This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was bullet points are not to be used in behind the scenes sections.Green Tentacle(Talk) 19:26, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
There seems to be some confusion about whether asterisks/bullet-points (like the one at the start of this paragraph) should be used in "Behind the scenes" sections. My personal view is that they're useful, but some people dislike them, apparently because they see them as too list-like.
Contrary to what some people seem to think, there is no explicit policy on this issue. The nearest was this, which reached no consensus.
I know where I stand, but I'm not in this to win -- I just want to get the policy clarified.
Yes. Why? Two reasons. Firstly, it encourages people to keep Bts minimal, and prevents fanboyism: information, nothing more, parsed right down. Secondly, it defines the Bts section visually as something separate from the main text of the article. I think both things are very useful. --McEwok 03:43, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Because I want Goodwood to eat his hat and because I truly like the bullets. Text can still flow as prose if it is marked off into separate points. Bits BTS information, unlike main body article information, can be so vastly different from the paragraph before or after them that I think bullets are appropriate. Bullets also have nothing to do with whether BTS becomes a trivia section or not. If there's trivia, just vape it, bullet or no bullet. Wildyoda 04:02, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Text should flow as prose, not as a list. And marking off paragraphs of prose with bullet points is just, well, silly, especially when paragraphs flow into the next. We should encourage better-written BTSes, not limited, choppy ones. Havac 03:47, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Per all of the above, and I am more than willing to entertain disruptive circular arguments regarding this. It's about time certain users began to understand that quite often precedent provides guidelines where policy has failed to assert itself. Graestan(Talk) 04:06, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
No bullets. The people who actually do things don't like them. Precedent says they go. If there's an FA with a bulleted BTS, the Inq needs to kill it. -- Darth Culator(Talk) 04:22, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Bullets are for note taking. BtS aren't notes. -Redemption(Talk) 05:07, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
With the exception that it is possible, albeit highly unlikely that there is an appropriate use of bullets in BTS, per Silly Dan. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 06:08, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
...although I consider this not a "never use bullets" but rather a "don't always use bullets." If we need a list, we need a list. But the idea that BTS sections should be minimal is flat wrong. BTS isn't a footnote; it's as much a part of the article as the in-universe info proceeding it. We need to be encouraging thorough coverage of BTS material. -- Ozzel 06:24, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
About time we got this codified. Per Havac, Fiolli, Graestan, Silly Dan, Redemption, Ozzel . . . well, basically, per everybody. jSarek 07:06, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Bullets invite trivia, trivia invites slop, slop invites disorder, disorder breeds chaos, chaos causes the purchase of bullets. Thefourdotelipsis 04:22, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
There are times when bullets are acceptable and, in fact, the best stylistic choice; however, that rarely occurs in the "Behind the scenes" of our articles. As such, I would not support an outright ban on bullets, but I suppose I can support this policy if it comes with a bit of leniency. —Xwing328(Talk) 21:21, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Technically, it makes no difference, but bullet-lists look more trivia-ish. KEJ 11:58, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Exceptions could be made if the best way to format part of the BTS is as a list. In most cases, a list is not the best way to do it. (I'm not adding this as another option, though.) —Silly Dan(talk) 04:23, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Per Dan on this specific matter, as there are sometimes benefits to having lists alongside other out-of-universe information, but we should always be mindful of our trivia policy when dealing with BtS. Often, disjointed and unsourced lists of unconnected statements result from the whole bullet point mentality, and it's something that vastly affects the professional appearance of the site as a whole. Countering McEwok's point, I do believe that the bullet points typically encourage fanboyism in this manner. Also, in accordance with our otherpolicies regarding content, the BtS really should be considered a part of the main body of an article, as its information needs to be verifiable just as well as in-universe data does. Graestan(Talk) 04:35, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's resounding. I hope people don't mind me posting a reaction.
The major issue, as I predicted at the top, seems to be about avoiding the appearance of "notes" or "trivia". But what does that mean on a wiki dedicated to the minutiae of a sci-fi franchise? I'm starting from the principle that Bts should be just the facts, free of fanboyism, waffle and constructive argument. When I said "minimal", I didn't mean small Bts sections, just tightly relevant prose.
Graestan rightly criticises "disjointed and unsourced lists of unconnected statements", but doesn't the "list" aspect make it easier to analyse the problems? Strip out the problems and you create a coherent and footnoted list of related statements... turn it into polished prose, and you might merely disguise them. In short, no-one is saying that Bts should be a "quirky facts" section. I want it to be distilled information, sharply presented.
