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Template talk:Character box/Archive 1

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Death Date

I'm trying to get the character box to show a death date, but it's not appearing. (I mostly want to show that Mr. Petrelli died on April 25). Can someone help me? Ryangibsonstewart 15:31, 28 November 2006 (EST)

Try it now. (Admin 15:36, 28 November 2006 (EST))
Thanks you're brilliant! (Plus, I loved the "living impaired"!) Ryangibsonstewart 15:42, 28 November 2006 (EST)

"Last Appearance" issue

We have a problem. Jackie died in Homecoming, but was actually last seen in Six Months Ago. I'm changing her infobox to "Six Months Ago", because that is literally when she 'last appeared'. ---- Ohmyn0.jpgOhmyn0talk.jpg 21:03, 28 November 2006 (EST)

  • Agreed. That spot should be reserved for the last episode in which the character appeared. There is a death date spot in the template now, and that's where the death info should be... Ryangibsonstewart 23:02, 28 November 2006 (EST)
    • I tend to think we should avoid the "last appearance" altogether for now. As we've seen with Jackie and Chandra, mere death does not guarantee they won't keep showing up.--Hardvice (talk) 23:05, 28 November 2006 (EST)
      • I agree entirely. I originally eliminated the "number of episodes" field a while back for a similar reason. It requires a lot of maintenance, provides very little useful information, and in this instance can be misleading. Besides with the per-episode character histories it's somewhat redundant since you could just look for the most recent history. (Admin 23:12, 28 November 2006 (EST))
        • What happens if we just pull it from the template? Will it automatically eat any extraneous variables fed to the template call?--Hardvice (talk) 23:18, 28 November 2006 (EST)
          • I believe so. Try it out. What's the worst that happens, you have to revert? :) (Admin 23:26, 28 November 2006 (EST))
            • Totally agree - take it out. Superfluous info, and can get rather confusing. Ryangibsonstewart 23:32, 28 November 2006 (EST)
              • Seems to work OK. See High roller for example. Good to know...--Hardvice (talk) 23:39, 28 November 2006 (EST)
                • Great ... but now I'm wondering if the debut is even necessary? I mean, the same argument goes - with the per-episode character histories it's somewhat redundant since you could just look for the most recent history, right? Or am I just being silly? ... Ryangibsonstewart 23:46, 28 November 2006 (EST)
                  • Well, at least the first appearance is pretty much set in stone. That said, it doesn't add much. I can go either way.--Hardvice (talk) 23:48, 28 November 2006 (EST)
                    • I say keep the "1st". It adds to the short character's boxes. ---- Ohmyn0.jpgOhmyn0talk.jpg 00:17, 29 November 2006 (EST)

Minor Characters

  • I'm thinking that there should be a MinorCharacter=True/False flag that (if true) does not create a reference to an actor page if an actor name is provided.... This may cut down on the huge number of actor/actress pages on the Special:Wantedpages where it's really a one-off character (like a "thug" or a "guard", etc) I can code this up if you wish. --Orne 09:53, 1 December 2006 (EST)
    • Never mind... I now see that the square brackets are provided in the character page, and the template does not implicitly add references to cast pages. --Orne 09:57, 1 December 2006 (EST)


Can a location Parameter be added like in Template:Infobox_cast? Level 13:33, 5 January 2007 (EST)


Quick question: I want to standardize a few things. If a character does not have powers, should we put "Unknown", "None", or nothing at all? There are instances of all 3. I suggest "None". Any objections or suggestions? - RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 00:45, 6 January 2007 (EST)

  • I've always put "none" on anyone in Category:Humans, with the exception of people we knew were evolved but who hadn't shown powers (which was pretty much just Hana).--Hardvice (talk) 00:48, 6 January 2007 (EST)
    • And James Walker, and I guess David. And some people would consider Shanti and maybe Molly to have "unknown" powers. - RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 01:45, 6 January 2007 (EST)
      • Yeah, but Hana's the only one who was really confirmed to have unknown powers. Everybody else is just speculation. Even Micah used to say "None".--Hardvice (talk) 01:51, 6 January 2007 (EST)


This template could use some work. There's no reason we should be stuck with "child(ren)" and things like that. We have the technology. We can rebuild it! Here are my suggestions:

