Archive of Current events.

Farscape coverage

Still thinking about notability stuff... I'd like to take a look at how we deal with Farscape on the wiki right now.

I broke out some categories on the When to make pages sandbox, and Farscape ended up in "Creature Shop productions post-1990". This category also includes B.R.A.T.S. of the Lost Nebula, Buddy, Gulliver's Travels and Rat -- stuff produced by the Henson company with Creature Shop puppets after Henson's death.

Right now for Farscape, this is how the pages break out:

  • Episodes: 89 pages
  • Actors: 80 pages
  • Characters: 77 pages
  • Culture: 2 pages
  • International: 3 pages
  • Merchandise: 10 pages
  • Species: 1 page
  • Plus pages for directors and writers for each episode

So adding in an estimate for the number of writer and director pages, I think that's somewhere around 400 pages on the wiki.

Many of them are really well-put-together pages. Take Alex O'Connor as a random example of a character page; it's a good-quality page, with a picture and good links and everything. Ditto actor pages like Michael Beckley, ditto director pages like Rowan Woods.

It's interesting to note, though, that main characters like Zhaan and Chiana still have one or two line pages, and most of the episodes are one-line summaries. I think that demonstrates the general level of interest that we've got for writing about Farscape. Andrew, Henrik, Wendy and I have all dabbled in it occasionally, but then we drift away and start writing about Muppets again.

So my question is: How much Farscape do we want on the wiki? We've been through this kind of thing a bunch of times, so you guys know where I stand on it. I started a little sandbox page for Farscape episodes, which would combine all of our one-line synopsis pages into one page. But then there's the characters, actors, writers and directors.

What do you guys think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:31, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

As usual, I'm for keeping the content and not merging it. To me it's a valid part of the wiki, whether or not any of us currently have a huge interest in it. -- Wendy (talk) 00:46, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm mostly with Wendy, but given where we are right now, merging the episode pages makes the most sense, but then there's several where Henrik has put in extra work, like Episode 106: Thank God It's Friday. Again. Are they huge? No, but comparable to others. But on the whole, when we've dabbled, I think most of us have been more inclined to do so with the actors, the creatures, and the guest characters, I think largely because Wikipedia and the Farscape Wiki have those covered decently if not perfectly (but we're better than Farscape Wiki in our guest cast coverage). So really, maybe the best thing to do would be to treat that whole category as "attention." Make it a project. Obviously not everyone would be interested, but organize it in such a way that any Farscape fans who happen to be hear already or who come by can see it and help out. Some of our major Muppet character pages and most of our movie pages started out as cut and pastes, but we never did even that with Crichton and so on. That's an idea, anyway, and certainly it doesn't hurt that Farscape is more accessible than The Ghost of Faffner Hall to the general Wiki population.
But Danny is right in that it comes down to interest. I have a few episodes I got on DVD but for the most part (though I enjoyed the one on the all-lawyer planet called "Litigari") I'm not really into it but I do enjoy screengrabbing characters and actors and working on the international stuff (it's *still* huge in Germany and Italy!) But if someone was willing to tackle major characters, someone else the background stuff which I can't always keep straight myself (the Peackeeper/Sebacean stuff, the different races and nations, the fake NASA equivalent ISA, etc.), someone else specific episodes or seasons... Make a kind of "To do List" which could include both tackling whatever one wants to improve or start from scratch, as well as borrowing stuff from Farscape and Wikipedia and connecting it up. Frankly, even with something almost universally beloved by our regulars here, like the Sesame Street characters, a lot of the bitty pages got built up by having the "Things to Do" list that included getting info from the Sesame Encyclopedia website and so on. I know you've been wanting to cut down, Danny, adn certainly post-Henson's death is a change, but our own self-definitions on pages like Muppet Wiki (website) (which, being the kind of page it is, you may have simply noticed) states we're giving time to the Creature Shop. Boundaries and limits are good, but at the same time, since Farscape is it's own area, I don't think it does any harm to have 400 pages for it. I suspect part of the concern may be for the "random page" effect, though, and I can understand that too, but if the problem is essentially that the episode guide is skimpy and major characters are short, like I said, we can make a list of those pages and tackle them. Heck, that's how we handled adding episode templates for each series or building up some of the guides, and obviously not all are perfect, but I think a "Hey, who wants to help improve this stuff?" is a better first step than merging (and the fact that some of those pages have been like that for years is less significant because the same applies to a lot of Sesame Street book pages and so on, until somebody actually notices them, so that's where a specific collaborative project, which is how we got pages like Rowlf the Dog and so on to be less sad, is a good idea). Obviously, if the answer to that question is a resounding "Nobody does!", then we look into merging or deleting or just pointing visitors to Farscape Wiki. Actually, like I said, in a lot of the actors and stuff we've done a better job than them, but we could always move that over or have it in both places; it occurs to me, would it be possible to, say, redirect major pages directly to Farscape Wikia but still have the listing here, the way we use redirects? That would also work for those cases where we do have good coverage of the actors or puppets and want to keep those pages or links, but those that may never grow can still be browsed in our categories but the link will go to the Farscape Wiki. On the whole, even with our big digital debate, I'm not really sure I'd like to see the day where we decide to dump all the post-Jim Henson Creature Shop character, movie, and/or actor pages or create a "Creature Shop Wiki" to divide it up. I really think that is why we have categories and organization, after all, so visitors can go to what they're most interested in and if they don't want to look at Creature Shop Actors or International Sesame Records or Christmas ornaments, they don't have to. And if through random page browsing they hit a Farscape page or something that's short or just dull to them, well, another random page is sure to hit something they'll like. Those are just some initial thoughts anyway (since yeah, this isn't a simple decision to make however we do so). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 01:17, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I posted right when Andrew did, but I'll ask my questions anyway. How active is the Farscape wiki? Can we talk some of their people into coming over here and helping with our Farscape pages? Do we want to duplicate what they're doing, or just do a little bit, and then point people over there for more in-depth coverage? It seems a little like how we decided to cover the Henson Digital stuff, where we cover it a little bit, but then link them to the HD wiki. -- Ken (talk) 01:26, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Good suggestion! I just looked over there, and it seems in their history, they've had a little over 150 registered users total (including visiting admins and so on), compared to our nearly 2000. They have 2,548 content articles, according to statistics, but that includes a lot of contentless stubs with "We need help" tags. But the few users who remain seem to be active and love their subject, they're still adding new articles and getting new users, but they also have a lot of utter blanks in different areas (witness Jonathan Hardy compared to our version). And there seems to be some discouragment over traffic, which obviously isn't a problem we have on the whole (no idea how many hits the Farscape pages get, probably much lower in comparison to our Muppet stuff, but still). So it would be mutually beneficial, if they were interested: they could help us build up the episode guides, which they do seem to have done well, and the character pages (though we may or may not want to adjust the tone on some of those, but I quite like, for example, the quote and first line under "Bio" for Zhaan) and we can help them with things like the cast pages and so on. We can link mutually, which could increase there traffic. Way back I thought was silly to copy the text verbatim but with a Wiki link for Brian Henson's cameo and only that page, but if we're doing it overall, then it's less silly and doesn't feel like we're placing undue emphasis on something like that. But it does come down to, do they want to do it, and do we want to do it. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 01:40, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I was looking at the site also but came to slightly different conclusions. They only have one editor who has been around consistently over the last year, and even he isn't on every day (he last edited over a week ago). They have one other editor with lots of contribs who stopped by to add an article on a comic book recently but otherwise, the people who built most of that wiki haven't been around much. That includes the admin, who appears to check in very sporadically at best. They are getting a lot of traffic to judge by the number of "one-day" user edits; but nobody stays around.
So there's not really a "community" to invite to help us per se; we could ask the one user, but I also can't imagine why they'd want to build a wiki twice.
It makes more sense to me to simply copy the parts of their content we feel can help bulk out our own and add some links back to the wiki for users who want more coverage. -- Wendy (talk) 01:54, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I think taking quality content from the Farscape wiki is a good idea. For whomever wants to do it. I'm not interested in doing it myself, but I also don't want to lose our Farscape coverage here either. —Scott (talk) 01:47, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Andrew, are you suggesting that we use their episode pages, and they use our cast pages, and we link back and forth? Google penalizes sites that have duplicate content -- and since we're probably stronger in Google than Farscape Wiki is, it would probably mean that they suffer.
I have to admit I don't really see the point of us having extensive, detailed Farscape coverage, if there's another wiki that's made for that. I'm just generally ornery about the idea of us being a wiki about the work of Jim Henson vs the work of Brian Henson. I don't think those are necessarily the same thing. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:56, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't mean to keep interrupting, but I wanted to comment before I forgot. Since there's already a wiki just about Farscape, I think we should decide how much coverage we want to give it here, and then maybe we can put our detailed coverage over there, and leave it there. I look at it kind of like how Wikipedia covers Sesame Street, compared to how we cover it. By the way, I also wanted to comment that I think the Dark Crystal wiki is kind of unnecessary, and should be folded into here, since it was a film that Jim created during his lifetime, and everything about it would go here anyway. To me it's kind of like somebody starting a wiki just about The Muppet Show, instead of just joining with us, and working on the Muppet Show section. I think that if Farscape is considered a post-1990 Creature Shop show, then we should give it the same level of coverage that we give the other stuff from that period, and if anybody comes along who really wants to dig in and write up every single episode the way we're doing with Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, they should be directed over there. Anyway, those are my thoughts until Andrew comes back. -- Ken (talk) 04:38, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
[Edit conflict with Ken] Well, the other Wiki's very weak in a lot of ways, so (and I think more of us would have interest in trying to make our coverage better than going over there and working through their stubs and figuring out their system and so on); and you were the one who way back suggested sharing their content, but if not, I guess we could just use the links without duplicating (that was my suggestion prior to Ken's, i.e. making our stubby pages redirect to theirs but leave the good ones). But the thing is, is covering Farscape making us "a wiki about Brian Henson?" (Outside of a page to glorify his cameo appearance when it's already on the cameo pages, but.) Not quite, especially since outside of Dinosaurs it really *has* been the only successful and noteworthy non-Muppet series and a significant work for the Creature Shop. I'm not sure it's worth creating a Creature Shop Wiki just to house the post-Jim stuff because someone doesn't like Brian or Buddy, which seems to be where we're headed in these discussions. We mostly decided not to bother with Sid the Science Kid since Brad has his own Wiki for it *and* it's getting into areas like merchandise and it's more animation and mocap than puppetry and so on, but I'm much iffier about dumping other stuff. If we are, then we do need to rewrite the website page and our category pages and so on and just state "only covering Creature Shop stuff produced or partially conceived in Henson's lifetime" (which would keep Dinosaurs). Or in the case of Farscape, just delete the non-Creature pages (we actually talked about how to handle those from the beginning anyway) and merge the episode guide, which could work, and keep the puppets and cast and crew. I just see no real harm in having those pages or that letting them exist in their own corner somehow takes away from our pages on Jim Henson to have individual articles, if that's how we're approaching it (in contrast to something like Family Rules, which really is here just because Brian Henson executive produced it, or even MirrorMask, which I kind of like but is pretty loosely connected, but it was Lisa Henson on that one and a "Let's make an almost but not quite Labyrinth clone to make money" mandate from Sony).
And postscript to Ken: I think that may be the crux. Since 2005, we've given all fully Henson company produced Creature Shop projects the same level of coverage, so we'd also have to tackle Aliens in the Family and those Danny mentioned and anything else and decide if Dinosaurs gets a pass because it's funny and we like it more and Jim pitched a loose premise while he was alive (but the actual development of the Sinclairs and so on was afterwards) and so on. It's not impossible, pretty simple really, but it would be a loss of actual info unless we turned around and created a Creature Shop Wiki which logically would have to include Jim-era stuff too, and there's just so much overlap from crew and puppeteers to technology. And of course, we were here before the Dark Crystal and Farscape Wikis, but the latter seems to have mostly been one user moving what they'd had on another website and just making Wikia the host for it, which explains why some areas are great and others just voids (they have nearly 600 contentless or nearly so stubs, so that's almost half their Wiki). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:01, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
(now I'm getting the edit conflicts)... Ken - You aren't interrupting (as in, this is meant to be a community discussion), but it's not quite that simple. Anyone can start a wiki on any subject they want -- three people could start separate wikis on Farscape tomorrow for that matter. Ideally everyone wants to work together, but in practice people often just want to do stuff a different way. Or they want a wiki on a smaller topic (eg. The Hulk) vs. a broader one (Marvel Comics) whether or not the bigger one has good coverage. So to me, the question of other wikis is not relevant to what we decide to have on our wiki. In fact I think it's rather clouding the original issue here, which is why Danny tried to get us back on track.
I don't entirely agree with Danny's desire to not cover anything post-1990 Creature Shop in any depth. I tend to fall on the "there's room for everything related" side of things in general, as long as everything is organized. Farscape, to me, is particularly strange to exclude simply because I always have thought of it as Henson (and by association Muppet) even long before I worked on the wiki. -- Wendy (talk) 05:09, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
If you guys dig the Farscape stuff, then that's cool; I'm okay with losing on that one. I just think it's good to poke at this stuff sometimes. We try to make consistent policies, but stuff gets fuzzy, because the wiki is so big and complicated now.
One of the things that we've talked about is just covering the Creatures in Creature Shop productions -- except at the moment I'm not sure whether that's productions that aren't produced by the Henson company, or productions that just use visual effects, or what. So for Farscape, we have a character page for Hybin, and an actor page for Ken Blackburn, and I'm not sure I see the point of those for us. Personally, I love Farscape; I have lots of affection for it. But Hybin could be from any science-fiction show. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:44, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, our consistent rule to date has been anything from Henson Creature Shop, puppets only from Creature Shop as outsourced company to others (as per this 2007 discussion, and we've enforced that guideline). So that's why we nuked Eddie Murphy as Dr. Dolittle, but we have a bunch of humans from The StoryTeller: Greek Myths and things like Cavepeople from Dinosaurs and so on, plus any pages that may be relevant but basically say nothing . Of course, Farscape ran more seasons so there's more of those one-shots compared to the Creatures or aliens with Creature Shop heads. Still, I don't see Hybin as doing harm (it's one of those little pages, like Arnie), but if it really bothers you, I suppose we could merge. But "Hybin could be from any science-fiction show," well, by the same token, some of the Sesame Street humans we have pages for aren't noticeably more distinct or interesting than those on other sitcoms or children's shows. Not that I'm trying to equate the Street and Scape, mind, but I'm not really comfortable with that specific argument, as opposed to deciding to exclude all humans from any Creature Shop production or else deciding which ones to keep and so on on a more subjective basis rather than according to a hard and fast policy (obviously more of our readers are going to seek out Jareth than random giants in Category:Jack and the Beanstalk Characters, but that's partially why we have those separate universe categories anyway, and why we decided at Category talk:Human Characters to save that only for Muppet and Dinosaurs characters). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 09:10, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I did take a crack at the Farscape pages at one point, but then for some reason I moved on to the Sesamstrasse episodes, I would like to continue to expand on the Farsacpe pages, but don't have the time for it. Also with the recent discussions going on what and what not to include on the wiki I decided to put any work on Farscape and even Mopatop's Shop on hold for now, until a decision has been made on what we should and should not cover. As I see it this discussion are kinda the same as the one about Sid the science kid, it's a question about were we draw the line and then stick to that. Danny made this [[Sandbox:When to make pages|page]] for that reason. As I see it there are three places were we could draw the line in the sand. One place is the simple one, we only do in depth coverage of the three major brands Muppets, Sesame and Fraggles, everything else get one page with all the relevant information, this includes crossover productions. Another way to go is that we cover everything in depth before 1990, and then only the three major brands there after, everything else gets one page, including crossover productions. The final way are to cover everything post 2004 in depth and there after only the three major brands, and everything else gets one page and no more, including crossover productions. Once the decission is taken we will know what to do with the Farscape stuff and everything else that can be considered borderline. Henrik (talk) 10:53, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
I guess where I'm differing with people is that I see a distinction between Creature Shop pre-1990 and Creature Shop post-1990. It feels obvious to me that Mopatop's Shop and The Animal Show are Muppet shows, and deserve full coverage on the wiki, while Farscape and Jack and the Beanstalk are post-1990 Creature Shop shows, and possibly don't.
But I totally admit that I may be alone on that, and it looks like I am. So that's okay; I can live with it, and I'm sorry if I'm just stirring up pointless trouble. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 13:54, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Danny I don't see it as pointless, personally I think we need some clear ground rules on what we should add to the wiki and not to add. So this discussion is needed, but it needs to be broader than just covering one production. Henrik (talk) 14:05, 18 June 2009 (UTC)


Regular peeps will notice that Scott and I monkeyed around with the sidebar and toolbox today... We were talking with the Wikia community team about those areas, and realized that we were doing things a little backwards. The purpose of the flyout sidebar menu is reader discovery -- helping new readers find cool stuff. The toolbox is for contributors -- links that are important to us, but not to newbies.

So we realized -- "random page" is a reader discovery tool, so that should be in the menu part, and "Current events" and "Active talk pages" are editor tools that should be in the toolbox. We switched some stuff around, and Scott is creating a new Community area that offers access to Current events, Active talk pages and other contributor-focused stuff.

If this messes up your personal way of getting around the wiki, then you can edit your own personal sidebar -- check out User:Toughpigs/Monaco-sidebar for an example. I've taken out the TMS and Sesame flyouts, cause I don't use them, and I kept Current events and Active talk pages in there, cause I do use those.

So this will hopefully keep readers hopping around the site, finding stuff that they love! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:03, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Ditto from me. And if folks want another example of how to modify their sidebar, mine is slightly different. —Scott (talk) 21:11, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I like this format. I can also see wiki is doing something related to this with random page and new pictures! Cool! 19:59, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

minor tidiness

Would anybody mind if I took the (Redirected from xxxxx) out of the six categories that are linked in the portal on the front page? The template Nathan built doesn't support linking to categories (even with the colon), and it looks unsightly for some of the main links that people are going to see first to have the (Redirected) thing there. —Scott (talk) 23:18, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Do you mean doing some kind of javascript thing to hide those? I agree, they're unsightly. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:21, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
CSS actually, but yeah. I just added the code, so you can see how it looks. —Scott (talk) 01:10, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm still seeing the redirects, but maybe it's cached? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:02, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
They're gone for me. Must be a local cache thing. —Scott (talk) 03:15, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, they're gone! Awesome; it looks great. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:43, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Linking dates, part 2

I brought this up a few weeks ago and the conversation stalled, so I'm gonna bring it up again, and propose a change to our guideline about linking dates.

Briefly, this is the problem:

  • Date links are bad for our Google rank. See the previous thread below for details.
  • We've had a policy in place for a while, but I'm not sure that it's clear enough for people to follow. I think having a more defined policy will help us to be consistent with date links.

And this is my suggestion:

  • We link dates in infoboxes -- books, movies, episodes, etc.
  • We don't link dates outside of infoboxes. No date links in text, tables or galleries.

What do you guys think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 16:41, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Is there a way we can take those links out of the meta tags? I think the links for years add great value to the wiki, especially for newcomers. For exmaple, when you happen upon a page for your favorite celebrity, it says "So-and-so worked with the Muppets in 1984." It's fun to click that link and see what else was going on for the Muppets in that year. It's another way of getting around the wiki that would be a shame to lose. —Scott (talk) 16:59, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
People don't really click those links, at least not in proportion to the number of links.
  • 1984 is the 96th most-linked page on the site, with 370 links. In the last month, 130 people clicked on those links, making it the 2,950th most-visited page. That's .3 clicks per link.
  • King Kong got the same number of clicks last month -- 130. King Kong only has 30 links on the site, so that's 4.3 clicks per link.
  • The most-linked date on the wiki is 2005, which has 621 links. That got 159 clicks in the last month -- .25 clicks per link.
I think that if we just linked 1984 in the infoboxes for The Muppets Take Manhattan, the Fraggle and Sesame episodes from that year, and the various books and albums, then it would probably get just as many clicks. I agree that it's a good navigation tool, but we overuse it. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:17, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Since we took the dates off of Sesame Street Discography, has it improved our Google rank? —Scott (talk) 17:23, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
You can't tell from one page -- especially not the Discography, which has 376 links on it. If removing the date links has an impact on Google, it'll be across a broad range of pages, and it'll be a more long-term effect. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:28, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I actually think dates (which I only occasionally click myself) would be more effective on discography/filmography pages or similar articles which present a list of Muppet related events or projects over a span of time, to see what else is going on, than clicked randomly in a sentence, and I don't think including just one link per date on such pages (considering how few of those we actually has) is an issue. But that's my take and not something I'm really interested in fighting over. Otherwise, I'm in favor of keeping dates in infoboxes (or on pages without infoboxes but where it would still be relevant, say, something like Time Piece, just to establish the when for the premiere, but probably unlink the production date, something like that). I clicked to see what was actually linking to 1984, and found pages like Barbara Billingsley, for example, as seen [[1]]; I know we often (though not consistently) include dates for a project to give context, but in a case like that, since she was on Muppet Babies for the whole run, I'm not sure the years were even needed, let alone linked. Alison Bartlett is full of non-relevant links as well as essential ones, but on pages for Sesame cast members, as long as we're certain and have sourced when they joined (from presskits and so on; the Bartlett/Gina date is actually wrong, as proven by CTW presskits, so I'll fix that later) we can (and in some cases actually do, again just not consistently) link to the specific season page as well. That's an easy way to fix that aspect on pages like Uncle Wally and include links that are more relevant. So on the whole, though I don't think it would hurt keeping dates on Sesame Street Discography (and if we have any similar overall timeline pages of that kind, doing likewise, but then that could pose problems with some of the character Category:Filmographies, so maybe better to leave it alone), linking dates just to infoboxes or otherwise to pages specifically to note when that topic (show, book, movies, records, etc. and for myself I'd say probably guest appearances too; yeah, we haven't been vigilant about updating the timeline year pages, but still keeping the year linked once per that event seems to make sense in a way that linking 1984 every time we quote from Henson's Place or note that Big Bird was on Flip Wilson in a given year). I may add more later, but those are just my initial thoughts. Andrew Leal (talk) 02:33, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Andrew, I'm sorry -- I followed everything you said, but I'm not sure I got what your conclusion was.

