History Section versus Case&Adventures Lists
Some thoughts about what should go where. What belongs in the History section on this page and what should be punted to the Cases and Adventures page? After some thought, I think the dividing line should be whether his role in the issue is as an actual character or as a glorified cameo. The former goes to both the History section AND Cases and Adventures, the latter to just Cases and Adventures. Thoughts?
Several thoughts and observations, nothing definitive for an answer.
Before the first Cases and Adventures page/section was developed, we had (and the intent is to still have) master Timeline pages. One was sorted by Events, the other was sorted by characters. (Another was issue sorted - but that never got published here) The structure of the Timeline pages were Event driven and the main goal was to track characters' histories. The Timeline pages where driven by and constructed using a Database, local on one of my machines here at home. The problem was keeping it up to date. Last entries go right up to and pretty much stop with the Dark Age books.
The Timeline Database was the direct result of my trying to contain a certain type of data. Data that got it's start on one of the first Astro City HTML pages that I built a long long time ago. The reason for the page was mainly because I was interested in pulling together the history of Honor Guard, with a focus on members and when they were involved with the team. This was a couple years before JG and I got working together because we discovered we both had similar goals (his more realized) about building something on the web to study Astro City in-depth.
I like the idea of having these cases&adventures lists around. They are nice reference material. I'm not keen on how they look right now, which is why I am discouraging them being on the main character page. Especially since at the time I bumped them, most of our pages were nothing but lists. However, rather than spending a lifetime keeping these CasePages co-ordinated, I would like to resurrect the Timelines and find a way to keep the Database itself up to date. Doing that online would be a security nightmare, and also would require some form of change control processing and ownership and yea, even more nightmares.
The Case Studies pages have the advantage of being centric to the character or team being dissected. The disadvantage is keeping them all in sync. Very labor and time intensive. They also become a bit redundant and create the problem you mention of where to put what.
I much prefer having verbiage in the History sections. I would also like to see footnotes being employed in that verbiage to reference other stuff, rather than all these links. Not that I don't mind links. But we are getting buried in links. Some links go nowhere. Some are not needed. More information can be incorporated directly into the page(check out what I did to the Outpost F link that was on the First Family page as an example). But not as a list please. Keeping these pure reference lists (like the Timelines) on a separate page (think of it as an appendix) is much preferred. At least for now. This stuff gets deep and noisy with small packets of information that become a barrier to the casual reader who just wants to find out more about a character. Not be buried in trivia that they have to sort out in their heads.
I don't yet know where all this is leading, exactly. I am very happy to seem more information being filled into the History Section. I would rather see that expand and grow, with section headings similar to the Astra Furst page (which is still incomplete but the structure is there). People that want to work on lists can add stuff to these Case Study pages. I wouldn't worry too much about duplication. For now I think these Case-Pages are better served as separate pages, and I would focus on creating pages for characters that have complex histories. Some of them might get reincorporated into the main pages if we can come up with a better layout, and/or if it makes sense to do so.
I will warn and let you guys know that the Timeline Database will eventually be brought back online. The mechanism for updating it needs to change and improve, I don't have time to keep it up to date right now. But it will be coming back. That will make anything done on these case study pages even more redundant. But these case study pages have the advantage of being more centric to the character, and the list can serve as another place for contributors to take a particular item on a particular list and expand it into something that reads well, with more depth and interest, and add it to the history section. I already have notes and thoughts in my head for the First Family's rich history. Having shared all this thinking out-loud, I am now thinking I will use the Cases and Adventures Page for them as a dumping ground for all that rich history so I can free up some brain cells for other projects. (Just what I need).
I am also playing around with designs for making these Case History pages look friendlier and more visually interesting. That is going to take some time to get higher up the priority channels.
Anyway that's were my head is on this topic and all that relates to it. At least for right now. I guarantee it will change as the Herocopia Project continues to mature.
As always, think of this as being my advise/directions as guidelines not rules. Rules have a nasty habit of always having exceptions.
Original Honor Guard Page[]
What an Issue Driven Event list might have looked like embedded into an Issues HTML page[]
The Event Driven Timeline List []
The Character Driven Timeline List []
-- jb the ib --
What JB said. Lol.
I created them more for the major characters who make a lot of appearances or have a lot mentions of their deeds in newspaper articles, in passing remarks, etc. Samaritan, Honor Guard, Silver Agent, First Family and Jack-in-the-Box were the only ones that had separate pages listing their accomplishments. The first three pages survive on the way back, the First Family's and Jack's didn't.
And it was more for characters who we knew a bunch of info on, so their character pages wouldn't be cluttered and be more text heavy. A mention of say Commando K doing something next issue, would fit easily on his page, where we don't have that much info. The Cases and Adventures page is sort of a master timeline list, I guess. The character history sections are for the more important things. If its important by all means it should go in both places.
ADD: And for some of the perceived major characters thats why some of them had the Cases and Adventures lists on their page, like Crackerjack, Irregulars and Winged Victory, they don't have that many mentions like the others. When or if we get a story on them, they might merit their own, or if they start getting more mentions and headlines. It might be good to move those lists to their Talk pages, to make a better flow of their pages.
re: More History earlier discussion relating to this can be found here []
Like I said then and now, these lists are a bit noisy and create a cluttered confusion. They read like cold-shorthand and compete for content with the History Sections.
