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Muppet Wiki:Current Events Archive 22 (October-November 2007)

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Archive of Current events.

Sesame Street's birthday

It's probably too late to get this on the calendar, but I just wanted to mention that Nov. 10 is Sesame Street's 38th anniversary! So do something special tomorrow, like watch some Old School! -- Ken (talk) 03:43, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Muppet Wiki Facebook app

A new user, Simon, just told me about a really cool thing that he made -- a Random Muppet Thing app on Facebook, which adds a different Muppet to your Facebook profile every hour. The info draws from our Muppet Characters category, and posts a photo and the first paragraph of text. When you click on the photo, it takes you to the Muppet Wiki page. I've also asked him if he can add a text link to the wiki.

The featured characters are randomly drawn from the category, so it's an odd assortment. So far today, I've seen Finchen, Hallie Duck and Caponata.

So far, about 150 people have added it to their profiles. It's a really cute thing, and it's a nice way to spread the word about Muppet Wiki. So if you're on Facebook, here's the link -- Random Muppet Thing. You can put it on your profile, send it around to your friends, and spread the Muppet love. -- Danny (talk) 22:28, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

I added it to my Facebook profile; the text link to the Muppet Wiki is there. It's currently showing Dennis Monster. Nice work, Simon! — Brett (talk) 03:22, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, he added the text link last night, with one link to the character page and the other to the main page. It's currently showing Irving Bizarre. I love it. -- Danny (talk) 19:39, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Aladdin. It has 10 users now. -- Zanimum 19:05, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
That stat is weird. That says 10 daily active users, making up 4% of the total users. That means that there are 250 people who have it on their profiles, and 10 of those people (4%) are clicking on it every day. -- Danny (talk) 02:07, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Richard Hunt memories

Hi all, I recently ran across Richard Hunts name online and it brought back a long ago memory of my only meeting with him. I was hired by a friend of Richards, back in the mid 80's to sculpt a caricature of Richard for his birthday. I sculpted a 13" clay sculpture of Richard,holding a puppet of himself. He loved it! He posed for a snapshot of him ,mimicking his sculpture, holding his puppet..great photo! I may have it somewhere! Well, that was the last time we met. he seemed like a real sweet guy. -- Sulldoggy 7 November 2007

Sorry about my lack of online skills! I simply wanted to share a VERY old story. It may have been around 1986. If I can find the picture I can leave a more in-depth story. There was a small side story to the whole meeting..I live in the Boston area. the person who "hired" me to sculpt Richard, was a longtime friend of his, I guess. He heard about my sculpting skills, and thought it would be cool for me to sculpt Richard and give him the piece for his birthday.
So, I did. I bought the materials, and spent a few weeks completing the job. I brought the piece to the mans home, where Richard was visiting for the weekend from NY. He came down, a bit tired, until he saw the piece. he loved it. Now, them "friend" thought this experience would give me a god, "in" through Richard, to make contacts foe work with Henson Studios. A true dream of mine. So I gave them the piece, we all laughed a bit. he mentioned to Richard my future goals. I felt a bit embarrassed that he put Richard in that situation, but whatever.
I then told him i would charge him a small fee for my services, plus materials. About $100.
He exploded! How could I be such an unappreciative asshole! As he put it, he had presented me with the opportunity of a lifetime, and I blew it by asking for my stupid paltry fee! then he told me to leave immediately. he would send me a check, but I must never try to contact Richard Hunt ever in the future.
That's, unfortunately, the real memory of that day. Richard was great, and had no idea of our conversation outside, after he happily brought his statue inside...-- Sulldoggy 8 November 2007

Koch Records

I just wanted to make this major announcement here in case some of you haven't heard yet. On the heels of the Fraggle Rock 3-CD set, Koch is going to be making new Sesame Street CD's! There's a link to a press release on Koch's page with full details. Thanks to Scott for bringing this to our attention! -- Ken (talk) 01:15, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

That's awesome news. I can't wait for new Sesame CDs! -- Danny (talk) 23:24, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

NYT?

Does anyone have Archive Access to the New York Times? I'm curious about "Writers Guild of America-East Strikes Against 'Sesame Street'" (March 25, 1978): "The Writers Guild of America-East has called a strike against the Children's Television Workshop, producer of "Sesame Street."" I've never heard of this before, and given the expected upcoming WGA strike, I find it interesting and worth a page on the Muppet Wiki. -- Zanimum 17:24, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Report a problem

Hi, folks -- There's a new feature called "Report a problem" which is being tested out on Wikia. As it stands, it doesn't actually work properly. I'm in contact with the Wikia folks about this, and I'll see what I can do about getting it fixed.

