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Whoah, whoah, whoa, Feelings. This and some of the other items in themes have been added to pages lately in ways that don't make a lot of sense. Part of the problem is that a lot of theme were devised specifically to fit content from Sesame Street or Bear in the Big Blue House, where specific educational or thematic emotional concepts are part of the curricular goal. But categories like feelings and Category:Friendship are starting to get, well, fuzzy, and sometimes they're added in instances that don't even fit the existing category definitions; so just a reminder as always, while some pages lack them or need them, always *read* a category's definition before adding it).
For example, while most Muppet characters are emotional and a lot of episodes involve their friendships, but I'm not sure it makes sense to tag individual episodes unless the focus is specifically on friendship as a concept or something else. I'm also not sure about stuff like "Blue," which *is* an emotional song but so are a lot of The Muppet Show covered songs (we don't include "Put on a Happy Face," for example, but "Smile" made it in; while contextually it's a better fit than "Blue" which on TMS is about the performance and not the subject, it's there just because a long gone user added it in 2014 and we hadn't noticed). I think for these categories in particular, unless the article states out right "this song is about being happy" or "this episode focuses on overcoming fear" or whatever, an editor has to really explain why they feel the categories are needed. Some of the other theme categories also get carried away (I've seen stuff added to colors just because there's a color in the title, whether or not it's actually *about* it).
We've mostly gotten away from these kinds of categories, due partly to more consensus being required and our general shift to filling in episode data more than themes, but some clean-up or reining in is required on the existing categories. -- Andrew 03:39, August 31, 2020 (UTC)
- Also agree that we should look at this and make some cuts. "Add category" has to be the most abused feature that Wikia introduced years ago. I maintain that if we insisted on a non-WYSIWYG method of adding categories — à la [[Category:Sesame Street Books]], we'd have far fewer problems. But, I digress.
- Every time I see a superfluous category addition in Special:Recentchanges, I think of starting this conversation, but realize that taking it on means a lot of clean-up, so I've been avoiding it. That said, there are quite a few sub-cats in Category:Themes where the topic is so broad so as not to mean anything anymore. Take "Friendship", for example. What Sesame Street episode doesn't depict a friendship between two characters? Now, I suppose one could argue that we're restricting that category just to topics in which friendship is directly addressed, but is that the type of nuance we really want to spend our time policing? I think we have better things to do and categories like this encourage users — especially those of a particularly over-eager type — to way overindulge.
- Therefore, I propose the removal of the following categories on the grounds stated above:
- Category:Alphabet — except the letters of the alphabet. Also, what Sesame episode doesn't have letters of the alphabet in it?
- Category:Colors — much too broad.
- Category:Family — a lot of this is subjective and I think the coverage at Category:Family_Lists is far more compelling.
- Category:Feelings — subjective.
- Category:Food — 479 articles is too broad. A list of "Characters who are food" and "Songs about food" and other more specific articles would be much more interesting.
- Category:Friendship — see above
- Category:Kindness — ditto other comments. Most Sesame episodes feature characters being kind to one another. Sesame seems to have branded a "Kindness" awareness initiative in the past couple years, maybe we make something of that.
- Category:Numbers — ditto Alphabet.
- Category:School — ditto Food.
- Category:Shapes —
- Category:Words — maybe the dumbest one of all.
- Categories are supposed to be for organization. A place to have all the Sesame books together, a place to have all the Muppet Show characters together, etc. We got creative with the likes of Category:Magic or Category:Mystery, but it's almost always clear what goes in those than the others I listed. —Scott (talk) 22:08, August 31, 2020 (UTC)
- I like the list suggestion, and some of this can probably be merged into existing lists. For example we have Teachers (but all the characters with their own pages are also in School) and Schools (several fictional and real colleges universities, or grammar schools and such are in the category but not on the list, which beyond some formatting hasn't been significantly changed with 2006 (that's the problem of trying to maintain both, or rather forgetting about one or the other). I think any really significant school-based episodes or songs (where it's either clear cut that it's *about* school, or tied to a specific location and could just go in parentheses) could go there as well under subheadings or whatever (if the same unnamed school set is used in multiple Muppet skits, that might or might not be worth noting). Also in schools is Malala Yousafzai. She's done a lot for education and started a school, but "Schools" lacks nuance (and there's other people with pages who are educators). I'm not sure she'd go in the Schools list, but at least then it could be explained more clearly.
