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Forums: Index > Watercooler > A number of major issues

First off, I'd like to thank some of our relatively newer members like Opark and DragonDemands for their hard work on the Wiki. The Wiki looks far superior, far more professional and is far more cross-referenced and indexed than it was just a few months ago. This has contributed to a significant rise in profile and traffic for the site. At EasterCon 2012 I was told by several people, including the creators of the Thronecast TV show for Sky Television, that they use the wiki a great deal for referencing information, and they wished to extend their thanks to everyone who works on it.

That said, there have been a significant number of changes to the formatting and indexing of the Wiki. The majority of these are for the better (such as image indexing making finding images much easier). However, a small number are problematic, and I invite everyone to contribute to the discussion on how to address them. The issues I think need to be addressed are: --Werthead 13:23, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind words.--Opark 77 13:59, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
All I do is in service of House Targaryen.--The Dragon Demands 18:29, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

Image usage

We have almost 2,000 images on the Wiki, the overwhelming majority of them screencaps from the TV series (though we do also have a large number of maps, which is fine). Considering there's only 20 episodes that's quite a lot. Whilst HBO have not so far voiced a concern over this, I do feel we will soon be pushing the limits of our permission to have a 'reasonable' number of images on the Wiki, especially given how many of the images are repeats of others at different sizes, or people uploading new images because they cannot be bothered to look through the full database (which of course only makes the problem worse). I think we need to establish a number of ground rules for image use on the Wiki. These should include immediately deleting orphaned images not used on any page, or finding uses for them; deleting images which are duplicates of others and fixing the resulting link issues; and setting a sensible limit on the number of images used per episode and episode recap page. I myself suggested the idea of one image per scene, but this has proven more image-intensive that I thought, with some episodes having more than 40 scenes. 40 images per episode is certainly too high IMO, and very short scenes warranting a couple of lines can go without images. Thoughts on how we should limit the images to a more reasonable number are most welcome.--Werthead 13:23, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

I think you are overestimating the number of remaining duplicate images. I have spent literally days going through the image catalogue weeding out duplicates and now check the new images on a monthly basis.
I think we need to make better use of the images we do have. Now that we are illustrating the recaps we should make sure that the images are also disseminated to the relevant character articles and event articles. I can accept that short scenes do not require an image. My fellow admin User:QueenBuffy has recently criticized our new image policy as being far too restrictive and said that the True Blood wiki uses images far more freely without complaint from HBO.
That said I think setting a per episode limit for images is a sensible way to limit the number that we have. I would suggest 30 images per episode. We should perhaps start categorizing our images by episode so we can easily follow this.
Perhaps we should approach HBO again and ask them what they would consider a reasonable number of screencaps to use per episode? It may be that we are being more stringent than they require.--Opark 77 13:59, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
Memory Alpha, Wookiepedia or Lostpedia: these are Wikias known in the "real world" and the media. They have millions of images without complaint. I do think we should categorize images per episode, but I don't think we should have an arbitrary limit. Just think about episodes in which few events happen, or in which several characters are introduced.--Gonzalo84 16:17, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I will contact HBO about this issue and see what their stance is.--Werthead 20:19, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
Just to chime in: as others have pointed out, Memory Alpha, Wookiepedia, and the True Blood Wiki itself (for another HBO show) have been actively using thousands of images without complaint. We *do* need to rigorously apply licensing notifications to each image, but we seem to be handling that. --The Dragon Demands 23:37, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Werthead, look forward to hearing what they have to say.--Opark 77 07:12, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
I'm in the process of recategorizing our images by episode rather than by season. Its a mammoth task so anyone who would like to help is welcome.--Opark 77 16:40, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

