Battlestar Wiki talk:Think Tank/Character Bio Project

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Comments on Proposal

As noted in the proposal, many have mixed feelings on the bulleted format used for some central characters before season 3. What suggestions do you have for defining these articles? Any comments on the proposal and ideas it offered? --Spencerian 22:26, 10 March 2007 (CST)

Along with my proposal "admendment" to the BW:SAC guidelines I think this is a good idea. Shane (T - C - E) 22:43, 10 March 2007 (CST)
Reads as pretty reasonable. The main problem with the bios is that they tend to repeat the episode events verbatim (on some of them, it's almost like they ripped the bullet points from the episode guide and did a copy-and-paste). This proposal does deal with that problem. I may have a few suggestions later on, since I need to sleep on it. ;-) -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 00:35, 11 March 2007 (CST)

Looks good. Personality profiles are potentially more interesting and more informative than chronological lists of actions. For main characters it is really not necessary to just repeat every little thing they do. That's appropriate for some secondary or background characters wehre not much material exists. Instead important story arcs and points can be summarized together and then cited with something like "Episode 11 through Episode 15". But it doesn't need to mention every appearance.
If something is still too long, subpages can be created (like "Laura Roslin/Season 2"). But that would still leave large chunks of texts to read through, which might turn some people off. --Serenity 07:43, 11 March 2007 (CDT)

Right. I tried the subpage idea with William Adama's article (long before we had the think tank) and it didn't take. I concur on suggestions to encapsulate events to keep them both interesting but also brief, not repeating in detail the events of an episode. The problem, as we're probably realizing, is that we contributors will have to step up to be incredibly potent Concision Fairies. I may try Laura Roslin's page in a mock format to show what I have in mind. --Spencerian 09:48, 11 March 2007 (CDT)

Let's each assign ourselves some major bios to rewrite. You can do Roslin, I'll do Thrace. We can meet back in a week or two and pick our favorite aspects of each writer's format, and come up with a unified system. --April Arcus 10:26, 11 March 2007 (CDT)

Deal. I've already got a mockup done. --Spencerian 17:58, 11 March 2007 (CDT)
I like it. I don't think there's a straight up boilerplate algorithm that can be blindly applied to solve the problem, but I think with the careful edits of people like you, the issue can be resolved. This is only really an issue for a handful of the main characters, really, so at least we're not looking at a problem that is likely to unexpectedly explode exponentially. --Steelviper 15:39, 12 March 2007 (CDT)
Looks very nice in general. But I'm not a fan of that kind of episode citing. I prefer to just know in which episode things happen, so I don't care for it to be hidden behind huge links. The links should point to the things they describe, not to something else. --Serenity 16:18, 12 March 2007 (CDT)
That is my concern as well. Other than that, I rather like it. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 16:38, 12 March 2007 (CDT)
Yeah, I had to make a tradeoff. Roslin is in so many episodes that the episode cites themselves can lengthen a page and make it hard to read. Hidden citing also does what a wiki should do by not spelling everything out by concising. Certain items should be implicitly cited, but for a character bio, the non-chronological recap for a character history may it more logical for deep cite links to work. It may take more getting used to, but it's the character we want to talk about, not the number of episodes (and their names); that's another article, I think. I'm going to "overtweak" this again to see if I can concise it further in hopes of illustrating my point a little more. --Spencerian 08:38, 16 March 2007 (CDT)
You have a point, and too many episode cites are bad too. but personally I just don't care for having to hover the mouse over a link to see what it's really pointing to. Seeing the destination is enough. I don't want to click on it, and I think many other people don't want to either, unless they have a real reason to. And I think half-sentence links look kinda ugly. --Serenity 08:50, 16 March 2007 (CDT)
I could finsh up the {{Cite episode/bsg}} a work off {{cite episode}} to help out... Shane (T - C - E) 09:13, 16 March 2007 (CDT)

More discussion or vote?

