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Worth a Mention?

I'm not sure that this show is worth listing in the TV Mentions category. It's not a particularly well-known show, and the mentions are passing and not particularly funny. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 01:24, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Maybe we should make guidelines as to what shows/movies/what-have-you are worth noting for mentions. - Oscarfan 01:28, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I think there is a conversation somewhere about mentions that get their own page vs. "MInor mentions" although I can't find it at the moment.
Anyhow that's what Minor TV Mentions is for -- shows where the mentions don't merit their own page; usually because there's just one or possibly two. However there is more on this show than on most of the shows in the minor list; it has a screencap; and the merit of "not a particularly well-known show" is extremely hard to define or regulate. "not particularly funny" is similarly impossible to set as a standard. Many of the TV mentions are passing from what I can remember so I'm not even sure that's much of a valid criticism.
This is definitely a borderline case for having its own page vs. being on the minor mentions, but I would put it standalone after glancing through the latter page. -- Wendy (talk) 01:39, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
The guidelines for what merits its own page are here, and three verbals with one random image would in fact be minor (we've consistently waited for more than three, usually five, or else an extended spoof or other notable occurrence, as with That '70s Show performing "Sing.") However, it also fits into a very valid criticism which I'd brought up some time ago here but with no real response. Basically, it makes sense to me to hold passing, random references in non-fiction shows to a higher standard for what qualifies, as we have on occasions when a user mentions, for example, that the host of a regional fishing show mentioned Kermit or anything like that. With the scripted shows, there's at least deliberation, but with talk show or reality shows, anyone can blurt anything out. Even when it was planned, as with the Kermit image popping up, it isn't interesting or unique. The exceptions we've made on that page are quite notable: Nova using Muppets in a demonstration, Tim Russert teasing Stephen Colbert about his name with a Bert doll, and so on, something that it makes sense for Muppet Wiki to document for posterity; other passing references in similar contexts were either deleted or incorporated into other pages when relevant (as with Steven Spielberg making a passing remark about not growing up watching Sesame Street in a documentary on his films). These references aren't. At best it should be merged, but I'd just as soon not include it. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 02:25, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Ah. Ok. For some reason I thought it was 3. If the standard is more than three to get its own page I'm ok with merging it. I don't like the idea of picking and choosing what is a mention and what is "not worth keeping" or "not interesting"; that gets very grey because it comes down to what is interesting to us personally, which is not at all neutral. Obviously very little is added to the wiki that doesn't interest at least the person who adds it and thus the wiki isn't entirely neutral; on the other hand if we come along later and say "this isn't interesting to the rest of us" and take it away, that's taking the non-neutrality to a new level. Plus, a muppet mention on a non-fiction show I like would be as interesting to me as one on the Gilmore Girls; I don't really care if the author scripted it, or a contestant/guest said it and the editors left it in.
I also don't really see the point of limiting what "counts" -- why shouldn't we be as complete as we can be? -- Wendy (talk) 02:48, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, we've broken out pages once they've amassed more than three or one has turned out to be more substantial or we have another connection (as a reference by the Muppets themselves or an appearance). The thing is, as much fun as it is to add these things, I don't think it *should* be just about adding something *only* because it's from a show one likes and not seeing if it fits (and we do use interest to determine a variety of things, though sometimes it could use more discussion beforehand and i know I've differed on some; we no longer cover assistant or background Muppet performers with no other credits for that reason, and they're far more relevant, but there's nothing we can say that isn't in the credits. I know I've avoided adding some random verbal things which don't fit even if I'm fond of the subject (I have an Archie comic in which Jughead calls Moose a "Cookie Monster" when they start selling baked goods, but I'm waiting to see if it can really fit in effectively with our existing minor comics mentions and how to handle it, since by now the phrase, despite its Muppet origin, isn't as deliberate or notable as a Kermit the Frog allusion would be). And non-fiction is a huge can of worms, as when Michael pointed out that on The Steve Wilkos Show a random guest said delayed Sesame Street airings made her sad. This is slightly better than that, but only such. Keeping non-notable references just because isn't necessesarily neutrality (originally in fact, a preference by some, including myself, was