in the box, I know instantly what's going on, without having to read a damn thing in the article.
How about just making it smaller and higher up into the corner of the infobox?
It's just the visual element getting me still, the size of the icon and the size of the title text are equal, implying equal weight should be given to both. Both the title and the icon draw your eye when reading through the article. --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
This is absolutely a possibility. It could indeed be smaller. I tried several different sizes, though, and this was the best one for all different lengths of title names (IMO). See, the deal is that it's not quite fixed to a spot; it floats vertically depending on how much text is used for the title. I'll definitely work on the size/positioning. I may discover something along the way as I do more of these. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I've changed the size of both that icon and the title text. It's all a bit more subtle now. Go to Funhouse (comic story) to see it in action. CzechOut | 02:44, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Ah! Much nicer. Thank you. --Tangerineduel 13:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Multiple images

As for your idea to make multiple "no picture available" pictures, I can't see that working. It's hard enough coming up with an icon which positively represents a certain category of thing. But coming up with a series of different pictures that represent the absence of an image across several different media is next to impossible. Seriously, what picture would you use to specifically convey "no picture of a species" versus "no picture of an individual"? How does "no picture of a radio play" differ from "no picture of a book"? It's easier to positively assert an icon of a novel or a microphone than it is to conceptualize the absence of an image in a non-visual medium.
From a visual design sense, there should only be one "no pic available" picture. Personally, I think it makes a great deal of sense to choose from The Idiot's Lantern, because "facelessness" perfectly convey a sense of "loss of image". But we can of course argue about whether the present file:NoPic.jpg is any good. Still, there absolutely should only be one.
Moreover, I think you're concentrating only on the comic infobox, without understanding this is a "template for other templates". Some of the features in this infobox are primarily for comics, but some will have more applicability for other types of boxes. The icon is more valuable for the first type of box on this page. Sure, it's obvious once you put an image in the box that you're talking about a comic. But I think the distinction between a species and an individual box is much less obvious. What's the difference between a picture of a "a Dalek" and a picture of "Alpha"? The little icon at the top of the page lets you know immediately whether you're talking about the species or the individual. Now, you might be thinking, "Well, a picture of Alpha, a picture of a Dalek, I think I can follow that without an icon." But what about the tons and tons of individuals/species who only appear in non-visual media? There will likely never be a picture of either Selta or her race from Orbis. Now, I know that Selta is an individual, but if you're looking at the Orbis page as it exists right now, there's nothing to really indicate whether Selta is a race or an individual. This Wingsworth article we've both looked at lately: is that a person or a race? Same goes for Semblance of Draxyx. Is Flux a planet, a device or a spacecraft? Icons are useful for immediately sorting out these things that will never, ever have an image.
I didn't think it was that much of a request, any suitably startling or devoid of detail image with text stating 'Image unavailable' would do.
But for now we can leave semiotics discussion to rest, as you say as it's all built into the infobox it is something easily changed in the future if we wanted to have a little bit of variety throughout our no image images. --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Isn't it enough that people can read the article without being bombarded with a series of icons (is that what you're suggesting? that every article whether it has an infobox or not have an icon on it, isn't the category listing and the body of the article enough?)
Icons help people read. Otherwise on our computers, we wouldn't have all these little icons everywhere. When I'm in my chat program, do I need an icon next to the name of the person with whom I'm chatting? I guess not, but it speeds the process. And you can't rely on a cat listing for quick identification, because that's "below the fold" on most pages. You'd have to scroll down to see it, and that's no fun. No, the advantage of the icon is that it instantly identifies the article. You don't have to move scroll up or down or sideways or anything. It's there at the very top of the article, and once you get used to it, you become "trained" to look for it and expect it. It's a basic element of visual design, which this wiki, in my opinion, sorely needs.
I'm not suggesting that the articles get icons apart from the infobox, though. If the article doesn't have an infobox it won't have an icon. But I do think that infoboxes are appropriate for almost every article.
Also some articles some article pages I don't think need an infobox just to repeat information in the body of the article. --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Again, you're looking at an icon strictly as a visual decoration and I think they are a clever, multi-functional disguise for further useful links. Maybe you won't use the term "bombarded" if we can find a better postition/size for you. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Its presence at all, if they were to turn up on all pages is what I find...not so much offensive, but slightly insulting of our readers' intelligence, that (as they're here to read) and the article will give up its information if read we need to place an icon to repeat that information. (I hasten to add I understand its identifying points within infoboxes, but for primarily text based articles, the point of them being to be read.) --Tangerineduel 13:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

