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Character Appearances (Discussion page)

Right now the Characters are linked using the format below (when using the new Character Link template (Template:A) with "(last in ...)" indicating the beginning of how the entry is continued if there is chronological info:

: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson)}} results in: Batman (last in ...)
: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson)}} results in: Dick Grayson (last in ...)
: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson) | Batman III}} results in: Batman III (last in ...)

I've seen more and more instances where the character's identity has been added after the superhero identity and before the chronological info like seen below:

: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson)}} results in: Batman (Dick Grayson; last in ...)
: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson) | Batman III}} results in: Batman III (Dick Grayson; last in ...)

While I understand the point of doing so, as it helps making it easy to identify which version of the character it is, the fact that we are not consistent throughout the Guide does not help. So I suggest we try to agree on a format going forward.

Now that we are using a template to create the link I can make it automatically do other things as well. So if we want the secret identity to be part of the way the characters appear this can be done by using the template. Below is an example of how the template could be set to behave:

: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson)}} results in: Batman (Dick Grayson)
: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson)|Dick Grayson}} results in: Dick Grayson
: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson) | Batman III}} results in: Batman III (Dick Grayson)

Any chronological comments would appear in a separate parentheses like seen below (as I can not get the template itself to look at text that comes after the name):

: {{a|Batman (Dick Grayson) | Batman III}} results in: Batman III (Dick Grayson) (last in ...)

This would give the listings a more uniform look, but naturally it will demand a bit of a work before it looks uniform (as old regular wiki links will not behave in the same manner). Also if we were to do this I would need to know your opinion on character "numbers". If we added real names automatically after the hero/villain name should we still add the character number (in Dick Grayson's case III as he is the third Batman, after Bruce Wayne and Jean Paul-Valley) or should this number be "removed".

Now I can see arguments for both keeping and removing and would like your input on this (as well as the template update) before deciding what would be best.

The agument against using numbers is naturally that we won't have to make sure which number a character is which is not always what pops into your head. For instance which number Doctor Light was Kimiyo Hoshi? Most would remember there was a villain (Arthur Light) before but not all would remember that there was another before him named Jacob Finlay from whom Arthur stole his suit or much less that there was also a Golden Age Doctor Light who was a foe of the original Doctor Mid-Nite. It can get confusing and by not listing the number but only the real name, we wouldn't get the number wrong.

The argument for keeping the numbering would naturally be that it helps show the lineage of a name. It helps make users aware that Jay Garrick for instance was the first Flash, Barry Allen the second, Wally West the third etc. Also this would be consistent with the way DC themselves have handled this in the original Who's Who and how it has been handled in official indexes. (In any event I would personally argue against removing the number from the actual profiles).

A third option could be used as well, which would be a bit of a mix, so that as a general rule we do not list the character number, BUT in cases where more than one version appears we DO list the number. So if Flash I (Jay Garrick) and Flash III (Wally West) appeared in the same book that would be how they were listed but if they appeared separately they would simply be listed as Flash (Jay Garrick) and Flash (Wally West).

Please leave your comments and arguments for or against any of the above suggestions in the Comments section below, so that we can hopefully come to some sort of agreement or at least determine what the majority feels on the subject, before I go and make any real changes.--Tenzel Kim (talk) 00:31, 5 October 2015 (PDT)


I'm for the third option - using the "version" number of the character when there's one than one character with said name in the issue. Using the version number in all cases invites too many opportunities for errors.
It's great that we're pointing out there's a history to a character name, but not all same namesake characters are part of a lineage. Evil Star, the name of two unrelated villains. Wildcat, either the best known Ted Grant, debuting in 1942 or the lesser known member of Tomahawk's Rangers created in 1964 but set in the American Revolution. I'd suggest the character link can be clicked if the person reading the index wants more character information.
While updating the Guide I've seen some characters as version I or version II, or no version at all. When it comes to Oracle or Typhoon, I didn't know they each had a prior named character and yet they've had "II" on some links.
I am against indicating "I" on characters. For example, "Flash I" (Jay Garrick) when there's another Flash in the issue. Let's start in with the II, III etc., but designating the first "I" looks off. Reads as Flashi.
As much as I enjoy DC's WHO'S WHO, there's some points where we should veer off. Same with the Official DC Indexes published in the late 80s by Independent Comics Group. WHO'S WHO, depending on when it was published recognized or ignored versions of characters. We don't (or at the very least shouldn't) do that. Our Guide is a different beast all together with much more flexibility as we're not printed and we're not altogether worried about how many pages a character profile might be.
As for the secret identities being displayed on the index, I'm all for it. It was the multiple versions of the Green Lanterns and Flashes as well as the Legion of Super-Heroes that pushed me to it. Yes, an index reader can click on the character link to find out secret identity, but it doesn't hurt us any to list it on the index page. The character's secret identity IS a part of their name, moreso than which version they might be.
Finally, I understand the desire for the page to look uniform. I'm all for that but I don't know if we'll ever get to that point where it's completely uniform. Over time we've gotten better at creating pages and on the flipside we might have allowed for some errors to creep in. I wish we had more people working on the Guide as there are some repairs needed. Speaking for myself, I really want to go back and re-do a lot of the Green Lantern Vol. 2 issues I've indexed - some are pretty horrible - now when indexing I'm adding more details and to be blunt, things I'd like to see, such as locations (since I find that interesting) and solicitations (since many issues don't have any synopsis) a while back.