  • leave the variable for "child(ren)" as is. Change the display to "Children". Add another variable for "child". Change pages for people with 1 child to use "child" variable instead of "child(ren)" variable. That way, Angela will have "Children:" and Niki will have "Child:"
  • Same for parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • Same for power(s). We could get away with "Power" for everybody if it wasn't for that pesky Sylar...
  • Same for siblings

The end result is that if we use the right variable, it will display properly, and can stop looking like a government form. The difficult part is we will have to check each and every character page. Most won't need any changes; some will. This actually does give us an opportunity to do things more smoothly, however:

  • Set up Version 2.0 of this template at "Infobox character". It's more in line with the other sidebar templates anyway.
  • As we change everyone from 'Character box' to 'infobox character', we can make sure they're calling the right variables.
  • We can use "What links here" to keep track of our progress, and the changes to the template don't break anything since only verified articles will have the new template call.

It's another big project, and I'm not sure it's worth it, but there are other possible cleanup items we can address at the same time (like putting the image call in the template itself, so you don't have to type [[Image:]] every time ... this will let us adjust the portrait size through the template should the need arise. Another trick we can add if people want is defaulting the caption to the character's name if left blank. Any other ideas?--Hardvice (talk) 14:15, 10 January 2007 (EST)

  • Well, something popped into mind. If Admin could activate the WikiMeta:StringFunctions, we could use #pos command as a Find function, to detect if the children variable had a comma in it, then the title of the row could print plural Children, else print Child. Tricky, but makes the template much more dynamic. --Orne 14:26, 10 January 2007 (EST)
    • Hmmm. I wonder what "pos" returns if the character isn't found? Even if it's "0", there'd never be an article with a comma in position zero. We should be able to use it inside an ifeq:, test for the comma, and then display "Child:" or "Children:" as appropriate. Parent v. guardian is harder, but we don't really have anyone with a "guardian" yet (Claire's adopted, so they are her parents), so we could just add it as a separate variable for later use if needed. If the test works, we could make these changes without having to alter the template calls at all. For that matter, we could test the image= string for brackets to make it work whether the user supplies just the name of the file or the whole link. I like this idea...--Hardvice (talk) 14:33, 10 January 2007 (EST)
    • WikiMeta:StringFunctions is now installed here. Have fun! :) (Admin 00:37, 17 January 2007 (EST))
  • I would kind of like to see "Place of Residence" on there. Not so much what house they lived in (although that's cool, too), but what city they live in.

    It's a big project, but I think it's worth it. You've brought up some great ideas. I'd be willing to go through the articles and search, change, etc. I'm not as much help in the templates department. - RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 15:37, 10 January 2007 (EST)

    • That would be another good add, and since there aren't any uses of the variable yet, it can safely be added to the existing template without breaking anything.--Hardvice (talk) 15:52, 10 January 2007 (EST)
  • OK, StringFunctions works perfectly! I did 'Children' and 'Parents' (and added a separate variable for 'Guardians'). However, we're still going to want to go through and make sure that nobody with only one child/parent/etc. has a comma. For example, right now Niki has "Jessica, deceased" for 'Siblings'. We'll need to standardize these with parentheses instead of commas ("Jessica (deceased)"). Shouldn't be too bad. While I'm in there munching up the template, how do we want to label the Place of Residence/Place of Origin/Whatever? That way, we can fill that in as we check all the characters for standards compliance.--Hardvice (talk) 01:01, 17 January 2007 (EST)
    • Well, some places are cities, others are states, and others are countries. How about just "Place of Residence"? I think there's only a handful of people that lived in more than one place (Eden comes to mind), and maybe we cross that bridge as needed. Or, we could simply have a second "Place of Origin" for those cases. - RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 01:29, 17 January 2007 (EST)
  • Ok, did some testing with StringFunctions, feel free to borrow this code for examples:
#pos: returns # if character found, zero-length string if not
{{#pos: {{{location}}} | , | 0 }} Peter
{{#pos: {{{location}}} | , | 0 }} Peter, Paul 5
together with #if, you can make a formula to return different text if the value contains a comma
{{#if: {{#pos: {{{location}}} | , | 0 }} | Comma Found | Comma Not Found }} Peter Comma Not Found
{{#if: {{#pos: {{{location}}} | , | 0 }} | Comma Found | Comma Not Found }} Peter, Paul Comma Found
As far as detecting if a variable is a link (which is different than detecting if the article exists for the link), the #ifeq: only allows comparison against single bracket ( [, not [[ ). There may be a trick to it, but I haven't found it yet.
{{#ifeq: {{#sub: {{{location}}} | 0 | 1 }} | [ | Is a Link | Is Not a Link }} The map Is a Link
Here's a formula to allow the user to enter any text they want for a location, without having to create a red link prompting a new page.
{{#ifexist: {{{location}}} | [[{{{location}}}]] | {{{location}}} }} Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas, NV
{{#ifexist: {{{location}}} | [[{{{location}}}]] | {{{location}}} }} Albuquerque, NM Albuquerque, NM

