Muppet Wiki

Muppet Wiki:Current Events Archive 25 (March-April 2008)

Talk0
27,099pages on
this wiki

Archive of Current events.

Edit in the sidebar

Editthispage

Hi folks -- John from Wikia asked if we'd be willing to try an experiment here, to see if we can increase the number of edits by including an "Edit this page" link in the sidebar. They added some new code that we can put in the sidebar that allows people to click on "Edit this page" and go directly to the edit screen. We're hoping that it helps to promote the idea that every page is editable.

I tried it out for a minute so I could take a screenshot, and I've posted it here... What do you guys think? Is it worth trying out? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 00:32, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

I think that's a good idea. -- Ken (talk) 02:01, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
Ohh! I love it! Webkinz Mania 02:04, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't quite see the usefulness of it. Considering that it is directly next to the little pencil link that says "edit this page". It just seems repetitive. But that's just my two cents. -- Nate (talk) 17:21, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

We're experimenting with different ways to encourage editing... It's possible that people don't see the "edit this page" button on the top bar. So this is just a test, to see if people click on it when it's in the sidebar. We can track where people are clicking, so if we see people clicking on it in the sidebar, then that gives us more information. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 17:49, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Skin colors

We've been playing around with skin colors on some of the summer movie wikis like Marvel Movies and Speed Racer, so I thought I'd see how it looked if we changed stuff a little here. I changed the headers to a dark green -- not really a Kermit green, but it's a nice color. What do you guys think? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 21:08, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

That sounds great! Webkinz Mania 21:18, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't like it. Can we make it less dark and scary? —Scott (talk) 04:12, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I like it a lot. But I agree with Scott, it could stand to be a touch lighter. Do you have access to any HTML color, or just a small sampling? — Joe (talk) 18:33, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Gah, sorry -- I missed this discussion. We can use any color... I've been using this Color Codes page to choose colors. Scott made it a lighter green, but I think that the lighter colors makes the white text look kinda washed out. But I'm open to anything. I was just bored with the basic Sapphire blue. What do folks think? Are there other colors we could try? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 16:21, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I tried out a lighter green, and also put some borders on. The Wikia logo is still the old color, cause I'd need to ask Scott or Christian to make that in the new color, so it's easy to compare the darker green and the lighter green. What do you think? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 17:21, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I like the lighter green. —Scott (talk) 02:29, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Talk page text

I changed the MediaWiki:Talkpagetext message today, and Scott reminded me to open a discussion here about it.

I think the original box didn't suit anyone very well. For regular users, it's really big and a pain to scroll past every time. For new people, it's an intimidating block of text that I'm not sure they would necessarily read. So my idea is to cut it down to the three basic points, and present those in as brief a form as possible. What do folks think? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 16:36, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I think that's a good idea. -- Ken (talk) 02:01, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Direct to Video/DVD

