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TenseEdit

So episode guides - past or present tense? And character pages - past tense? -Kapoli 22:14, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand your questions. --Proudhug 22:16, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, it seemed like all character pages are past tense if for sure the character is not going to continue to appear in the show. Episode pages seem to be all present tense and I think that works better. If all character pages should be past tense I wouldn't mind helping with the major characters. -WarthogDemon 22:19, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, nevermind. I'm having some problems with my browser today, and much of the content on particular pages doesn't seem to be displaying right away. When I came back to look at this page again, the entire page loaded and I saw the section about tense. Sorry! -Kapoli 22:21, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Links to templatesEdit

I am concerned with how we abandoned some of the old links on the style page for this page. The pages were fairly useful and contained the templates for many of the pages we do, as well as had talk pages for how to do those certain pages. Why don't we add a link to this page, and resurrect the old style page, or something to keep the old page with its different links. - Xtreme680 02:07, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, the templates still exist, but the links to them need to be on a different page. I couldn't really find a spot in the Manual of Style for a list of templates without making it look ugly. Something like "Wiki 24:Page Templates" would be more appropriate. --Proudhug 03:59, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Xtreme680 about the necessity of the various page template links. Maybe even just adding one link at the bottom of the page that would take us to another page with all the template links. --Kapoli 04:09, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I whipped up a quick list at Wiki 24:Page templates for now. --Proudhug 04:23, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Style Discussion Edit

Great job, Proudhug! This will be a valuable resource for everyone who wants to edit. I did a little minor tweaking (I did include the templates, so someone can take 'em back out or whatever if they think it looks bad) and now I have a few comments and a question.

  • Question on Mila and Nikola: The show only gives them first names, but the House Subcommittee book gives them the last name Luminovic. Is it OK to change their page titles to Mila Luminovic and Nikola Luminovic, or is that not kosher?
  • I think 24: The Game and 24 Stories should stay titled that way for clarity. Otherwise we have a page titled "The Game," which implies that there's only one when there are actually a couple (and probably more coming). And plain "Stories" is a bit ambiguous when we also have pages titled Comics, Novels, Characters, etc. I'll eventually write articles for two BBC specials titled "24 Heaven" and "24: The Postmortem," and I'd like to leave the prefix on those for the same reason.
  • I disagree that disambiguation pages are only needed in the case of identical names. There are five Teds, three of them in season 1. There's no need to make people read five articles to figure out which one they want. Also, I don't understand the example. If you have three Bobs with full names, and a fourth with only the first name, isn't that exactly the same as if you had four Bobs with last names? They're still distinguished from each other. Why don't we just say that if there are, say, three guys with the same first name, they can have a disambig page?
  • Do we want the characters to be marked (Day 1) instead of (Season 1)? Because they say Season right now. Which is out-of-universe and thus matches the other examples better, but whatever, as long as they all match each other.
  • We didn't really resolve the real-world issue. I still think the most useful guideline for what real-life information to include is relevance. The date of Los Angeles' incorporation is irrelevant to understanding anything on the show; however, it may be important to explain who all those guys giving Palmer the thumbs-up or thumbs-down are, or where San Gabriel Island is, or whether First Lady is an office or just a title.

That's it for now. I didn't want to make any major changes without discussing it first. --StBacchus 15:05, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


I put the template stuff on the Wiki 24:Page templates page. It has the potential to expand quite a bit and probably shouldn't clutter up the Manual of Style. Responses:

  • Yes, Mila and Nikola should be moved. The pages "Mila" and "Nikola" will be redirects anyway, so they won't be difficult to find for people without the book.
  • As for removing "24" from titles, we need to be consistent here. If we have some things with the prefix and some without, people will have to memorize which do and which don't, and we certainly don't want that. "The Game" should have a note at the top saying "For other games based on 24, see Games." or something. The title of the game actually is "The Game", as stupid as that may be. The same could be done for "Stories", but I doubt that would be necessary. "24 Heaven" and "24: The Postmortem" may be exceptions, I'm not sure. I can expand all the disambiguation stuff when I get a chance.
  • As for Ted, a disambiguation page isn't necessary. If someone queries "Ted" in the search box and there's no article titled simply "Ted", the engine provides a list of all articles that contain the word. A disambiguation page is only necessary of we have a character just named Ted, because then those other pages wouldn't come up if "Ted" already exists as an article. This is how Wikipedia and pretty much every other MediaWiki wiki does it. Besides, we have many other ways of finding character pages, including episode cast lists and straight-out character lists, we don't need to fill up Wiki 24 with a billion disambiguation pages for characters that merely have the same first name.
  • "Day 1" is more consistent with the other media than "Season 1", since it's what we've decided to name the season, out-of-universe. Day 1 isn't an in-universe title. "Day 1" is akin to putting "One Shot" or "Operation Hell Gate", where as "Season 1" is akin to putting "Comic 1" or "Novel 1".
  • As has been said in the past, we're Wiki 24, not Wikipedia. Let's try to keep our information what came from the show, rather than a resource to expand upon the show. If people need more information about a real life item like the First Lady, the Cabinet or San Gabriel Island, it's only a matter of clicking an external link.