This kind of illuminates the second point that I was making above -- that our current guideline is so vague that even the most active contributors can't quite decide how to apply it.

I think it makes more sense to say -- the date in the infobox is linked, dates in the text aren't. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 16:23, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, but what if there is no infobox? That's really my point. Do we add infoboxes or create new ones to deal with stuff like Henson's Place or a stage show, or otherwise just leave unlinked? Since I do think it's important to link dates to indicate when the article's topic was made or took place (just that we don't have to link 1979 every time we refer to someone having been in The Muppet Movie and so on). As long as it's in a "[Muppet Project/Article Subject] aired in [date]" format or whatever, I think that should be allowed as much as the infoboxes (with the rule that it applies only to Muppet projects, not referenced shows or mentions or anything). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 17:36, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I totally agree that on a project's page, there should be a link to the date it aired or was released. It probably makes sense to create a specials infobox -- we don't have one for Hey Cinderella, and we probably should. We could have one for documentaries like Henson's Place too, and stage shows. Are there other examples? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:02, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Coming back to this... I've been looking around at the date links that we're using, and I understand the point that Andrew was making above better now. Having dates only linked in infoboxes does put up kind of a barrier, but I think Andrew's point was good -- just link dates when it's about when the topic of the article happened. So...

  • Date links for books, records, episodes, specials, etc. on the page about that item / project.
  • TV appearances -- link for the date that a Muppet appeared, but not for other dates. So: "The Tonight Show has been running continuously since 1953" wouldn't be linked; "Kermit and Miss Piggy appeared on the show in 1979" would be linked.
  • Other pages that refer to an event/project won't have date links -- so if the Vincent Price page says, "Price appeared with Miss Piggy on The Tonight Show in 1979," it doesn't link to 1979.
  • Birth and death dates aren't linked.
  • I'm not sure about song boxes... I can see the value of linking "The Rainbow Connection" page to 1979, but not "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing". With all of the Sesame songs written each year, that's a lot of extra date links...

If we did that, when you click "what links here" on a year page, you'd get a list of projects and events that actually took place on that year, and not the random selection that you currently get. That would actually still help us build those timeline pages. What do you guys think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:24, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

That all agrees with how I was thinking about it. As far as song boxes, I would only link original Muppet songs. I've been unlinking ones that aren't. Did you still want to create infoboxes for specials, or is that unnecessary? Also, are we not linking dates on big chart pages for records, books and videos, or just in the text portion? -- Ken (talk) 05:06, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be good to have an infobox for specials anyway; it's actually strange that we've never made one. I would say no to linking dates on the big chart pages, according to the general rule -- dates are only linked when it's the page for that specific project. Individual albums get date links on their pages, so they don't need them on the discography pages. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:14, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, infoboxing for specials is another issue but definitely could be useful. But in the meantime, I didn't want to lose those links, and for stage shows or some oddball projects or toys and so on, I wasn't sure if it was worth creating an infobox (commercials and the meeting films are other examples, as are TV appearances especially when there were multiple occasions over several years like with Hollywood Squares, and with short pages, it would push things down, and this especially applies to many of the lesser documentary specials like Henson's Place). So I think Danny's guidelines above are perfect. For songs, I'm actually inclined not to link, since we don't include them on the timeline anyway, just the source special, and not all our song pages (in contrast to every show, movie, special, and book page) even have dates, and some have been proven inaccurate (especially re Sesame) and so on. But otherwise, if they're deemed useful, yeah, I'd limit it to original songs only. I think we're generally setting a good guideline, though (and we'd already agreed in fact that linking dates not related to Muppets was silly, but while most of us stopped doing it, we didn't catch and unlink all the other dates at that time). So a rule of thumb is link if it's something that would appear on the timeline (and isn't a birth/death date). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 05:36, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Linking dates

We had a Current Events conversation in September about linking dates, and decided that we would only link dates when it's relevant to the Muppets -- for example, not to link celebrity birth years and so forth.

As you guys know, I've been working like a dog to squeeze every ounce of Google juice out of this wiki, and I noticed something that makes me want to reopen the conversation.

Right now, on the new version of the Sesame Street Discography, Ken linked all the dates. Looking at the source of the page (with ctrl-U), I see this:

<meta name="keywords" content="Muppet Wiki,muppet,Sesame Street Discography,10th Anniversary Album,1970,1971,1972,1973,1974,1975,1976,1977,1978" />

Google uses that "keywords" list to determine what's important on the page, which affects the Google rank and the way that PageRank is split among the different links on the page. That list of dates means that we're giving a big chunk of PageRank on that page to the timeline, which doesn't really help us at all. Google thinks that those links are important because they're at the top, the words are repeated many times, and they're linked every time.

For The Colbert Report, the keywords are:

<meta name="keywords" content="Muppet Wiki,muppet,The Colbert Report,Cookie Monster,Cookie Monster: A Cookie is a Sometime Food,Robert Downey, Jr.,Barack Obama,South Park,1,2006,2007,2008,2009" />

Obviously, we'd rather have the keywords for these pages be things like "Miss Piggy" or "Grover Sings the Blues", and we'd rather have the PageRank go to the important pages.

This happens on non-list type pages, too -- here's one more example, for Gonzo:

<meta name="keywords" content="Muppet Wiki,muppet,Gonzo,,1970,1974,1981,1985,1992,A Green and Red Christmas,A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa,Aliens,Amy the Dancing Brick" />

I think I've mentioned before that Google recommends that a page have 100 links maximum in order to get real PageRank benefit. Obviously, we're not going to follow that recommendation slavishly -- we wouldn't want to cut relevant and important links just to try to cut down to 100 for every page. Still, it does give me a reason to take a second look at a couple of our linking practices, especially for dates.

The current version of Sesame Street Discography, which links every date and every instance of Sesame Street Records, has 695 links. (Somebody at work recently wrote a bit of code for me that automatically counts all the links on a page that Google is set to follow, so it's easy for me to count them.) If we unlinked the dates and only linked the first mention of a record company, we'd take out about 400 links from that page.

As always, I can't say that taking out date links on its own would make us rise up farther on Google, but as I learn more little things like this, over time it's had a big impact.

I looked at how many people actually click on these links, compared to how often they're linked. The most-linked date on the wiki is 2005 -- it's actually the #42 most-linked page on the wiki, according to Special:MostLinked, with 620 links. Looking at our Analytics data, I see that 2005 only got 225 pageviews in the last 30 days, making it #2,756 on the list of most-viewed pages.

As a comparison, Global Thingy got 226 pageviews in the last month, beating 2005 -- and it's only linked on 29 pages.

On the other side of the comparison, Dave Goelz has 622 links, just a couple more than 2005, and that page was viewed 1,168 times last month -- more than five times more than 2005. Rowlf the Dog has 627 links, and got 2,488 pageviews -- 11 times more than 2005.

I like the timeline pages; I think they're a useful and informative part of the wiki. But I think we're linking to them much more often than they deserve, and having all of those links is potentially messing up our keywords and our PageRank.

The main reason that we decided to link to the years in the first place was that those links would help us build up the Timeline pages -- but I think that didn't really turn out to be true. As I said, we have 620 links to 2005, but the 2005 page has only been edited once in the last 12 months -- back in June 2008. Same goes for 2006 (613 links) and 2007 (488 links). I think we used those links to build the pages originally, but now those pages are pretty much done, and we don't bother to work on them anymore.

So I have a radical suggestion. This will probably get shot down, but I'm making it anyway. How about we spruce up the timeline pages a bit -- make them more attractive, and make a timeline portal page that shows them off. We call it the "Muppet Timeline", and then we link to that in a prominent place -- maybe the sidebar or on the main page. And then we take out all the date links. Everyone who's interested in the Timeline pages will know where they are, and we can use our links for more useful things.

What do you guys think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:46, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

So, it sounds like you want to do two things:
  1. Un-link dates.
  2. Re-design the timeline pages.
Is that right? —Scott (talk) 17:56, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, the main thing I want to do is un-link dates. Redesigning the timeline pages is secondary to me; that's only if somebody really loves the timeline pages and wants to make sure that they stay important on the wiki. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:58, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
I think the year pages are fine the way they are. The concensus to keep dates was made so that those page could be built up. Nobody's made it a project to do yet, so right now we're just using WhatLinksHere/1984 to find all the stuff that happened in 1984 to build that page up as we go along. Is there a better way to do that? —Scott (talk) 19:20, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
I think those pages may be as built as they're going to be. We've got 620 links to the 2005 page, and it was last edited in June 2008. Those links aren't helping us build those pages anymore. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:23, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
I have to confess that I keep meaning to work on the year pages, but then I start to do something else. I want to double-check them and make sure that everything like records and other merchandise is listed there. So if all of the date links go away, how would we make sure that an item is listed on a year page without doing something like writing it down somewhere, and then checking everything by hand? -- Ken (talk) 19:32, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Here's an example of how it works right now. 2005 has three albums listed -- Best of the Muppets, Bear in the BBH: Greatest Hits and The Muppet Christmas Carol: Special Edition Soundtrack. If you wanted to see if there were other albums that should be listed there, you would look at Special:WhatLinksHere/2005. There are 620 links listed there, including Jim Henson, every first season episode of Fraggle Rock, Feli Felu, Ted Koppel and Batman Begins. I don't think that really helps you find albums.
The easiest way to check on the 2005 albums is to look at the Discographies and then compare those to what's on the page.
I think our practice of linking the dates helped us build the pages in the first place; now it actually gets in the way. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:45, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I understand that, but let's take the reissue of Silly Songs as an example. I only found out about it because you put it on the front page. So then I updated the album's page. But if I don't link 2009, and I don't put it on the 2009 page, it might not ever get added. I guess I'm asking if that bothers you, or if people will just have to remember to add to the year page on their own from now on. -- Ken (talk) 20:01, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, I think that's the way it works now. The 2009 page gets updated quite a bit, because people post the new stuff there. I think that would happen even if we weren't linking to the dates everywhere. The most important 2009 link is the one in the Upcoming Events box on the main page, and obviously I wouldn't want to take that one out. But I'm not sure how all the other date links help us. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:19, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I realized after I posted that I basically answered my own question. So whether the years are linked or not, if people don't add it to the year page, it won't get done. The link will take you there, but the item won't be there. So just to be clear before I start ripping things apart, are you saying you want to get rid of all year links everywhere, or just the pages where there are a whole bunch of years? What about the LP pages where there's only one year link on the page? Is that doing weird things to Google, too? -- Ken (talk) 20:34, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, don't do anything yet. :) We should all talk about it some more before we go make changes. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:37, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Okay, for now I'm going to take out duplicate years on the discography pages as I'm reworking them. That should help until we can talk about the other stuff. -- Ken (talk) 01:02, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's a good idea. You should also take out the duplicate links for the record labels... They're all mentioned in the text at the top, so we can take out the links in the gallery. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:06, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh yeah, that's right. Good thing I wrote that essay! -- Ken (talk) 01:11, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Best Known template

I had an idea today, which I'm testing out on the John Cleese page. It's a "Best Known" template -- basically, a little box for celebrity / actor pages that gives a little thumbnail of why this person is on the wiki. "Best Known" isn't really a great name for it, cause it's not really how they're best known in general -- it's how they're best known to Muppet fans.

Anyway, the point is that sometimes I'll go to a Muppet Show guest star page, and it's not always obvious to me how to find the link to the episode. So this might be something to put on celeb pages where there's one big Muppet connection that we want to make sure people can find.

This was just a first draft, so obviously we could change the color, the position, the way it works, whatever. What do folks think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:56, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

I guess my two questions are, what happens when there isn't a single big connection (like Lily Tomlin or Robin Williams or Whoopi Goldberg) or their connection is minor. Would this be uniform for everyone in the Celebrities category? -- Nate (talk) 14:47, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
No, definitely not uniform. I'm not sure how it would be used. The obvious case is to put it on TMS guest stars. In general, I think it would be used on pages where there's one major connection; not on others. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:10, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Character portals

We've been talking about it forever, so it's time to just go ahead and do it -- put some nice portals at the top of our character category pages. We get a lot of clicks from Google from people searching for "muppet characters", "sesame street characters", "fraggle rock characters", etc. -- but when they click on the result, they end up at the Muppet Characters category page, where they see 7-Words-Max and Balloon-Head Conductor, but not the characters that they're actually looking for.

Scott and Nathan put together a nice easy portal template, which gives us a gallery with clickable pictures. I started it off by adding Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo to Muppet Characters and Muppet Show Characters. I thought it would be easy to put these together, but it turns out to be a little challenging to find the right pictures. You need a nice clear head shot pic, which sometimes takes a little searching.

So instead of struggling with it on my own, I'm sharing the wealth. Those four are up, and it would be great if other folks can add more to any of those cats -- Muppet, Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, etc. It would be great if eventually all of our major categories have nice graphic portals at the top.

For big categories like Muppet Characters, obviously we wouldn't put 2,000 characters into the portal -- it'll just be the top 16 or 20 or whatever that people are likely to be looking for. I looked up the stats, and made a list on Muppet Wiki:Most viewed characters. Those are the pages that people actually look at on the site, in order from most-viewed down. (These change a bit from month to month -- I've noticed that it's shifted since I first looked these up a couple weeks ago -- but the top ones are more or less stable.)

So the next group of four for the Muppet Show guys should probably be Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf and Animal. The top eight for Sesame Street are Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Mr. Snuffleupagus, the Count, Oscar, Grover and Ernie.

So... I this is a nice way to make our site more accessible and attractive for new people. I hope you guys like it too. And maybe you'll help to find some good pictures?... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:38, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Great idea! -- Ken (talk) 01:52, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

moved discussion on Muppet Show Characters to Category talk:Muppet Show Characters

Wiki box

Hi -- I was noticing some of the wikipedia boxes today for our articles. How would people feel about a similar box that indicated there is a wiki on the subject? This seems sleeker to me than an "external links" heading. Most of the stuff in TV mentions etc. almost certainly has a wiki at this point, and if we are going to point people back to wikipedia, I see no reason not to point them to the wikis as well. Any objections? -- Wendy (talk) 20:29, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

That's a great idea! I love it. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:48, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I just took a first stab at Template:Wikia by just tweaking Template:Wikipedia. On the template page, it looks messy (hopefully Scott can fix it), but it works with one fairly significant catch, which it will probably take a better coder to fix. It's also a possible issue in general, the fact that unlike the Wikipedia box, users can't simply include the name of the appropriate article (or leave it to intuitively find it). It works fine with Pixar, where I just tested it, where you can simply use w:c:Pixar, but with other Wikis, it's both knowing the appropriate phrase and finding a way in the box to display the actual Wiki title. It's probably easily surmountable, mind, but I don't know how, and we'll have to check that users don't include the wrong address or try to link to non-existent wikis and so on. Still, I'll mostly leave that to other folks. At least there's a start now! -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:03, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for getting it started! There's no obvious way around inputting the wikiname (that I can think of), but I've got it so that's all you have to put in -- it will take the pagename for the displayed link (eg. American Dad). If nothing is input it will try the pagename for the wikiname as well, although that will only work for things without spaces. However I think it's ok for us to do the extra work to make sure we have the right inter-wiki name. If we want to add an option for customizing the link text further we can do that as well. -- Wendy (talk) 02:35, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Discographies and Galleries

I'd like to revisit the idea of condensing some of our record charts from tables to galleries, specifically the Sesame Street Discography. We had talked about it a long time ago at Category talk:Discographies, and then Danny had made a version at Sandbox:Sesame Street Discography which doubled the information from 1 album to 2 albums per line, but now that I've been working on the Bob McGrath Discography, as well as the record section over on the Hanna-Barbera wiki, I'm getting to like the gallery format. I think we can still show all the current information, plus it allows us to have 4 albums per line, and cut down on all the white space. I think the singles charts can stay the way they are, because there are a lot of cases where they have up to 4 song titles and special notes in the text, so those need more room to spread out. But the LP charts just have the title, year, format and label, so I know they'll fit under the picture. Any thoughts? -- Ken (talk) 02:25, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

I think it's definitely worth trying! I totally agree that the current way of doing the discographies wastes a lot of space. We can tweak the size of the pictures in the gallery and the number of pictures in a row, so if we wanted to make the album covers bigger than the standard gallery thumbnail size, we can make them bigger and have 3 in a row instead of 4.
Ken, do you want to try converting the Sesame Street Discography page into a gallery? Then if we want, we can play with the image size. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 13:46, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I made a page of the first 5 years' worth of records over at Sandbox:Sesame Street Discography3. I took out the format because we're still finding 8-tracks and cassettes, and it's easier to just update the actual album's page. Other than that, I think it'll work. One question: Do you know what the default pixel size for gallery pictures is? I was just curious. The album pages are 300, and the SS discography is 150. -- Ken (talk) 05:55, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Awesome! I changed the gallery tag to this: <gallery widths="175px" heights="175px" perrow="3"> which sets the size at 175px. Feel free to adjust that size any way you want -- you can just change the widths and heights in that code. What do you think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:29, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Wow, that last one looks great! I definitely think it's an improvement. -- MuppetDude 18:45, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Cool! I didn't know you could make gallery pictures larger. I'm starting to think of some other pages I want to adapt this to. One other question: How would you figure out what the cassette-only titles would be, since they'd be rectangular? -- Ken (talk) 02:12, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
You set the height and width for the whole gallery, so you won't be able to have one gallery that has a particular shape for LPs and a different shape for cassettes. They'll just squeeze into the right shape however they can.
But if you've got a gallery that's just for cassettes, you could set the width and height separately -- something like widths="75px" heights="175px" or whatever -- and fit the frame size to the shape of the pictures. Play with it, and see what you can do! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:18, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, the reason I mentioned it was that on the current SS discography, the tape pictures are taller than the LP pictures, even though they're all supposed to be 150px, which is one reason I was thinking of reworking the page. So I was concerned about the Golden tapes between 1990 and 1994, because they look stretched compared to the LP and CD covers. But I just stuck a tape in the sandbox gallery, and it fit like it does in the regular gallery, so I'm okay with the size you have now. -- Ken (talk) 03:58, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
If everybody's okay with this, I'll start ripping it apart over the weekend. -- Ken (talk) 01:52, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

How much coverage? part 2

This might help -- I'm starting a sandbox page here: '''[[Sandbox:When to make pages]]'''. I'm trying to break down all the productions into categories that we can agree on. The thing that's been most confusing in this conversation is the question of what category the production is in -- Is Pajanimals the same as Unstable Fables, or Dinosaurs? Is Country Bears the same as MirrorMask? Etc. So I think first we should decide what the categories are. Then we can look at how much coverage productions in that category are currently getting, and ask questions about whether we're being consistent, and if we should give more or less. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:33, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Good breakdown, however I can see a potential problem with the shows you have under "Secondary Muppet productions" some of the shows you have there are not under the Muppet brand in the legal sense. The question is do we define a Muppet production in the legal sense meaning only the productions that Disney now owns, they are listed on the Henson site under "Muppet" or do we define Muppet productions by the type of puppets used or if they were produced while Jim Henson was alive or a complete different definition ?
Also don't The Cube, Youth'68, Time Piece and the other Henson short films belong under "Henson Company productions with no puppets / Creature Shop" Henrik (talk) 21:25, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I was thinking of the definitions that we came up with in Muppets vs Creatures -- symbolic, puppety characters made before 2004, or for a Muppet "universe" after 2004.
I think Jim Henson's films probably get their own category in this system. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:29, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Level of coverage for Henson Company projects

Continued from Talk:Frances (video)

The question has come up as to how much coverage we give to the non-Muppet work of The Jim Henson Company - there are some grey areas, and it seems several of us agree it's good to hammer out the details of what level of coverage we give the various Henson Company projects (especially since they are really starting to get back on their feet with a variety of projects in their post-Muppet era). The question is which projects merit individual character pages, actor/performer pages, merchandise, locations, culture, episode guides, etc.

As I see it there are several types of franchises connected with The Jim Henson Company:

1) Produced by the Jim Henson Company and features Muppets:
Ex: Fraggle Rock, The Animal Show, The Secret Life of Toys, Mother Goose Stories, Animal Jam, The Hoobs...
2) Produced by the Jim Henson Company and features tangible creatures from the Creature Shop:
Ex: Dinosaurs, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Aliens in the Family, Buddy, Farscape, Five Children and It, Gulliver's Travels...
3) Produced by the Jim Henson Company and features tangible puppets from the Creature Shop:
Ex: Pajanimals, Puppet Up!, Tinseltown, The Happytime Murders, S.U.D.S....
4) Produced by the Jim Henson Company and features other involvement from the Creature Shop:
Ex: Sid the Science Kid, MirrorMask, The Skrumps, Frances...
5) Produced by the Jim Henson Company and features NO involvement from the Creature Shop:
Ex: Dinosaur Train, Good Boy!, Sam Plenty, Unstable Fables, Family Rules, The Fearing Mind...
6) NOT Produced by the Jim Henson Company but features creatures or other tangible puppets from the Creature Shop:
Ex: Where the Wild Things Are, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall...
7) NOT Produced by the Jim Henson Company but features other involvement from the Creature Shop:
Ex: Batman Begins, Around the World in 80 Days, Arabian Nights, Pride, Are We There Yet?, Gosford Park...
8) NOT Produced by the Jim Henson Company and features NO involvement from the Creature Shop:
Ex: [[The Jim Henson Company Discoveries]], [[The Blue Elephant]]...

