User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2018 Archive

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User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2009 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2010 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2011 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2012 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2013 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2014 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2015 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2016 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2017 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2018 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2019 Archive | User talk:Mrs. Potato Head/2020 Archive

Info Boxes

Hi, I made an article about the fan theory R + L = J, and I used the glossary infobox. Was this the correct infobox to use? I have looked at a few other pages for fan theories and some use the glossary infobox and others use the event infobox. If you could give me some guidance that would be great, thanks. --Kingstoken (talk) 18:29, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

There's no hard and fast rule at all. Just go with your gut. I think of glossary terms, perhaps, as being shorter pages. I think the fan theory you asked about fits with glossary better. I also forget the event template exists, so thank you for the reminder!
One thing that is even harder for me to separate is glossary and trope!
The main thing is to get the info out there. If someone comes along and thinks the template should be different, then there can be discussion about it on the talk page. --MPH (talk) 19:08, 11 March 2018 (UTC)


Hi MPH! I accidentally reverted an edit of yours on the G. Callen page. I think I fixed it, but I wanted to drop you a note - my apologies! - Fandomgeographies (talk) 00:37, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

No worries! :) --MPH (talk) 01:10, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Thank You

Mrs. Potato Head, thank you for adding June Bloom & Stub September links to April Showers, and April Showers & June Bloom links to Stub September! It's the first time someone has done something with a page I created, and it feels like an affirmation that someone besides me cares about this thing.

I wasn't actively looking for that external affirmation, but it's a nice thing, you know? :) Thanks for the warm fuzzy feeling! --Bikedancelaugheat (talk) 06:22, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

I know the feeling. It's one I have about all the pages I make here! When one gets some interest and an edit, I'm (almost!) always so happy. :-) --MPH (talk) 12:36, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

Title Format Policy and linked words?

Some thoughts that occurred to me as I was wandering around Fanlore

1). Is there an existing policy regarding the format of titles of fanworks? Quotation marks for stories and italics for novel-length works. I know that a number of magazines and anthologies capitalized and bolded all titles. Readers may be curious as to which is which.

2). Has any thought been given to putting something other than the linked word in the 'bubble' that comes up when a linked word is hovered over? For example, a short definition of the word in question-'filk-sci-fi folk song'. Something like that could improve the flow of reading an article for a reader who is new to fandom.

Thanks Bobdog54 (talk) 15:41, 5 June 2018 (UTC)


Hi, I just uploaded this image, I was wondering if it needs a sexually explicit tag? I didn't think so, because it doesn't feature a sex act, but I thought I better double check --Kingstoken (talk) 21:24, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

No tag, as per your reasoning, Kingstoken. --MPH (talk) 22:17, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Fanlore Festivals

Hi, MPH! Do you know if there's any chance of there being a Stub September celebration this year? (As of now, there are 2,866 pages marked as stubs.) I celebrated June Bloom on my own this year, but it's nice to have a community thing! --Bikedancelaugheat (talk) 06:54, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

We are not doing Stub September, sadly, despite the huge number of stubs. I totally agree things are more fun when done en masse in a community, but the planning and organization for it would stretch us too thin.
Bikedancelaugheat, I'd very much like to celebrate Stub September with you. Maybe some others will join in? --MPH (talk) 12:21, 17 August 2018 (UTC)


Hi, I noticed you removing the stub tag from some really short articles. I was just wondering what length qualifies as a stub on Fanlore, I tried looking it up without much success. When I used to edit Wikipedia an article could be declassified as a stub once it reached 5000 characters, but obviously Fanlore is different. I am just curious, so I know when to add the stub tag or not --Kingstoken (talk) 20:14, 09 September 2018 (UTC)

That's a good question. It's not a word count issue at all. It's more a gut feeling and honestly, varies from fan to fan. To me, a stub is a one or two lines that barely gives any info. Even if the record is brief and bare bones, I don't consider it a stub. What I should do, however, is put the "needs expansion" template on those pages. --MPH (talk) 20:21, 9 September 2018 (UTC) Added: I read my reply over, and realized it doesn't sound very helpful! I think of a stub as a mere placeholder. A page that "needs expansion" is one that is woefully short. (Of course, one can argue that ALL pages need expansion...) --MPH (talk) 20:47, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

Ruth Berman

Hello, I'm a production editor for a literary journal called Thin Air Magazine. We are undergoing a project for our 25th anniversary and are attempting to contact past contributors. One of our former contributors was Ruth Berman, and I noticed on her page on this wiki you added a quote from a personal conversation with her. Is there by any chance a possibility you still have a means to contact Ms. Berman? A professional email address would suffice. If so, let me know. Thank you, and you can contact me at if you have any information.

