explain xkcd:Community portal/Proposals

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Welcome to the Community Portal. This set of pages is used to discuss how Explain xkcd works, and is divided into five sections. Please use the table below to find the most appropriate section to post in, or post in the miscellaneous section. You can view all community portal sections at once here.

Community portal sections
Crystal Clear app ktip.png

Proposals (post)
Ideas to improve the wiki's design and organization.

Crystal Clear app package settings blue.png

Technical (post)
To discuss technical issues.

Crystal Clear teamwork.png

Coordination (post)
To coordinate content editing and maintenance tasks.

Mop.svg

Admin requests (post)
User problems, changes to protected pages, etc.

Internet-group-chat.svg

Miscellaneous (post)
Messages that do not fit into any other category.

Contents

Tagline

I haven't created MediaWiki:Tagline yet, but we need to think about what to put there. That's the familiar "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." over at Wikipedia - it appears right under the title of each page. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:39, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
Moved from Explain XKCD:Community portal --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:09, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

I think it's pretty obvious we should keep the "It's cause you're dumb." :) --Waldir (talk) 13:20, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, since there haven't been any objections, I went ahead and added it: Mediawiki:Tagline. --Waldir (talk) 18:46, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Separate discussion page(s)

I think we should create a separate Discuss the wiki page, so that each discussion can go under its own header. I'd suggest setting up a todo list where people can help out. I'd start with a suggestion:

We should be using cleaner urls. Maybe this tool can help setting that up. --Waldir (talk) 05:46, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Whatever we do decide, I've created {{xkcd}} and {{explain}} templates to create links to the xkcd site and other explanations here on this site; that should factor at least those sites (nice central administration) as well as helping us categorize pages that use them. Was thinking of also {{wiki}} for the same benefit, even if there's already a prefix built into mediawiki... the only drawback is the bias toward the en side... IronyChef (talk) 10:31, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
I'm liking the idea of creating a Discuss the wiki page - I'll start one if someone doesn't/hasn't beat me to it and add it to the sidebar. I'd asked for better URLs at User talk:Jeff#Robots.txt, though I didn't know what they were called. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 17:17, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
I also like the idea of the {{xkcd}} tags. On a related note, I've imported {{tl}}.  :-) I also realize we don't have a secure server here, but I'd support the best practice of beginning URLs with protocol-relative links ( // instead of http:// or https:// ) anyway, especially since the xkcd website itself appears to be https-compatible.Nevermind, it doesn't seem to be. So I guess it doesn't matter. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:40, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Maybe we can create a subpage of the community portal for the wiki discussion. What do you think? --Waldir (talk) 04:32, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
Also one for editing coordination (see User:SurturZ/sandbox for instance), another for mediawiki assistance (requests to admins perhaps on the same page, or on a separate one). Any other ideas? --Waldir (talk) 04:41, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from Explain XKCD:Community portal, may need to be broken out into new headers or sub-headers. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:12, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Great job on creating the subpages! I think the subpages can be made more intuitive for newcomers, though. Here are my subbestions:

  • merge "/Design" and "/Proposals" into "/Discuss the wiki" or "/Improve the wiki" or something to that effect.
  • rename "/Technical" into "/Tecnical assistance" so it is clear that it should be used for one-off issues rather than coordination of wiki-wide changes (which should go in the section above)
  • merge the "/Administrator's noticeboard" above? That would reinforce that adminship is nothing but a set of technical tools to assist the wiki
  • New "/Editing coordination" subpage for organizing what to do, maintenance, keeping a TODO list for newcomers to tackle, etc -- essentially like WikiProjects work at Wikipedia.

--Waldir (talk) 04:35, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

As I see this, it would involve mostly just renaming pages. I don't particularly care what the names are, so I won't comment on that.
  • I'd like to keep /Administrator's noticeboard for the time being. The primary advantage of this is that administrators can watchlist this and things which need the tools are less likely to get lost in discussion. It can always be deprecated afterwards if it isn't being used enough.
  • I'd sort of seen /Design as doing what you're proposing for /Editing coordination, though I didn't explain it as well.
--Philosopher Let us reason together. 18:43, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
Ok, I get what you mean with the Admin page. I don't think this wiki is going to be that busy to warrant a separate page, though. But for now, let's at least simplify the name? "Admin requests", for instance :)
And yeah, Design isn't really a good name for content-related coordination. What I'm suggesting here is to have one page for meta (wiki-related) discussion, and another for content-related discussion. Does that make sense? And what name do you think would be good for the former rather than the current, too generic imo, "Proposals"? --Waldir (talk) 19:20, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
"Discuss the wiki" sounds good to me, as does "Admin requests." Or whatever, I guess.  ;-) I may not be online much for the next few days (or much this evening), so go ahead and change it how you think it should be, I guess. Having stable discussion pages sooner than later would be good. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:48, 6 August 2012 (EDT)
Ok I changed the admin page name, and merged "design" and "proposals", but for now I left it named "Proposals". I'm not quite confident about the clarity of "Discuss the wiki"... I'll wait until others comment here. --Waldir (talk) 14:06, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not seeing any further discussion and it's been a few days since the move, so I'm clearing the sitenotice. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:38, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Automatic Import

Hi

I created a draft for the comic pages. It's still work in progress, but I'd like to retrieve feedback.

Also, maybe we could autmatically import comics using the JSON data Randall gives us ([1]). This way, we could also include transcripts. --SlashMe (talk) 15:23, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

Hm, I should add a link to my draft: User:SlashMe/Testpage ;-) --SlashMe (talk) 06:54, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

I updated the page, including links to the next/previous comic similar to Template:ComicHeader. I used comic 472, because it has a lot of metadata (link, news, HTML title, etc.). --SlashMe (talk) 07:32, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Just to remind everyone, I'd be ready to import the comics, but I don't want to until I got more feedback. Please have a look at User:SlashMe/Testpage and tell me your opinion. --SlashMe (talk) 06:02, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

I think your test page looks great. I'm a big fan of it. Any way to fit the text in the text box rather than having it run all the way to the right? --Jeff (talk) 18:19, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
I just made a change concerning line breaks, at least it works in Firefox and Chrome. Could somebody please test it in different versions of Internet Explorer?
If you agree, I would start uploading tomorrow. I'll send you a mail. --SlashMe (talk) 18:31, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:38, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

The discussion is now at Explain XKCD:Community_portal/Design#Header template. --SlashMe (talk) 04:20, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

"Random comic?"

Not to clutter the sidebar, but what would you say to adding a "Random comic" right under "Random page", linking to //dynamic.xkcd.com/random/comic/ ? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:46, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Naw, xkcd already has a random comic. I think we should have a random explanation. ;-) All kidding aside, I was wondering: generating a random member of a category...? Has that improved since the early days when I tried to do something like that. -- IronyChef (talk) 03:19, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
Hi. For how to do this, we could install the Random In Category Mediawiki extension, which would allow us to use [[Special:RandomInCategory/Comics]] to point to any random explanation. Omega TalkContribs 22:42, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Or we could move the comics into a Comic namespace, and use Special:Random/comic (See for instance Special:Random/template). This doesn't require any server-side changes. --Waldir (talk) 23:58, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Header template

Hi, I've created a template called Template:ComicHeader, which might make things easier when creating comic pages (and also provide better consistency between the pages). I've used it on the Internal monologue page, to display the comic number and the date it was published. The template also adds the page to the Comics category.

You just need to add:

{{ComicHeader|1089|August 1, 2012}}

…to the start of the page (replacing the comic number and date).

