Fixing the Wiki: Suggestions Thread

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Postby Reichu » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:37 pm

View Original PostAnonymous_Evafan wrote:Why do I feel the urge to reply to that with thanks for your input Shinji?

:headscratch:
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Postby Anonymous_Evafan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:46 pm

The road may be harder but the potential payoff is much higher. A very end of EoE Shinji attitude.
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Postby A.T. Fish » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:24 pm

Is it possible to change the location of the searchbox? I don't know if there's a reason why it's so down low on the page instead of on top, or at least on the upper left, like I've seen in other wikis, but the current location is not very user friendly. I remember thinking the wiki only had the content displayed on the main page the first few times I visited it.

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Postby thewayneiac » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:04 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:I was thinking mostly that "wanting to contribute to the Wiki" does not necessarily equal "wanting to contribute nothing but theory and speculation stuff". On the wiki, there is considerable room for improvement in all areas, not just those pertaining to T&A. Some folks might want to contribute their knowledge -- on anything ranging from production, to publications, to pachinko, and everything else -- without dealing with the hassles of a closed registration system.

In order to curb our own fears, we have to create clear guidelines on contributing theory and analysis, and simply point to that if wiki contributions don't adhere. Yes, an open reg system might mean more work on our part -- but, really, it's a small price to pay for what we could potentially get in return.


Hmmm....

Then could we fix it so that people who self-register can contribute only to the regular articles and those who want to contribute theory still have to join the forum and get a higher clearance? (I think right now you must be a T&A member to create a theory article, but not to edit one.) If editing a Theory & Analysis article could also be restricted to those with t&a clearance, I would withdraw my objections to open registration. I am also tired of the Wiki being permanently under construction. This would also help satisfy your suggestion that new theories be tried out on the forum before being added to the Wiki. If T&A editors are not required to join the forum, then they can hardly try out their ideas there first. All of our current Wiki editors would be given theory privileges before registration is opened.

Also, this sounds like a no-brainer, but the Commentary should still work as it always has. We can't have random people self inserting comments. (And I sure wish OMF would put in one of his rare appearances; his hidden comments template stopped working with the last Media Wiki update.)

@ A.T. Fish: It seems like the search box used to be on the side, but it was deliberately moved to the bottom during a big re-design. I think the idea was to save scrolling space; some of our articles are sort of wordy. Also, this allows for larger and clearer images.
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Postby Seele00TextOnly » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:36 pm

I recall asking why the search box was so hidden away as it were, and was told pretty much point blank that it was because 'using the search box is discouraged, it is preferred if one finds info by going from article to article in the branching tree of the wiki network'. More or less. And I'm not even kidding. Yeah someone should cut out that nonsense and put the search tool somewhere practical like basically every other wiki in existence.

Edit: I believe this was the response in question:
View Original PostObsessiveMathsFreak wrote:The traditional wiki side panels were something that was removed quite early on. I'm not sure how much these are really used in other wikis. The "whole page" style of the wiki is something which I personally think should be kept to a) distinguish the wiki visually from the standard Mediawiki affairs (The site only runs on Mediawiki software, not by it.) and b) allow articles to take full advantage of page space.

Obviously, people's preconceptions on how a wiki should look are a problem in this regard. We may need to find a way to nudge their attention downwards. Aside from this, with good enough navigation templates, we could make navigating the Wiki with its custom template even better than the standard method. I'm not keen to use the standard wiki interfaces as a site navigation method if it's at all possible to avoid it. (But then again, I have the aesthetic sense on an Angler fish)

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Postby Redtophat » Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:20 pm

Oh wow I didn't even notice the lack of a search bar, that's pretty inconvenient so let's maybe get some tweakin'? Eh, eh?

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Postby A.T. Fish » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:33 pm

It's not lacking, it's just hard to find if you're visiting the wiki for the first time, which I think is a bad thing.