The idea is that on every article page, there's a tab that says "Report a problem". There are two goals: First, it can help users to report vandalism, broken templates or formatting --- weird stuff that might require an admin's attention. The second goal is that it may help brand-new users to make that first click -- they see vandalism, or inaccurate information, or whatever, but they haven't really learned how to fix those problems yet, so they click on "report a problem". That gives us the opportunity to talk to them, welcome them, and show them how to fix things.

So when a problem gets reported, it ends up on the Problem Reports page, and they've just changed it so that the new reports get flagged on Recent changes.

Unfortunately, I need to report some problems with "report a problem". The system allows users to "report a problem" without actually saying what the problem is. It also allows anonymous users to report spurious problems which don't exist -- if you look at the Problem Reports page, you'll see that most of the "problems" reported so far are either blank, incorrect or nonsense.

So, like I said, I'm talking to the Wikia community folks about this, and I'll see what I can do. I'll let you know what I find out... -- Danny (talk) 14:39, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Portals

Portal-muppets-1024

I’ve been playing around with the portal concept and came up with Portal:Main (sandbox) (and the related sub-pages). Kind of took the old listy design and mixed it up with elements from the main page format. The idea of these portals is to give newcomers an entryway into the wild and cumbersome wealth of information this wiki has to offer. Kind of ease them into what we have and guide them to where they want to go. This is a beginner’s guide to the depth and breadth of the entire project - so not every single little related thing (such as every single TV special or every related sub-category) goes onto a portal. The idea is not to just regurgitate every category (we have that in place already, in the category structure) - but this simplify things and help lead newbies to the different, and often sought-after, essentials. I’d really like to see a portal system established – I think it would be especially helpful to newcomers and visitors. So please share your thoughts on this design, or the old design (which is also in the sandbox), or the whole portal concept? Ideas? Suggestions? Comments? And please feel free to play with, mess with, add to, and change things on this design too. -- Brad D. (talk) 01:51, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