I'll try to make the template look a bit nicer, but the great thing about templates of course, is that once they're updated, the changes are reflected on all the pages that include that template. --Yirba (talk) 18:46, 1 August 2012 (EDT)

By the way, I'm thinking of maybe programming something that would allow you to easily import the comic image and alt text from xkcd without having to upload the images manually and the like. You'd just have to host a single PHP file on your server and make a few changes to the MediaWiki configuration. Of course, you'd be able to see source code and everything to make sure I'm not trying to do something fishy. :-P Let me know what you think. :-) --Yirba (talk) 18:54, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
Yirba - I like the idea. My email is [email protected] - send me what you put together and we can sort it out. --Jeff (talk) 19:37, 1 August 2012 (EDT)
Ditto on the Template. Up-vote. Any thought on harvesting the pre-wiki content from ExplainXKCD with some sort of a Python, Perl, or PHP script? (That sounds more like a 'bot than something that would have to be hosted, though.) IronyChef (talk) 01:52, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
I was thinking of putting it into a infobox, please see above. I also intended to automatically extract data from xkcd, which would lack descriptions, but at least we would have data like title, image and transcripts. Also, there are some other data like links (e.g. 832), news (which are displayed in xkcd's header, e.g. 739) and titles which contain HTML (259 and 472). I also extracted all those data. When we agree on a page layout, I could begin programming a bot. --SlashMe (talk) 06:54, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Hmmm… an infobox may be a good idea. And a bot that imports data from xkcd might be handy. Anyway, here's something I programmed that would allow for access to the xkcd API from the wiki itself. Essentially, you'd put this xkcdinfo.php (source, download) file somewhere on the server (e.g. at http://www.explainxkcd.com/xkcdinfo.php) and include it in MediaWiki's interwiki table (ensuring iw_trans == 1):
INSERT INTO interwiki (iw_prefix, iw_url, iw_local, iw_trans) VALUES ('xkcdinfo', 'http://www.explainxkcd.com/xkcdinfo.php?input=$1', 0, 1);
After enabling scary transclusion in LocalSettings.php, you'd then be able to send queries to the xkcd JSON API via this file. In other words, {{xkcdinfo:32-title}} would make comic 32's title appear. {{xkcdinfo:55-alt}} would make comic 55's image text appear. I've also set it so you could enter {{xkcdinfo:100-embed}}, and it would make the comic 100 image appear on the wiki page. Feel free to use it however you want (if at all), and modify the code should you wish. (Hint: Using the number 0 for the comic number will query the most recent comic, so {{xkcdinfo:0-num}} will return the current comic number. Also, adding "raw:" before "xkcdinfo:" might be more useful in some instances. E.g.: {{raw:xkcdinfo:555-title}})--Yirba (talk) 14:50, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Nice idea, altough this would mean to load all data from xkcd whenever a page is viewededited (I think this is the way MediaWiki caches the data). This is a lot of traffic for little data. I'd say to include the metadata statically, but linking the external image seems a good thing to me. Again, it'd be great if you gave me feedback for my idea. --SlashMe (talk) 15:54, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Yes, the data would be loaded from xkcd for each edit. You can, however, substitute (subst) the template for data that is unlikely to change. And therefore the data would indeed be stored statically. I like the layout you've come up with. It could perhaps do with a bit of tweaking here and there, but the general idea is good. --Yirba (talk) 17:16, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
What kind of tweaking do you mean? I know the code is a bit messy, if you have a better idea, please tell me (or do it yourself - hey, it's a wiki!). The CSS should be placed in an external file, but for now, it's ok. --SlashMe (talk) 17:51, 2 August 2012 (EDT)

Looks like there is another/newer template called Template:Comic that includes prev/next buttons as well. You add it with:

{{comic
| number    = 1
| date      = September 30, 2005
| title     = {{PAGENAME}}
| image     = barrel_cropped_(1).jpg
| imagesize = 
| alttext   = Don't we all.
}}

<small>Moved from [[User talk:Jeff]]. --~~~~</small>
==Description==
xxxxxxxxxxx

No need to include the alt text separately, as the template does it for you. It also includes the comic category, but only if the first 4 fields are filled out. --B. P. (talk) 18:47, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Yes, but that is not necessarily an advantage. My template only creates the infobox, so you are still able to create an introductory text or other sections, for special comics that need a more detailed description. I can also add categories if needed. --SlashMe (talk) 19:02, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
I think it is a major advantage to make the thing easier to use and more consistant site-wide.
As the creator of the new one, I'm obviously biased, but I created it because I think it's better. Not putting your work down, it was a great piece of code that I put to work in my template. But I think if there's need for pre-text of any kind (not sure there is, as the articles probably should all open with the comic itself as presented on XKCD), a pre-comment can be added into the template, but I'm not sure what that would be. Perhaps there would be a requirement for special circumstances like the comic a few weeks ago where there were a million iterations depending on locality, browser, etc. But that's the rarity. I think the new one simplifies it for users. They need only one template to post the comic, alt text title and nav buttons. What could be easier? TheHYPO (talk) 19:08, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
As the creator of the other one, I'm equally biased. What about a "main template", which then calls one or two other templates (e.g. one for the infobox, another for image and alt text? For most comics, this main template could be used, but if absolutely needed, it would still be possible to use the underlying templates with custom sections/text. --SlashMe (talk) 19:15, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
I just now saw your request for feedback on your new comic page with the sidebar. I honestly am not sure which format is better. I kind of like my format for the fact that it basically presents the comic as it was originally posted, but your infobox does provide some additional stuff like 3D link (not sure what "news" is, of where the "link" comes from but...) Perhaps we could integrate the two. I like that the comic is visble right away on my template, but on your page it's down below the first header. I don't think the comic itself needs an "image" heading. No disrespect, but I think your sidebar, esp. because of the "news" field is a bit chunky - too wide for most of its content.
I think we could easily add things like a "3d" link into {{comic}} as part of the next/prev bar where a "3D" field in the template is non-blank. Similarly, original title could read something like (Originally titled: xxxxx) below the primary title in a smaller font. Other than the "link" and "news" fields (which again, I'm not sure what they are), I think that would inclde all the same info as your infobox into my template. Thoughts?
As to your other comment about compartmentalizing the template, I have nothing against that, but which parts of the template would you want to be able to use separately (and can you suggest an example where that might be necessary?) Subdividing the template can always be done later if it becomes needed; just trying to get an idea of what you have in mind by compartmentalizing it. Cheers TheHYPO (talk) 19:43, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:37, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

Suggestion:

  • I will start by uploading all images. This will take some time and has no points to discuss. (If it has, tell me.) At a later point, maybe we could link them directly from xkcd.com.
  • For the comic pages: Let's say we'll use {{Comic}}. I'll change the arguments of the template to be more like my {{Infobox comic}}, see documentation. I'll keep the alttext argument, but make image optional (file name should be guessed from the title). Do we really need imagesize?
  • {{Comic}} would then call some further templates, passing the appropriate arguments. This way, we are able to use custom sections/text if needed for special comics (like Umwelt) by using these templates instead of the all-in-one {{Comic}}.
  • Since we have one template doing all the work, we can easily change the page layout even after the import. (We should only keep track of the pages that don't use {{Comic}}, using a hidden category)
  • For consistency, I would move all existing pages out of the way and re-create them. The moved pages could be collected by adding them to a category like Category:legacy pages, so they should easily be found. Descriptions should be moved to the new pages, afterwards the legacy pages can be deleted.