--Orne 10:48, 17 January 2007 (EST)

    • Excellent. I made several adjustments so far:
      1. Plurals for labels are handled properly for Nicknames, Aliases, Siblings, Parents, Guardians, Powers
      2. I widened the box a bit and put nonbreaking spaces in the labels. Just looks better to have them on one line.
      3. Image accepts either a linked (e.g. [[Image:claire.jpg]]) or an unlinked (e.g. claire.jpg) entry.
      4. Added home. It will link to existing articles but won't create red links. This also means we can force things like [[Brooklyn, NY]], formerly [[Madras, India]] if we want. We can change the label to display whatever we'd like.
      5. Italicised debut and made it accept either linked (e.g. [[Episode:Genesis|Genesis]]) or unlinked (e.g. Genesis) entries.
    • I've added Home to the Main Characters and verified plurals are behaving properly for everybody but the Minor Characters.--Hardvice (talk) 21:20, 17 January 2007 (EST)

Issue with not having a character image

I noticed that the page for Shanti Suresh was completely messed up and I finally managed to track the problem down to a missing image. As a fix I explicitly added the Blankperson.jpg. If you go to the article in question and delete the explicit reference, you will notice that you get a page full of code, and no the character box. Could someone who knows this template check that out? -- Cuardin 16:25, 24 January 2007 (EST)

OK; looks like it was a temporary glitch somewhere. The article looks fine right now. -- Cuardin 16:28, 24 January 2007 (EST)
I was adjusting the whitespace the template was creating at the beginning of articles that are neither spoilers nor noimage articles (i.e. most of them) and inadvertantly broke it for noimage articles. It should work fine now.--Hardvice (talk) 16:36, 24 January 2007 (EST)

Other Relatives

Should an "Other Relatives" field be added? Jebriggs98 tried to add nephews and nieces to Peter Petrelli's box, and I've thought about Grandparents on some. also I would like links to Family and to the family name disambigs but I don't know if they should be in here or in the article. -Level 12:39, 7 February 2007 (EST)

  • I think this is a great idea. I'm not so interested in the nephews and nieces links (as that can get pretty hairy, especially with the Petrelli Family), but think it would be especially helpful for grandparents. It's too bad we can't add Mohinder's grandmother to any infoboxes because we don't know if she's related through Chandra or Mohinder's mother. The same applies for Hana's grandmother. I don't think we need to have a separate field for grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, third cousins once removed — "other relatives" is sufficient, in my opinion. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 12:48, 7 February 2007 (EST)
    • Cuardin mentioned something about gender for relatives in [an edit] to Kaito Nakamura, maybe a small icon could be added. -Level 13:32, 7 February 2007 (EST)
      • I worry about cluttering up these sidebars with too much information that's not about the character. I think if somebody wants to know a relative's gender and can't figure it out, then they can click the link and check that character's sidebar.--Hardvice (talk) 13:54, 7 February 2007 (EST)
    • I'm kind of weakly opposed to adding an "Other relatives" field. While there are cases where it could be helpful, I can just see people adding everyone that anyone's even remotely related to, accompanied by an oversized description (Heidi will be something like Claire's "biological step-mom", which is oxymoronic; Paulette Hawkins will be Jessica's "sister's mother-in-law", etc.) But if we keep on top of it, it's fine, though I don't think it adds that much value.--Hardvice (talk) 13:54, 7 February 2007 (EST)
      • Right, and I'm only weakly in favor of it. I think we should somehow keep it limited to direct relatives, if we do it at all. It's not necessary, and I'm personally only interested in the variable for grandparents. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 14:15, 7 February 2007 (EST)

First "Television" appearence?