I will pass this message and your contact info onto Ruth Berman. --MPH (talk) 01:17, 2 October 2018 (UTC)

Meta pages


I was thinking about doing a page structure for meta essays, but I think you've made about 90% of them. This is, in fact, wonderful, because it means we have lots of meta pages, but it does make finding examples that aren't all exactly the same kind of hard and I want to be thorough! It would take me approximately six billion years to look through all 1000+ meta essays for some variety. Can you think of any particularly expansive or noteable examples off the top of your head (besides Wave Theory of Slash, which is currently featured article, of course).

Also I was wondering if you could speak to what makes you decide to make a page for a particular meta essay. Do you just collect every meta essay you see in the wild, or do you have selection criteria? Also, what makes you decide to fully quote a meta essay vs just summarizing it? And anything else you can think of that users creating their first meta essay page might need to know!

Thanks, Hoopla (talk) 16:49, 8 October 2018 (UTC)

Oh. I have so many thoughts on this topic, as it is near and dear to my heart. So let me tell you my thoughts on meta
How do I decide to make page for meta?
Is it interesting to me? Well – it is all interesting, but some especially ring my bell. See I (and Sharon) have been backed into a corner defending a single position over quality controls. Frankly, I rather resent this. and It's time for HP fandom to put up or shut up and I've stumbled into a minefield and I want to try to stop the rumour mill right now..
Does it reinforce something I need citation or examples for? See Reminisce With Me.
Does it reveal things in hindsight, is there foreshadowing? See Darkovans Invade Boskone!.
Is it in response to someone else’s essay and is part of a conversation? See Memories by vass.
Does it make me laugh? See Archive of our Own vs. FanLib: Why they are not succeeding.
Is it widely cited or referenced by fans and mainstream sources? See I’m done explaining why fanfic is okay.
Did it influence something else, such as TPTB? See Concerning Sehlats and An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat).
Does it have many things that are, or can be, linked to other Fanlore pages? See Fandom 1994-2000-ish.
Is it a first of its kind? See Pandora's Box... Again and Open Letter by Mary Lou Regarding Explicit Fanworks.
Is it controversial? See Women in packs. See Open Letter by Winston A. Howlett Regarding His Review of "Alternative: Epilog to Orion".
Sometimes the meta that I find valuable isn’t really the essay itself, but the comments made to it. Many Tumblr meta pages are like this -- the "ask" is short, and the replies are where the discussion where it happens. See All this talk about unpopular writers reminds me of how tumblr fandom is really lonely. and AO3 is open source..
Is it in response to fannish controversy? See Can't we just buy you an IPod.
Do fans still talk about the meta years after it was written? See The Fan Fiction Rant and Characterization Rape: An Examination of Fan Fiction.
And of course, I’ve made pages for things I find offensive or way off-base. I work hard at presenting the essay, and subsequent comments to the essay, in a balanced way, even when I’m gritting my teeth! See Alexis Fegan Black is Dead and Fan fic - sí! Public Domain - sí-sí-sí!!!.
One challenge is what to do about original internal links in an online essay. My solution has been to create as many an internal wikilink to things we already have a page for on Fanlore: Example: When the wikilnk is for something where there is no page for on Fanlore, I make a reference link for it and recreate the original link within the essay. This can be troublesome at times, as I have run into formatting problems where the code of the link wrecks up the quotation template. If I cannot jigger it, I add a reference at the bottom of the page with the original link. Linking to video is often a culprit there as those links often have coding in them, such as “=” which mess things up. The no-wiki code helps with most, but not all.
It is extra fun to create pages with alongside someone else. For example, it was a joy to make femslash meta pages when another fan was doing the same thing with me. It was like a little party, and I loved that energy!
Some topics, such as Mary Sue, m/m slash, femslash, concrit, copyright and fair use, rpf are ones that I collect (the older the better) so I can provide evidence of changing views and evolving language. Even if some of these early essays are short and may seem redundant or simplistic to fans today, I feel that it is important to have evidence of where things began and how fans talked about it.
I really, really try to stay away from posting something in its entirety, as that’s not the scope of Fanlore, but sometimes the essay is:
a) so short, there isn’t a good way to summarize. See the metafic A Trekkie's Tale.
b) the essay is widely unavailable and I want there to be a record of it. Essays in print zines and on private mailing lists (the latter only with permission). See Why Should I Encourage People to Write Darkover Stories? and The Wave Theory of Slash Revisited. A side note: there are essays I HEARTILY WISH I could make pages for but they are on private mailing lists with no means of gaining permission and/or are long gone. Example: “Jane of Australia’s Fandom Flounce,” a thing of beauty but forever will likely remain simply a puff of smoke.