This way, I can import all comics, but we would still be able to change the layout afterwards. My 2ct concerning page layout:

  • Use comic titles as page names.(See below) The title should be prominent, the number will be in the infobox.
  • I'll remove Original title, news and link from the infobox and move them to a section after the description. (For details, see here)
  • suggested layout:
=====page title=====
+--------------------+ +---------+
|                    | | infobox |
|       image        | |  text   |
|(no section heading)| |         |
|                    | |         |
|                    | +---------+
+--------------------+
==alt==
text
==description==
text
==transcript==
text
==original title, news and link== (if available)
text

Still open for opinions.--SlashMe (talk) 04:13, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

It might make more sense to use the comic number as the page title, and then use DISPLAYTITLE to make the comic title appear in place of the number. Just putting that out as another possibility. --Yirba (talk) 09:49, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
Good point, I agree. --SlashMe (talk) 09:54, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

If anyone wants to use it, I've written a bot [2] that can upload images, create redirect pages, and create comic pages. You can change the format it uses for the comic page if you have some knowledge of python. To use it, look at [3]. --Cyanfish (talk) 10:56, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Sorry, I was faster. I'm using mwclient, and I already uploaded all images. I could also create pages and redirects, but I'm waiting until we have a consent. --SlashMe (talk) 11:02, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
A few thoughts: if you start uploading images, but don't create the comic pages with them, a user going to create a new comic page isn't going to know whether or not the comic image has already been uploaded. This could be confusing. Hopefully the uploads are going to be named the same as the original images? (when I do upload, I actually just paste the URL in my "browse" box and upload directly from my browsers cache that way so it works out), but I just want to avoid duplicating images on the server as well as wasting time by trying to upload something that's already there.
As to the page layout, I'm still of the view that the transcript should be in a collapsed frame so that it doesn't take up half the article. I don't honestly think that most people are coming to read the transcript. I could be wrong tho. Open to opinions on that. Otherwise, I do like transcript AFTER The explanation (also, the heading "explanation" vs. "description" as mentioned in another discussion in the portal. TheHYPO (talk) 14:09, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
PS: We definately need imagesize. It defaults to full size, but I think we definately need the optional argument for large comics. Remembering that this is a wiki to explain the comics, there are many large comics that ought to be restricted to a smaller size for the page (they can be clicked to enlarge - the template automatically creates a "click to enlarge" link if imagesize is used). I have generally been using a 375 or 400px size for keeping larger comics managable, but sometimes it's a comic-dependant decision. Also, notwithstanding my comment on another thread, even though I agree that the xkcd commentary is actually "title text", just as a side note, I've just noticed that the transcripts for older comics actually do call it "alt text") TheHYPO (talk) 15:40, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
As long as no one has any objections, this header looks awesome (with ImageSize as TheHYPO suggested), so feel free to work on the importation functionality. Let me know if you need anything from me in order to import from the Wordpress side of things. If we start talking importation, lets move that conversation under a different header. --Jeff (talk) 15:56, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Date format

I suggest to enter the date as YYYY-MM-DD and using {{#dateformat: {{date}}} in {{comic}}. This way, the date should be displayed using the personal preferences (see Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-datetime). Does anyone disagree? --SlashMe (talk) 20:42, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Displaying Comics

For the home page, I think the comic and explanation should be displayed instead of a link to the comic.

For reasons unknown to me, I decided to create Template:Comicbox and Template:Comicbox2. Looks nice, as long as you use the correct one for the comic.

Go to User:Grep/comicbox and User:Grep/comicbox2 for examples. --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Those're wonderful! And should probably be on the main page. If you wanted, we could probably incorporate them (and maybe a third?) into a single template with a "square/vertical or horizontal" switch. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:36, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Also, you used "comicbox" for the class. Is that a class that's defined somewhere? (And if so, where?) --Philosopher Let us reason together. 21:36, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Good point. Removed. And merging them sounds wonderful. --grep:talk:applaud:smite
Maybe merging them into Template:comicbox? --grep:talk:applaud:smite
I think classes are defined at MediaWiki:Common.css, so if you really wanted to define the class.... And Template:Comicbox would probably be best. Did you want to merge them or should I take a look at it? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:25, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
ParserFunctions and any sort of non-XMLish markup is weird. I would rather you look at it. --grep:talk:applaud:smite
Okay, I've moved your templates to {{Comicbox square or vertical}} and {{Comicbox horizontal}} so I can work on {{Comicbox}} as the main one. It may take a while - I like to think of myself as a "master of all known wikimarkup," but I don't actually use those skills that often. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 23:08, 2 August 2012 (EDT)
Thanks. --grep:talk:applaud:smite
I've made it at {{Comicbox}}. This actually leaves {{Comicbox square or vertical}} and {{Comicbox horizontal}} unused, though I credited you (and them) in a comment at the top of the template. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:21, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
I think that the explanation should be on the right because it just looks weird as is... --grep:talk:applaud:smite

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sure. But right now they both look like they're on the bottom? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 20:02, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

 Fixed --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Sans-serif typeface

I like these, too, but the roman typeface... how do folks feel about sticking with a sans-serif typeface throughout the site? IronyChef (talk) 00:13, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
We should be able to change that wiki-wide through MediaWiki:Common.css, I think. Unfortunately, I don't know enough CSS to do it. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:23, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
I believe sans serif is already the default wiki-wide. Those specific instances were deliberately coded to use a serif font. It's just a matter of removing font-family: 'Times New Roman'; from the template. --Waldir (talk) 17:01, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
Oh, I'd missed that. I removed it. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:14, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:37, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

comic header

Jeff, further to your previous conversation on the comic header, I've significantly rewritten Yirba's template (thanks to Yirba for the hard work. His navigation bar was very useful) and I've created a new template of {{comic}}. An example of the comic in use can be seen at T-shirts. I started a discussion on the main page discussion board, but I thought if I pointed it out to you and you like it, it can start going in the rotation for new comics.

I actually now see that Grep did a template up with intent (I think) to use for the main page. Had I known that when I started, I would have probably based my template off of his, because it looks nice, but either way, mine is intended for the actual articles. TheHYPO (talk) 14:46, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Again, may I link to my request for feedback? --SlashMe (talk) 15:52, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

The discussion is now at Explain XKCD:Community_portal/Design#Header template. --SlashMe (talk) 04:17, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from User talk:Jeff. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:37, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Bylines

In the migration from blog to wiki, I noticed a few things:

  1. Visitors still seem to assume there's a single, invisible other that provides the explanations; this might be a carryover from the blog days when Jeff was the author of that content, or it may be newcomers not familiar with the license-to-create a wiki offers. You see it in comments that call out corrections, without the corrections actually being made to the explanations. Usually a more savvy editor swings in, makes the fix, and chimes in on the comments.
  2. There's no visual cue on the page itself to disabuse a novice of that fact. Sure, wikiphiles will check the history; but aside from that the novice has is left in the dark, and certainly isn't led to the conclusion that they, too, can contribute to the explanation.

To that end, I was wondering: why not put a {{byline}} on each explanation, and give credit where credit is due? I know Waldir wanted to "gamify" the wiki a bit. I don't know that I'd go that far, but putting bylines does kill a few birds by raising awareness of the democratic approach to explanations, and giving kudos to the contributor(s). I've prototyped it (and of course, it's subject to revision) but here's how it would work:

  • {{byline|you}} produces Authored by you.
  • {{byline|you|me}} produces Authored by you, with additional contributions by me.
  • {{byline|you|me|someone else}} produces Authored by you, with additional contributions by me, and someone else.
  • More concretely, {{byline|Jeff|Waldir|IronyChef|Blaisepascal}} produces Authored by Jeff, with additional contributions by Waldir, IronyChef, and Blaisepascal.

