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  • Shambala108
    Shambala108 closed this thread because:
    see final post
    03:24, January 14, 2020

    User:Shambala108 recently posted the following on Thread:264470:

    Some of our character pages, specifically any version of the Doctor, any companion or any oft-appearing character, have very long pages. Character pages are supposed to be brief summaries of the character, as well as other items spelled out at Tardis:Guide to writing Individuals articles (keep in mind this is a very old page and therefore uses some out-of-date language). What character pages are not is long paragraphs of plot summary for every story a character appears in.

    The way a wiki works is a user reads a page, and if they're interested in more, they click on the links. Character pages should just have a very brief (maybe 2-3 sentences) description of a story, and if a reader wants more, they click on the story to get the plot.

    There is an argument that some stories deserve more of a description because they're more important, but that does violate Tardis:Neutral point of view. So the project here is to clean up the longer character pages by culling some of the info for the stories cited.Thread:264470#4 Source

    Now here's the thing… where in policy does it say that? And even if it does, I'm not sure this is the optimal thing to do on the Wiki.

    I am sympathetic to the argument that Wikis are supposed to work by clicking from one page to another to get more information, and that it makes no sense for the same information to be repeated on both pages. The only thing is that as a Wiki reader, I, for one, find myself wanting to character biographies much more often than plot summaries. If I want to know a story's plot linearly, I'll just read/watch/listen to the damn thing. The specificity of a Wiki such as ours is that it has pages like, well, the pages about incarnations of the Doctor, where all in-universe information is gathered in one place in in-universe chronological order. As documented by Tardis:We're Wikipedia's evil twin, the in-universe is the focus of this Wiki; plot summaries are nice to have, of course, but they're still more the area of Wikipedia.

    So don't we have this the wrong way around? Wouldn't it be more interesting and useful to reduce plot summaries and gather most of the data in the characters' "biography" sections, rather than the opposite as Shambala suggests?

    I beg to differ on giving longer paragraphs to some stories than others being a violation of Tardis:Neutral point of view. If one story only says "an unknown incarnation of the the Doctor visited an unnamed Planet to buy some baguettes" while another says "the Seventeenth Doctor visited the Planet Skaro to meet with Davros, alongside their companions Alice and Bob, and witnessed the tragic death of Alice's mother before making the drastic choice to surrender their TARDIS to Davros in exchange for Bob's mother's life"… well, I'd say that the violation of Tardis:Neutral point of view would rather be in putting all of the information from the first story on the The Doctor page, but only a fraction of the information from the second story.

    It's not a matter of how "important" a story is (I fully agree a TV story should get no more coverage than a short story per se), but rather of how much a given story has to say.

    Bear in mind, as well, that a story can often give disjointed nuggets of information that are tremendously important to a character's biography, but not, in and on their own, plot-relevant. If a story set on Gallifrey mentions, out of order, a ton of details about the Doctor's education at the Academy, for instance, then even if we see fit to mention some of these details in the plot summary of the story, they'll only be there in the order that they come up. Surely it is the whole point of having in-universe character biographies that they would be a place to put all that information in one easily-digestible paragraph, in order. Even if that paragraph amounts to more than "two or three sentences".

    Note that I do bear in mind Tardis:You are bound by current policy and invite others to do the same. If what Shambala108 wrote on the "To-do list" thread does reflect policy, then we must continue to follow that policy for now… but then the point of this thread becomes to change that policy, which I think can only be to the benefit of this community and of the encyclopedia it is designed to build.

      Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • I broadly agree, but I also broadly agree with Shambala108’s policy.

      I recently did a ~3.4k word rewrite of Ada Lovelace to add info from Spyfall and The Book of the War, thoroughly de-stub-ifying the page. As a result, there are 15 sentences citing The Book of the War, 9 citing Spyfall, and 21 citing The Enchantress of Numbers (which previously encompassed the entirety of the page). While Ada is certainly not an “oft-appearing character”, if the 2-3 sentence policy was strictly followed, her page would be gutted and imo re-stub-ified. Which would be very non-ideal.

      (By the way, if anyone wants to pull a screen grab from Spyfall to put in Ada’s infobox, I would really appreciate it!)

