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Muppet Wiki:Policies and Guidelines

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This is a list of the Policies and Guidelines discussed and agreed upon by the Muppet Wiki community.

Article style

  • Due to the frequency with which videos are removed from YouTube, we try to keep links to that site at a minimum. Some exceptions include accounts owned by regular contributors who are keeping an eye on their own links or cases where wiki information is being sourced. We also never link to anything that's commercially available.
  • When summarizing fictional events that happened in a TV show, book, or film, the present tense is used unless explicitly dealing with a character's backstory prior to the episode. This rule applies even if the production follows characters over a certain length of time. The exception applies to character pages with long and detailed histories over a span of several (real life) years and projects. To quote Danny: "The point is that the writing always takes place in the present of the moment that you're writing about. If the episode that you're writing about shifts from one sentence to another, then the present tense follows it." (CE discussion)
  • Posting the full lyrics to a song isn't allowed on the wiki; it's considered a violation of the songwriter's copyright, and that's a violation that is enforced more often than images or other potential violations. It's okay to quote selected lines from a song within the context of a larger article about that song, the songwriter, or the character.
  • Entries are expected to be made with proper grammar, capitalization and spacing.
  • Pictures go above book templates, but below song templates. A book cover has more information value than the book template, so it should go above the template. A picture of someone singing a song has less information value than the song template, so it goes below. The book cover is documentation; the song picture is illustration.
  • Image captions shouldn't contain quotes or commentary as they aren't considered NPOV contributions. Informational or explanatory captions are welcome when necessary, but aren't always needed. For example, a single image on a character page is self-explanatory: it's a picture of that character. But a column of images on a long list of references may require some text to identify how the illustration relates to the article. (Although a wry description in keeping with the spirit of the scene may be okay.)
  • Don't make lists of quotes for favorite or famous lines. We don't want to become a quote database, and picking the best ones is subject to one's point of view. Quotes should be used in articles to illustrate a particular point.
  • The purpose of disambiguation pages is to redirect the user to the page they're looking for. When other links are included, it tends to confuse that process. As such, only the articles being disambiguated should be linked, and any other discernable information should be kept limited to the point that a visitor can determine which of the articles they are looking for. All other pertinent information and wiki links can be found in the following article. More on disambiguation: (CE discussion)
  • Infoboxes for records/tapes/CD's should only have the format, catalog number and label for the first release, a picture of which should be right above the infobox. All later releases (and their information) should go farther down in the gallery.
  • On song pages, only the titles of albums and videos should be italicized. The songs on a single should not be.
  • Watermarked images (which applies to Jim Henson's Red Book pictures) should only be used when there is no other visual representation of the subject available. One good example is this image illustrating the Muppets' performance of "Come Together" on The Ed Sullivan Show; when a better-quality picture or screenshot becomes available, that can be used instead.
  • Picture galleries should be relevant and/or interesting of note to the article. Excessive image farms (especially of commercially available material) are discouraged.
  • Only one character image with a transparent, white, or cut-out background should be included on the top of that character's page (any other preexisting image that applies can be exchanged if necessary or kept if it serves a specific purpose); all others should be kept on Character images with a blank background. (CE discussion)
  • Captions and text should refer to a person by their last name unless it's within the context of the appearance they were making where they were referred to by their first name by other characters. For example, Elmo refers to Whoopi Goldberg as "Whoopi" and Kermit refers to Gene Kelly as "Gene". The descriptive text should read Elmo and Whoopi discuss their hair and fur and Kermit gets a dancing lesson from Gene; while captions and history about the person should be Goldberg pictured with Kami at the United Nations and Kelly didn't want to do "Singin' in the Rain", but the show writers convinced him otherwise.
  • Multiple links to the same article in close proximity to each other is discouraged (in paragraphs, for example). Exceptions include links appearing under another header or in image captions. Readers often skip down to the information that interests them and tend to look over pictures first. Not providing links to relevant articles in these cases (even when they've already been linked in the article) would fail to direct the reader to relevant topics. Readers shouldn't be expected to know that a link was provided in an earlier section of the article or have to do a separate search.

Date links

Date links should be used when the subject of the article has a specific release date or appearance date. The easiest way to think about it is: A timeline page has a set of links on it, listing events that happened that year. When you click "what links here", the list of pages that link to the year should match up with what's listed on the page. (CE discussion)

  • The best example is for books, records, episodes, movies and specials. Those pages have one date linked -- for example, The Monster at the End of This Book has a link to 1971 in the infobox. Other dates mentioned on the page don't get linked, including reissues of the book. Only the first publication date is linked.
  • TV appearances -- Link for the date that a Muppet appeared, but not for other dates. "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.
  • Song pages -- Songs written for the Muppets or Sesame Street get a date link in the infobox. Songs that the Muppets covered (like most Muppet Show songs) don't get a date link.
  • Individual people or characters don't get any date links. (This is the one exception to the general rule listed at the top -- a birth or death date of a performer might be listed on the timeline page, but they don't get linked from the person's page. Ditto for a character's first appearance.)
  • There should never be date links in captions, galleries or references.