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Wiki Organisation Proposal (Part 1/5)

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:16 pm

Having read the thread, and observed the current state of the wiki, I'd like to present a proposal for taking the wiki overall in a new direction, one which can hopefully deal with the present issues holding it back. These posts will be a little involved, but I'll try to keep things as short as I can. In particular, I won't be discussion certain other key issues, such as navigation, wiki membership, and of course how the wiki should deal with Rebuild. I'll try to keep the focus here on what appears to be the main problem: "consensus" and "dissent" and the resulting edit-wars.

--------------
Executive Summary: Recommend that wiki be reorganised, with content distilled based on "depth". Controversial theory and analysis issues are shifted down to deeper levels and subjected to separate editorial procedures. The wiki overall takes a neutral position on "deep" theory, keeps such matters off more "casual" pages intended for general "wiki-trip" browsing. Theories are presented in dual "presentation" and "critique" pages, which can be controlled by different editors and procedures.
---------------

Part (1/5)

To begin, the wiki was always meant to be an Encyclopedia of Evangelion, and of the fandom's interpretation and analysis of Evangelion. It was also intended to be a community resource which people, including those outside the EGF, would actually use.

Hence the wiki should serve as an introduction to the spectrum of appreciation of Evangelion which exists on and off the web. For this, the wiki needs to be an easy and enjoyable resource for newcomers to navigate, read, and understand, and also one which is inclusionary of wider community opinions.

However, such requirements are in complete conflict with the presentation and defense of "hard analysis" theories, which by nature rely on a high degree of familiarity with Eva, have non-linear presentation, and which it must be admitted currently demand a certain level of "dogma" across all wiki pages. "Shinji Ikari is the Third Children" being the first sentence on Shinji's wiki page is probably the most glaring example of this.

On examining these problems, I believe that the presentation of hard analysis, and its concerns, need to be separated out from the concerns and presentation of the rest of the wiki.

This also applies to other concerns, such as representing the fandom, shipping, other productions, geektionary, FGC, etc. Each category requires its own approach.

The key position of this proposition is that the conflicting goals can simultaneously be met through the organisation of the wiki. Organisation is key here; the wiki must be organised, as a whole, to achieve the independent goals of being a gateway for casual fans, and a repository of hard analysis.
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Wiki Organisation Proposal (Part 2/5)

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:20 pm

Part 2/5: Organisation

However organisation is never simple. Distinctions have already been made above, between "factual" and "theoretical" material and pages. But it is not possible to cleanly separate "fact" and "theory", nor is this advisable. Instead, when it comes to more casual or newer fans, presentation of the basic facts should lead smoothly into the presentation of more involved and deeper material. This progression for more casual readers which suggests the appropriate organisation.

A key point here is that "depth" does not simply refer to analysis. People are also interested in topics like shipping, character relationships, other productions, the fandom, etc. Many (most) readers will simply be interested in finding out more about the series, and not in answering deeper questions -- in the beginning at least.

So we need to consider the readers here, and how they can best be lead to the pages they most want to read.

Let's consider a basic model of wiki page content (boxes), and reader's motivations(arrows) for being lead to that content. The pages have been roughly divided into "Basic", "Intermediate" and "Advanced" pages based on depth.

[wkimg width=600]Evageeks wiki org model.png[/wkimg]

Note that this model is not a process of strict separation, but rather a process of gradual distillation based on "depth". A trip through the evageeks wiki should start simply, and progress to more in-depth material at the readers own pace.

Note again that depth applies to the level of detail or specialisation of topics. For example, here are where a few topics such as "Gainax", and the "Geektionary" could be placed under such a model.

[wkimg width=300]Evageeks wiki org model more.png[/wkimg]

It is also crucial to point out that this model applies to the process of creating and editing pages as well. The methodology for "Basic", "Intermediate" and "Advanced" pages considers both readers and editors.
  • "Basic" pages should be easy to read, and (interpretationally) uncontroversial to edit. However, their presentation, organisation, readability, and breadth is crucial to the organisation which follows. These should not be treated lightly or passed over, but disagreements should be strictly editorial, over formatting and the like.

