Themes vs. Concepts on CV

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Posted by cbishop (15725 posts) - - Show Bio

A moderator told me today of a change to the wiki, and I had some concerns about it that I took to @wcarle in PM. He asked me to put it up to the forums for discussion. This is the PM I sent him, with only minor edits:

Hi. It's just been brought to my attention that a "Themes" option on the Volume pages is going to replace many of the "Concept" pages. I was told that stuff like genres and items like "Trade Paperback" (TPB) will be gone from the Concepts.

I don't edit as much as someone like Pikahyper (easiest example). In fact, my current focus is on two large volumes- Gwandanaland Comics and Classic Comics Library. Both are a series of trade paperbacks, and I've used that Concept throughout (or will as I add the solicitation info to each). Each TPB in the series could be a different genre, so marking each with "Western, Space Opera, Horror, Humor" etc. has been essential. If I can now only add that on the Volume page, the info is going to get muddy real quick.

For someone who adds as many issues a year (and to various volumes) as Pikahyper does, I can see that adding a concept only once to the Volume page would be very convenient. As an additional tool, I think it's great, but as a replacement for the Concept pages, I don't. The convenience of Themes only serves the wiki-editor. It doesn't serve the wiki-user.

A wiki is for both the seasoned reader refreshing their memory, and for that little kid that's just learning about this stuff. If the Concept pages go away in favor of Themes, a lot of info will be lost to the wiki-user. What is a Trade Paperback? What does Digital Only mean? What is LGBTQ? What is Space Opera? All of this info goes away without the Concept pages, and for a wiki, it should really be defined.

If this change is not already set in stone as a replacement, please reconsider it as only an additional tool. I think it's very important to the overall user friendliness of the wiki.

***

Later, further discussion with the moderator brought up some other points:

Descriptions of the themes could be added to the theme page, so that the definition is not lost. The mod was talking about brief descriptions, which would disallow any kind of history being laid out.

In playing with the Themes option a bit, I found that it's set up like to be a listing of associated volumes (not issues), and as was pointed out to me, there are a number of search tools in the right column of the Themes page to narrow down the search. I found that those search tools do work, so okay, it's kind of a reformatting of what is available on a Concept page.

As the mod pointed out, a Concept page shows associated Issues, and the Theme page shows associated Volumes. The Concept listing shows the volumes with the highest number of associated issues first, and works down to the volumes with only one associated issue. This cannot be changed, and the mod thinks that's useless. I like that function, so I wouldn't say "useless," but it's certainly limited. So why can't the search options on the Theme pages also be made available on the Concept pages? (Or on all pages, for that matter?)

Finally, using Trade Paperback as an example, the mod said: if you have ten volumes with ten issues each, and all of the issues are trade paperbacks, then would you rather associate it ten times (with Themes on the volume page), or one hundred times (with Concepts on the issue page)? The mod sees the ten as easier. I say why not 110 associations- ten on Themes and ten on Concepts? The purpose of the wiki is to make info available, and having it cross-referenced in two different ways can only make that info easier to find. Why not have both?

***

Also, I have a side concern: I make a lot of lists, and some of them have a single Concept as the entire list- serving as a placeholder in most cases- until I can edit more items onto the list. If the Concept is deleted in favor of a Theme, is my list going to be empty, or will it disappear? If it disappears, this means I lose the info currently in the list's text space (at the top of the list). Is that going to happen? The mod wasn't sure, and I forgot to ask wcarle.

***

So, okay, now it's out to the CV community. What do you think? Please chime in with your thoughts on this.

Thanks for reading. -cb

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#1 Posted by MajinBlackheart (9887 posts) - - Show Bio

Has there been any discussion of removing particular concept pages? I think having them is beneficial and more complete as well. At the same time, I find this feature to be a good one as well because most volumes could benefit from it's simplicity.

As for your list question, I'm pretty sure if a page is deleted it still remains on your list but it brings you to a 404 error. Any text you put in the body should still be there.

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#2 Posted by cbishop (15725 posts) - - Show Bio

@majinblackheart: I don't know how much discussion there's been about it, other than a mod telling me like it's a done deal. I think it would be better to have both Themes and Concepts, than to replace one with the other.

On the list question: that makes sense. Thanks.

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#3 Posted by Cloudguy (2648 posts) - - Show Bio

Pika' and I have discussed it to some extent, we put together a list of themes that can be used.

I think on a whole it does make things easier as it'll become a one-stop edit with a reduced likelyhood of being used incorrectly. As someone who spends an excessive amount of time editing, it'll reduce how much time I'll spend on individual issue pages if I don't have to add concepts such as TPB or any of the genre concepts as they can be added on the volume page.

In regards to your Gwandanaland Comics and Classic Comics Library issue, I feel that using the collection and anthology themes would be suitable enough. Personally I would leave out the other themes as you'll be there all day checking what applies and it would look cluttered due to the number of themes showing.