just not to deal with them at all since they were overcrowding the Wiki; Minor Muppet Mentions pages are a compromise) and in this case it's minor and really does tread into a problem area (in general, we've brought up really iffy passing stuff on the talk page before starting a page, so we don't have to merge or delete very many of these, but it's not always obvious to new users the way the categories are structured, and sometimes we don't notice a page until later). Frankly, trying to document every single occasion where any soul in print, television, radio, or in a bar mentioned Sesame Street is both a Herculean task and not a particularly rewarding one; the real challenge (and reward usually) is finding a way to make a passing reference relevant or more interesting to readers (not just any random person who likes that show, but the average readership), looking for a Muppet spoof or checking for more substantial mentions in other episodes beyond a one-liner or even just adding a nifty connections list. Encyclopedic is fine, but as much as we love fannish minutia, I think it's only reasonable to set a limit and set standards (or, really, in this case, just abide by ones we've already had, or restate them in a way that's more obvious). By the way, see this discussion from 2006 on the subject, though of course revisiting and clarifying aspects three years later is always worthwhile.
Taking another gander at Minor TV Mentions (which on the whole actually has become a fairly worthwhile page, sometimes only in bulk, but a lot of the individual sections are impressive and it gives us a place to link when we add someone with a connection to a given show), definitely some are pretty weak and passing, but I feel like a little more leeway can be given, in fact, to what one person finds interesting in cases like that than with people just talking. Scripted references at least are a sign of the influence the Muppets as a pop culture phenomenon have had on pop culture itself, which isn't the same when it's just people talking and bringing them up; I don't think it's too much to ask that in those circumstances, there be something really notable or unusual about it. Video On Trial, which I just noticed, is iffy in that same sense. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 03:04, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
To me it makes no sense to worry about the wiki getting "crowded"; we don't have a size limit. Likewise, deciding not to have pages for backup performers had, in my mind, more to do with not having anything to say about them beyond a one sentence stub that repeats what's on the project page. If we had something more to say about them why wouldn't we create a page?
I also disagree that a scripted reference is pop culture and somebody saying something on a nonfiction show isn't; both occur in the same media with the only difference being that one was thought up by a writer and one by someone who wasn't a writer. I don't see why the Archie reference wouldn't merit a position as a minor mention. I'm not saying we should go out there and try to catalog every passing reference ourselves; I'm saying we shouldn't be judging references that are being contributed by some very arbitrary standard of "interest" or "notability". On the other hand, a standard of "nationally released" (ie not a local radio show) is reasonable to me because it is quantifiable and not dependent on our own opinions.
We created "minor mentions" for cases where by a given measurable criteria we don't think it merits a whole page. If you find it that impossible to accept having nonfiction references on the same page with ones by scriptwriters then let's create "Minor Nonfiction TV References". -- Wendy (talk) 16:29, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't find it impossible, I just don't think it's worthwhile and really incredibly messy and just a huge problem (and not one that even existed at that time but has mostly crept in during the last year or so). X-Play I guess is middling enough to pass since it is kind of a review show (Video on Trial seems slimmer), but I'd still hate to see things like "So and so told Maury Povich his Mom hated Big Bird" or "Someone on Big Brother says other contestant is a beeping Muppet" being added with regularity. Televised or not, that stuff seems on the same level to me as people talking in a bar (and the crowded concern was regarding having dozens of stubby pages for one sentence, which the current format takes care of), with no deliberation or intent, and it's just a big can of worms. We already made a similar judgement re fan YouTube videos (Category talk:Internet_Mentions). The other possibility is just to delete all mentions of that kind to begin with (i.e. "I watched Sesame Street," "Yay for Kermit and Miss Piggy"), which would avoid arbitrariness (and some of those on the page right now could easily be merged anyway; The Dame Edna Experience is borderline, a real talk show with a fictional host, but the brief exchange could be placed on Rudolf Nureyev, as an example of how he continued to treasure his memory of working with Miss Piggy, and thus have more purpose); we'd lose some stuff (including some I added), but it's the best way to avoid that problem. -- 21:00, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the key to the conversation is Wendy's question about notability. As you guys know, I've been the notability cop a lot. It does involve some fuzzy standards, but I think those standards are worth using and examining as we go along.