(in general, the parameters are the usernames, up to about 5 or six contributors, for now.) Was thinking about having the content be automatically turned into wiki-links, but left that out while we think it over. Thotz? -- IronyChef (talk) 04:22, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

How would we indicate who is in the byline? The person who created the page? The person who edited the most characters? Would it be a combination of all the names? --Jeff (talk) 14:32, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I have to say, it sounds contrary to the whole wiki premise. I agree with you that there does seem to be a bit of a learning curve here, but I don't know if "crediting" the explanations is the right solution. How much editing does one have to do to get credit on an article? You might get people who want to edit just to get credits, and credits over time could get relatively lengthy. TheHYPO (talk) 14:41, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Template improvement suggestion

Can I suggest that we work on improving {{ComicHeader}} - I wish I had time to do it myself and then edit all the comic pages, but I would suggest the best way might be to start a new template (perhaps design it a bit more like an infobox) and start converting the old pages over to new ones.

The feature I think should be added is that, where the template currently includes teh comic number and date, and creates the nav header, the template really ought to include the image name, and the alt text. In that way, the template can produce the entire part of the article that displays the comic and its alt text (and the alt text, as mentioned, could be more like a caption, instead of just looking like a generic section of the article - it's part of the comic, it shouldn't look like part of the article on this site (no offence, Jeff, but that's one thing I always didn't like about explain XKCD - the image text should be bold or underlined or italics or something to signify that it's part of the comic and not the explanation.

I'll see if I can work on a prototype. TheHYPO (talk) 12:29, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

What does everyone thing of this as a better layout? Blown Apart TheHYPO (talk) 13:09, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
May I link to my request for feedback? --SlashMe (talk) 15:52, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from Talk:Main Page. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:44, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

The discussion is now at #Header template. --SlashMe (talk) 04:17, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Transcripts

Do we need to add a whole section on "Transcript" for each comic? That could get very long for some comics, and basically pushes the explanations down further (which is what people generally come to explainxkcd for). If anything, perhaps the transcripts could be in a minimizable box like some navboxes do on wikipedia? I don't see a majority of users coming to read the transcripts... TheHYPO (talk) 19:15, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

What about putting the transcripts at the bottom of the page?
BTW: If you agree, this discussion should be moved to Explain XKCD:Community portal, as Waldir suggested. At least for new discussions. --SlashMe (talk) 19:19, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
No problem there. Feel free to move it. TheHYPO (talk) 19:29, 3 August 2012 (EDT)
How about having it be collapsed, with the option to expand it (TOC-like)? -- IronyChef (talk) 04:25, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Moved from Talk:Main Page. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:47, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

The discussion is now at #Header template. --SlashMe (talk) 04:18, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

Adding a new comic

This is the process I use to add a new comic. YMMV... Feel free to update this as/if needed to provide some consistency...--B. P. (talk) 19:22, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

I start by uploading the image using the name from XKCD's page.

I create the new page using the comic number(not the name), e.g. "http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=1"

I (currently) insert using the "Comic" template:

{{comic
| number    = 1
| date      = September 30, 2005
| title     = {{PAGENAME}}
| image     = barrel_cropped_(1).jpg
| imagesize = 
| alttext   = Don't we all.
}}
==Transcript==
This is the transcript from xkcd
==Description==
Wow what a cool comic!

I "Show preview" to ensure the image shows up and everything looks good.

I "Save page".

I click the "move" link on the down-arrow drop-down menu to the right of "View history" (at top of page).

I rename the page from "1" to the page title from XKCD.

This will automatically create a redirect from "1" to the correct page name without having to do it manually. --B. P. (talk) 19:22, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Please, have a break here. When we agree on a page layout, I can do this automatically. I repeat, when we agree on the layout (which should also include the direction of the redirects) --SlashMe (talk) 19:25, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

Moved from Talk:Main Page. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 00:47, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

The discussion concerning the layout is at Explain XKCD:Community_portal/Design#Header template. --SlashMe (talk) 04:18, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

styling of xkcd links

I added code to the end of MediaWiki:Common.css to style links to the xkcd website as http://xkcd.com rather than the regular external link format, http://example.com. What do you guys think? --Waldir (talk) 05:06, 4 August 2012 (EDT)

I like it generally. Is there a way to force it to not display on individual pages, though? I don't think we should have it at Explain XKCD:Copyrights, {{XKCD file}}, or {{XKCD file derived}}, as they are more serious. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 16:27, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
Sure. I've disabled it on those pages, feel free to add more as you see fit. --Waldir (talk) 17:22, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
Thanks! --Philosopher Let us reason together. 18:34, 4 August 2012 (EDT)
I like the idea of the graphic, too, but wonder if it could be muted a bit (medium gray vs black) so it recedes a bit into the background; the classic graphic is a very light blue for that reason, too. (Oh, and a minor quibble... overheard: "who is that short, bearded dude?" "Oh! That's megan?") ... I don't know how we could update it, and maybe it'll be less of an issue when muted... Thotz? -- IronyChef (talk) 14:16, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
The image can be updated by uploading new versions of xkcd favicon.png. It doesn't need to be the xkcd.com favicon; in fact, it would be good if we could make it even smaller (e.g. just cueball's head, or simply "xkcd" in the typical handwritten font, etc). Making it dimmer also seems like a good idea, btw. --Waldir (talk) 19:38, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

'Explanation' rather than 'Description'

Can I suggest we use the heading "Explanation" rather than "Description" on the comic pages, since that fits with the name of the wiki? --SurturZ (talk) 09:20, 5 August 2012 (EDT)

Agreed. --Waldir (talk) 14:27, 5 August 2012 (EDT)
Seconded TheHYPO (talk) 14:04, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Allow external inline images

Hi. I'd like to propose that we set $wgAllowExternalImages to true or add xkcd.com and some image hosting sites (such as imgur.com) to $wgAllowExternalImagesFrom. If the former is set to true, external images will be allowed from any host, whereas if the former is kept as false but we add some sites to the latter (obviously adding xkcd's site itself seems to be the logical choice), then only images that are from whitelisted sites can appear as inline images. What this does is it allows external images to be displayed as an actual image, rather than just a link (note that sites not in the whitelist will still appear as just the link). Why? Because there's no way to display images without uploading them. Obviously some editors may wish to use images for non-wiki purposes, such as proposing alternative logos or for their userspace, in which case uploading the images to this site isn't entirely practical. Allowing externally hosted images to be displayed will alleviate that problem.