moved from user talk:scarecroe

I wanted to know something. On the Sesame Street Videos/DVDs would it any big deal to start doing what i've seen on here with the Muppet Videos is where we show the content on of the whole video or DVD that's come out. As in show pics of all the skits or storyline of the video or DVD? That is only on the Direct to ones. -- Kyle (talk) 11:35, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi Kyle. I don't see why not. We do it for stuff like Rowlf's Rhapsodies with the Muppets, so we may as well do it for Sesame Street videos, too. —Scott (talk) 04:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I've had mixed views on this for awhile. In a lot of cases, it strikes me as redundant, especially for pages like It's the Muppets where there's no new material and the chart tries to track things like Statler and Waldorf bits and so on. It might merit a Current Events discussion, but I'd say it entirely depends on which DVDs you have in mind. I'd hesitate to use a chart for either a) those which are almost entirely clips, and where bridging footage is minimal and can be summed up in one sentence and b) those where it's almost all new material. The rest would probably be okay, but I think it tends to make for top-heavy pages if it's there just to show off images, when there's little that's new *or* when the material's readily available (out of print VHS, for example, would be worth doing). Doing a moment by moment screen grab of What's the Name of That Song?, for example, would strike me as excessive and not too far afield from our concerns over transcribing commercial material. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:56, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
And looking at Rowlf's Rhapsodies with the Muppets just now, that chart also seems excessive, since it just has one generic image for the new footage, and then a gallery for songs which all have their own pages. That format for that kind of video could work, but it should include the bridging material, which is harder to find, and not just the songs. I have that tape, so I'll put that on my mental to do list. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:00, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
So your saying that we should only do it for out of print videos or for others too? -- Kyle (talk) 06:18, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
If it has to be done at all, it makes more sense for out of print videos. In general, I'd say a detailed sketch list and a well written synopsis of the linking material would trump a gallery, unless the video includes sketches which are rare and not documented elsewhere on the Wiki or linking material which benefits from the visual format of the chart, which again is more likely with the out of print titles, or the foreign stuff. Something like Learning About Letters wouldn't be noticeably improved by a gallery chart, in my opinion, since all the clips are well documented and described elsewhere and the linking material is brief and summed up easily in a few sentences. But something like Big Bird's Favorite Party Games, which is pretty vague right now and not easily accessible, could conceivably benefit from the chart. That's my thought, anyway. I'm hoping others will weigh in. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:29, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I want to say that I agree with Andrew and that any sketches contained on these videos are well documented elsewhere, but on the other hand, we don't use that logic for Sesame Street episodes. How many times over has the description for Martian Beauty been copied over with an EKA that has to be updated whenever we find an eariler date? I'm not crazy about duplicating ourselves all over the wiki, but since we're already doing it with SS episodes, I don't see why we shouldn't for home videos.
Also, I think it's a good idea to start with the older, more rare stuff that hasn't been issued on DVD and then work our way up. —Scott (talk) 23:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I think the Sesame Street *episodes* are a different animal, and I don't see why that format should be used on videos for the sake of using it, any more than it should be used on The Muppet Show episodes, as we discussed prior and generally were against. With Sesame episode guides, even with the repeitition, it's useful as a means of documenting episodes in full, since that's how they were broadcast and even the repetition helps to track how often sketches were used, and we also know most users won't look through every single Sesame episode, so it's good to have the full info. I don't see how you could make any similar argument about Learning About Letters or more recent things like What's the Name of That Song? So really, I'd oppose "working our way up" if it means a full table for commercial DVDs for no reason except to have a full table and because episodes have it. With the out of print stuff, I think you have a stronger case, but I'd just as soon stay away from the in print stuff entirely. A lot of those DVD pages are sad right now, but they'd be better improved with synopses and content info than a long image chart. We've touched on this before, but I think it's a slppery slope if we decide "since the Sesame page episodes use it, *every* page should be in that format." Instead, it makes sense to consider whether the format would provide information which isn't otherwise available, which can't easily be bought or rented, and which in general is interesting. The earlier Muppet Show videos with that format just slipped through the cracks, and should be exceptions, and frankly, could be improved (I don't think screengrabbing every Statler and Waldorf bit is helpful, or noting which episodes the closing theme footage graced, and so on). On the whole, this strikes me as something that should be decided on a case by case basis, depending on which videos/DVDs Kyle had in mind, and not as a blanket rule. Kyle, can you give us some examples? That may help. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 00:13, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Here's what i would give as en examples. Elmo's Sing-Along Guessing Game. That's one that might would be a good one to do. Or maybe The Best of Ernie and Bert, The Best of Kermit on Sesame Street or Big Bird Sings (video)? But i would still conciter some of the older videos that haven't been put on DVDs too. But there are a few. Hope this helps. -- Kyle (talk) 10:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm glad you're interested in working on these pages, Kyle, but the Sing Along Guessing Game DVD is widely available, we already have the list of sketches and a note on the linking material (which could be elaborated upon slightly, but there's not much to say on teh whole), and I've seen it, and I honestly can't see why it needs a chart, and think you may have a hard time finding much to say to accompany the images for the bridging scenes. Is there anything particularly notable about it? I don't mean to sound too discouraging, by the way. If you have the Best of Kermit video, that might work as a chart, but in general, like I said, I think it should be based on whether an image chart would make the page more interesting and informative, or just add space. Some video pages which are vague or dull could possibly be made more interesting (or at least more coherent) with the chart, but others I suspect would just be dull pages with images. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:02, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't see these as any different from episode pages. The Sesame episode guide format is one of our strangest and most beautiful achievements -- Scott and I saw Jimmy Wales using a screenshot from one of our Sesame episode pages in a presentation as an example of how amazing wiki content can be. Lots of my favorite pages are in that table format -- Sesame Street News Flash, Super Grover... They're very readable, and very informative.
An article about an old DVD release is never going to be a Great Moment in Muppet Journalism, but I'd rather have a dull page with images than a dull page without images. If Kyle wants to do the work, then why discourage him? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 04:59, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not trying to discourage Kyle personally, but I don't like the idea that any and all pages should be in image-heavy table mode just because the Sesame episodes do it (and It's the Muppets: Meet the Muppets, with image blanks waiting for someone to screengrab the opening and Kermit's introduction and Statler and Waldorf bits, strikes me as just that). Can we at least not do it on things like Kids' Favorite Country Songs, as well as any narrative only releases (Peter and the Wolf, etc.) It strikes me as unnecessary and not at all dissimilar to our ban on transcriptions since it infringes on stuff which is readily and reasonably affordably available (thus why I initially said I wanted to avoid it for stuff that's in print). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:06, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Looking at it again, I guess Elmo's Sing-Along Guessing Game could be improved by images (at least it would be more Elmo-ish, which is never a bad thing on this Wiki). I still don't think it needs to be done for Learning About Letters and similar tapes which are just a bunch of clips with dull filler, but I'll let it go if the majority is in favor of it (it still feels like it's stepping on toes as far as DVD sales go, since why bother to buy it if every single scene is screengrabbed on the Wiki). Anyone else care to weigh in? -- 05:13, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we shouldn't be screencapping narrative videos -- it's essentially a transcript. But anything that's in sketch format is very screencappable. In fact, it's difficult to represent a sketch-format video in an appealing way without using that kind of table. It just becomes a list of bullet points.
I don't think the quality of the filler segments makes a difference, for our purposes. We're not using the table to make a judgement about whether the tape is worth buying or not; we're just representing what's on it.
And I don't think Sesame has to worry about the impact of our screencaps on their video sales, unless we really take a lot of screencaps, and people look at them in succession very very quickly. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 05:22, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough, I suppose; the reason I mentioned the quality (or more specifically, the length and complexity, which isn't necessarily the same thing) is because if it can be summed up in a sentence, "cast members say the alphabet in between clips," I'm not sure a dozen screengrabs makes it any more interesting or informative, it just means a page that takes longer to load, but apparently that's just me. I still think we should discuss boundaries. Let's Make Music is a pretty sad page right now, but in fact this is the reverse of my earlier comment, a case where it's mostly new material and three or four clips, such as a Pinball Number Count (not currently listed, since the page just has the DVD chapter headings). It's mainly a narrative video built around the cast of Stomp, and it's a case where it could be made a better page with a detailed synopsis and a couple of choice screengrabs or so more than a full chart. Does that make sense? Otherwise, I give in on all the other titles mentioned. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:35, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, there are some videos that are kind of a hybrid. It's hard to say whether A Celebration of Me, Grover is a narrative interspersed with clips, or a clip show that has a particularly elaborate framing sequence. I think we can play those as they come up.