First of all, thanks for reviving this long dormat project Brad. I like what you've done for the most part. My biggest change would be to take the pictures out. Mostly because they're just not needed: the point of the portals is to direct the user/visitor to where they want to get to. More importantly, they greatly reduce the amount of workspace that the actual portal has to breath. The screenshot provided here is taken in 1024x768 resolution which is what 84% of our site visitors are looking at the wiki with. —Scott (talk) 02:44, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd be okay with taking out the pics. I didn't really think about the effects on smaller resolution viewers. They aren't really needed and were just kind of fluffy eye-candy anyway. -- Brad D. (talk) 03:23, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm seconding the thanks to Brad -- this is a great idea, and I'm glad you're breathing life into it again.
I like what you've done with adapting the navigation buttons into the portals. Portal:The Muppets looks great with the important buttons at the top, and then a broader list of links below.
Scott created a sort-of portal system on the main page of Pixar Wiki, and I like that design. I tried adapting it to Portal:The Muppets. It's pretty rough right now... The buttons would need to be done better, and I think it would look better if there was a margin on both sides pushing it a little closer together. But you get the general idea. -- Danny (talk) 10:26, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah I'm happy with the way the Pixar design came out and I wouldn't mind seeing that style adopted here. In fact, the Pixar navigation was sort of designed with our Portals here in mind. I agree about the buttons needing to be done better. They'd need to be uniform in style, too.
I also like the idea behind the "Vinage Henson" portal that Brad created. Should we include that in the Henson Company portal, or should it get its own sub-portal in one of the two vacant spots on the main portal? Also, what to do about Universes that aren't The Muppets like Wubbulous World or Mopatop's Shop? —Scott (talk) 13:11, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah there are 2 slots left. There are a buch of things that could go there.
I kind of liked the vitange Henson (pre-Sesasme) coverage for a portal (it's a section not really fully and solely covered and browseable by the category system, I think its a good point of interest, and it doesn't quite fit into the other portals. I would support keeping it in and developing a portal to cover it.
There are a bunch of other universes that we could give a portal to - Wubbulous World, Dark Crystal, Dinosaurs, etc. - but they are already somewhat covered by the Henson or Creature Shop portals and the category system has most of them well covered well too. Is there one universe or franchise that stands out as a popular or significant area on the wiki and has some depth to it that would deserve a specific portal?
Or is there a concept, like the "people" portal, that could be better served. Merchandise? Books? Characters? Music? Animation? International? But then again the categories for these topics are pretty straight forward with and a portal might just be a restating what already exists. Maybe a Muppet Wiki portal to organize and show the many project pages - rules, tips, voting pages, etc. would be helpful. -- Brad D. (talk) 14:32, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't feel we need to worry about filling up the vacant spot. At a certain point, it just seems like we're reaching for filler. I agree about not using portals to duplicate category structure. Books and albums have a pretty clear categorization that functions well and each of them appear to be accessible from the various portals.
Probably everything doesn't need a portal, so I don't think Dark Crystal needs one as it's under Creature Shop and the DC category structure is in place from there. But I don't see anything in place for Universes that aren't The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock or BITBBH accessible from the portal. Should we think about a generic catch-all for stuff like Wubbulous World or Mopatop's Shop? —Scott (talk) 14:40, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, nevermind, I'm a dolt. I see that stuff under Henson Family Showcase. —Scott (talk) 14:42, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree about Vintage Henson. I think that's a very attractive portal; people will definitely want to check it out. -- Danny (talk) 14:46, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure about People as a portal. Scott just turned the logos into links, which looks amazing, and I'd want to keep it that way. But the placeholder "People" image that's there right now accentuates how odd that is as a portal.
We want to direct new readers to the areas they're interested in, and help them make their first clicks. The other six that are on Portal:Main all feel very clickable to me -- I can imagine a new reader saying, "Cool, they've got stuff about Fraggle Rock; let me check that out." Ditto Creature Shop, Bear, Vintage Henson.
But I can't really picture a new reader saying, "Cool, they've got stuff about People on this wiki. Let's see what kind of people they've got."
I could see a reader getting excited about a Muppeteers portal, or even a Celebrities portal. That feels attractive to me. But "People" is too vague. -- Danny (talk) 15:03, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I half agree about People. I like the way that sub-portal is structured, but I think people would be more excited about clicking on it if the image were more attractive. —Scott (talk) 15:07, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I kinda like the people portal - it's interesting and people looking for information on puppeteers, directors, actors, guest stars can find it a helpful jumping off point - plus it showcases all the great work we do creating bios (which is a big chunk of the wiki's content). However a better logo would be important (one that has the neame in it) - maybe something with Jim Henson on it - I found the current image by doing a 2-second clip art search, so its not really great. Also I worked on fixing up the vintage portal, it still needs work but it's a start -- and it too needs a better logo, I just tossed something up there as a place holder. -- Brad D. (talk) 15:37, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's the thing -- nobody comes to the wiki looking for directors. They may enjoy reading about directors later on, and it's good that we have them -- but nobody comes to the wiki for the first time and says, "The thing I really want to know is, who directed Muppet Treasure Island?" The portals are supposed to help people find their first stop, and directors aren't anybody's first stop.
I think we're not quite on the same page about what the portals are for. You said: "It showcases all the great work we do creating bios (which is a big chunk of the wiki's content)."
To me, that's not a good reason to put something on a portal. The portals are about helping new readers to find the stuff they want to see first. We don't want to showcase something just because it's a big chunk of our content.
A lot of our content is detail-heavy and only of interest to the deep fans. That's great; that's what the wiki is about for us. But that's a problem for new readers -- they come to the wiki looking for Miss Piggy or Cookie Monster, and what they see is Sesamstrasse voice actors and Faffner Hall episodes. That stuff is fun for us, but it's just "clutter" for a new reader. The portal's job is to sweep that clutter away, so the new reader can focus on the core content.
