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Archive of Current events discussions.
Proposed: Move "Main Page" to "Muppet Wiki"
I noticed today that on the Central Wikia, they've moved their "Main Page" to "Wikia", so when you click on Main Page, the article title says Wikia.
I realized that when you come to our main page, the actual name of the website (as part of the logo) is actually smaller than the words "Main Page". So anybody coming to the site for the first time might have a second where they think our site is called Main Page!
- Ack. The only downside I see to the move is that our Google PageRank -- which had only just begun to show up at all (we were 0/10 for the longest time) -- went from 5/10 back down to zero. I would assume this would go back up again, but PageRanks are based on external sites linking back to the site being ranked. I guess so long as the redirect stays in place this won't be an issue, but it feels like it's been diluted. How long it will stay like that I don't know. I suppose it depends on the rest of the outside online community and the way Google handles page moves, etc. — Scott (talk) 20:44, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- Well, the links to us from outside sites are just directed to "muppet.wikia.com", which goes straight to the new page. They don't say "muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page", so it's not like people have to fix the links or anything. It'll take Google about a month to catch up, then it'll be fine. -- Danny (talk) 22:32, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, when you're linking to the front page of a site, I think most people shorten it to the core link. Here's some examples: Yahoo directory, The Modesto Bee, and Rec.arts.puppetry. If you search on Google for places that link to us, you'll see that people only use the full address when they're linking to an individual page. -- Danny (talk) 22:44, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- Well, that's good and logical. And obviously the better way to do it. My experience, however, had been otherwise. For example, the blogs that link to us, used the wiki/Main_Page address. — Scott (talk) 23:02, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Several discussions have sprung up lately over Category:Muppet Mentions -- see Talk:Recess, Category talk:Creature Shop Mentions, and Talk:Rugrats. While a fun category, many of the articles are thin, based on one line of dialogue, and can't be fleshed out. In earlier discussions, the partner category References was mentioned. However, there's some key differences. One is that a greater overall proportion of the references pages than Muppet Mentions have images, and sometimes even heavily illustrated (see Superman). Then there's the fact that, even if it's a one-shot reference with no pictures (yet) like Gregory Peck, they're *within* the Muppet/Henson universe and, in addition to providing a basic profile of the subject, the gag in context illuminates how the Muppets utilize showbiz or literary references. So even the briefer references serve a purpose, and in general, it's easier to build up a good References page through actor connections or even quotes from Muppet people on the topic.
On the other hand, hundreds or even thousands of TV shows, movies, books, comics, etc. have made casual references to the Muppets, many of which are a variation of "Hey, it's Big Bird" or some name for Sesame Street. The fact that they exist is interesting but I don't think it serves the Wiki to track down every single one of them. We go wild tracking the characters, cultures, performers, and locations of the Muppet/Henson worlds, big and small. With outside references, which have no Muppet relevance outside of the fact that a character makes an obtuse Elmo joke, a little discrimination is in order. I'm not proposing anything specific yet, but here's my thoughts on good Muppet Mentions and Bad Muppet Mentions.
The Simpsons is a good page because, apart from the fact that the show has another Muppet connection, it includes dozens of references, and many are illustrated with screengrabs. Family Guy comes close, but has no images whatsoever and some of the text is a bit irrelevant. Then there's pages like Rugrats, based on a single throwaway line, or Recess, where I still half suspect it wasn't even a reference but the original contributor misheard a line. To my mind, purely one-shot verbal references are by nature weaker, and tend to make for boring pages which can almost never be expanded, since most of those come from defunct series. The exception is if the reference occurs in a show which already has a Muppet connection of some sort, like The Cosby Show or, thanks to Season 37, Law & Order. And as a general tip, for all such pages, good or bad, I'd like to encourage users to check for exact quotes and episode titles whenever possible for reference dialogue. Other weaker pages as of now include Baby Looney Tunes (longer reference but no verification of content or known episode title), Home Alone, The Proud Family, Drawn Together, and Notting Hill (full monologue quote gives contexts, but it's just a one-word throwaway reference to Cookie Monster).