  • "Intermediate" pages should be a introduction to the richness of Evangelion, pointing out less obvious "facts" without getting too bogged down in assumptions(though details are needed here). Pages like Yui in Unit-01 (yes this needs a wiki page), or Kaji's job as a spy, or say, Gendo's relationship with Rei and other relationship pair pages. Basically these pages deal with topics spanning multiple episodes/characters. The Eva/Angel pages might fall into this category as well.

    Note that intermediate pages can and probably should contain some subjective interpretations. Nothing overly controversial, but they should link to whatever kinds of controversies or theories exist. It's probable that some of these pages will have to be written from a certain "perspective", but any such imposition should be mild, and all the heavy lifting should be relegated to advanced pages. This brings us to....

  • "Advanced pages" fall into two categories, both needing their own separate editorial rules and procedures.

    Firstly, there are highly specialised pages/sections like the commentary pages, the geektionary, and probably the confidential information pages. These are "deep" as a result of their specialisation, not controversy, and I'll leave off discussing these for now.

    Secondly, theory and analysis pages. These are the most controversial pages on the wiki and will need separate rules and procedures entirely if the entire wiki project is to work. Much of the present difficulty with the wiki has been the dominance of the concerns of this category over others.
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Wiki Organisation Proposal (Part 3/5)

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:24 pm

Part 3/5: Dealing with Theory/Analysis/Interpretation Disagreements

The nature of the organisation proposed above shunts the problems of facts vs. theories, consensus, inclusively/exclusivity, mis-information, etc down to this lowermost "advanced" level. And it is here that these problems must be dealt with. This will require a separate editorial policy at this level.

One of the original goals of the wiki, in addition to being a repository of analytical "consensus", was to deal with misinformation and poor theories. However, this has lead to is a situation whereby the only way that certain theories appear is in a page critiquing, deriding, or otherwise roundly thrashing their conclusions. This attitude has to some extent bled upwards into the more "basic" pages which currently exist.

The fundamental problem is that not everyone, particularly those outside the EGF forums, agrees on what theories are "valid" or "invalid", and there never will be agreement on this. The end result of these fundamental conflicts are edit-wars, apathy, and the wiki as a whole being viewed as elitist or worse, exclusionary. This is the exact opposite of what a community encyclopedia should be.

If it is to be a useful community resource, the wiki _overall_ needs to take a neutral stance with regard to theories and interpretations. Individual analysis pages can take very definite strong stances, but all stances need to be included as long as there are people willing to write them(well). The main difficulty is how this can be accomplished without leading to edit-wars.

To cool hotter-heads, it should be pointed out that the only proper way to deal with "mis-information" is to discuss it openly. This means that (alternative) viewpoints must be presented. They must also be critiqued. These are two separate issues. And two separate processes. And this suggests the the final ingredient needed to make the organisation work.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:31 pm

Part 4/5: Proposed Policy for Theory and Analysis Pages

The only way to deal with theory edit wars while including all theories, is to separate not only the presentation and critiques of the theory, but also the people writing them. This means making two separate pages, giving control of each to the opposite parties, and directing their energies into improving those pages and not into souring up the rest of the wiki. Therefore, I propose the following system for dealing with analysis edit wars.

Theory Presentation and Critque Pages

  1. Firstly, all theories may be presented on the wiki as long as someone is willing to write them up. A theory has its own (advanced level) page in which it is presented, discussed, and potentially links to other theories and interpretations.

  2. However, such theory pages may only present that theory, and briefly mention others. Theory presentation pages may not critique other theories, though they may discuss and link to them, as they would more basic pages. A theory presentation page must only present and support itself.

  3. Theory pages may -- and should -- briefly critique themselves. However, major objections to a theory should be split off into a critique page for that theory. A theory critique page may present objections and criticisms of the original theory, but may not introduce a new theory. Alternatives theories can be briefly linked to.

  4. Importantly, a theory presentation page may not present counterpoints to the critique page. A theory page must only present and support itself. Likewise the critique page for a theory may not present alternative or new theories; A critique page can only present objections to the assumptions and logic of the presentation page.