Sources

IMDb and Wikipedia (and other user generated sites like The Muppet Newsflash blog that don't cite sources) are generally not sources when it comes to Muppet/Henson productions. Such information should only be added or entries only brought up if they are confirmed by screen credits, presskits, or other reliable outside sources. Otherwise, it generally reflects what an unknown user *thinks* is correct, and in many cases reflects rumors, guesses, or even personal fantasies and outright nonsense. - (we've discussed this a number of times over the years; I'll try to dig up examples on talk pages; one source includes Talk:Roscoe Lee Browne)

  • Because so many sketches were repeated over the years, and there have been so many in so many episodes, it's hard to commit to saying that "xxx" first appeared in Episode "yyyy". Instead, we list the Earliest Known Appearances, so that if an earlier appearance is found, it can easily be added to the list of appearances, or swapped out as being the Earliest Known Appearance. Citing a season as the first time a sketch appears is not sufficient. Mostly this is due to particular claims of a contributor that "Ernie looked this way is Season xx." That sort of speculation is obviously not conclusive. This dialogue is encouraged on talk pages so that an episode number may be found, but the articles themselves must be supplied with irrefutable proof of date of origin. The best way this can be done is with an episode number so that the information can be double-checked.
  • On some sketch articles, we note that a particular segment was released on DVD. This should be done only for sketches that were released outside the context of the episode(s) they appeared in.

Notability

  • Every click should give a reader more information than they had before they clicked. We shouldn't have a page that simply repeats information given on the page that links to it. For example -- if a puppeteer only performed in one movie, and the only information that we have about that person is that they performed in that movie, then we don't create a separate page for that puppeteer. (The link on the movie's page already says the name of the puppeteer and the character they performed. The puppeteer's page would only have the name of the movie and the character, so it wouldn't add any extra information to what the reader already knows.)
This also applies to characters, especially one-shot unnamed Anything Muppet characters. If the character's page only has information that could be found in a description of the sketch -- then we don't need that page. (See Talk:Fat Blue and Talk:Harvey's friend.)
  • Pages for song composers aren't necessary unless they've worked directly on Muppet/Henson/Sesame projects, they're being referenced (as in Beethoven) or their material has had a significant impact on the topics covered in the wiki (i.e. Harold Arlen). (examples of previous discussions include Talk:Falco and Talk:The Coasters)
  • I'm not sure what to do with this, but we talked quite a bit about how to handle non-Muppet Henson stuff here (CE discussion)

Notable crew

Some people who have worked on Muppet productions are notable and should have their own page on the wiki; some aren't. We want to highlight people who have made substantial creative contributions to the development of the Muppet/Henson productions. We've split the list of jobs into two basic lists, which correspond more or less to "creative" jobs vs. "technical" jobs. People with "creative" jobs should get a page on the wiki; people with "technical" jobs should not.

Here's the basic breakdown:

Yes: Writer, Director, Executive Producer, Producer, Associate Producer, Designers and Creative Supervisors in the Muppet Workshop or Creature Shop, Art Director, Production Designer, Music Coordinator, Costume Designer, Original Music, Choreographer, Puppet Wrangler. Plus anybody from the "No" list if there's anything Muppet-relevant to say about them, like an overview of their career with the Muppets, or a quote.

No: Line Producer, Associate Director, Stage Manager, Video Editor, Audio, Production Coordinator, Hair and Makeup, Technical Director, Video Engineer, Camera Operator, Tape Operator, Electrician, Lighting Board Operator, Carpenter, Props, Set Decorator, Production Assistant, Production Intern, Accounting.

That's not to say that those people aren't interesting, and this distinction is not meant to be disrespectful to people who do great and important work. It's just that there's so many people who get credits. Even a direct-to-video special has over a hundred people credited; a movie has hundreds. If we were to include a page for each person doing a "technical" job on each movie, TV show and special, then we'd end up with literally thousands of pages that have nothing but "Lighting Assistant: Muppet Treasure Island".

That being said -- if there are interesting things to say about someone on the "no" list, then a page may be appropriate. For example, Frank Biondo is a camera operator, but he has a long history with Sesame Street, he's won Emmy Awards, and he's been referenced on Elmo's World. Plus, we have a picture of him working on the show, and a quote talking about the show.

This guideline should not be used to block the creation of good and interesting pages; it's meant to discourage the creation of boring stubs based mostly on credit lists.

See the Current events discussion from January 2007, and the Category talk:Miscellaneous Crew discussion that followed. Also see Category talk:Sesame Workshop Staff for a similar discussion in January 2009.

Page titles

  • Article titles don't need to be described with additional phrases in parentheses unless they're being disambiguated from another article of the same name.

Merchandise naming conventions

These are the naming conventions we've been gradually moving to for the last six months or so. There are still lots of pages that need to be cleaned up to fit this convention, so if you see counter-examples, then that doesn't mean the convention is wrong -- it just means that those are pages that should be fixed.

Categories

  • Productions "In Development" stay only in that category until the product is released.
  • Format for international categories -- keeping them separate from US categories -- not listing international releases in "Book appearances", "Audio releases", "Video releases".

Wiki behavior

  • Talk pages are meant to be used as a discussion space for the community to determine the factual outcome of the corresponding article. This space doesn't lend itself well to social conversations about favorite memories, opinions or looking for merchandise. This sort of discussion is better suited for message boards (such as Muppet Central, Tough Pigs, or the comments section of fan blogs such as The Muppet Newsflash or The MuppetCast), where you can chat with other fans.

Merchandise

Merchandise dates

For the most part, books, albums, toys and other merchandise should just have a year for the release date, without a specific month or day. Release dates for most items are approximate anyway -- a Harry Potter book makes a big hoopla about a specific release date, but Sesame Street storybooks and Muppet DVDs tend to drift out into stores over a period of weeks. The source for most dates is a retail store, usually Amazon, and that just tracks the date that Amazon happened to start selling the item. So most of the time, we should just have the year of release.

The exception is for projects in the In Development category -- for those pages, a specific date can help readers know when a book/album is supposed to come out. Those dates should be sourced as much as possible -- if the date comes from Amazon, then use a ref tag with a link to the Amazon page. When a project moves from the In Development category to the regular category, the specific date should be taken out, leaving just the year.

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