For the dull-filler videos, I think Rowlf's Rhapsodies with the Muppets is a good model. There's a couple pics at the top illustrating the framing sequence, and then it's on to the clips. I agree that we don't need a dozen pictures of Gina reading to Ernestine for The Best of Ernie and Bert -- just one or two would do. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 05:58, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

That was one of my biggest concerns, yeah, and why I thought that kind of thing would come close to transcription without really helping the articles. With that, and with an understanding that the grey area titles should be addressed individually when the time comes, the case is solv-ed as far as I'm concerned. Kyle can get cracking whenever the muse strikes him (not too hard, I hope; my own head's still aching). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 06:30, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Somebody used Learning About Letters as an example of dull linking material. I think that video has some of the best linking material among the early video releases. Many of the earliest videos have only a handful of characters in the linking material, and seem to take place in pretty much one street location, but Learnign About Letters has scenes at almost every location (except the inside of Hooper's Store), and has a great variety of characters in the linking footage (though Luis is the only human present, as was common in many early video releases). But I don't know if we need several images of Count von Count at the studio for Count it Higher: Great Music Videos from Sesame Street', or several images of Maria reading to Big Bird and Snuffy in Big Bird's Story Time. --Minor muppetz 18:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Michael, the thing is every section in the chart format also needs a text description. If they have different locations and characters, but there's not much to say about them except "So and so talks about the letters I and J," "So and so recites t through v" and so on, it doesn't help. That's my biggest concern, whether the text would just be repetitious when it could all be summed up in one or two sentences without losing anything, as much as whether the visuals are interesting. Besides, with the summary at the top, the most striking visual aspects can be preserved (in the case of the Letters title, Buster asa zebra, for example). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 18:51, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if one of us should start a sandbox page for this chart. Maybe pick a video, make the chart, and see how that evolves. --Minor muppetz 18:56, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we need a sandbox for it... Just make the page. If folks want to tweak it, that's cool. We've got plenty of pages using the general table format. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 19:05, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I've tried the format for two different videos, Count it Higher: Great Music Videos from Sesame Street (with just images from the sketches and one linking scene) and The Best of Kermit on Sesame Street (with a scene-by-scene break-up for the video, though I don't know how to make still images). Check these out, and if you all think having images and descriptiosn for every sketch doesn't work (at least not for The Best of Kermit) then we can just have images for the sketches. --Minor muppetz 23:02, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if we should try to make a list of which videos should have episode guide charts and which shouldn't, as well as which should just have images from the inserts and one or two images from linking footage, and which should have images from every little scene. I agree that videos that don't include any inserts shouldn't have these charts, but should we make certain limits for videos that have a small handful of segments (A New Baby in My House only has three inserts, Sing-Along has only five, Big Bird's Favorite Party Games only has three or four)? --Minor muppetz 02:48, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Nice work, Michael. I did some clean-up on the Kermit entry, but right off the bat, one problem is video covers, and this will be a bigger issue on titles which have been re-issued. Unlike the episodes, where the front image is a squat title card *and* there's a template, the cover pushed the table down to a great extent, and while the front part could be expanded, the scene by scene breakdown reduces the need for it. I'm sure there's a way around it, but it is an issue. Count it Higher: Great Music Videos from Sesame Street in particular looks terrible right now, and reinforces my initial feeling that the chart just isn't necessary. I'd feel differently if the cover problem is solved, and if you could add text to summarize the linking footage apart from the one sentence already there at the top (as I said earlier, for the chart format to work, each image also needs text). Secondly, Michael, do you have software to transfer a video to DVD or know anyone who can do it? (Screengrabs can easily by taken from DVDs). If not, I think Scott has the Kermit video and might add it to his to do list if asked, but in general, I think it may be wise *not* to convert any out of print videos to the image table format unless there's a means of obtaining the images; instead, offer a detailed summary, and when someone with the video and the tech feels like adding images, they can do so and use your text. That's my thought, anyway (titles on DVD are different, since the No Image placeholder can be replaced by almost anyone with the DVD, which widens the field and makes it something which either one of the core contributors or even the average Muppet fan with a DVD drive can do). And as for a list, see Danny's earlier comment; we'll address those issues as they occur. If there's any uncertainty, ask before you reformat the page. I have A New Baby in My House, and it's basically a narrative briefly interrupted with inserts, though it's also out of print. I'm not especially eager to do a scene by scene breakdown/screengrab binge of it, though, and I'm still not convinced will improve that particular page because of the type of video it is, but I can take a stab if enough people desire it. Sing-Along, which is only a half-hour, isn't especially narrative drive, it just combines the five song inserts with new song footage, so that would work (and also be easier to summarize). I'm not even clear from the current page what exactly is on Big Bird's Favorite Party Games (this is a case where a summary *or* a chart would be an improvement). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:59, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Can I suggest something? How about if all later covers go after the chart? That's what Wendy and I decided to do for things like The Muppet Alphabet Album that have been out a bunch of different times by different companies. That way you just get the first cover and the info box right at the top. I'm not sure if that will help the other issues, but at least it will get stuff out of the way. And I think I have that Big Bird tape, so I can write it up when I get a chance to watch it. -- Ken (talk) 03:36, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I just remembered that i have two out of print tapes. Sesame Street Visits the Firehouse and Sesame Street Visits the Hospital. Would these two be a good thing for a chart with pics? And does this mean i need to let you know what videos or DVDs that might be doing this on or what? I would like to know so far which videos would be good for this kinda of thing? Thanks to everyone for jumping on this and talking about it. -- Kyle (talk) 11:42, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, those are out of print, but they're also pure narrative and not really like an ordinary Sesame episode. I have Sesame Street Visits the Firehouse myself and added the info which is there, if need be, I can expand a bit more (mostly a song and the safety message at the end). I think at this point, Kyle, the big issue isn't necessarily what's in print so much as the kind of video, and I stand by my initial point, that it should depend on whether the chart helps the page (which with the narrative videos, I'd say no; a small representative gallery could be useful, though, and better serve the purpose than scene by scene screengrabbing). A few more titles would help, Kyle, but since we're already actively experimenting, if you want to go ahead on the other titles you mentioned earlier (Elmo's Sing-Along Guessing Game, etc.), the results might help us figure out how to tweak things. The gallery on Count It Higher helps a good deal but the initial image is still long and that's the rule for most videos. We could use a title card as we have on other pages, which takes up less space, but that would mean either relegating *all* covers to a gallery either right below or buried way beneath the chart. Brad added one line of text but it says the same thing as the leader, that the Count presents music videos. Is that all that can be said about it? (If so, I feel like it confirms my initial concerns). If it had pictures, ,clarification (there's references to "a girl": two girls are credited, does Grover ever address them by name?), and the writing spiced up, Best of Kermit would be a better example of how this format could improve pages. As it stands, it still shows potential. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:12, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm having trouble understanding why Count it Higher is a problem. We have a couple of pictures of the Count, and then we have a picture from each song. Like Danny said earlier, we're just showing what's on it. I happen to like that tape, and I like that page. If there's a concern because the cover picture is too long, is there a way we can make it smaller? I don't mean to come across as argumentative, but I thought this is the way that we would handle any video that has a bunch of clips on it. -- Ken (talk) 05:36, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't think there's any problem with Count It Higher now. Andrew's concern was about the cover images interfering with the table. Brad fixed that very elegantly, by adding some more text and then creating a gallery of cover variants. It looks fantastic now.

Andrew, I think it's okay for you to relax a bit about these pages. I agree that we don't want crummy pages lousing up the joint, but I don't think there's any reason at this point to think that these pages will be a problem. When minor problems come up, as with the formatting on Count It Higher, people will pitch in to resolve them.

If the text is a little thin right now, or there are some "Image needed" placeholders, that's okay -- there are plenty of pages on the wiki that are clearly unfinished. For example, look at the almost uniformly crummy pages on Muppet Babies songs. It's a wiki; stuff can be unfinished, as long as it's not clearly stupid.