@majinblackheart: I spoke to Pikahyper the other day about what concepts could be removed because they now exist as a theme and TPB's, Mini-Series and the genres were mentioned. But, I imagine it would be up to you mods to discuss if they would be deleted outright.

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#4 Edited by pikahyper (18483 posts) - - Show Bio

Good grief, ok I'm going to be very blunt about this as I've spent more time talking about it already then I was interested in...

Most editors and humans in general are creatures of habit and to an extent lazy, if you have both a person is more inclined to continue using what they already use or already know about and that is the concept since they are familiar with it, by keeping the concept it makes the themes less effective and I sure as hell don't want to be the only person adding them, I do enough as it is.

The OP is also misconstruing what I said, I denied multiple times about this being about convenience or being easier, it has nothing to do with that, there is nothing convenient or easy about having to edit and add themes to over a hundred thousand volumes or removing concepts from countless issues. Concepts as a page type are limiting and have turned into a catch-all for anything that doesn't fit as another page type, once associated to an issue all you get is a basic listing of the volumes sorted by associated issue totals, there is no sorting or filtering of any kind, for something like the Trade Paperback concept that means clicking through 48 pages of results, what purpose does that serve? why would anyone want to do that or need to do that? someone is curious about seeing all the TPB's on the site? ok but they are only seeing the first one to begin with not all of them, very limiting. As for the wiki text content, how much of it is actually useful? I know from looking at them in the past that genre based ones tend to be copied from wikipedia and/or include nothing about comics and instead focus on literature or are filled with info that belongs on other pages. Looking at one like "Space Opera" it doesn't even have a description, it is no different then using the Science Fiction theme and it is only sporadically used for the volumes it is associated with, only 1 of 7 Star Hunters issues and 4 of 12 Sun Devils issues. "Horror" in the top deck just says "Scary stories"... wow that is enlightening, most of main description is about the Comics Code Authority which belongs on its own page. If we can get a brief description added to themes that is comic focused that should be more useful.

I already agreed that some concept pages should be kept, even if they are redundant, specifically because of the text information on them or for character associations, they serve a purpose but at the same time they do not need to be associated to issues. This will still result in them being used though since it doesn't seem like editors view the concept pages they add to issues so they won't know not to add them.

As for the themes themselves, the majority should be self-explanatory and if you don't know what something is don't use it (is CV really responsible for explaining what genres are? is the education system really that bad?). If you really want to know what something is why not ask? I know the editing community is dead but come on, get out of your bubble and interact a little. That being said there are a few that might be confusing, they are probably specifically related to editing like Missing Issues (the volume has gaps that should be filled), Digital Only (it isn't available in print), Print Only (there is no digital release), but again adding a short info description should clear that up or maybe I should create a thread with the entire list of themes with a short usage blurb for each.

As for the Trade Paperback concept specifically it barely gets used anymore, other then new editors I only know of two established editors that actually use it, looking at it now I see that Gwandanaland Comics is 1/4th of the associated issues and oddly enough even the OP has only added it to 777 of the nearly 2000 issues (and continues to add it even now). As for the text content on the page it isn't even accurate, the correct term would be Collected Edition or Collection, a trade paperback is not a hardcover or softcover, it is in the name "paperback", trade paperback and softcover are the same thing, something is either a trade paperback/softcover or a hardcover both of which fall under the blanket of Collected Edition or Collection.

I honestly don't understand why the OP has such a big problem with themes, the editing community has wanted these things the entire time I've been here, all but this one person that I've talked to has seen them as positive additions and some have started using them. Themes are an improvement, they have more capabilities then concepts, they are more powerful and they should hopefully curtail some of the concept abuse that happens while getting rid of pages that were only created because the site was missing features or were never meant to be associated to issues.

As for the OP's lists, I see no value in creating empty lists as placeholders or why they needed to use a concept page to begin with. If you don't have anything to add to a list don't create it, if by some weird fluke these empty lists get deleted because I deleted a concept page I'm not loosing any sleep.

Also to be clear it seems like the OP is assuming I'm just going insane and deleting tons of concept pages, that is not at all accurate, I specifically told him and others that I had to go through all the concept pages and review them, I plan on doing that this weekend or maybe next weekend, nothing is set in stone. Going through them I may discover that they are more useful then they used to be, I myself do not view them very often, the few I've looked at recently are not very useful or accurate but some probably are.

The main problem I see is informing editors about the feature, themes have been sitting there for years now just limited to Adult, everybody just ignores it not knowing that it is actually useful now, that's why I've been adding them to every volume I come across now so that people will see these links in the sidebar that were not previously there so they can start using them too.