Wendy says, correctly, that we don't have a size limit; the wiki is essentially infinite, and more pages doesn't cost anything or waste paper. But the patience and interest of our readers is not infinite, and that's what I'm always looking out for.

There are a lot of things that are true, but we don't document them on the wiki. For example: I have a copy of Letters to Santa, and I could make a list of all the companies that advertised during that special, and then make a page for each one, in an "Advertisers" category. Then I could go through all of the other tapes that I have, and add those too, and end up with an impeccably researched page on Radio Shack that says that they advertised during Letters to Santa and Christmas Movie, but not Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

But I'm not going to do that, and I would stop somebody else from doing it, because it's an impossibly boring waste of time. Anybody who stumbles across that page will be not just bored but actively repelled by the level of OCD geekiness that that would represent. It would be true, but we don't want it on the wiki.

There's a real standard at work there, even if we don't always express it in words. The standard is, essentially: "So what?" In other words, does this piece of information connect to something else?

We keep track of book appearances for Sesame characters, because those lists tell a story about when the character was popular, and when they faded from popularity. We keep track of when the Muppet balloons appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, because it reflects the Muppets' status as pop culture icons at a particular period.

But we don't keep track of the exact dates that Muppet Show episodes aired in the hundreds of different locations in the US, because those facts don't connect to anything in particular. If the Elton John episode aired on October 10th in Miami and October 18th in Seattle... So what? It would be a huge research project to put all of that information together, it would probably involve multiple pages... and it wouldn't add up to anything interesting. So we don't bother.

That's not a mathematical standard that you could rigidly apply to any situation. It requires thought, and making a judgement about whether a particular fact is worth mentioning or not. If it was a rule, then you could say that it's arbitrary, but it's not. It's an editorial decision.

That's what editors are for, to make sure that interesting things aren't drowned out by boring things. When you don't have a strong editorial vision, then I think you end up like Marvel Database. (With all due respect.) They value lists and details above readability or explaining the behind-the-scenes history, and I think they've ended up with a wiki that's accurate, comprehensive, well-researched and unreadable. I think our wiki is much more browseable and fun, because we've kept an eye on notability. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 23:19, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm a little disturbed when I see discussions about notability on a place like Muppet Wiki. It smells very much of Wikipedia, even under the banner of editorial discretion.
As a long-time Muppet Wiki reader, but very, very infrequent contributor, you don't know me from boo, and I expect that my opinion will count accordingly. But I do find browsing through Muppet minutiae enjoyable and would hate to see many of the pages under discussion fall to the notability axe. (The example Danny provided of a sponsor analysis actually sounds somewhat interesting to read, if not necessarily produce.)
Generally, Muppet Wiki has produced very high quality, enjoyable pages that are a delightfully quirky pleasure to read. Enforcing notability on them makes me worry that some of the charm will be lost in the purges. — Brett (talk) 03:05, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Danny's point that we should be striving to make interesting articles - not just giant pointless lists. That's why we don't have a list of every time Fozzie Bear has said 'Wocka Wocka', or every episodes of Sesame Street sponsored by the letter Q. The reason we don't is because we figure "what's the point", "what would you do with that information", and just "who really cares"?
But I think this page is just as relevant and interesting as the obsessive list of Muppet Mentions we have -- say on Mystery Science Theater 3000 or The Colbert Report. A Muppet fan who is also a fan of "X-Play" would enjoy finding a list of all those mentions just as much as a MST3K would enjoy our obsessive list of Muppet Mentions on MST3K and a Colbert fan would enjoy our complete list of Muppet mentions from The Colbert Report. The only difference here is that many of the contributors here are MST3K or Colbert fans, while many of us don't watch or care about "X-Play". But I don't think that makes it any less noteworthy – there are many shows/movies in the Muppet Mentions category that I have never heard of (or could really care less about the fact that they made a bunch of minor references the Muppets). But I'm sure a viewer of X-Play who also loves the Muppets would be excited to see a list of the references. I understand if we're just discussing whether its had enough mentions to warrant its own page, or if it should just be on "Minor Mentions" for the time being...but if we're debating whether these mentions are worth noting at all, I think it's right in-line with many of the other lists of Muppet mentions that we've collected on the wiki. -- Brad D. (talk) 04:12, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I think this is worth keeping. There are three references and we've got a picture. MST3K is interesting to people who like funny, X-Play is interesting to people who like video games. —Scott (talk) 17:19, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I'll buy that. I was really just askin', I didn't mean for it to become a huge conversation like this. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:23, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

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