That was a bit long-winded, but anyway thoughts? What standards if any should be set for the category? Is there a way to improve those weak pages (connections help slightly, but not enough usually in those cases), should they be merged into a single list, or deleted entirely? Or are all Muppet Mentions created equal? Andrew Leal (talk) 21:50, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
- The Simpsons, Family Guy and Mystery Science Theater 3000 are interesting because Muppets are mentioned on a regular basis, as one of many running motifs on those shows. For any of those shows, one instance wouldn't be that interesting -- it's the list of mentions that makes the page worthwhile. (There isn't much on MST3K right now, but there will be, whenever I get around to expanding it.)
- There are also some that are notable because they're a spoof of Muppets/Sesame. Angel had a whole episode with the main character as a Muppet-style puppet, Chappelle's Show had a skit spoofing Sesame, Robot Chicken had a segment about the Electric Mayhem in one episode.
- Finally, there are some mentions that are brief, but are notable because they're part of a well-known movie -- E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial, Being There and Rocky III are in that category, in my opinion. Also, the fact that those are movies means that screencaps shouldn't be hard to get.
- The unsatisfactory pages are just one-sentence throwaway mentions, usually from a cartoon show. They're not very interesting, except to illustrate the point that Big Bird and Cookie Monster are common cultural references -- a point that is illustrated better by all the other Muppet Mentions articles.
- I propose deleting the one-line throwaway reference pages -- 15 Waffles, Baby Looney Tunes, Dexter's Laboratory, Drawn Together, Home Alone, The Office, The Proud Family, Recess, Rugrats and Shortcuts. -- Danny (talk) 23:55, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
- I agree with all of the above. I did a short expansion to MST3K last night (having a screengrab of "Jim Henson" from Mitchell would help), and looked through a reference database for the series. While, apart from the running "Jim Henson's Blank Babies" gag, most were throwaways, there were dozens of them throughout the series, which makes it significant (and thanks to Bill McCutcheon in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, there's even a cast connection), and with either of the two references on the page, a visual could be supplied. Home Alone isn't interesting, just a reference to a Big Bird shirt. Shortcuts raises an issue. It's not interesting not just because it's brief but because it vaguely describes a visual. May I further suggest that, unless it's a truly significant mention or can be adequately described, that comic book/strip reference pages be postponed until visual evidence can back it up. The Mother Goose and Grimm originally just said the comic had a lot of Muppet references, which didn't help, but the addition of a relevant strip makes a difference. DC Comics is a great page for that reason. I know it can be hard to restrain one's self (an issue of Looney Tunes Comics featured a two page encounter between Daffy Duck and the "Carraway Street Schmuppets"), but waiting in those cases generally makes for better pages, especially since, while others can add screengrabs to movie pages (as Scott did with ET and An American Werewolf in London), back issues of comic books or old strips aren't as widely accessible. Andrew Leal (talk) 00:53, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
- The only reason 15 Waffles exists is because Peter was casting director for this indy short, which is actually more interesting than the quote. Peter's not around at the moment, it seems, but it occurs to me that really the best way to preserve that would be to move the information to his user page. It's mildly amusing, but the page can't be expanded, and as an independent short, it's pretty obscure/non-notable except that one of our own worked on it (which is certainly cause for private HOORAYS! but doesn't make it significant for a Muppet encyclopedia). Or for that matter, though we generally don't combine them, a trivia note on Muppets Take Manhattan would take care of it ("Janice's nudity dialogue was later quoted in the short film 15 Waffles, whose crew included Peter Papazaglou"). Andrew Leal (talk) 15:33, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
- It's only been a day, admittedly, but since nobody else has joined the conversation yet aside from "Lt. Powers," here's a summary of what seem to be our leanings regarding standards so far.