c) if summarizing or excerpting the essay doesn’t come close to doing it justice, that the beauty (or lack thereof) is directly related to the whole. See GARBAGE LIKE THAT HAS NO PLACE IN FANDOM.
d) when I’m pretty sure that, while the essay is available now, it will be lost at some point, even with extensive archived links. I should have made one for the original essay Interrogating the text from the wrong perspective as it has since been deleted. We will have to trust the person who cited it, calling it "a paragraph that never ends” that it is complete. Essays on Tumblr are also part of this challenge as they are especially ephemeral. See I See A Lot Of Posts Going Around (Suppressing Women's Sexuality) and Honestly I don’t even care why ao3 was created.
One thing I find quite frustrating is when meta is given a title that has nothing to do with the topic. While print meta is sometimes guilty of this (See About Two Million, Six Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty Words), meta on fan journals, especially during the early to mid-2000s, are the worst culprits. Fans often gave these essays catchy titles that do nothing to describe the topic. Example Today’s Pretentious Hair Flip or Keep it secret, keep it safe. I find these very challenging; if they do not have topics that are robust enough for their own categories, they are essentially buried. That is where I try to make sure that in the section at the top “Some Topics Discussed” or if applicable, “Some Topics Discussed in the Essay and Comments,” is complete enough with key terms that will make the page show up in a search. I still think that there has to be a better way. Perhaps I am melding it in my brain with the tagging system on AO3 and wishing we had options like that. So much info is buried, and I wish there was a way to get at it easier. Sometimes when I create a really interesting meta page and send it off into the wild, I am reminded of that last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the hotly-pursued relic is ultimately stuck in a crate and carted off to a huge warehouse where it is likely never to be found again.
Another challenge is when the essay itself does not have a title at all. My decision with those it to take the first line of the essay OR a line in it that (to me) is a good description of the topic and use that as the title. I always make a clear note of that in the page with this phrase: “The title used here on Fanlore is not the title of the essay itself, but a line from the essay.” I was not sure how else to title them, and figure that if this was a bad policy, at least that phrase is searchable for retitling later. See I searched my name at Fanlore this week..
I struggle with deciding whether an essay is a meta essay or “commentary.” I guess I lean towards calling meta if it was written by “a fan,” but of course, that line is often thin and vague. See Fan-Fiction and Moral Conundrums. I would call that an meta essay, but its template as commentary. Sometimes the main essay is the "meta," and sometimes, to me, the meta is the fusion of the essay and comments. “What is meta” is a whole different discussion, though.
Sometimes I make a page for an essay and then come back to it years later and think, “Now, why did I think that was so important?” Sometimes I think about deleting it, but this is only a brief thought. It usually compels me to try to expand upon it, add more context, more wikilinks, and more fan comments. I live ever in hope that someone, at some time, will stumble across these and think, hey, I can add to that. Which reminds me; I really need to get back to -- well, there too many to list.
An end note: I consider myself a somewhat feral editor in that I have no other wiki experience. Almost everything I’ve done on Fanore is from (often very solitary) trial and error, and is organic in nature; I simply figured things out while I went along. While this has its good points such as my getting a lot of work done, it also has had some poor results. My fumbles regarding decisions, style, and organization must be glaringly obvious to more formally trained wiki editors. I run across the abnormalities and errors I have made over the last ten years and tell myself, “Self, what were you thinking?” Sometimes I can fix or tweak things, sometimes I can’t. While I do apologize for my often exuberant free form contributions, I made the early decision to load up the wagon and simply get a move on. I do hope that the good outweighs the bad, and I am (almost!) always open to learning new things. --MPH (talk) 21:02, 8 October 2018 (UTC)
*o* This is all very interesting, thank you for the detailed response! I will take a look at all of these — I've read some of them before but even those I will look at again, for sure — and slap together a page structure/selection guide for meta sometime in the next few days.