Thanks for the criticism.  :) --Proudhug 16:42, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Policy vs. StyleEdit

Some of the things that have been put here seem less about style and more about policy on what should be done. It's not a big issue, but it's misleading. It seems like some things about speculation and redirects are more policy issues, while how to create a character page is more of style issue. They obviously overlap, but a little seperate and wikilinks never hurt anybody eh? I also think we've added a LOT of this really soon. I'm concerned there hasn't been much community consensus on some of the issues that have been raised here, but I don't want to flesh out the details right now. Anyone else? - Xtreme680 04:59, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree that part of the Manual of Style seems to lean more towards Wiki 24 Policy... maybe the page needs a little more sorting out and linking to the style pages.
And I appreciate you mentioning the community aspect of Wiki24, Xtreme. I've had a lot going on for the past couple of weeks and haven't been able to contribute as much as I normally do, but I feel like there's a solid group of regular editors on this page, myself included, and I think that it's important to have a group consensus on the details of our style and policy. I remember Xtreme and StBacchus working up some ideas for a new sidebar in The Situation Room several weeks ago, and I remember all of us offering feedback on those items. I'd like it to be the same way with the rest of the style and policy manuals. I realize that sometimes only one or two of us will post a response with our thoughts, but I think the floor should be open to ideas and criticisms from everyone. I think that if need be, the two admins of this site need to pull rank if we all can't come to an agreement on something, but I can't think of any time where that's been needed yet. -Kapoli 05:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we should call this the "Manual of Style and Policy"? Otherwise, people can feel free to move things around. As it says at the top, it's a work in progress. I realize this is a community effort, which is why everyone is free to pitch in with their ideas on policy and style, but every single thing shouldn't have to be hashed out beforehand. I think it's enough that anyone (admin or not) be free to contribute to the site and then if there's an issue with what was posted, we discuss it. Otherwise, we'd be spending all our time discussing when we could be editing. It's best for people to be bold now, as it can always be changed later. --Proudhug 13:23, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Policy = Style: updates on MoS Edit

The MoS was officially incorporated as an element of Policy, making much of the above 2006 discussions outdated or non-applicable. See Talk:Jennie for this change.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out something else: important changes have recently been decided upon regarding the Disambiguation component of the MoS. See Forum:Manual of Style disambiguation changes proposal for the discussion about this change. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 06:25, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

In-universe tense Edit

I don't know why the original editors of the Manual of Style decided to direct other editors to use the past tense when writing in the in-universe style. Most major U.S. publications in the U.S. (e.g. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today -- the list goes on & on) and most colleges and universities to refer to the events in fictional narratives (e.g. books, movies, plays, short stories) in the present tense -- not the past tense. It's just a rule that everyone follows, arbitrarily conceived and endorsed to promote consistency. In fact, I cannot think of a single major publication that uses past tense. If one did, it would be ridiculed because no one does it as a rule. I suppose that, at this point, it would be too difficult to change all of the Wiki 24 in-universe articles to present tense. And that's really unfortunate because it makes Wiki 24 grammatically different from just about all major writing on media subjects. In fact, some might say that using the past tense in these situations is a grammatical error (a error that's repeated in all 4,095 articles) and that this manual of style promotes an incorrect grammar policy. Ask123 22:38, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

