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UESPWiki talk:Style Guide/NPC Layout

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Hey, TheRealLurlock, you are so much faster than me, thnk you for doing what you did, I was in the middle of editting my notes and you did a better job Noone81 01:56, 10 September 2006 (EDT)


Currently there is the sentence "the NPC page in general should avoid providing unnecessary spoilers" in the section for the first paragraph. Shouldn't it be something like "the first paragraph should avoid providing unnecessary spoilers"? Otherwise, what's about spoilers in the full dialogue, or spoilers in concise bug descriptions? Sure, we could try to argue the "necessary" point in those cases, but to me the sentence as it is now seems to be out of sync with current NPC page practice. That we don't want to duplicate quest page content on NPC pages is another matter, but this is about if we actually try to omit certain information on NPC pages. --Alfwyn (talk) 14:47, 24 October 2012 (GMT)

I agree with changing it it from what it says now, as it clearly doesn't go along with our current practice on the wiki. I've always read it as applying to the first paragraph only, but the current wording does seem to regard the whole page. It also goes against the way we've expanded our expectations for NPC pages to be as thorough as possible, and even our featured NPC articles don't follow this. I'd agree with changing the wording on that. — ABCface 16:22, 24 October 2012 (GMT)

Skyrim: leveled NPCsEdit

This is an intent to tweak the infobox of leveled NPCs. Currently the values for health/magicka/stamina values are expressed in terms of PC level (Avrusa Sarethi). But that formula is only valid for PC levels that result in NPC levels in their range. So I think it is more natural to just express those values in term of the NPC level. I think it is clear enough that "level" refers to the NPC level in that case (Adelaisa_Vendicci).

Another reason to change this, is that the logic gets pretty convoluted once the level multiplier is not 1, if values are not expressed in terms of NPC level (see UESPWiki_talk:CSList#Errata). --Alfwyn (talk) 21:39, 14 December 2012 (GMT)

I assume that PC means "playable character" or "playable class" ("race")? I agree that the stat should be expressed in terms of what's written here, and I don't see how there could be any rational controversy over this.--JR (talk) 01:53, 15 December 2012 (GMT)
Thinking I bit more, I wondered if it would not be better to just display the actual range (Miraak), and the formula just as hover value. We did something like this for leveled NPCs if it is a set of values (Traveler). --Alfwyn (talk) 14:57, 15 December 2012 (GMT)
I prefer displaying the range with the formula as a hover value, like you did for Miraak. It's easier to get the information most players are probably actually interested in at a quick glance, and those who are interested in the details can hover for those specifics. This is a better route to go, IMO. — ABCface 16:02, 15 December 2012 (GMT)
I wasn't really sure what to do about NPCs with open ended leveling. We can probably do what was done to Frea, by just using the max player level of 81. One catch may be, that some NPCs will probably be able to level higher even with a multiplier of 1 if their reference was set to very hard. --Alfwyn (talk) 14:21, 22 December 2012 (GMT)

Introductory Sentence; Class and RaceEdit

I hope we can pick up the conversations from here and here (CP page 14 Dec 2012), try to continue moving toward consensus, and then formulate what we want into policy.

I think two key sentences in the existing policy (on this NPC Layout page) are:

  1. The first sentence on the NPC's page should summarize all the key information about the character; and,
  2. It should always provide the NPC's name (bold-face), race (as a link), and class/occupation (as a link). It should also provide the location where the NPC works/lives.

My perspective is that #1 should govern, and should specify that "key information" should be provided in the context of a typical player's character's perspective or NPCs describing the NPC in question with "Skyrim-world" terminology, which would, I believe, require a loosening of the wording of #2 as a guideline, and several examples should be given: One or two "common" ones that follow the "classic" format, and several that follow what I think is (or should be) the spirit of the policy: A good way to formulate Grelod's introductory sentence, and some others who don't neatly fit into that: There are some NPC's who don't have an "occupation" in the narrowest sense of the word, but whose essence can still be captured with a few descriptors.

As ABCface pointed out in the first conversation referenced above, there appears to be a high level of agreement that class should not be specified in the first sentence when it does not provide "key information" in that way. In other words, if we did not know an NPC's class from game data, would we/our characters/other inhabitants of Skyrim refer to Grelod as a lumberjack, or Farkas as a blacksmith, then those terms don't belong in the introductory sentence as "key information" about them. But as the consensus page points out, consensus is best not simply majority opinion, it aims to reach an agreement that everyone subscribes to, usually through a number of compromises. Therefore, I hope we can forge ahead with the conversation from the point where it dropped off, and assemble some proposed guidelines. Then amend them as needed until we have done our best to satisfy as many as we can.

To me, sentence #2 on the page already affords such, at least as an option, as it says "class/occupation," suggesting that it might sometimes be best to specify one over the other.

Now, I believe we should also consider the same about race. Why describe Grelod or The Torturer as "elderly" if we do not describe others as, say, middle-aged, etc.? Especially when the introductory sentence appears next to a photo that shows an obviously older NPC. I think that if we reach a point where we can argue about whether or not "elderly" serves the purpose of concisely introducing the character, we can manage a lot better than pointing to a sentence that states "race" should always be included. Beyond that, at least one person in a previous conversation referenced above made the point that there is often no good reason to specify a race even when it is a "conventional" race. Wikipedia does not introduce George Washington as "The Caucasian first president...." So, too, it doesn't seem good, useful, logical, concise to introduce "The Nord Jarl of HoldX."

At the same time, I can see introducing a "Khajit trader" as such, as members of that group are often referred to as such in the Skyrim-world context. There are no doubt places where it makes sense to include "Nord" etc., in the introductory sentence: For example, when other characters or lore refer to an NPCs race frequently or in a prominent way, or when it describes or explains something fundamental about the NPC or their motivations or biography. I think we are perfectly capable of debating when this is so or not so on pages in which such may be a subjective call: Either someone will yield, or it gets raised as a topic for more input.

Also unresolved is the question about whether a sentence providing information about class is indicated on pages where class does not naturally belong in the first sentence, e.g., it does not provide a "key" and vital "common sense/practical" description of the NPC. If we seem for the most part to agree that "Lumberjack" does not work as a descriptor in such a sense, should some information be given about her class besides simply referencing it in the summary infobox? If so, as a note, in the "second sentence," wherever it seems to make sense as fitting?

I think ABCface deserves a lot of credit for her sustained efforts above to drive a process. And I also credit everyone who contributed, many of us at length and very thoughtfully. However, having gone back and read the whole thing, I can see that some people's input evolved over the course of the discussion, and that there are a few places where there appear to be miscommunications, or where it is not clear what someone has said.

Some do not want to codify everything into policy, but there's policy already on this page, and it's problematic. Clear, policy reached by a good consensus process is extremely useful when some people are spending extensive energy to make things consistent and bring things in line with policy as they perceive it, while others are spending just as much energy trying to make things consistent to their own interpretations of same.

I'd rather be writing/improving content than trying to be a "legislator", but my efforts to do so are currently very frustrating due to lack of agreements on several key issues. Maybe a good next step is for some of us to review the previous material and sum-up our current thoughts. Then perhaps we can have a little more discussion/debate, and finally formulate some policy proposals.

One area of confusion in the previous discussion, to me, is a good deal of discussion about "exceptions". But it seems that different people perceive that word as describing different things, and I think the discussion became a bit hazy around there. Maybe some of us should review these recent conversations, and take another shot at summarizing, then gathering more input, and moving forward with consensus building. --JR (talk) 15:07, 27 December 2012 (GMT)

If there's doubt or lack of agreements on key issues, then stick with the historical norm while editing. I think some people are not really resistant to codifying policy, but to codifying policy they disagree with. This is understandable, as the effect of codification is to leave changes unhampered by doubt and uncertainty; they don't want to give a green light to deviations from the Style Guide they disagree with. I still oppose departing from the standard information that should be provided in introductory sentences, regardless of whether a class seems to match an NPC, because the standard provides us an excellent way to avoid bias and argument. I continue to echo the previously stated concerns of AKB and Krusty. Forming policy grounded upon perception in such a manner (i.e. what a character seems like) is begging for problems. It's amazing just how much one person's perception can differ from another's, and the further we move away from verifiable facts and standards in our policies, disagreements and conflicts will increase exponentially. This is one of several proposals where people wish for gamespace text to further depart from the game data; I don't believe that's a good idea in almost every circumstance. We should stick to the accurate, verifiable information found in the game data. I don't care if someone thinks that a class doesn't really match an ordinary NPC; take it up with Bethesda. The only times I think it's appropriate to make an exception is in truly exceptional circumstances, like when dealing with a Daedric Prince; see Skyrim:Meridia, Skyrim:Mephala, and other "VIPs". But Grelod the Kind? She's a lumberjack. Farkas is a blacksmith. The text should say so. These are not big problems; we should stop treating them as such. Whatever absurdity they and other example might engender in some readers are small sacrifices for the consistency and accuracy that is provided across the wiki. Minor EditsThreatsEvidence 16:12, 27 December 2012 (GMT)
To clarify the above rambling, the Style Guide is just that: a guide. Occasional deviations from it are to be expected. They don't need to be encouraged, though. Minor EditsThreatsEvidence 18:39, 28 December 2012 (GMT)
There are many more cases needing exceptions. All the "Dremora"'s (Lygrleid, is a Nord dremora), and other's like Muril (is an Altmer fire/frost/shock mage), "Sons of Skyrim Soldier" classes or Frea (is a Nord frea combat style). According to the Style Guide, game data should be used to convey "the most accurate information about gameplay experience". In this case I think it actually distracts from that. Farmer anmd Dawnguard have a technical class of bandit - but there is no way they are experienced as bandits ingame, there is a very clear meaning associated with the english word bandit that just doesn't apply. --Alfwyn (talk) 16:30, 27 December 2012 (GMT)
I would think that if the class in the data makes sense in terms of the in game experience, say someone from winterhold being a conjurer or a mage, or someone from the thieves guild being a thief (or even a Jarl being a warrior), then that should be in the first sentence. Even ones that could CONCEIVABLY make sense, such as an old man being a warrior (he could have in his youth) should be included. I think the main problem that we run into is when dremora is used, and trainers. The trainers have a main class that is dependent on their training. I know for a fact that quite a few people of the blacksmith class are only that way because they train in some sort of armor or another blacksmith related class (the class details being something like TrainerJourneymanHeavyArmor or some such.) In these cases I think some liberties should be taken. Maybe we could describe them as a former blacksmith? Or something that makes sense in the game data. The other issue I think we run into is with innkeepers, who tend to have the archaic class name of publican. While technically publican is a perfectly correct term, most people don't know what it is, and thus it becomes confusing. In this case we might want to have innkeeper in the text, but link to the publican class. I'm sure I've forgotten something but those are my initial thoughts. Jeancey (talk) 18:11, 28 December 2012 (GMT)
The wiki is about documenting verifiable facts, if the game decides to give us something weird then we document it. This was discussed to death on the CP, where the previous standard of always* documenting it in the first line gave way to documenting it in a better way that made more sense. It was also shown that this wasn't a strict standard and should not be in any case. The only policy I would support is that the class is documented, because in Skyrim at least, it is an important factor in an NPCs build. My proposal for the standard for the first line is that it always includes the race and the best short summary of the NPC possible. The class should be sought to be included, but it is not necessary, and if needs be, placed elsewhere where it can be explained. Silence is GoldenBreak the Silence 18:55, 28 December 2012 (GMT)
For all my input is worth (that is, not so much) I'm agreeing with The Silencer. While it is true that presenting a farmer as a bandit or a human as a dremora seems ridiculous, it is the truth as far as game data is concerned and must be present on the page. However, since it is already on the character table, I don't think mentionning it in the article is necessary, especially when it's not relevant. As for race, I don't think we can compare it to the real-world. People are very diversified but in most cases their origins are identifiable in a single look and that's because we know what people of different races look like. It is not true for The Elder Scrolls; take a newcommer, a complete stranger to the series. He sees Nords, Bretons and Imperials who look almost identical, and yet are of different race. He sees Elves, but can't distinguish them. The best way to accomodate him is to include it in a simple, concise sentence or paragraph with the other major informations about the character. And for the Elders, I'm not sure. If we don't mention their "race", what should we do? Just leave it in the table? Speculate about whether they're Nord, Breton or Imperial? After all, it has little influence on the character in itself, should we make an exception for them? I personally wouldn't mind but again, what would someone who've never played the game think? Elakyn (talk) 19:51, 28 December 2012 (GMT)
For the elders, in at least one case the race was added because of an in-game relationship. In that case it was the face that the was the parent to someone, so the race was inferred from the child's race. If the race can be easily determined, I don't see why it should be added... Jeancey (talk) 20:03, 28 December 2012 (GMT)

() All useful input, I think, and all of it should "go into the mill" for respectful and sincere consideration. I get where Silencer is coming from in saying it's been "talked to death," but I don't see a reason to impose a limit on something that plenty of people seem to care about, and I see value in really trying to follow the consensus process, even if it leads to a consensus of "leave the policy alone and let it take care of itself the way many other things on the wiki do without being so "nailed-down." I still think: More input (if any); summarize all the expressed recommendations and ideas in a comprehensible fashion; use that as a basis for more discussion and input; and then see how close we can come to reaching something about which everyone says, "I'm willing to agree to that." Or maybe to where everyone says, we've reached consensus on 1, 2, and 3; "Let's settle items A, B, C, and D by voting." --JR (talk) 09:07, 29 December 2012 (GMT)

I too agree with what Silencer said, and partly agree with what Minor Edits said - "stick with the historical norm while editing". We should just leave the Style Guide as it is. It serves as a guide for the thousands of NPCs across the site, from DF to DB. Just like Silencer said, this was already discussed to death (more like "undeath", considering the discussion is "reanimated" here :P). An NPC's race and class is 99% of the time included in the intro sentence, be it Nord/Dunmer/elderly/etc or farmer/bandit/blacksmith/etc since that's what game data says. However, as pointed out above, there are obviously certain exceptions to the guideline - that little 1% out of the thousands of NPCs, which was what the CP discussion was about. I agree with Silencer that only for these exceptions (like Daedric Princes for race, and Grelod and Jonna for class), they are omitted in the intro (Azura isn't a Dunmer warrior; Mephala isn't a Khajiit warrior). However, for Grelod, race is included, since she is an elder, just like the Torturer, and Jonna is a Redguard. It is only the class that is omitted, which was what the CP discussion was about - either state it in a secondary sentence, or in the notes section. Echoing Silencer: "The class should be sought to be included, but it is not necessary, and if needs be, placed elsewhere where it can be explained." ~ Psylocke 11:02, 29 December 2012 (GMT)
Haha. OK. I'm guilty of reanimating it. But I think another perspective is that the topic was discussed so much because it's important, and there remains some diversity of opinion about how to handle some of the issues. When something comes up over and over again, I think it's worth an effort like this one to keep trying to pull together all kinds of input. Also, once a certain number of people have a particular issue in mind while editing or looking around the wiki, perspectives can shift. It's challenging because there's so much input: and inevitably runs off on tangents. And if we care about it, we may feel compelled to keep up with "everything" lest some change gets pulled on us we don't like. I think all that can be prevented. Let's see where this is at in a week or two. I don't think we're very far apart, really. If the policy should remain untouched, that's ok. Personally, I think it can be made less ambiguous on a couple of details. Even if the change will mean "sticking with the historical norm", why not flesh that out a bit so we all know what that is? --JR (talk) 05:52, 7 January 2013 (GMT)
Knowing it's nothing new, just another example of not wanting to use a class in the intro sentence, and a resolution that might contain elements to think about: Oblivion:J'Ghasta--JR (talk) 12:41, 10 January 2013 (GMT)
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