It's pretty clear that we give full coverage to all the Muppet projects (#1) and the Henson-produced projects with Creatures (#2). And we have a fairly clear policy on how much we cover projects not produced by Henson that feature characters/effects by the Creature Shop (#6 and #7). The real question really is how much do we cover the other stuff (#3, #4, #5 and #8). The Creature Shop's Pajanimals and Sid the Science Kid, and the Henson Company's Dinosaur Train and Sam Plenty -- what depth of coverage should we allow? -- Brad D. (talk) 22:11, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Great breakdown, Brad! I was confused on the talk page, but as usual, a clearer dissection helps a lot. Category 8 is easily dispensed with; right now there's not really any indication that there'll be any more Henson Company Discoveries, but if they are, they can all go on that page with minimal coverage (since Henson's involvement is itself little more than nominal as far as can be determined, basically an endorsement and name value) and the same with anything else that comes along (some might just be mentioned on our page for the Company itself). I liked your emphasis on tangibility, so I think three isn't an issue; some are practically Muppets in all but legal name (Pajanimals especially), some actually are recycled Muppets, others are different aesthetics, but the relevance is clear.
I still think it makes sense to treat #4 much the same way we do #6 in terms of characters, except perhaps fewer limits on human characters and such (as long as they make good, relevant pages and it's not trivia that could just be mentioned in passing elsewhere or dispensed with alltogether) since it is wholly Henson produced and they're in a shared universe, but no individual episode pages, songs, etc. If someone wanted to make pages for the four or five main Frances characters, assuming there was enough content to support it (I'm not sure there is), it would make sense to me (we have pages for the performers and voices), but of course we've even merged directly relevant Muppet character pages when we have nothing really to say or know next to nothing at present, so it would be subject to that rule.
I do kind of like Category:MirrorMask Merchandise but I can see problems in including every Sid the Science Kid party plate or microphone, so if we had to jettison or merge, that would be understandable (though I think one can make a stronger argument for it, in terms of genesis as well as the involvement of Gaiman and things like that and the deliberate attempt, based on Sony's request, to create a Dark Crystal/Labyrinth-style fantasy film from the Jim Henson Company). Even if we decide to drop the merchandise, I think art of books, like The Alchemy of MirrorMask, would be useful exceptions (and they can just go in non-fiction); if a Behind the Scenes of Frances book were to come out, it could also get a home, since the technical and behind the scenes aspects and breakdowns of the whys and the Henson involvement (MirrorMask book notes that the limited budget precluded the use of Creature Shop puppets or sets, and likely any HDPS tech, which is why it wound up with clay masks, human actors, and CG sets and characters).
Number five also seems fairly simple, one page for the project, none for characters (if there's anything to say and so far there usually isn't, it can be noted there), and pages for celebrity participants and other notable actors if they make for interesting or useful pages (anyone involved in more than one category five project, for example, regardless of fame), and we do have a category for , but that can be tricky and personally subjective. It can be argued if Liam Aiken is a celebrity but it's close, less so for [[Stephanie Denise Griffin]] and I'd definitely discourage creating pages for non-celeb Fearing Mind (which might have Creature effects but so little info is available that it's impossible to be sure) or Family Rules casts and the like (again, unless they were in another relevant project). Sam Plenty is offline and there's only one character page, Marion Weadle, so that can be merged or nuked and info parked (the fake biography of the fake actress is more interesting than the one sentence about Marion). Anything about Dinosaur Train characters, whoever they may be, can be housed on the page (voice actors tackled when they're announced; it makes a little more sense to me than Unstable Fables folks but it's probably safest to follow the rules on Category talk:Celebrities for inclusion). That's my take on it anyway (at this time of day at least!) -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:32, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, this is very helpful. In general, I'm more inclined to say no to the CGI than you guys are.
For me, the core of this wiki is: Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock. That's what the wiki is about. So I'm looking at this stuff, and saying: How close is this to Muppet Show and Sesame Street?
#3: I think the relationship of the puppet shows is obvious. Pajanimals is just as close as Mopatop's Shop or The Animal Show, and should get full coverage. So I think these are fine -- Pajanimals, Tinseltown, S.U.D.S. and all.
#4: CGI projects. I honestly don't see much of a connection between these projects and The Muppet Show / Sesame Street. They could be produced by any random animation house, and we wouldn't know the difference. I think there's a closer connection with The Book of Pooh or Johnny and the Sprites than there is to Sid the Science Kid or Frances. My preference would be: One page, no characters, no merchandise. Obviously, there's discussion of the project on pages that already exist, like Drew Massey or David Gumpel, but we don't create any new pages based solely on Sid. I think the MirrorMask connection to Labyrinth is incredibly tenuous; we only need one page for it. The information in the MirrorMask book can go on that page.
#5. Dinosaur Train, Good Boy, Family Matters, Unstable Fables. I feel the same way about these as I do about #4. No real connection to Muppets, could've been made by anyone. I think one page, no characters, no celebrities. I know that I've said before that pages like Liam Aiken are good, but now that I'm looking at it again, I don't really see the point. Like Andrew suggested -- the definition of "Celebrities" is pretty weak anyway. We might as well just talk about it on pages that we already have, like Molly Shannon.
#8. The Blue Elephant: Same as above, but more so. One page tops.
I think Brad is doing an amazing job on the HDPS wiki to document Sid the Science Kid and similar projects. So I'd like to leave that to our sister wiki, and keep this wiki focused on puppets. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:50, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree completely with both of your feelings on #3 (Pajanimals, Puppet Up!, etc), #5 (Unstable Fables, Dinosaur Train, etc), and #8 (The Blue Elephant, etc.). I think there is still some question how much cover we give to #4 (Sid the Science Kid, MirrorMask, etc).
Danny, while I'd buy that the items in #6 (Dinosaur Train, Unstable Fables) could be "produced by any random animation house, and we wouldn't know the difference"; I don't think you could say that for the Creature Shop's HDPS stuff (Skrumps, Frances) any more then you could say that a lot of their animatronics/effect work could have be done by any random effects house (Weta, ILM..) and you wouldn't know the difference.
I think Sid the Science Kid is closer to Dinosaurs than it is to Dinosaur Train.
  • Dinosaurs was a television show produced by the Jim Henson Company that featured tangible animatronic creatures created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop and performed by a body performer and a facial puppeteer.
  • Sid the Science Kid is a television show produced by the Jim Henson Company that features virtual digital puppets created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop and performed by a body performer and a facial puppeteer.
  • Dinosaur Train is a television show produced by the Jim Henson Company that is animated by an outside production company.
The only real difference between "Sid" and "Dinosaurs" is that with one the Creature Shop's contribution was tangible characters and with the other it was digital characters. While I wouldn't call Sid and his friends "creatures", I would not say they are the same as Buddy the T-Rex from Dinosaur Train or the 3 pigs in Unstable Fables. They are creations of Jim Henson's Creature Shop and brought to life by Creature Shop performers (just like the dragons in Arabian Nights, the Harp and Vex in Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story, portions of It in Five Children and It, and Tizzy the Bee on The Animal Show). So I think character/performer pages for HDPS shows fit our previous standards. As for all the other stuff (merchandise, episodes, songs, live-action segments, etc), I think the standards we use for the non-Henson produced Creature Shop projects (#6 and #7) would work fine for the HDPS stuff (#4). And I think that we should only give full coverage to Creature Shop projects produced by Henson and featuring tangible/physical creations (#1, #2 and #3). And leave the projects with no Creature Shop involvement (#5 and #8) with just one page. -- Brad D. (talk) 02:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Here's a breakdown of what, by Danny's comment, would be purged:
No. 4: if it applies just to characters. merch, etc. , then [[:Category:MirrorMask Characters]], [[:Category:MirrorMask Merchandise]] [[:Category:Sid the Science Kid Characters]] [[:Category:Skrumps Characters]] and [[:Category:Skrumps Songs]] (which only has "Dance Without Feet"); if people, then motion capture puppeteers [[Alon Williams]] and [[Arturo Gil]] and some redlink removal (the rest have physical puppet connections), MirrorMask cast people [[Jason Barry]], [[Dora Bryan]], [[Rusty Goffe]], Andy Hamilton, Lenny Henry, [[Stephanie Leonidas]], [[Victoria Williams]]
No. 5: Liam Aiken, [[Jon Cryer]], Greg Evigan, [[Stephanie Denise Griffin]], [[Tom Kenny]], [[Jesse McCartney]], Kevin Nealon, [[Nolan North]], Category:Sam Plenty Characters (which only has Marion Weadle), and probably merge the three individual Unstable Fables video titles into the main page (only the first one has much content anyway)
And while I don't agree with Brad that Sid is not at all different from Dinosaurs, it is true that the digital puppetry/mocap stuff isn't just "any animation house" material(which in contrast is exactly what Dinosaur Train and Unstable Fables are, sent off to India and Singapore), but does raise the point if we want to delete all HDPS character pages, or just those we aren't as excited about. That becomes a potential problem. I'm not hipped on the Harp myself but I like Tizzy the Bee and Horace D'Fly, but I guess they'd get a pass since they exist with physical Muppets and not isolated in another series? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 03:13, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the main difference between Sid the Science Kid/MirrorMask and Unstable Fables/Good Boy is the involvement of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
How would our coverage of Sid the Science Kid change if the show was being produced by, say, Warner Bros but with the effects still being done by Jim Henson's Creature Shop (rather being produced by The Jim Henson Company and the Creature Shop)? We would still have the Sid the Science Kid page (for the show); and we would likely also have Sid and May (the characters created and provided by the Creature Shop) and we'd have pages for folks like Drew Massey and Misty Rosas (the Creature Shop performers). We wouldn't have pages for merchandise, or songs, or the humans in the live-action segments, etc. So with the Jim Henson Company producing, I think the coverage should be about the same. Just like we have The Country Bears for the film and we also have a page for Tennessee O'Neil (a Creature Shop creation) and for Julianne Buescher & Jodi St. Michael (the Creature Shop performers); but we don't have pages for other merchandise, human characters, locations, songs, etc. from the movie. So I think Frances, MirrorMask and The Skrumps should be handled just like we've treated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or The Witches -- a page for the project, plus (if applicable) pages for the relevant items (characters/performers) provided by the Creature Shop.
Now for shows like Dinosaur Train (which has no Creature Shop involvement) - I think we would just need the single show page (to cover the Henson Company show); but we wouldn't have a page for Buddy the dinosaur (as he was provided by an outside company). Likewise for Good Boy - we would also just have the single movie page (for the Henson Company movie); but wouldn't have pages for the talking dogs (as they weren't provided by the Creature Shop), or the indivdual human characters, or other merchandise. -- Brad D. (talk) 04:42, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Here's one way of thinking about it: This is a wiki about the work of Jim Henson, not about the work of Brian Henson. I feel like things are being made now under the Henson name that aren't necessarily connected very closely to Jim Henson's work -- it's work done by his family. Heather Henson is a puppeteer who's done independent shows of her own -- she doesn't use Jim Henson Company funding, so we don't even think about including them on the wiki. When Brian or Lisa make shows, they use Jim Henson Company funding, so we feel like we should include them. That's a huge simplification, but I think the general point makes sense.

So my standard, more or less, is: Kermit is the core of the wiki, and the projects that we cover in detail should have some connection back to Kermit.

For example: Kermit knows Waldo and Horace D'Fly. Moosey Mouse was in The Muppet Christmas Carol, so Kermit knows Mopatop's Shop. Dark Crystal and Labyrinth were discussed in the Jim Henson Hour "Secrets of the Muppets" episode. Sam the Eagle was on The Animal Show. Puppet Up! characters were in From the Balcony. The lobsters from "Little Underwater Girl" on Dinosaurs were in The Jim Henson Hour. Etc.

There's a through-line for all those shows that can connect them back to Kermit. I don't know if that's true for Animal Jam, and it's not true for Pajanimals, but I'm willing to give them a pass for being puppets.

But there's no through-line for Sid the Science Kid. Kermit doesn't know those people, and he doesn't know anybody who knows those people. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 16:28, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

There's no through-line for the characters from Farscape, The Country Bears, Aliens in the Family, Tinseltown, Gulliver's Travels, Late Night Buffet, Rat, Jack and the Beanstalk, or Animal Farm either. I think the connection to Sid, Wishbone, Frances, Pixel, and Gerald is just as strong as the connection to Adolf Pigeon, Kwaltz, Mr. Tinkles, The Harp, and John Crichton. -- Brad D. (talk) 17:23, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
We could lose all of those and I wouldn't mind a bit. (With the exception of Tinseltown, where the puppet playing the lead character was also in Muppets Tonight.)
But, like I said, I'm willing to give puppets a pass. So I'm okay with Pajanimals and Animal Jam, and I'd extend the same courtesy to Aliens in the Family and Late Night Buffet. I don't see any particular reason to extend that to CGI characters. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:02, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you suggesting we trim out practically all our coverage of the work of the Creature Shop after 1990? If you are then that's a big change in what we cover here.
Personally, I don't care about the medium/tools/tricks used to create the illusion (physical puppet, animatronics, motion-capture, computer animation, cel animation, stop-motion) - I don't like discriminating based on that; and see the Creature Shop's contribution to creating Hoggle and Rygel equal to their work on creating Horace D' Fly and Sid.
I think drawing the line at needing to be physical/tangible characters could also prove problematic as the line between real and digital get's more blurred. Are we going to create pages for the various Wild Things in Where the Wild Things Are (bodies by the Creature Shop but with facial animations done by computers)? And a character like It was more CGI than he was puppet. And while Rygel was a physical puppet, their were also an all-digital HDPS Hynerian in the Peacekeepers Wars. I'm sure as the creature shop moves forward the line between real and CG will be even more blurred.
Also the puppets for Bobby Vegan (Tinseltown) and Howard Tubman (Muppets Tonight) were quite different. -- Brad D. (talk) 20:54, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I think I'm being pretty clear about what I'm suggesting. This is Muppet Wiki, not the Jim Henson Company Wiki. The focus of the wiki is the Muppets, a set of puppet characters.
We already limit our Creature Shop coverage -- as detailed on the Creature Shop Productions page. We don't have articles on characters from Cutthroat Island or Stuart Little 2. So what I'm suggesting isn't particularly drastic or out of the blue; it's just an extension of conversations that we've already had.
But now that we're talking about it, yeah, I wouldn't mind limiting it more. I don't think we need pages on It, or the Where the Wild Things Are creatures, or James Cromwell. There is essentially no relationship between those things and the Muppets.
So don't feel like you need to come up with more examples in order to convince me that these projects are worth covering in detail. I don't care about that stuff. I care about the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and the puppet projects. Everything else is secondary. We don't want to wipe every mention of them off the wiki -- but we could cover all the notable connections on one page per project, without losing anything of real significance. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:15, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, to clarify: Yes, this applies to Farscape too. We've had three-plus years to develop the John Crichton page; it hasn't progressed at all since June, 2006. I like Farscape a lot, but honestly, we don't really need it here. So you can't scare me by talking about getting rid of Farscape pages; I'd be happy with that. -- Danny@fandom talk]]) 21:19, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I understand - we're not "Creature Shop Wiki", but such a change would not be an insignificant switch in policy and scope. Are you suggesting that all Creature Shop projects that Jim himself was not directly involved with should be confined to just one page? That would mean loosing a lot of stuff - from characters, creatures, and celebrities to performers, designers, and actors.
Our coverage of Construction Site is really limited right now, but if a knowledgeable fan of the show did show come along and wanted to make pages for characters and episodes -- would we stop them?
Just because John Crichton (and a lot of our Farscape articles) aren't really well loved by our group of active contributors, does not mean we should totally cut the show from the wiki. I mean our coverage of CityKids, Big Bag, Mother Goose Stories, The Hoobs, Telling Stories, and even potions of Muppets Tonight is pretty thin too. Just because we haven't cared to update something, doesn't not mean we should "outlaw" someone interested from ever doing so. -- Brad D. (talk) 22:03, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm trying to be clear about what I'm suggesting, and I don't think it's a big policy change.

We cover puppets and Creatures, and not digital effects. That includes all of the puppet shows, from The Muppet Show down to CityKids and Construction Site. It includes Jim Henson Company productions that involve Creatures, including Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Jack and the Beanstalk. For non-JHC productions that involve Creatures, we have limited coverage, mostly pages for the Creatures and not for the humans.

We make two exceptions to that last guideline, and part of what I'm suggesting is that we can eliminate those exceptions. The exceptions are: Pages for the Farscape humans (and possibly episodes as well), and pages for celebrities in non-JHC Creatures films (like Ciarán Hinds or James Cromwell).

The other guideline is that we have limited coverage for non-JHC productions with only digital effects, like Gosford Park and Around the World in 80 Days. I am suggesting that we apply the same guideline to JHC productions. I don't really see any major difference between MirrorMask, Batman Begins and Mission to Mars, as far as their relationship to the Muppets. As the Creature Shop gradually moves towards becoming an all-purpose digital effects animation house, we get less interested in covering their work.

The Jim Henson Company sold the Muppets. Every year, they take another step towards becoming a generic family entertainment production house that happens to be owned by some of Jim Henson's children. We've already made the decision that digital effects by the Creature Shop are not sufficiently interesting to warrant full coverage on the wiki. I'm suggesting that we apply that already-existing standard to Frances and Sid the Science Kid, which are entirely digital effects. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:46, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure I'm following your exceptions -- What's the difference between John Crichton, Jareth, Perseus, Odin, Uncle Albert, and Sparky? -- They are all human characters in a Jim Henson Company production that involve Creatures - are you suggesting they all go? And would that also mean dropping the episode pages for Farscape, Dinosaurs, Aliens in the Family, and The StoryTeller: Greek Myths? What about merchandise pages for Farscape and the like?
You seem to be suggesting that we not give the "post-Muppet-owning" Jim Henson Company any preference over other companies. So what makes Pajanimals any different from The Book of Pooh; or Alt/Reality any different from Crank Yankers? The Jim Henson Company sold the Muppets. These new projects are just puppet shows produced by a "generic family entertainment production house that happens to be owned by some of Jim Henson's children". And for that matter, why are we even covering things like Where the Wild Things Are? It's just a film produced by Warner Bros with a few body suits provided by an all-purpose effects house owned by Jim Henson's children. -- Brad D. (talk) 02:39, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't think sarcasm gets us anywhere. The more examples you cite, Brad, the more likely Danny is to agree to delete those as well (since it fits exactly with his stated viewpopint if not yours, but he did make clear what distinctions he was making, outside of the people anyway), so it's not helping if you want to save certain pages. Since this debate seems kind of stymied right now in terms of personal preferences and belief of what deserves to be covered here, I'm hoping someone other than the three of us will join in before any long time changes are made, since this definitely seems to be an issue where more of our contributor base should be given a chance to respond (it would involve the deletion of hundreds of pages and is a significant enough change that it would have to be noted somewhere for those who've been absent awhile and wonder why a page they created or even whole categories which have been around awhile have poofed). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:53, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Brad, you keep bringing up puppet and Creature projects, when that's not the issue at all. We've already made a whole bunch of policies around puppet and Creature projects. I'm suggesting a couple of minor tweaks to those policies, which we can discuss separately, at a lower volume.

The main issue that we're talking about here is the level of coverage that we give to CGI projects produced by the Jim Henson Company -- Sid the Science Kid, Frances, The Skrumps and MirrorMask.

This came up because Sid is becoming a successful series, and if all goes well, it'll end up with a substantial amount of material -- merchandise, live appearances of Sid walk-arounds, celebrity guest voices, etc. If the show gets to be as successful as Bear in the Big Blue House was, then that's a lot of potential wiki material. My point is: Sid doesn't have a lot to do with the Muppets, and I don't think we need extra pages for Sid ringtones and the live mall show.

I think it's likely that other people aren't chiming in because there's so much verbiage to wade through in this conversation. If you go all the way to the top of the page, there's actually a lot that we're all agreeing on. So it might help for everyone else if we just boil this down to the basic question:

How much coverage should we give to Sid the Science Kid and Frances? We've already decided not to have pages for each episode and song, but we do have pages for the characters. I would like to take out the characters too, and just put everything onto one Sid the Science Kid page; Brad would like to have pages for everything, including merchandise.

