Malazan Empire: Spoilers or no spoilers that is the question - Malazan Empire

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Spoilers or no spoilers that is the question Rate Topic: -----

Poll: Use of Wikis (18 member(s) have cast votes)

How have you used Malazan wikis? Ticks as many answers as are applicable.

  1. Never (3 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  2. Used only now and then (6 votes [9.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.52%

  3. Used frequently (7 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  4. Used mostly during early books (3 votes [4.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.76%

  5. Used mostly during later books (2 votes [3.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.17%

  6. Used mostly after last book (2 votes [3.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.17%

  7. You were aware that there might be spoilers (13 votes [20.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.63%

  8. You were not aware that there might be spoilers (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  9. You were bothered by finding a spoiler (6 votes [9.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.52%

  10. You were not bothered by finding a spoiler (6 votes [9.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.52%

  11. You have contributed to the content (8 votes [12.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.70%

  12. You have not contributed to the content (7 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

Preference about how you would prefer a wiki to deal with spoilers.

  1. One high profile spoiler warning on main page only and presenting information as non-spoiler friendly as possible (5 votes [27.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.78%

  2. Additional spoiler warnings throughout wiki and presenting information as non-spoiler friendly as possible (9 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  3. Don't care, just want tons of information (3 votes [16.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

  4. Not applicable as you do not use wikis anyway (1 votes [5.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.56%

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#21 User is offline   Jade Raven 

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:50 AM

View PostDrek, on 09 February 2014 - 10:12 PM, said:

That Inheritance Wiki spoiler system is pretty cool, I wonder how they did that?

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View PostDrek, on 09 February 2014 - 10:12 PM, said:

Something else I thought of today - do we ever do linking from one article to a sub-section of another article? Some Malazan articles can certainly get quite long. Having spoiler warnings only at the top of a page wouldn't help someone who is linked to a paragraph halfway down a long article and they only keep reading from there downwards.


It's certainly possible, but would be very rare.

View PostDrek, on 09 February 2014 - 10:12 PM, said:

My feelings are a bit wishy-washy on this whole thing right now, but mostly my preference right now would be if we could have the spoilers extension on the wiki, which does hidden-text style spoilers
Spoiler

and that we apply these to all major spoilers, but don't worry about minor spoilers (major spoilers being events that happen in the books' narrative and that have some emotional impact or big revelation - we should be able to fairly easily make a list of these). The 'show/hide' text for these spoiler boxes would say, for example: "This paragraph contains major spoilers for MoI".


What works well on a forum doesn't necessarily in an encyclopedia. I guess that goes with what the whole purpose of the wiki is - which has its own thread.

Edit: I spent a bit of time today develepoing a method to replicate the TV Tropes spoiler tags. I could only get it to work with one of the skins: Monobook. Oasis (default) and Mobile didn't work.

This post has been edited by Jade Raven: 10 February 2014 - 03:00 AM

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#22 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 09:12 AM

If one applied the show/hide feature... would it be possible for users to de-activate it for the whole side, giving readers the choice as to whether to use it or not.

By the way... the first question of the poll is multiple choice answer, so do tick as many as apply :)

This post has been edited by Egwene: 10 February 2014 - 09:15 AM

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#23 User is offline   Jade Raven 

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 10:21 AM

View PostEgwene, on 10 February 2014 - 09:12 AM, said:

If one applied the show/hide feature... would it be possible for users to de-activate it for the whole side, giving readers the choice as to whether to use it or not.


I think it would be possible, but very, very difficult to do.
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#24 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 02:18 PM

*sigh* nothing is ever easy, is it?

Maybe we should put together a list of what sort of information really warrants additional warnings. That might make it easier to decide on how to go about implementing this.

If for example you look at the Scillara page, the following currently has a a separate warning:

"Ultimately, she ended up in Darujhistan and befriended the regulars at K'rul's Bar. She married Barathol Mekhar."

I find it hard to believe that many readers would be put out by accidentely finding out about that before time. I would class the info as pretty general.
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#25 User is offline   Jade Raven 

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 03:55 AM

I've set up a prototype spoiler system on the page Whirlwind Goddess. Even with it closed there is still a significant amount of spoilers on the page, like the categories.

Let me know what you think, I'll be away the next 5 days and, probably, unable to reply until then.

Edit: Positions can be altered, single words can be spoilered, or sentences as well as paragraphs. And they can be set to hidden by default or otherwise.