Yes, there is the risk of... less appropriate images being displayed, however, I consider that being a null argument, as editors could just as easily upload the image here and link it as an internal image. As well, using the whitelist alternative would limit the image to being posted from a trusted site, such as imgur. Finally, if worries about nude photos being posted is really a concern (seriously, what's stopping an editor from just uploading said image here? Nothing.), it's possible to only whitelist sites which don't permit nude images from being hosted on their site (such as imageshack.us), although I think that's a bit extreme (especially considering that imgur is hands down the most popular image host these days). Omega TalkContribs 07:52, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

I really don't see a compelling reason to have this. It's not about improper images or anything. (Note that we already have access to all images in Wikimedia Commons, by the way, which has a large variety of images and other media, with the added benefit that we're sure they can be reused without licensing concerns). A specific whitelist could be interesting (e.g. we could hotlink the images from xkcd), but having the images here allows us to do neat things like categorizing them by topic, size, etc. Also, images like logo proposals, etc. do benefit from being uploaded here (for historical interest, for a guarantee that they won't be deleted wherever they're hosted, for better control regarding how they're displayed, etc.) --Waldir (talk) 19:27, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Latest comic handling

Currently the latest comic is handled automatically by the {{LATESTCOMIC}} template, which tests the existence of pages like 1092, 1093 (supposed to be redirects to the corresponding comics), to see which is the highest-number existing page, and consider it the latest comic.

That way we can have the latest comic automatically transcluded on the main page.

But we cannot have, with that system, an automatic "Edit" link (to edit the latest comic) on the main page, nor can we have automatically the comments associated with that latest comic. The former was changed to a "Go to this comic" link, and the latter was removed. I think both of them are really useful things to have on the main page.

I've been thinking a little bit about this, and in the end I suggest that we handle manually the latest comic :

  • There would be a single {{latest comic}} template, which would have to be updated manually to return the full title of the latest comic's page (such as "1092: Michael Phelps").
  • Next to the "Latest comic" header, on the front page, would be appended a "[update]" link, to a page explaining that to insert the new latest comic in the wiki: one needs to 1/ create a page titled "<number>: <title>" and 2/ update the {{latest comic}} template with the new title.
  • The "Edit this explanation" link could be put back on the main page, using something like [{{fullurl:{{latest comic}}|action=edit}} '''Edit this explanation''']. And I firmly believe that link is important. (*this* for instance is exactly what I'm talking about)
  • The comments to the latest comic could be appended under the latest comic's transclusion, with something like {{ {{TALKPAGENAME: {{latest comic}} }} }}. They could be in a collapsible area if they take too much space. Same here than about the edit link, I believe that's really important to impel/motivate readers to leave their comments as well.
  • Finally, when only the number is needed (such as in the computation of the number of missing explanations), this could be done via another template (for instance {{latest comic number}}), automatic this time, which would replace the current {{LATESTCOMIC}} by extracting the value out of {{latest comic}} (with something like {{#explode:{{latest comic}}|:}}).

So, yes there would be a value to update manually, but that's not really much and if it's part of a process I don't think that would be a big drawback, and on the other hand I think it would be less error-prone than an automatic calculation, and allow more useful things. And make less use of redirects as well. Furthermore, the current {{LATESTCOMIC}}, used quite a lot (in the sidebar, so in every page actually), makes heavy use of the {{#ifexist:...}} parser function, qualified as "expensive", so even though it may not be a big deal it could be a better option to try to avoid that...

What do you think?

Cos (talk) 16:53, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Quick interjection in the middle of this larger posting, but I've been playing around with a template that should radically simplify the exhaustive and expensive logic used by {{LATESTCOMIC}} by using date math. It's been simmering in my test kitchen, and I'm fairly sure it's robust enough to roll out... just one thing: it would be much more efficient if we had the Variables extension (ie, ADMIN REQUEST) else there would be a lot of duplicate recalculation of the date. Not terrible, but not as good as it could be. See {{LatestComicOnDate}} and the associated talk page for the guts of it. -- IronyChef (talk) 04:14, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
A few considerations:
  • We can instead add the edit link directly to the comic page. It could be generated by the {{comic}} template, which already has to be provided with both the number and the title of the comic (in fact those could even be automatically extracted from the page title with some string parsing functions or clever templates). This should solve the "edit this comic" link issue.
  • Actually, the discussion part was hidden from the main page on purpose (although for a different reason: it was transcluding the main page's own talk page instead). I am not sure it's a good idea to include it in the main page as it could clutter it, but I can understand the point of putting it there. I would suggest perhaps including it directly rather than inside the {{comic discussion}} box, as that would create a box on a box layout that I don't think would look too good. Note that there is no problem with needing the pagename here, since we can transclude a redirect (the same way the actual comic page is transcluded using only the number, which is a redirect).
  • I did see that edit and was thinking that we could probably display a custom info message whenever someone attempts to edit main page, so they'll know they can edit the actual comic page. I'll add that to my todo list.
  • Mediawiki itself will tell us when a potentially expensive parser function is being used too much, by placing the corresponding page in Category:Pages with too many expensive parser function calls. So we don't need to be concerned with premature optimization :)
--Waldir (talk) 19:16, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
The edit link can be displayed, specifically on the main page, by the {{comic}} template, that is true; it just seems wrong to me however, it's not his job to do so...
As for the comments, they cannot be displayed by the template (unless we put them before the explanation), so we still don't have a solution for them; and I still believe they would be very useful on the main page, very appealing for readers to come and comment as well.
So, problem still not solved I would say... - Cos (talk) 16:27, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see the problem with {{comic}} displaying the edit link on the main page, especially since you consider using it to display the discussion as well (which, I agree, unfortunately isn't possible)
I added the discussion to the main page. It will depend on a redirect being created for the talk page as well every time a new comic is released, but it doesn't make it any harder. Compare:
  1. Create comic page at [[123: title]]
  2. Update {{latest comic}}
  3. Redirect [[123]] to [[123: title]] (it's necessary to allow people to get to the comic with only the number)
with:
  1. Create comic page at [[123: title]]
  2. Redirect [[123]] to [[123: title]]
  3. Redirect [[Talk:123]] to [[Talk:123: title]]
Therefore, I don't see a strong case for creating the {{latest comic}} template. --Waldir (talk) 20:31, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
You're right, the two systems are equivalent in use; but then is there a strong case to keep the current one against using the one I suggested?
Currently we cannot get an "add a comment" link on the main page, and to put the "edit this explanation" banner below the explanation one has to put it on the comic page (and manually remove it once the comic is not the latest any more). And when there is no comments yet, the main page displays a weird red link (transclusion of the redirect page to a non-existant page) instead of displaying (for instance) a nice "No comments yet".
True, the {{comic}} template could be used to, specifically on the main page, display something like "view page - edit - add a comment" on top-right, but that doesn't solve all these issues, and then the links wouldn't be at their ideal place. And one could argue that all the features I'm speaking about are not absolutely necessary, but I still think it would be better at least.
All in all, I can live with the current system, but I still believe a manually updated {{latest comic}} would allow, without cost, to set a better layout of content, navigation links and edit/comment links.
Cos (talk) 16:46, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I am in agreement that the goal should be to have the ability to comment directly onto the main page for the current comic.
Can all pages be formatted to look like the main page (ie header with number of comics explained/remaining and the 3 paragraphs at the end describing the site).
If this could be done (I don't think it would clutter the site as these take up very little space even on the main page), then could we just redirect the main page to the comic with the highest number? The function of the main page would not change as a new user would still see all information currently available on the main page, but it would have the added benefit of sending visitors to the desired location (the fully functional current comic page).
Shine (talk) 17:23, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

How to reference strips?

I think we need to agree on a citation style for strips in plain prose. I.e. If the Black Hat article says "Black Hat first appears in ________", how are we filling that blank? In this case, the blank is 29: Hitler. As I understand it, proper style for an "episode" name typically is quotes, so the stip is "Hitler". But there's still various options:

  1. "Hitler" [quotes not linked]
  2. "Hitler" [quotes linked]
  3. Comic #29
  4. #29
  5. 29: Hitler
  6. "Hitler" (29)
  7. "Hitler" (#29)

etc.