I've considered moving them to the infoboxes, which have been a nice visual fix for other lists like appearances. However, Case&Adventures lists don't work too well in the compact design of the infoboxes. Although if I worked at it long enough there might be a way to make them work for the characters and teams where it might make sense. In the long run, I'm still favoring a table-like format with more room than infoboxes, where we can include images yet still contain it so it gives the reader some form of organizational sense to the data/information being presented.
Wow, thanks for such thorough responses. It's a lot to chew on. These plans all sound great!
Re: The links. It's a format I've taken from places like the X-Files wiki (e.g. http://x-files.wikia.com/wiki/Dana_Scully#Childhood_and_Teenage_Years) and a few other wikis. When I first saw the format, I thought it was a little weird, but I've come to really appreciate it. It save the hassle of having to go the bottom of the page each time the stray "Where did that bit of info come from?" pops into your head, then go back up to resume reading. I find it neat and efficient, and it makes the reading experience smoother.
For the most part, as we have been practising it here, don't sweat the links. Like I said, I don't have a problem with links when used properly. But I will mention the Scully link you provide is loaded with interface practices that would give a GUI ergonomics engineer nightmares. Including some really bad linking examples.
But here is a minor caveat I will throw out there for serious consideration as people edit. Please try to minimize links that leave the wiki site. Search engines frown on that when rating a site, and I am doing several things to improve search engines rating us. Same is also true of links to nowhere. They see that as a site that is not-ready for prime time and dock points when that number reaches a certain point.
You've probably noticed I am now doing some rudimentary layouts for Cases&Adventure Lists. Those have a long way to go, and I have been in discussion with Fenxy4 on some template options and pushing the symantic MediaWiki functions even farther to get something easy to use and visually interesting. We are even investigating ways to use mediaWiki pages to mimic the Timeline Database functions online right here so others can contribute to its input, and I won't be a bottleneck for that data collection. (It also gives others more influence as to what should be input - which I always consider a healthier dynamics).
And in all the noise above, I forgot to mention in a direct fashion, that given where we are now in terms of available tools and our current processing techniques, I think you take is good as it gets for considerations when deciding where to put content and stuff. Again where it makes sense, and allowing for a certain degree of flexibility.
Again, I always saw these lists as more a master list of their deeds, mentions and appearances and the details behind some of the more important events or things on a character or groups adventures list, of course also gets a good chunk in the more text heavy portions of a characters page. That's why I liked them separate, gives you the best of both worlds, for people who like lists and ordered stuff and the more detailed stuff.
I actually kind of like the box style for the Cases and Adventures you have in your sandbox better. I know we've talked before about meshing that with the membership timeline. The Honor Guard one would probably be more unique than others... Or would that maybe be better alone?
I'll work on not linking to pages that haven't been created yet. Mostly though I just don't want to have to go back later. But will probably have to when we get issue pages up to provide links from appearances...
ADD: Speaking of issues pages, are we going to do them like we did the old way or go a different way. I like the synopses and notes we have started here, but like the info as well, regarding appearances, mentions, creative team, point of view, the in world story date, etc. The template you had was good, JB. Do we just combine them to one page? Or have two different pages, one for the summary details(its page title would be the story title) then one for the basic info(the issue title)? I think one page works, but could see two, especially helping avoid spoiler details in a story...
One thing, I think we should title this issue pages after the issue, I don't that would be too long. It would be clearer and better than the short hand we had. We could still create pages for the short hand way, like 2:6, but make them redirects to Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol. 2 #6, which would make it easier linking their references on pages to the actual issue. Just a few more thoughts...
re: links Overall we are fine, really. My comments on it are just me thinking outloud. Don't get overly worried about it. All these pages, even the one-liners have value to the project overall. Perhaps in some ways, especially the one-liners. I'm glad you are the force making that happen. It is appreciated.
re:lists: My Timelines lists are/were/still-are as a cold as they get. I hope no one thought I was criticizing them about theirs. On reread, my bluntness might have seemed like it was aimed somewhere. It was just me gripping about the general nature of lists, especially annotation lists that are there to collect data, no matter how trivial. Keep making lists. We will find ways to get them easier to digest visually. Or control where and how we display them so the right types of readers are drawn to them.
For now, for lists, just use the tools and process that we have at hand. I will keep playing around with templates and designs as time permits. I had a really wild-one for teams that was in a "test" namespace on the old herocopia. Its possible that the Wayback Machine has a copy of it. Unfortunately I don't remember what I called it.
re:the issue pages I'm all for bringing them back. Zak, can you find a link to an old one that you liked? That should be an easy template to reconstruct. I do plan to model it with an emphasis on these detailed synopsis. I don't want to just recreate information that Comics.org is collecting. I would rather just point to them. Feel free to start pulling them back. We can adapt as we go along.
I think this one looks pretty complete, plus with the cover image to the right. 1. I think one page will work, just figure out a way to combine design wise...
Template:Usr:ib/sandbox was something located on the Teams category page, but didn't get saved...
Slightly different but along same lines
Back to the this topic, I came across http://web.archive.org/web/20081007123230/http://www.herocopia.com/index.php/A_Day_in_the_Life... I want to say there was a later version with more info to it and elaborated on, but can't remember why we gave it it's own page. This was before we had the cases and adventures lists too. Maybe it was something with the looks and giving Samaritan too' much info on a crowded page, hence the opening blurb, where we'd go into more detail about his nature...
Looking now I think it more belongs on his page, with the templates we have now. And more text heavy on his workaholic attitude and lack of a personal life...Unless I'm missing something...