For characters like Hana and Thompson... this might help people who don't view the comics understand when they started showing up? --Riddler 22:29, 26 February 2007 (EST)

  • Hmmm... I like that idea. Although it might go the way of "Last appearance" and become superflous Heroe 22:48, 26 February 2007 (EST)
    • Personally I would say it's good enough to just leave it as it is and use the first appearance whether it be through graphic novel or episode. The first appearance info there isn't even very important since by just reading the character histories you can tell when the first appearance actually was. Since the graphic novels are listed in the histories as "Graphic Novel:" you can also just skim down and find the first episode they're mentioned in. But let's see what others say on the talk page. (Admin 22:46, 26 February 2007 (EST))
      • If it were up to me, I would leave out all first or last appearances altogether. I think the history, as we've set it up, serves that purpose quite visually already. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 07:29, 27 February 2007 (EST)


Technically, "Gender" is notin the right useage. "Gender" is the behavor of the different sexes, while "sex" is the physical differences. Thus, the Gender area should be changed to Sex. Heroe(talk) 20:42, 21 March 2007 (EDT)

  • On the off chance that we have a transexual or other non-traditionally gendered character, "gender" is a more useful option. It allows us to list a character's expressed or identified gender, and not be limited to their biological sex.--Hardvice (talk) 21:29, 21 March 2007 (EDT)

reading part of a pagename

So how would I make a template read just part of a pagename? For instance, I was trying to make the template return "Potential power" instead of "Known power" if the pagename started with "Journal" ... but it didn't quite work. Is that even a possibility? I took care of the problem another way, so I'm not going to change the template now -- I just want to grab some template education. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 14:03, 29 March 2007 (EDT)

  • #ifeq: tests for an exact match. You need to test for a partial match. I use #pos:, which looks for the position of a string within a string:{{#if: {{#pos:{{PAGENAME}}|Journal|}}|Possible power:|Power:}}--Hardvice (talk) 14:23, 29 March 2007 (EDT)


Shouldn't we add a residence line in this template with a link to each people apartment or something like that ? It's pretty anoying when you are on Angela's or Isaac's page to find a link to their apartment. What do you guys think ? -- FrenchFlo (talk)        17:41, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