I think titling meta essays that have no title with the first line of the essay (or, the first good line of the essay) absolutely makes sense; the first time I saw a meta page titled like that I understood immediately because that's definitely the convention for things like untitled poetry, too.
And really, you do such good work! And so much of it! I'm constantly very very impressed. Fanlore itself is kind of a feral wiki, because there's no style guide or anything, and it's actually definitely the whole site and its lack of rules that drives me crazy, not individual users.
Any page is a good page, so long as it was made earnestly and in good faith, and I think having a dozen messy, enthusiastic pages is probably better than having one perfect page, although I know (and you've probably noticed) that I tend to strive for the later. But, like in writing, a rough draft is much easier to start from than a blank page, and since the nature of a wiki is to be collaborative, there are always people around to revise.
While writing that paragraph I realized that I have a soapbox I want to get up on about this and, at last, a captive audience! Let me tell you my thoughts on Fanlore editing policies...
Ultimately, no editor can be blamed for even the clumsiest and most terrible of style or organization blunders on Fanlore because there is no style guide, no best practices, no site-wide consensus and standards for what most articles should look like.
What "formal" wiki training really looks like, in my experience, is exuberantly creating pages or adding information to one's best ability and doing the best one can with it, and then having a more senior or finicky editor come along and correct the mistakes. If you do it enough times, eventually it becomes harder for finicky editors to find mistakes! Soon, you might become a finicky editor yourself! Such is the wiki circle of life, but Fanlore stalls out here, failing both its editors and its readers.
For example, I find the current version of Steve_Rogers/Tony_Stark to be almost horrifically organized, but it was clearly put together by people who are very, very passionate about stony and I personally have only read, like, a handful of stony fics. It's not my fandom and Fanlore has a very ingrained culture of leaving page organization and otherchoices up to members of the fandom it belongs to — and yet, Fanlore pages should be a resource even for people who've never heard of the fandom being discussed before, shouldn't they? Arguably, having the page make sense to someone from the out-group is way more important than it making sense to people from the in-group because people don't tend to look up encyclopedia pages for things they already know a ton about.
Physically, I have the power to overhaul the stony page as much as I want. Socially, I'm not sure, so I left a note on the talk page which I expect to get no response to, thus I will likely never actually fix the page, because there is little to no culture on Fanlore of people making structural and other editorial changes to pages outside their wheelhouse — and that's a shame, because we all have different talents and interests and many of us are alone in creating pages for fandoms or topics because no one else shares those interests.
Not only is it a lonely way to experience fannish wiki things, it also means that Fanlore editors stall out on that glorious aforementioned wiki circle of life because there's no standard to fix things up to, so there's no culture of fixing things up for newer editors, so it's up to each individual editor to figure out how to best do things and try to self-edit their own work, which frankly I hate.
No one who's (to borrow your term — it made me laugh!) ferral when they get to Fanlore is likely to improve swiftly or become, uh, domesticated because there's no guidelines for how to structure a page when you start out and no formal style to try and revise to, and so on and so forth. Learning to write anything is all about revision and although I know Fanlore is simply trying to be inclusive as possible with their lack of style guide, I really do actually think it's detrimental to the growth of the site and its editors... as well as potentially very frustrating for readers.
There are very few resources for new editors, for old editors, for people who want to revise or learn. Pages like Help:Character pages are helpfully brief and to the point, which allows for a quick start, but figuring out how to organize a page is a very daunting task even for people who've done it before once or twice, much less someone new, especially when you consider that they might know nothing about wiki formatting.
Consider Wikipedia's Manual of Sytle on Layout instead. Is it a little overwhelming? Yes, absolutely. The whole Wikipedia MoS is deeply but unavoidably overwhelming in every aspect. Is that a bad thing? Well... I don't think so, really. The site as a whole only prescribes the barest of page structure requirements (eg: that categories go at the bottom of the page) while individual projects organized by users have come together to decide what the best organization for certain categories of pages would be.