DWM Issue numbers

Can you run the unlinked DWM numbers past me again? I'm not really understanding the idea behind it.
Sure. The theory is that there are some issues of publications which will never, ever have their own pages (there will likely never be a TVC Issue 1020, for instance). Thus, the field for start/end issue must return a value that is unlinked, so that we can have greater control over it. You can then build an expression which only looks for certain publication_titles, converts it to its prefix and sticks it into an automatically linked phrase. For instance [[ {{{title acronym}}} Issue {{{start issue}}}|{{{start issue}}} ]] is the equivalent of [[DWM Issue xx|xx]]. But it has the advantage of automatically imposing the links, rather than allowing people the freedom to create a lot of redlinks that will never actually turn blue. And it's faster for the editor to type a number than a huge long expression.
So, just so I understand it (sorry if I'm sounding a little thick), we can add the start/end issues into the infobox (as you've demonstrated further up this page) in the future or whatever. Though my question would be if not, why not (or is it just lots of stuff to do and you want to get the basics working first?). --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
The real reason I've held off is because I discovered quickly on there was a discrepancy in the way that comic issue articles were being named across the site. The vast majority of issues followed the DWM pattern of [[<prefix> Issue <number>]]. But some weren't following that pattern. I've since done a bit of moving on DWUS and COMIC and COMIC, but there's still work to be done, especially on COMIC issues. And we still don't have the IDW stuff really sorted out. Until all the issues have been changed over, there's no point in implementing the autolinking expressions. It's kind of a chicken or the egg thing. And since DWM is the main publication for which we're "losing" anything at this stage of the game — it's mostly these DWM infoboxes that really had the issue numbers linked in the infobox — I didn't feel it was that much of a loss. As we've seen most of these DWM story pages have the little template at the bottom which does link to the issue while we're changing over.
But yes, some of it, too, is that at some point here I need to stop talking about the comic infobox and move on to full-scale implementation. And this is an issue that affects only this infobox. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Timeline

Timeline, no there isn't all that speculation involved for the BFAs, but for the first Eighth Doctor comic and the last, and for the things like where The Dying Days occurs, or novels like Verdigris where some explanation needs to be gone through to explain its placement.
A solution is we could keep the Timeline in the articles as there are many instances where it does need explanation with examples and everything.
Timeline is defined in the 'format for' guides; here for TV stories, here for novels, here for short stories, and here for CDs
Fair enough; I've missed those pages. Good that there are instructions somewhere.
I think that of number of pages in which "timeline" is merely a repetition of "publication/broadcast order" far exceeds the number of times it imparts a different order. And the number of times the section actually explains the order it proposes you could probably count on one hand. The instructions say that timeline should be present only when there's an order that can be inferred from other media (Tardis:Format for Television Story Entries#Timeline). Yet its dominant usage across the wiki is just to do simple broadcast/release order (see: Orbis and most NEDAs) or to give simple broadcast/release within a particular incarnation's life (like Scaredy Cat). When it does provide inter-media links, most of the time those links go completely unexplained (see Red). So despite the instructions and your explanation, the section isn't actually working like it's supposed to.
And when it does give a different order, most of the time it's pretty solid information which could go in the infobox in a story arc. Seems pretty obvious to me that "Timeline"'s usage as seen in Scaredy Cat would be better handled by the infobox. The series would be Big Finish Doctor Who monthly releases (or somesuch), and one of the arcs would be "Eighth Doctor audio adventures". There's nothing speculative about either of those. The key to effective use of the navigation box is in choosing the name of the series/arc. If you concentrate on an out-of-universe thing, most of the time you'll be totally safe. It should be possible to navigate by both overall release number, and release in a particular Doctor's line. But, as I said above, it's also possible to do in-universe, narrative links as well, as long as you stick to stuff that's pretty obvious authorial intent.
Those few occasions in which the timeline is truly speculative would make much more sense in a behind-the-scenes section, anyway. In other words, on those occasions which you can't reasonably trust the order you're suggesting to the infobox, the order you're suggesting doesn't deserve its own section. There is absolutely no reason to keep "timeline" around, given a) this new infobox and b) Stardizzy's correct note of caution on how/when narrative linkages should be mentioned.
As I said I appreciate the work and time that's gone into this, and for the most part it's all good. (Also I didn't mean to phrase my previous response as an attack, I'm sorry if it was interpreted that way). -- Tangerineduel 07:43, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Cool, thanks :) CzechOut | 19:17, 26 May 2009 (UTC)