  5. Finally, Each page must link to the other, so that the pair forms a whole.

Presentation and critique pages are two sides of the same coin. Together they present summary of the spectrum of debate in the community on the issue at hand. The individual reader must make up their own mind, or choose to add to that debate in the forums.
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Wiki Organisation Proposal (Part 5/5)

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:37 pm

Part 5/5: Deal with "Edit Wars" in T&A, and across the Wiki

The main advantage of this system is that, in the event of an edit-war, the disputing parties can be shunted off to their own pages, left to their own devices, and hopefully their collective directed energies will result in a solid, interesting, and comprehensive presentation of the spectrum of opinion and debate on the issue at hand. But at least these energies are directed at something productive

A formal procedure for resolving such edit wars might be the following(This is a proposal for dealing with disputes):
  1. In the event of a dispute on the analysis pages, one proponent and one opponent of a theory are appointed as editors for the theory and critique pages respectively.
  2. The appointed editors shall have ultimate editorial control of their respective pages for some fixed duration
  3. It will be the duty of anyone editing their respective presentation/critique page(editor or not) to support the intended position of that page to the best of their ability; subject to the constraints that presentation pages may only support themselves and not gives counterpoints to critiques, and that critiques must not introduce new theories and may only object to the assumptions and logic of the theory itself.

Most importantly of all, such disputes should be kept away from more "casual" wiki pages. The only reason for an edit war in "Basic" and "Intermediate" wiki pages should be for standard "editorial" and formatting reasons, and these should be dealt with a standard policy. Theory/interpretation/analysis disputes belong on theory presentation/critique pages and absolutely nowhere else.

The only real grey area should be the presence of disputed theories in intermediate pages. While hard theories should be mentioned and linked to on such pages, these mentions should be rather brief, with all heavy lifting passed off to the main (advanced) theory pages. Intermediate pages may end up taking on some mild viewpoint, but if this is controversial then it should not be the core point of the page topic. Disagreements should be briefly noted on the page with links to the alternative theories.

Note that the above deals with disagreements in interpretation, theory, and analysis. It does not deal with differences in opinion on known topics, e.g. "Shinji/Asuka", vs "Shinji/Rei". Intermediate pages should be able to accommodate any obvious spectrum of opinion without needing an edit war, and any heavy lifting on such subjects should be shifted off to an advanced page in any case.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:39 pm

So that's the proposal. Reorganise the wiki to shunt disagreements over interpretations down to "advanced" pages, and deal with the controversy there using a separate editorial regime of separate theory presentation and critique pages. The reorganisation should also be based around making the wiki more navigable for casual fans.

This is a proposal, and one in a nascent state at that. So constructive feedback and criticism is important.

Again, I haven't discussed other important matters, such as navigation, Rebuild content, and wiki membership. But right now the theory dispute problem is the one which needs to be dealt with first.

In the meantime, given the vague nature of much of the above, my present intention is to begin editing some wiki pages into the "Basic" "Intermediate" and "Advanced" categories advocated above. My intention is not to present this proposal as some kind of fait-accompli, but rather to produce a concrete prototype of the ideas above, around which any eventual decisions can be based.

But mostly, I'd like to hear what other people think.
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Postby thewayneiac » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:12 pm

As I've said before, I support the idea of separate pages for competing theories. (Though perhaps "dissenters' corner" was a poor choice of words.) That way it would have less of a stacked deck feel when one theory is stronger than the other. I'm not certain, however, what the reasoning is for separate critique pages. Suppose we were to separate the Unit-00's soul page into four pages:

    Rei 1
    Naoko
    Random Soul
    No Soul

With four separate critique pages, that would require the reader to wade through eight pages to get the full story and make his own conclusion. Shouldn't the critiques be kept in their own sections on the theory's main page?

Aside from the critique pages, I think most of your idea is very good.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:52 pm

View Original Postthewayneiac wrote:With four separate critique pages, that would require the reader to wade through eight pages to get the full story and make his own conclusion. Shouldn't the critiques be kept in their own sections on the theory's main page?