This post has been edited by Jade Raven: 14 February 2014 - 03:58 AM

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#26 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

I much prefer that to the current type of spoiler warnings. Easy to use as well.
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#27 User is offline   Gabriel Chase 

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:35 PM

What do you class as a spoiler or not, though? Obviously, things like character deaths would come under that category, but what about things that become significant in later novels?
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#28 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:41 AM

View PostGabriel Chase, on 19 February 2014 - 09:35 PM, said:

What do you class as a spoiler or not, though? Obviously, things like character deaths would come under that category, but what about things that become significant in later novels?


Exactly why my preference is for the one big spoiler warning on the main page and some general guidelines on how to present the most likely info to cause offence. One man's spoiler is another man's 'don't care about that'.

There is bound to be someone who is offended by finding out about someone's hair colour because that was not the info they came for. And with some minor characters how they died may be the only thing we have on them.

Compare the Wikia to a minefield with only half of the mines located. If those are individually signposted... maybe the person walking across will be less watchful for the unknown ones. One sign before entering is far more likely to keep them on their toes all the way through. And let's not forget, if they tread on one that was not sign-posted, they'll sue. It's called making a rod for our own backs.

This post has been edited by Egwene: 20 February 2014 - 09:41 AM

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#29 User is offline   Silencer 

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:59 AM

Oh come on. That's the most ridiculous post I've read today. XD

It's simple: does it significantly impact the plot of the book, the series, or the character (in a way that will change how a reader experiences those events later)? If yes; spoiler. If no: not a spoiler.

If it's just an anecdote that is awesome in context, but otherwise bit going to have an impact, then it's not a spoiler. But if reading it now means that it loses impact later? Spoiler.

Simple question: when you read it, did it matter? Did it stand out? Or was it just info. That's the test.
If later events make it meaningful in hindsight, THOSE are what need spoiler tags.

The thing is, the wiki should not, IMO, make reading the books redundant. You aren't trying to recreate all of what happens in the books on the wiki. You're trying to summarise and condense. To provide information. It should not be hard to figure out that a character's actions in Coral are general information, but their last-minute rescue is not.

Similarly, it is obvious that a page on "The siege if Coral" does not require spoilers for ANY event AT the siege, but may for events that the siege leads to (as they take place in later books).

It seriously cannot be that hard. If people get upset, you can point out to them that they were on a wiki, and you can't spoil everything, only major events, and most info is provided chronologically.

Most people will not even realise they were spoiled until three books later if you do it right. At which point it won't matter but more importantly they won't care because they still experienced it as intended and THEN went "ohhh... that's what that was about !"
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#30 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

I am sorry that you found my post ridiculous, Silencer - I gave it quite some thought.

Whilst I agree with what you say about some things being more likely to be regarded as spoilers, I still maintain that what people consider a spoiler varies from one reader to the next.

You yourself are saying "It seriously cannot be that hard. If people get upset, you can point out to them that they were on a wiki, and you can't spoil everything, only major events, and most info is provided chronologically"

Ergo... one big warning and common sense rules on how to present information should achieve the same.
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#31 User is offline   Silencer 

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:18 PM

I say that because anyone who reads a wiki with major events appropriately spoiled deserves that kind of response.

Your approach locks the user out on a "reader beware" basis.

In other words: you say things like that to someone who is pedantic enough to get upset that they read that Fiddler is a bestowed name. Not someone who wants to know who Strings is and accidentally reads something massive about Whiskeyjack.

That's really the difference here. Your approach literally prevents anyone who remotely cares about spoilers from ever reading a single page. Ever. Or contributing. My suggestion allows anyone to read with some caution. They might get minor spoilers, but won't ruin the next book while skimming.

I don't see why you want to restrict the readership. For minimal extra effort you make it accessible to all without losing any information. How is that not a good thing?
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<Vote Silencer> For not garnering any heat or any love for that matter. And I'm being serious here, it's like a mental block that is there, and you just keep forgetting it.



"For the record, I'm pretty sure my mind was shouting 'CLICHESTORM' over and over again during the opening of Skyrim...just putting that out there.." - Me.


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#32 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 06:53 PM

Regardless of whatever spoiler warnings and precautions are about... if someone really is paranoid about finding something they don't want to know as yet, they ought to stay away from any source of information for their own good. They probably do in any case because they know that one simply cannot make something like that fool-proof.