The issue I have here is with words like could, it could go in the infobox, but as I've previously said often it is still speculation, we can cite sources to back this speculation up, but often there are still stories that can be slotted in between story A and B.
I'd just rush to point out that I didn't mean "could" in the wistful conditional sense of "I could win a million dollars". I meant it in its "stronger" sense of "I could go to Germany because I had enough Euros for the train." I mean that there's a lot of information you could/can put into navigation box which is uncontroversial. Is there really a doubt as to production order versus broadcast order? Is there a doubt as to release order of Charley's CDs versus release order of the Eighth Doctor's? I think if you stick to just what is out-of-universe, you'll find there are a number of different ways to sort the timeline which don't require much discussion. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to speculate on either Red or Scaredy Cat both articles have the barest of information and have by appearances either used information from the BF covers or the Doctor Who Reference Guide (something which is not always the be all and end all of placing).
I would rather have a section where actual evidence can be given, just because it hasn't yet doesn't mean it won't be, much of this is speculation not proof and I think that it should be in the body of the article to be able to have edits performed to it as would the rest of the article.

Even if it is almost unquestionable there are still going to be dual stories that take up roles such as The Caves of Androzani, unquestionably the last story for the Fifth Doctor, except for part 4 of Circular Time which slots itself in there, but it isn't the whole story that happens to be in there.

I agree. But that section should not be called Timeline because editors simply aren't "getting" it. Your work here may well be different, but from what I've seen, the vast majority of Timeline sections either offer simple broadcast order or they don't explain rather inventive ordering. It would be better for that section to be eliminated, and for discussion to be subsumed within the "story notes" section. (Just to play with your speicfic example, though, Circular Time isn't a single story with four parts. It's four stories of one part. So in fact, if you're citing Circular Time, you should in fact be citing the specific story: "Spring", "Summer", "Autumn" or "Winter". See how useful quotation marks can be? ♥ ) CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I knew I should have used a more obscure example than Circular Time! (I should have used Interference with all its paradox trickery, or Jubilee with its paradox tricker, or The Time of the Daleks with its...never mind) Or perhaps The Face of the Enemy which slots into the time on Earth during The Curse of Peladon for everyone but the Doctor and Jo.
However, the Timeline like many sections it's a work in progress, I toyed with the idea of actually making it a link to a Tardis: article explaining what it was (and I only haven't thus far out of the aesthetic reason that it would make one of the sub-headings in an article blue, yes me and aesthetic reasons again).
But I wouldn't be against naming it something else. Timeline at the time seemed a logical single name that described what it was for well enough. --Tangerineduel 13:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


The infoboxes are as I see it information that is steady and stable, unchanging.
I can see that you want to have a clear cut and simple this story leads into the next (I'd like that) but I'd prefer to have the space and freedom for this to be editable, and written out in full, with possibly in the future various citations of sources so we can present the method with footnotes and whatever linking off to the DW ref guide and whichever else and then also present our own information. After all even the DW ref guide acknowledges some of its story placement is arbitrary.
Just to re-wrap all this up as I have a tendency to ramble. The infobox should be presenting information, the timeline is always going to have some level of speculation even if it is logical speculation. It needs to be presented with logical sentences and citable information to back it up. --Tangerineduel 14:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Again, we actually do agree on the basic idea here. "Unusual" orderings, usually based on narrative intent, should be explained in the text of the article. Most of these "narrative orderings" should never make it to the infobox. For instance, with Red, it's silly to try to put it in context of Unregenerate!, Time and the Rani and Paradise Towers. Because there's nothing saying that Red comes immediately before Paradise Towers, or immediately after Unregenerate!. A future BFA could come and change all that. But it is appropriate to mention something about this in a story notes area.
Now, having said that, if you named your story arc="Releases of material featuring Mel", then you could quite safely place Unregenerate! and Red in the Navigation box. See what I mean? It depends on how you use the ability. One way's not that solid and another it totally unassailable. It's up to the creativity of the editor to make this function work well or poorly — as with anything else around here. CzechOut | 01:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