In general, with few exceptions, Muppet Mentions should fit into one of the following categories:
- A series with repeated Muppet mentions as a recurring motif
- A series with an extended Muppet spoof, preferably one that can be illustrated with screengrabs
- A notable film with a Muppet reference, generally via footage
- Comic strips/books with visual Muppet spoofs
The following types of Muppet Mentions should be avoided, and pages of this type may be deleted:
- Single throwaway lines uttered once on a television show
- Single throwaway lines of a movie with no other Muppet connection or visual Muppet reference
- Comic strips/books without images and only vague descriptions
- Any page where a reference is mentioned but episode titles and general details are unknown
- Vague references to "Muppet-like" characters that are not clearly intended as Muppet spoofs (frankly, we probably should have been skeptical about Dexter's Laboratory from the start).
- This has gone without comment for four days, so I'm going to start cleaning up the category, according to the terms that Andrew set out above. -- Danny (talk) 18:06, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- I've been absent, but I pretty much agree with most of what's been said. I would like to propose, however, that the articles which were deleted, be collected in a list on one-line Muppet Mentions rather than having it lost. I think a list of Muppet Mentions would be interesting to read and easier to flesh out. Much like how we consolidated Non-Muppet Productions into TV Shows with Muppet Connections.
- So, I'm going to do that. Any suggestions on what to call it? One(or handful of)-liner Muppet Mentions sounds clunky. — Scott (talk) 19:43, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- I just tossed all the info in List of Brief Muppet Mentions. Feel free to retitle if appropriate. I was mostly looking to info dump before the info got lost in the shuffle. The page could probably also use some clean-up as such for consistency or whatever. Also, I may have missed some. I'm going to set up redirects now. — Scott (talk) 20:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- I, too, have been absent. And I was also going to make the same suggestion that Scott had about a page collecting one-line references. As for 15 Waffles, if I could ask that the page is left up until I have a chance to move some of the information over to my own user page, that would be great. I'll have it done within the week and delete the page at that point. -- Peter (talk) 21:09, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- "Minor Muppet Mentions" would be a better article name, yeah. I did take out the Rugrats speculation, though, and Dexter's Laboratory, since rewatching the cartoons myself, "slightly reminiscent of Ernie and Bert" didn't seem to fully cut it to my mind (if anyone finds a quote proving that it was an intentional allusion, it can be re-added). And at some point, it would be nice if someone could check on Recess. I still have ahard time believing the line was "third grade Muppets" and not "third grade moppets" (although random pointless writing is not uncommon in TV animation these days). Andrew Leal (talk) 21:52, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I have mixed feeling about the list... I think most of those pages were taken out for a good reason; they were added by our juvenile contributors (like Shane), the information is vague and incomplete, and it's almost impossible for anybody to verify whether the information is accurate or not. I understand Scott's impulse not to lose information from the wiki, but I think keeping potentially inaccurate "information" isn't doing us any favors.
Anyway, Scott put in a space in the category tag so it would be outside the alphabetical listing -- unfortunately, that puts it first, which means it's the first thing a browsing reader would look at. So I took out the space, and it's filed under M. -- Danny (talk) 22:38, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- I agree that it shouldn't be first, but it's separate from the alphabetical list. I think I should be able to get it at the end with an asterisk or a tilde.