Although, for myself, I am not even slightly worried about bumping into spoilers, I do appreciate that not everyone feels like that which is why I do believe we should consider that very much in how we edit the Wiki. I very much believe in spoiler friendly (or should that be un-friendly) editing. So, we are not on opposing sides of that argument.

I raised this topic as a user, rather than a contributor because I felt that some of the spoiler warnings I came across where simply ridiculous, to put it mildly. Either because they spoilered pretty non-consequential trivia information or the warnings were surplus to requirements when for example the naming of a chapter in itself would translate into: if you have not read this do not proceed.

Also, whilst catering for some, over-spoilering can be a bit of an insult to the intelligence of other users. You can end up feeling a bit like being led by the hand... anyway, that was just my impression the first time I popped in for some info... The constant warnings became a bit annoying after a while...
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#33 User is offline   Jade Raven 

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:54 AM

Enough already! You two are only going over already covered ground now.

Yes Egwene, I'm almost certainly going to remove all the current spoiler warnings. They are inconsistent, repetitive and ugly.

And yes Silencer, we need to replace it with something. I accept your view that the wiki should be made causally accessible to the non-completionist reader.

The question is how far do we go and how do we technically do it.

The first is a matter of policy that needs to be written (Malazan Wiki:Spoilers). To help with this examples and/or scenarios would be useful. This is not to forget that it is a wiki and anyone can write the policy directly. Once it's written and settled it can be implemented consistently.

The second is a matter of coding and designing a method (invariably it is in a template form) to hide or warn against those parts of the page the would greatly spoil the experience of reading following books. My wiki coding skills aren't great, but I've managed to put up one example that works passably well asking for feedback and only gotten one line in response.

So what is a spoiler and how do we protect against it. I'll compile what has been said so far.

What:
  • Character deaths
  • Betrayals
To expand this section I need examples.

How:
  • General spoiler warning on the main page.
  • Filter system. Too difficult to create, very time consuming to implement.
  • Warning notice on the top of the page expiring 90 days (or similar) after publication.
  • Article summaries written to be as spoiler free as possible.
  • Spoilers segregated to a bottom section on the page.
  • Hidden until text selection, TV Tropes style. Tried it, it didn't work with the default skin.
  • Articles sectioned into areas by book.
  • Book specific notices at the top of the page.

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#34 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 06:42 AM

I have a couple suggestions for the What section you got there for Spoilers: the first is family ties. I notice the Encyclopedia Malazica has the quick trivia sections up top, for instance on the Sheltatha Lore entry under Further Info it tells us the earliest belief about her lineage, but the Wikia has a boxed section w/ more basic info and leaves the detailed stuff to the summary...the latter seems preferable in terms of avoiding spoilers. A more complete summary could eventually exist, but what you might call "revelations" should come down the page rather than up top. And to reiterate, I appreciate that the prequel info is a separate section, clearly marked, at the bottom.

I think another thing to put under the What category is Kisses etc. For instance, there's a certain youth character in GotM who yearns for a certain young woman, but it's not till TTH that these characters actually kiss each other. Now I'm thinking there should be at least two kinds of warnings for this event: 1) Plot-wise, it would be a spoiler to mention it early on the wiki because it lets us know who's made it out alive of the previous books, how they've moved around setting-wise, all that kind of thing; and 2) Some readers are squeamish about all the kissing (and some characters do even more than that) that goes on in these books, and actually skip ahead whenever these scenes arise. It seems pertinent to a wiki that if a person skips these sections in the novel itself, that the "summary" version should do its best to be discreet about these actions (eg use euphemisms?). For instance I've noticed on Wikipedia entries for certain characters like Thomas Edison the entry mentions he had two wives, but it avoids explicitly covering the romantic maneuvers of those marriages, and with good reason. In other words, Spoilers are one important issue, but it's not the only important issue for wary readers. Some might say "Don't tell me if/when they kiss, I want to find out" while others say "Don't tell me how they kiss, I just don't want to know" and you can't really argue with either position.
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#35 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:46 AM

;) *...too much exposure to Mills and Boon... gotta be... *


Thanks Jade_Raven for your summarization. Will give it some thought and come back to you.
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#36 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 01:14 PM

Having given it some thought...

Before getting to classifying spoilers, we should probably look at the different type of pages. Spoiler policy on character pages may need different instructions from book pages.