I try to reuse as many screen caps as possible when doing episode recaps, however I do find it difficult to find already existing pictures, so far we can only do a search on file name rather than the episode or character article where the image might be located. Is there a way to upgrade this search function when uploading screencaps? -- Davidlynchfan 16:59, June 2, 2012 (UTC)
I personally think there is too much emphasis on Image's at the GoT wiki. I have never been part of one where they are so overly analyzed and have to be "exact". HBO is aware of our TB Wiki also (sorry to keep bringing it up, but they are both popular and HBO) and we just have one main template that says fairuse, etc- and have never had a problem. But, that being said... since we have this licensing of EVERY image thing started, no reason to stop now. I don't think a limit should be on images though. As long as they are in a proper spot- the more it adds to our great Wiki :) --QueenBuffy35 Crown New Red 17:00, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

Season-specific character pages

There is no need at all for characters to have multiple pages. Pages such as 'Daenerys Season 2' and 'Yara Season 2' should - in my view - be deleted and the information on them folded back into the main character page. Extremely detailed synopses for the activities of each character per season are not necessary, and can be condensed down to briefer summaries with links to the appropriate episode pages or even directly to critical scenes on the episode recap pages.--Werthead 13:23, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

Obviously I disagree with this given that I started every single one of these pages! I think we can do both. A wiki is not paper, there is no space limit. There is no article cap. We should limit ourselves to articles that are pertinent but there is not need to be more strict than that. I disagree that these are unnecessary - I think having a readable summary on the main page of major and significant recurring characters is desirable to make those articles accessible to our more casual readers. Making them accessible requires being brief and skipping over detail. However, I think it is extremely useful to have a detailed subarticle of a character's plot lines through a single season. I refer to them frequently myself. They are not simply duplicates of the episode recaps but are written with the character's context in mind and include clarifying information from scenes not featuring the subject character. They are a work in progress (like all of our articles) and I plan to continue to improve them during the off season. I think folding these subarticles back into our main character articles will result in either the loss of a useful resource or the weakening of our main articles by too much content.--Opark 77 13:59, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
An interesting debate. I think - as an encyclopedia and informative resource - we should have as much info as possible on everything possible. Having pages that expand on a single character for a particular season isn't something that I see a lot of in my travels, but I don't see the harm in it. What does annoy me is when the character pages are insanely long due to overly detailed plot info for each season or episode. Having a brief summary on the character pages for each season - with
{{Main|Character: Season 2}}
seems like a good solution in order to avoid a super long character page while still beefing up the amount of info on that character. (profile)•(talk)•(email) 11:06, June 1, 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with Opark. I have used this same idea on the TB Wiki. It is going on Season 5 now, and some main character pages are WAY too bogged down and long. It's easier to put say: "Season 2" then under that put "See: Bill Compton Season 2". With GoT going to continue on, the most popular pages WOULD eventually get too long, so I think this is a good start/idea. --QueenBuffy35 Crown New Red 16:57, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

Very minor speaking roles should not have individual pages

This is something I feel we need to move on before it gets completely out of hand. Whilst acknowledging the contributions of minor castmembers is worthwhile and important (and certainly we should have individual actor pages for them, and kudos to those editors who have identified so many of these actors), having a confusing morass of 'Lannister soldier', 'Singing Lannister soldier', 'Wounded Lannister soldier' pages is not really of much value. I proprose the creation of either a single 'minor role/unnamed character' page with these roles listed on it or, since such a page would likely get very large very quickly, the creation of a number of catch-all pages (such as a variation on 'House Lannister followers', 'House Stark followers', 'King's Landing smallfolk' etc) with each role listed on there.--Werthead 13:23, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