Anyone have any opinions? TheHYPO (talk) 21:38, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Option 5. above seems the simplest, yet readable and informative. At most I'd prepend a # sign, like so: #29: Hitler. Being a link should be enough to differentiate it from the rest of the text (without needing quote signs). Alternatively, #7 also may be an acceptable option, but we'd need a template to make sure the formatting is maintained in all such references... I don't think it's worth the extra complexity. --Waldir (talk) 23:54, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Whatever we decide, let's encode it into the {{xkcd}} and/or {{explain}} templates, and just agree to use those templates. That allows central administration of the stylistic issues and gives editors a simple rule to follow. Minor tweaks to either would afford that flexibility. Right now, they generate the links xkcd 29 and xkcd 29 respectively, though the latter can be xkcd 29: Hitler without much fuss. -- IronyChef (talk) 05:58, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I support modifying the {{explain}} template to be along the lines of proposal number five. Omega TalkContribs 09:20, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Five. yes. --Jeff (talk) 18:15, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Sidebar icons

Hi all. I hope you'll forgive my enthusiasm but I went ahead and implemented an icon theme for the sidebar (as well as more spacing between the links, for extra breathing room). What do you guys think of it? --Waldir (talk) 21:45, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

I like it, but I'm not sure where you added them. Was that on a MediaWiki: page or one of the .css pages? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:39, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Both :) Mediawiki:Common.css --Waldir (talk) 09:07, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Cueball/Rob

I noticed someone edited the character template to add an article for "Rob". I thought this might have just been a vandal edit, but I googled 'xkcd Rob' and discovered that indeed, a Cueball chracter has been referenced as Rob in several strips. Is there a reason Cueball hasn't been designated officially "Rob" just as Megan has been designated Megan by being named in a few strips? Do we have reason to believe that other Cueballs are non-Rob characters? PS: this might not be the right place for this discussion, but I'm not sure if anyone is reading article discussion pages at this point yet, and I thought that the name of the primary character might be a notable issue of discussion TheHYPO (talk) 14:07, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm unclear on this as well. Cueball was just a name made up (I think here on this site) for the main character of the comic. Are there separate characters for Cueball and Rob? I'm not sure. --Jeff (talk) 15:52, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
I know that "Cueball" has now been severely grandfathered in, but I think we have to consider moving Cueball over to Rob and basically considering the Cueball character to be "Rob", in the same way as Megan, unless it's clear that the character isn't Rob, since Cueball, as noted, is not an official title. I'm somewhat leaning in this direction.
I do see some leakage of the term "Cueball" into other sites via a google search including xkcd forums. In the alternatively, I would suggest mentioning in the Cueball article that he has been referred to as "Rod" in some comics, but due to his lack of distinguishing physical traits, it is not always clear if a comic is depicting Rod, or a different character. TheHYPO (talk)
I have to agree with this. When I first heard about the page on "Rob", I was a bit skeptical, as I couldn't recall hearing the name before and the page was ridiculous at the time. However, after looking him up to try and verify the page, I found a number of "Cueball" characters that were referred to as "Rob", officially (and even an instance where the transcript referred to the character as "Rob" when the comic didn't mention a name). TL; DR: The character we've all called "Cueball" seems to be more properly known as "Rob". Omega TalkContribs 22:46, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Citation needed... I, for one, would oppose the migration away from Cueball.
  1. Wikipedia has been silent on the matter, giving no more credibility to the apellation than Cueball.
  2. Transcripts in xkcd typically (granted, with a few exceptions) refer to the various stick figures as Person 1, etc. Frequently, there are several stick figures, all essentially the same generic stick-figure shape. Rob is a specific proper noun, and it would be silly to suggest that each stick figure is named Rob. Cueball, on the other hand, while filling the role of a proper noun, is still generic enough to suggest the any-man nature of the figures. It is descriptive more than nominative.
  3. Local color. That's part of what distinguishes this site from others, and part of why I've been coming back. I for one would be sad to see that replaced with MacDonalds-like sameness. I might reconsider if RM's About page definitively said "his name is Rob"... but only reluctantly.
So -1 on the proposition to migrate away from Cueball. -- IronyChef (talk) 04:55, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
To respond to your points, #1, Wikipedia is not official or a primary source; it's a community edit encyclopedia like this one. If you'd like me to go over there and reference "Rob", then all of a sudden Wikipedia will say Rob. Wikipedia isn't the source of credibility for xkcd imo. #2 is interesting, and I take it as a fair point (I'm not suggesting that in every case we see a Cueball it is the same character) but my interest here is consistency. Megan appears in many comic strips where she is listed as "person 2" in the transcript, such as 1084. Should she be given a generic name other than where she is named (Cuebelle?) Similarly for #3, Megan is not refernced on the xkcd About page; it's about consistency. I understand color and such, but to an extent, when you take something that's a blog and turn it into a wiki style pseudo-encyclopedia, one of the casualties sometimes is color. It became inappropriate to use phrases like "I think" in explanations just because of the way the articles are perceived. In the same way, consistency is something that I think is important when going to this style format. TheHYPO (talk) 14:26, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Agreed that Wikipedia is not official or primary, but it is de-facto (it's likely more linked-to than even xkcd.com is on this site, for some reason.) That standing gives it a level of authority no other site has except the source itself. And agreed, one could very easily go and add Rob, or Cueball, or some other designation to the character(s). But nobody to date has (or, if they have, it may very likely have been reverted, being subject to that evolutionary force Wikipedia in aggregate exerts on subjects there, on needing to be noteworthy.) So while not an absolute authority, it caries a gravitas that other than xkcd itself, no other site really posesses on the matter, and so far, it (the collective body of contributors) has not deemed it important to settle the matter.
  • I'm also not altogether convinced that, in transmogrification from blog to wiki, it necessarily follows that we must become more Wikipedia-like. The medium has afforded a democratization of information here, but not a requirement that information lose its local flavor to become some dessicated academic dissertation. "I think" is, in my opinion, as valid here as it always was, and mediawiki doesn't necessarily impose otherwise.
  • As for consistency, it serves its purpose, but generally I'm not one to be ruled by hobgoblins.
Anyway, the foregoing being only my opinion, and having express it, I leave it at that. Other minds may differ. -- IronyChef (talk) 02:30, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
It seems to me that this discussion has moved away from Cueball/Rob, and perhaps is deserving of it's own section now. When this site was a blog, and not a wiki, there was a clear separation between Jeff's explanations in the main body of the post, and the comments below. For the most part, Jeff wrote in an "editorial voice", and I don't recall a lot of "I think", "In my opinion", etc in the main posting (there was an occasional "I don't get this, can anyone explain it?", but that's clearly different). I know, at least, I've tried to maintain that color here: in the main page, editorial voice; in the discussion section (included at the bottom of every page, usually), personal voice. I think that works well. In my opinion, I think that "I think" and "In my opinion" have no place where it's not clear who the speaker is. The main pages are group edited, and have no identified speaker, so I wouldn't put it there. Blaisepascal (talk) 02:53, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
I concur that Wikipedia has some gravitas over any other site, and there is a reason it has links here (it is easier to link to an existing encyclopedia article on quantum physics than to start from scratch explaining it here. But in the same way that this may soon be a "wikipedia" for all things xkcd, that still doesn't make explainxkcd official. It may be considered a more reliable source of information than some random blogger, but that doesn't make it an official source. Wikipedia, notably, doesn't call Cueball anything. If it called him Cueball, that would be one thing - the name would have pervaded culture outside this website; but Wikipedia takes no position; I don't see how we can take Wikipedia's failure to reference the character at all and use this as a rationale to make any decision on this site one way or another.
I will respond to BlaisePascal's editorial voice comment in a new section TheHYPO (talk) 15:40, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Default color?