I just wanted to re-iterate again, as we're keeping all these questions in one place;
However you didn't really address my question, which is if this infobox should roll out to all the novels and TV stories will the story names remain. This I'm still quite adamant about, as I've said the ease and casual readability, plus the navigation of the page would be affected by replacing the names with arrows.
Especially as I've said the novels, BF stories and others don't have templates at the base of the articles.
Just thought I'd blockquote it from higher up in this discussion as it seems to have been lost in our discussions. --Tangerineduel 13:37, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
What? Again with this? This has been your basic question since your very first comment on this page 4 days ago. And from the start I've made it very clear that, no, we're navigating by arrows, not by big blocks of text. I don't know how much clearer I can be on the point. To me this is the most fundamental objection you've had througout, and it's why I've continuously said, "we're at loggerheads; how do we resolve our differences". I'm not gonig to change this feature of the box. Beyond icons, beyond colour schemes, beyond collapsing variables, it is the most important element of the infobox to me. I absolutely hate the way navigation happens on this site currently. I hate having to look for a "timeline" section that may or may not be filled out in a way that's useful/understandable to me". I hate how you can't navigate by companion appearance sometimes. I hate how you have to take a few seconds to read and figure out which is the previous story and which is the next. I have thoroughly answered this question throughout our discussion, from my very first response. So maybe a bit of bolded text will help: Arrows make navigation easier and more intuitive. They're staying. They'll be used in all infoboxes with a navigation section. You are not going to convince me to change the design, especially as a 6-1 vote has, by your own admission, approved them.
I'm not sure what you're thinking got "lost" about that. This issue, indeed this very block quote, was addressed in the section now called "Article base templates". Maybe when you reformatted all this into sections, your headers actually threw off your sense of what the sections were about. Or maybe you didn't read it. I dunno. But paragraphs two and three of that section address the above blockquote most directly. I would also direct your attention to the section "Arrows and story names", as well. You've never really specifically explained why you're okay with doing mouseovers in the body of articles, but it causes this huge problem for you when it's in the infoboxes.
I honestly think you need to embrace the power of wikis a little more, and trust that readers already do. This isn't a newspaper or an encyclopedia. It has a dynamic, interactive quality which readers intuitively understand and embrace. You can't spend 10 minutes on Wikipedia without "getting" that mouse rollovers deliver the "truth" about a blue link. People do come to wikis armed with their mouses. The very idea of an infobox is to provide a short-cut, an encapsulation of information, and to do so in a wholly more visual style than the text of the articles allow. CzechOut | 14:33, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Ah I see where we went wrong, I was actually only agreeing to that the overall change of infobox was a vote 6-1, this is actually just one part that I'm disagreeing with.
What? That's absurd. Since when does "line item veto" come into it? I've never heard of a wiki vote being interpreted like this. The motion was carried with the box having navigational arrows. I've really tried to understand your point, and I've spent so much time explaining it to you. But at the end of the day, the boxes were approved with no one objecting to the arrows. Thus, the only logical assumption is that this feature was specifically approved. That's the convention of wiki discussion. If you don't specifically object, it's carried. You can't overturn a vote by picking it apart element-by-element. At the end of the day, it's clear that's just what you want. You want the old boxes with merely the addition of the facility to have variables disappear if they're not defined. But you're not going to pick this thing apart, one issue by one issue, until you've gotten your way. Admin really can't be seen to be discouraging the process of consensus building, can they? Surely my approach was better than just unilaterally changing the boxes, and I don't think I should be spending this much time after a vote justifying it.
And, maybe, somehow, I haven't made this clear. So let me try again. Let's say you had been here for the debate, and you had managed to build significant opposition in that debate to this way of navigation. Let's say, too, that it had come down to having to change the nav box or having the vote fail, I would have let the vote fail. I would have withdrawn the proposal and stopped working on the infoboxes altogether over this one issue. To me arrow navigation and the ability to have mutliple ways of navigation is the most critical feature of the new infoboxes. The project isn't worth my effort unless the boxes are improved in this way. CzechOut | 20:01, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Ease of casual navigation and readability when you for instance scroll through the article, or scrolling up and down and want to quickly check something. It may not seem like a large amount but moving the mouse over and then waiting for a mouse over to flash up does sometimes get tiresome. (I would also argue that there are alternate input interraction methods aside from a mouse).