Is that essentially where we're at right now? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:42, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Sorry if some of my remarks and questioning went overboard – just trying to grasp and test the proposed changes. But back to the topic of coverage that we give to CGI projects produced by the Jim Henson Company.
Danny, I think you mischaracterized my stance: I don't want to have pages for everything, including merchandise. While I do think Sid the Science Kid is akin to Dinosaurs (Jim Henson Company produced, Creature Shop supplied characters/effects), I do understand that Dinosaurs had more Muppet connections (puppet cross-overs, reportedly based on Jim's ideas, and tangible puppet characters was made by the then-current owners of the Muppets). So while you want just a single Sid the Science Kid page; I would like to have the main show page, plus individual pages any elements contributed by the Creature Shop (characters/performers/etc.).
We have a page for The Country Bears, and we have pages for Tennessee O'Neil and the other characters created by the Creature Shop. Plus we cover the various Creature Shop performers/designers/etc. involved in the production. We don't have pages for the human characters, or the songs, or the merchandise.
I think we could have a page for Sid the Science Kid, and have pages for Sid and the other characters created by the Creature Shop. Plus we could cover the various Creature Shop performers/designers/etc. involved in the production. We don't need pages for the live-action segments, or the songs, or the merchandise.
I feel Sid has as much to do with the Muppets as Tennessee O'Neil does. I feel Sid is just as connected to Kermit as Tennessee is. The production relationship makes Sid just as Muppety (to me) as Earl Sinclair, Rygel, or Bobby Vegan -- (Creature Shop produced/performed and Henson Company owned/controlled). So if we throw out Sid for not being Muppety enough, then I feel Tennessee O'Neil should go too (and sadly othat would take many other Creature Shop related items). If the show was done with physical animatronics costumes (like Dinosaurs was) we'd give it full coverage and wouldn't be having this conversation. So is it really just because he's made of pixels rather than foam-rubber? What if he was made of wood? Or was painted on cels? I feel the medium doesn't make him any more or less Muppet-related - Muppets have existed in many forms - puppets, animatronics, digital puppets, robotics, cel-animated, stop-motion, computer-animated, and everything in between. Heck the Doozers are coming in an all CGI series animated by an outside studio (are we going to cover episodes, songs and merchandise directly related to these non-Muppet Doozers' world?)
And aside from figuring out how to handle items related to these digital productions (such as Frances (video)), I also would like us to be able to develop some kind of policy page that defines what qualifies a production for coverage on the wiki (I think we kind of know the policy, but it's not written down anywhere) – not that we have to reinvent the wheel here - but it would be nice to have a published set of rules that we could hold a production up against to see and how much coverage it is entitled too. I'm still not sure how much coverage is expectable for some projects – and it seems from this discussion that our various personal preferences don't coincide on what is Wiki-material and what's not; so a clear set of "the rules" would be helpful. -- Brad D. (talk) 05:14, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
The medium *is* important, though. "If the show was done with physical animatronics costumes (like Dinosaurs was) we'd give it full coverage and wouldn't be having this conversation." That's very true, but the same could have been said when we deleted pages for Ford Prefect or Dr. John Dolittle; but they weren't animatronics, they were human characters in Creature Shop projects produced neither by Jim Henson nor even by the company after his death, so we deleted them as not being our focus. Cel animated characters have never counted as Muppets here (and we've had conversations and deletions as to how to accomodate those), so that's nothing new, nor do even the illustrated characters based on Muppety aesthetics but only appearing in book form, since they're not actually physical Muppets. Muppets have been *depicted* in other mediums, but that doesn't make Baby Skeeter or the clay Ernie a Muppet (and so the new Doozers show would basically fit into it the same way The Adventures of Bert and Ernie and the animated Fraggle did, adaptations of existing Muppet characters, designs, or concepts into a new form, and so they get full coverage just the way the comics and storybooks doo, yes, even if none of the previously established Doozers appear on the new series, or so it would seem to me). Anything outside of that has been examined in terms of relevance and connectedness (so we've deleted any one-shot Sesame cartoon characters or random film inserts, but kept regular segments and characters since they've achieved recurring sketch/cast member status in the way the human cast have). And while I was originally less ready to equate Unstable Fables with Sid and Frances (and still mostly am), the Dinosaurs argument you keep coming back to is just as flawed. Sid and Frances owe a great deal to motion capture as much as puppetry, and unlike Waldo C. Graphic and the like, aren't done in real time with physical actors or puppets. Earl Sinclair and the others existed in a physical space and the performance you see came from the puppeteers (with voices provided by others, true). With Sid and Frances, and unlike It or the creatures in Loch Ness and they like where they alternated, there's no way to be sure how much is actually puppetry and how much was key framed (as the term is) by animators (which is quite a bit) and they're placed in wholly CG rendered landscapes and basically it's not clear how much of it really is even digital puppetry, mocap, or animation, or all three (a problem which doesn't arise with Dinos or even things like Waldo or Horace).
So looking at it in that sense, while I'd like to keep and still allow creation of pages for the *performers* (especially since there's usually overlap, possibly even voices on the rare occasion someone other than the facial "animator" is involved, but we should probably save that one for a subsequent actors discussion as hinted above), I'm more inclined to agree with merging the character information. Looking at those pages, they're all just one sentence or two with a picture, performer info, and a link to the Henson Digital Wiki (which usually has the same, sometimes slightly less), so consolidation is slightly easy. And while I kind of like It and other Creatures with no Muppet through-road which are more clearly wholly digital puppets (sometimes alternating with physical puppets but otherwise without the messy mocap and more minimal keyframe issues if any), I can see deleting those too to stay consistent (and just transferring them to HDPS if they aren't already there). I also kind of like MirrorMask, but Danny's right in that the Creature Shop only did vague "additional rendering" and so none of the characters are actually Creatures; it wouldn't fit on HDPS though and I like having it here (especially the actors, given my own penchant for connections, and I've liked the fact that Henson Company and Creature Shop stuff has allowed for a loophole to the through-road), but it does become more of a value judgement, some of which we are making anyway (and need to, really, in terms of clarifying our scope), but moreso (since I can't stand Unstable Fables) so I'd reluctantly go with nuking the characters and merch. So that's my revised stance on the CG stuff (we can get back into anything else later). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 06:00, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the medium makes a difference. I keep saying that. Yes to puppets, no to digital effects. Why? Because the Muppets are puppet characters, and this is a wiki about Muppets. There have been cartoons and storybooks and comic strips and record albums about the Muppets, but they're not cartoon characters, or storybook characters, or any of that. They're puppet characters. This is a wiki about puppets.
I honestly couldn't care less about Tennessee O'Neil. You keep making arguments like that, and I find it baffling. It seems like you're trying to find an example that will make me say, oh, heavens, we can't make this guideline, because that means we'd lose Mr. Tinkles. I don't care about Creature Shop characters. We could lose Augra and Hoggle and I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I only care about Muppets. Stop threatening me with Creatures.
Also, as I keep saying: Creatures are not the issue here. For the purposes of this conversation, we're not making a distinction between Creatures in Henson productions and Creatures in non-Henson productions. We're talking about digitally created, non-puppet characters, namely: Sid, Frances, Skrumps, MirrorMask.
So, yes: It's because they're made of pixels. Ditto for cel animation. Ditto for a live-action no-puppet project like Family Matters and Sam Plenty. If it doesn't have puppets, then it's not Muppets, and it doesn't deserve coverage on Muppet Wiki.
Saying that we'll only cover Sid characters that are made by the Creature Shop doesn't make sense to me, because as far as I know, they're all made by the Creature Shop. But -- they're CGI, they're not Creatures, and they don't belong on this wiki.
I honestly don't understand why you're pushing for this so hard, Brad. You've got the HDPS wiki specifically so that you can document these characters to the extent that you feel they deserve. Why do they need to be here? Why is it so important to you that you're trying to throw innocent Creatures like Tennessee O'Neil under the bus in order to save them? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:18, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not trying to ruin people's fun here. I'm sorry if I'm coming across as if I'm saying "you have to let in all this HDPS stuff or you have to get rid of all Creature Shop coverage!" That's not my intent here. And I'm not trying to use the Creatures as a hostage in some sort of negotiations. I am somewhat playing devils advocate to help me better understand the extent of the changes -- I probably was a little strong with it all. Again, I'm sorry.
Now, While I personally love all of the work of the Henson Company and the Creature Shop and Jim Henson (and other non-Muppet/Henson related topics) and I personally enjoy editing articles relating to all those topics – we could lose all the HDPS and Dark Crystal and Creature Shop stuff and I wouldn't lose sleep over it (in fact it might make the wiki stronger if we were more focused). I agree with Danny, I care about Muppets – and that should be our main focus here -- this is "Muppet Wiki" after all not "Muppet, Creatures and Henson Wiki". There are other Wikis out there to cover those subject -- Farscape has one, The Dark Crystal has one, HDPS has one, there may be others, and I'm sure others could be started for topics/franchises if people are really interest in them. However, I'd hate to see us purge a bulk of the stuff here and I'd hate to loose a place to collaborate on Dinosaurs and Labyrinth articles. I just want our rules to be fair and uncomplicated -- not arbitrary rulings based on what's easiest to implement or what productions our top contributors personally like (or dislike).
Now if Sid was a real live kid in a traditional live-action show, then I would agree that covering him could be deemed unnecessary (just as articles on Ford Prefect and Dr. John Dolittle were); but Sid a Creature Shop creation (whether he's made of foam, fleece, fur, feathers, rubber, robotics, wood, metal, pixels, or paint) and he is a puppet (even if the object being manipulated by the puppeteer only exists in a computer and on the screen). To me, that makes him as much a creature as Earl Sinclair was. This is a wiki about puppets. A puppet is defined as "a representational figure manipulated by a puppeteer" and that sounds like what Sid is to me - and that's whay they call the HDPS "digital puppetry". Is being a completely tangible object that exists in physical space a requirement of being a puppet? Horace and Waldo show that tangibility doesn't make you more or less of a Muppet. The whole thing is an illusion, and none of it's real. So I struggle to what makes Sid any different from a creature like Earl Sinclair or Tennessee O'Neil - one is made an elaborate animatronic puppet made by the Creature Shop and one is a digital puppet made by the Creature Shop - neither is a "Muppet" (and unlike the soft puppet characters of Pajanimals who are Muppets in all but legal name, these Creature Shop creations have little Muppet connection aside from their producers/performers). I know Tennessee and Earl were tangible (although on film they are just as tangible as Sid is).
According to their website the Creature Shop does several types of character works – designs, soft puppets, full-body puppets, animatronics, and HDPS. We've said that their soft puppets and full-body puppets (Animal Jams, Pajanimals) are Muppets in all but legal name. But why are we choosing to cover animatronic characters but not HDPS characters? So it just seems arbitrary to being picking one and not the other - neither are Muppets.
Again, what I am really pushing here is for our policies to be consistent, fair and simple - not just the result of a few core contributors picking and choosing what this wiki covers based on what we personally like and don't like. Nor do I want our ruling here to be based on what's easiest or means the least disruption or work in implementing. Nor do I want us to sit here while subjectively rating individual things as Muppety or not Muppety enough. I'd like us to develop a simple, logical, and impartial definitions and/or set of rules that clearly states what we cover on the wiki – and reduce the arbitrary exceptions. I think it would help to have something outlines what this Wiki covers; it would make our mission more clear, focused and strong. That's really all I'm pushing for – simple, logical and consistant rules - sorry if I've come across as a jerk.
Also, for the record, Sid is done in real time. Misty Rosa and Drew Massy have even preformed full scenes of Sid live in front of a live audience with real-time results projected on the studio monitors. There are no clean-up animators on the show that manipulate the data captured in post. The only post-production "clean up" is that they allow the computer to re-render each frame in HD with richer textures and lighting (as the computer can't handle outputting all that detailed processing in real-time). They don't use the HDPS to capture a "rough draft" and then polish it or tweak it with key frame animators. The movement of the Sid characters (and even the cameras) is all done live in real time - with no touch up (if they don't get it right, they do another take). The episodes are produced in 2-3 days just like any live-action sitcom (all the post-production work is the same you'd see on a live action show - editing, sound mixing, etc.) So yes, the characters are not superimposed on video of the physical world (like Waldo was), but the captured performances are not altered (although some of the early HDPS stuff was, including Waldo and the bugs in Muppet Treasure Island. The breakthrough that made Sid possible was being able to get the real-time results without needing to clean it up later). -- Brad D. (talk) 08:41, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I've been following this from work, but wanted to wait to give my view until I got home. As I see it Sid and Frances productions should count as a valid addition when it comes to characters and performers, but I don't think that merchandise, episode guides and those things should be added. My reasoning behind this is that the technology behind these productions are based on normal puppetry, were as the unstable fables and that stuff should not count other than one page mention. Now I can follow Danny's point about the wiki being based on the Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock. But I don't think we can limit the wiki to those things at this point, and I can't see that it hurts to mention other productions that uses the same technology as the earlier stuff. We should still mainly focus on the three main brands Muppets, Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock, but just as Sam and Friends are the ancestors to the three brands, then Sid and Frances are kinda like the future in the family line. Personally I don't care about these new productions from the Henson company, but they do deserve some coverage on the wiki. But in depth coverage should be done on the HDPS wiki, including any merchandise and episode guides for those productions. Henrik (talk) 11:48, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
So I just took all of the character and video pages and merged them into the Sid the Science Kid page. It doesn't even make a particularly long page. Can somebody remind me what we're even arguing about? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:36, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Okay, Brad just linked all the pictures in the gallery to the character pages. My point was, actually, that we don't need those character pages. Those pages are examples of the "repeat info from the only linked page" thing. We don't have anything to say about this show that can't be said on the Sid page. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:42, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Let me just throw a few things out there. I find everything on the Muppet Wiki just fascinating, as it all touches back to Jim Henson and a company he created. I only just discovered the sister wiki the other day, and thought it was really cool. Now I must admit that the very long conversation was hard for a blonde like me to follow, but here are a few thoughts from me.
I think that a main page for the digital shows like Sid with clear links to the sister wiki pages for specifics like episodes, songs, merchandise, would be wonderful. It would fall under what I think the wiki should be about: easy accessibility of information. The information is still there, for anyone to find. If I want to find information about Francis PVCs or Sid Videos, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for me to find the information pointing me over there. And for those who think it's not Muppety enough, it's not on the Muppet Wiki, but for those who think it is all connected, it's still on a Henson wiki, and once again the information was easy to find.
As for the creature shop stuff that is, as you guys are calling it, "tangible", I flipping love those pages. I find it utterly fascinating that the Creature Shop created some of the Bears in the Bear Country Jamboree, or that they built a walk around Coca-Cola Polar Bear for appearances at the Museum in Atlanta. Personally, I would be sad to see the information dumped, purged, or moved. One of my favorite games to play on the wiki is just clicking random links on pages, and having a whole trail of interesting stuff I might not have known, and find myself winding up after five or six clicks on something totally random and amazing. From the puppets of Carnival to Category:Illustrated Characters, I think its all wonderful, and as long as I can easily click along and discover new things, I'm happy. I hate to see things get spliced up too much (I've never been to the Dark Crystal wiki you guys talked about, and frankly think anything of technical interest to me would be on the Muppet Wiki). I hate to see us get to bogged down in rules and what not, but understand that guidance is needed as well. But I think the most important thing is making information easily accessible.
I also love the page with all the characters right there Danny. It gets the information to me, and if I want to go further, I can head to the other Wiki.-- Nate
Yeah, I'm not talking about taking this information off the wiki. We should definitely have a page about Unstable Fables, Frances, all that stuff. But as I just demonstrated with Sid, we could have one good, comprehensive page instead of 12 boring stub pages. That's not less coverage; it's better coverage, because all the relevant information is in one place, and you don't have to click all over the wiki to find it.
Now that I'm thinking about it, this would also be good for single-episode Fraggle Rock characters, like the four characters in "Mokey, Then and Now". We have pictures and descriptions for each of the four supporting Fraggles in that episode -- but none of that information is on the episode page. Why not have one good page instead of five dull ones? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:58, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for linking the Sid characters, I didn't realize you were in the midst of merging. Once I saw that, I went and unlinked them.
I agree that the specific articles on the Sid characters were weak -- they simply repeated the information given on the page that links to them (plus a picture). And so, for that reason, I support the merge. But what if someone wanted to make an in-depth article on Sid or his dog Philbert? There's potentially a lot that could be said about these Creature Shop creations. What about a characters like Pixel, Dawn and Skrumpy?
The discussion is about how much coverage we give to the non-Muppet work of the Jim Henson Company. We all seem to agree on stuff like Unstable Fables, and Dinosaur Train; and there's still some debate on the HDPS stuff. However I'm still not 100% clear on how much coverage some of the other Henson Company stuff gets. While we're pretty in-depth with Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, Dinosaurs, and even Farscape -- how would we feel about stuff like Buddy characters, Brats of the Lost Nebula characters, Construction Site songs, Donna's Day episodes, Mother Goose Stories songs, CityKids writers, DogCity animators, S.U.D.S actors, Five Children and It culture, Gulliver's Travel locations... Where is the line? -- Brad D. (talk) 22:15, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I think some of it depends on how much there is to say. A lot of the time in these conversations, my role is to say: it doesn't need a page just for that. We sometimes have a tendency to use individual pages to make lists, when it's actually more helpful and informative to put everything on one page. Then, as we bring together more information, it can branch out to more pages.
I think Mopatop's Shop has been a good example of this. It started out as just one page, with an episode list. As we've got more information about individual episodes, we've created episode pages -- but only for the episodes where somebody has written a full summary, with credits and a cast list. On the other hand, at the moment, all of the information that we have on Construction Site fits neatly on that page. There's no point in making individual pages for each of those characters, because we don't have anything to say about them that isn't already on that page. The guideline that I keep coming back to is: Every click should give you more information than what you had before.
The list that you mentioned is pretty widespread, but I think we know more or less what to do with each of those. For Buddy, we'd do character pages for the Creatures and not for the humans. Brats characters would be fine, if we had a lot to say about them, but there weren't many episodes and people don't have good access to them, so we could probably say everything on one page. For Donna's Day, I think the Muppet portions were just one sketch in any given episode, and I don't think there were that many episodes, so we could probably cover that on one page too.
In general, I think there are two things we're talking about when we say "coverage". One is how much information we should have about something, and the general answer is: As much as is reasonably interesting. The other is how many pages we should make, and the general answer is: The smallest number that you need in order to organize the information in a readable way. Does that work as a general rule? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:19, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
In general I agree with you. When we create an article we should have something to say - we shouldn't create pages just to fill categories. And I 'm not about to start creating stubby articles for Constuction Site or Brats of the Lost Nebula just because I have a character's name & performer and can find a picture of them. When we create a page, we should be creating an article with meaningful information. The merging of the stubby Sid characters I agree with - those articles were weak. But I'm not sure what you mean when you say we should only cover "as much as is reasonably interesting" - what you find interesting may be different from what I find interesting. I could create (what I think is) an interesting and in-depth article all about Sid's dog Philbert. Would that be appropriate?
Now you said that for Buddy, we'd do character pages for the Creatures and not for the humans. Why is that? We cover both Creatures and the human characters for Labyrinth, The StoryTeller, Gulliver's Travels and Five Children and It. Why not Buddy? What about Jack and the Beanstalk? Would it be a waste of my time to write a detailed character article about Jack Robinson?
I recently got the anniversary DVD for Gulliver's Travels and was thinking of expanding some of our coverage of the film. We already have some characters - but would that be acceptible if I worked to create detailed and interesting pages for some of the various locations, cultural items, and other human and non-human characters?
I also saw you merged all the Pajanimals information onto one page. Why was that? While those individual articles were by no means the greatest articles on the wiki, they were as good as (if not better than) many articles we have for songs and characters from Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, or Dinosaurs. In your opinion, could Appollo and Squacky ever be developed into interesting stand-alone articles? Or is coverage of those characters confined to just the one page?
I agree there is a lot of stubby stuff out there that could be cleaned up - and I'm not about to go around creating more - but I'm still not sure what stuff is "off limits" and a waste of time to even think about developing. -- Brad D. (talk) 07:56, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

I was just thinking why should the wiki cover the productions in the group #5 (Dinosaur Train, Good Boy, Unstable Fables and so on). Don't they fall into the same category as the Sesame Workshop productions Electric Company, Dragon Tales, 3-2-1 Contact ? From what I can see those productions only have a page because theres been references, connections, special appearances that are Sesame Street related. Henrik (talk) 14:56, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Brad, at this point even I don't know what we're talking about anymore. You keep bringing in more and more examples, and I'm losing track of what the conversation is even about. I'm sure that other people are lost as well.
I agree that it's important that we figure this stuff out, but in order to do that, I think we need to choose one question and discuss it in depth, without bringing in tons of other examples and questions. Is there a way for us to start over and create a new thread with a specific question? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:45, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

moving further conversation to the top

User creation log

I've noticed a lot of new people joining lately, because I see something called the User Creation Log in Recent Changes. Is this a new way to join? I'm confused because normally somebody starts editing, and then they get welcomed, but I don't see any wiki activity by these new people, other than just setting up a new user account. -- Ken (talk) 01:35, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, we just upgraded to the new version of the wiki software (MediaWiki 1.14) last week, and that's a change in the software. It now tells us in Recent changes when a new user creates an account. The user creation log has always existed; it just didn't show up in RC. I'm not crazy about the change myself.
I was starting to leave welcomes for the new people, but then I thought that maybe it was better to wait for them to make an edit. That way, they get the automatic welcome message, and it's actually meaningful -- they're getting thanked for making an edit, which is more personal and interesting than just thanking them for creating a user name. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:51, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Spitting Image

moved from Talk:Teddy Ruxpin
Speaking of Jim Henson getting involved with another tv show. The Museum of Broadcast Communications website claims Jim Henson turned down to take part on UK puppet show "Spitting Image".
"The pair quickly decided the show should use puppets, which, like the Muppets, required two operators, for the face and one arm. Jim Henson, in fact, turned down an offer to collaborate on the puppet workshop. The first puppet designs were bogged down by expensive, heavy electronics needed just to make their eyes move. After several months without any film being shot, Fluck cobbled together a simple mechanism using steel cable and air bulbs. They also picked up Tony Hendra of the National Lampoon (and later of Spinal Tap) as a writer, and their producers: Jon Blair, a producer of current affairs programming, and John Lloyd of the Not the Nine O'Clock News. Spitting Image, the pilot's title, exhausted the resources of several backers, including computer executive Clive Sinclair, before it was completed at a cost of 150,000 pounds, a record for a light entertainment program. Source : The Museum of Broadcast Communications"
Hope this helps-- MuppetDanny (talk) 13:56, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Test site -- temporary talk page message snafu

Hi guys! There's a temporary problem with talk page messages -- I'm going to get it cleared up by tomorrow, but I want you to know what's up. Tor, one of our engineers, is helping me test a new feature. I asked him to set up a test site for me using Muppet Wiki as the base, so that I could see it working in content that I'm familiar with. He set up the site, tor5.wikia, using the live Muppet database.