We have discussed this before several times but I will summarize my thoughts again here for the sake of new readers.
  1. The wiki is not paper, there is no size limit, there is no article cap. We can do both lists and individual articles.
  2. It is functionally much easier to link to individual articles than sections in a list. Section names change without forming a redirect. If an article is renamed a redirect is automatically formed. There is a maintenance and workload issue here. Maintaining these characters in lists is more time consuming than maintaining them in separate articles.
  3. Where a list is warranted for similarly named articles those lists are already in place e.g. Stark guard.
  4. The editor of Winter is has specifically said that one of his favorite things about the site is that we have an article on each speaking role. Why discard something that is popular with our readership?
  5. I am not sure what you mean by "out of hand." What specifically are your concerns regarding having more of these articles? How is having more of them a problem?
  6. I disagree with your characterisation that these articles are a "confusing morass". They are carefully and dilligently disambiguated by episode where they have similar names. They are cross referenced to actor pages and episode pages. They are indexed in multiple lists e.g. Season 2 cast, Category:Season 2 Characters and the above mentioned disambiguation pages.

I think these articles are a useful guide to minor speaking roles and this practice is standard across television wikis I have worked on e.g. The Wire wikia, Justified wikia, Sons of Anarcy wikia, Treme wikia, The Sopranos wikia, Boardwalk Empire wikia.--Opark 77 13:59, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

On the size issue, the reverse is also true. Just because we effectively have 'infinite space' does not mean we should create articles at the drop of a hat for things that are not warranted. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these minor characters have one line of dialogue and play no major role before vanishing, never to be seen again. In this case creating individual articles for them seems to have no purpose beyond resulting in 25 very-similarly-named articles with very little content. Obviously some of these characters are important: the catspaw assassin, the wineseller-poisoner and the scout Robb Stark feeds false intelligence to in order to trick Tywin Lannister all have major repurcussions on the plot and are worthwhile of having dedicated pages. Having said all of that, I see from the chat discussion that it is not an unpopular feature. If we are to retain individual pages for minor characters, a stronger method of identifying them should be employed. Identifying each character by episode (as some already are) is a good idea, and perhaps ensuring that all of them are linked on disimbaguation pages as with the Stark guards could also be a good move (essentially combining both approaches).--Werthead 20:19, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

I agree, Werthead. I have said repeatedly that we should follow the example set by Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki: When the actor is known (not a background extra) but is credited simply as "Jem'hadar guard #1", they just combined them all into a single large page, "Unnamed Jem'hadar". It isn't a matter of size limit there either, but a matter of concision and ease of use. Few people would even know to look up "Lannister Guard #1", but its easier to point to a large combined list of "Unnamed Lannister Guards". This has worked pretty well on Memory Alpha in the eight odd years I've been using it. As for the difficulty in interlinking all of the auto-redirects....that's what we're going to be busying ourselves with fixing and refining in the months-long off-season as we wait for Season 3. There are, however, some unnamed characters which due to their prominence should nonetheless get their own pages. Specifically, I think the "Protestor" played by Edward Tudor Pole deserves its own page. Or the shepherd from the farm near Winterfell. But just background guards who, while having speaking roles, are given little more than throwaway acknowledgements probably shouldn't get their own pages. "Prominence" and "notability" will of course be the subject of debate, the line is blurred but that line still exists. As for whether other fansites think "wow, we have an article on every speaking role"...we'd still have the exact same amount of coverage for "Lannister Guard #1", the same amount of written text. It would just be easier to read a combined large article on "Unnamed Lannister Guards" than to read them all separately. As Benjamin Franklin said, they must hang together, or assuredly, they shall all hang separately.--The Dragon Demands 23:29, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

The Dragon Demands, my point is that we can have both a list of these characters and a short individual article. Someone searching for a Lannister soldier will find the disambiguation page which lists all of the Lannister soldiers. If the content is the same then reading the articles as links from the list is just as easy as reading a list so I refute that argument. I actually disagree that condensing character articles into such a list will make for easier reading; it will mess with their formatting in terms of header levels. It will deviate from the standardized way I have worked hard on presenting our character articles. It will mess with our categorization of articles because you cannot categorize entries in a list. The articles "hang" better together when kept as standardized, individual pages with clear indexing through multiple avenues (categories, disambiguation pages, episode pages, season cast articles) than they will when condensed into lists. Memory Alpha seem to have come up with a solution that works for them. I can see multiple flaws in that solution as I have just mentioned (formatting, categorization). My time here is stretched, it will be more work to consolidate and re-link these if we condense them into lists. Fixing links usually seems to be left to me e.g. the disambiguation of Pyke. I don't want to spend hours fixing the mess that consolidating these articles into lists will cause when keeping them as they are works just fine in my view. Its interesting to note that saying we call an article "Lannister guard #1" shows a basic lack of understanding of how section links work and points towards me being left to sort them out alone. "#" is wiki code to denote a specific section and cannot be used in article names.