I keep harping on new readers because I don't expect that long-time users are going to use the portal. We don't need it; that's why we've all been working on the wiki for two years and never made one. I think we should design the portal so that a reader only uses it the first three times they come to the wiki. After their third visit, they'll have a sense of the core content -- and from then on, they'll use the search box, or follow links.
So the portals don't have to cover everything -- in fact, it should do the opposite. The portals help new readers to discover our core content. -- Danny (talk) 16:06, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
A thought just came to me, what if we changed the people portal to "behind the scenes"? We would keep the sections with coverage of production people, performers and stars but also slightly expanded to not just cover the people but also a little more space for documentaries or books, production companies, puppetry stuff and whatnot? The existing page already lends itself to just some slight expansion to become that. I think that might be more interesting to people but would basically have the same kind of purpose and information "people" does. And I think readers would be coming here looking for stuff like that and a portal with it could help. -- Brad D. (talk) 15:54, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Ack, we just cross-posted. But my opinion about directors above also applies to production companies and puppetry stuff, only more so. That's not first-click material.
I just thought of this analogy -- There's three tiers of content on this wiki: Cookie Monster, Emmet Otter, and Farkas Faffner.
The "Cookie Monster" level is the stuff that everybody knows, even if they haven't thought about the Muppets in 20 years. Miss Piggy, Jim Henson, the two old guys in the balcony, Bein' Green, The Rainbow Connection, Super Grover. You can walk up to anybody on the street and say "Elmo's World", and they know what you're talking about. That's first-level content.
The "Emmet Otter" level is the stuff that people remember from when they were kids. It wouldn't come to their mind first thing, but if they think about it for a minute, they'll remember Marjory the Trash Heap, The Jim Henson Hour, the Fierys and Rudolf Nureyev dancing with a pig. If you walk up to people and say those names, they won't get it immediately, but if you say, "Dave Goelz played Gonzo" or "the Amazing Mumford was the guy who said 'A la peanut butter sandwiches'", then they'll know what you're talking about. That's second-level.
The "Farkas Faffner" level is everything else on the wiki. That's fan stuff. It's fun and interesting to us, but try asking a non-fan, "Remember Mordecai Sledge? He was from The Muppet Musicians of Bremen." There's no way that the average person would remember that character or even that special; you'd have to start back at Kermit and work from there. Third-level is Kami, James Frawley, Ed Christie and Puppyduck.
I think the portals should be aimed at the "Cookie Monster" and "Emmet Otter" levels. It's for stuff that either comes to mind immediately, or needs a little prodding. The "Farkas Faffner" level is great, but it doesn't belong on Portal:Main.
So documentaries, directors and anything that has the word "production" in it is third-level for me. -- Danny (talk) 16:24, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, personally I think people do come here for some of the people or production information - I know I reference wikipedia to find out who an actor is, or who directed something, or who that cameo was (and what else has they been in) more than anything else. And I can't tell you how many message board posts are started each year with lines like "I'm writing a report on Jim Henson..." or "what characters does Jerry Nelson Performer", or "who was that guest star (and what else did they ever do)", or "who performs Kermit now", or "who the heck is Brian Henson anyway". I think people coming here are as just as interested in reading about Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney or Bob McGrath as they are about looking into Muppets Tonight, Zoe, or Labyrinth. -- Brad D. (talk) 16:31, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with both points. Danny spells out the three tiers beautifully, and I think we should follow that with 95% of the portal. On the other hand, I agree with what Brad's getting at, but we need something more appealing as a first tier click. Behind-the-scenes may be it, but we might be able to do even better. It would be the last link in the portal and include the stuff about directors, documentaries, non-fiction books, etc. —Scott (talk) 16:44, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the tiers Danny layed out. But Jim Henson and Frank Oz are in that "Cookie Monster" level, and there are many other behind the scenes things are in the second "Emmet" level. I think some of that info is just as saught after by newcomers as info on Bear in the Big Blue House or vintage Henson items. Plus I don't think we should burry that kind of information when it is such a huge aspect of the wiki's overall content. And I think that calling it behind the scenes would be the most simple, accessable, understandable, encompassing and inviting title we could give it. -- Brad D. (talk) 17:08, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I've been offline for a few days, and I think this discussion is highlighting a general problem, the idea that the portals are a substitute for categories, which I don't think they are or should be. That's what the "People/Behind the Scenes" portal is, an in-depth hodgepodge. Brad, I suspect Danny would agree with the named examples you mentioned. But the thing is, right now the portal hardly mentions the names, outside of the Muppeteers list, which itself raises questions (why is Eric Jacobson included but not Joey Mazzarino or Stephanie D'Abruzzo; because of Grover? Where's David Rudman, etc.). And the rest, the actors and production crew etc., it seems odd to link to the over-arching categories, which were created to group related categories together, and then include a few subsets as if they're highlights, and the "Behind the Scenes" section below is also a hodgepodge. There's no unity (even the links are off; Animation links to Animated TV Shows, but then we get Animators, which mostly includes people who did Sesame Street inserts, and so on), and it seems like it's trying to be a category, including almost everything which doesn't fit with the specific shows, and so comes off as more disorienting than useful. If there has to be a People portal, it actually would work better to use articles as examples in more cases, mentioning Bob McGrath and Caroll Spinney and so on, instead of just "Producers" and "Animated Voice Actors," which if I hadn't been part of the Wiki, at first glance, might just confuse me (in contrast, I think Behind the Scenes does the opposite, with the whole "Puppetry Techniques" list instead of just maybe giving one example and letting readers find what's there for ourselves). Less would be more in this case. And don't forget, the show and film pages have production and cast lists (and if some don't, they should be added), which for the most part is how most browsers would find things like producers or composers interesting; oh, so and so worked on that movie, let's see what else they did, whereas a blank list of names like John T. Ross, Jason Lust, and Bob Young doesn't communicate much to the uninitiated (or even to some of us). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:38, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