Now I've found that there's a weird side effect -- when we get user talk page messages, that message is showing up both on Muppet and on Tor5. So it looks like you're getting the same message in two places -- Muppet and Tmp (the sitename for Tor5). We didn't realize that was going to happen. I'm going to get Tor to take the test site off the live database, which will make this go away -- but he's in Poland, so it may not happen until morning, Poland time. So -- please excuse the inconvenience tonight; I'll get it taken care of as soon as I can. Thanks! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:58, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Okay, this is fixed now... Please let me know if you see anything strange! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 15:32, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I mean, y'know... stranger than usual. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 15:32, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

front page news

Since we started including pictures on the right side of the news on the front page, it's created a difference in how people are seeing the length of the news in relation to the length of the pictures depending on your screen resolution. A majority of our visitors are using the current web standard, 1024x768, so they see a more narrow column for the news and images than people with a wider resolution. I just set a fixed width for that section so everyone should be seeing it the same way, and no one should be seeing too many pictures for the short length of the text, or vice versa. Do we care enough that everyone sees the same thing, or should we go back to the way it was before I made the edit where the width is dependant upon your screen resolution? —Scott (talk) 18:39, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

It's a neat idea; I don't know if it's better or not. The fixed width seems small to me. Is that the largest it can be to fit 800x600? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:46, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
That's the largest it can be to fit 1024, yeah. Another option I like is to scale the entire page to 1024 which is what our Marvel, DC and Delorean wikis do. Which has almost become a web standard these days. Not many sites, other than newspaper sites, don't have a fixed-width template. —Scott (talk) 18:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Front page news - brad

1280 view, fixed width

I have a wider resolution (so I'm not in the majority) and it seems too narrow to me (there's a lot of whitespace). The fact that the pictures column and the news column didn't always line up perfectly at the bottom didn't bother me (they still don't line up perfectly for me -- the text is 10 lines, two full news items, longer than the pictures column). But that's below "the fold" for almost all browsers, however everyone with a wide browser now has a somewhat off-putting narrow news column with lots of white space. -- Brad D. (talk) 19:08, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Yup, that's what you're going to see in a wider view. So, my question is, what's more important: everyone seeing the same length in the news column, or no white space on the sides for the minority that have a wider view? —Scott (talk) 19:46, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the length of the news column matters much at all. I think it's better to have more text than more pictures, so probably err a little bit on the side of more text. But I'd rather have a little white space below the last picture than have the fixed width. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:00, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

1280 view, full width

Okay, I moved it back. As an addendum to Brad's screenshot, here's what the news section looks like in 1280 (which now just recetly matches the percentage of people viewing the site in 1024). —Scott (talk) 20:55, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... maybe we should move some pictures to the format of Follow That Bird DVD. There is a lot of space. We could put new DVDs there since there are a lot coming out. Then, we can fit pictures for the Latest News section. Webkinz Mania "It's Me!" blahblahblah! Edit Like Mania 21:17, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
That's actually a different issue, Webkinz Mania "It's Me!" blahblahblah!, since images on the right doesn't affect the ratio of text to pictures in the way it does when they're on the right. —Scott (talk) 21:22, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I know it doesn't effect but I think we should put new DVD releases or special ones with the format of Follow That Bird. We can fit in more images for news in the Latest News section. Also, I am Webkinz Mania (just made a siggie!) Webkinz Mania "It's Me!" blahblahblah! Edit Like Mania 23:48, 17 April 2009 (UTC)


I've started experimenting with a Muppet Wiki Twitter account, sending out occasional messages about cool stuff on the wiki. You can check it out at I've been sending one or two messages a day, mostly with something news-y. It's basically another way to do promotion for the wiki. It's a little mysterious how people find people to follow on Twitter -- some of it is through seeing who your friends follow, some of it is just stumbling across your messages when you're searching on Twitter. Anyway, this gives us a new little avenue to reach out to people who might not know about the wiki. Feel free to start following, and tell people about it. It's been a fun thing to play with so far. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:58, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Quality Articles

I have to tell some people that I nominated Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the quality nominations. Webkinz Mania 22:26, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

bottom of page


Hey everybody! It's bothered me a lot for some time that our anchor links on articles that have citations in the footnotes have never worked properly. So it finally occurred to me that I can use a CSS trick to add some space to the bottom of the page, thus making the links go directly to the line you want to see. That's a big help on pages where there's a big list of citations and clicking the link for [8] takes you to the line for [2]. I don't think people pay attention to those numbers and they're just expecting to be taken to the line they clicked on. When you get to the bottom, and forget what number you're supposed to be reading, you have to scroll back up and find what you were reading, look at the number again, and click back down to the wrong space again. So I added 300px of space to the bottom of every page to solve that problem. The one drawback is that if you often CTRL-END to the bottom of a page, you're just seeing the Wikia spotlights and then some space below it. Do a lot of people do that, and is it important what you see when you do that? Please post here so we can figure out the best solution. —Scott (talk) 17:07, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, Scott and I were just talking about this... I really don't like it. I use Ctrl-End all the time, to jump down to the categories -- and when I do that now, the thing I see is the spotlights and the Wikia footer, instead of article text and categories.
It doesn't bother me at all that the footnote doesn't appear as the first line when you click on it. I think this experience is more confusing than helpful -- you don't even see at first glance that there's a footnote there, because your eye is drawn to the colorful faces in the middle of the screen. I think it's actually harder to spot the footnote in that case.
So -- I very rarely say this -- but maybe we could take an idea from Wikipedia. :) They have a system of doing footnotes that highlights the footnote that you've clicked on. Check out the footnotes on the Muppet page... How do they do that, and can we do it? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:20, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I have never used Ctrl-End to get to the bottom of a page before, so while that's not an issue for me, it obviously is for the people who do. The footnotes thing has bothered me, too, and I seem to recall we once tried adding space at the blank bottom of the article which didn't really work. But I quite like the Wikipedia solution. -- Peter (talk) 17:37, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I asked Kyle, who's my resident expert on everything, and he found the code in Wikipedia -- I just added it to our css, and it works! Go check it out. We should probably add this to the common.css for all of Wikia; it's helpful. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:11, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, that's great! I'll take the space out. Just out of curiosity, what do you press CTRL-END so often for? —Scott (talk) 22:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Yay! I'm really glad this came up, because figuring out how to do the highlighting on the footnotes is something that's occurred to me off and on for a long time, but never strongly enough to make me go and actually find out how to do it. I think it's much better with the highlighting, so this is great.
And I use ctrl-end to jump down to the category tags at the bottom of the page. I don't know how everybody else gets to the categories, but that's how I do it. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:54, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

new welcome tool

Hey all! So, Danny came up with a great idea that recently went into production with Wikia's techs and was launched last week. This community's always been really passionate about keeping the lines of communication open with new people and making sure they know how to get around the wiki, so that's always been part of our philosophy on other wikis. Unfortunately, not a lot of wikis thought it was as important, and some communities were losing out on great new editors because they would come to a wiki and not know what to do.

So there's a new tool now that welcomes new users in a way that doesn't feel so much like a robot is doing it. About a minute after someone new makes an edit User:Wikia leaves a message for them and signs it with the most recently active admin's signature. We've been seeing really good results on wikis where it's been tested, and the feature is going live Wikia-wide probably this week. At first we thought we would opt-out because we've always been right on top of doing the welcomes ourselves, but User:Wikia works so well, we're thinking it would be a great thing to have during those times when new people don't get a welcome after a few hours, or even a whole day.

The feature is turned on and we can start wacthing it do its thing. One thing we'll have to do is make a slight shift in the way we monitor Recent Changes. Traditionally, we manually look over the list of red talk page links, look at their contributions and decide whether or not to welcome them or revert their vandalism. With User:Wikia at work, we'll have to look instead for red user page links and make our judgement call from there. So, not a big change. And if a vandal gets a welcome from User:Wikia, it's not a big deal so long as we catch them, a process we keep up with now anyway.

So, feel free to toss out any questions or report bugs here. —Scott (talk) 23:30, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually, it creates a user page too, so: no red user links. There's one other way to see new contributors -- if you click "show bots" on RC, then you'll see the welcomes -- they have an edit summary that says "welcoming new contributor". There's also just plain ol' not recognizing somebody's name, but obviously that doesn't work all the time. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:54, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, sorry 'bout that. I didn't realize a userpage was being created, too. So, for checking for vandalism, it just occured to me that we can use this link Special:Contributions/Wikia. —Scott (talk) 23:56, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, that too. I was hoping that I could figure out how to set it in preferences so that I always see bots, but I can't figure it out... Dumb ol' MediaWiki. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:59, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
I just added Special:Contributions/Wikia to my personal sidebar. If folks are interested in doing that themselves, feel free to take a look at my custom page: User:Scarecroe/Monaco-sidebar. —Scott (talk) 00:03, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I figured out another way to do it -- right now, my bookmark goes to Special:Recentchanges. I can change that bookmark to: -- the &hidebots=0 sets it to show the bot edits. Then I can scan down for the edit summary, or look for Nb on the left side... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:16, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm also gonna make my own sidebar; that's a good idea. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:18, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, that works great. I put this in my sidebar:
*|Recent changes
That gives me a Recent changes button that shows bots. Neat! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:21, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Whatever works best for you. The tiny little bs don't stand out for me as much as redlinks, so I'm sticking to Special:Contributions/Wikia. —Scott (talk) 00:45, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, as long as we've got options. I'd forget to click on the contributions thing, but I'm always looking through RC. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 00:51, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
So, we've got ways that work for us. Are we now looking to ask the other admins to add a step to their routine? They either have to click Show Bots and refresh RC or use a special link to look for new users. Can we not list User:Wikia as a bot so everyone always sees it in RC? —Scott (talk) 01:13, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Sony Wonder VHS and DVD

If anybody has any late Sony Wonder editions of Sesame Street VHS's and DVD's (including Elmo's World), please contact me on my talk page. I'm trying to document all of the reissues, and the numbering system gets really weird before, during, and after the transition to Genius, so I can't tell from looking in library listings which company put them out without actually looking at them. If anybody's interested, let me know, and I'll explain more. -- Ken (talk) 02:48, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm also finding what appears to be confusing numbering on the Random House videos. So let me know if you have any of those, too. -- Ken (talk) 03:55, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Plush, Dolls and Toys

In another of my occasional efforts to standardize the merchandise pages, I've noticed that we currently use the words "plush" and "dolls" to describe the same thing. The categories are Muppet Plush, Sesame Street Plush, Fraggle Rock Plush, etc., but within those categories, we have both Muppet dolls (Fisher-Price) and Muppet plush (Disney Store).

Personally, I don't really care which one we use -- I go back and forth between them from moment to moment. But I'd like to pick one and make everything fit that, so... which one should we use?

While we're at it, I wouldn't mind combining some of the toy-related Merchandise categories. We've got Muppet Toys, Muppet Plush, Muppet PVC Figures and Muppet Games, and I find myself going back and forth between these categories whenever I'm working on toy stuff. I think these could all be combined into a more inclusive Muppet Toys category without much heartache. Ditto Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, etc. What do people think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:20, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I've always thought of "plush" as stuffed animals, and "dolls" as human-like figures. In the Disney world, plush would be a big stuffed Mickey Mouse, and a doll would be a Barbie-like toy of Cinderella. But Muppet stuff gets complicated, because there are also hand puppets. To me, those are more plush than dolls, except that the Miss Piggy hand puppet actually says "doll" on it. Other than that, I would use plush.
Maybe Troy has some more thoughts on this. He's a used toy dealer. -- Ken (talk) 06:39, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
We covered some of the problems with dolls as a term/mass grouping some time ago here, mostly because it was a weird scattershot collection. A page like the Fisher-Price one is a mixture of plush toys and puppets. Only the Barbie-style dress-ups at the bottom are more doll-like (and Scooter a little) but even they're stuffed. Right now, it's doublecategorized in plush and puppet toys. I'm a little confused by that page, in fact, since it's such a random assemblage, and Fisher-Price's Muppet Show Stick Puppets gets a separate page. Either way, plush is a more accurate designation for the mixture of dress-ups, puppets, and cuddlies currently on that page. But they're really toys, plain and simple.
I think Muppet Games is diverse enough to be worth keeping seperately, and definitely action figures (thanks to Palisades), but right now Category:Muppet Toys is actually just those which aren't otherwise categorized and with a see also to PVCs but to none of the other related categories, except through the overarching merchandise. I'm not sure just dumping everything together would work since there's at least one or two as mentioned where it would just make it harder to navigate, and I know you don't really want a "Miscellaneous Toys" category, but right now, what we call Muppet Toys is just a minute selection.
Most visitors probably aren't looking for Muppet dartboards and navigating to the right place when looking for stuffed animals or playsets is difficult. And then some of the items in individual categories are arguably not toys but collectibles; I don't mean Palisades (which even when collected, or done so by Muppet fans or *toy* collectors) but things like the photo puppet replicas, which aren't really intended to be played with and which may or may not involve plush at all, but they certainly don't fit the standard definition of stuffed toys.
So it's probably a matter of going through all the relevant categories and figuring out what to do. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 10:19, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree that a Master Replicas photo puppet shouldn't be categorized as a plush/doll/toy. They are designed to be display items and are really more collectible than playthings. They are replicas of the official photo puppets - these are not just really nice stuffed animals, these are photo puppets. -- Brad D. (talk) 10:38, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, this is very helpful. I agree with lots of things people said, so I'll get those out of the way first: I agree, photo puppets aren't toys; they should be in collectibles. I agree that the Muppet dolls (Fisher-Price) page should be split up into beanbags, Dress-Up Dolls, etc.; it's just something we haven't done yet. You're right about lumping in Games -- I withdraw my suggestion of Games.

And most of all, I agree that what we're now calling Muppet Toys is a weird catch-all for the stuff that isn't in any other category. I know I keep nudging these categories and playing around with them, expanding and contracting them, but I think that's part of the process of figuring out how to organize all this information. As we keep growing and adding more pages, parts of the system that made sense a year ago don't make sense anymore.

Another piece, which I think we can fix at the same time, is the confusion with Muppet Collectibles, Muppet Art Collectibles, and Muppet Figurines. I created Figurines two years ago, and Nate created Collectibles and Art Collectibles last year, and I don't think any of them work -- they still confuse me. It makes more sense to put those together, and then that helps us figure out the difference between Collectibles and Toys.

So then there are two big groups that we're talking about -- Toys / Plush / PVCs on one side, and Collectibles / Art Collectibles / Figurines on the other side. My suggestion is to combine the groups into a Toys category, and a Collectibles category.

The basic distinction between Toys and Collectibles is that Toys are meant to be played with, and Collectibles are meant to be looked at. When you're dealing with toy collectors, that distinction breaks down a little -- a PVC figure could be a toy or a collectible, depending on whether you intend to play with it or put it on display.

So I think it makes sense to add another element to the distinction, which is: Collectibles are fragile; Toys aren't. A PVC figure goes in Toys because you can display it, but it's also possible to play with it without breaking it. You can't play with a ceramic figure, a porcelain doll, a poster or a snowglobe; those are designed to be looked at and occasionally dusted. That's why the photo puppets also go in Collectibles -- you can play with them, but they're expensive and sort of fragile, so you wouldn't.

So that takes care of the category distinction -- now on to the articles. Within the Toys category, what do we call a doll and what do we call plush?

My suggestion is: Plush is fuzzy and squishy; dolls are plastic. Now, lots of toys have both fuzzy and plastic parts, but I think it's possible to say that a plush toy is mostly fuzzy with occasional plastic parts, while a doll is mostly plastic with occasional fuzzy parts.

For example: Muppet Treasure Island dolls are actually plush -- it's mostly fuzzy and soft, with plastic eyes. Ditto the stuffed animals and beanbags on Muppet dolls (Fisher-Price). On the other hand, Muppet dolls (Mattel) and the Santa Kermit doll are dolls, because they have plastic heads. Muppet puppets (Ideal Toys) are plush, Muppet dolls (Sababa) are plush, Muppet High dolls are dolls. And so on.

What do you guys think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:12, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

So far, it all makes perfect sense to me, especially merging the collectible categories and renaming those pages mentioned. With a clear definition, as you suggested, both a Muppet Plush and Muppet Dolls category would work, but the latter would be pretty small (and I think, as mentioned before, we'd really need to leave out colorforms kits and paperdolls and such), so it's another area where a merged toys would make sense.
I think my biggest concern is the very large Category:Muppet Action Figures, which due to Palisades, would kind of drown out everything, so I think that needs to be kept. We could just use a see also, but it would be nice to find a way to use Muppet Toys as a parent category while including any subcats which are justifiable and make sense, but not otherwise. I'm not sure that's doable, though, so it may have to be a mixture of categories and articles (as we've gradually begun doing more often but which still looks messy).
And looking around, there's things like Category:Puppet Toys, which is completely uncategorized and thus can't be found at all when browsing merchandise (and which is basically a mixture while most of the others categories are by franchise/universe, but strangely excludes Muppet Workshop Puppet Kits and includes things like plastic Fisher-Price figures with a stick, which were called puppets but were really plastic toy figures).
I'll look at it some more later, but we're definitely making good headway towards figuring out a better way to handle this stuff and clean up some of the odd old messes. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 07:12, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I haven't mentioned Action Figures, because I agree they should be kept separate. Those are actually in a different format than the other pages -- if they were formatted like the rest, it would just be one big "Muppet action figures (Palisades Toys)" page. I don't want to reformat them, because I think those pages work great the way they are, so we might as well leave them in the Action Figures category and have a See also in the category text.
I don't know what to do with the Puppet Toys category -- Scott set it up, and wrote text on the category page explaining that it's a cross-universe thing. I don't have any particular love for it, but I don't think it does any harm. It depends on if Scott loves it or not. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:56, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
By the way -- I was thinking that I would check in on this stuff with Wendy, because she works a lot on the merchandise stuff. But I just talked to Scott, and he said that Wendy's away for a little while and she'll be back next week. If this was a controversial thing, then I'd probably say let's wait until Wendy comes back, but it seems like we're all agreeing about everything, so I may just go ahead and do stuff, and leave her a nice note about it for when she comes back. My guess is that she'll be just as happy as we are to have some clearer guidelines about this stuff. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:00, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, guidelines are good. My issue with puppet toys is really just that it's there, isolated, not in any other category, so it's inaccessible to the casual visitor. So would it just go in Merchandise or would we try to somehow fit it into toys (the overarching toys is by universe, but it could probably house something like this)? I don't mind it being it's own thing, but anyone who wants to see all the puppet toys should be able to find it (since the items are double categorized, which wasn't initially apparent, a see also to the larger Toys category probably isn't an issue). Probably just plunk in merchandise as its own thing would be easiest. So we're probably looking at a bunch of merges, then, and at least one see also, for the Action Figures. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 01:14, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Oh, okay, that's easy. I didn't realize it wasn't in Merchandise; I just put it in there. We've got similar categories in Merchandise -- Cookie Jars, Greeting Cards, Keychains -- so it fits in fine there. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:51, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, I wasn't able to take part in this discussion. What's now the best way to look for plush on the wiki? —Scott (talk) 22:20, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Once things are moved, plush toys will be listed in the Toys sections (Muppet Toys, Sesame Toys, etc). Plush toys with specific names (like Chicken Dance Elmo) are listed under the name; collections are listed as plush (like Sesame Street plush (Nanco)). There'll also be a clearer distinction between plush and dolls in the article names -- plush is squishy and furry, dolls are plastic or fabric.
Right now this second, things are a little messy because I just started moving things over. So you'll probably see some things that don't fit the guidelines yet, because the change is still in process. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:33, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
By the way, the tone of your question implies that you're not thrilled about the change... What do you think? I'll stop moving stuff until I make sure you're cool with it. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:37, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I just talked to Scott off-wiki a little bit. He hasn't had a chance to really participate in this discussion yet, but he has some thoughts about a different way to organize things. I was moving ahead with stuff because I thought this was non-controversial -- but now that I know there's some disagreement, I'll slow down.

As long as we're doing that, we might as well also wait for Wendy to come back too. So I'll take a break on moving things until we all get a chance to look at this and figure it out together.