I say this with love: I think you're becoming overly worried about these pages, which are harmless at worst. You can relax on these. I promise that other people will watch over them and make sure that they live up to Muppet Wiki standards. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 06:17, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Fine. I'll let it go and won't say another word. But if there's nothing to say about a video beyond the obvious one sentence, at the least I'd encourage merging the leader text entirely into the blank space in the charts. And may I at least say I hope this doesn't encourage "Hey, let's do this for Fraggle Rock!" discussions and so on. And Danny, I think you should look at the earlier comments about the narative videos and make a definite statement one way or another. I don't like looking like the bad guy (and my concern about "No Images" is for out of print VHS which aren't available and which the person creating the placeholder can't personally fill). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 06:26, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Andrew, the reason why I'm suggesting that you relax a little is because you've already won. It's like you're stirred up for a fight, and everyone is agreeing with you. You're absolutely right about the leader text. As that comes up on particular articles, someone will take care of it. It could be you, or it could be someone else.
I've already made a definitive statement about the narrative videos, which you can see above: "We shouldn't be screencapping narrative videos." Nobody is suggesting doing this for Fraggle Rock, or for the movies. It's only being discussed for clip shows, where it's appropriate.
So you're not the bad guy at all. I just think if you take a step back, you'll see that everyone is agreeing with you, and everything is fine. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 06:31, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I just added a chart to The Alphabet Game, this time adding more opening text describing the majority of video plot (and making the video cover image a bit smaller), and then adding a chart for all of the inserts. One thing that might be good about making charts is that somebody might looka t a page, see what skits are included, and see an image of a skit that person wanted to see again, leading to a sale (if that person can find a copy of the video), something that might not happen if that person just saw the old sketch listings and didn't click on any bluelinks or eka links. And as for references to grover talking to "a girl" in The Best of Kermit on Sesame Street, no, he doens't refer to her or the boy by name (they are only listed by name in the credits). --Minor muppetz 14:07, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I think The Alphabet Game looks great. The synopsis is very helpful -- I've never seen the video, and it's not likely that I ever will, so it's nice to have a detailed summary of the story. Since the table only talks about the segments, it's informative, without being repetitive like Andrew was concerned about. This works for me. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 14:24, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that's absolutely perfect, without any of the problems. This would make a good model. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 17:56, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I've recently made charts for The Best of Ernie and Bert and Sing-Along Earth Songs (which I think a full scene-by-scene chart might be useful for). Some of these took a long time to make images for, and some a short time. I'm surprised by how long it took me to make a chart for The Best of Ernie and Bert (and I didn't even include charts for every scene, and all of the images come from other places on the wiki). But regarding the top spacing issue, if we can't fill that section with enough opening text, maybe we can include the video credits at the top of the page, as opposed to the bottom. --Minor muppetz 21:57, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
That is what i was talking about all along. I like how everyone of these videos are presented on their pages. You all read my mind. Thanks for reading my mind. Can't wait to start working on these videos/DVDs. -- Kyle (talk) 10:52, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Sidebar menus

Hi folks -- In our discussion about Google ranking and links last week, we decided to take out the flyout menus from the sidebar. This weekend, I looked at the statistics for what gets clicked on, and I found that we were wrong -- the flyout menus are helpful. I have a lot of details on this, but the basic conclusions are:

  • Logged-in users never use the sidebar; we have other ways of getting around the site.
  • Anonymous readers (which is 90%+ of our traffic) use the flyout menus a lot -- and the menus really help to bring new readers deeper into the content on the site. In the week without the menus, the sidebar didn't get clicked on as much, and anonymous readers were more likely to leave the site -- our "exit rate" went up significantly.
  • Our pageviews went down during the week with no flyouts. The number of unique visitors actually went up last week, but the visitors didn't stick around to explore the site.
  • During the week with no flyouts, anonymous readers used the search box to find the same kind of items that were in the menus -- Muppet Show characters, Sesame Street characters, and episode guides.
  • There were relatively few clicks and searches on the Fraggle Rock items.
  • The one area that benefited from no flyouts was the "Community" flyout. Very few people clicked on the items in the Community menu -- even logged-in users. When Current events and Active talk pages were split out as separate sidebar items, the click rate increased a lot, for both anonymous and logged-in. The other two items in the Community menu (Things you can do and User statistics) got almost no clicks.

So I'm putting the flyouts back up. I've also tweaked them a bit, to take advantage of what I've seen with the click-through rate and the searches. I've taken out some items that didn't get a lot of clicks (Super Grover, Oscar, Pigs in Space), and added some that get a lot of searches (Animal, Beaker, the Swedish Chef, the Count). Also, instead of a "More" option that leads to the general TMS category, I split that into "More characters" and "Muppet Show episodes". Ditto for Sesame.

I took out the Fraggle menu, and added an Episode Guides menu, to see if we can capitalize on people's appetite for those. I'm leaving the Current events and Active talk pages links as separate items.