- Similarly, our coverage on individual letter and number pages has grown significantly. Instead of dumping a song or book in Alphabet or Numbers, just add it to the specific letter (there's broader alphabet songs, which could be another list in part because I'm not sure every "Alphabet Song" link is going to the right one anyway). For Words, a list of Muppet dictionaries seems more useful to me than categorizing every song or skit where a sight word appears.
- In our early enthusiasm years ago (long before many of our current editors joined), we went overboard on lists. Then we went the other way and went overboard on categories. Now, the goal is to try to figure out when a list works (any time you really need to include a note to explain why something is there, or you just have a whole raft of Sesame episodes with numbers that don't reveal anything to the editor, it's probably a list rather than a category; if you're just listing titles or tracking by publisher or manufacturer, it's usually a category). We discuss categories before creating them now (because not discussing is how we ended up with a lot of these). -- Andrew 23:02, August 31, 2020 (UTC)
- So I did some clean-up on Category:School. Took out what didn't belong, migrated to Teachers and Schools. What's left? School supplies (backpacks and such) that could be their own subcat. Episodes I think can mostly go on Schools as well (when there's no name, we can list by main character who attends or teaches: Elmo's preschool, Gordon's high school, Mr. Hooper's high school, etc. A lot of the songs could likewise be matched to specific schools or teachers. Teacher Appreciation Day and Tribute: A Concert Honoring the Teachers of America can go on Teachers.
- Books, videos, and remaining songs? Could be individual lists or a single "Projects (productions?) about schools" or something with appropriate subheaders. The only real outliers that don't fit any of those are Muppets in caps and gowns (which I think could stay as is), #Graduation2020, likewise. The main odd ducks seem to be Malala Yousafzai (which I don't think really fit anyway) and Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (which does but also has a home in Online Appearances, Category:Politics, and Food). -- Andrew 00:53, September 3, 2020 (UTC)
- I like "Food narratives." That sounds like the best way to deal with the remaining school stuff I mentioned above, and likewise with other categories. -- Andrew 02:26, September 3, 2020 (UTC)
- I'll probably try to tackle Alphabet next, but looking at Category:Opposites reminded me of something I'd noticed. Sesame Street Opposite Segments is a potentially useful page, and some of the songs could probably go there... except a lot of it isn't actually opposites. Small, smaller, smallest, big, bigger, biggest, beginning, middle, and end, first, middle, and last, and even all, some, and none aren't opposites. They're comparatives.
- And Over, Under, Around and Through (and solo) is mostly neither, just directional (in, on, and under, segments only on going through or around, etc.) The script documentation uses "relational concepts" for those. Most of it could be fixed by just renaming it "Opposite and Comparative Segments," and maybe a Relational Concepts segment list? (Which would also include Between, etc.) Or else just trim, but right now it doesn't actually fit the page label and adds to category confusion. -- Andrew 19:46, September 5, 2020 (UTC)
- Coming back to this, I'm thinking just renaming the category "Comparisons" would work. That would cover Opposites, Comparisons, and even most Relational Concepts (since Up or In, even when not directly compared, exist in contrast to a starting position). Split that segment page into one of each and depending on how much there is, subcat appropriately ("Big Bigger Biggest (song) would be in Comparatives) or more likely do what we're doing and create song and/or narrative lists as appropriate. (Depending on size, maybe move the all-purpose "Opposites" songs to the segment page, not sure yet). -- Andrew 01:20, September 12, 2020 (UTC)
- I misworded. I actually meant moving to the appropriate segment page and dividing there as appropriate into additional pages if it gets too crowded (you're right, since people had enough trouble using the term "Opposites" accurately, subcats would just complicate). Part of our goal has been to simplify. Lists organized by type is really what I was thinking of. -- Andrew 21:00, September 12, 2020 (UTC)
Suggestion... jumping back to the Food category restructuring. We have Food characters for characters that are literal food items. What if instead of Food preparation we go with "Culinary characters" for all the chefs, cooks, bakers, etc.? -- Brad D. (talk) 18:08, October 6, 2020 (UTC)
