Forums > Senate Hall archive > SH Archive/Why articles shouldn't be unknown, unnamed, or anonymous

We've decided that we'll allow articles on pretty much any character that exists. Agree or disagree with that, it leaves us with a ton of conjecturally titled articles, and I think good titling practices would make finding, accessing, and navigating through them a good deal easier.

Putting "unnamed", "unknown", or "anonymous" before the titles is bad practice for a number of reasons:

  • It's redundant. If they weren't unnamed, they'd, well, have a name. ;-) So it's just an unnecessary word in the title.
  • It makes navigating categories, or any list of article titles, more difficult. First, all articles beginning with "unknown", "unnamed", or "anonymous" are all lumped under "U" or "A" respectively in categories, pretty much defeating the purpose of the alphabetical sorting. And second, they hide the actual important part of the title. If I'm looking in a category for a Human Jedi, it's a lot easier to find when it's called "Human Jedi" then when it's called "Unknown Human Jedi". Scanning a list of titles is a lot more annoying and tedious when you have to ignore the first word of every title (which isn't giving any useful information anyway).
  • It's not really accurate. They're not unnamed or anonymous as far as we know, and "unknown" is vague as all get out.

So that's why I think unknown/unnamed/anonymous shouldn't appear in conjectural titles (there might be some exceptions to this, but this is the general rule). The flip side of this is to have the names we do use be more descriptive.

The thing about conjectural articles is that if anyone wants to find information on that subject, they're not going to know what to search for. If I see a giant anthropomorphic duck in a Classic Star Wars issue (this is real), I have no idea what to search on the site for. So the only way these articles are going to be found is either in a list or in a category. Which means that the titles need to give the best possible idea of what the subject is.

This may require being creative. There's no sense in giving every article a stuffy by-the-numbers name if it doesn't help anyone find it. Take Unnamed Stormtrooper (Cloud City), for example. No offense to anyone involved in titling that, but it's incredibly unhelpful. If I want to find the stormtrooper that Chewbacca knocks down, that's not going to be obvious that that's what it is. The title isn't particularly distinctive, and in a category will just blend in with the rest of the unnamed articles. If you put that at "Stormtrooper that Chewbacca knocks down", I don't care how stupid that sounds, it would be a lot easier to find. Of course, a good title would straddle the two extremes; it would be descriptive enough to tell you what it's about, while not overly complex. Wookiee victim stormtrooper, I don't know; I don't really have a good title off the top of my head for this case. However, unlike canon titles, there's few restrictions on conjectural ones. If you need a complex title to give a good idea of the subject, nothing is stopping you.

I know this is a lot of words on what seems like a fairly minor thing, but since we have these conjectural articles, I think we could do a lot towards making them more navigable and easier to use. A million "unnamed" articles that no one can find isn't doing anyone any good. - Lord Hydronium 10:27, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

  • I'd agree. I tend to prefer names like "Rebel trainer" or "Gand Jedi" or "Attacked carbon freezing chamber stormtrooper" -- something that's reasonably descriptive. But then again, it's almost easier to find your man if you just have to look through the As and Us and click on a dozen articles until you find the anonymous stormtrooper you want as opposed to having to look through the whole list and wonder if his article starts with "Attacked" "Cloud City" "Chewbacca" "Bespin" "Stormtrooper" "Carbon freezing chamber" "Knocked-over" or "Nagai Super Saxton Star Stormtrooper". "Unnamed (Descriptive title here)" might give us the best of both worlds. Havac 18:48, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I totally agree with Hydro. KEJ 19:00, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Absolutely on the mark. - JMAS 19:29, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree with Havac. Titles of conjectural articles should, ideally, have some sort of identifying word that marks their conjectural status, and that word should be used uniformly (e.g. if we decide to go with "unknown," we wouldn't use "unnamed" or "anonymous"). jSarek 00:09, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Per jSarek. Unknown is the best in-universe usage for this wiki. Suppose someone in the Galactic Library is searching for this stormtrooper, well at least stormtrooper would come up, and its reasonable to search within Category:Stormtroopers. -- Riffsyphon1024 05:32, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
      • Per jSarek. It'll make searching through categories easier as well. Unit 8311 18:19, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
        • Me too. I think "unidentified" is the best word to use, though: they aren't "unknown" since we have some information about them, "anonymous" implies they were deliberately hiding their identity, and "unnamed" implies they didn't have so much as a droid or clone trooper identity code. 8) —Silly Dan (talk) 19:48, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
          • I guess unidentified could work, although that would mean having to type extra letters each time. ;) -- Riffsyphon1024 06:22, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
            • I believe this is on the mark as well, but some measure of being undifferentiated or unspecified should be retained. Unidentified is probably the best solution for naming, but it does not solve the categorization problems. I think there should be a category for unidentified characters. It can be a subcategory of main characters, but should still be separated in my opinion. Master Aban Fiolli {Alpheridies University ComNet} 06:34, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
              • I see your points. "Unidentified" would even be useful. KEJ 13:18, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