Unfortunately, I did move some stuff out of Sesame Street Plush today, and I don't really feel like moving it back if we're going to end up moving it again next week. So if it's okay with everyone, I'll kind of leave things as they are (half-finished) for now -- then we can all talk about it and agree on what we're doing -- and then I'll go and change everything to the new system that we agree on. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:41, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Hey all. I'm back again :). I'm really glad this stalled a bit because I wasn't entirely agreeing (but my limited internet wouldn't let me post).
So I actually like having plush all in its own place and (particularly) PVC figures as well. Because if they're all lumped into one big category, the ones that aren't titled "Sesame Street plush (Nanco)" (or whatever), but eg. "Springtime Kermit" are going to be much less obvious and hard to find unless you happen to know the name ahead of time. And I actually will see stuff and wonder what it is and just go click through everything in the right category trying to find it. I'm just not sure if I'm the only one who uses the categories that way or not.
So anyhow, while I think it would be nice to have all the toys in a toys area, because I do see that it's frustrating if what you want is to see all the toys, I also think there is some organizational value to being able to look at just the plushes or just the pvcs or whatever. I could see either making those things subcats of the toys area, or double-cat'ing them. Or some other scheme; I just don't really like the idea of only jumbling them all together.
I am, however totally agreeing with the definitions on dolls vs. plush :). -- Wendy (talk) 02:00, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Yay, Wendy's back! And sooner than I thought. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Scott was saying that it was important for him to have all the plush in one place too.
So maybe a way to do it is to have a Muppet Toys category, with subcats for Plush, PVCs, Action Figures and then whatever we call the other stuff. Now that we have a clear definition of what's plush and what isn't, it'll make sense to split things up -- but it would be nice to have it under the Toys umbrella.
So a question is: What do we call the other stuff? I don't want to create another Misc. category... Is there some sensible term we can use to describe the Colorforms, die-cast cars, Shrinky Dinks and View-Master reels? "Playthings" comes to mind, but I dunno. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:30, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Couldn't each of those just be their own category under Toys? I think Colorforms, Shrinky Dinks and View-Master reels are well-known enough that people would look for them by name. -- Ken (talk) 06:41, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, some of them only have one article each. Check out the current Muppet Toys category -- there's six Colorforms sets, but just one article for Shrinky Dinks, one for View-Master reels, two sets of die-cast cars, a dartboard, a couple sets of Bend-Ems, etc. So we can keep slicing it up, but there's still going to be a set of extra toys that don't have a category. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 16:09, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I would argue that it might be worth having the subcats and the shrinky-dinks articles in the Toys category together and not try to subcat further. I know we attempt to avoid that, but in this case, I can't think of a name that will cover any toy we happen to add, but not cover "plush" as well. -- Wendy (talk) 23:25, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, this got stalled cause I went away and got busy. I think what we've come up with sounds good -- a Muppet Toys category, with subcats for Plush, PVCs, Action Figures and maybe something else. Anything we can't come up with a decent subcat for will just be in the Toys category. I'll start moving stuff around, and we'll see how it looks! Thanks to everybody for indulging me in my reorganizing spasms. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:49, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
As long as those spasms aren't painful. -- Ken (talk) 04:24, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

YouTube videos

I've been working on the Pro Wrestling wiki recently, and I've been learning about how to embed YouTube videos on pages. We've discouraged linking to YouTube, so I never really played with the video extension before. Now that I've used it, I like it, and I'm wondering if we could review our current stance on videos.

I'm finding lately that YouTube is becoming a really useful research tool. I've used it lately for researching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade page, and Miss Piggy's 2007 Today appearance for the Matt Lauer page. YouTube is becoming an amazing archive of old appearances, commercials and TV shows that aren't on video (and maybe never will be). Doing a quick search for "jim henson", I just found the 1990 Henson and Clash interview on Arsenio Hall, the first Wilson's Meats sales film, the first episode of Little Muppet Monsters and Tyra Banks and Elmo at the Daytime Emmys.

When we first started the wiki, it felt like YouTube was mostly a copyright-infringement tool that was helping people avoid buying DVDs. I think it's grown up since then, and now we have the opportunity on the wiki to present rare, interesting and relevant video clips to our readers.

It's true that YouTube videos get taken down sometimes, so the links might get outdated, but the same is true for any external links that we post. We sometimes link to dead pages, and when we catch that, we take the link out. I think embedding the videos makes it a lot easier to monitor them than just having them as links, so I don't think it would be the quality-control nightmare that we used to think it was.

Obviously, we would still have the guideline that we don't link to things that are commercially available, and we wouldn't use videos as a substitute for pictures or text. It would be more like a "see also" -- an extra way to add information to the page.

On Pro Wrestling, we set up a table format that lets us put captions under the videos; you can see it on the John Cena page. I just used that format as a test on the Tamagawa Takashimaya Shopping Center Halloween Festival page -- I think having that video on the page expresses something that I wouldn't be able to explain in pictures and text.

What do you guys think? Can we open up the discussion on YouTube guidelines again? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:40, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Our current policy on linking to videos is that we allow them so long as it's not for something commercially available or entire episodes or movies. So feel free to link away to your heart's content. Just be prepared to keep checking up on them every month or so as things disappear quicker than you can say account suspended and we end up with hundreds of dead links. —Scott (talk) 04:35, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
How would this work for something like the Ernie and Bert sketch page? Would we put the YouTube box in the picture box, or link on the right in the Online box? Because some stuff is on YouTube, but other things are on -- Ken (talk) 05:25, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if YouTube videos disappear as easily as we used to think. Of the four videos that I mentioned above, one was posted in February 2007 and another in June 2007. On the Macy's page, I linked to a video of the Fraggle Rock float that's been up since November 2006.
Yes, some do come and go, but that's true for external links to websites too -- I was just looking at the Muppets Party Cruise page, and noticed that the link to the game company's website is a dead link now. We don't make it a habit to go through the wiki and test out every external link once a month, just in case they've gone away. We just put them up, and if someone notices that a link has gone dead, we take it out. Embedded videos are actually easier to check up on than regular external links, because you don't have to leave the page to watch them. Plus, it's likely that a lot of people will click on them, so there are more eyes who can spot dead videos.
As far as how they work on the Ernie and Bert sketch page -- I have no idea, I'm not thinking that far ahead. :) I think that's too complicated to figure out at the moment, especially with some sketches available on DVD. I'm thinking more about special appearances and stuff, pages like The Tonight Show or Wilkins Coffee that would be amazing with a well-stocked video gallery. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:03, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, the rare stuff would be cool. I was just thinking of taking the embedding feature and seeing if it would work with all of the stuff that Tony's working on. But if we're just talking about YouTube and rare stuff that's not out to buy, we can talk about the other stuff later. -- Ken (talk) 06:19, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it would be interesting to play with it and see what we could do... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 08:05, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Not directly related to embedding YouTube videos, but I've been playing around on a bunch recently and noticed that each video seems to have a unique URL. I don't think we can embed their player in our pages, but is there a reason we don't link directly to those videos when they exist? For example, under Here Is Your Life (Sneaker), it says "Online: Web Video Player." But instead of directing people to the page on the Web Video Player, wouldn't it be more useful to direct them to the actual video? I don't know if we've had a discussion on this yet or if there's a very good reason we don't do it that I haven't thought of, which is why I'm bringing it up. -- Peter (talk) 22:26, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
We actually can and do link directly to them, via Template:SSvideo. It's just not enough people are aware of it (so it is definitely worth bringing up), and in the section where we list online availability, it's difficult to include those links. It's easier to do in isolated instances or when we're using it as a kind of eka than in a larger sketch listing, plus it's not hard to find something like Here Is Your Life on the player (while it *is* hard to find, say, a Neil deGrasse Tyson narrated segment on the human heart). Plus we're changing a lot of aspects related to the site (i.e. linking to the website over the Web Video Player page). Tony's been developing an alphabetical list of available clips, starting with Sandbox:Sesame Street Video Player: Classic Clips A - G and including direct URLs (so far, complete through the letter B). So that's a good place to start and then later we can easily figure out the logistics in relation to other things. You might want to talk with Tony about coordinating efforts in that realm. Andrew Leal (talk) 22:43, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
One thing I've wondered about regarding embedding video: It seems like it would be redundant to incllude both a still image and an embedded video on the same page, but would it be good to do so, just in case the clip gets removed? The PBS promo featuring Kermit and Cookie Monster was recently embedded and then taken down (at least from the PBS page... Not sur eif it's still available online), and I don't expect any images to appear on any othe rpages. --Minor muppetz 21:45, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, absolutely. Embedding a video is an extra; it shouldn't be a substitute for photos and text. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:54, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, Michaelm that's the whole reason the link was taken off. The video was yanked from YouTube. Even when we're uploading directly to the Wiki, the issues apply. So we should definitely *not* be using videos as a substitute for pictures. The only case where it could work is with Virmup, where the videos are authorized and uploaded by the actual content/copyright owners, not fans. Right now, with the changes in how we're handling things and direct uploading, it's even harder to tell when a video has been yanked (the still image remains until clicked) unless someone is monitoring the videos, as Guillermo has done with a few of the Sesame ones, and we have to make sure we're not violating our own established guidelines from before: no uploading clips which are currently commercially available (and which are most apt to be yanked). Basically, as before, we need to be very careful and be aware that, quite bluntly, any content not put up by the copyright owners or original creators *and* which is not in the public domain is a copyright violation. The question is of degree and who holds that copyright if it still exists, and sometimes for what purpose, but "fair use" isn't applicable to YouTube the way we can use it on the Wiki. Commercials are hit and miss, show intros are often safe, full episodes never are, and again, it's all a question of the user account. Sometimes individual videos are yanked (PBS stations still own the rights to their material) but more often it's because an account is suspended/deleted. We may need to write up a policy page on this. YouTube is a neat expansion, but the issues really have *not* changed. What has changed is that more concerns (even Time's online magazine) are linking to YouTube, but they're usually not linking to videos they uploaded and own or can personally monitor, so the issues stand. Some videos remain for years, some barely a day (anything from Comedy Central or NBC is to be avoided like the plague). It's all much more ephemeral than even the rest of the internet (which is pretty darn ephemeral as is) and comes with inherent legal issues. The exceptions, videos where their lifespan isn't determined by a combination of chance and how active a given party's infringement lawyers are, is authorized videos, which fortunately for us, are increasing: Sesame Workshop, Virmup, Emmy Awards, People for the American Way uploading the Muppet bits of "I Love Liberty", and a whole bunch of interviews with Sesame cast and crew from the Archive of American Television (including Carroll Spinney, Bob McGrath, Sonia Manzano, and Danny Epstein, among others). There's always a slight chance they could be removed, but to date I haven't seen any changes and there's absolutely no copyright issues (and in general, those organizations concerned want to keep everything up as long as possible). Danny, is there a way to check or find all the uploaded videos (files with the "Video:" prefix)? That would help (and also be a wise idea should vandals start taking advantage of it, as has happened on rare but annoying occasions with images) and should in theory be possible (just as we do with image files), but probably because it's so new, I can't find anything in special pages. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, it's actually a lot easier than it used to be. All the videos are in [[:Category:Videos]]. There is a temporary problem with the Video pages, which will be solved on Wednesday with the next code release -- right now, the Video page doesn't list the pages where the video is being used, the way an Image page does. But, like I said, that should be fixed by Wednesday. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:10, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Yay, thanks for pointing that out. Even with the temp problem, it helps a load, since I'm also looking at what links to Template:YouTube. I'm trying to see what we're linking to and who from, which I think I'll try to work into a guideline page later. So far, with a couple exceptions, we're doing pretty well with videos we've uploaded. Danny added one to Rove Live which came from Rove's official YouTube channel, so it's safe legally *and* the kind of thing one would have a harder time finding on one's own (as opposed to looking for a YouTube clip of "Fur" or what have you). Another one is on James Galway; not from an official channel, but by Guillermo, which means one of our key members controls the content (and in general, I think Sesame Workshop is probably aware of what he's been doing with it and is leaving him alone). Looking through those which are linked via the YouTube template, there's a few where I think we can just go ahead and upload, like Bill Clinton appearing with Kami (authorized by Unicef). Others are dodgy; there's a link from "Act Naturally," to a user account which includes a mixture of unauthorized clips. It's still alive, with almost two years for that clip, but includes other Muppet Show segments on DVD and Beavis and Butthead (owned by Viacom, which is a huge watchdog). No news from Disney so far on a Season 4 set, but it's easy enough for users to find it if they want to, so I'd just as soon stay away from Muppet Show clips. Accounts have been nuked before for that, and those that haven't just slip by due to numbers. Would that make sense as a general rule? Plus it helps to think of the video capability the way we have transcripts. Does this add knowledge and serve as a useful resource or history piece? Is there a clear reason for adding this video, and if there's a legal risk involved, is it worth taking? I think most of the clips we've uploaded fit that criteria, but I'm not sure "Act Naturally" does (bits edited from the first season set would fit our criteria, but they're still a known risk so it would basically be on an "uploader's responsibility" basis, so to speak). Then there's The King of Eight, where we link to the YouTube page along with links to Hulu and (and a redlink for Sesame's YouTube channel, which I'm not sure we need). It's authorized, and a link doesn't hurt, but it's so easily accessible (on multiple DVDs, on those websites, etc.) that I'm not sure there's a point to it. We could safely upload every video on Sesame Workshop's channel, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble in cases like this (now, it might be with, say, a rare celebrity appearance not on video and since the key word searches and such on the Sesame website are still wonky at times). Just some blather as I look at this. On the whole, right now, I think the video function is a nice addition and is being used in a responsible way which improves the pages, but it doesn't hurt to be aware of the risks or to understand just what we want to do with it. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:33, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Just wanted to add something that I've noticed. Some of the videos say "Embedding disabled by request" when you click once on them. But if you click twice on them, then you get taken right to YouTube, and it plays like normal. Is this a problem for anybody, and should we mention it somewhere, so people don't think the videos are broken if they don't know to click it twice? -- Ken (talk) 02:47, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
If it says "embedding disabled by request", then we should take the video out... We don't want to have non-playing videos on the site. Is this happening with any of the videos on the site right now? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:15, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Never mind, I found the one you mean. Yeah, if someone adds a video that doesn't work, we take it out, same as if somebody adds a bad picture or a bad sentence. If it happens a bunch with the same person, then we have a word on their talk page. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:40, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Is there a way of knowing whether a clip will do that before you upload it? -- Ken (talk) 06:56, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, you can -- check out this video page. In the box at the top right, there's a field for Embed code -- and it says "Embedding disabled by request" there. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:58, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Cool, I never noticed that was there before! -- Ken (talk) 07:13, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't either, until a minute ago. :) -- Danny@fandom (talk) 07:35, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Maybe it's just me, but I can't seem to get the video thing to work. And all the pages that has video on them don't show for me. Henrik (talk) 17:43, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it looks like there's a bug with the video feature right now -- I noticed it yesterday. I reported it to the tech folks, but it's the weekend, so I don't know if it's going to get fixed until the beginning of the week. It's annoying, but that happens with new features sometimes. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:51, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

DVD Series

To think ahead regarding the Video Boxes.. What can be done with DVD's that came in a series of 30 with books. I found out Spain and Portugal had series of DVD that came with a book. Its different then stand alone DVD's. How to categorize them.. All alone would mean a huge page in the Videography. The same counts for the new releases they made in The Netherlands.. Most of them are re- releases and only the covers change. (Pino 21:11, 5 February 2009 (UTC))

Hey, Paul! If they were all book and DVD sets that were sold separately, then each title deserves its own page. Can you put up 1 or 2, so we can see what they're like? I'm really interested to see them! Thanks! -- Ken (talk) 06:52, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Video boxes

I'd like to propose something. I've been taking a break from the records, and turning my attention to the Sesame Street made for video titles, issued on VHS and DVD from 1986 to the present. Since a lot of these titles have been released up to four times, I'd like to modify the boxes that contain their information. Using the records as a model, I've created a test page at [[Sandbox:Learning about letters test]]. Basically, we'd have the first edition at the top, with the infobox under it. Then, all other known releases would be in a gallery.

I'd also like to discuss what info is currently in our boxes. Template:Video has producer, date, format, discs, and region. Template:DVD has producer, discs, date, and region. I'm confused if Video was created for VHS only, or for either VHS or DVD. Since we have a DVD template, I'd like to rename the Video template as VHS, to make it clearer. Also, I wasn't sure if producer meant a person, or the video company. I think we should have the year, format, company and number. Then the DVD can have the year, format, company, number, discs and region. I was also wondering about the possibility of putting the ISBN in the box, but if that's too much of a hassle, we can drop that. I just wanted to mention it, because some people don't know that video titles have ISBN's.

I hope this isn't too confusing. I've been thinking about this for weeks, trying to make sure I can explain it well. I realize that it would be a lot of work, and I don't mind doing it. But I wanted to see how everybody felt about it. I was also thinking that we could just make these VHS and DVD templates apply to the Sesame Street section only, so we wouldn't mess up how the other video sections are organized. So any thoughts about what to put in the boxes, or what to call them, or anything else, would be appreciated. Thanks! -- Ken (talk) 06:58, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Personally, even with the Amazon experiment, I'd just as soon not mess with ISBN's just yet. As far as the two templates, looking at the history, it looks like Danny created Template:Video a year after the DVD template, no doubt forgetting the other one existed (one reason Category:Templates was a good idea). The majority of the video productions were reissued on DVD (those that weren't often don't have a box) and right now only the international titles (most of which are DVD anyway) use the other template (mostly added by Paul). So some clean-up is needed. Probably swap out the DVD template for video (since it includes the format specification which is useful) and specify or blank on the relevant pages, and thus use for all formats. It would actually be easier (in terms of the number of pages involved) to switch to DVD on the 50 or so Template:Video pages, add the format field to the DVD template, and use that for everything, but it would be inaccurate for any reissues and possibly confusing. Creating a VHS only template could work but again, most titles have been out there in more than one format (and at present, are often only available in one, as far as the Sesame non-movie stuff goes), and there's Blu-Ray, a few things like the Playskool Video Now Jr. stuff (smaller discs which only playable on their product, not a commercial DVD player, which we haven't even started to track), and at some point, Beta and Laserdisc stuff to factor, so probably the best bet would be to simply make the necessesary adjustments and use Template:Video. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 07:22, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, my thinking on this stuff is to copy the records, meaning the record is the main format, so it gets the box, and all parallel formats and reissues go down below. So on the Random House/Sony stuff, the tape is always first, then the cover changes and DVD reissues go down below. For stuff that doesn't exist on tape (everything after 2005), then the DVD goes first. I think SS stuff is the only stuff that was reissued so extensively on VHS and DVD, which is why I'm thinking about it like the records. All the movies are on special chart pages like The Muppet Movie (video), so that would stay the same. Everything else I can think of has season sets (Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock), and those are all DVD, so they wouldn't have to do this either. I think the Disney 1990's Fraggle Rock episode tapes were on VHS and laserdisc, so that might be similar to this. Just as a side question, do we need the region and disc lines? If we took those off, then we could use this for all formats from Beta to Blu-ray. But that might be confusing if we need to track stuff that's non-region 1, and I just found a whole bunch of SS DVD's from the UK and Australia that I didn't even know about before. But those are foreign editions of our Sony/Genius titles, so they would be in the gallery anyway. I don't know if what I said helps, but I'm just thinking out loud. -- Ken (talk) 07:52, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a great idea. The current system is just haphazard; nobody's taken the time to look big picture and reorganize it. So this would be great. I agree that the initial release should be at the top, with reissues in a gallery.
I have one tweak to propose to the plan. I agree that the VHS goes on top when it was released on DVD later. In the cases where the DVD and VHS were released simultaneously (or at least in the same year) then the DVD should be the primary release, with the VHS secondary. VHS got phased out, so on those pages, I think it's fair to say that the DVD is the more "important" version. I hope that makes sense.
I think ISBN numbers would be cool -- I didn't realize videos had them. Andrew, why do you say we shouldn't include them? It seems just as legitimate/helpful there as it is for books. While we're at it, do CDs have ISBN numbers?... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:08, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I just said it as my personal opinion. It's more extraneous and I was also thinking of template breakage, but if we're having to overhaul the system anyway, I suppose it won't really matter. It's just the work involved, but if someone wants to do it on videos and CDs, and again as long as the template breakage doesn't last long. It wasn't much of an issue with the books since the numbers were already there; here, it's adding a new field and the numbers for every relevant titles. Moreso, in fact, we can't use the Amazon method since there are in fact *no* ISBNs. Rather, they have the "ASIN", the unique Amazon number. For books (at least those with ten digits), they're usually the same and by now Amazon has it so there's a clear march up, but for DVDs and other merchandise which have ASINs it's a randomly assigned number whose purpose is just to tie it to Amazon. So it's useful as far as Amazon sales, and most sites use it for that purpose. But it's not going to help in researching old videos since it doesn't reflect the manufacturer's number. So really we'd be potentially dealing with either two fields, or just forgetting about ISBN (which is harder to find for our purposes in this case) and use the Amazon number. CDs pose the same issue, except there the original ISBNs are easier to find. I'm not saying don't do it, but I am saying it's a much bigger issue to mess with and needs to be examined and figured out, both as far as how to fix the template and again what our goal is, since the benefits to a curious researcher from ISBN linking to Amazon for books are diminished or even negated with the videos. If the goal is just to have the link and thus help with Wikia revenue, then ASIN only would be the best bet. There's still other aspects to it, but I'd need to compare Amazon with other catalogues (like libraries, which do use ISBNs or Alibris and so on) and then figure out what to do if in some cases we have an ISBN number (which won't work on Amazon), whether to leave it out entirely or note it elesewhere. That's why I said I'd jsut as soon not mess with this "just yet." -- Andrew Leal (talk) 19:35, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I think an overhaul of the videos/dvds would be great, and I'm glad Ken's willing to try it. I agree that in the case of a simultaneous first release on DVD/VHS it should be DVD first; but that's in reasonable agreement with albums which are released on CD/Tape at the same time -- we put up the CD and put the cassette in the gallery.
I think we can have one template; simply have a Format line which will reflect the original release as VHS/Beta/BluRay/DVD, and then have an "Encoding" field (or some more suitable name) which can be region # for DVDs/BluRay and NTSC/PAL for vhs.
I don't think it would hurt to put in an ISBN field at this point and start collecting the info. If we can link it through to amazon that's great, and if we can't that's just an extra piece of info for now. But to me it makes little sense to overhaul everything now, and then again if we decide we're ready to add isbns. The field will hide if we don't have the info anyhow. -- Wendy (talk) 20:04, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
We have some ASINs in the book boxes anyway... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:07, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
If they're ten digits, they're the same (and should be the same in fact, unless you swapped some numbers, Danny? When last I looked they were all ISBNs), and there's also a system to decipher those. Not so with the videos. Ken, what ISBN info do you have? Even if we overhaul (and it seems like the present issue actually wouldn't be changing/breaking the template so much as simply swapping out one plate for another), if we have genuine ISBNs, they won't work with Amazon. So that's why we need to decide before we try to do anything. DO we want a number there or do we want to link to Amazon for consumers? Right now, we can't have it both ways unless we include more than one number or kill the link on certain pages (or just let the link go to a dead page). Or just leave it out entirely on the majority of pages via the equal sign but include the ASIN info only on the more recent and easy to manage entries and basically just forget about ISBN and focus on ASIN only. So that's what needs to be threshed out. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:13, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

An example is Elmo's Guessing Game about Colors, which I edited yesterday. I couldn't find an ISBN for the English language version, but Amazon had an ASIN, so I put that in the box. I can't say how many of those are on the wiki right now -- I didn't know there was a difference until Artur explained it to me last week, so I've been posting them sporadically whenever that was the thing I found. When I've seen both an ISBN and an ASIN I've posted the ISBN.