The episode guides are written in-tense, as they are the historical narrative. It is only the collections of these facts (such as character pages as, in our universe, they have 'happened') that are written in past.    Willo    talk    contribs    email   22:52, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Ask123, can you give me a "rule that everyone follows" concerning writing style that isn't arbitrarily conceived and endorsed to promote consistency? I can't imagine such a thing even exists. Further, I don't understand the comparison of this project with publications like magazines. Compared to a number of other wikis, we have a similar style. While I and other readers are flattered that you'd compare this project to such periodicals, we're just not the same thing. It's an encyclopedia, and all examinations of past events are written in.... the past tense. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 13:55, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Willo and BlueRook, I hope the following answers your questions and clarifies why I am suggesting a change here.
Yes, BlueRook, many rules are arbitrary. And, certainly, the rules of English grammar could basically be termed arbitrary. But this is irrelevant because we use these grammar rules nonetheless. They provide standards that everyone can use in writing.
The Manual of Style is supposed to create rules for grammar situations not already covered in the current rules of English grammar. For example, British grammar and American grammar have different rules regarding comma and period usage in quotations. The Manual of Style is, therefore, supposed to create a standard with regard to this area of controversy.
Of course, in addition to providing clarifications in these "problem areas", the MoS is also supposed to reinforce English grammar rules that are already being used--in particular, rules that may not be widely known to editors. One such area is tense usage when writing about fictional stories. So it makes sense that there is a section in the MoS dealing with this topic. But what doesn't make sense is writing a rule there that contradicts the English grammar rule that's already in existence. Why make a rule up when there's already one being used as a standard around the English speaking world? Universities, publications and all kinds of media-related writing use and promote this standard. I see no reason to change it.
Yes, the current rule on writing about fictional stories is an arbitrary standard, and it is, like all grammar rules, ever evolving. Reference publications print the current rules of grammar every year and writers use them. So, yes, grammar does change over time, and, sometimes, different people have different rules for certain grammatical situations. However, this isn't one of those instances. If you look at different types of writings that deal with fictional events, there isn't a lot of variation in tense usage. In almost all instances, writers use a tense that indicates the material is being read or viewed at that moment. That means present tense when referring to most events, and the past and future tenses when referring to the past and future within the story.
In my earlier post, I referred to "publications" only because they are an example of a form of English writing that happens to follow the standards of grammar closely. Universities do as well. As I mentioned, the present tense is used in all serious media writing. This is particularly true of writing about fictional movies, TV, novels and plays. The present tense is invariably used when these pieces refer to the stories at hand. It's used in reviews, scholarly essays, magazine and newspaper articles, books, major web publications, blogs, etc. When the present tense isn't used, it's usually because the writers aren't familiar with this particular grammar standard or because it's in an small amateur publication/website or written in a forum in which grammar isn't critical.
But I would like to think that grammar is important to Wiki 24. Yes, you are correct in saying that Wikia sites and Wiki 24 are different from publications. But, nonetheless, Wikipedia and other English Wiki sites (including Wikia) tend to follow English grammar. So, in that respect, the comparison is valid. The bottom line is that good presentation--i.e. proper grammar and correct spelling--lends legitimacy to content. When people read a well written, grammatically correct text, they receive it in a completely different manner than they would a poorly written or grammatically improper text. And you can be sure that many readers of this site know the verb tense rules for writing about fiction.
I am only proposing this change because I want to enhance Wiki 24. Promoting correct grammar usage is one way of doing this. I know this change will alter many articles. (That's why I created this thread instead of simply changing the MoS.) But I think it's one that's worth making.
Cheers, Ask123 07:02, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

The reason that the past tense is used for all in-universe articles is because the perspective, or "present," of Wiki 24 is the far distant future, long after all of the events that we've seen and ever will see have happened. As such, we actually do follow the same conventions of other publications. Jack Bauer was a federal agent, rather than is, because he's long dead from the perspective of Wiki 24. I understand that, at first, you may intuitively want to use the end of the most recent episode as the "present," but that would prove problematic.

Aside from consistency across the site, and with other fictional-universe wikis, the main reason we do it this way is to avoid the problem of deciding what to do with unknown characters or long-unmentioned characters. Do we say "Lynne Kresge was" or "Lynne Kresge is"? What about someone like Rocco who lives a life of violence, or someone who was really old in one of the prequel novels? Do we just assume they're still alive well over a decade later in Season 7? In order to avoid arbitrary decisions, it's just easier to do it this way.