Ordinarily they would be. But the whole problem with this is that it leads to inevitable edit wars. Separating presentation and critique into two distinct pages creates a very definite separation between what proponents and opponents of a theory actually end up editing.

Theory pages should probably start out having small critique sections, but the moment dispute arises, the pages are split and we don't look back. Editors will work separately on their opposing viewpoints, keeping it to just those pages. It's a question of directing editors energies into the pages, and not at each other.

As to matters such as Unit-00's soul and page multiplicity:
View Original Postthewayneiac wrote:Suppose we were to separate the Unit-00's soul page into four pages:
    Rei 1
    Naoko
    Random Soul
    No Soul

Yes, there might be up to four/eight separate pages. But a point I'd like to strongly emphasis here is that there should be no single, monolithic "Unit-00's soul" theory page.

There should be separate, detailed theory pages (w. critiques) on individual positions on whoever's soul is in Unit-00. These will be tied together/mentioned/linked to on an intermediate page of some kind; either the Unit-00 page itself, or potentially a Unit-00 soul page outlining the issue.

I tend to think that theory pages will be long enough if they simply have to put forward one, atomic theory/topic. Packing too many deep topics onto pages is making the wiki a daunting challenge to reader. The problem here is less about pages being _long_, than it is about pages being accessible. "Monographs" on a single focused topic are fine, but volumes on all aspects of a theory or issue are simply too long and off-putting, and tend to be incohesive. When it comes to analysis, I think one page per idea is the ideal.

Note that this strategy is turned on his head for Basic pages. These should follow a shotgun approach, briefly mentioning as many topics as possible, but in brief. Readers then follow the links down into more in-depth material.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:21 am

OMF: Overall I think this plan is sound. I am a bit concerned about the amouint of overhead that will be necessary to make it work, though. The way I'm reading it we'll have to re-organize a lot of pages, shifting content around with an eye toward improved navigation, and I don't think most of us have the web savvy needed to really dig in to that the way it needs to be done. It might be useful to come up with a sort of tasking sheet, where forum members can sign up to tackle various issues once the backbone of the project is hammered out.

I also think it might be useful to have a dedicated thread for proposed changes in the wiki. Looking at the Unit 00 example it seems to me it would be useful to have an intermediate Unit 00 page that lists all of the theories about the Eva's soul in abridged form, then leading to T&A pages on Rei and the nature of her soul on the one hand and T&A pages for other theories on the other (Naoko, no soul, random soul, whatever). But this will be tricky, since I think that some of the theories are so interwoven with the nature of Rei's soul that they can only be discussed in that context.

But this is a good start! Now we just need to figure out how to distribute the workload and actually get cracking on it.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:11 am

Distribution of workload is key here. If we can come up with a straightforward organisational model which keeps controversy away from "main"/"casual" pages, life will be made easier for both readers and editors.

If we can get some kind of basic framework up and running, then I think we can rely on a tasking-sheet/drive model to get things done. I wouldn't entirely advocate giving individual people pages to write, but rather setting a present preferred goal in the form of a "drive", and inviting editors to help achieve it. Ideally, these drives should be mostly straightforward and uncontroversial.

Theory and analysis pages are different. I see a lot of these as being large monographs on single topics, difficult and tedious to edit, or else sourced directly from forums posts. In either case, it's unreasonable to expect most editors to be able to create these from nothing.

However, a page on, say, the basics of Shinji and Rei's relationship should be well within the capabilities of most fans and editors. Basically, for less controversial pages, editors can focus on making the page better and not worrying about theories, aside from simply linking to the relevant pages.