- Regarding possible misinformation, it's just as reliable as any other piece of information on the wiki. Someone added the information from a source that's checkable by anyone. One could double check information on a quote from Rugrats just as well as they could check a quote from The Muppet Show. If we start questioning information from, say, The Office, we kinda have to do the same for everything else. Which, we do of course... we're good at providing sources. But, the best way to source information such as a quote from something is to provide sound clips and/or have at least three people double check on the source independently.— Scott (talk) 22:59, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- Right now, I'd argue that a lot of it is *less* reliable. I already mentioned Recess. Baby Looney Tunes has no episode title, and the discussion on that talk page suggested uncertainty about the specifics of which character was doing what. Notting Hill looks okay, comes from a more reliable contributor, and can be easily checked with the DVD or printed screenplay, but Recess is no longer airing except in certain Toon Disney reruns as far as I've been able to determine, and I see no way to check on Shortcuts. You're right, The Office can be easily checked, but some of the others... Even with this list, as with Muppet quotes, I'd strongly urge that users base any additions on specific sources/recent viewing, and not relying on vague memory (like Ingeborg's recollections of "Matt Playback.") If they can't be verified, I don't think it's a loss of information any more than it was to remove dubious Sesame Street episode titles unless/until reliable proof surfaces. Andrew Leal (talk) 23:18, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- I don't think they're as checkable at all, at least not by Muppet Wiki contributors. The active contributors here are likely to have access to tapes of Henson shows -- we may not each have a complete set of Dog City episodes, but there's a general sense that if we had to, somebody could put their hands on it. The process of checking that info would be: ask around, somebody digs up their tape, they watch the episode, they answer the question.
- But we don't necessarily have access to a complete set of Baby Looney Tunes or Rugrats, so the process of checking those would be: start Tivoing every Baby Looney Tunes episode, then watch every episode until the one you're looking for comes around in rotation. That's certainly not a project I'd want to undertake. -- Danny (talk) 23:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
- PS. But it's not like it matters. I don't personally have a lot of faith in that page, but I don't have to have faith in every single page on the wiki. I much prefer for that all to be on one page rather than spread out over ten, so as long as it's not first on the category list, I can live with it. -- Danny (talk) 23:37, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
In my opinion, we don't need countless redundant pages of characters who only appeared in one sketch. Examples:
If anything, we should just make a page for the sketch itself. What do the rest of you think? --MuppetVJ 13:53, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
- I know what you mean about the redundancy, especially in that example, because we don't have real names for those characters, and three of them start with "Japanese". But there's some pages for one-shot characters that I think are amusing and fun to have on the wiki, like Pickles, Aladdin, The Gonk and Helen Happy. I think the problem with those pages is that they're not very fleshed out. I'll add some stuff to them, and then see what you think. -- Danny (talk) 14:01, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
- They are not one-shot characters. I got a German dubbed sketch with these guys where the emperor wants a new gong.rytter 15:12, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
- Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. --MuppetVJ 17:40, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
- If a minor character is best known for a role in one sketch on one show, I'd mention other appearances of that character in a "Trivia" section. (Granted, the German and US versions of Sesame Street are going equally strong in their respective countries...but the Emperor's first sketch was on the American version.) --Ingeborg 01:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
- Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. --MuppetVJ 17:40, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Improving Muppet Performers
For those who may not have noticed, the Wiki has grown enormously, reaching over 10,000 total articles. However, there are still some weak areas, and one of the weakest sections, ironically, is Category:Muppet Performers. This is partially because most of those were amongst the earliest pages added, and at first glance, they look better then they are. Almost each major performer's article has a long credit list and tons of pictures, which is fine, but there's actually precious little in the way of a detailed biography, even compared to the pages for many minor Muppet figures.
So how does one improve these pages? Well Jim Henson and Dave Goelz are two pages in need of work, but there's a start. Subdividing a page by aspects of the person's career or years helps (which is why Kermit Love and Jerry Juhl are in better shape.) Also, recently, the Backstage Quotes category was deleted and its contents re-added to the page of the person who said it, but most, preferably all, of those should be used to better build up the biographical sections. It can be done a little at a time. See a fact about Henson's life or opinion on a character on another article which isn't on a main page? Add it. Quotes from Goelz about characterizing Gonzo on Lolita the Chicken? Add it! There's links to external interviews on Goelz page, and I'll add some to Henson's, for those without print sources. Brian Henson is also in need of major work. There's others (even Frank Oz has only two brief biographical paragraphs), but working on these pages is a start. If you'd rather work on someone else, pick a favorite performer and see how much or how little information there is about them as people and as performers (if a presskit bio is there, use that as a starting point and rewrite it), in contrast to character credit lists. With a little work, we can finally have Muppet performer pages which are as lovingly detailed as minor Frackle pages. Andrew Leal (talk) 16:56, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
- I think this is a really important project for the wiki, but it's a big task, so I'd like to try breaking it down into small parts for now, and see if that helps people get their hands around it. We did this last month with the [page formatting], so maybe it'll work this time too.