One solution would be to put "Unidentified", Unknow" or whatever in brakets after the title--Phoenix-wiki 14:01, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes, but that wouldn't solve havac's problem.-Andur Dral'runi 16:09, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
    • Unidentified definitely would be more "in-universe"... and a combination of descriptive titles and the unidentified tag before would allow for easy categorization (except for poor stormtrooper UTC-500 :P). The titles just let you know which exactly is which. Jorrel Wiki-shrinkable Fraajic 16:40, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
      • I think the whole issue is absolutely absurd. "Unknown Stormtrooper (Cloud City)"... get out of here. This is nothing more than a poor attempt at increasing article count. Think about it. How many Stormtroopers were on screen at Cloud City? Lots. So that name is ridiculous. None of those Stormtroopers had names, so we're to pick just one and call him the Unknown Stormtrooper of Cloud City, when all of them are unknown Stormtroopers? Get out of here. Okay, so now people want to define it more accurately... "Stormtroopers who gets thrown by Chewbacca" or what have you. Freaking ridiculous. What are we going to have next? "Left-most Stormtrooper who shoots at Leia during Escape from Cloud City" or "Stormtrooper who escorts Rebels to carbon freezing chamber." Because that is what will happen once you set the precedence with an article like this. It is a Stormtrooper who gets thrown off a stage for a few seconds on screen. So if we have an article about him, and it's allowed to stay, then no one can stop me from making an article about random Stormtrooper #3 who gets shot during the attack on the Tantive IV at the start of Episode IV. "This Stormtrooper was killed during the attack on the Tantive IV. His body was moved aside to give Darth Vader a clear path into the Tantive IV." That will be his whole article... great addition to Wookieepeda. We really need it, just like "Unknown Stormtrooper (Cloud City)," even though practically every Stormtrooper in all three movies are unnamed. I implore the community: stop this nonsense, please. It's an embarrassment and it's destroying Wookieepedia's credibility. --Danik Kreldin 05:12, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
        • Although I find it interesting that once LFL gets a hold of said stormtrooper, we might just have a reason to add him, only once he's identified. -- Riffsyphon1024
          • I must say that I disagree with the above post, of such articles being made to increase edit count. I am responsible for a great deal of the unnamed Jedi articles and have never done this for said edit count. Now, I am intelligent enough to know I was not singled out, I just thought I would make the point that some of us are just trying to detail smaller parts of the continuity. Anyways, I agree that a 'U' word is needed, though I prefer unnamed, solely for the reason it is easy to spell; not that I cant spell unidentified, but who knows? Purpilia 01:57, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
            • My post or Danik's? -- Riffsyphon1024 21:32, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
              • My apologies, I meant to include that I was disagreeing with Danik's opinion, though I do see where he is coming from. Again, sorry for the confusion.Purpilia 23:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
    • There's a solution to that (namely, Havac's issue of sorting in categories). We sort them as something like [[Category:Stormtroopers|Unidentified big stormtrooper]], while having the article itself be at "Big stormtrooper (Unidentified)". That way they're all sorted out nicely and easily identifiable as conjectural titles, but at the same time you can easily see the important part of the title and not a wall of "Unidentified"s that you have to skip past. - Lord Hydronium 01:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


I don't know, wouldn't a list of Unnamed characters become overly large, like the Catalogue of unnamed vehicles? Which, by the way, is full of unneeded mentions of generic items like boats and wagons.Tocneppil 22:08, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Yeah. A cart wouldn't get a mention in any encyclopedia, at any rate. Thefourdotelipsis 22:15, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
    • You sure about that? 8) Anyway, I don't see the problem with cataloging unnamed vehicles in a list format rather than making a separate article on every unidentified doodle, but you're correct that putting all of them in one article is not at all helpful. Thematic lists like "Catalog of unidentified Nagai starship designs", "Catalog of unidentified Endorian animals", or something like that, would be more useful. —Silly Dan (talk) 00:08, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
      • Yes. Carts themselves would get an article. A cart would not. Call me when Wikipedia has Farmer Brown's cart. Anyway, putting them all on one article is really quite unhelpful, and I'd fully condone splitting them up. Hell, I'd support giving them individual articles, but that's another story. Thefourdotelipsis 00:12, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I agree with Fourdot -split them into seperate categories. And as mentioned above change from 'unknown' to 'unidentified'.Tocneppil 01:40, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
  • It's pretty pointless being anonymous, as it gives the impression of wrongdoing, or of a suspicious act. All members should have to give their username. Unsigned comment by Darth tom (talk • contribs).
    • This isn't about users, this is about articles. And was the irony of you leaving an unsigned post about everyone being required to give their username intentional? jSarek 00:57, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

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