EDIT: Yes, I forgot to mention explicitly; once a basic plan is decided on, we're probably going to have to go, cap in hand looking for editors. We should also go looking for editors to alternate theories as well.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:41 pm

I've prepared a (partially complete) reedit of the main Shinji page to transform it into a Basic-type page. The results are currently here

http://wiki.evageeks.org/User_talk:ObsessiveMathsFreak/Shinji_Ikari_ReEdit

The page is extensive(Shinji's was always going to be the longest), but the material is hopefully entirely uncontroversial from an analytical or even opinion based viewpoint. Note that the page contains quite a few "red links" to uncreated pages. These essentially amount to my suggestions for intermediate pages on those topics. For example, a few intermediate pages could be

- Misato's apartment
- Class 2A
- Nerv Security Agents
- Shinji and Suicide (Potentially advanced)
- Shamshel's Remains
- Gendo's Hands
- Gendo's Glasses
- Operation Yashima
- Rei's Apartment
- Eva-00's 1st Activation Experiment
- Class 2-A Trip
- A-17
- Nerv Blackout
- Interchangability Tests


Another major suggestion I'd like to make is for individual character-pair relationship pages (alphabetic ordering on the names). I've created the following preliminary pages

http://wiki.evageeks.org/Gendo_and_Shinji_%28Relationship%29
http://wiki.evageeks.org/Asuka_and_Shinji_%28Relationship%29
http://wiki.evageeks.org/Kaji_and_Shinji_%28Relationship%29
http://wiki.evageeks.org/Kaworu_and_Shinji_(Relationship)

and made suggestions for more. At present, the Misato and Shinji (Relationship) page has been hurriedly re purposed from a Theory and Analysis article by Ran1, and probably isn't appropriate as an intermediate page. What's there should largely serve the core of an advanced page or two. I feel that intermediate relationship pages should be rather lighter than a full blown theory page, while still introducing the reader to the depth of Eva.

Another suggestion I'd like to make is individual character Profile pages, which essentially amount to their self relationship. A preliminary "Shinji (Profile)" page has also been created. The existing profile and relationship pages are linked to in the main article, here

http://wiki.evageeks.org/User_talk:ObsessiveMathsFreak/Shinji_Ikari_ReEdit#Profile_and_Relationships_with_Other_Characters

Note again that the reedit is largely incomplete. I would like to ask people to try to add and edit sections of this page, or suggested pages if they have time, so that we have an idea of whether this reorganisation can work(People should be able to edit my Talk pages, I think). The best outcome would be if a large number of editors could be brought in (and back) to make the required edits in the reorganisation.

Hopefully this draft re-edit will make the reorganisation ideas above more concrete.
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Postby thewayneiac » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:46 am

View Original PostObsessiveMathsFreak wrote:Another major suggestion I'd like to make is for individual character-pair relationship pages (alphabetic ordering on the names). I've created the following preliminary pages

http://wiki.evageeks.org/Gendo_and_Shinji_%28Relationship%29
http://wiki.evageeks.org/Asuka_and_Shinji_%28Relationship%29
http://wiki.evageeks.org/Kaji_and_Shinji_%28Relationship%29
http://wiki.evageeks.org/Kaworu_and_Shinji_(Relationship)

and made suggestions for more. At present, the Misato and Shinji (Relationship) page has been hurriedly re purposed from a Theory and Analysis article by Ran1, and probably isn't appropriate as an intermediate page. What's there should largely serve the core of an advanced page or two. I feel that intermediate relationship pages should be rather lighter than a full blown theory page, while still introducing the reader to the depth of Eva.


Does this mean in cases where a relationship merits an analysis article, we are looking at two relationship articles, one intermediate and one advanced?
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:45 pm

View Original Postthewayneiac wrote:Does this mean in cases where a relationship merits an analysis article, we are looking at two relationship articles, one intermediate and one advanced?

Yes precisely; that's my proposal. One main "overview" relationship pages, giving key events and general details(w. mild interpretations only); and the one or more detailed theory pages delving deeper into the relationship, linking it to others, and potentially getting a bit speculative.

This will mean more pages, but hopefully they will be more focused at an appropriate level, and hopefully more accessible for newcomers.

EDIT: And of course, hopefully the maximum possible amount of editors can create and alter the relationship pages without things erupting into edit wars.
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