I hope this helps. --proudhug 18:00, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Proudhug, I understand your reasoning, but, ultimately, it doesn't work for fiction. Please allow me to explain why.
The world uses the present tense as base tense for very good reasons. Present tense wasn't picked out of a hat. It's done that way because it eliminates verb tense contradictions. If the past tense worked better, everyone would use it. But it doesn't. It creates verb tense contradictions and paradoxes.
Simply put, using present tense as the base tense places the writing on neutral footing. That is to say, it allows you to use the past and future tenses to indicate time. If you use the past tense as your base tense, then everything is spoken of in the past. There is no present or future tenses when you write like that. If you write of something that happens in the future with respect to Day 1, it's still in the past. And things get really bad when you write about things that exist in "all time."
For example, places don't change. They exist in past, present and future. Consequently, Wiki24 articles about places have rampant verb tense confusion. (Please see an example of this, from the article Saugus, below.) Using the past tense as the base tense inevitably leads to these types of contradictions. No one uses the present tense as a base tense for this reason. It makes the issue of verb tense much more complicated and confusing. Believe it or not, this has actually been thought through by editors around the world, and they all employ the present tense when writing about fiction because it places the article on neutral ground. When you use the present tense as the base tense, you are free to use the past tense for past events and the future tense for future events. Nothing gets confused so long as you stick to the rule: use whatever tense is appropriate from the perspective of the events/person/object in question. If you don't do this and, instead, use the past tense as your base tense, you will eventually be forced to use the present or future tenses in awkward places. And then everything begins to sound off. The awkwardness in the writing doesn't happen because someone made a mistake. It happens because there are verb tense contradictions that can only be fixed by using the present tense as the base tense.
For example, I just came across the article Saugus. Before I edited it, the article's lede read as follows:
Saugus is a community in the city of Santa Clarita, California. Saugus is within Los Angeles County and was under the jurisdiction of the LA branch of the Counter Terrorist Unit.
Why did the article just jump into the past tense? Is Saugus no longer under the jurisdiction of LA CTU? No, it jumped into the past because the editors felt compelled to write about all events from the show in the past. The lede should have read like this:
Saugus is a community in the city of Santa Clarita, California. Saugus is within Los Angeles County and is under the jurisdiction of the LA branch of the Counter Terrorist Unit.
The Saugus article continues in this fashion. The first section begins like this:
The community of Saugus included an area of open space near power grid section 26-GG, which was reserved for a wildlife preserve, but was also the location of a top secret Class Three Detention Facility holding Victor Drazen.
Of course, this section should begin like this instead:
The community of Saugus includes an area of open space near power grid section 26-GG, which is reserved for a wildlife preserve, but is also the location of a top secret Class Three Detention Facility that held Victor Drazen.
In the correct version, everything is in the present tense, except for the last verb that refers to Drazen's detention. This is because the article is about Saugus in general. Therefore, everything is in present tense. Saugus is still in LA County. Saugus still is near power grid section 26-GG. Saugus is still partly a wildlife preserve. Saugus is still the site of a Class Three Detention Facility. However, from this perspective, the Drazen events happened in the past. So Victor Drazen's detention is written about in the past tense. The article, Victor Drazen, on the other hand, must use the present tense and describe the events of Day 1 as if they are happening moment by moment. So, there, in the description of the early moments of Day 1, Drazen's detention would be written about in the future. And when the description gets to the moment of his detention, it would be written about in the present. And when the description gets to the portion after he escapes, it would be written about in the past.
In other words, when using the present tense as your base tense, you simply write normally. That's why it's the base tense of choice when writing about fiction. Just about everyone uses it as a base for these good reasons. Why try to make up your own ad-hoc rules when there are these very rational ones already in place? Eliminate contradictions and write normally. That's the ideal and most accepted way of dealing with verb tense in these situations. Wiki24 should follow suit because it makes sense. Ask123 01:07, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Also, Proudhug, there should be no confusion over what tense to use for Lynne Kresge. As I mentioned above, events are described in the present as if they are happening. But you can still use the future tense to describe events that haven't happened yet in the description. For example, "Lynne meets with the President not knowing she will fall tragically in the building's fire escape later that day." "Will fall" is the future tense, but it's correct in this instance. Or you can use the future subjunctive: "Lynne meets with the President not knowing she would later fall in the fire escape." You can also use the past tense for events that happened earlier than you're current moment in the description of the timeline. For example, "As Lynne is escorted to the ambulance, she tries to indicate to the President who attacked her." In this case, you can use the past tense of the verb, "attack," because the assault happened earlier in the timeline in relation to our current point in the description. (Also, please note that "escorted" is not the verb in this sentence and, thus, isn't violating any rules. The verb of the sentence is "is," which is in the present tense.)
Similarly, if you are referring to events that take place after Day 2, you can use the present tense as you describe them. To be honest, I don't know Lynne Kresge's story beyond Day 2. So I'll make up a sentence as an example. "After the attack, Lynne spends six months recovering. She is required to go to daily rehabilitation and that helps her get back on her feet. It isn't until a year after the attack that Lynne's injuries are finally healed. Eventually, she retires to the private sector." This is just an example sentence; I don't know if it applies to what you are thinking of, Proudhug. If you can provide me with the sentence in question, I'd be happy to post the proper tense here on this thread. Cheers, Ask123 01:37, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd be willing to support the use of the simple present tense in IU location and long-lasting organization (government office) articles, and I would support it for the reasons that Ask123 describes. We have no reason to presume, even in the distant future of IU, that locations and Congress and state names will cease to exist or change. However, I would not support this change for character, object/vehicle, and event articles-- for the reason that Proudhug mentioned. Absolutely everything in IU character article content should remain in the past tense. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 01:43, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

I feel bad that you went to all that length to explain all that because it wasn't necessary; I understand what you're saying. What you're not realizing is that Wiki 24 is written from an in-universe perspective. That means that, with the exception of articles with the "OOU" icon in the top right corner (such as actor and episode pages), all articles are written as if the events and characters are real, but happened a very long time ago. If Lynne Kresge was a real person, her Wikipedia page would not describe her actions as you suggest. It would be written entirely in the past tense. The simple present tense that you're describing is used here, for episoode guide synopses. You're right that that's how everyone describes fictional events, but Wiki 24 pretends that the events aren't fictional. If CTU brought up a dossier about Habib Marwan, the description of his actions would be written in the past tense, not as if they are happening in the present, moment by moment. Wiki 24 is an imaginary dossier about everyone and everything ever known to have existed in the world of 24, but written long after the Earth has been destroyed.