How about this for a compromise: A "Muppeteers" portal. It's basically a gallery of pictures of the core Muppeteers performing a major character -- Henson with Kermit, Oz with Piggy, Nelson with Floyd or Gobo, Jacobson with Grover. Or whatever we can dig up. I agree with Brad -- people do come to the wiki looking for Henson, Oz, Nelson, Clash, and the other core Muppeteers.

The Muppeteers portal only includes people who perform first and second-tier characters -- yes to Fran Brill, no to Bob Stutt. (No offense to Mr. Stutt.) The pictures of performer/character help to visually identify who the person is, and what character they're best known for, so it's not just a list of names.

Below that, maybe a few major links -- The Muppet Workshop, something like that. But no designers or sound editors or anything. -- Danny (talk) 14:10, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Oh, and another possibility: A "Best of Muppet Wiki" portal, leading to either the Quality articles or a pretty page about the Quality articles. -- Danny (talk) 14:12, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh I like the Muppeteer idea - simple but useful. And putting pictures with it so you get that face/character-to-name relationship is a great idea.
A central hub for highlighting the quality articles could be cool (although personally I'd like to see the collection of QAs grow a bit more, especially in terms of 1st-tier content articles). Another portal idea I was playing around with was a portal for the wiki project -- kind of a beginners guide and help tool to introduce new editors (somewhat of an organized and prettied-up version of category:Muppet Wiki and the related resources) -- however it is still in need of work, probably from someone with better knowledge of all those recourses and the informational needs of new editors. However, I don’t know if this kind of page would be part of the main portal or just kind of a side page with the help content. -- Brad D. (talk) 17:59, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

In / On

I've been gone awhile, so I'm not sure if we ever agreed on how to use "on" and "in" to describe episodes, shows, and movies. Are we using "on" for episodes and shows (i.e. "This song was performed on episode 102" or "This guest star appeared on The Muppet Show") and "in" for movies (i.e. "Kermit married Piggy in The Muppets Take Manhattan")? The wiki is all over the place on this. -- Peter (talk) 16:12, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm not really sure. I'm fairly guilty of being inconsistent. But if we can come up with a good reason to use one or the other, it would be helpful. —Scott (talk) 17:32, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
That's a very good question. I agree with "in" for movies and "on" for shows, but I'm not sure about episodes. "Junior is shrunk down to Fraggle size in 'Ring Around the Rock'" sounds better than "Junior is shrunk down to Fraggle size on 'Ring Around the Rock'". -- Danny (talk) 17:54, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Danny; "in" for movies (and stage shows), "on" for tv shows, but "in" for the actual episode of the show. Danny's second sentence implies (to me) that there's a whole show called 'Ring Around the Rock'. -- Wendy (talk) 18:00, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
The standard rule, used by most media writers, and encouraged in writing classes, is pretty much as mentioned, "in" for a film or individual episode/sketch, "on" for a series. The exception would be when dealing with a broadcast date as opposed to an episode title or number. So, it would be "Telly Monster had a nervous breakdown in Episode 666," but "Gonzo made a special appearance on the November 12th broadcast of Who Wants to Juggle Cabbages" and so on. On is also used more often when used in a promotional sense: "On the next episode of so and so" (though that's not always consistent either) but we don't use that kind of sentence on the Wiki anyway. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:27, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Navigation buttons 2

I'm going to try a straw poll about the navigation buttons, to see how people are feeling about them. This isn't a vote, where the majority wins -- it's just a way of assessing how people are feeling about the question, so we know whether to keep going with the discussion or drop it.

The proposal is to put these navigation buttons on the main page, under the welcome box. The purpose is to give new readers some familiar-looking links at the top, which will help them to make that first click and start exploring the site. The "Today on Muppet Wiki" entries are really fun, and they show off the amazing depth of our content, but they're not necessarily newbie-friendly. (You can see a similar set of buttons on Flash Gordon Wiki and Jouryneyman Wiki.)

So the question for this straw poll is: Should we add this set of buttons to the main page? Your vote is non-binding, and for discussion purposes only.

(template removed)

Yes, add them to the page

  • Danny (talk) 10:31, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Ken (talk) 01:22, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Wendy (talk) 02:27, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Joe (talk) 16:53, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Scott (talk) 02:33, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, but with modifications

  • Peter (talk) 16:03, 30 October 2007 (UTC) - I like the buttons much better with the Initial Caps instead of ALL CAPS. But after clicking on the first three, I think they work better if they direct to the The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock main pages instead of the Category pages. Thoughts?