  • It's a great idea as far as the link is concerned; however, it's not really much in the way of information in an info box. ("Residence: Peter's apartment" -- gee, that's helpful!) I suppose it all comes down to how we word them ("Residence: [[Peter's apartment|Apartment on the lower east side, Manhattan]]" or "Residence: [[The Sanderses' home|Single-family home in Henderson, NV]]" is slightly more useful. Let's see what everybody says and then we can add it if people like the idea; we just need to be careful how we word the links so they're informative as well as ... linky.--Hardvice (talk) 18:15, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
    • Hehe my thought was only to have a link but you got a good point saying that more than a simple link, it has to be informative. -- FrenchFlo (talk)        18:19, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
      • It wouldn't hurt to have it, but it's just not necessary, simply because of the way we title our articles. I mean, really the only person I can think of whose home has a name is Meredith (and even then, we still call it "Meredith's home". As for putting a long description of where they live, that's great stuff, but should probably be put on the article's page, not the infobox. I'm not opposed to the idea, I just think there are better places for it than on the infobox. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 18:32, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Gniiii!! We really need to add the Residence section in the Character infobox, I was searching for Niki's house both on D.L. and Niki's page and there is no way to find it expect reading episodic summary and pray for a link or click on Las Vegas link then read every location and find the Sanders' home.. Why the hell is it so hard to find those links ? It shouldn't be. As a regular on this wiki I found it typing Portal:Residences on the URL but any user should be able to find it in a much more easy way. Or we have to discuss the creation of a special section in each character page ==Home== with a link to their home. If it's not on the infobox it has to be on the page in a non-random place! We have to do something with this problem! -- FrenchFlo (talk)        16:04, 8 May 2007 (EDT)
    • Just a reply so that I hope ppl will catch this problem and discuss it! Let's go ppl. We need to find a way to deal with this problem, or if it isn't a problem for you, tell me how you find someone's home without knowing by hearth the page/cat/portal ? -- FrenchFlo (talk)        15:08, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
      • I haven't really searched for residences, but lines in the character box called 'Current Residence' and 'Current location' sounds like a good idea. It could point to the city if we don't know exactly where they are.--MiamiVolts (talk) 15:22, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
      • It's not really a problem for me to find a particular residence, but if I were searching for somebody's home, I would think of their last name and type it in (Sanders lists the Sanderses' home, for instance). You can also go to home or apartment for a full listing of homes and apartments, or go directly to residences for the portal. Those are all quick links to some helpful pages, much more helpful, in my opinion, than searching through a character's page. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 15:29, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
        • Well as you wish, for me this infobox is a kind of identity card, with name,age, occupation, power etc... The only one thing that is missing is the place where the char live. Adding this section in the template isn't a big move so I just think we should do it, if it doesn't makes things more clear, in any case, it won't make things less clear so that's not a big deal to simplify the navigation by addind one single line :) - My 2 cents, I've said everything I had about this :) Let's do as you want for now. -- FrenchFlo (talk)        15:38, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
          • I'm not opposed to it, I just don't see much value in it. Sure, it's easy to add to the template, but going back to the 50 or so characters who have homes and adding that info is a hassle. Plus, I think it's kind of intuitive: "Peter Petrelli lives in ... Peter Petrelli's apartment." If somebody wants to do it, that's fine, it would be a nice addition, I just don't see the point. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 15:43, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
            • I suppose a really easy way to add residences without making a change to each character's page would be to somehow use the pagename. This all goes beyond my knowledge of templates, so somebody much wiser would have to do this, but I suppose we could make it say "if a {{PAGENAME}}'s apartment exists, then then link it." (That's my summary of code. Like it?) That really wouldn't work for homes since I don't know any way to turn Niki Sanders into the Sanderses' home. Oh well. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 15:49, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
              • On second thought, I guess the "so-and-so's home" problem can be taken care of with redirects. For instance, create a redirect for "Niki Sanders's home" to point to "The Sanderses' home". Then we could say (more Ryan-code), "if {{PAGENAME}}'s home exists, then link it." It would say "Niki Sanders's home" instead of the Sanderses' home, but I guess that's okay. It would still mean a lot of redirects for homes named for the family rather than the individual (which might be a good idea anyway), but I'm still not sure I see the value in going to all that trouble. However, I just spent more than enough time talking about it, so maybe it is worth it afterall. :) I'll see what I can do when I get home. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 15:55, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
        • I agree with FrenchFlo, mostly because I can't spell, I guess I could find the name and copy it to the search box, but wouldn't it be much easer to have a link? Often when I don't know how to spell the title of a page I want to find, I go though several pages looking for links. To me the best thing about a wiki is links. It would also be nice to have a link to the family tree page. -Lөvөl 16:00, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
          • Well, the point is => An EASY navigation is a good navigation. As far as the infobox is ... an infobox it should be fulled with... infos! And I think the place where characters live isn't a small info so I don't see why we haven't this line in the box since a long time!! We know the town but not where in the town !! If the article exists, it should be linked! The only way to have someone's home is to get a link from a disambig with everybody's home... This isn't very logic. Someone's house should be linked on the someone's page. :) -- FrenchFlo (talk)        16:08, 9 May 2007 (EDT)

First mention

Hi. I'd like to suggest that the "First mention" field in the infobox be retained even after a character has appeared. This makes the character's information more complete, and is also a point of note especially for characters with a long build-up before their first appearance, such as Linderman, Sylar, D.L., and later on probably others on the List, Shanti Suresh and Mrs Nakamura (and maybe Uluru). --Mercury McKinnon 07:18, 4 May 2007 (EDT)