The Wookipedia manages to have as we have following and preceeded by within their infoboxes, as does the Stargate wiki, the Farscape wiki goes one further arrows and titles, couldn't we have something like that? The Babylon 5 wiki does make me see how the navigation pane will work, with episode chronology, but it seems with names! Also Wikipedia also goes with the functional preceded and followed by technique. Even the infobox you based this design on over at the Six Million Dollar Man wikia manages to do it. --Tangerineduel 15:20, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Just because there are other ways of doing something doesn't make this way invalid. In fact, this arrow method requires a level of coding that perhaps people at some of the smaller wikis don't actually have. Wookiepedia, probably someone there does. But the others are all relatively small wikis, and may not have yet attracted people who really think about layout and coding to any great degree. The question really is, not what are they doing now, but if they were given this method of navigation, would they in fact like it? You're rather leaving out, btw, that the biggest wiki of all — MemoryAlpha — does it with the arrow method I'm proposing. Personally, I'll take the more elegant, technically savvy methods of MemA over some old Babylon 5 wiki.
I designed the SMDM ones, too. And I made a choice in that instance to follow the practice as seen in the Doctor Who infoboxes on Wikipedia. Arrows are there, but the episode names are linked. That's because there's not much more to SMDM/BW linking but simple broadcast order. We don't know, generally, the production order of the episodes. We also don't have any great body of SMDM spinoff fiction. And there aren't any great story arcs in the televised narrative. So a simple navigation works there. But DW fiction is way more complicated than that, the behind-the-scenes details are also far better documented. monsters recur, time travel is involved. DW is complicated. It can't be organized by just one principle. And because of that, and the highly variable length of story names, it's just easier and neater to have arrows.
I have zero desire to go back and re-edit the other boxes already created with this design principle, and I think the fact that I did choose to open a debate, seek consensus, and, importantly, get that consensus means that your objections at this point are, well, moot. Sorry. I've tried for pages not to be so absolutist, but we're just going around in circles about this. You're not gong to convince me it's a bad idea, I'm not going to convince you it's a good idea, so the determination must go to the result of the process.
Now, does that mean you don't have a role in future design elements of these boxes? No, clearly your opinion is important to me or else I wouldn't have spent this much time answering your queries. I've invited your opinion elsewhere as to future color scheme, and I've already accommodated two of your points. But as a baseline, the infobox has duo-tone color, automatic picture sizing, icons which link to the top level of the particular type of information, collapsable variable architecture, multiple lines of navigation facilitated by linked arrows, and clear sectionalization of information. There's more, but y'know, at a base that's what people were agreeing to. They were given a week after they cast their votes to add more comments. They didn't. You didn't. So you really cannot go back now and say, "Well, the vote meant people were just generally agreeing that it was time the infoboxes changed in some way."
No, there was a specific proposal on the table, with definable characteristics. And it passed. So, sorry you don't like the arrows, but they're here to stay. I honestly think that once you see them in full operation, especially on the TV boxes, you will actually like the flexibility they afford. CzechOut | 20:01, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I left out Memory Alpha because their arrows were massively understated that I went past them twice before noticing them. The arrows are tiny, and hard to see. You need to hover the mouse over a small amount of screen space.
It is not the flexibility that I am concerned with but the user interface and readability of the infoboxes.
I'm not having a go at the infoboxes's architecture it's the user experience and ability to get at the information that I'm concerned about. Casual readability and to get information easily and simply is just as important as making the behind the scenes wikitext stuff work well. (In fact the casual reader will want to do just that read and browse through the information). --Tangerineduel 11:58, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