No, we don't need them

  • Henrik 11:19, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Brad D. 04:10, 29 October 2007 (UTC) - I think bringing back, and building, the portal concept that would encompass more of what the wiki has to offer would be better than just picking 6 limited and somewhat narrow categories.

Feel free to keep adding other comments and thoughts. -- Danny (talk) 10:31, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

So it seems like there's more sentiment towards having the buttons (or something like them) at the top of the page. Peter likes the buttons, but wants to direct them to the article pages, which I could get behind.
Henrik votes no, because (as he says below) it duplicates the links at the top of the page for people using the new Quartz skin.
On the "no" side, Brad suggests building up the portal concept, which is another good option. Brad, how would you see it fitting on the main page? The buttons that are on Portal:Main go all the way across the content area -- so if that's at the top of the main page, then it bumps into the picture. This is what the Portal looks like with our regular 250px picture, and without it:


So there's a couple different ways to handle that. We could take out the top picture, or shrink the Portal buttons, or make more rows of Portal buttons down the page.
Now, that's a whole other conversation, with different options to consider, so I'd like to make a proposal. I'd like to add the six buttons at the top of the page, and as Peter says, make the top three point to the article pages.
Then we can have a separate conversation about the portal concept. If we get a good portal design together and decide to swap that in for the buttons, then we can do that. Meanwhile, we'll have something up on the page to help people navigate around.
The buttons could turn out to be a temporary step on the way to a more thought-out portal system, or they could turn out to be permanent, if we like them and can't figure out a portal design that we like better.
Can I get some thoughts on this? If people are okay with that, then I'll put the buttons on the main page. -- Danny (talk) 18:11, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, to me, the buttons and the portal setup seem to be 2 ways of showing the same thing. You have a few broad choices, and then your choices lead to more choices, etc. So I'm torn about which to go with, but I'm for whatever makes the site easy to use. I like having all of the various logos up front, but I just like logos. So if they don't fit, I'm okay with the buttons, too.
Just as a side comment, I don't really like the idea of the shows going to the main page, because (for example), if I'm looking to see what CD a certain Sesame Street song is on, and I hit Sesame Street, and then I'm greeted with a long page about the history of the show, where do I go from there? Or am I misunderstanding what Peter was saying? -- Ken (talk) 03:07, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually I kinda like the buttons, they've grown on me, (so maybe I should have voted "yes, but with mods"). But I think using the buttons to link to a portal pages would be better than just sending newbies into a specific category. Something like Template:NavbuttonsPortal‎ is what I would prefer to see down the road. A portal allows for a better organization of the information and a better overal presentation. Plus I think many newcomers are just as interested in the Muppet films, or Muppets Tonight, or any of other stuff from the Muppet Show family of characters and just linking to The Muppet Show (or that category) doesn't really cover that. Portals can really show newbies the depth and breadth of the wiki in a way that a single category or article can't always do. However the portals are still in need of work - so using the buttons as they are now and then switching them to links to the portals later on would be okay with me. -- Brad D. (talk) 18:48, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
That's funny, because the more that you're working on the portals, the more those have grown on me. :) I agree that if we build up the portals, they'll be a better way of presenting the info. Linking from the main page to a category page really isn't ideal -- the category pages are cold-looking and not easy to grasp on first glance. So I'm happy to see the navigation buttons as a temporary step towards a full portal structure.
Obviously, there's lots to figure out about the portals -- lots of choices to make. I posted the navigation buttons on the main page, to give them a tryout. If we want to keep tweaking those, we can continue that discussion here. I'm also going to move the discussion from Talk:Portal:Main (sandbox) to a new thread here. -- Danny (talk) 10:07, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


Navigation buttons

(template removed)

Scott developed this cool navigation buttons template for some of the other wikis we're working on, like Reaper and Journeyman. On those wikis, the buttons are on the main page, and help to direct readers to where they want to go.

We've always had a problem with that on this wiki. "Today on Muppet Wiki" is awesome -- but as the entry into content for new readers, it's a little intense. It would be nice to offer people an entry into the basic stuff before they get into the birthday cards and Plaza Sesamo voice actors. So what do you guys think about adapting this idea for our front page?

For this example, I posted four possible buttons that we could use, but there's lots of ways we could go with this. For most screens, three buttons will fit on one line. I think the most we should use is six buttons on two lines, so we'll need to be strategic about our choices.