      On the other hand, I understand that it is absolutely imperative for our encyclopedia to summarize material. For instance, if we described every single action taken by Yasmin Khan in every episode ... well, bad example maybe, but on Clara Oswald you would much prefer to see

      While investigating Rigsy’s mysterious tattoo, Clara and the Twelfth Doctor visited Trap Street, London, where Mayor Me explained it was a Chronolock linked to a Quantum Shade ...

      rather than

      After returning to the TARDIS after an adventure in the second most beautiful garden in all of time and space, Clara received a call from Rigsy, (TV: Face the Raven) whom she had previously met while facing the Boneless. (TV: Flatline) He explained to her that a mysterious tattoo had appeared on the back of his neck, and while Clara initially told him that she couldn’t help him fix a bad mistake, her curiousity was piqued when he mentioned that it was counting down to zero. They visited him and, after being surprised to meet his fiancée Jen and his newborn daughter Lucy, heard Rigsy’s description of his problem: he had no memory of the last 24 hours, and Clara noticed that his phone had also been wiped. The trio took to the TARDIS to scan the city for a trap street, leading them to discover ...

      I believe this is the distinction which Shambala108 is pointing to, and in that case, I agree completely. I must admit that I have not combed through the entirety of any [Number]th Doctor pages, but if any examples exist of such exhaustive summary, they certainly must be expunged.

      That said, it’s also undeniable that the hard “2-3 sentences” limit is not always advisable. Two to three sentences would not be appropriate to describe everything we learn about Ada Lovelace in The Book of the War. For this reason, while I do think the message of “leave the detailed summary for the story page” is necessary and important to emphasize, I think it should be left as a heuristic rather than a quantified hard limit.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Honestly, I would see nothing wrong with the second option for Clara Oswald, but fair enough.

      Do you agree, at any rate, with my point regarding "backstory nuggets"?

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Sure, I agree about "backstory nuggets"!

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • I've often gone between story plots and character pages in search of information. I think a character page should describe the character's involvement in the story's plot, and a story page's plot section should cover the broader plot as a whole.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • "(By the way, if anyone wants to pull a screen grab from Spyfall to put in Ada’s infobox, I would really appreciate it!)"

      Done I guess? Dunno if its good though. (Still pretty new to the picture stuff)

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Mentuhotep I wrote:

      "(By the way, if anyone wants to pull a screen grab from Spyfall to put in Ada’s infobox, I would really appreciate it!)"

      Done I guess? Dunno if its good though. (Still pretty new to the picture stuff)

      Well I think it's perfect, thank you!!!

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • NateBumber wrote: Well I think it's perfect, thank you!!!

      still got removed though :/

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Sometimes a suggested policy change is closed because of technical reasons. This is one of those policies. Long pages take a long time to load, so the goal is to trim where and when we can. A look at Special:Longpages will show that most of the longest pages are the ones I posted on the to-do list cited above.

      I will, however, address a few of the comments/questions posted here.

      • User:Scrooge MacDuck said, "The only thing is that as a Wiki reader, I, for one, find myself wanting to character biographies much more often than plot summaries." Well, with all due respect, you are not the only user of this wiki. Other users have other preferences. Most wiki visitors never edit here, and long-loading pages are one of the surest ways to scare them away.
      • User:Scrooge MacDuck said, "As documented by Tardis:We're Wikipedia's evil twin, the in-universe is the focus of this Wiki; plot summaries are nice to have, of course, but they're still more the area of Wikipedia." Unless I'm missing something really obvious, there is no such statement on that policy page.
      • User:Scrooge MacDuck said, "I beg to differ on giving longer paragraphs to some stories than others being a violation of Tardis:Neutral point of view." You can't have it both ways; you can't ask for the policy and then say you don't think it applies.
      • User:NateBumber said, "That said, it’s also undeniable that the hard “2-3 sentences” limit is not always advisable. Two to three sentences would not be appropriate to describe everything we learn about Ada Lovelace in The Book of the War." As you should note in the to-do list I started, I only asked for the very long pages to get this treatment. I'm not suggesting that we clean every character page on the wiki.
      • User:Chubby Potato said, "I think a character page should describe the character's involvement in the story's plot, and a story page's plot section should cover the broader plot as a whole." Yes, that's what is intended. That doesn't mean the character's involvement needs to be extremely detailed. It was decided a while back that plot summaries can be written with great detail.

      And incidentally, User:NateBumber, your example of Clara is a very good one to illustrate the difference between the two approaches.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
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