  • I don't think it's necessary. That's what a character history is for. (I don't think a first appearance is necessary either, but that's just me.) — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 07:34, 4 May 2007 (EDT)
    • I agree it's a little redundant with the Character History section, but (a) the character box provides the info at a glance, and (b) looking forward (like after the first season) won't the Character History be compressed (such that it no longer lists every episode and graphic novel, but summarizes a season) and one would then not be able to tell from it an older character's first episodic mention/appearance? --Mercury McKinnon 07:50, 4 May 2007 (EDT)
      • It's really intended to be the same field as "first appearance", only with a different label. That's why it's an either/or. The idea is to keep the infoboxes as consistent as possible from character to character. It was also supposed to auto-add Category:Unseen Characters but wasn't doind so; that's been fixed.--Hardvice (talk) 12:23, 4 May 2007 (EDT)

residence redirects

Okay, so I think I added a semi-automatic "residence" line on the character box. If PAGENAME's home or apartment exists, it will link. This is no problem for people like Isaac Mendez or Paulette Hawkins, since Isaac Mendez's apartment and Paulette Hawkins's home exist. It gets trickier with people like Casey Z. Smith whose home is called Casey Smith's apartment, not Casey Z. Smith's apartment. Same goes for people where multiple people live, such as the Bennets. So I made a redirect for Mr. Bennet's home (to The Bennets' home, and now it works (after I changed PAGENAME to PAGENAMEE). But it's working for some, but not for all. For instance, Molly Walker's home redirects to The Walkers' home, but the link isn't showing up on Molly's character box. I've cleared my cache, but still nothing. Hmm. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 00:02, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

  • Weird. So I added PAGENAMEE to the actual link--that worked, but it added annoying underscores. When I took it out, all the links worked. Maybe it's just an odd thing that happens where the template needs to be resaved or something. Odd indeed. (By the way, Meredith Gordon has both an apartment and a home, so she has "Residence" listed twice on her info box. This is odd to me, but not terrible. Does anybody else care that it's on there twice?) — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 00:33, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
    • I know you're trying to automate this, and that's cool, but can you also include a manual residence= option that works as an override? That way, we can modify the mismatches individually instead of adding redirect after redirect. It will kill two birds with one stone, so to speak (it takes care of the multi-residence problem and customization).--MiamiVolts (talk) 00:51, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
      • Done. I think it will still link automatically to the apartment (I don't know how to override both), but there seem to be more problems with the homes. Redirects (which are a good idea anyway) will still work as a default, but can be overridden by adding residence =. Hope that helps. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 01:39, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
        • I realize it's a little late in the conversation to discuss this, but I really intensely dislike these redirects and autolinks. A field labeled "Residence" on a page called "Claire Bennet" that just says "Claire Bennet's home" is just awful. It contains no useful information whatsoever--of course Claire Bennet lives in Claire Bennet's home. That's just pointless, except as an easy way to get a link in there. I'd really like to see us go back and edit these links manually to make them informative. We wouldn't have "Parents: Claire Bennet's parents" or "Known Power: Claire Bennet's power". It just looks lazy. Something like "Residence: Single family home in Costa Verde, CA" or "Residence: Loft apartment in Lower Manhattan" would actually mean we have information in the infobox and not just a knee-jerk link. I'd rather remove the field altogether than have it the way we do.--Hardvice (talk) 16:48, 30 September 2007 (EDT)
          • I have absolutely no problem with changing the links manually. I didn't have the original idea of including a residence on the page, but the idea has kind of grown on me, so I'm not keen on getting rid of it altogether. I like the descriptions you gave above. Even though both my parents are real estate agents, I know very little about describing homes. :) I think "single family home" would work for just about all the homes, with the exception of Meredith Gordon's home. Would the Petrelli mansion and The Petrellis' home be "single family homes" or "mansions" or something else? Also, Zane Taylor's home seems different, but I can't put my finger on it. As for apartments, the only one that would have a description other than "apartment" would be Isaac's loft, right? -- RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 18:27, 30 September 2007 (EDT)

Unknown Powers

We've run into a situation lately in which we have a few confirmed evolved humans, but we don't know their powers. Up to now, the power(s) variable has been automated to say "Known power". We've had a lot of new users who, justifiably, change "None" to "Unknown" for the power(s) variable. It looks silly to have the infobox read "Known power: Unknown", so we've been dutifully changing it back to "Known power: None". I just changed it so it will read "Power: Unknown" if Unknown is entered for the variable. This to me makes a lot more sense: If we don't know the Crane boy's power, for instance, why should it say "Known power"? .... I think I took care of all the confirmed but unknown powered people (like Sparrow and James, who are two biggies in this category), but if I'm missing any, feel free to go ahead and change it or to let me know. And now I guess we don't have to worry about any silly back-and-forth with semantics, well-intentioned new users, or standardization-driven users. :) — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 12:13, 13 May 2007 (EDT)