a few thoughts

  • titles in infobox fields needs capitalization, i.e. "writer" versus "Writer". (I changed this for the comics infobox myself.)
  • the guests field still looks overcomplicated, and could use streamlining to simply Returning Doctors, Returing Companions and Other Guests. I would go and edit it myself, but I showed my inability to do that. anyone other than CzechOut and myself have opinions on this.
  • I say go for, instead of the head of Jack Harkness in the Torchwood infobox, etc., just go with a series logo in the upper left corner. for Doctor Who use either the current logo for everything or else for old Who (use the diamond logo), one for new Who use the taxi logo and after the logo changes, the current logo. --Stardizzy2 17:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
The phrasing now that I look at it seems odd, 'guest companions' and 'guest Doctors' shares its phrasing with 'guest cast' and it's correct though perhaps you're seeing misplaced context with it's shared association with 'guest cast'.
Using returning may cause problems as return implies something different to guest, return is a more permanent suggestion than guest. --Tangerineduel 18:05, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
my mistake. I meant to quote what the infobox said already. in other words I meant "Guest Doctors" and "Guest companions". (Future Doctors, a couple of whom have appeared, i.e. Muldwych, would count, of course.) --Stardizzy2 18:25, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I totally disagree with infobox field titles being capitalized. Nothing, other than the word "Doctor" is a proper noun. This wiki is absolutely "caps happy". It loves to captialize things that aren't proper nouns, like Executive Producer or Make-Up, or Incidental Music. Good grammar doesn't come for the credit roll at the end of a television episode; proper grammar demands lower case, guys. I've already reverted your capitalization, cause it's just wrong. (BTW, I see you also changed the title for the {{{year}}} variable to be "year" again. While I understand the impulse to do this, in fact {{{year}}} has been thoroughly used to mean "setting" throughout the wiki. Thus, its meaning in the infobox should remain "setting", otherwise you're gonna have a hell of a lot of manual cleanup to do. The solution to this little counter-intuitive mess is in fact to give up and phase out {{{year}}} where possible, changing the name of the variable to {{{setting}}}. I know you wanted it, but there is NO way to have {{{year}}} mean year and {{{place}}} mean place. Whoniverse stories are just too complicated for that. The best you can do is have one variable named {{{setting}}} and allow editors to free-form it. See Template talk:Infobox TV test or the instructions at template:Infobox Comic for more.)
Heh, it's weird that you find the "guest" variables now overly complicated, because I put them in to respond to your request. Obviously these aren't going to be used in very many infoboxes. Most of the time, you'll have doctor/companion/enemy and that's it. I think if we go with just "guests", then that opens it up to every kind of guest. And we definitely don't want an infobox variable where someone like, say, Jabe or Banekafalata (however you spell that) or Jago or Lightfoot or Rosita sneaks in.
Specifically about guest Doctor/guest companions, though, the very possibility you suggest (future Doctors like the Human Nature novel's 10th Doctor) is why I chose the word "guest", instead of "former" or "returning". I can't think of another word that covers all the bases but "guest". Is it awkward? I don't know if I'd say that. But it is comprehensive. There's no appearance in any piece of fiction that couldn't be covered by "guest". "Guest companion" also gets us around the thorny issue of who is/isn't a companion in a one-off adventure. So it can be used for both SJS' return in School Reunion and also Christina in POTD.
I considered the idea of a series logo, but the problem you get into then is that the icon loses its functionality. It should tell you what kind of thing you're dealing with, not what property it's associated with. See, if you had a Torchwood logo, then that means, television, radio, comic, and novels having to do with TW would all get the same logo. That's completely against the point of the icon. (Another practical point: the new series logo in no way could physically work in the box because it's simply oriented the wrong way. So if you can't use the main DW logo, you can't use any logo. Also SJA doesn't really have a logo per se.)
And there won't be an Infobox Torchwood anymore. There'll be a single television infobox, much in the same way that Infobox Comic has superceded Infobox Magazine, Infobox Torchwood Comic, Infobox Graphic Novel, and a few others. Again the design philosophy here is that you build one big template with lots of parts that can be switched on or off as they're defined, so that it's perfectly simple for the end user to figure out. If there's only one "Infobox Comic", there's no ambiguity about which template to use, or which variables will work. If there's one Infobox TV, or Infobox Audio — and they all share similar variable names and constructions — then there's no flapping around trying to find just the right template. If you write complicated code, you get simple results for the end user, and that should be our goal. Do you realize that for each one of these types we have about 3-4 different templates? For TV and audios there are 5 different templates each (each!), with the differences being, essentially, one or two variables! Ten templates, where two would do. That's seriously insane. CzechOut | 19:27, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
yes, I know you put in the Guest field at my request.
as for the capitalization of things like Executive Producer, formally, you do capitalize those titles. they capitalize them in the end credits. in a formal statement, i.e. Andrew Pixley mode, you'd said "X served as Executive Producer in 2006". informally you'd say, "I met the executive producer today". I only edited the infobox in terms of standard usage as you found on the old version of the infobox, on Wikipedia and on IMDB.
please someone else weigh in. it has started to feel kind of like a private grudge match here. --Stardizzy2 20:23, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
on checking it out, I see that it should read "Executive producer", but the point still stands. --Stardizzy2 20:48, 27 May 2009 (UTC)