As we go on, I'll keep checking on the click stats, and see if I can keep tweaking the sidebar. For example, if it turns out that the Episode Guides menu gets no clicks, we can take it out.

In other news, the tech guys are working on fixing the problem with the flyouts sticking open... I'm not sure when that'll be fixed, but it's definitely being looked at. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 20:16, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Speedy pages

Wikia released some new code today that switches around how pages load -- now, ads load last, after everything else. Ads are the slowest part of the process, so that was holding up everything else.

The page load still takes the same amount of time as it always did... but the page content comes up a lot earlier, which makes it feel like the page is loading much faster. If you've been on the site much today, I'm sure you've noticed the difference. It's like a dream.

So: Yay! This is a really wonderful, huge step forward for Muppet Wiki and for all of Wikia. I think it'll help to attract new readers and new contributors, because people won't be turned away by pages that take forever to load. Obviously, we'll still have database glitches and whatnot that will slow the site down, but our baseline is much better than before.

So I hope everybody is as happy as I am to see the pages popping up like magic. If you're enjoying it, please say a little prayer for the fine people in Ops. Wikia did good today. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 05:34, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Spoilers

Maybe this has been discussed before, but what is our policy on spoilers? For example, Michael just made a useful edit to the page on Henchy Fraggle, but I wish I hadn't read it because it gave away the ending to a Fraggle Rock episode I haven't seen yet. Are we worried about spoilers on, as Danny once said, twenty-year-old puppet shows? (I'm okay with the answer being no. I just think we should have a stance on the issue, if we don't already.) --GrantHarding 03:50, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I think the answer is probably no, since we already have pages where we detail the plots of movies. My feeling is that if people don't want to spoil a movie or TV show they haven't seen yet, they shouldn't go to that page. That's what I'm doing with Muppet Show episodes, since I haven't seen them since 1981, and I'm reading the pages after I watch them on DVD. That also helps me to make corrections after I watch the episode. -- Ken (talk) 03:58, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I ran into this at Talk:Miscellaneous_Cameos#Jerry_Juhl a while back. I haven't seen the last episode of Fraggle Rock, and didn't expect the details would be discussed on such a talk page. So while I'd agree that people wishing not to be spoiled shouldn't go to those pages, there's no telling where else we have to be careful. I don't want to have SPOILER warnings all over the wiki, but I think it's a valid discussion. —Scott (talk) 04:38, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Usually, spoilers aren't bothered with. We do encourage people not to spell out jokes unnecessarily, if it's not needed or useful to the page, and not all episode details need to be on every character's page, but in general, it's just the way things work on the Wiki. The Henchy addition needs to be adjusted, rewritten, episode cited, etc. and moved further down so it doesn't randomly stick out as if its the most important aspect, but I have no problems with its inclusion. While we don't use spoiler warnings, and I don't think we need to, it does generally help, I think, if they're not right at the top of the page, or preceded with "In episode blank." It's better structure when writing about a one-time character development or action, but also could serve as at least a partial, possible warning that if you haven't seen that episode, read no further if you can help it. In cases like Scott mentions, *if* it isn't vital to reveal anything (on a character or cameo page as opposed to the episode summary), it would be helpful to find ways to present the info in a way that's accurate without being too revealing (not always possible, in which case, well, those are the breaks). For a long time, I'd tried to avoid having any sentence on Doc which focuses too heavily on the resolution in the last two episodes; that's been added now and it does help. If this is a widespread issue (I'm not sure it is, outside of the two recommendations above), maybe instead of spoiler warnings, a shorthand list could be compiled of pages with *major* spoilers for episodes or things which aren't in wide circulation (if by this point someone doesn't know who stole the diamonds in The Great Muppet Caper, that's their fault). But I think just having editors be careful to presage "in episode blank" when dealing with a major spoiler which may not be widely known and had no consequences beyond that episode, trim spoiler details in cases where they aren't needed, and just a general awareness that spoilers abound (so if you haven't watched a show or season and don't want to know anything, stay away) would help. I'm too tired and achey to think of anything else. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:51, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I think there's been plenty of time for everyone to catch up with the twenty-year-old puppet shows. "Inspector Red" has been out on DVD for three years, and if you haven't seen it yet, then I don't know what we can do for you.
I don't think the concept of "plot spoilers" even applies that well to our shows, because so much of these shows are about character and charm. "Inspector Red" isn't exactly a nail-biting thriller. It's mostly Red holding a magnifying glass in front of her face and jumping out at people. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 06:38, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Google ranking and links

Hi folks: I noticed that our Google ranking has dropped since switching to the Monaco skin. I looked into it, and found out that the problem may be that we have too many links on the site. On Google's "Webmaster Guidelines" page, they recommend: "Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)."

I used a tool called the Meta Tag Analyzer on submitexpress.com, and compared the number of links on our main page in Monobook and Monaco. Using Monobook, we've got 141 links on our front page. In Monaco, there's 209 links.