- "Culinary characters" doesn't work for real people and enthusiasts. Also, would you really consider Sandra Bernhard's Grouch Waitress a "Culinary artist"? —Scott (talk) 11:12, October 7, 2020 (UTC)
- I wouldn't call the Grouch Waitress a "culinary artist" but she does work in the culinary field. While culinary can have a connotation of more highfalutin artistry, its dictionary definition (  ) is simply "of or relating to the kitchen or cookery." A 50-cent hot dog is, technically, a culinary creation; and a guy who goes to a hot dog eating contest is attending a culinary event. It might not be the perfect word, but the current title "preparation" focuses on an action; it's not a page about preparation, it's a page about characters/people. Just my 2-cents. -- Brad D. (talk) 14:13, October 7, 2020 (UTC)
Users still keep adding to the categories listed above, so I did some more clean-up today. Numbers and letters, I'm detagging episodes and adding songs to the relevant letter or numeral if it's not already there; by now thanks to expansion efforts on those pages, most of them are, which will make that cleanup a lot simpler. Feelings, I already took out episodes and most of the books (Muppet Kids books were structured around "Values" so of course feelings and friendship figured largely, same with the Sesame "A Growing-Up Book" series). I thought about whether anything could be salvaged (scripts and workshop reports use Emotions rather than feelings, and stuff like Let Your Feelings Show! and "Island of Emotion" are dealing with it on a broader concept level). But I'm not sure that's feasibale. If in the future someone could create coherent curriculur *lists* of songs about being mad, sad, happy etc. we could find a space for them. But right now, the category name is too vague and subjective so I think Scott's deletion suggestion is friemd.
Category:Friendship, there's Friendships which has a home in character lists, and there's enough songs with the specific curricular goal of being about friendship that a "Friendship narratives" list *might* work for that. As an example of how wonky these had become, Making Friends which *is* a curriculum-based video isn't in the category, but until I removed it, "We're All Monsters" was. We'd have to keep out the broader "All Muppety critters are friends and sometimes disagree" things. It seems like it might be doable unlike Feelings, but I'm not completely certain myself. Thoughts? -- Andrew 23:07, October 6, 2020 (UTC)
- Regarding "Friendships", I'm okay with "Friendship narratives" in the vein of Food narratives. —Scott (talk) 11:15, October 7, 2020 (UTC)
Recently, I added paleontologist characters Sir David Tushingham and Danny, Dino Doc to Category:Prehistoric, but Andrew removed them. I didn't know there as a whole discussion on themes going on here; what does everybody think? GrantHarding (talk) 17:26, October 8, 2020 (UTC)
- I'm for the inclusion, but I'm not sure we have enough examples for a list of characters and professionals who work in the field of prehistoric study. To that end, unless someone has a suggestion, lumped together in Category:Prehistoric may be best for now (with a slight category description adjustment). —Scott (talk) 18:09, October 8, 2020 (UTC)
- Yeah, a lot of it is category definitions, in this case "Items regarding prehistoric themes – such as dinosaurs and cavemen" (since not reading categories is what helped lead to this mess to begin with; generally the procedure should be read the definition of a category, and if you think something fits but isn't mentioned, bring it up for discussion first). But there's also an inherent issue with anything from Dinosaurs: that it's almost all prehistoric *except* the framing scenes from the two episodes with Sir David Tushingham, which is why they're not individually categorized. Tushingham is a modern day character, but it's still likely to encourage people to add the Sinclairs and everyone else and every episode. That was deliberately avoided by just categorizing the whole show. That's also in the category definition: "For individual articles concerning specific items from the television show Dinosaurs see Category:Dinosaurs."
- I think the topic would work better as a Paleontology or Paleontologists article page, with a little more contextual description than just a mere list (it's the topic of the TV segment in Elmo's World: Dinosaurs, the song "Paleontologist Calypso," and it's the theme of the "Mondo Muppet" section in Muppet Magazine issue 16). Also that way the two paleontology themed Dinosaurs clip shows could be included without leading to mass Dinosaurs migration. -- Andrew 19:08, October 8, 2020 (UTC)