What do you guys think? -- Danny (talk) 19:06, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that works. It excludes the Creature Shop stuff, though, but maybe we can find another way. Really, while a lot of people probably look for songs, I'd be inclined to substitute the general TV Shows category. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 19:19, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
I like the button idea, but I was wondering if this would this replace the portal idea that people were talking about a while ago. Whatever happened to that? -- Ken (talk) 02:51, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I think some of those are too specialized (like Muppet Songs for "songs"; Fraggle & Sesame had lots of songs too). I would take out Songs and Merchandise and probably Characters also; I just don't feel like those should be starting points. I like Andrew's idea of linking to the TV Shows category, and then maybe put in a Creature Shop button to get that stuff, an possibly a International for the sixth.
Ken, I think the portal never got finished as we all get distracted by other stuff. -- Wendy (talk) 03:24, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, I noticed that Merchandise went to all the merchandise, grouped by show, so maybe the Songs and Characters can go to a list of all the shows, and then people can go from there. Other than that, I can't think of what else to add. I guess if people know a character's name, but not what show it was from, they can still use the Search box. -- Ken (talk) 04:09, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I've been absent from this conversation; it's been a busy and distracting week. You're right about linking to the more general songs category -- that makes sense.
I like linking to Muppet Characters, because I think when people come to the site, that's often what they're looking for. It includes Muppets from all of the shows, and it's a very enjoyable list to browse through. I think that's the kind of fun that readers are expecting when they get to the site.
Here's another possibility... What do you guys think?

(template removed)

The benefit of this version is that it links to the Quality articles category, which means it can present a more general cross-section of our content -- including songs, merchandise, Creature Shop stuff, etc. -- Danny (talk) 12:17, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Another question is: Should the "Muppet Show" button go to The Muppet Show, or the Muppet Show category? Which one would readers expect to see? -- Danny (talk) 12:20, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd say The Muppet Show article, since with the category re-organization, it links directly to the main category at the bottom. I like the Quality Articles idea, but as of now, there's no way of finding any Creature Shop related stuff at all from there (though at least one each of songs and merchandise are represented). While I'm not necessarily angling for a Creature Shop button, I still think a link to TV Shows is useful as an entry portal, considering how many shows fall outside of the three main ones on the banner, and through cross-categorizing and internal links, from there, it's easier to get to everything else (Creature Shop, Bear in the Big Blue House, Muppet Babies, etc.) -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:37, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we really need navigation buttons. We've got our most popular categories linked on the front page and a whole section for Quality Articles. —Scott (talk) 20:54, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
Wow, with all this discussion, I'd forgotten that was there (I don't scroll down past the "Today on Muppet Wiki" very often). So that's a good point, but likewise, maybe we could try to make that current list a little more visible; if I forgot it was even there, I wonder how many casual visitors overlook it. As important as Quality Articles is, maybe we could switch the two sections? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 21:12, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
That's a good idea. —Scott (talk) 21:28, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

I think navigation buttons are very important. We do have the categories listed on the front page, but that's not what people see when they first come to the wiki. They need to be "above the fold".

I love Today on Muppet Wiki, and I think it's a fantastic way to demonstrate the richness and freshness of our content -- but it's got to be disconcerting for new readers to show up and see all those unfamiliar names right at the top. I consider the nav buttons to be something that we've needed for a long time. Scott, if you don't think we need it, would you actually object to having them?

I would be okay with adding a TV Shows button. The problem is that I'm not sure a button that just says "Quality" will be comprehensible to readers... I'd like to highlight those, but I'm not sure how to shorten that button.

And if there's no Creature Shop stuff in the Quality section right now, then we ought to start nominating some! :) -- Danny (talk) 16:00, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

If we do TV Shows, Movies, Songs, Characters, Merchandise, and Best of, I think that should cover everything. Then, the stuff could split off from there. Otherwise, if we try to categorize it by show name, some of the lesser-known shows will get left off. Do we have to stop at 6 buttons? Or, if we find that we can't narrow it down to 6, could we put the category list across the top, instead of farther down? -- Ken (talk) 02:13, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
It's okay for some things to be left off. The point of the buttons is to greet new users, and help them find content that they'll find interesting right away.
The question we need to ask is: What would a brand-new reader expect to see on Muppet Wiki?
To put myself in that place, I can imagine a franchise that I have vaguely fond feelings for, but not a real expertise in -- let's say, Looney Tunes. If I went to the Looney Tunes wiki and wanted to poke around a little, what would I want to see?
For me, I'd probably want to look for Daffy Duck, my favorite character, and see what they say about him. I'd be interested to see a list of all the cartoons they have on the wiki. I'd want to see something special and impressive, like pages with lots of images, or something funny. Once I've seen those three things, then I'd feel comfortable finding my way around on the wiki, because I'd have a sense of the kind of thing that's there.
So the buttons aren't a way to give a broad overview of the wiki's architecture -- they're there to give a little taste of what we have, so people feel comfortable exploring. Now that I think about it that way, I like the idea of the top row linking to pages, and the bottom row linking to categories. That gives both the taste of content, and a sense of the breath of the wiki. -- Danny (talk) 03:20, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
I like the idea of the buttons, but I don't like the buttons themselves. They seems stylistically out of sorts with the main page. That said, I think that if we do add buttons, it should be for Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Characters, TV Shows, and Best Of. I don't think Songs and Merchandise should be as prominent. -- Peter (talk) 03:45, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