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#5 Posted by pikahyper (18483 posts) - - Show Bio

And seriously people its been almost a decade, it is pikahyper with a p not P.

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#6 Posted by pikahyper (18483 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy said:

Pika' and I have discussed it to some extent, we put together a list of themes that can be used.

Other editors were involved, I've solicited multiple editors for suggestions and will continue to so the list can evolve and improve.

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#7 Edited by Cloudguy (2648 posts) - - Show Bio
@cloudguy said:

Pika' and I have discussed it to some extent, we put together a list of themes that can be used.

Other editors were involved, I've solicited multiple editors for suggestions and will continue to so the list can evolve and improve.

Apologies. I completely forgot.

And seriously people its been almost a decade, it is pikahyper with a p not P.

My bad. Capitalising names is a habit my old English teach reinforced into my head, even if they are written in lower case.

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#8 Posted by pikahyper (18483 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy: oh I wasn't singling you out, just about everybody capitalizes it, it seems to only happen on CV though for some reason, all other sites I've used just say pika.

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#9 Posted by cbishop (15725 posts) - - Show Bio

@pikahyper: First, the non-issues:

  • I was asked to create this thread for discussion. I used your name as example, because honestly, you're the only person I know to be a wiki-editor on the site. I capitalize your screen name because even though mine is also all-lowercase, it's technically correct to capitalize names, and as someone else said, it's been ingrained by English teachers- you'll live. If you don't, I'll personally pay for your tombstone to be engraved in all-lowercase letters. ;^p <--[tongue made from your missing lowercase "p"]
  • The lists thing is really a side issue (possibly only an issue for me), but since you addressed it, I use the text space in lists for blog purposes sometimes- specifically for indexes- because the text space in lists can hold more text than a blog can. I have used certain pages (usually Trade Paperback) as a placeholder on the list, because a) the list has to have at least one item on it for CV to save it, b) I didn't think the pages were going anywhere [so I assumed they'd be safe to use as a placeholder], and c) for many of them, I'm hoping to replace those placeholders with another page that I can't create yet, because I don't have the physical evidence in my hand to say that yes, I have worked on a comic, and yes, I need a "Person" page on CV. But thanks for not giving a rip if my hard work disappears if my lists get messed up by disappearing pages- you're a hell of a guy. This issue can be corrected by me though- I'll use a different page as placeholder on those lists. It's going to take a few days to get them all done.
  • And to be clear, I'm not assuming you're going insane and deleting tons of concepts. You did specifically say you were going to delete ones that you've "loathed" ever since they were created, so yeah I kind of assumed that was on your more immediate To Do list. But whatever- I really don't care about that.
  • I haven't applied "Trade Paperback" to all of the issues in the Gwandanaland volume yet, because it's a work in progress, and I've been adding that (and other items) in as I go back to add the solicitation info to each issue. My first goal was to get all of the covers in the volume. If the concept remained, I would eventually have it on every issue.

Minor issue:

Does CV have to be responsible for teaching everything? No. I've just assumed that the goal is to have as much info as possible on everything related to comics. When it comes to that, I tend to think in terms of what if this is the only wiki someone looks at in regards to comics- the info should be here, even if it's basic, because not everyone knows the basics. Maybe I'm overthinking that, and if so, that's fine.

As for info being copied from Wikipedia, chances are Wikipedia copied it from somewhere else, and there's always a chance (while slim) that the person who copied it to CV actually wrote it for Wikipedia. Assuming they did not though, at the very least, that info could be put in a Quote box and credited to Wikipedia. At best, in favor of not plagiarizing, it should be rewritten. The need for a rewrite does not make the page useless though- just in need of a rewrite.

The actual issue:

The thing I'm saying here is okay- Themes can be sorted and narrowed down, which the Concept pages can't. Why can't the same sort system be applied to Concepts (or Things, Volumes, Teams, etc.)? Not many volumes cover multiple genres like the Gwandanaland and Classic Comics Library volumes do, but just because it's not useful for the majority of volumes doesn't mean it should be wiped out if it's useful in places. HOWEVER, if Themes could be applied to Issues, and not just Volumes, that would solve the problems I'm seeing with it.

As I've made more than clear over the years, I know jack all about engineering and coding and such, but is it possible (and I guess this is really more a question for @wcarle) to set it up so a) if you apply a Theme to the Volume, that Theme is listed on each Issue of that Volume? and b) to add additional Themes to each Issue if needed?

In other words, if my idea were possible- the Gwandanaland Comics volume is a series of trade paperbacks. So "Collection" and "Public Domain" (assuming those are both Themes- forgive me for not checking) would be applied to the Volume page, which would make those Themes show on all of the Issue pages. Is it possible to make it so you can then go to an Issue page, and add additional Themes specific to that Issue? Using the same volume as example, some issues are "Golden Age," some are "Silver Age," and some need "Variant Cover." (And I realize some of these may remain as Concepts- I don't know which ones are to be deleted in favor of Themes.)