So that would be my solution -- link to the ISBN if we have one, and to the ASIN if we don't. Either way, it's more information than we currently provide. So what's the harm? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:48, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Not harm but complexity. Basically, if we have an ISBN and it links to Amazon, it will be a dead link since it won't recognize it (this applies to videos, not necessarily books, though those might bear with some checking as well). So as long as linking as an inherent part of the template, it means people will click and find nothing. So that's why I say we need to decide what we're going to use. If we just want to include ASIN only, I really have no problem with it (a lot of websites use that and it can be helpful financially). But I wanted to point out that it's not as simple as plugging in numbers or just adding a link to activate pre-existing numbers, as it was with books, and it's also not really adding new information in that case so much as a way to buy (which again, is not a bad thing). If we just include either ISBN or ASIN on different pages, there will be no way of telling just by looking at the page which is which (unless we include two fields, one for ISBN and one for ASIN) or which will lead to an Amazon page for the product and which will lead to an Amazon "number not found" or whatever message they give. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 21:06, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
By the way, my PC is giving me enormous problems (yet again) so I'm going to have to take it in for an emergency check-up, and probably won't be able to respond for at least a couple days. Another reason that I'd like to wait on this. I never said I opposed anything, I just said I wasn't sure if we wanted to mess with it as something that has to be done this instance, but rather take the time to figure out the special circumstances and how to approach it. Scott hasn't weighed in, but since he's kind of the tech guru here, he can probably find a way around these things. One option, as I said, is to have two fields, one for the ISBN, which won't be linked, and one for the ASIN. But it would help to also know exactly how many ISBN numbers we have access to (they usually exist but aren't as easy to find, outside of libraries and manufacturer/distributor catalogues or lists), since if the info is going to be so sparse, there's almost no reason not to prioritize ASIN and just note the ISBN number in the text or not at all. It also depends, as I've said, on our goals with this. The informational benefits which came from ISBN linking with books are pretty negligible with videos and DVDs. For anything not in print, Amazon's info is often scantier and less accurate than ours, though the in print CDs sometimes have track samples which could be nice. And the potential commercial benefits are definitely important, though I'm not sure whether ot not that applies to anything ordered through Amazon marketplace (maybe someone on the Wikia ad team can check into that). It's probably unintended and may just be me, but this discussion feels like it's taking on a sense of urgency, when I don't think it's something we need to go in and change today or this week, but take the time to fully examine what we're dealing with (especially since much the same issues apply to CD), and while some further adjustments are sometimes unavoidable, altering existing templates and correcting breakage (in contrast to fixing an article's text) is usually best done in as few swoops as possible. Pretty much what I said when the ISBN thing was first brought up with books is that the latter was a good idea and clearly an easy transition, but others pose individual issues that would need to be adjusted for, so I don't think it hurts to thresh that out at least a little further first. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:38, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, absolutely -- I'm glad you brought it up. Now that you've explained it, it makes sense -- I didn't really understand the difference, or that linking to ISBN numbers would give dead links.
So I think your idea is a good one... separate ISBN and ASIN fields for videos and CDs; the ASIN links to Amazon and the ISBN doesn't. Then people can add either or both, depending on what they have access to and interest in adding, and if it's blank then it doesn't show up.
I don't think there's been any particular urgency about this -- Ken brought it up, so we're talking about it. I think you might be feeling some urgency about it that the rest of us aren't, because you've got a ticking countdown on your computer access. Ken, I know you're excited about working on this, but is it okay to wait a couple days till Andrew comes back? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:48, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
True, I do feel like the "this message will self destruct" voice will sound any second, so I'd definitely appreciate a temporary postponement (at least as far as final resolution goes). The fix-it shop closes at 6, so off I go. Farewell for the moment, all! Don't buy any invisible ice cream cones. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 00:00, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Sure, guys, take all the time you need! I've been thinking about reworking the videos ever since I got here, but I wanted to tackle the records first. I know it will be a major change, so I don't mind if we talk about this for a while. And I'm nowhere near ready to fill in boxes. I still have to find all the Random House numbers and Sony Wonder LV/LVD numbers, and we need tons of covers, too. And I want to hear Scott's thoughts as well, so I don't mind waiting. I'm a little confused about the Amazon numbers and stuff, but I'm going to play around over there, and I'll write some more later. In the meantime, have fun at the Fix-it Shop, Andrew, and say hi to Luis and Maria for me! At least you're not bringing them a toaster! -- Ken (talk) 02:45, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I just thought of some other stuff that might complicate things. First, some CD's have ISBN numbers, but others don't. The Sony Wonders do, but the Koch don't, or at least they're not on the packaging. By the way, if you haven't been to, you should check it out, because they have ISBN's for stuff from all over the world, if you can't find one any other way. But even there, some CD's don't show ISBN's. Anyway, the other thing I thought of is this: Let's say we have an ISBN or ASIN for Learning About Letters. Which one would we use in the top info box? The first edition? That's out of print. The DVD? That's technically out of print, but it may still be available until they're gone. I think it would be inaccurate to put the DVD's ASIN in the VHS box just because it's first. We could put a link on the current DVD of an older VHS title, but that would change how the gallery looks. What if somebody wants to buy a used VHS original? We could put a link on every edition (infobox and gallery), since each edition has a unique ASIN (and in some cases, every version has its own page, with links to dealers selling out-of-print copies), but would that be too much? I'm starting to think that trying to put a place in the box for ISBN's and ASIN's of stuff that's been out a bunch of times is going to be more trouble than it's worth. We could make a "Buy from Amazon" box on the article like the Wikipedia box, but I don't know if that would look good. Anyway, I just wanted to put down my thoughts after seeing how things are laid out on Amazon. -- Ken (talk) 08:01, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, the way it works for books is that the box has the information on the original book -- date, publisher and original ISBN. Later editions are listed in the text, with a gallery. The ISBNs for those are listed there. Elmo Loves You is an example.
I assume we'd do the same with videos -- if the original was on VHS, then that gets the big picture and the infobox. The later releases would be in a gallery. The Amazon links are cool, but they're not the primary purpose of the wiki, and they shouldn't get in our way as far as providing accurate information about the books and videos. Does that make sense? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! I hadn't seen it done that way before. I think we could work out something similar to that for video stuff. I'll still wait until Andrew gets back and we hear from some more people, but I feel better knowing we kind of have a model to work from. Thanks again! -- Ken (talk) 05:13, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, my PC will be home on Monday, theoretically, but I'm on my Dad's machine for the moment. Since this has been kind of scattered, here's an attempt to summarize what seems to be the most workable approach so far. Use Template:Video over Template:DVD (so this will involve substituting on a number of pages, but if the whole category is being overhauled bit by bit, that's easily taken care of). Code one field for ISBN (unlinked) and one for ASIN; in cases where the original format of a reissued title was a VHS, prioritize ISBN and leave ASIN blank. The region/disc question was asked earlier. Probably keep those fields, since we do have some coverage other region or multiregion titles (mostly on the international front; outside of the foreign Sesames, there's some Mopatop's Shop titles and stuff like that we haven't gone into yet) and the disc number, while applying to series box sets or special additions, is also good info to have at a glance. Does that pretty much summarize where we're at? Just so it's clearer if anyone else jumps in. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:29, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I think that's it, except that we don't have to leave ASIN blank. As long as we've got two fields, then we can put in whatever info we have -- either number or both, as the case may be. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah. Your response to Ken about not favoring Amazon over information seemed to suggest otherwise, as far as including both when the box is emphasizing the original VHS edition. Which means that there also needs to be a way to specify that one number is for the original video edition and the other for a later reissue; not a problem with an unliked ISBN (one can just do it manually) but that means coding an optional field in parantheses after the ASIN. This shouldn't be a problem with stuff that debuts on DVD, of course. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:04, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I think you might have missed a bit of the conversation; we're not quite connecting here. :) For an example, look at the page about the book My Name Is Elmo. The box is for the original edition, and that's the ISBN for that edition. Then the later reissues are in a gallery, each with their own ISBN.
On a video page, it would work the same way, except there would be two fields in the box -- an ISBN and an ASIN. The ISBN wouldn't be linked; the ASIN will. You can put in either number or both, depending on what info you have.
So if the video originally came out on VHS and was reissued later on DVD, then the original VHS edition would have the main picture and the box. The later reissues would be listed in a gallery, still with ISBN and/or ASIN as appropriate.
What I was saying to Ken was that we wouldn't list the later reissue in the box just because that's the current release -- we can be consistent, and have the original in the box and the reissues below. Does that make sense? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 04:23, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
No, I read the whole conversation, and that's the problem. The ASIN in the scenario Ken described *would* be for a later DVD edition and not the original (unless we wanted to include the ASIN for the used Amazon Marketplace VHS editions, if there is one). So it would be consistent to omit the ASIN (at least from the box) in those specific circumstances (which is why I specifically mentioned that multiple edition scenario in my summary). If you want to include both anyway, then it needs to be clarified in that box that the ISBN and the ASIN are technically for different products. See what I mean? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 23:33, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, guys, I'm confused. All I was saying is that while VHS and DVD titles have ISBN's, Amazon doesn't show them on their page. They have ASIN's. Amazon does show ISBN's for books. Since I thought we could only put either the ISBN or ASIN (or both) in the infobox, and nowhere else, I was asking Danny which one should we pick, since SS videos have been out multiple times, and each edition has its own Amazon page, since each release is a separate item, and pages for out-of-print items stay there forever, even if there are no current new or used titles available. Once Danny showed me the page for Elmo Loves You, I was happy, since I saw how we could lay out a situation where we have a Random House VHS 1st cover on top, and then a gallery of a Random House 2nd cover, a Sony Wonder VHS, and a Sony Wonder DVD (and I hope Genius DVD). The bottom line is that I want to link to all available Amazon pages, using whatever number will get us there. So all my questions are answered; I was just waiting until your computer got fixed, and in the meantime, I've been collecting Sony Wonder LV/LVD catalog numbers. -- Ken (talk) 23:50, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I'll try to explain. Let's say that the VHS originally came out as Grover's Favorite Songs. Then it was released on DVD later as Grover Sings with Elmo. (Cause obviously Elmo has to be in everything.) The top picture and the box would be for the original, Grover's Favorite Songs.
Let's assume that we have both an ISBN and an ASIN for both products. The box would have the ISBN for Grover's Favorite Songs (unlinked) and the ASIN for Grover's Favorite Songs (linked). Then there's a gallery below that with a picture of Grover Sings with Elmo. In that gallery, there would be the ISBN for Grover Sings with Elmo, followed by the ASIN for Grover Sings with Elmo.
Now, if we don't have an ISBN for Grover's Favorite Songs, then it still works the same way -- the only difference is that there's no ISBN in that box. The box still has the ASIN for Grover's Favorite Songs. The ISBN and ASIN for Grover Sings with Elmo are still in the gallery.
Ken -- I added the ISBN and ASIN fields to Template:Video. It doesn't break any existing pages (as far as I know), because the fields are hidden when there isn't anything in them. Will this work for you, or do you want to change anything else in that box? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:39, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
We should add the catalog number. Other than that, I think I'm fine, but let me just check what I was originally asking. I'm sorry the ISBN discussion went on so long; that was actually an afterthought I had, just because you had mentioned that we could earn money from purchases that were linked to Amazon. My original concern was that I wanted to see if we could come up with just one video box similar to the one we use that covers all audio formats, so we wouldn't have to remember which one to use for different formats and regions and other stuff. I think we've done that, but let me look back over this discussion and the test page I made. Can we eventually erase the DVD template? I don't want to erase it yet, because there are pages where it contains info we'll need, but I was wondering if we could erase it after I'm done transferring everything to the new system. -- Ken (talk) 05:14, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I added catalog number to the box! And sure, we can erase the DVD template once you've transferred everything over. Have fun! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 07:14, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Miss Piggy as Cinderella

I found this video clip on Youtube, looking for more information on Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration. It shows Miss Piggy as Cinderella, attending the ball and singing "Someday, My Prince Will Come". At the very end of the clip, she kisses Prince Charming, who suddenly turns into Kermit.

Now, in the 35th Anniversary special, Piggy wants to be Cinderella -- but as far as I know, only Piggy and Gonzo appear in that special. The person who uploaded the video says this is from a Euro Disney Christmas special from 1989, but in the comments, people are saying that isn't true. So, I've got nothing. Anybody know where this is from? It's great... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:55, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

youtoobsuxx is actually our Scott and he made a page for this so me time ago: The Disney Christmas Special. The true power of Muppet Wiki in action. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:12, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, genius! Thank you. And we inspired Julian to update the 35th Anniversary page, too. It's Disney magic! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 07:17, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

ISBN links

Hi guys -- Artur and I are experimenting with something that might bring some revenue for Wikia, and also actually add some value to the wiki. Right now, MediaWiki is set up to link ISBN numbers to a page called Special:Booksources -- for example, if you type ISBN 0307010856, it automatically turns into a link to Booksources, which links out to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and two other stores. This is fine, but it's a clunky interface, and it doesn't help Wikia in any particular way.

Wikia has an affiliate account at Amazon, and if the ISBNs linked to Amazon through that account, Wikia would get a percentage of any purchases that people made after clicking that link. So we're working right now on converting Special:Booksources into affiliate links. We also want to tweak the way it works -- linking any 10 or 13-digit number, even if it doesn't say ISBN in front of it.

We just started looking at this today, so we're still testing out the concept. To do that, I added some code to Template:Book which turns the ISBN field into an Amazon affiliate link. So that's up on our book pages right now, if you want to try it out. (I'm also working with Kyle to get it to open up in a separate tab; we may be able to do that early next week.)

So this is sort of a first step. We're also looking at making a link that you could roll over and get product info from Amazon, or (as an alternative) possibly a small box ad at the bottom of an item's page with a picture and link to Amazon.

The basic idea is: Providing a link to Amazon isn't harmful to the wiki, and it does potentially add some value for a reader who's interested in buying the item that they're reading about. In the long term, Wikia needs to figure out ways to make money -- we're not a profitable company yet, and our bandwidth costs are going to go up as our traffic increases. This is a way to increase revenue that (in my opinion) is a decent fit with the purpose and mission of the wiki.

Ideally, if this was an overwhelming success, it would be amazing if Amazon affiliate links were enough so that we wouldn't have to have any other advertising at all. I have no idea if that's possible, but that's the general idea -- come up with a way to make money so that we don't have to have obnoxious ads that have nothing to do with the wiki.

So -- this isn't an emergency, and Wikia isn't in financial trouble (at least, not any more than any other start-up at this point in the company's life). We're just looking ahead, trying to find something that will sustain us long-term that makes sense for the wikis. This is the first step for the test; I'll give everybody a heads-up if it moves on to another step.

I hope you guys don't mind me using Muppet Wiki as my guinea pig for stuff like this... I only do it if I actually like the idea. If somebody wants to test something that I don't like, I tell them to go find another wiki to test it on. :) Anyway, let me know if you have any thoughts. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:26, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I think it's awesome! My only concern would be that we'd have to change our policy on shopping links. But to me, it makes perfect sense. Since Amazon sells everything now, we can link to not only books, but DVD's and CD's, and even plush, sheets, and cookie jars! It would be great if Muppet Wiki became not only "one-stop shopping" for Muppet information, but literally one-stop shopping for all kinds of Muppet items, without having to search Amazon for stuff like party goods, and have to sort through other stuff you don't want. Also, it could work the other way, if we find stuff on Amazon that we didn't know about, and that would lead to more and better pages! -- Ken (talk) 02:42, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, in a sense, I think it gets around the no shopping link thing, since it's embedded in the template and serves a specific purpose and not simply "Here's a place to buy stuff." I mean there are other websites one could link to, but Amazon has the best basic info and is our single best resource (outside of the physical books) when it comes to gathering info on publishing dates and ISBNs. At the moment, I'm a bit leery about trying this with, for example, toys, since the informational benefit tends to be much more negligible, and so it would seem more like a "Muppet Wiki Sez Buy Stuff Here!" tactic. On the other hand, prior to the switch to random paid advertisers, Google ads were automatically generating "Buy Elmo Stuff" links, some of which were pretty dodgy, while Amazon is pretty darn unimpeachable; the whole pirate DVD ads issue we've had off and on would be eliminated, for example. Plus, as far as merchandise pages go, when you get down to it, outside of the real geeks like us, most people *want* to know where to buy it (I don't know how many pages s we've deleted or had questions moved because of that). That's a bigger issue to examine more closely when/as/if we branch off into the other areas. Right now, starting with books makes perfect sense, since financial aspects aside, it makes it easy to check whether a given title is in print or not, whether an in development title has been delayed or is already out, etc. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 03:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's how I was thinking too. For right now, the ideas are all about items with ISBN numbers, because it's so easy to make that automatic -- if there's an ISBN on the page, then you can easily link to the Amazon page. I don't know how it could work with something like toys; it would have to be done by hand, which doesn't scale well. So at the moment, I'm just thinking about ISBN. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:28, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I figured non-book items might be a little harder. I was just thinking ahead, as usual. -- Ken (talk) 03:36, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a great idea. -- Wendy (talk) 04:21, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Oops -- I realized that the change I made to Template:Book means that we can only put one ISBN number in the isbn= field -- if we put in two, or another phrase, it sticks a bunch of code into the box. If the book was reprinted, then it needs to be in the text -- see I Want to Do That...

I've gone through and checked all the books in Bear in the Big Blue House, Big Bag, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, Muppet Books and Wubbulous World. The only category left for me to check is Sesame Street Books (which is the big one). I'll go through that category too... Sorry for the temporary template-breaking. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I just wanted to comment that I noticed that it even goes to items that are out of print or used, so it will always go to a real page, even if the item isn't currently being produced by the publisher. So I'm sure that used book collectors and dealers will appreciate the referrals, too! -- Ken (talk) 06:39, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I finished checking everything -- as far as I know, I've cleaned up all the broken templates. Please forgive me if I missed any... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 07:52, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Jim in Britannica

Interesting little tidbit: I'm now an acknowledged contributor to the Jim Henson article in Encylopedia Britannica. EB just added a feature where anyone can create an account to their site, then hit "Suggest Edit". You're presented with the article in a Google Docs like format, where you can make suggestions to their content. They actually took accepted my suggestions and made the changes within a day, adding information on how the Muppets were sold to Disney (albeit removing my Bear in the Big Blue House mention), and vastly expanding on the experimental filmmaker paragraph I had added (I had only mentioned Time Piece and The Cube. The only objection is they made Time Piece one word, as it grammatically would be, if it were describing a watch.

Anyway, I'd suggest anyone here suggesting edits to their article, it seems to work. -- Zanimum 17:10, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

They're actually now one of the only reliable sources to outright debunk the Rudolf Nureyev and Miss Piggy dance sequence myth, in their article on Miss Piggy. They also have Big Bird and Kermit articles. (Surprising choice of article topics, honestly. Big Bird, but no article on Sesame Street.) -- Zanimum 20:47, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Why don't they link to us? We're a more reliable source than they are. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:58, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Why? Jorge Cauz. He paints the entire internet with a Seigenthaler brush. While he likes "a symbiotic relationship between editor and reader", he feels that 99% of the internet is junk, especially anything created on that evil MediaWiki software. -- Zanimum 20:45, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

The Muppet Newsflash

We've talked a lot on the wiki about using the Muppet Newsflash as a source. Scott and I have both been vocal about not using the site as a source of information, partly because Greg doesn't say what his sources are, partly because he's regularly signed his name to other people's writing, and partly because he comes off as kind of a tool.

The problem is, the dude does seem to have good sources. He's regularly got scoops about upcoming events and merchandise, and whenever he has something we want to use, we have to scramble around and try to find a corroborating source. I've just looked back over the last year of Newsflash postings, and pretty much everything that he said turned out to be true. There were a couple of dates that weren't quite right, but it seems like in those cases there was an unforeseen delay. It's irritating that he doesn't say what his sources are, but they seem to be reliable.