Having seen the many text replaces you have done to change regular wiki character links to using Template:A it has come to my attention that making the template automatically add the real name in parenthesis after the "hero/villain" name like in the "Batman III (Dick Grayson) (last in ...)" example could cause a problem that I had not originally thought off when dealing with characters that have a group name, comic age or comic title in parenthesis.


"{{a|Iridium (Metal Men III)}}" would become "Iridium (Metal Men III)"
"{{a|Jewelee (Pre-Crisis)}}" would become "Jewelee (Pre-Crisis)"
"{{a|Guy Gardner (JLA - Legends of the Dead Earth)}}" would become "Guy Gardner (JLA - Legends of the Dead Earth)"

I'm not quite sure I like the idea of the comic title, comic age or even group name showing up after the character each time he/she is linked. The group name for instance would already be noted above if the character appeared along with the rest of the group in the issue and Pre-Crisis for instance would be redundant if it was a pre-Crisis book. Also it would only show up this way if there was no real name. If there was a real name only what was in the first parenthesis would show up. For instance:

: {{a|Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) (JLA: Secret Society of Super-Heroes)}} would become Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)

It would be possible for me to make it so that you could add a "|n" at the end of a link like this "{{a|Iridium (Metal Men III)|n}}" to indicate that the parenthesis should be disregarded, but the more I have to add to the template the more complex it becomes and it might end up slowing down the page load, so I'm not sure this would be the best option.

However, seeing that the "replace text" function actually works pretty well I wonder if another option might be preferable and that would be to make a "proper naming conventions" list for legacy characters and any other characters we think ought to have their real name shown along with their superhero/villain name. This would lean towards option 3 and mean that we could even be a bit more selective in when the real name is shown as well as the character number. It would mean that we could make Wally West's appearances as Flash in his own book simply be linked as "Flash" whereas appearances in other books would list him as "Flash III (Wally West)". In cases like Batman I'd probably go with NOT having to have it read "Batman (Bruce Wayne)" in all instances outside his own book as any other Batman has been for a limited time and very seldom at the same time as Bruce Wayne, so I doubt people would have any trouble knowing Batman would be the Bruce Wayne version. I'd use it for Dick Grayson and Jean-Paul Valley though.

I see a point in leaving out the "I" on the characters, as it would look somewhat odd to have to have "Batman I" every time Bruce Wayne is linked for instance. And since we could use the real name indicator I don't think "Flash (Jay Garrick)" would be any less confusing than "Flash I (Jay Garrick)".

If we differentiate between appearances in a character's own book and other books, the naming conventions page would have to list two options to make it easier to put in the right link. In fact I'd probably suggest that unless you are sure about the number, do not use it in the link and we can do semi-regular text replaces for the characters on the proper naming conventions list, which while long will probably not be that hard to manage after the first text replaces as a lot of the numbered characters will be pretty much covered as most of their appearances have already been indexed.

I hope this all makes sense. It is a bit harder to explain that it is when I see it in my head ;-)

Anyway, to illustrate what I'm trying to say here are a couple of examples:

Option A:

"Flash (Wally West)" would be listed simply as "Flash" in Flash Vol. 2 and "Flash III (Wally West)" in other books.

Option B:

"Flash (Wally West)" would be listed as "Flash III (Wally West)" in all books.

Option A would demand a bit more work, but might make more sense if all characters aren't listed with their real name.

Option C would be to list the real name for all characters but that would mean we'd have to do replace texts for all characters that do not have a real name but a comic age, group name or comic title in the name of their wiki page. This would be the version that demanded the most work.

Thoughts? Please... --Tenzel Kim (talk) 14:53, 6 November 2015 (PST)

Option A.

--DRMOUSE2814 (talk) 7:50, 7 November 2015 (PST)