Frankly, I'm not even sure this is an issue on the wiki's end vs. the browser's default, but I've noticed this with other wiki-based software. With the default of Blue links and Purple visited links, I've been noticing a lot lately that the Purple visited links are not really standing out from the otherwise black text. Not sure why this is. Is anyone else noticing this? I'm having a hard time finding wikilinks in text that I've already visited. Perhaps it's just me. TheHYPO (talk) 14:37, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

As a color blind user of explainxkcd, I'd like to put in a vote to up the contrast between visited and not links on the wiki. It doesn't need to be much, but more than it is now would be infinitely helpful. lcarsos (talk) 21:21, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Has this gone anywhere? I still find it hard to see the visited links (they now simply look like the rest of the text). And the unvisited links are hard to focus on. I'm not sure I can explain it any better. lcarsos (talk) 20:25, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Comments

Please let me know where the comments are for the latest comic. If I'm not the only one who can't find them, can there be a link next to the comic?

Editorial Voice

This section is split off in response to a comment by user:Blaisepascal in the Cueball/Rob discussion above.

I concur with Blaisepascal on the editorial voice issue. "first person" has no place in a wiki, as there is no single editor to be "I". I have a recollection that when the wiki started, Jeff said something about how in moving to a wiki, he had attempted to edit most of the explanations that has been moved over to remove most of the first-person references, but he invited others to continue this where he missed them. I can't, however, find this reference anywhere anymore. Assuming I am not making this up in my own mind, it's Jeff's site, so I think his style wishes are paramount.

I agree that most of the personal references on explainxkcd are things like "let's see if I get this right" or "Did I miss something?" or general bloggish comments like sorry I'm late to post; but there are other posts such as this one in which part of Jeff's post was: "This is another one of those xkcd's that I classify as "emo". [...] Since there is nothing to explain here, [...] I'll wait for the next comic that makes a joke about Lord of the Rings and wormholes or something" when moved over here.

The wiki format changes the nature of the explanations. It makes them no longer one person's opinion on the meaning of a comic. It is now a wiki where members of the public will aim to have a complete and accurate explanation built from many editors' thoughts and corrections. I don't think the articles need have encyclopedic definity. I have no issue with phrases like "it appears" or "it may be" where something is ambiguous, but "I think" or "I did a Google search" are not wikipropriate. TheHYPO (talk) 15:44, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

For the most part I completely agree. But I think that the explanations should not be boring. Even without personal pronouns, many of them have a congenial tone, not an overbearing one.
For example, when I brought over 1030: Keyed, I took out the personal pronouns, but I left in the comment "Oh Beret Guy, never change." I started coming to the site, in part, because of the tone. I think that that should be preserved despite the inherent non-oneness of the wiki. lcarsos (talk) 22:08, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Discussion comments link?

  • Does anyone else think that the {{comic discussion}} template should have an argument added for some way to display a link to the comments section of the original blog posts for older comics? TheHYPO (talk) 15:48, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure that it would always be clear what the comments are referring to since the explanation may differ from the original.-Shine (talk) 21:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
      • I hear you, and that's a valid point; but it seems a shame to just discard the upwards of a hundred comments that sometimes took place on the old blog. I guess it also matters whether User:Jeff intends to delete the blog version at some point given the wiki. If it is going to stay up, why not link to the archived comments? The original blog post would be viewable there as well, if there were any differences relevant to those comments. TheHYPO (talk) 14:03, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I would, however, like something to be done about the issue of new users finding the discussion section from the explain wiki main page. A suggestion I saw recently on the old site by rewq^ suggesting changing 'go to this comic' to 'comments' would solve the problem. I think it could also be changed to 'go to comments' - Shine (talk) 21:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

RSS

In my Google Reader I only get the link 'This explanation is on the wiki!', which is nice but completely unusable. Can there be a RSS feed again?

LiveJournal content

I've noticed that people are putting content from Randall's LiveJournal account into comic articles here, which I think is good. But I'd like to make some style suggestions around that.

Let's look at xkcd 42. Now, until someone explicitly pointed it out, I had no idea xkcd started on a LiveJournal account, so comments like "Original quote" or "Original comment" or "Original title" were confusing to me. I had no idea the source of this information. Now that I know better, my suggestions are as follows:

  1. These shouldn't be listed as "trivia". This is official content. I would suggest perhaps this be included in a "Background" section with any other background info on the comic (e.g. for some recent comics, it might reference Randall's fiancée's health issues for relevant comics).
  2. This "Background" section contains official content and more official than the "Explanation". The Background section should therefore go first.
  3. The section should be written in prose, not point form. My sample replacement for the above article would be "this comic was originally posted on Randall's LiveJournal account with the comment "No laughing, 'less you want some of this too! *hefts golf club menacingly*". Randall listed his mood at the time as "sick". The comic was actually the Xth comic posted on the LiveJournal account, and was included out-of-order when it was numbered as part of xkcd.
  4. I think LiveJournal should have a brief article about the original LJ account.
  5. I note that on other wiki's including, for example Memory alpha (example) and on Wikipedia, they often have boxes showing the 'previous'/'next' things on a list (prev/next songs to hit #1 on different music charts, or prev/next tv episodes produced vs. aired). Should we give thought to creating a short sub-list of the Order comics were actually posted on the Livejournal so you can prev/next through that list?

Thoughts? TheHYPO (talk) 22:17, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

I added most of the LJ related "Trivia" just to get it into the wiki. I think expanding it would be nice, but I'm a bit lazy :) I did add a new category for the LJ posts, so they should be easier to find. There are still a few that do not (that I can find) appear in LJ, so I left as "undated" - but added the undated category that someone else had created. I was also considering creating a list ordered by LJ posting order on the LJ category page (to be created) to at least preserve some of the nostalgia. Is there another pre-xkcd site besides LJ that posts might have appeared in? Or are these "undated" posts possibly others that were just lumped into the "early posts" on xkcd? --B. P. (talk) 21:05, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
There are three undated comics that I found (and I noted them on the "big board" of all comics at list of all comics. If no one disagrees, I will start moving sections when I have time and creating any new sections as "Background" rather than "Trivia" where the sections relate to the history or backstory of the comic itself. TheHYPO (talk) 16:04, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The three undated comics do not appear on LiveJournal, just on the xkcd.com site. Given that (a) all of the comics on LJ from before 2006-1-1 are dated 2006-1-1 on xkcd, (b) all the ones after are dated with the same dates as on LJ, and (c) the three undated comics appear in the middle of the pre-2006 comics on LJ, I suspect that Randall posted them to the xkcd site first, and as part of a batch of comics he posted to bootstrap the site. So it's entirely likely that the 2006-1-1 date is accurate. Blaisepascal (talk) 16:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

I added, in the "Trivia" section, a "thread" tying all the LJ comics together, in order. In doing so, I also added the half-dozen or so LJ comics not yet added. Blaisepascal (talk) 16:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Programmatically Accessing Comics

I think there should be a way for other websites to view* explanations, (discussions?), etc programmatically.

This could be used for the front page, or a website wanting to show an explanation of a comic that is always up-to-date and correct, etc.