Just a couple of questions, why are all the titles under the main headings in lower case (I didn't really notice it until now)? --Tangerineduel 13:44, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
you can read CzechOut's justification for the lower case capitals a couple of paragraphs above your comment. specifically the first paragraph, and also in my Talk page after I tried capitalizing them and he reverted my edit. that lead to a bit of a flame war between us over it. I actively asked for someone else to weigh in with their opinions. --Stardizzy2 14:47, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. You didn't think it was wrong until someone nudged you on it. Which means it parses perfectly well. As it should. It's grammatically correct. There are multiple reasons why you might argue for capitalization of the headers. But the biggest, at least for Stardizzy, seems to be that "it's done that way on Wikipedia. First of all, that's not correct with wikipedia when they're making infobox-like structures which involve "unlinked" headers. Take a look at the main sidebar. You'll note there that "toolbox, interaction, search, and navigation" are in fact in lower case. The blue links under those headings, are, however, in the format "first word only captalized, unless second word is proper noun". That's just because of the way that their and our software works at its base level. Every article has its first letter capitalized. Thus, a lot of things on wikis have an incorrect leading cap, simply because you can link to articles by spelling things "wrong". For instance "orange" is almost invariably spelled with a lower case "o". But on wikipedia, wikipedia:Orange you can link to it with a capital letter. If you did that on an English paper, you'd expect to see a red circle around it. Because of this, a mentality has swept across Wikipedia, and even other wikis, that when you're listing headings in an infobox, you tend to make them in the format you see when you go to that page on Wikipedia. So, because the article for Doctor Who companions is capitalized, the "c" gets capitalized in Wikipedia's Doctor Who episode infobox.
And don't get me started on IMDB, where titles are derived from a credit roll. I mean, credits on movies are done strictly on the basis of "visual coolness" not grammar. I was just looking at an episode of Enterprise (god help me), and I noticed that, according to the way they'd set their all-caps font, the actors names were actually in that font's equivalent of all lower case. So does that mean the man's name is "scott bakula"? Of course not. Likewise, the current DW credits has every crew and cast member's name in upper case. So apparently our ever-reliable script editor is "HELEN RAYNOR" not "Helen Raynor". Doctor Who also makes some jobs all caps. Apparently "COSTUME DESIGNER" is a bit more important than "Contracts Assistants" And BBC Wales' penchant for giving added weight to its "senior" positions means we've got a problem, if we're using end credits for spelling. Because in new Who it's "EDITOR" and "PRODUCER" and "PRODUCTION DESIGNER", but on (some) Old Who credits it's "Editor" and "Producer" and "Designer".
This inconsistency is precisely why you've got to retreat to cold, hard, consistent grammar, wherein none of this stuff, outside of "Doctor", is a proper noun. It's absolutely ridiculous on this wiki that executive producer, and incidental music, among many crew functions, are redlinks. I mean "incidental music" isn't even the title of a job! It's just a type of music! This wiki has long gotten the wrong idea about proper capitalization. Again, you can't take your spelling from stylized end credits.
And that's the kicker for me. I've already got 10 or so boxes done, in which all of these titles are already in lowercase. "Whim" and "fancy" are not good enough reasons to change them, in the face of their grammatical correctness. I've already given into one egregious violation of English grammar for the title of stories. And, let's face it, that's just a practical thing based on no one here wanting to go back through and change it all over across the wiki. (If we ever found a bot, though . . . ) But this is one step too far. This is a completely arbitrary insult to grammar. CzechOut | 19:59, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
But, the boxes aren't sentences they're points arrangement (that's not the word I'm looking for) they're well they're boxes of information, so with each line being a beginning of a sentence wouldn't it logically go: Writer: Name.... I get that it should be Executive producer rather than Executive Producer, but shouldn't it still start with a capital? --Tangerineduel 15:03, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Colo(u)r by numbers