(template removed)

I made a new version. The TV Shows category actually isn't that friendly of a click, because it doesn't lead to a list of Henson TV shows... it leads to more categories, so you have to click "TV Shows", then "Creature Shop TV Shows", etc. There's some ugly stuff on there too that would be confusing to new readers, like "Programming Blocks", "International Programming Blocks", "Unfinished TV Shows"... It's not first-click material.

So I directed the "TV Shows" button to the Episode Guides category, which is more newbie-friendly and gives people a nice list of all the major TV shows.

Peter, we can work on making the buttons look different... Is there anything specific that you'd suggest that would make them fit in better? What is it that's out of place -- the color, the shape, the text? -- Danny (talk) 04:00, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

I like that last set of 6 much better. I think what I find out of place on the buttons is using all caps; it's aggressive, and not something we have anywhere else. -- Wendy (talk) 18:28, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

(template removed)

Oh, that makes sense! How about this one? -- Danny (talk) 19:21, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't think the buttons are needed at all. If people use the new skin, you have the 3 most important categories on the top Characters, TV Shows and Quality articles. And finally I don't really think they fit into the layout of the front page. Is it possible for you to add more categories on the top of the new skin design? I think that solution would be better than the buttons. Henrik 20:37, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

No, we can only have eight links up at the top. (For folks who don't know what we're talking about, go to your preferences, and choose one of the Quartz skins.) I'm glad to have those now, although I'd still like to have prominent links to TMS, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock on the main page.
It does seem like I might be the only person who's jazzed up about this idea, though. Is the general feeling that people would rather not bother? -- Danny (talk) 21:23, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, I like the buttons, too. While some of the stuff on the top may duplicate the buttons, as well as some of the stuff on the side, I like the idea of helping people who have never been to a wiki before, and giving them someplace easy to start from. So I think the buttons are a good idea. -- Ken (talk) 04:00, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Main page design

Sorry if this is off-topic, but now that I'm looking at everything on the front page, I'm noticing that there's kind of a big white space under the attention box, next to Kermit and the Category list. Could we maybe move Kermit back to the center, or expand the Category list so it goes all the way across? To me, it just looks weird having a hole there, like we can't think of enough stuff to put there. -- Ken (talk) 22:30, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Mainpagebottom.brad

How the bottom looks for me

Well that amount of white space will change depending on the height of the main page picture (and the length of the "Today on Muppet Wikis"). However for me (I have a widescreen monitor) everything lines up perfectly at the bottom, so adding anything more to the right will just make it unbalanced on the left (for me). So I don't know if we'll ever be able to make both sides balanced for everyone as the screen size, resolution settings, individual browsers, font size, personal wikia skin selection and other factors will all affect how the two columns will balance out for each user. -- Brad D. (talk) 20:32, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Oh, okay. I just brought it up because some people were having trouble with the left side showing extra white space on some pages, although I didn't have that problem. So I thought if my right side of the main page had a big space, it might be showing up for other people, too. But if it's different for everybody, then never mind. -- Ken (talk) 02:13, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Calling all obsolete formats!

I'm putting this here so everybody can see it. I'm currently in the process of expanding the pages on Muppet video releases (Videographies) to include every known release and cover variation. So if you have Muppet titles on VHS, Beta, laserdisc, or CED, check out the video pages to make sure we're as complete as possible. Take a look at what was available in the days before DVD! -- Ken (talk) 07:04, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

That's really cool, Ken -- a great project! -- Danny (talk) 18:39, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Danny! I wrote this late last night, and reading it again, I wanted to make my original post a little clearer. I meant to say check out our video pages, and if you have anything that we're missing, from cover pictures to catalog numbers, please help! I'm scouring a bunch of sources, but sometimes it's hard to get information on stuff that's been out of print for up to 25 years! -- Ken (talk) 02:51, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

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