Fanlore doesn't have anything detailed like this, although it most certainly could. We have way less types of pages than Wikipedia could potentially have, so our manual of style could absolutely cover at least the bare bones of how Fandom pages are typically laid out (canon first, then fandom, then resources and links) followed by a section showing off Fandom pages that haven't followed that suggested layout and a discussion about why, to help new users decide what's best for them. Users who just want to get started and go could follow Fanlore's suggested organization right off the bat, with no need to stress over page structure if they don't want to.
A detailed style guide for things like how to format glossary terms, how to format canon and fanwork titles, or how to choose, format, and/or annotate fanwork examples would be invaluable to those of us (me) who like to revise and edit (me) or like it when things match up as much as possible (me) or are frequently paralyzed by indecision over which style guide to use in the absence of one for the site as a whole (also me, again, forever — I've opened pages, started adding to them, run in to a problem I need a MoS for, and just... closed the page rather than decide) and also would be very useful to readers, who may struggle to find information quickly when each page is arranged differently and all the formatting is different and so on.
Ultimately, even if we had a detailed style guide, not everyone would follow it. Some people wouldn't even look at it, other people would just forget to check it, and still other people would be so focused on just making as many pages with as much information as possible that they couldn't possibly imagine slowing down to make sure that their subheadings are correct. But you know what? Those people would still be valuable community members and I don't think anyone would get in trouble for it or anything. Manuals of Style and other guidelines aren't about creating more rules to enforce, they're about giving everyone stable, even ground to build on and created a cohesive site. A cohesive community.
All of this to say, I guess — I mean, I definitely got off topic there, but to reply to your last paragraph directly — absolutely the good of your contributions outweighs the bad, and please never apologize for any of your contributions. A wiki is only as good as all of its contributors make it, so we all have a responsibility to engage with each other's edits... and anyway, one can hardly fault your glorious wagon for taking a meandering path when there was no map for you to use to navigate. - Hoopla (talk) 18:28, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
You've written much to think about, Hoopla.
As long as edits are made in good faith, are respectful, and any major issues regarding them are raised on the talk pages, then I don't see any problems with being much bolder in making them. I'd be wild-eyed with gratitude for anyone editing my edits with those three things in mind!
I think a standard, basic "what every page should have or strive to have" outline is an excellent idea. It's easier, I think, to fill-in-the-blanks than it is to stare at a totally blank screen, or try to visualize things that are not there, or reinvent the wheel every time.
It's brief, but this is what I think each meta page should have, or strive to have: 1) title, 2) author/s, 3) date, 4) place of publication/post, 5)if online then, a link to online source, plus an archived link, 6) if the post is on an online site that allows comments, then how many comments, 7) is the essay in response to another essay or event?, 8) a list of topics discussed in the essay, 9) excerpts from the essay, 10) comments at the essay's site itself (if online), or in the print zine series (if print), 11) comments elsewhere, 13) additional commentary if present, 14) categories, 15) a list of some closely-related essays written at the same time (if known), 16) if possible/known, some brief remarks on the context this essay may have, 17) wikilink as much as you can, knowing that others will see wikilinks where you don't (I love this part!), 18) any other miscellaneous tidbits.
Notating the length would be good, but this can be hard to determine, especially in print zines; too tedious to count words, and the number of pages it is printed on isn't all that helpful. --MPH (talk) 19:46, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Added: Hoopla, I'm still processing the rest of your thoughtful and insightful "TED Talk" ;) --MPH (talk) 20:08, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Take your time, I know I wrote a lot! Also, I looked up how to fix that equal-sign-in-a-url-thing (...and now I'm going down a deep rabbit hole of maybe creating my own templates?) because I also ran into it recently and needed to figure out how to make it stop.
The answer is... replace the equal signs in the url with {{=}} Thanks Wikipedia!
Also, I don't know if you use Discord or have any interest in IMing, but I made an unofficial Discord server for Fanlore editors. Here's an invite link; you don't need to sign up or give an email or anything to use it. - Hoopla (talk) 23:17, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

References Coding?

Anyone know why this coding at the bottom of pages doesn't work anymore in making refs into two columns? {{reflist|30em}} --MPH (talk) 18:07, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

Hello, I'm Dove. Dove (talk) 15:25, 28 December 2018 (UTC)