That's actually not as bad as some others -- Wookieepedia has 358 links on their main page, and Marvel Database has 341. Still, we've got 209 links when we should have 100 or fewer.

So there's a couple ways that we can slim that down. The Monaco skin itself is adding about 30-40 extra links, not counting the stuff that we've added in the sidebar. There's tons of links in the header, the widgets and the footer -- and I know that when we were designing the skin, we weren't thinking about the possible impact this might have on the Google ranking. Now that we know, we need to figure out how to reduce that impact. I'm not sure what decisions we'll end up making, or how long it'll take -- there might be a technical solution that cleans it all up without having to redesign things. So that's one piece.

Then there's the part that's within our control -- reducing the number of links on the content page, and in the sidebar. We've been designing the page with the idea that more links is better. If that turns out to be hurting us, then we ought to look at where we can make some cuts.

At my count, there are 127 links that we can directly control:

  • Navigation bar, with flyout menus: 31 links
  • Toolbox: 8 links
  • Top welcome area: 7 links
  • Today on Muppet Wiki: 36 links (at the moment)
  • Quality Articles: 12 links
  • Categories: 17 links
  • Upcoming Events: 6 links
  • Articles that need attention: 10 links

Here are some ideas about how to reduce that number.

  • Navigation bar: Remove flyout menus. Make portal pages for The Muppet Show, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. Sidebar will include: Muppet Wiki, The Muppet Show (portal), Sesame Street (portal), Fraggle Rock (portal), Current events, Active talk pages. (6 links instead of 31)
  • Toolbox: No change.
  • Top welcome area: Take out links for Recent changes, Featured articles. Maybe others? (5 links instead of 7)
  • Today on Muppet Wiki: Only link the featured article, not the terms in the description. (5 links instead of 36)
  • Quality articles: Take out link for nominations. (11 links instead of 12)
  • Categories: Create smaller group of portal pages, like we were discussing a while ago. Have buttons for portal pages not linked in the sidebar -- maybe 3 or 4. (4 links instead of 17)
  • Upcoming Events: No change.
  • Articles that need attention: Eliminate, replace with a picture. I don't think people use this box anyway. (0 links instead of 10)

Doing all of that would take out 82 links, bringing the total from 209 links to 127. Between that and some changes to the Monaco skin, we can definitely get down below the 100 link mark. We'll still have all the important functionality, and the page will end up being more focused and easier to navigate.

So what do you guys think? It's a big change, so I want to make sure folks are on board for it. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 19:49, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm fine with removing additional links in "Today on Muppet Wiki" (which are all in the article anyway, and not the point), but that's the only one right now that I can agree with fully. I'd need to think about the others. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:32, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
What about just featuring one quality article a month instead of links to all twelve? That would cut out 11 other links, there is a year to build up more quality articles, and maybe there can be a link to a list of the others. Just a thought on that one. -- Nate (talk) 22:54, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with all of it. I'd been wondering if the whole portal idea was still active, and if we can incorporate that into the new design, make less links, raise our ranking, and still keep everything findable, that sounds fine to me! -- Ken (talk) 03:07, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with everything, including the removal of all the slide-outs. We don't need Kermit in a list of characters on a website called Muppet Wiki anyway; it's redundant. I'm also in favor of reviving our Portals project. We seem to forget about that and come back to it every now and then, which is fitting since it's a big job getting it right.
I've consolidated some links in the main content part of the front page to help a little. The slide-outs will obviously help, but even more will be what's decided with the skin itself. There are 20 links in the footer alone. We need those for Wikia navigation, but some of them are in the drop-down at the top of the site and can probably be consolidated somehow. —Scott (talk) 01:54, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Picture lines

Has anybody been able to figure out why heading lines are going through pictures? I was just wondering. Everything else looks great! -- Ken (talk) 06:47, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't know; I haven't seen that. Maybe Scott knows? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 06:50, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Only the Shadow knows. I haven't seen it either, on IE or Mozilla. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 06:51, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Really? That's weird. At first I thought it was me, but I've seen it on other computers, like at the library, and I think somebody else mentioned it on Current Events during the changeover, when you were asking for comments. I'll have to find out what browsers are seeing it. -- Ken (talk) 06:55, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I know why many people haven't noticed it. I only noticed it when I used the computer at my work to go on the wiki. The line through the pictures happends on IE6, but since it's a out of date browser the question is if it's worth fixing it. Henrik (talk) 07:43, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I posted pictures of the lines on a talk page somewhere, but I can't find them now. I thought it was on Danny's, but I didn't see them. Let me search, but it's been happening for me for awhile now. -- Nate (talk) 15:22, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

And I found them...on my own stupid talk page! -- Nate (talk) 15:29, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Unprotecting main page

The main page is protected right now, because of vandalism concerns. I talked about this with Guillermo and Scott last month, although I can't find that conversation right now. Anyway, I'd like to revisit it, because I noticed something that I hadn't seen before.