Also couple of other things that might be dealt with:
Graestan raises a good point on attribution and sourcing: this should apply to Bts as well as body text. However, I don't see how this directly affects the question of whether Bts should have the same presentation as the main text. I think it's a good idea to distinguish it in some way, due to its OOU content.
JMAS: No, it wasn't. People involved with the Inq (most of whom have spoken above) seem to have decided it amongst themselves, but it wasn't formalised anywhere on the site. That's why I started this CT.
Let me just point out that precedent, while not policy, does carry some weight. The Inquisitorius has not allowed bullets to be employed in BTS sections for FAs, and per Darth Culator, if there are any FAs with bulleted BTSs in a non-list format, just point me in their direction. Physics lesson: Newton's 1st law: Objects (practices) at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. And that's without friction. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 15:23, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Thaks, Ataru. The problem with Inq precedent is that, while it might be common knowledge for the regulars on #wookieepedia (i.e. most of the people in this CT), even regular users who're outside that loop (e.g. me) couldn't find anything to explain it on the wiki. It's only obvious if you know about it already.
Also, bullets have been used forever, so the physics metaphor actually applies in both directions: the Inq is the outside force.
... and anticipating the objection that "It's what we do" isn't a valid defense: aye, I know. It's not. But it's not a valid defense of no-bullets, either.
I guess what it all comes down to is why/whether continuous prose should be valued over clarity of information as the main aim of Bts. I don't think that a Bts is automatically bad because it's bulleted, and I'm yet to see any argument against bullets that isn't based on a rhetorical linking of the two. The fact that the two issues go together is, IMHO, just because both are commonplace. The bad can go without removing the bullets--the focus on basic structure that they provide may even be a more effective way of tidying up bad pages.
"I'm starting from the principle that Bts should be just the facts, free of fanboyism, waffle and constructive argument." So should the entire article. That doesn't mean we present it as a bulleted list. Bulleted lists aren't necessarily a bad way of presenting information; I use them myself in my Grand Admirals page for the longer entries. However, such lists are not encyclopedic, and thus are not the style of information presentation we want to widely use on Wookieepedia. While I know we are not Wikipedia, a lot of what they have to say about trivia lists is logical with regard to bulleted Btses, which is why people keep mentioning it. The "notes" and "trivia" appearance has much more to do with the presentation than the content. jSarek 20:21, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Heh, you'd think that in this almost unprecedented case of seventeen people turning out to vote within a day against the use of bullet points, some sort of precedent must be in place regarding it. Graestan(Talk) 23:31, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Turns out there is: I didn't know this until just now, but it seems we adopted our own version of the Trivia page a while ago: Wookieepedia:Trivia. Still, good to carry out the vote so it's perfectly clear that "this means Bts sections, too." jSarek 23:54, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, an explicit policy is a good thing. <parody>What do we do about bullets in Talk pages and CTs, though?</parody> :p
Thanks for taking the time to actually develop an argument, jSarek. I guess my response is to ask whether Bts sections shouldn't have the same POV as the main text. Perhaps making them less "encyclopaedic" is actually a GOOD thing - both for the appearance and structure of this wiki, and as a tool to help keep them focused?
Also, if I can cite Wookieepedia:Trivia myself: A trivia section is one that contains a disorganized and unselective list. These disorganized items are in need of cleanup, either by incorporating them into the prose of another section, or by filtering the list to be more selective. A selectively populated list with a narrow theme is not necessarily trivia, and can be the best way to present some types of information. Isn't that exactly what most Bts sections are (or should be): focused and narrowly themed, improved by filtering verbage and excess information. What reason is there for them not to be bulleted?
Maybe it's the assumption about a standard of "encyclopediaishness" that's giving me indigestion: though I concede that there's policy that Bts sections should be "encyclopedic", and this CT clearly shows a broad assumption among the Admins that "encyclopedic" = prose = good, I can't find any policy definition of the term, or conscious analysis of the assumption....
You know, they say that talking to oneself is a sign of madness (j/k). But in all seriousness, you're making mountains out of molehills here. If you actually manage to get one more vote in support by the time this CT closes, I'll eat my slouch hat.--Goodwood(Alliance Intelligence) 03:39, 7 February 2008 (UTC)