  • I'm not understanding why "Power: Unknown" is wrong, and "Known power: None" is correct for those who are confirmed evolved humans but their powers are unknown. Even though "Known power: None" is correct, I find it quite misleading. "Power: Unknown" for these individuals (including the Crane boy, and others from the list like Penkala Burton) seems perfectly acceptable. What is the reason for having it say "Known power: None" in thse cases? — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 00:11, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
    • Hmm, I think Hardvice is trying to prevent confusion for people like Peter Petrelli and Sylar, where they both have powers we haven't seen them use. There's so many times that people add powers prematurely without it being known.--MiamiVolts (talk) 00:24, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
      • But the way the template was, it would always say "Known powers", unless Unknown was entered. That's not the case for Sylar or Peter. In fact, I believe the reason "Superpowers" was orginally changed to "Known Powers" was to deal with the power absorbing issue. Putting just "Power: Unknown" change anything. Peter and Sylar's box still would appropriately say "Known powers". I'm not taking issue with the term "Known powers" in general -- I think it's a great term to use. I'm taking issue with its usage on people whose powers are unknown. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 01:04, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
        • There's also the case where people like the Crane boy might not be able to exhibit powers yet, even though his genes suggest he will eventually develop them. Suggest is the right word, as we don't know if he'll ever exhibit powers. The gene could just go dormant in some people. That's another potential reason for "Power: Unknown" not to fit.--MiamiVolts (talk) 01:41, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
    • Mostly, it's to prevent pointless arguments about who has an "unknown" power and who has no known powers. People get into edit wars over who has and hasn't been "confirmed" to be an evolved human based on their admission or some external source. The line we've traditionally used is whether the character has displayed a power. Listing only "known powers" in the infobox mirrors this practice. It also prevents inaccuracies because we never say anyone, even those who are almost certainly humans, has "no" powers. Basically, it divides the characters into those who have displayed a power and those who haven't, just like Category: Humans and Category: Evolved Humans--a nice, bright line that we can determine using only the primary sources. There's no real value to be gained in saying someone has unknown powers versus saying someone has no known powers because the latter entirely encompasses the former. If there's enough external evidence to establish someone as an evolved human without a power being shown (like James Walker), then that character can be moved to Evolved Humans, and the reasoning can be explained in the Notes section (as it is for James). There's no point in opening a gaping hole in the template that invites edit wars and confusion or honest mistakes about standard practices when using a consistent field produces results that are just as true: James Walker has no known powers, though he may have unknown powers. So might Angela Petrelli, Charles Deveaux, or Kaito Nakamura, and so might Ando or Audrey, though in their case there's less reason to believe so.--Hardvice (talk) 02:25, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
    • But really, that's not the only reason to avoid this reflex. It might be helpful for, say, James and Penkala, but it's more trouble than it's worth for the other 162 characters who have yet to display a power:
      • Consistency: It's a bit odd to have 2 or 3 characters have a field labeled "Powers" and 200+ others have a field labeled "known powers". It's like 22 episodes listing a three-digit episode number and one listing a two-digit episode number.
      • Confusion: Arising from that, there's also the issue of "training" new users to use the templates properly. It's bad enough that the variable is named "powers" but the field is named "known powers", but I for one am unwilling to update 200+ character pages just to rename the variable. However, having multiple characters use different approaches makes it harder for new users to understand how the template works. A user who looks at James Walker for an example has a different understanding of our practices than one who looks at Angela Petrelli.
      • Speculation: We don't really know that anyone has "unknown powers". We have no idea how accurate the list is. Anyone on it could be a false positive, including James Walker. There could be people who carry the evolved genes but have no powers. And the fact that Sylar has taken someone's brain doesn't really lend any weight since he was just working off the list. The only real way to confirm someone has a power is to see it, so there's really no such thing as an "unknown power". James Walker actually bears this out: his Powers section makes it clear that, while he had his brain removed and was on the list, his evolved status is technically unconfirmed. "Powers: Unknown" doesn't really do that satisfactorily, nor can it really be done properly in an infobox.
      • Semantics: "Powers: Unknown" doesn't necessarily mean "the character has powers, but we don't know them". It could just as easily mean "we don't know if the character has powers", which is the exact same thing as "Known powers: None". So we're sacrificing consistency and clarity and not really gaining anything. Again, an infobox is not the place to explain that a character almost certainly has powers, but we haven't seen them.
      • Taxonomy: We currently categorize on a two-part taxonomy: confirmed evolved humans, and everybody else. "Known powers: Enhanced defenestration", "Known powers: None", and "Powers: Unknown" implies a three-part taxonomy -- that there's something categorically different about the third group. If that's the case, we need Category: Suspected Evolved Humans--and that's just opening the door to speculation.--Hardvice (talk) 03:03, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
        • Okay, thanks for clearing that up a bit. I don't think putting "Powers: Unknown" implies another category, unless there are two categories of evovled humans, which is not a bad idea. I also don't think it invites speculation in cases like Angela, but maybe that's just because I'm somewhat more familiar with the terminology than a newer user. But you make some other good points and I appreciate you taking the time to help a stubborn soul like me. In the end, I don't think "Known powers: None" is bad, it's obviously an accurate description. I mostly want to avoid people seeing the template say |power(s) = None and want to change it, since that really is incorrect and people don't always know that that reflex yields "Known powers: None".... And thanks for introducing me to the word defenestration. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 16:13, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
          • Actually, I've been thinking about that, and we can do what we did with the old parents and guardians bit: add a second variable, "known powers", and update the documentation (and the new article button) to use it, while leaving the old code intact but undocumented to handle existing articles. We can test to make sure it doesn't print twice on the off chance somebody puts both "known powers" and "powers". I'll do that now.--Hardvice (talk) 16:55, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