We recently changed MediaWiki:Viewsource to change the text on the "view source" button, which is what people see instead of the edit button when a page is protected. Anonymous users see that all the time instead of an edit button, so when we moved to Monaco, we changed the text to say "log in to edit". That way, anons get a clear message about why they can't edit the pages.

The problem is that now everybody (except admins) sees "log in to edit" on the main page -- even when they're logged in. So it's a weird message to send. Somebody comes to the front page, they see "log in to edit", and they do... And then they still see "log in to edit".

So I'd like to unprotect the main page. I don't think vandalism is a particularly pressing problem -- we've got six active admins, and a whole community of strong users who know how to revert vandalism. Vandals don't scare me. I'd rather unprotect the page, and send the message to new users that logging in gives them the ability to edit just about anything on the wiki.

What do you guys think? -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 22:04, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with all that. We've had more vandalism problems with general content anyway, vandalized by recurring nutjobs, than with the main page. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 00:06, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I totally agree we should unprotect the main page. -- Wendy (talk) 00:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I just wanted to mention that the original conversation is on Current Events for December 2007, if anybody wants to read what was said. -- Ken (talk) 01:32, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
There seems to be general agreement at this point to unprotect the page. I want to acknowledge Guillermo's desire to protect the page -- he hasn't commented here, so I don't want him to feel like he's being left out of the conversation. But I think that the rest of the group feels that unprotecting the page is the right thing, so I'll unprotect. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 19:52, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

What links here

It appears to be broken, since every page (I've checked a few, notably Chester Pugh and Danny Boy) go to what links to Muppet Wiki. I'm on Firefox, but I've never seen this problem before. Anyone else? -- Mark (talk) 16:34, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Yup -- it's a bug. It's a problem with the cache in the Monaco sidebar. This happened a few weeks ago, and they fixed it by adjusting the cache... I reported this problem, so I expect it'll be fixed soon. It's an easy fix. -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 16:38, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
In the mean time, there's an easy manual fix. When you click "What links here" and it gives you the media css or whatever, just replace that with the page title, and there you go. I just tried it myself. Or don't even bother with clicking, since we know it's broken, but copy and paste this: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Special:Whatlinkshere/ and add the appropriate article title. It's an extra step, but it works. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 18:20, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Okay, What links here is fixed! (bows) -- Danny@Wikia (talk) 18:47, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Muppet Wiki in the news, sorta

Not a mention by name, but Canada's highest circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star, printed a TinyURL link to Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce. -- Zanimum 14:45, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Today on Muppet Wiki Nominations

Hey, everyone. We've been having a hard time keeping Today on Muppet Wiki, mostly for lack of nominations, so I encourage everyone to add to the nomination page. So if you come across a cool, unusually, or really great page, feel free to go ahead and nominate it. Not all articles will be chosen, mind (pages with only two or three sentences, if they've been featured already in the longer format, and the sometimes arbitrary judgement of the admins as to what counts as an interesting and reasonably coherent article). Don't let all of the above daunt you, though, since right now we need more nominations so the admins don't have to hunt up articles to feature when it's time to update. So next time you find a cool page which has just been added or you hadn't realized was there, nominate it! Thanks! -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:41, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Skin

Hi guys -- I'm trying to switch the skin to Monobook right now, because there's a problem with Monaco that we're trying to figure out. I'm not sure right now which one everyone is seeing -- but if you see Monobook, it's not a problem for now. -- Danny (talk) 01:09, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Danny, under the old skin (monobook), it allowed you to "search" for something and not automatically pull up the page. For example. If I typed in Halle Berry, all pages with Halle Berry in the text would come up if I clicked search. I can't find this option any more. Is it still around on the new skin? I found that feature incredibly helpful when creating links for pages new and old.-- Nate (talk) 19:02, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Nate, I believe you can use the advanced search for that. It's just below the "community menu" in the sidebar. Henrik (talk) 20:31, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Nope. Still goes directly to the page. I even tried to adjust my search settings under my preferences. -- Nate (talk) 21:08, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Try the advances search again, Nate. I just used it and it works fine. If you simply enter a phrase and press the enter key on your keyboard, it goes straight to the page. Enter a phrase and then click "Search," and it shows you the text results. There's still no getting around it with the main search box, but this should do for now (hopefully they'll fix that later). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 21:18, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I got it. I needed to uncheck a box. Which I did. I'm going home on the short bus now. -- Nate (talk) 00:02, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

They're here!

Well, the Koch CD's are starting to arrive. I bought one (even though I already have the old version) just to see how they're going to do the whole package, and I was very impressed. I hope this is just the beginning of a long and successful partnership, and I'm going to write a note to Koch to let them know my thoughts. I'll let you know if I hear anything from them! -- Ken (talk) 03:53, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki