Forum:Character living/deceased status on infoboxes
After I made added "Status" parameter to Template:Infobox non-player character, I was recommended to make a thread here for asking consensus on the matter. So, here we are.
Basically, my reasoning for this change is two-fold. First of all, I wanted to implement it to ease categorization. Rather than individually tagging pages with Category:Deceased characters or Category:Conditional status characters, a new parameter would make it much easier to keep track of which characters are alive, which are deceased, which are alive or dead based on player's decisions, and so on. Considering that other infobox templates like Template:Infobox Deity and Template:Infobox character already use this parameter, there is already a precedent for it to being implemented as part of Infobox non-player character in the first place.
Secondly, this would allow the addition of two more categories for a more accurate categorization of various characters' statuses in-universe. Some time ago on Discord, I proposed the implementation of two more categories:
- "Status unknown" (for characters like the Fairy Godfather, Wizard Ellaron, Polmafi Ferdygris and Flaygian Screwte, who appear in person at some point in-game and cannot be found in-game after completing the content they're featured in, but due to in-game dialogue or other information surrounding their absence cannot be objectively declared to be either alive or dead.)
- "Disappeared characters" (for characters like Silas, Curpile Fyod, Fat Rocco, Slim Louie and the Tutorial Island tutors in Beneath Cursed Tides, who appear in person at some point in-game and cannot be found in-game after completing the content they're featured in, but have never been implied to have died after they can no longer be seen.)
While it was pointed that the categories could have a more verbose names where possible to avoid confusion, those who responded to my original proposal seemed to be in favour of it. Thus, the addition of a character status parameter would be a perfect place to implement these two categories.
So, to recap, I'd like to know the users' opinions on the implementation of a new "Status" paragraph for Template:Infobox non-player-character which details the character's living status and automatically links the article to an appropriate category, and two new categories for characters who fall outside of the living/deceased/conditional categorization: those who cannot be objectively be declared alive or dead, and those who disappear from the game at some point and haven't been suggested to be dead.
Comment - It seems like a useful thing to keep track of. However - the current name of "Status" is IMO pretty confusing, especially when the infobox says "Status: Conditional". I can imagine a lot of people would have no idea what that means.
I do think that generally, it's better to be verbose about these sorts of things, since (as we saw repeatedly from the category discussions), trying to find a single word for some of these classes is quite difficult. And particularly, in the case where their Aliveness is interesting (either due to dying at a particular point in a quest like Sani Piliu, or the unknown/disappeared characters you mention...the interesting thing is not their exact class of status, but rather their precise characteristics:
- When, where and how did they die?
- What ingame evidence makes their Aliveness unknown or complicated?
These don't really package nicely as simple Yes-or-No questions. I'm not really seeing a way to be terse about this in the infobox without being very confusing. I do think that the result, of having (well-named) categories and a prose-y explanation, is valuable. ʞooɔ 10:28, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
Comment - Your first point doesn't make much sense to me. We still need to edit every page and add a status? I don't think this needs to be something visually shown to users in the infobox when it's a very niche parameter. Percentage wise, how many NPCs are actually unknown/disappeared/whatever? I also wonder if there'd be any overlap with Location/Status. Should Fairy Godfather's location have something like "Before FTP3: Zanaris throne room. After FTP3: Unknown"? This may mess with some smw though. Haidro 01:54, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
- Sure, we would still need to fill in all of the pre-existing pages, but currently, we need to manually add whether a character is dead or if their status is based on player choice, which has gotten unwieldy, especially if you start factoring in adding more categories that cover a character's status: and doing that would be just as big of a project as incorporating the categories into templates, which would also reduce the workload in the long-term. And from personal experience, I've noticed in the past that people tend to ignore the addition of Categories at the bottom when creating new pages, meaning that future editors have to spend their time filling in those details. And to me, it seems no less important parameter than other non-technical details of NPCs, and given that other infoboxes like novel characters and gods already contain that information, I fail to see how it would be a terribly niche feature. Besides, I would like to use templates to mark if a character belongs to a certain category, rather than tagging individual pages with the appropriate categories, for ease of categorization and general standardization. And while the "disappeared" status likely has overlap with Location/Status, it'd probably be harder to pull off, given that NPCs can cease to appear in-game for various reasons that aren't even linked to character death. AquaMage2459 (talk) 12:46, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
- I haven’t thought about my position yet but I would like to point out that we only do that for Template:Infobox Deity and Template:Infobox character because you added them earlier this week, here and here. It’s not a long-standing practice. ɳex undique 12:54, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
Comment - Is it possible to have this as a hidden parameter that just adds the category, but doesn't display in the infobox? I think prose is the best way to articulate niche situations, but the category would still let it be smw-searchable if they are well-named. This is effectively compromising to allow categories to be better utilized while also avoiding confusing the average reader.06:51, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
- I don't know if that is possible, but that sounds like an interesting alternative. Then again, information on whether a character is alive or deceased seems like rather important information, and a lot of other Wikis readily incorporate that in their character infoboxes. Besides, we already show a character's status with novel characters and gods, so why not with NPCs? AquaMage2459 (talk) 12:46, 21 February 2021 (UTC)