Autocat for Evolved/Unevolved

I removed this reflex for now because it wasn't working. Humans (those with "None" in powers) weren't being added to Category:Humans for some reason. Worse, humans with "none" (lower-case n) were being added to Evolved Humans (Zahava Gitelman, Beth Lindall, and Nurse Jennifer). Also, lots of Wiki users use this template on their user pages; they were also being added to Evolved Humans (as was Incidental Heroes, which also uses the template). It's not necessarily a bad idea, but there needs to be a way to override it; simply adding the other category manually won't do it because that will just put the character in both Humans and Evolved Humans. This is the sort of large-scale change which could potentially effect a ton of articles that's better off being tested in its own temporary template, rather than live.

If we decide to implement this, here are a few concerns we need to address before it goes live:

  1. The tests need to be case-insensitive. (Yes, the pages above should be changed from "none" to "None", but there's no guarantee it won't happen again, and a less template savvy user is unlikely to be able to figure out why their page is showing up in the wrong category.) Easy enough.
  2. It needs to exclude userpages. Easy enough.
  3. It needs to exclude non-character pages like Incidental Heroes on which it's used. This one's tougher. We can add a variable to turn the reflex off, but there's no guarantee people will use it.
  4. It needs to allow for a way to override the default reflex. Just relying on people putting "unknown" instead of "none" is going to be confusing and lead to a lot of false negatives and false positives. We may need an "evolved=true" or "evolved=false" flag that can force a character into either evolved humans or humans regardless of the entry in powers. Of course, that flag defeats the whole purpose of the autocat.

--Hardvice (talk) 14:04, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

  • Good points. The changes kept seeming to be more comlicated, so I will work on this in a test template, especially the auto categorizing as Evolved or not stuff has been tricky. Some of it seems to work fine, like the auto-deceased and auto adding to characters category, but I'll work on the other stuff in a different way. Alex W (talk) 14:34, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
    • I'm not so sure it's necessary to autocategorize for evolved humans. Right now, there are 50 people in Category:Evolved Humans. All but 7 (8 if you count Future Sylar) and the journal people require a cat override for sorting. In other words, an automatic category would only be useful for a handful of people, because the rest would need to be cat sorted. I think it's more trouble than it's worth. — RyanGibsonStewart (talk) 16:25, 23 May 2007 (EDT)
  • FYI I mentioned how to do case-insensitive matching over here by normalizing the values beforehand. I know we do it currently by just skipping the first letter, but this way is a little cleaner. (Admin 16:38, 23 May 2007 (EDT))