So, hopefully you understand that there's no need to indicate past, present and future tense in articles because it all happened in the past. What you've described is the convention for writing about fictional narratives, however that's not what Wiki 24 is. It's an encyclopedia of "true" facts, and encyclopedias aren't written as narratives, they're merely records of information. And because of the "distant future" timeframe, there are no events that "haven't happened yet" because it's all in the past. --proudhug 14:08, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Proudhug: You are missing the point. I understand why the current policy is to write in the past tense. I understand how that rule is applied. I'm writing on this discussion board because I want to edit the MoS, and I presume that the best way to do that is to state my intentions and the reasons behind them on this message board and, then, to engage in a discussion with other editors about it. The past tense rule doesn't need explanation, Proudhug. I understand how it works. What is needed is your argument for why the MoS shouldn't be changed here -- an argument besides "we shouldn't change this rule." At face value, the argument that we should keep the rule is as meritorious as the argument that we should change it. That's why editors must now make their respective cases -- "for" or "against" or "something in between." That's why I made that lengthy post -- to give you my reasoning behind my proposal. Should I have been bold and gotten into an edit war instead?
Look, unless I'm mistaken, this past tense policy is essentially made up. There are already well established conventions for writing about fictional events. Wiki24 doesn't need a rule that's different from the one that's already used around the world. This site's MoS should be consistent with the rest of world media. I could be mistaken. If I am, please tell me how. Because unless using the past tense is some custom established by the creators of 24 (like "day zero" was), then I think it's the wrong rule to promote in the MoS. I am assuming that the use of past tense was something that some of the original Wiki24 editors (those who wrote the first drafts of the MoS) came up with. Look, if it is some convention established by the folks at 24, that's a different story. Then, certainly, don't change it. Keep to the convention that the creators of 24 already established. But, assuming that isn't the case, I suggest we make Wiki24 consistent with Wikipedia and just about all other media outlets. There is nothing particular or special about 24 that would make it acceptable not to use the present tense convention that's been established. Further, in my opinion, verb tense rules are pretty fundamental rules of grammar and are not areas with which to take creative license. There are plenty of places in the MoS for creative policy-making. But this definitely isn't one of them. I hope this clears things up, Proudhug. Ask123 05:47, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
BlueRook: Your solution sounds reasonable to me. It all sounds good...provided that we accept that this issue may be revisited in the future, just as all other edit decisions may be. Actually, if you don't mind, I would like to offer one more argument and, if it doesn't persuade you, then I'm just fine with your proposal.
One of the most odd things about using past tense with respect to a fictional person is that it indicates to the reader that the person is dead. Of course, it's funny that on 24 most of the characters that have appeared have also died. But that's irrelevant here. There are plenty of characters that are still alive and well. Here's an example of this phenomenon: "Behrooz Araz was the 17-year-old son of Navi Araz and Dina Araz, terrorists who were instrumental in the first three phases of a series of terrorist attacks planned by terrorist Habib Marwan." I didn't know Behrooz was dead!! I thought he managed to get out of his situation alive. Of course, the fact that he's alive doesn't register with the reader unless s/he's familiar with the events of Day 4. And it's unfortunate that this has to happen. It makes character articles sound strange, and, besides that, all articles should be totally understandable to any reader.
That's all. Just something to think about. If you still disagree, your other solution is good. Bluerook, many thanks for the interjection. It's a good fix. Cheers, Ask123 05:47, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

You say you understand why the policy is the way it is, but then you say we need to defend it with reasons. I've given you the reasons why we do it this way. This is the exact same way that Wikipedia does it, the only difference being our perspective of the distant future. This approach works for the reasons I gave above. We did not just "make it up". Wiki 24 was inspired by Memory-Alpha which does it this way as well. So do many other wikis based on fictional universes. It's not an arbitrary decision that we stuck to because it was there from the start. It's a tried-and-true method that we adopted from other respected websites. Feel free to browse Memory Alpha or Wookieepedia if you don't believe me.

Your remark about the characters appearing to be dead indicates that you haven't read or haven't understood my previous posts. The assumption at Wiki 24 is that everyone is dead. That's what I mean by a perspective of the distant future. Also your example of Behrooz is the worst one you could've used since, not only do we not know if he's still alive, but he's the quintessential example of an "Unknown" character, and the most infamous of the group.

I apologize if our articles sound strange because of all of this, but once you familiarize yourself with wikis of this sort, it makes perfect sense and becomes natural. --proudhug 12:42, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Here are some examples of using the past tense from Wikipedia, Memory Alpha and Wookieepedia, respectively:

George Washington was the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War and served as the first President of the United States of America.
Jean-Luc Picard was a celebrated and well-respected Starfleet officer who served during the latter half of the 24th century.
Luke Skywalker was a legendary soldier and Jedi who helped defeat the Galactic Empire and found the New Republic, as well as the New Jedi Order.

As such, we continue with this convention at Wiki 24:

Jack Bauer was an American federal agent responsible for helping save the United States from devastating terrorist attacks on many occasions.