Character deaths: Put the info as far down the page as sensible and add additional spoiler warning. If the death is that of a minor walk-on-walk-off character and has no impact on the plot than no extra spoiler warning

Betrayals: difficult as they pop up all over the place. Best to put them under their relevant book headings.


How:
General spoiler warning on the main page - already much improved from the previous one. Centre of page, it is pretty much the first thing the eyes fall on. Even when as a regular visitor, it still catches my eye every time I log on. Maybe link to spoiler policy once it's put together.
Filter system. Too difficult to create, very time consuming to implement. - agree
Warning notice on the top of the page expiring 90 days (or similar) after publication. - top of page for book page but rest of Wikia within text where info from these book is coming up. List of books to which expiry date applies on editing/spoiler advice/help pages
Article summaries written to be as spoiler free as possible. - Not sure which specific summaries you are referring to...
Spoilers segregated to a bottom section on the page. - Not very user friendly as the chronology of events is often one of the major question readers have.
Hidden until text selection, TV Tropes style. Tried it, it didn't work with the default skin. - don't know enough about the implementation issues to be able to comment
Articles sectioned into areas by book. - I think that is what is already happening in most cases and probably the best way forward.
Book specific notices at the top of the page. - what do you mean by this?


My own 'How' suggestions for Characters

•Name

•Initial one/two sentence summary that will answer the ' who the hell is that' question which is probably the most frequently asked one. Should contain status info as of first appearance in books.

•Description of physical appearance

•More detailed character summary but still without info about major plots and death

•Info box - should not contain details on death.

... Book title ...

In order of publishing, under each relevant book title, the info pertinent to that character from that book. So if someone has not read that book they would know that spoilers were in-coming from there on.

... Separate title: Death...
however - having a section titled so is in itself a spoiler so maybe call it 'Last seen...' instead which is something that would be valid for all characters.

******************************************

Not sure if Worry is serious about the kiss-and-tell suggestions but I would say that in the example, contributors to Wikipedia probably didn't know the details of Edison's romantic lightbulb moments, otherwise they would have illuminated the readership, I am sure ;)


One thing I noticed on the Sheltatha Lore page... Quote:Shortly after Scabandari Bloodeye betrayed Silchas Ruin, and [was] in turn defeated by Mael and Kilmandaros, Menandore and Sukul conspired to defeat Sheltatha, whom they then interred in the Azath House in Lether where Silchas Ruin was buried. This paragraph actually contains what some might regard as major spoiler info about several other characters. I think this is the sort of thing that people are referring to when they talk about coming across major spoilers accidently. It would be ok if it was under a book heading but it is in general info. Other than as a time reference, most of that section should probably not be there as the other references to Silchas & co do not directly pertain to Sheltatha Lore.

Putting info under relevant book headers would save a lot of involuntary spoiler encounters. It would also serve as an immediate reference source for the info.
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#37 User is offline   Spoilsport Stonny 

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 05:43 PM

It might just be easier to read the books.
Theorizing that one could poop within his own lifetime, Doctor Poopet led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top secret project, known as QUANTUM POOP. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Doctor Poopet, prematurely stepped into the Poop Accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own bowels was made through brainwave transmissions, with Al the Poop Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Doctor Poopet could see and hear. Trapped in the past, Doctor Poopet finds himself pooping from life to life, pooping things right, that once went wrong and hoping each time, that his next poop will be the poop home.
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#38 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 08:48 PM

;) Obviously. I think the whole world should read the books. Still working on a few friends who are just being... well, something.

Seriously though, you often seem comments by new readers that the amount of characters, places etc. gets them confused. Being able to look-up who is who, might just keep them reading. Or those who have had a break between books and are trying to get back into it. Giving them that source of info is one of my main reasons for supporting the Wikia.
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#39 User is offline   Spoilsport Stonny 

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 02:35 AM

No doubt. Im just being silly.
Theorizing that one could poop within his own lifetime, Doctor Poopet led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top secret project, known as QUANTUM POOP. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Doctor Poopet, prematurely stepped into the Poop Accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own bowels was made through brainwave transmissions, with Al the Poop Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Doctor Poopet could see and hear. Trapped in the past, Doctor Poopet finds himself pooping from life to life, pooping things right, that once went wrong and hoping each time, that his next poop will be the poop home.
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#40 User is offline   Malaclypse 

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 12:21 PM

this is the problem right here - imagine worrying about spoilers in an encyclopedia! WTF?

That is just unbelievable to me. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot!

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