I still maintain that it enhances our coverage to have an article on each speaking role as it makes us a truly in depth guide to the show. [User:Werthead|Werthead]], the purpose of creating individual articles for these characters beyond that simple overall goal is mainly linking and categorization. We can't categorize entries in a list. If we list all of these characters together then we will be enforcing uniformity on them artificially. We can denote which were in Season 1 and which were in Season 2 by category at the moment. We can denote which are alive and which are dead by category. Switching to a list loses that functionality and detracts from the usefulness of our wikia. Why would we do that? I think a solution has clearly presented itself here; disambiguate clearly and thoroughly and list the characters on disambiguation pages. Can we agree to work together on that?--Opark 77 07:11, May 31, 2012 (UTC)

Well, maybe if we made sure to have easy-to find and well updated disambiguation pages.--The Dragon Demands 18:22, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

Naming of unidentified characters

Where minor characters have names which are not mentioned on-screen, I think we need to be more diligent in listing the sources of them: Imry Florent is so-named because he is listed as such on his online CV, whilst Maege Mormont is called that by the producers in the commentary for the final episode of Season 1 on DVD. Any situation where characters are named through supposition from the novels should be avoided. For example, I do not believe any of the Valemen or Freys (bar Walder) from Season 1 are named in the script or on their casting websites and were named by guessing who they are supposed to be based on the books. Given that our wiki's motto is essentially 'A Wiki for the TV show, not the books', we are being inconsistent in making such guesses, educated or otherwise. We should stick to names exclusively revealed through the TV show or official sources and unnamed characters folded into catch-all pages as outlined above.--Werthead 13:23, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

I can accept that no conjectural name should be applied where an official source (casting call/actor CV/interview with cast or crew) provides a clear name. However in many instances there is no name available for small speaking roles from any source. We are obliged to make up a name of some sort if we want to write about that character. In those cases I think using the books as a source is preferable to using our imagination alone. As the originator of the suggestion I hope that you will be checking for alternative official titles for any of our articles with conjectural titles.--Opark 77 13:59, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
I am not disagreeing the need for names for these characters, merely that we should not be picking names out of the book, no matter how much dialogue they have which is the same. Obviously in some cases the producers have themselves given featured extras names from the book as a nod to the fans (as with Ser Imry Florent), but in others they have not. Using the names from the books can also be inaccurate as in some cases the producers themselves have changed things around: TV Lord Lefford actually has a lot of dialogue from Harys Swyft in the books. If it wasn't for that report of him being called Lefford in the script, we'd have called him Swyft, which would have been inaccurate. In addition, relying on the books too much has led to articles being created and then having to be deleted or changed later on (including by myself, such as the House Dayne page and the Jeyne Westerling confusion which was caused by us jumping the gun and making book-based assumptions).
In fact, I'd say the best approach to have here is that when it comes to creating pages and naming characters, our best bet is to say that "The books do not exist," and only seek names from official sources related to the TV show. Otherwise we can leave them with a descriptive term, the same as the minor unnamed characters ('Lannister bannerman' or 'Vale lord' etc). For the purposes of the TV wiki, the books should really only be plumbed for the 'In the books' sections to note differences from the original source material.--Werthead 20:19, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