As you can see, we did not invent the convention, we've just adopted it because it's worked best for our site for the past four years. --proudhug 15:22, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

BlueRook & Proudhug, I think this will clear everything up: let's use the present tense as the base tense for all introductions for articles about persons that are alive and places and things that still exist. The past tense can be used for people who are dead and places and things that no longer exist. The past tense can continue to be used in the story synopses. But, with regard to introductions, the past tense should only be used when referring to events that take place in the past and don't exist in the present (the "current moment" in Day 7).
The important thing is that this means the past tense can still be used for story synopses and all past biographical details -- but that's all it should be used for. If you're not referring to something that takes place in the past with respect to the current point in the series, then you shouldn't be using the past tense. If you want to keep a pure in-universe style, then you have to follow the in-universe rules to the extreme. Making everything past tense just makes this site's text entirely ungrammatical, regardless of whether the articles are in-universe or not.
Making this change will allow editors to write about living characters without making them sound dead. And the story synopses will still be in the past tense, as they are written about from the perspective of the latest episode. This seems like a good, reasonable compromise that fits under the current rules. For instance, the introduction to the article, Chloe O'Brian, would read:

---

Chloe O'Brian is a senior intelligence analyst with computer expertise who works in the Los Angeles outpost of the Counter Terrorist Unit. In the past, she also has served as Internet Protocol Manager at that unit, as well as an intelligence agent at CTU Washington. As one of Jack Bauer's closest friends and confidantes, she has and continues to play a vital role in averting terrorist attacks on the city of Los Angeles and throughout the United States of America.

Day 3 Edit

Chloe began Day 3 at CTU LA headquarters. After Chloe put some transcript files where Jack didn't want them, he was tempted to fire her in anger, but Chase Edmunds talked him out of it. Later, Chloe was asked to clear out Jack's office after he broke Ramon Salazar out of prison. She also found in Jack's office evidence of his drug addiction shortly thereafter.

---

Please excuse the few changes (besides verb tense) that I made to the text in my example. The synopsis veered out of the past tense at one moment and needed additional, clarifying text at other points. Needless to say, allowing for this change means that characters will no longer sound like they're dead, grammar will be maintained, and the site will retain the pure "in-universe" style. Proudhug, I hope this resonates with you because using the past tense in every situation is not the way you write "in-universe." You still have to abide by verb rules. In other words, the text still has to make sense grammatically. Cheers, Ask123 21:37, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Did you see Proudhug's last post? The characters "are" dead because this project is specifically written like an encyclopedia from the distant future. That's how the project is intentionally structured, to be read like a chronicle of past events. To undo this with reference to character introductions will create problems beyond inconsistency as well: what if a novel comes out? The "present moment" might cease to be Day 7 but there is little warrant to put novel information in the introductions of main characters. Also, earlier when you mentioned "story synopses" using the past tense, did you mean episode guides? They use present tense because they are OOU.Blue Rook  talk  contribs 01:57, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Wow, I don't even know what to say anymore. I assume you're not deliberately ignoring the things I've said, so I don't have a clue how to explain this to you, other than to say reread all of the above posts. There is no "current moment" with Wiki 24. If you want to make one up, pretend it's "Day 1000000." All characters are long dead by from the timeframe of Wiki 24. --proudhug 05:32, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Proudhug, I'm not deliberitely ignoring what you're saying. It's the other way around. It doesn't matter if you are writing from the future. There are still things that must be referred to in the present tense. References to a place's state of being is one such example. Assuming Los Angeles hasn't been obliterated, it must be referred to in the present tense. Saugus must also be referred to in the present tense. The same goes for people. Assuming that the present isn't over 70+ years in the future, people who are alive must be referred to in the present tense. For example, Jack's daughter "is" Kim Bauer, not "was." So long as Kim isn't dead and we are not 100 or 200 or 100000 years in the future, you must refer to Kim's state of being in the present tense.
Also, pretending that it's Day 100000000 is pointless. In-universe writing is supposed to assume that the current moment in time is just after the latest moment in the series -- e.g. within five years or one year or six months of whatever point the story is at. This allows everything to be in the past tense -- as if recorded -- but not so much so that the writing is absurd. Making the current moment in time an arbitrary and distant moment in the future -- say 100000 years in the future or 500 years in the future -- is silly and has nothing to do with in-universe style writing. The events in the story can be in the past tense without using the past tense of "to be" for people, places and things that still exist. After all, why on earth would you make the present moment so far in the future that you would refer to Los Angeles' state of being in the past tense? "Los Angeles was a city in California" ?!?! -- that sounds completely off. Making the present moment so far in the future that L.A. no longer exists is not required for in-universe writing. All that's required is that the events in the timeline are in the past tense vis-a-vis "now." Therefore, now can be any time after the events in the story. It can be 1 year after whatever point the story is at. There's not reason to make the writing so extreme that even Los Angeles' state of being is referred to in the past tense! That's just ridiculous! Ask123 20:14, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
BlueRook, when I say story synopses, I am referring to any writing about the timeline. What I am trying to say is that when referring to something's state of being, there are many instances in which you would use the present tense, not the past tense. But this site uses past tense for everything. The present moment isn't eons in the future. It is just after the events of the story. Jack and Kim are still alive. Los Angeles is still in California. Washington D.C. still exists too. If you all want to use a reference point that's so far in the future that these places and people are no longer in existence, well that just sounds ridiculous. You can write in-universe without resorting to that kind of absurdity. Also, you brought up the fact that the story is constantly evolving and moving forward. Yes, this is true. Therefore, simply assume that the present moment is within say five years of where the story is. If a novel comes out, then the present moment is five years later. (You can make it one year, or one month or ten years. It doesn't matter. So long as it's not so far in the future that it renders the writing absurd.) Ask123 20:22, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