Did we need more discussion on this or can we jump to a formal vote? -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate - Sanctuary Wiki — New 09:23, 7 June 2007 (CDT)

We might want to reopen discussion. The level of data have increased with season 3, and perhaps others may see how the summations help rather than hinder by a 2nd mockup of the page (which I'll get to work on to link shortly). --Spencerian 11:14, 7 June 2007 (CDT)
The test page and current page now match. I concised it a lot. --Spencerian 11:58, 7 June 2007 (CDT)

My experience with editing Lee Adama

This proposal seems to have been largely forgotten. But I just went through a lengthy cleanup with Lee Adama and maybe the changes don't need to be so drastic. At the beginning, the article was written more character oriented, clearly pointing out his personality. Then over time, in the middle of Season 2 or so, it became increasingly plot focused, but with exceptions for "Unfinished Business" and "Taking a Break From All Your Worries", which are big Lee episodes obviously.

But before that, many small things and scenes were missing, instead favoring on re-telling plot points that are already covered elsewhere:

  • His whole decision to basically suicide after his ejection from the Blackbird. It shows that Roslin and his fathers are the anchors in his life at that point.
  • "The Captain's Hand" was largely spent with re-telling the battle. However, there is a good scene with Starbuck when he visits her after she has been dismissed from duty. The promotion also lent itself to something more personal than "He is promoted and given command of Pegasus".
  • "Exodus, Part I" had the part of the disagreement with his father, which is good, but then completely neglected how very close and emotional they are at the goodbye; despite all that happened.
  • "Maelstrom" was missing his chat with Thrace on the hangar deck. Their relationship has come full circle again.
  • "Crossroads, Part I" was re-telling plot, but somehow neglected to point out the significance of his break with Roslin. The two were rather close once.

I noticed similar things with the William Adama article in the "beyond New Caprica" section, which I'll tackle next. So maybe all we need to do is go through the articles of important characters and check them for such things. Sometimes pure plot is relevant of course, but often, small scenes serve to highlight a character far better. Sometimes there just needs to be a bit more analysis, regarding the motivation of a character's actions and putting them into a larger context within their arcs. That's not so hard to do and doesn't require the complete restructuring of the articles.

However, a main point of the original proposal is concision and brevity. The Lee Adama article is still rather long, and "Taking a Break From All Your Worries" is re-told extensively (though it's somewhat important). I feel that if we can't do that, then we should instead focus on the necessary and cut trivial things. For example I removed is involvement in "Epiphanies". All in all, less work, but it can help both to shorten the articles somewhat and change their focus to more important things. --Serenity 07:53, 15 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks for coming back to this, Serenity. I'm glad you've seen in that article what I've seen in others...particularly, rehashing of plot points and less emphasis on how the plot points have done or were created/affected by the character. Perhaps the end of the series reduces the need for truncation or concision, but maybe not as we don't need to know The Story in every. character. page. I'll take a glance at your revision and see other places where similar adjustments can work to make the character own his/her own page and not be a mere satellite to episode pages. --Spencerian 08:55, 15 September 2007 (CDT)
Another example of cutting trivial info is cutting both Adama's involvement in crossing the star cluster in "The Passage". Pure plot without any relevance to the two.
For William Adama, I pointed out his feeling during the time on/above New Caprica. Even as far as "Precipice", it is clear that he's lonely and becomes friends with Sharon (whom he considers just a machine as far as LDYB II). "Unfinished Business" further establishes that he felt he let many people get too close, and allowed them to settle down. That was missing almost completely.
Anyways, compare our style to the SciFi Pedia page on Lee Adama. Now that article has some points that are flat-out wrong (for example the part about his callsign), but I like the general idea of describing his personality through the use of examples from episodes. For example, lines like "He's a cocky pilot, but a level-headed leader; a flirt, but not a womanizer; not too hot-headed, but he will sometimes mouth off to a superior officer." would also work in introductions here.
For our purposes, it would be easier to reverse that and - as I already said above - "re-tell" plot in so far as is affects and develops the characters. That would also prevent most speculation and opinions. While many things are pretty clear, reading forums also makes it obvious that some people have radically different interpretations of characters, although a lot of that comes from sometimes intense dislikes of someone.
In re-watching parts of "A Day in the Life" to the finale, I noticed that there is a really nice development in the relationship between the Adamas. Some of those aspects aren't so apparent on first watching them, because you don't know what comes later. So instead of just adding things chronologically, contributers needs to go back to older points and possibly expand on them, or tie them in with new information.
On another note, it re-affirmed my decision to not read episode reviews in forums anymore; too much bitching and whining. While probably not one of the best episodes, "A Day in the Life" has some truly great character moments. :) --Serenity 10:34, 15 September 2007 (CDT)