Also, the volumes I've worked on are not the only ones with multiple genres. Many of the Golden Age comics were anthologies with multiple genres each issue. Issue-specific Themes would be useful there as well.

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#10 Edited by pikahyper (18483 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: You were asked to create the thread because it isn't his job to talk to you about this kind of stuff.

Comic related info is of course important here and it is useful but I did say there are ones that are not comic related and are literary focused, not really important here, neither are the ones where the content is focused on other media like tv, movies or games instead of how it applies to comics. As for the plagiarized text we don't credit other sites, ideally we'd delete it but the agreed upon solution in those situations is to leave the content instead of deleting it because having an empty page is bad, a rewrite of course would be better but that requires having someone willing to do it, a lot of pages have been rewritten over the years but finding willing writers is difficult. Also if a person wrote text content here and then put it on wikipedia, or vice versa, we don't want it, text content added here must be unique unless it is official text from a publisher in italics, that's the rule.

The browse pages used for filtering and searching are separate from the other template based pages, CV relies heavily on templates unfortunately, adding those features to a page like Concepts would be a lot of work, the more likely scenario would be to expand the filters on the concepts browse page (Wiki>Concepts) but it doesn't seem like a solution that you'd be happy with since it is still another page.

We barely have themes on volume pages and they still have not been able to add them to movies or series and now you want them to add them to issues? a) having volume themes automatically applied to every issue is a bad idea because of abuse, we've stayed away from bulk editing things specifically because of abuse and b) auto adding them from volume to issues + being able to add issue specific ones would be a pain in the ass to code. What we have now was only possible because of how easy it was to add a list of additional themes to the already built theme system that was only being used to tag Adult content on the site, I gave him the list and it was just done, expanding it or modifying it is a whole separate thing.

As you said you don't know what is going to be deleted, if anything, you haven't given anything a chance to even start happening before you brought up the drawbridge, torches and pitchforks. With that said you really should have spent a minute or two going over the list of themes before starting this whole thing, that list would have given a pretty decent idea of what concepts I would even be considering. If a volume ran long enough to be in multiple "Ages" apply all of them, that's why the date range is there. Variant Cover is not a theme it is an actual concept unlike a lot of them in the wiki. I thought about adding Public Domain as a theme but we already have it as the publisher for those volumes, it would kind of make sense to change it from a publisher to a theme but honestly my gut says that would leave a lot of volumes with no publisher associated which isn't great.

Now if removing Trade Paperback is such a big problem for you why not create a new concept called "Print On Demand" that can be applied to everything Gwandanaland publishes? That is an actual valid concept that serves a purpose.

"The actual issue"

I'm still not clear on that with what you said, what I got from it is that instead of giving themes a chance you are stuck on potentially losing one single concept page (or just the ones you care about) and that you want the wiki to cater to the few specific volumes you added, by adding additional features, instead of thinking about what benefits the entire wiki, of which themes do. I know you've put in a lot of work in the wiki but wiki's evolve, things get added, things get changed and things get removed, it happens.

I assumed you were going to create this thread based on our PM and that would have been fine but the fact that you bothered wcarle with all this makes me angry. The engineers are barely on the site, getting anything done is a chore that takes months to years of talking and pushing and reminding and frustration and you go wasting the little time we get with something that is not even engineering related... if you have a wiki related problem create a thread in E&T, if you have a problem with a mod contact Rorie or inferiorego, if you find a bug go to Bug Reporting, if you have an engineering problem contact an engineer.

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#11 Posted by cbishop (15725 posts) - - Show Bio

@pikahyper: Again, I created the thread (and tagged Wcarle) because he asked me to. I had no intention of going beyond PM before he asked me to. I contacted him, because I thought you had mentioned this was something engineers were setting up. I've talked with Wcarle directly before, and if this was an engineering thing, I saw no reason I couldn't talk to him now. I don't need your permission, and I don't care that you're angry- that generally happens anytime I question something you do- you'll just have to be angry. Making me out to be a badguy because I asked about a potential problem accomplishes nothing. I'm not taking up the drawbridge and pitchforks. I saw a potential problem, and I asked about it. I am thinking about the good of the site, or I wouldn't have said anything. I think it's better for the site if all options are available. Your opinion is noted. If those who actually run the site agree, great. If not, great.

All the problems you mentioned with making Themes issue-specific, and making searches page-specific are perfectly valid. I said upfront that I don't know what that involves, and was asking if that was possible. If it's not possible, fine, it's not possible. HOWEVER, it is possible. You said it's a "pain in the ass." So it's possible. But unlikely. I get it.

Now, I think what @wcarle wanted was to hear from more than just you and me. So does anyone else have thoughts on this?