Well, we should probably make a list of specific characters that this is at issue with. I.e. the issue came up with Robar Royce and Emmon Cuy, but I generally think they were meant to stand for these book characters. That is, sometimes minor character names won't be stated on screen but we know from the books what it is (though one would assume that in such cases, the full casting, IMDB lists, and actor CV lists would just use the book name). The Vale lords were too generic to pin down any of them as a specific person, though. Either way we need a special administrative page to list off all of the names that are at issue.--The Dragon Demands 23:14, May 30, 2012 (UTC)

An amusing note: someone's edited IMDB and appears to have used the names we've given to the featured extras here to credit them :-) So IMDB is not entirely reliable with regard to this issue.--Werthead 02:23, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
To address this issue we created the "conjecture" tag like the one in Wookiepedia. To satisfy all parties involved. --Gonzalo84 00:03, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
It is a nice idea but I think a 'conjecture' tag goes against the spirit of a Wiki. We either 'know' something and can put that in an article, or we don't and can't. Rather than giving names to unidentified characters I think we'd be better off giving them descriptive terms (Stark bannerman, Lannister knight or whatever) and then noting in the description that their dialogue in the book was from a specific character.--Werthead 02:23, May 31, 2012 (UTC)

Yeah IMDB is user submitted just like we are, their process is just slightly less streamlined. I don't consider them a reliable source. We can easily create a list of conjectural titles by adding a category to the conjecture tag, which will then automatically be added to all of the articles. What do you mean by full casting lists The Dragon Demands?

I disagree with conjecture being against the spirit of a wiki. We are an imperfect, but hopefully constantly improving guide to the show. We cannot and never will know everything about the show. What we write is often based on our own interpretations of what is presented on screen. Once posted to the site the consensus of our writers helps to shape and reform those interpretations. Examples from recent weeks include me thinking it was clear that Sansa would remain in King's Landing and me thinking it was clear that Tywin planned to march on the Westerlands. Other users have interpreted that differently and the meeting of our different interpretations has appropriately been presented as ambiguity in the relevant articles. "This is a wiki about the TV show not the books" is indeed our motto. However, we don't take the view that the books do not exist. We have an "In the books" section on more than half of our articles. We constantly refer back to the source material but we take great care to only consider the source material that is relevant to the point reached in the show. If a character in the show clearly has lines from a character in the source material and there is no official source stating their name then referring to the books for guidance seems reasonable to me. I think using the conjecture tag in those instances remains fine because it can be used to automatically apply a category and automatically generate a list. We know that this is a TV show written and produced by people with a great deal of respect for the source material. We should not pretend that source material does not exist when writing about the show or we will miss covering layers that they have carefully added to the show.--Opark 77 07:11, May 31, 2012 (UTC)

Well, you've made a strong case. I didn't realize IMDB was copying *us*. In that case, we should probably keep conjectural names down to a bare minimum. I mean specifically...they never actually refer to "the High Septon" as such in dialogue, but its clear from the books who he is meant to be. We should try to keep that more the exception than the rule. --The Dragon Demands 18:26, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

I didn't mean a full casting list...but now that I think about it, a "Category: Conjectural Title" category tag would probably achieve what I meant, and we can debate who should or should not be "conjectural" on that Category's Talk Page. So that's already handled, actually. --The Dragon Demands 18:27, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

Also, about pages to cram down unidentified characters. Yes they use it at 24 wikia, but these pages get too long. At Wookiepedia and Buffyverse wiki each character that speaks or that stands out from the rest of the extras in some way (think of the sole Kingsguard with Myrcella which book readers know to be Ser Arys Oakheart and won't be cast until Dorne becomes a featured location) gets their own article.--Gonzalo84 20:28, June 2, 2012 (UTC)

Chat room feedback

I asked our readers on the chat room today what they thought and have taken some screen grabs of their response. You will probably have to enlarge the images (single left click) to make them legible:
Chat log 1 Chat log 2 Chat log 3 Chat log 4
--Opark 77 14:30, May 30, 2012 (UTC)