* I wrote view, but it could also be edit.

--grep:talk:applaud:smite

This could be done with json responses to individual pages including the current explanation for that comic. Similar to how the xkcd json api works now. I don't know if that is feasible in php though. I'm currently on a RoR craze though, so maybe there's an easier and less over-engineered solution I don't know about. lcarsos (talk) 17:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
A cheap way out would be to have PHP page access the SQL DB and yank the necessary text from there. This could be useful for a naitive mobile app. Also, this site needs a mobile version. --grep:talk:applaud:smite

New Edit Explanation Image/Link (Introduced 9/22/12)

Some initial thoughts.

  • Will this be a permanent part of each comic? I would not be in favor of each comic in the archives having this disclaimer/large repetitive image as part of the explanation. Instead, can this just be part of the most recent comic?
  • The other issue I have is that main page now has one direct link to editing the explanation (the thing least done by users) and none to editing discussion/adding comments (the thing most done by users). I see that the talk page is now displayed on the main page, which I think is a good thing, but I hope that someone can also get the 'add a comment' link on the main page as well.
  • In the end I feel there should be links for editing the explanation and adding comments/discussion on the main page and that these links should be proportional in size to their traffic by users (re the link for adding to the discussion should be equal to or larger than the link for the explanation).

--Shine (talk) 14:26, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

A few pointers about that:
  • I introduced the "edit explanation" image/link below the explanation I gave for today's comic, mainly because I felt what I had written was indeed incomplete (I was lacking an explanation for the "[has only one review]" part and for the title text). So in a way that was some sort of calling for help with the explanation. And once done I thought it was a good idea to have a highly visible "edit" link for the latest comic explanation on the main page ("so that people seeing something they could add would feel invited to do so (wiki style). In my opinion this would be a good way to improve the quality of the user-generated explanations", as I said here).
  • Later on, I added the "may be incorrect" notion in the banner, because I saw that people having different explanations only mentioned them in the comments, instead of editing my explanation (which after all could be wrong). So I fear there's some sort of "we don't touch what has been done" effect, where the first explanation given will be more likely to stick and not be corrected by readers who are not used to the idea that they can edit it (actually, if someone has a better explanation than the one I put, I'd be happy to see it corrected!).
  • That edit banner should not be a permanent part of each comic. My opinion is that it should stay on the latest comic's page (even when the explanation could be considered complete) until there is a new comic, in order to invite as much people as possible to share their explanation; and it should also, of course, be on the comic pages for which the explanation is considered incomplete, for instance this (empty) or that (partial only).
  • It would be nice indeed to have also, on the main page, a direct link to add a comment (exactly like the one on the comic page), but that is currently not feasible automatically. This is one of the reasons why I suggested an other way to handle the latest comic (see #Latest comic handling above), which I actually still think would be better, and in particular which would allow to do all that (including the edit banner) nicely automatically from the main page.
Cos (talk) 15:20, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Notice templates

I would like to suggest a template for a notice saying "this page requires copy editing," and one saying "this page may be unclear in its meaning," or something of the sort for each. the comic posted on 8/22/12 could use both of these. (unsigned comment by Dave 19:11, 23 August 2012‎ )

I agree. I discussed this matter with User:Blaisepascal in respect of his template {{Incomplete}} on its talk page. I have updated that template to {{Incomplete/beta1}} and created {{ambox}} as a generic message box xkcd-style where other message templates can be created and color coded like on wikipedia, such as the ones you suggest.
Unfortunately, because of the image scaling issues, the ambox template displays two broken images at the moment which we agreed shouldn't replace the existing template until the images are unbroken. I'm not sure anyone is working on the image scaling problem, is one of the issues. In any event, I also don't see the point in creating other notice templates until the issue is fixed and we can use the standardized template. I'm really hoping someone is working on the image scaling problem... TheHYPO (talk) 16:36, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Denoting comic "series"

There are several "series" of comics. Is there a better/prefered way of notating these? Currently I have been creating a "Category:Series Name", e.g. (not all of these exist yet)

  • [Category:Comics featuring Barrel Boy](1-5) (Should this be just "Barrel Boy"?)
  • [Category:Journal](1-5)
  • [Category:The Race](1-5)
  • [Category:My Hobby](random)
  • [Category:1337](1-5)
  • [Category:Choices](1-5)
  • [Category:Parody Week](5 in this "series", but others fit the genre)
  • [Category:Red Spiders](4 in this "genre", 2 explicitly numbered)
  • [Category:Secretary](1-5)
  • [Category:Five-Minute Comics](1-3)
  • [Category: Guest Week](5 comics, but not exactly a "series").

I usually also create a REDIRECT of "Series Name" to "Category: Series Name"(breaks for "Journal", as it is also a comic title. Should we have another meta-category for series comics? What about a [Series:Series Name] "category"? or does that break wiki? --B. P. (talk) 23:33, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Categories for Proposals Page

Maybe just simply two categories, resolved and unresolved? --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Or stickers that say Open/Closed. --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Moving the Wiki

What if explainxkcd.com/wiki was move to explainxkcd.com and explainxkcd.com would be moved to explainxkcd.com/blog? --grep:talk:applaud:smite

+1 (2)

-1 (0)

+1 from me. --DanB (talk) 14:36, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
+1 as well. I keep hitting the blog when I mean to go to the wiki. lcarsos (talk) 15:00, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Sorry if your votes don't appear immediately. I will have them update automatically soon. Hopefully. And if you clicked my signature wanting to +1 this page, sorry for the confusion. DanB and Lcarsos, your +1's have been added to the count. --grep:talk:applaud:smite

Chart type comics

Some comics (circuit diagram, US states,eyes sights, among others) are in a characteristic chart format- where it is all based around a chart of some kind or the other. Should we have a separate template for them, for the type of comics?

And somebody should actually create all the pages in the required format without explanations, so that other users can fill on the explanation. I can give explanations, but need somebody to make the pages first

TheOriginalSoni (talk) 17:05, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

All the images have been uploaded, and a template exists at User:Blaisepascal/newcomictemplate that can be copied/pasted into a new comic page that just needs to be filled in. User:Lcarsos has written a Ruby importer script that will create an almost-ready-to-upload page for you. All you need to do is fill in the explanation, proof-read, and add useful Wiki links. You don't need special privileges to create new pages.
Personally, I find comic pages devoid of explanation counter to the intent of this site, and I try not to create them. If I put up a page, I try to make sure it has an explanation. Blaisepascal (talk) 18:22, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Blaisepascal. If a comic does not have an explanation its page should not exist so that it is easy to tell how much work there is left to be done. If suddenly all the pages are created, but none of them have explanations, a passing user won't know that there is still work to be done, and potentially won't pitch in to help complete the site.
As far as charts go, be sure to tag them with Category:Comics with charts and I like to change the transcript into a wiki table format. Of course, if the page doesn't have a transcript section then be sure you get the transcript from xkcd's json api (There is information about how to work it in explain xkcd:Community portal/Coordination#Issue dates, as well as my Ruby script pulls in the transcript if it exists. You're still on your own to get the explanation from the blog (I'm working on that)).
lcarsos (talk) 18:57, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Ok. Also, add a new section for proposing templates. We can have a very varied range of templates, like 'Comics with Black Hat', 'Comics with Raptor reference' etc... That will provide a useful ground for comparision of the most common themes TheOriginalSoni (talk) 16:44, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
From context, I assume that by "templates", you mean "categories"? Blaisepascal (talk) 18:00, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

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