Themes vs. Concepts on CV

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