What we're doing at this project is in-universe writing of an encyclopedia in the iu-future. Have you ever read an encyclopedia that refers to dead people in the present tense? How absurd that idea is. You're only talking about half the issue, Ask123. The other half is the consideration of encyclopedic style, which you've been ignoring completely. When it comes to places, however, I can understand, as made explicit earlier, and I'm willing to support the idea of a change regarding place introductions using the present tense. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 09:30, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Bluerook, I think we are agreeing here. To reiterate, I understand what in-universe writing is. I get that. But in-universe writing does not mean that users are to refer to everything in the past tense. Obviously, that makes no sense in certain situations. Only the timeline, people that are dead, and places and things that no longer exist should be referred to in the past. Other situations, in which the subject matter isn't in the past, should be referred to in the present tense. This is simply normal tense variation, and all writing -- including in-universe writing -- has some tense variation.
The whole reason I brought this up in the first place is that this site tends to use past tense in all situations. I've see it repeatedly as I've browsed through various articles. It's grammatically incorrect -- even for in-universe writing. That was the purpose of starting this thread in the first place.
Still, it's nothing to fret about. This issue can be fixed the same way most Wiki issues are: gradually. As users come across errors, they can change them. That, and the MoS should indicate that in-universe writing does not mean always using the past tense but, rather, only using it in reference to events of the story and things that no longer exist. This should be written out explicitly because, clearly, users are misinterpreting "in-universe" to mean that everything is to be in the past. Perhaps, this means that a specific "present" must be indicated to make the tense issue clearer for some users (rather than having it be a vauge moment in the future). If so, that's simple enough. The present moment is just after the events of the story. If the latest point in the story is Season 7, than the present moment is just after Season 7. If the creators then release a novel that continues the story after Season 7, then the present moment moves forward to after the events of the novel. Simply enough. This way no one uses the absurd premise (that was offered up in this thread) that we are writing from 1,000,000 years in the future. I hope this makes sense to all. Cheers, Ask123 13:33, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't know how to say this differently, so I can only repeat it: we aren't just using "regular in-universe style writing that everyone is accustomed to" at this wiki. We're using something different, I'll call it "in-universe writing as styled in the form of an encyclopedia in the distant future". It's not an absurd premise, and it wasn't just recently offered up in this thread. It has been a critical component to the way we've been writing and editing here since 2005.
While I'm absolutely willing to support your change for altering the tense in the introductions of location articles like cities and countries, I hope you understand at this point why there cannot be a "present moment" in the perspective of this project regarding character statuses, which episode and which events are "most recent", and the like. All of the events are in the past. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 15:24, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

First name disambiguationEdit

I recently created the disambiguation page Samir (to "Samir Mehran" and "Samir Hussain"). Shortly after, it was deleted. I then realized that twice, other users had previously created the page. So three times, the disambiguation page has been deleted (by the same admin) with the explanation that there is a policy that first names should not be disambiguated. I strongly disagree with this policy.

Not disambiguating first names is contrary to both the practice of Wikipedia and the policy of most other serial TV series wikis I'm familiar with. It seems just bad policy. If I type in "Samir" because I don't know the character's last name, I should have options to direct me to relevant articles. One can't expect people to know every character's last name, especially the last names of minor characters, and especially when that is the name by which the characters are most often referred to on screen.

The policy as it stands is doing harm by making information hard to find, which is contrary to the purpose of the wiki. That such a dab page is something that multiple users feel is necessary is clearly indicated by the fact that that page has been attempted to be created three times now by different editors. The page does no harm and provides benefit.

WikiaCitizen (reply) 23:25, April 11, 2010 (UTC)