So... I'd hate to keep good information off the wiki just because I don't like the guy. What do other people think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I have to admit, I've been checking there about once a week lately, hoping to hear news about more CD's coming this year. I know that he's been banned, but since the site has proven to be reliable most of the time, I think we could use it like we use any source on an "in development" page, with the understanding that things could change. -- Ken (talk) 06:11, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd think it would make the most sense to do it on a case by case basis. In other words, look at the specific Newsflash and measure whether it seems reliable. For example, for many of the home video items, his undisclosed sources seem to include press releases from Henson (and in some cases, possibly Sesame Workshop) and are generally reliable. However, many of his entries on, for example, on the Segal Muppet movie, contain a mixture of press statements and gossip and quotes from a wide range of sources, usually again unattributed (though he does tend to mention Variety), such that it's impossible to ferret it out and any first hand info is lost in the shuffle.
So, my view is, in cases where he has a reliable track record and supplies other firsthand evidence exclusive to his site (publicity images, official episode guides, preview clips, and all that), it would qualify. So, say, his entry on Dinosaur Train includes screengrabs and other statements and facts which are clearly derived from some official source (but again, not explicitly acknowledged), so I'd say it qualifies as a firsthand source. On the other hand, he also frequently parrots the "About the Company" line (plagiraizing it, really) from the Henson website listing "other projects currently in production and development" without really knowing *(since they don't update that part of it very often) and in other cases, as when reporting on iTunes releases, the post actually comes after he's read mention of it on a forum (sometimes weeks later) or a day or two after a sourced notice is placed on Muppet Wiki and things like that. He does that quite often, in which case it's pretty ridiculous to cite him as a firsthand source. Only a few times have I had to remove citations of Muppet Newsflash for that reason, mind, but it could easily happen again.
So all this blather means a cautious yes to citation as long as users take a close look at what evidence Greg James presents, with more skepticism when it comes to vague movie tidbits (which, looking at the blog, have mostly vanished of late anyway). Kind of treat it the way we do, say, IMDb and Wikipedia, in contrast to something like Street Gang (with the copious notes and sources): not reliable sources in and of themselves, but useful when specific entries contain enough evidence (even if it's not in the form of sourcing) to back up the claims. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 06:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's good blather. I think he's proved to be reliable on merchandise and air dates, and overly optimistic on the subject of "in development" projects. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:41, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think a source is needed when posting news on an iTunes release. People can just go to the iTunes Store and see for themselves that a release is there. --Minor muppetz 14:53, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


For those interested, there is now a HDPS Wiki on Wikia. The new wiki covers the technology and productions of The Henson Company's Digitial Performance Studio -- including Waldo C. Graphic, Tizzy the Bee, Horace D' Fly, Sid the Science Kid, Frances and The Skrumps. While Muppet Wiki covers the worlds of the tangible felt and foam puppets of the Jim Henson Company, this wiki dives into the productions of the virtual digital-puppets they’ve pioneered. This new wiki project is still very much in its infancy and we could use your help, input, creativity, ideas and expertise. So if you are interested in this topic, feel free to check the wiki out and pitch in wherever you feel comfortable. -- Brad D. (talk) 22:55, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I've seen the HDPS wiki, and I think it looks great! It's a really good complement to this wiki -- going deeper into the Digital stuff than we would want to go, in the same way that Muppet Wiki goes deeper into Muppet stuff than Wikipedia would. Brad created a HDPS template to link pages here to the HDPS page last week... I just want to make sure folks know about it so we can use it on the relevant pages. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Avatars and stuff

Hi guys -- We've turned off the "social tools" profiles that we've had on the site for the last year and a half. That stuff was part of a test that didn't work out, and we just never turned it off. It put a lot of stuff at the top of our user pages and talk pages that nobody really used -- profiles, gifts, friends and that stuff. Scott and I were talking about it today and realized that we didn't like it and didn't need it, so why not turn it off? So I did.

The one thing I'll miss is the avatars -- it was cool having a little avatar. That actually might come back as part of an actual Wikia project, so we may see them again anyway. So that's what happened to that. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:52, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Oh, okay. I wondered what had happened. I enjoyed adding friends, and sending them gifts, and seeing where everybody was from, and when their birthdays were. It was a fun experiment. -- Ken (talk) 02:15, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
It's gone? No. I loved it. Webkinz Mania 13:02, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, hopefully we'll have an actual working version at some point. What we had was kind of half-finished... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:34, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Bullet Problems

Aside from the numbering problem, which continues, I'm also having problems with bulleted lists - the bullets are being vertically-centered along side the paragraph of text they are bulleting - this is causing weird results for bulleted items that wrap onto multiple lines or in all the places where we've use double asterisks to indent sub-items. A few examples of what I'm seeing:

-- Brad D. (talk) 22:53, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Yup, I know about that one -- it's being worked on right now. Sorry for the bugs; they're getting fixed. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:18, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Freedom from Redirects

Hey folks! I'm happy to announce that we just fixed something that's been a thorn in our sides since we first started the wiki -- the need to create redirects because the search box was case-sensitive. We'd always assumed that was something that couldn't be helped, so whenever we create a page called "The Something of Something", we've had to create redirects for "The Something Of Something".

Well, I've been working on various ways to improve the Wikia search experience, and I found out that this problem was actually fairly easy to fix. I got somebody to fix it, and guess what! It works great now. Try a search for the bathtub of seville or this way to sesame street, and it goes straight to the correct page without giving you a search results page. This is now implemented Wikia-wide, ta da, so it looks like our days of obsessive redirects are over. Yay! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Cool! Can we delete any unnecessary redirects? -- Ken (talk) 03:37, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
We can if we want to. We don't really have to, cause it'll work either way. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:25, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I was just thinking that if the site needs more room, there's a ton of LP redirects that can be deleted, if we ever need to delete things that aren't needed. -- Ken (talk) 06:00, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
We don't need room as far as the database is concerned or anything; there's plenty of disk space. We can keep adding as much as we want. :) -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:08, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Numbering Problems


The pages with numbered lists are having troubles, and only show the number 1. An example:

  1. A loaf of bread
  2. A container of milk
  3. A stick of butter

The problem occurs as of this writing. -- MuppetDude 19:05, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

It looks okay to me. I see 1. 2. and 3. —Scott (talk) 19:07, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Looks fine to me too. --MuppetVJ 19:42, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
That's odd. Why would it be different on my page and not others? -- MuppetDude 19:46, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
It's yet another browser issue. It's not just your page, but any page viewed in IE. I just ran Sandbox:Sesame Street Video Player: Classic Clips in Firefox, however, and it looks normal. It's an issue for the tech people. Some of these problems have been insurmountable, but since this one's brand new, they should be able to do something. I just uploaded a screengrab. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 19:49, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
So this was working before, and now it's not? Anybody have an idea when it started? Also: Which version of IE? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:18, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah I'm getting all 1's now too - I'm on IE8. -- Brad D. (talk)
I've just talked to one of my tech-type pals in the office -- other people have been reporting this today too. He's filing a bug ticket, and they'll figure out what's going on. I can't say exactly when it'll be fixed, but it's being investigated. Sorry about the bug. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:13, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Yay for Danny and his tech-type pals! -- Ken (talk) 03:37, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I've been told that this problem should be fixed by now, so folks shouldn't be seeing the numbering problem anymore. Please let me know if you're still seeing it or not; I don't have IE, and I want to make sure it's fixed. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:06, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm still seeing it. I've refreshed by browser, cleared my temps/caches/cookies/etc., and I'm still seeing all 1s. It's not fixed (for me at least). -- Brad D. (talk) 22:28, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Gah, sorry. It's been fixed and committed to code, but it's not live on the site yet. Sorry for the false alarm. The fix is coming. :) -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:38, 15 January 2009 (UTC)


I just wanted to mention, for those who don't already know, that next month's TV transition will include adding V-me as a free digital channel in some markets. It may also be available as a cable or satellite channel in other markets. I bring this up because they are broadcasting Plaza Sésamo, and these may be different versions from the episodes that are on US PBS and Spanish-language channels. Check out their official site on the V-me page to find out if you can get this channel. -- Ken (talk) 06:18, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

I sure hope that's true. - Oscarfan 03:06, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

New images gallery

I was just looking at the new images gallery on Special:NewImages, and I realized that this would probably be something that readers would like to see -- it's like a more fun/accessible version of Recent changes. Unfortunately, it's hidden on a special page that even some wiki veterans may not realize exists.

So I think it could be fun to have "New pictures gallery" or "New images gallery" in the sidebar, under the Sesame Street tab. If we try it out, then I could look at the click-tracking stats and see if people actually click on it. What do you guys think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

That's a fun thing for people to know about. I always forget to look at it myself. —Scott (talk) 20:29, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Cool, I put it up. There's probably a better phrase to use than "New pictures gallery", so if anyone can think of a different way to say that, let me know... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 07:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Looks collorful with al those party supplies ;) (Pino 21:41, 14 January 2009 (UTC))

News section

Should I delete Latest News once its at least two months old? We have some. Webkinz Mania 00:56, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, good point. I wish we had something new to put in there! :) -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:41, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Holidays or new appearances or hits? Webkinz Mania 22:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, we now have some new stuff -- the comic book, and some new DVDs... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:57, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Dinosaur Train show coming soon could be an article. Revert me Danny if you don't like my edit. Webkinz Mania 23:07, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, Dinosaur Train is a good idea... We should try to make it a habit to put stuff into the news section any time we create an In Development article, or add something to Template:Upcoming. Ellis, thanks for making changes; feel free to keep going! It's helpful to have more people keeping an eye on this stuff. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:24, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we should have jobs here. Like Main Page Editor. Sysops can edit if they want. The only problem is that we need to balance the pictures with the news. Webkinz Mania 22:02, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

We used to have the main page more job-based -- I was the person who updated the "Today on Muppet Wiki" bit, some other folks were doing the picture -- but the system kind of broke down during times when the person who was in charge wasn't available. I think it actually works great the way it is -- people can add and change stuff as they find news that they want to add. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:22, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah but we should balance the pictures. It could look a lot neater. Webkinz Mania 22:42, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the pictures and text move around depending on how wide a person's browser is. For my current browser size, the pictures look balanced with the text -- but if I make my browser narrower, the text is longer than the pictures, and if I make it really wide, the pictures are longer than the text. Try moving your browser around and you'll see what I mean. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:15, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

New edit window

Hi guys -- If you've hit the edit button, then you've probably noticed that the edit window has changed! This is actually an improvement that I helped to design -- the idea is to get the save button up above the "fold", so it's always there on the page and you don't need to scroll down to hit save. This new design should make the save button more visible, and hopefully help new contributors understand what to do once they've hit the edit button.

Preview is also different -- if you hit preview, the bar floats with you, so you can scroll through the page, make sure that your edit works, and then hit save -- without having to scroll all the way down to the bottom, past the edit window.

So I hope this works well for everybody -- it's brand-new, so if you have any problems, let me know! -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:20, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I have a problem. If you click the Save page that isn't highlighted green, it will just reload the page and show the preview.

UPDATE: Look below Danny's next talk. Webkinz Mania 23:09, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Hmm, I don't understand... Can you say more about what you mean? There's a Save page button and a preview button on the green bar, and then a button that says "Show changes" underneath that... Maybe you're clicking the Show changes button? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:36, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah. Sorry. I thought it said Save page. Webkinz Mania 22:04, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

When to use complete dates

discussion history

Danny and I were talking about when to use complete dates for Muppet merchandise, and we both seemed to agree that (unlike a TV show or movie) Muppet books, CD's, toys, etc. just kind of come out in stores whenever, rather than be released everywhere on the same day. However, I noticed that newer books like Street Gang have complete dates listed. How do people feel about this? -- Ken (talk) 07:25, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, pretty much every new DVD, book, and CD has a specific official release date from the publisher/distributor. This isn't always true for toys or collectibles (which are often a stock-em when you get-em policy). The official release date for Street Gang was December 26, 2008 (there are press releases, publisher listings, and other official sources to back it up) – now there were some stores who put it out early (there are reports of people getting it pre-christmas), some put it out late (some places still haven't gotten it in), and some places wouldn't sell it until midnight on the 26th (no matter how hard you begged).
Now with a big high-profile releases, such as the final Harry Potter book, or The Dark Knight DVD, the publishers and distributors get real strict about keeping the date (and they will police it and fine/sue any place that release it early). And pretty much every store wants to stock it and sell it and everyone wants to have out as soon as possible on that day - they make a big deal out of it and the release date really is universal across the board. However when Pepe the King Prawn releases a book, no one really cares that much about enforcing the release date (the publisher don't have the money to police it... and if a store puts it out when their shipment comes in it won't really hurt sales or cause riots cause its out 2 days early... so really, who cares?). A low-profile book like that may sneak onto shelves in a shop in Boston a few days before the date, and there'll be a store in Denver who doesn't put it on the shelf until a week or two later; however the release date (which can be sourced back to the publisher/distributor) is a specific day.
I've lined up at midnight to buy DVDs or books, but I've also gotten titles days (sometimes weeks) before the official date too. I saw Muppets in Space in theatres 2 days before the official release date. I've had storekeepers tell me they can't put that Muppet DVD or Sesame book out until a specific day even though they have it in stock, while others have it on the shelves a few days before they should (it just depends on the retailer). Sometimes there is little fanfare around what retailers consider a "childrens" releases, and many stores won't even stock the latest Sesame or Fraggle titles until a few weeks after the official release dates (causing fans to hunt around for the new titles).
Now, for the wiki's sake, I would say we should track the date for upcoming "in development" releases (it can be sourced, usually to press releases or publishers statements) and can give people the idea if this will be happing at the beginning of the month or the end of the month -- now, sure someone may have been able to find Elmo Loves You! on shelves at their local Wal-Mart last week (December 2008), but officially the release date for the DVD (according to Genius Produts) isn't until Tuesday (1/6/09). And there might be some people who won't be able to find it at their local stores until sometime next month, when the store does their February Valentines Day promotions (and hey my local DVD retail has yet to stock the Muppet Show season 3, so in some places things are never released). But there is an official date, even if your local Wal-Mart puts something out early.
Now looking at items that have been released, I don't really care about the specific to-the-day release date. It's a specific piece of data which is kind of trivial. I don't care if Columbia Tri-Star officially set to release "The Muppets Take Manhattan" on DVD on November 29, 2001. Really, does it matter? And, as we know, some stores may have had it out in some stores on the 26th, or even the 22nd; while other places may not have gotten it onto shelves until the 30th. However if we have the "official" date whether it was followed by all retailers or not, what's the harm in listing in? I don't see listing "November 2001" as incomplete, nor do I feel we need to track down the specific day to complete things. But if we have a the officially announced/sourced release date from the distributor (and not just a date that one random retailer, like Amazon or Wal-Mart, started selling it)... why not? -- Brad D. (talk) 09:09, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, you make a good point about stuff in development vs stuff that's already been released. I agree that for something in development, it makes sense to have a date on it, so that people know when it's supposed to come out. I'd like to source those dates when we can, so that we know whether a specific date comes from the publisher or from Amazon.
But I agree with you that specific dates once it's released are pretty pointless. So does that mean we take the dates off when an article moves from "In Development" to the actual category? That would be the convenient time to do it... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:08, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I think its useful on the in development stuff (if it's sourced). But once something is released is seems somewhat trivial and pointless to track. Especially since many times our only source for such information is just a place like Amazon (or some other retailer), and we've seen that sometimes they flawed in matching the "official" release dates (especially with older products, or non-major-party releases, or items with multiple editions or releases).
However, if we have good sources (official press releases, DVD trailers, etc) that give a specific date and its somewhat relevantly worked into the article somehow, I don't see us needing to forbid the mentioning of a specific date in regards to a product release; but I don't see the point in tracking the day just to more fully fill in the DVD/album/book info boxes or add more data to some other lists (like the Sesame discography or videography). But I wouldn't want to see the point passing a blanket "law" that says: in the eyes of the wiki, released items don't have a specific release days -- but I don't really see the point in tracking it in the info boxes, lists, etc. (especially since for many older items, or low-profile releases it may be pretty much impossible to ever find the true day).
Now for example, with Street Gang we have an official press release, the official book website and the publisher's listings that says the book's (and audiobook's) official release date was December 26, 2008. Now some stores started selling it on the 23rd, and some store didn't get it in stock until the 29th or January 1st, and some still don't have it on their shelves. But we mention (and source) the date in the text of our article, and I don't see the point in cutting that out. However with the book Abby Cadabby's Rhyme Time we don't have the specific day listed, there aren't many sources out there on that release (the closest I could get was with Amazon who lists July 15, 2007, but who knows the accuracy of that in regards to the official release date, and honestly who cares if it was the 15 or the 20th).
I guess what I'm saying is, for upcoming releases we should track (and source) as much as possible. For already released items there's no point in tracking the specific day in the info boxes, discographies/videographies, "other releases" listings, or just for the sake of having the day in there. However a full date can be mentioned if it's worked into the article and is well-sourced (with official statements; not random retail listings like Amazon or B&N or Wal-Mart). -- Brad D. (talk) 17:28, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

For the most part, you and I totally agree -- In Development articles should have (sourced) dates, articles on released items shouldn't.

So for Street Gang, I'm not sure I see why that should be a huge exception. I'm glad we had the specific date leading up to the release, but I'm not sure we need it now. We actually weren't linking to a press release or the publisher's listing -- up until a minute ago when I edited it, the page linked to Amazon as the source for December 26th.

I think it makes more sense to have a standard that everyone can understand and use -- In Development articles have dates, and we take the dates off when the project is released and moves out of the Development category. I understand why you'd want to make an exception for Street Gang -- it's a fantastic book, and important for us -- but so is Jim Henson: The Works. We only have 1993 listed on The Works, which is fine. A few years from now, the difference between December 26th, 2008 and June 11th, 2008 will be meaningless. So why make an exception? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:24, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I just used Street Gang as an example as I knew it was a product article with an officially sourced exact date on it. My point is, although the exact day is not nessesary information on such pages - if the data is included as part of a well-written and well-sourced article's main text, I don't wee the point in "outlawing" the inclusion of a full date on the product's page. Now just having a full date for the sake of having it, or tacking it in there because we found a date on Amazon or some press release is pointless. I agree that the exta numbers just becomes added clutter in the info box and are trival bits of data to track on a product list or catalog; but I think the inclusion of a full date in the text of a well-written (and sourced) article cold be fine; and I would hate to see us form a policy that overtime makes us blindly forbid any inclusion of a fuller date in regards to when a product was released. -- Brad D. (talk) 18:54, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Video vs. Online

discussion history

Scott and I had been talking here about whether to call the availability of a clip on a "Video release" or an "Online release". Any thoughts on it? -- Ken (talk) 02:21, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

"Online release" is a clunky phrase, but I'd like to keep a separation between video/DVD releases and a clip being available on a website. Those are really different things.
Maybe the "release" word is confusing -- possibly "Video releases" and "Available online"? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 02:04, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I think I like that. Otherwise, it is confusing and conflating rather distinctly different things. The internet isn't really a video format or a place for releasing videos specifically. It's online availability, when you get down to it, and with Sesame Workshop uploading the same material to multiple websites (, itunes, Hulu, YouTube, and so on) in a way that's not at all comparable to individual VHS or DVD titles, the distinction really is useful to maintain. I think "Online availability" is the best phrasing, though we may want to bring up whether we want to list multiple sites if they all have the same clip, or just go with -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:12, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, if it's really just something that we're using for, then maybe having a heading isn't the right way to go. Maybe just include it as a sentence in the article, or make a little box for it or something? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:04, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, sometimes I wonder if we should even list online availability, since that could change at any time. Audio and video releases will always exist, even if they're out of print, and noting those titles is very useful to collectors to find what they're looking for. But I understand if other people want to track a song or clip's online availability. And as a side note, we already use "online" as an option in the sketch release box on pages like Ernie and Bert Sketches: Apartment, so I think to be consistent, we should also make a matching heading on stuff like the song pages. So part of me likes keeping track of online availability; it's just a matter of what to call it. -- Ken (talk) 03:18, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree; I definitely want to keep the note about the online availability. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 06:07, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
If we're only tracking, I think a little box, in the style of our wikipedia box, would be great. -- Wendy (talk) 01:20, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
My preference would be just to have a "Releases" header and list them all under that. Otherwise, we end up with three headers which I think is unnecessary. See for example, Healthy Food. —Scott (talk) 16:27, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I think a "Releases" header would be confusing -- if you combined all those into one list on "Healthy Food", then you wouldn't know whether Monster Hits! was a video or an album. (At least, not without a click.) I think it's relevant to split up albums and videos... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 19:04, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
What if we still sort by type (album, home video, Internet) but use just one "Releases" heading to keep things neater (see Take a Rest as an example)? -- Brad D. (talk) 19:22, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, on a somewhat related question, with "Online" releases, are we just tracking videos? Or are we also including the now-defunct Sesame Street Video Player, the official Sesame Street Hulu channel, and the official Sesame Street YouTube channel too? -- Brad D. (talk) 19:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
See Letter B for how this would work. —Scott (talk) 19:33, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, okay... I'm sorry, I misunderstood. You're right, that looks great. I'll go with that. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 20:56, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, both of those are slightly different. Which one are we going with? -- Ken (talk) 03:38, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

There's a difference between Take a Rest and Letter B? They look the same to me. Maybe I'm missing something... -- Danny@fandom (talk) 07:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

When I looked at them the other night, one of them had a heading of "Releases", and then subheadings of "Audio Releases", etc. in smaller type, but they're the same now. -- Ken (talk) 03:30, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

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