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Fixing the Lists

Moved discussion from Talk:Sesame Street Videos with Bert on the Cover:

This list, and Sesame Street Videos with Ernie on the Cover -- How are these lists interesting, or relevant? They seem like a pretty random sampling of Sesame Street videos. -- Danny (talk) 03:35, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I was just about to post the same. -- Scott (talk) 03:51, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I just thought that it would be interesting to make a list of videos that featured certain characters on the covers. As for relevence, are these posts really any more or less relevant than lists such as [[Characters Whose Names Sound a Bit Rude]], Miss Piggy books, and [[Characters Whose Names End with "er"]]? --Minor muppetz 04:03, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I guess it depends on your opinion of what is relevant. If you really must have these lists, we need to at least consolidate them into one article with sections for each character. -- Scott (talk) 04:18, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Lists in general is a bit cockeyed, yeah, but a "Characters Whose Names Sound a Bit Rude"-style list, a purely silly page based on someone's amusement, should be the exception, not the rule (I'd probably dump the "Characters Whose Names End with Er" list). But Miss Piggy Books or Grover books are different from appearances on video covers. They're useful objective lists of the number of books which have been published spotlighting a certain character, or in Miss Piggy's case, purportedly written or co-written by her. They can be used to show the characters' popularity and the development of their treatments in print merchandise.
The video cover thing is, like Danny said, a random sampling, especially listing covers that aren't even solo. Grover is also in the majority of the covers on this page, so that doesn't demonstrate anything. Pointing out that Betty Lou appeared in covers for albums which didn't feature the character, now that shows something and might be worth mentioning in her page, but not a seperate list. The presence of Bert and Ernie in video covers, as far as I can see, doesn't mean a thing, unless you can find some way to support a particular theory regarding it. The presence of Bert and Ernie on so many Dutch and German albums, without other characters, that might prove something. These lists don't.
As Scott hinted, they might *potentially* show something if you were trying to trace the appearances of all Sesame Street Muppet characters, and which were used most often. I wouldn't really care to do it or be interested in it myself, but it makes more sense than a flurry of individual pages. Andrew Leal (talk) 04:22, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it's ridiculous. It falls into the "Who Cares?" category of information. Just my opinion...but, yeah. Wow. Scooter 14:27, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree, I think "Who Cares?" is a good question, and should probably be asked of all the pages in the Lists category. I think these lists are boring and should be deleted or changed, but I also think that Michael was justified in creating them, because we don't currently have any standards for what gets to be a list and what doesn't. As always, the contributions that don't quite work encourage us to come up with a better system.
In the transcripts policy, we ask for a "statement of purpose" for each transcript, explaining why the clip being transcribed is interesting and relevant to the wiki. That would be heavy-handed and unnecessary for the Lists, but I think it's worthwhile having some kind of understanding of what makes a List relevant and useful.
The point that Scott and Andrew are making above is that a List should have some point that goes beyond the list itself; it should tell us something about the list items that wouldn't ordinarily be evident. Lists like Characters Who Have Been to the Moon and Characters Who Have Died highlight unusual themes that run throughout the Muppets' history. Sesame Street Actors Who Performed Voices shows a crossover between the Sesame human cast and the Muppet performers. Then there's Lists that are just funny, and are there because it's nice to have a little light silliness on a Muppet Wiki.
That being said, there are some things that I think are miscategorized as Lists, when they should just be Disambigs, Character Types, Character Variants, etc. I'll try to clean up a bit. I think this category should pretty much be for pages that don't fit anywhere else.
Also, I think we need to ask the "Who Cares?" question about Kermit Songs, Robin Songs, and Sesame Street Monsters by Color. If these Sesame Street Covers lists don't work, then why do those lists work? -- Danny (talk) 15:16, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
The clean-up helped, and I'm working on removing the variants, but looking at the category, I think further identification of list types, perhaps moving some into new categories, might help. Lists like Teachers or Characters Who Have Played Detective related to specific theme categories. They're already under those categories, but are double-categorized either because they became a list first or to make sure people see them. Would a "Themed List" category be useful to cull those out, or should they just be out of lists entirely and in their theme categories? And then there's things like Theological Figures and Talent Agents, which like Teachers don't really fit as "Character Types" as we've defined them, but could go into a, say, "Character Lists" or "Occupations List" or something (yeah, except for Mighty Favog, being a theological figure isn't necessarily a day job, but its close enough). (Actually, Fairies might fit as a character type, even if there's just as many human examples as Muppets). Plus there's things like Cecil the List, lists to help regulate the Wiki and which we aren't through with. Finally, there's merchandise lists, like Fraggle Rock DVDs, Sesame Street Discography, Sesamstraat Discography, and so on, which should probably be a seperate category, and behind the scenes lists like Waldo-Controlled Muppets and rod/live hand switching. I don't know if we want to break *everything* up, but identifying the types of lists helps to point out what lists work and what lists don't, and makes it easier to spot the more questionable list types. Andrew Leal (talk) 16:22, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I think pages belong in Lists when they cross show boundaries. Doctors, Teachers and Theological Figures don't really fit as Character Types, because they include characters from Sesame, Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Muppets Tonight, etc. The point of those pages is pure List-making pleasure, just to see how many Doctors and Teachers we can find across the entire body of work.
I think the Lists category is kind of for pages that are fun and illuminate something, and don't really fit anywhere else. Doctors, Characters Who Have Been to the Moon, Muppet Pets, Muppets Named After Their Performers... I can't quite put my finger on it -- ("Well, if you don't know what it is, don't put your finger on it!") -- but there's some essential List quality to them that I think is worth preserving as a category.
The DVD and Discography lists, on the other hand, are purely functional, and should be in their own categories. We might want to say that Lists shouldn't have double categories -- if it fits in someplace else, then it's not a List. -- Danny (talk) 16:44, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Here's a start at a rough categorization of some of the items currently in lists.

Merchandise Lists

Most of these are useful, either providing a chronological history of a specific product (calendars, albums, Muppet Press books), spotlighting major merchandise themes (Grover and Piggy), or spotlighting general developments which could be useful to consumers or just interesting (which books have been republished with new art can be useful for collectors, home video titles not on DVD likewise). Kermit in Sesame Street merchandise works because of his dual roles and the licensing issues, especially now with Disney ownership, so it's interesting to track and the list shows something. As I've said above, in my opinion, the Bert and Ernie lists say nothing about the merchandise or the character's developments. It seems like a random sampling and, as they are now, don't present any argument about whether the characters are used more or less than anybody else or whether their treatment has changed over time. In any event, most of this group should be moved out of lists, either as items at the top of their respective categories or in a seperate merchandise lists category.

Next, lists of characters by occupation or role, which mostly aren't under Muppet Character Types because a lot of them aren't Muppets, or aren't organized by species but by function or relationship.

Like Danny said, Muppet Character Types really wouldn't go with those, and they cross show boundaries. They don't have to be recategorized, but I think they're useful as good examples of what work as lists. It's interesting and amusing to catalogue how royalty, deities, and agents have been depicted in the Muppet/Henson universe, in a way that "Characters Who Wear Hats" wouldn't necessarily show anything.

There's more (especially the "Behind the Scenes" type stuff and the whole "Characters Who" section is particularly worth looking at), but this is a start, I think. I'll add to it as I can (and others can feel free to). If this is cluttering up the discussion, Danny, feel free to move it, or stick it below seperate from the main discussion, but I felt odd creating *another* list to discuss the list issue. Andrew Leal (talk) 16:57, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I moved it down, because it's part of this still active discussion. I also crossed out some of the Merchandise lists -- I moved some of them to their appropriate categories, like Sesame Street Albums for Sesame Street Discography. I also turned Muppet Press Storybooks into a category. -- Danny (talk) 17:15, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I disagree about lists having to be just in their themed category. If we have a list of DVDs or characters or songs, they should go in the appropriate DVD, character and song categories, but they're also lists and belong in the List category. If I'm trying to remember a list of something that happened on The Muppet Show, I could bounce all over the wiki in several categories and might not ever find it. But if I know there's a category that houses just all the lists, I'll know where to find it right away.
That said, it would probably be a good idea to sub-categorize Lists, so that we have Characters Lists, Merchandise Lists, Song Lists, etc. -- Scott (talk) 17:38, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree that any page that has a list in it should be categorized under Lists. Dee, Dee, Dee is mostly a list of the album and video releases. Purple Frackle is mostly a list of the puppet's appearances. Ditto Vet's Hospital. I think Lists, however it gets defined and split up, should be a category where you find lists that aren't categorized in other places. -- Danny (talk) 17:49, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
No, I mean when it's only a list. Purple Frackle is obviously a character, just as Dee Dee Dee is a song. But they're not lists of songs or characters. I'm just talking about articles that are inthis category now (or were 24 hours ago). -- Scott (talk) 17:54, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
While I see your point, Scott, I've had the opposite problem. Lists is so sprawling and the items so diverse even when several lists are related (Muppet Musicians, Fraggle Rock Musicians, Sesame Street Musicians) that for me anyway, it's become useless as a navigation tool, which is why I'm glad some of the lists are linked to from character pages or in other categories. Grover Books and Miss Piggy Books are lists and should stay there even if they're linked to from somewhere else, yeah, but what real benefit is there from having Fraggle Rock DVDs buried between Fictional Production Crew and Fraggle Rock Literature, the latter not a merchandise list but of books and stories within the series? And then there's a page like Optioned Properties, which is a list, yeah, but it's not at all like Characters Who Have Been to the Moon, but basically something which should go under Category:Unfinished Movies, which is where it is. I don't see a benefit from double categorizing in those cases (although on the other hand, if the only other place for the list is a themed category where it might be less obvious, like Doctors or Teachers, it can stay in lists, I'd think). Other categories like Characters or Songs are huge but still navigatable, but there isn't any consistency here, even in naming, with some articles using "Characters" and some "Muppets," so the similar Characters Whose Names Are Puns and Muppets Named After Their Performers are spaced far apart. I don't know about you, but I'd rather go to Commercials to find a Chronological List of Commercials. And as is, the Muppet Show stuff you mention is all in its own list category and completely out of lists anyway. Andrew Leal (talk) 18:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
So, no sub-categorizing? -- Scott (talk) 18:50, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
You've lost me now. If you mean as a solution to the navigation issue, sub-categorizing isn't a bad idea, but I don't see how that relates to a lot of the items I mentioned, like Optioned Properties, which in my opinion, should just be in Unfinished Movies. The same goes with a lot of the Behind the Scenes-style lists which *aren't* listed behind the scenes, though on the other hand some are better here. I'll try to collect the examples I have in mind later on. Andrew Leal (talk) 19:06, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
What I mean is, do we think it's a good idea to sub-categorize the Lists category. -- Scott (talk) 20:48, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I think we should absolutely sub-cat the Lists category. -- Danny (talk) 21:03, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I hate to keep breaking this up, but the discussion continues to get cramped, which isn't conducive to effective listing.

Behind the Scenes lists- those dealing with technical puppetry aspects, or inside jokes/trivia.

In my opinion, these two belong in Behind the Scenes. There's others, though, which are iffier:

Of those, I'd recommend that Muppet Movie Goofs just stay behind the scenes (it's more than a plain list, more of a concept article by now, akin to the other Behind the Scenes items), and I'm tempted to say Inside Jokes should follow, but that can go either way. The others, I'm not sure where they would go or how they could be categorized. The last two could possibly go into a general "Performer lists" section of trivia related to performers, including [[Muppeteer Birthdays]], and I've though it might be interesting to have lists of actors/puppeteers/voice-actors who are married or related to each other, much like the character lists, so long as it didn't become too much of a personal intrusion (like that AIDS page thing).

Next, our two disambiguation lists:

They can either stay in disambiguations, or be moved to a Characters List or People/Performers List section.

And that leads to "Character Lists," a division which isn't as simple as one would think, as there's basically three varieties of lists. There's the occupation/role lists mentioned earlier (doctors, teachers, nobility), there's the cross-production "Character Who" or "Muppets With"-style lists, a few of whom may be worth questioning, and there's the lists geared to an aspect of a specific character. So first, the catch-all lists

Of these, four are related to names, not counting the previously mentioned name lists, and of those, I question the "er" list, and Without Names is really a Muppet Wiki organizational list.

Character specific lists (not counting those mentioned earlier, i.e. Grover books, Miss Piggy books, the iffy Ernie and Bert lists, and Kermit in Sesame merchandise):

And again, none of this is counting pages that are already in Muppet Show lists. There's still more that can be subcategorized, and a few that right now don't seem to fit anywhere even in new subcategories, but I'm *trying* (though perhaps not succeeding) to tackle this a few sections at a time. Andrew Leal (talk) 23:58, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

All right, I'll take a stab at it. Here's a possibility for what to do:
Move to Behind the Scenes: Rod Hands and Live Hands Switching, Walk-Around and Puppet Switching, Character Name Origins, Inside Jokes, Muppet Movie Goofs, Muppet Show Goofs, Muppeteer Birthdays, Same Puppet Different Character, Crossovers, Movies with Multiple Muppets Tonight Guest Stars, TV Shows with Muppet Connections
Delete Character Disambiguations and People Disambiguations; these were created before we started making actual disambiguation pages. They're outdated and unnecessary now. Ditto Character Pairs -- that's a category now.
Move to Character Variants: Wedding Piggy, Aged Characters
Move to Fraggle Rock Culture: Boober Fraggle's Recipes, Fraggle Rock Literature
Move to Sesame Street Books: Grover Books
Move to Muppet Books: Miss Piggy Books
Move to Unfinished Movies: Optioned Properties
Move to Superheroes category: Superheroes
Then, of the remaining Lists, create these subcategories:
A Sesame Street Lists subcat: Items Other Than Cookies, Sesame Street Musicians, Sesame Street Books Reissued with New Art, Sesame Street Actors Who Performed Voices, Sesame Street Anniversaries, Sesame Street Best of Character Videos and Albums, Sesame Street Classical Sketches, Sesame Street Home Video Titles Not on DVD, Sesame Street Monsters by Color, Sesame Street Self References, Sesame Street Sketches That Have Been Remade, Songs That Were Performed More Than Once On Sesame Street.
A Filmographies subcat: Kermit the Frog Filmography, Kermit Songs, Robin Songs (for want of a better place to put them at the moment)
A Character Lists subcat for pretty much everything else left over -- Doctors, Teachers, Fairies, Characters Who etc., Muppet Pets, Sleepy Muppets, Honorary Muppets, Fictional Celebrities, Fictional Production Crew
The only thing I can't figure out is Poetry. -- Danny (talk) 01:42, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I deleted character pairs, but I disagree on deleting the two disambiguation pages, at least just yet, since in fact actual pages in Category:Disambiguation are still few. There's tons from the characters list who don't have disambiguation pages (though I'd sort of wondered if that was worthwhile in some cases given that Scott and others seem to prefer just tacking a "See Also" onto certain pages). And the people list is more recent, created basically to avoid sentences like "talkshow host John Henson (no relation)" and the like. I guess I could just create "John Stephenson (disambiguation)" and "Kenny Baker (disambiguation)," but I don't know. Andrew Leal (talk) 01:53, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I have wondered if the various lists for goofs are worthy of being included, or at least not redundant. Though I have recently contributed to the Muppet Show Goofs page, couldn't Muppet Show Goofs and Muppet Movie Goofs just be mentioned in the pages for the individual movies and episodes of The Muppet Show that these goofs apply to? --Minor muppetz 02:33, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Not really. I'm not sure I like the idea of cluttering The Muppet Movie with a long list of goofs; screengrabs, though the Movie list has more, couldn't be included; and there's sections on "general goofs" like visible wires, hands, or seeming mistakes that are actually a result of the screen transfer. Merging them into one big list might not work, but I confess, I don't want to be browsing through the Muppet Show episode guide and keep sing "Jim Henson's head/arm is visible"-type remarks. Frankly, outside of those rendered redundant like Character Pairs, the only lists I'd consider unnecessary would be the Bert and Ernie video cover lists and Characters Whose Names End in "Er". Andrew Leal (talk) 02:47, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I just created Sesame Street Lists, since it seemed like a no-brainer, and it helped to thin out the Lists a little. -- Danny (talk) 03:09, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, we're nearing the last lap. Almost everything has been recategorized, and I even found a place for poetry, creating a Literature category. Here's a handful of leftovers. Most could probably be stuck in Character Lists or Filmographies just to get them out of the way, but I wanted to identify them here first:
  • Muppets Eating Other Muppets- not so much a character list as a motif, akin to explosions
  • Sketches That Use Abstract Dialect- cross-series, sort of a filmography of a motif
  • Sleepy Muppets - Not a character list as a title implies, but list of books, videos, records, etc. dealing with sleep as a theme
  • Songs Performed on Multiple Shows - Like the other "Songs Performed More Than Once" lists, I wonder if these should be moved to Repeated Sketches. Either way, we're almost there! Unless we still want to continue to re-examine certain lists and whether they're needed or not. Andrew Leal (talk) 18:23, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
All right, I finished off the last of it. "Muppets Eating Other Muppets" went to Food, "Sketches That Use Abstract Dialect" to Behind the Scenes, and "Songs Performed on Multiple Shows" to Repeated Sketches. "Sleepy Muppets" was really just a list version of a theme category, so I made the Sleep category instead. -- Danny (talk) 19:31, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

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