I'm opposed to this change in the policy for a few reasons, but before I begin I have to make clear that this page wasn't created and then deleted 3 times, as WikiaCitizen states, as a disambiguation page. The first two times I deleted it, it was merely a functionless, unused redirect, leftover from the Samir Hussain, and then the Samir Mehran, page moves, and not a disambig page. If anyone's interested for the record: the first deletion was on 2010 March 6, more than two years after the first move by Proudhug for Hussain; and then again on 2010 March 16, about a day after the second move, by TiredAlex for Mehran. For some reason when I deleted it the second time, I cited the disambig policy, but this was an error on my part since it was just an unused redirect & I probably should have just said "Housekeeping". Simon, or anyone else who can view deleted content like a Wikia volunteer or employee, can verify this if you don't wish to take my word. So, where WikiaCitizen is correct when he says it was created three times by three different editors, it's definitely wrong to think "Samir" was created three times as a disambiguation page. Only on the third creation, which was WikiaCitizens', was "Samir" ever a disambig page at all. The other two lifetimes it was a character page-turned-redirect.
We can dispense with the idea that "Samir" was a page that the masses have been clamoring for, then ;) Now let's look at what the difference is between having a disambig for Samir, and not having it. In the end of this analysis it will be clear that there is no harm done when a disambig page does not exist, and no fewer or more steps in finding the Samir you want.
  1. If a disambig for Samir exists, then the only way you can get there is by accessing it directly. Nothing will link to it. Most users looking for Samir will type it in the Search box, and if the page is there, they will be prompted to read blurbs for each Samir.
  2. If a disambig for Samir does not exist, watch what happens. Someone types Samir in the Search box, and... they see a list of selections to choose from! At the top of the list are the two Samirs, both with automatically generated blurbs.
Therefore there's no difference on having this kind of disambig. You can demonstrate for yourself by entering "Samir" in the Search box does no "harm" for finding this information. The whole point I'm making in one line is: the wiki disambigs it for us. We get the options that WikiaCitizen asks for by default. Granted, the list isn't as pretty, but it requires no maintenance or work whatsoever. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 06:07, April 12, 2010 (UTC)
Plus, the wiki provides a pulldown menu in the search box when you start writing something. It still won't help you a lot if you don't know the characters last name, but it's yet another tool the wiki offers to help you single out a character. Thief12 13:27, April 12, 2010 (UTC)
Can I just say, that I dunno if it's just my computer or what, but typing in "Samir" and pressing enter gives me a "no results were found matching your query". The drop down box does appear, but this isn't helpful when searching for a surname. Often I have found that wikia's search function, if you will pardon my french, is a pile of sweaty balls. I myself would be in favour of a change to a more wikipedia-style disambiguation for first names as wikiacitizen suggests.
On a related note, the disambig policy on this page does seem a little strange - the example given of "bob smith", "bob briscoe", "bob bingforapples", and then just "bob" needing disambiguation page - what is the point of that page? no-one is going to search for "bob (disambiguation)", and searching for "bob" will lead to the "bob" character page, so the only link to the dismabig page is through that wiki 24 project page for disambiguation. Surely these pages are only necessary for more than one guy without a surname popping up?--Acer4666 11:34, March 22, 2011 (UTC)
My screen is taken to a full and neatly organized list of Samirs when I search for that word. Yours should too. One reason I could conjure why it may not be working for you is because you may have excluded the Main Namespace in your Search Preferences in the prefs tab. There may be other reasons but whatever the cause, something is unusually broken about your search. And when I search for a surname, like Palmer, I get an identical kind of list (David, then Wayne, then Sherry, etc).
The approach this wiki takes to dab is simple: never use dab tags inside article titles unless 2 identical names come along. Then, and only then, are we forced to use dab tags. Also take note that the statement you made about finding the "Bob (disambiguation)" dab page is not correct. A dab note in the article for "Bob" himself (no surname) would link to that dab page. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 14:06, March 22, 2011 (UTC)
You were right - I was set to only search in quotes! But can you try searching for 'Christine'? There are 3 articles on the wiki which are Christine something, and I'll be damned if they appear first. It seems to order pages not by relevance but by popularity.
And you are also right about the disambig page - that was just me being stupid! Understand it now--Acer4666 14:10, March 22, 2011 (UTC)
Also, try logging out of your account, then doing the Samir/Palmer search. It seems that wikia's default settings for non-registered users is to not search in the main namespace - and surely we want this site to be as user-friendly for casual visitors as well as the logged in people who are able to change their settings--Acer4666 14:43, March 22, 2011 (UTC)
This is one of those times when I can't tell but it seems you have reversed your opinion with a second post, so it's not clear where you stand on the issue at this point. Are you recommending someone contacts Wikia and informs them of the search engine inconsistencies? Blue Rook  talk  contribs 20:57, March 22, 2011 (UTC)
I dno. It seems like Wikia don't have the capabilities of a google search, and I suppose we have to live with that - and I would suggest one of the ways of living with it is making these first name disambigs. Did you try searching for christine? I don't get to the christine pages. Samir and Palmer do work because their pages are so popular, but on names for less popular people the search results don't give an adequate list.--Acer4666 21:47, March 22, 2011 (UTC)
I do understand your concern, but, I can't support forcing it upon myself and you and the community to create a colossal and difficult-to-maintain army of new dab pages expressly for the purpose of working around a minor issue with the Wikia search engine. When Wikia fixes the "Christine issue", such pages will be useless. There would be necessarily many of them, and each will take a serious amount of time and work to properly create; making the matter worse is the time it will take to keep them maintained indefinitely.
Now I'm not forbidding this (nobody has the power to do that) but I'm arguing strongly against it and stating I wouldn't personally support it. But let's say you do get a consensus in favor of this: you'll be adding an enormous workload on yourself and everyone, which might never get completed, because once you make 1 such page, you're obligating all the rest to get created too. And their utility might disappear in a flash. Blue Rook  talk  contribs 17:37, March 24, 2011 (UTC)
I totally understand - I was gonna suggest that because of the search limitations we don't forbid pages like this (like deleting the samir page) but then again as you say we don't want inconsistency. But as long as incosistency is cited as the reason for deleting these pages, --Acer4666 11:55, March 25, 2011 (UTC)
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