- I'm going to draft a list here of the main sections within each performer page that seem to need the most expansion. When you work on a section, post about it here, and we'll cross it off the list. Also, feel free to add to the list, if you see other places that could use work that I've missed.
- Jim Henson
- Early Years
- Fantasy Films
- The Jim Henson Hour (and other late works)
- Jim Henson
- Frank Oz
- Early Years
- Early works with Henson -- commercials, appearances
- Sesame Street -- creating Bert, Cookie Monster and Grover
- The Muppet Show -- creating Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy
- The Dark Crystal
- The Muppets Take Manhattan
- Directing career
- Current involvement with the Muppets
- Frank Oz
- Dave Goelz
- Fraggle Rock- creating Boober
- Other Muppet work
- Dave Goelz
- Richard Hunt
- Sesame Street work
- The Muppet Show -- creating Scooter, Beaker, Janice
- Fraggle Rock -- creating Junior Gorg
- Later projects -- Little Muppet Monsters, Ghost of Faffner Hall
- Death/Hunt's Legacy
- Richard Hunt
- Jerry Nelson
- Early Years
- Early work with Henson -- Jimmy Dean Show, variety shows, commercials
- Fraggle Rock -- creating Gobo, the Trash Heap
- Later projects
- Jerry Nelson
- Steve Whitmire
- Getting hired by Henson -- there's some funny stories out there about how he got hired
- The Muppet Show -- creating Rizzo
- Fraggle Rock -- creating Wembley, Sprocket
- Bunny Picnic/Jim Henson Hour -- creating Bean, Waldo
- Later projects
- Steve Whitmire
- There's lots of other major performers, but I think the 6 major Muppet Show guys are enough to start with. If anybody can help out with these sections, that would be great. Thank you! -- Danny (talk) 17:26, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
- Well, I polished off Goelz and Gonzo, for now anyway (a later section, on the movies and post-Henson, could discuss his development since then), and added some quotes I'd banked from Of Muppets and Men about his other Muppet Show roles. Now the biggest gap, apart from bringing the bio up to the present, is Fraggle Rock. Surprisingly, I can't find any Goelz quotes or background on the Wiki about Boober, and haven't really found much online. So if anyone has access to the Fraggle Season 1 set, which is full of performer insight, feel free to beef up Dave's Fraggle years. Andrew Leal (talk) 18:58, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
- Well, I've added a bit of biographical information on some of the performers, but there could still be additions. --Minor muppetz 15:22, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
- I can do a transcript of Steve's first meetup with Jim that he told at MuppetFest, if that's the funny story you're talking about. Scooter 15:32, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
- I mentioned this in the talk page for Brian Henson, but I thought I'd bring it up here, too. There are too many quotes there. I want to add some biographical information on that page, but am not too sure on what to do with the quotes. Some of the quotes could be deleted or moved to other articles. I noticed that there are quite a few quotes by Brian Henson that don't really have anything to do with Brian Henson. For example, the article includes quotes from soem of Brian Henson's introductions for The Muppet Show, as well as a quote from Henson about Frank Oz's initial feelings towards Mr. Bimbo. These quotes could be moved. This page is supposed to be about Brian Henson, not a page about Brian Henson quotes. --Minor muppetz 17:51, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
- I agree. If they're not relevant, toss them out, or move them to an appropriate page. Take a look at Dave Goelz. There was a slew of quotes at first. I integrated most into the article, and right now there's only three left, two of which (on public reaction and Jim) might be worked into a final paragraph, and the third, the anecdote about Jerry Juhl, can be moved to Juhl's page or just dumped (it's already on the cameo page). Start by dumping the obvious ones, and take the rest a little at a time. The same applies to "Trivia" sections. In most cases, "Trivia" covers items which should be integrated into a main biography, but which people just dumped in, with few exceptions (Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire sharing the same birthday, for example, really is trivia, and should stay there, but stuff about Richard Hunt directing isn't). Andrew Leal (talk) 18:03, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
