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Portal

I'm starting work on a Portal structure for the wiki to allow for easier browsing. Discussions started in December 2005 between Peter and myself about setting up some sort of navigational tree for the wiki, but that obviously fell by the wayside. For those who contribute here, we've got a fantastic category structure, but really that's only friendly to people who've been to a wiki before. Portals are an attempt to make the information more accessible the other folks who don't speak out language. Memory Alpha, Wikia's Star Trek wiki, set up just such a portal back in November, and I it's pretty fantastic. I think we'd do well to use the same foundation as the basis for organizing our content by Universe, a practice I tried out some months ago here: Muppet Wiki:Universes.

Obviously, this is in the barest stages of development right now. What's important is to figure out how this is going to be organized first and make it look pretty later. Thoughts... input? —Scott (talk) 22:36, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Also, it's my intention to embed Portal:Main into the front page the way Memory Alpha] does, but that's going to require lots of tweaking. Obviously, we don't want it to take over the front page, but I just wanted to mention that we keep that in mind as we play with things. —Scott (talk) 22:40, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I think it's a fantastic idea, and I copied one of Memory Alpha's portal pages to Sandbox:Browse so that it would be easy for us to look at their formatting.
One thing that we'll have to figure out is how much to include in a particular grouping. I just added a "Merchandise" section to Portal:Muppets. But there's 24 categories within Muppet Merchandise, and I think listing all of them on a portal page is excessive.
I put seven on the page -- Action Figures, Albums, Books, Calendars, Plush, PVC Figures and Toys -- because I figured that those would be the ones that people would be most likely to browse for. I don't think we need the portal page cluttered with Apparel, Crafts and Watches -- that's more specialized stuff, which you could find through the main Merchandise category.
My thinking is that the portal pages are aimed at new/casual readers. A "portal" is a door, and the idea is to draw new readers in with the most accessible, basic content. Once they've come through the portal, then all of the other content opens up for them.
So that's going to be tricky for us, finding that balance. We need to show off the most basic, essential content, which means that some of the things that we love most -- Muppet Movie Culture or Sesame Street Locations -- are going to be left out of the portals.
As a counter-example, the Memory Alpha portal that I copied on Sandbox:Browse has 20 articles at the top. I think that's just too much to process.
I'm wondering if we should set an arbitrary number, and any category or subcategory on a portal page can only have that number of items. I'm thinking maybe 8. So that would mean 8 specials, 8 merchandise categories. If there are more than eight items that could fit, then we have to choose the top eight, and that'll force us to think carefully about what we're putting on the portal page.
Obviously, we'd make an exception if there are nine Muppet movies, and it would be ridiculous to leave one of them out. But eight would be the general standard. -- Danny (talk) 15:13, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
It's a great idea, and so far, the initial versions look great. Similar to the above on what to include as basic, essential content, should anything else be added as a main portal? The top three are covered, and we don't want to go overboard, but in keeping with the "universe" thing, I'd suggest adding Bear in the Big Blue House, Creature Shop, and *possibly* Muppet Babies, as the other areas most likely to interest new visitors. And possibly a People portal ala Memory Alpha (only restricted, I'd think, to real people, not characters)? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 16:00, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
As much as I love Bear and would love for it to have its own portal, I think it would be better to group all the "B-universes" together in a "rest-of" portal. This would include Bear, Animal Show, Animal Jam, Emmet Otter and the Tales from Muppetland Universes, and whatever other universe doesn't fit in with the established boundaries and continuities of the main ones. —Scott (talk) 17:22, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I noticed that there seems to be plans for a Sesame Street portal. It's only a redlink now, but I was thinking that that page should have a section on the international co-productions. I think it might be best for the person who started all these portals to start the Sesame Street portal (of course, I haven't checked the history pages to see if they were all started by the same person). --Minor muppetz 22:49, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I actually think that we might consider a link for international on both Muppets and Fraggles as well, but definitely for Sesame. -- Wendy (talk) 01:53, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I sort of think that Bear in the Big Blue House and Farscape deserve their own portals just as much as Fraggle Rock does. The Muppet and Sesame Street portals make sense, since both have been around for decades, with new productions. However, Fraggle Rock was mostly just around throughout the 1980s, with one animated series, and no specials (unless you count The Bells of Fraggle Rock, which is sometimes listed by Henson as a special instead of an episode, or Down at Fraggle Rock), plus two direct-to-video compilations (with newly-created footage), a wrap tape made for the cast and crew, a handful of guest appearances on talk shows, a handful of appearances in Muppet specials (and even then, they aren't as prominent as the cast from the Muppet and Sesame Street universes), and an upcomming movie. This is in additoon to all the merchandise out there.

Now, I don't know how much more or less Fraggle merchandise there is compared to Bear merchandise, but I know that Bear in the Big Blue House had just as many seasons, one spin-off programming block, a live stage show, some direct-to-video releases, a handful of talk show appearances, and I think a handful of specials, and no news of any possible movies. Of course, unlike the Fraggles, the Bear universe rarely crossed over into the Muppet universe. --Minor muppetz 02:52, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

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