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Unreferenced material reform proposal

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Revision as of 20:16, March 4, 2012 by Archduk3 (Talk | contribs)

Forum icon  ForumsTen Forward → Unreferenced material reform proposal (replywatch)

While participating in a discussion on Talk:K. Glover, I've for the hundredth time been thinking about the unreferenced material category, which due to its unique allowing of non-canon in articles that look and feel a lot like in-universe content occupies a very uneasy position on this wiki. And I think I've got an idea worth proposing:

The problem: This section of the encyclopedia keeps getting the redheaded stepchild treatment. Pages have been brought up for deletion repeatedly by people who just happened to come upon them and felt that they had no place here, sometimes kept, sometimes merged into episode pages, pretty arbitrarily. At some point in the past the community apparently explicitly decided that pages like these could have a place on the wiki, but that does't seem relevant anymore. Some think these articles shouldn't exist, people have various ideas on where to merge the info in, and in essence, nobody’s happy.

The Solution: I think that putting these all on a single page, as a sort of Star Trek Encyclopedia-like glossary, would be the end of a lot of drama and concern, and a solution more people would be comfortable with. The info would continue to be available, but would be better contained, more easily recognizable as non-canon, etc.

The resulting page would be a long but manageable reference list of elements, people, planets etc, existing in a similar spirit as pages like Performers whose scenes were cut or Undeveloped Star Trek episodes. Subsections could perhaps be organized for people, celestial objects, varia, etc. Or perhaps a distinction per series and episode would be better. If the list became too large, splitting it up would of course be an option. I don't suspect we're there yet though.

I would propose making a single mixed list containing the contents of both the "unreferenced material" and "Deleted material". I am aware that there's already a page for Deleted scenes in which deleted material could also be folded. But the terms would get lost in the long descriptions of that article. As to retain the idea of entries, putting them on the new page seems better. The new page and deleted scenes would then function complimentary, the former functioning as a glossary accompanying the latter.

There's also an unexpected added bonus for putting all references on one page whether they were filmed or not. Episode pages background sections often mention stuff that's in the script but not the final episode. In many cases its simply unknown if the relevant scene was filmed or not, which until now places them in a kind of limbo. If both types of entries exist on the same page, each would still mention if it came from a deleted or an unfilmed scene, unless that information was unknown.

Ultimately this approach would make Category:Deleted material and Category:Unreferenced material obsolete, though Category:Memory Alpha images (deleted scenes) should remain. The single resulting page to come out of this could be placed in Category:Production, where the deleted categories once were.

What's left is to name the page I guess. "Unused material" or "Unused elements" perhaps? I'd be happy to hear suggestions. So, anyone like this? -- Capricorn

I think that "aggregate articles" should be avoided where possible. They are very uncomfortable when it comes to linking or searching for individual information - especially as they get longer and longer. If there's a decision to no longer have individual articles for "unseen" stuff, that content should be merged to "their" episode or movie articles, but not to some all-encompassing huge list. -- Cid Highwind 23:44, February 25, 2012 (UTC)
Cid is right that if we decide we don't want the individual articles, then we should just merge them with whatever they were "unseen" in or deleted from. --31dot 23:52, February 25, 2012 (UTC)

I concur that aggregate articles are not ideal, but that doesn't mean that they can never ever be used. And I think that this this is one of the cases where it would be a good idea. Or at least, I think it would improve upon the current state of affairs, which is pretty bad. 31dot, on the other page you've talked about wanting to be able to find this info. that's in fact my biggest concern, and I think merging the articles into the relevant "legitimate" articles would be a the worst thing to do. I know there's a bunch of script stuff that never made it into the episode, but of which articles were made by people working just from the script. These have near-consistently been turned in redirects to the episode page. I know from memory that such things exist on the wiki, but at an earlier point in the discussion I wanted to mention that and I found that I couldn't come up with any examples, because in 20 minutes of searching I hadn't been able to scan all that much episode background sections. That's about as invisible as info gets. The page deleted scene includes what tries to be a complete list of all deleted scenes in star trek. The page didn't have to do that, a definition and a short section on the relevance of deleted scenes in star trek would have been enough. The scene descriptions could have just been placed on the episode page (and are actually usually mirrored there). But it's cool, and it's convenient, and it's certainly useful to have an overview, to be able to find examples, glance trends, etc, without searching through 700+ ep pages. That's something I'd really like for unreferenced material also, and that's one of the things categories exist for. But the category doesn't work, people just ignore it, and the articles already existing tend to be nominated for deletion at random, with unpredictable results. So, this is no perfect solution, it's just an attempt at a step forward. Ok, I know I got a bit preachy towards the end, but that's my position, basically. I value that part of the site, it's fascinating info and it's not all that easy to find elsewhere, except in widely scattered bits and pieces. I'd hate for it to get scattered here also. --- Capricorn 01:41, February 26, 2012 (UTC)

As I've now clarified at Talk:K. Glover, and my bad for not making it plain before, that I think the categories work, though I'm not opposed to a page for unreferenced material like deleted scene (especially since that type info can be on any page that shouldn't be in the category), so we shouldn't remove them. The current slew of merge proposals has to do with finding that information, and if it can be presented in a more helpful manner. I think reproducing the chart in a table would be the better and more helpful than all the individual pages, and that all that information should be able to be found together. I don't remember many of the deletion discussions mentioned, so maybe we should take another look at how those were resolved, or at least any outright deleted material that anyone thinks shouldn't have been can be brought up for undeletion (and on a compleatly unrelated note, maybe we should remove the "votes" part of undeleting things). - Archduk3 02:22, February 26, 2012 (UTC)
I did not realize redirects would remain in the category like that. I have to say that that takes pretty much all of my fears of the information getting scattered away. But I also have to say, the reason I didn't know that is probably because currently, that just doesn't happen. Which is what I mean with the category being used inconsistently; I'm not talking about the literal category, I'm saying that the same kind of entries have gotten all sorts of different treatment.
I'm a bit afraid that providing these examples might somehow derail the discussion, so please don't reignite discussions, or go arguing which approach was best, or pointing out individual problems with individual discussions. Right now my only intention is to demonstrate that the articles have not been treated consistently. Examples:
(note that the broken link that is cited in several of those pages is here. Though also note that despite what the deletion discussionw would suggest, no consensus was reached. Interestingly, an approach much the same as the one I proposed was already propsed there, and got some support. Make of that what you will.
Now, to summarize where I stand. Archduk3, you've put to rest my concerns with the original Talk:K. Glover issue, and that also means that imo this proposal is less critical. But there are still issues with the category, so I think this is still worth discussing. -- Capricorn 23:39, February 26, 2012 (UTC)
Clarification: I'd forgotten this idea had been discussed before digging up the examples, please don't think I wasn't hiding it for strategic reasons or something. -- Capricorn 23:42, February 26, 2012 (UTC)

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