- Well, I've improved the pages on Brian Henson and Jerry Nelson. However, the section I wrote for Jerry Nelson's involvement on Fraggle Rock is kind of weak. I couldn't think of much to say about Jerry Nelson's Fraggle Rock work besides who he performed. I can think of more things to say about the other perfomers on Fraggle Rock, but not much about Nelson. I'm not into Fraggle Rock the same way that I am into The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. --Minor muppetz 16:25, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Pre-Muppet Show article
This article is amazing, but I don't know where it fits. The Muppet Show page, perhaps? Or pilot pages? http://www.palmspringslife.com/media/Palm-Springs-Life/December-2004/Start-the-Music-Light-the-Lights-/ Scooter 17:02, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
- Well, we don't have an article yet for David Holman, so that's the big one. There's also some parts that would be good quotes for The Muppet Valentine Show and The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence pages. That's a great find! -- Danny (talk) 17:06, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
New French Muppet Show?
I have no idea if this is the place for this or not, but this may be worth making a page for. I'll leave it up to you guys to decide. I Babelfished the article, and it sounds like they may have done some new material specifically for France in a TMS format. http://www.leblogtvnews.com/article-1123391.html Scooter 13:28, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
- Yeah, Andrew added that yesterday at Le Muppet Show (France). -- Danny (talk) 13:35, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
- Oh, okay, thanks. So the voice-over guys are doing the puppets? Wow, that's...wow. Ouch. Scooter 13:54, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Here's a quick update on the position with upgrading MediaWiki. You may remember that when we tried to go to the latest version of MediaWiki there was a drastic slowdown across all Wikia hosted wikis. It's taken quite a while to pin-point exactly why this happened. It didn't happen to Wikipedia, so it wasn't clear why we were having this problem (most people are not on 1.7alpha, which is ahead of the main release, so not a lot of info on other's experiences with this version).
So John and Jason have been carefully testing various versions in an attempt to isolate which exactly which change was causing the slowdown. There were a lot of changes in between, so finding the problem change wasn't simple. They have now isolated it, fixed it, and hopefully we are ready to go to 1.7Alpha r15298 - not far off the version that Wikipedia is on at the moment. That's being tried on Monday.
There have been a few tests over the last couple of weeks, some of which have caused some slowdown or broken html tags. So many thanks to everyone for your patience with this. Hopefully this upgrade will bring in some features that we've been waiting for (I hardly dare say it but... fully working parser functions?)
After this, the plan is to go to a more regular upgrade schedule. That will mean much smaller, and so safer, jumps between versions.
- Hi Lisa -- Thanks for letting us know! I really appreciate it. -- Danny (talk) 21:52, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
A couple weeks back, I opened up the talk page for Rowlf at the Piano and posted some audio samples in an attempt to discover the names and/or composers of the songs. It occured to me afterward that not everyone may know how to play the MediaWiki preferred audio format, OGG. Simply put, you can download the free software Audacity available for most platforms, or install a plugin for WinAmp if you prefer. This info may also be suitable for the FAQ, but for now I'm just tossing this out there. -- Scott (talk) 22:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
new project page
I just created the Image chamber to facilitate an easier means by which we can keep track of unused files on the wiki. It also helps to better point out the policy on when and why we would delete files. -- Scott (talk) 15:44, 6 July 2006 (UTC)