Also will we be able to change the colours for the Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Doctor Who infoboxes (I mean the new re-vamp of the infoboxes with all the changer-roo abilities)? As colour really does play a part in identifying the various ranges (or should do at least, in practice only the TV stories do this, by ideally they all should). --Tangerineduel 13:44, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
as for the color, yeah, you can make the infoboxes any color you want. and I do like the idea of having a separate color scheme for each infobox. --Stardizzy2 14:47, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Happily I can say that what you're asking for is definitely possible and that I understand the code to implement it. It's something that likely will not take place initially, however, as I'm most interested in getting the basic variables out there for editors to start filling in and changing over. Changeable colour can come later. I doubt you really mean all of the boxes should change color by programme, though. Do we really need the species boxes or the individual boxes to change by programme? Not if it's all one Whoniverse. But comic, TV, audio, prose maybe. Still it's been kicking around in the back of my brain that I don't really like that, either. See if all DW is, say, blue and all TW red and all SJA yellow, then you that kinda violate my current idea that colour should indicate the TYPE of box, not the programme invovled.
It's a legitimate debate and one I haven't actually come to a conclusion about. So maybe this is where this thread should focus its energies for a few days, instead of retreading old ground. Should the color scheme be by programme or by type? If they're by programme, how far do you take it? Do we end up having a color indicating Torchwood species? Or should the colors be by type of thing: One for audio, one for TV, one for individuals, one for astronomy, etc?
Here's another thought to consider. For this color switcheroo-by-programme to work, the user will have to fill in a variable defining the show. And the contents of that variable won't show up anywhere. So the variable will be something like {{{show}}} and the user will enter TW, SJA, DW, K9. But nowhere on the box will the user actually see any of those responses. And the thing will likely default to DW colors, cause it's gotta default to something. So if the user doesn't fill in the box, the box still works, and it still looks complete and has a color scheme and the whole deal. The user who failed to set the variable could thing there's nothing wrong here and so they walk away.
In other words, yes we can do a switcheroo by program, but it's entirely up to the editor to set the triggering variable. If instead the color scheme is by type of box, the color is more hard-wired in. But the other thing that might change — maybe the icon, maybe the section header colors — would still be dependent on someone setting the right variable.
So be aware, either way you go, there's the possibility that user error can prevent it from working quite how you like.
Hmmm, now that I think about it, changing the section header color seems like the perfect response. In other words, for comics, the background is still grey on all of the comics, but the stripes for Navigation, Production Info, etc, changes to red for Torchwood, Blue for DW, etc. But on the audio box, the background color might be a marigold or a peach, but again the stripes tell you what programme you're talking about. That way we can merge color-by-type with color-by-programme. CzechOut | 19:59, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Whoniverse infobox entries should have the same color scheme (the present color scheme would work fine). I do four different color schemes for stories aired on the four different Whoniverse shows. (when I say four, that includes the K9 series that will air later this year. I guess you could do a fifth one for K-9 & Company.) --Stardizzy2 20:06, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Alrighty, I've whipped up a little demonstration, and already put it into the template for ease-of-viewing. I guess you could just go to any strip, but due to the slow speed of propogation, I'll reproduce some boxes here for you to look at, just to be guaranteed of seeing the "current" revision:


There are two more settings. One is for TV, but that'll be used almost never. It's actually the same color as the box originally had (i.e., the color currently still framing the picture). I figured that's actually his casing color, so why change it. The color for the new K9 show is a darkish orange. Maybe when the show actually airs, another color will present itself, but I tend to think of orange as a highly adaptable color, which'll work across most background colors. What I don't have up at the moment is another kind of infobox that has this "chameleon" effect on it. But you can imagine. If the TV box is otherwise blue, then the TW episodes will have red stripes, the SJA will have magenta, etc. If the audio box is apricot, then the TW episodes will have red stripes, SJA will have magenta, etc. CzechOut | 14:52, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Images for classic series stories

I have an idea for infoboxes for classic series stories. How about using the DVD artwork if available? We could use just the artwork part and not the logo, title, etc.. Are we allowed to crop images of covers?--The Traveller 23:58, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Title text overlap

Is there...something about the title that's making it, not so much overlap but the two lines of text are sitting rather close to each other it looks like the spacing/positioning is off. (Unless I'm just seeing things). --Tangerineduel 16:24, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

You're probably not seeing things. Your request to have the icon decreased in size had a knock-on effect with other elements in that space. I thought I'd basically gotten them all looking the best they could, but I'll go back and look at it. One thing that's possible, though, is that you're looking at a box that hasn't redrawn itself based upon the latest iteration of the box. Perhaps you could point out which article was exhibiting this behavior? CzechOut | 20:44, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't remember which article I was looking at specifically but just tried The Glorious Dead, not to ask for one more thing...but wouldn't it seem more natural to have eveything aligned to the left? Thanks. --Tangerineduel 07:27, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Archivist's notes

This actually was accepted by consensus and implementation was begun. Then the designs were effectively nitpicked post-consensus until consensus was reversed and the designs were withdrawn. Unfortunately, people have now chipped away at the actual test infoboxen themselves to the point that the original design concept is no longer truly visible in this thread. Thus this was a design changer, but it's also a failed proposal and out of date.

Nevertheless, anyone attempting to design infoboxen should probably start by reading this thread. Indeed, the 2011 facelift to the site will eventually use this thread as a basis for action, salvaging those specific design aspects that were never disputed.
czechout@fandom   16:34:10 Sun 05 Jun 2011 

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