Talk:Interactive Home

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what do we think? Bags of potental or more like overkill?

--Admin 5 September 2005 06:41 (GMT)

Just a few initial thoughts[edit]

I think it has massive potential, my one real concern is the overview - that looks terribly easy to make a complete mess of (though it may not be as complicated as it looks, I haven't tried changing anything) and if so I can foresee us all spending time undoing things that people have done to make it make sense again and, if we're really unlucky, doing so across each other. It may be worth, in your instructions, reminding users that posting their sections to this system requires a degree of cosideration and planning. (The other system did, too, but this seems to be more complicated and I'm well aware that could be just me seeing difficulties where none exist. )

The information pages about the characters and places could come in useful - things like "I see Annuminias in the x thread as being a small town with a scruffy 'palace' not the ruin outlined in the Encyclopedia Arda" and "the OC character of x has y characteristics". It could be claimed, on the other hand, that that's cutting down on people's creativity, that relevant background should be in the story section and for everything else the writer has free reign to build. I'd be very interested to know what other participants think about that one.

Having thought about it overnight, I'm not sure that we need to do much about the canon characters because the Encyclopedia Arda has that information - what do others think? That is, unless we're making AU changes - though it could be argued that that too should be in the story section and everything else is up to the writer of the next section.

My only real problem with the other script was the lack of correctability, and so the really stupendously positive thing about this system, from my point of view, is that one can go in and change things - for instance if you (general you and specifically me) discover that you've misspelled "Thranduilion" - deep sigh - or made some grammatical mistake you'd rather not have staring you in the face.

It should also be easier for users to comment, and to correct or point out minor errors either by edit or comment and to make suggestions. Though that may be either a blessing or curse (I mean, 54 people pointing out that the Watcher in the Water is on the wrong side of the mountains could get very tiresome! My beta reader noticed, btw. It hadn't crossed my mind until she mentioned it.)

--Lexin 5 September 2005 08:03 (GMT)

Reply on: Just a few initial thoughts[edit]

It may be worth, in your instructions, reminding users that posting their sections to this system requires a degree of cosideration and planning. -- Lexin

I understand any new system can be a bit overwhelming, but really, it all a lot more simple than it may look at first glance.

Entering a chapter you can do in pretty much the same way as before, no more planning required. You click on an option link at the end of a thread (in this system 'empty' pages are easily recognizable by their red colour), and land on a page where you can enter your chapter.

Here you find one big text box rather than a collection of small boxes for your name, email, title, text, options. You can enter you name, email and a chapter title if you want to, but really, that's up to you. Then comes the chapter text; just paste it in from your word processor as you probably did before. Entering the options is a bit more complicated, but if you are unsure about the formatting you can paste in the example from Editing Help (see below the edit box).

And that's all you need to do. Of course you can include links to characters or locations, have bold or italic text, include images, tables, boxes, but really there's no need to do all of that. And besides, they can always be added later.

I'm not sure that we need to do much about the canon characters because the Encyclopedia Arda has that information -- Lexin

I agree with you on the character pages. From your words I gather that when you wrote your comments you hadn't yet seen the new header text on Characters. It was never our intention there should be in depth articles about characters, they're just meant to create a link between the chapters a character appears in. These pages are still very much a WIP...

my one real concern is the overview - that looks terribly easy to make a complete mess of -- Lexin

Yes, this is where the old system has its advantage over this one (you btw picked up very well on what we also think of as the main advantages of this system: the editing option and easy commenting).
However, it is quite easy to add new chapters; I added a how-to to the discussion tab of the overview page.

It should also be easier for users to comment, and to correct or point out minor errors either by edit or comment and to make suggestions. -- Lexin

We'll still have to figure out some sort of rules on what is ok to edit, and what is to be respected as the author's work alone. I reckon character pages should be free for anyone to edit and add to (as long as it is a meaningful change, of course; can’t just ruthlessly obliterate another user’s perfectly fine work, that would be terribly rude) but I don't know if I'd like anyone correcting my grammar in one of my chapters. That’s for me to do, thank you! Though technical edits, like making a character’s name into a link, that’s perfectly fine again.

Though that may be either a blessing or curse -- Lexin

And as for those comments you fear - I should think the same rules of decency apply here as when you provide feedback anywhere else. It is fine for your beta to point out your mistakes, that’s her job, but I’d think it inappropriate to do so -unasked- for anyone else - certainly in public.

--Admin 5 September 2005 09:57 (GMT)

And about the Watcher...[edit]

This is totally irrelevant, but well, I'm a beta-reader too and I can't switch it off either.

This, we know:

  • The Watcher in the Water has been sighted in a pool near the West-gate of Moria on 13 January 3019
  • There is an extended system of mines in Moria; we know they dug deep.
  • Water is subject to gravity, so unless water (from precipitation, groundwater, underground streams) is constantly pumped out (this is normal mining practice), or the mines are somehow sealed to be water tight (doubtful), lower level mine galleries can and will flood.

So isn't it reasonable to assume that somewhere in the vast tunnel system, there are some flooded tunnels? After all, in The Bridge of Khazad-dûm it reads: "the pool is up to the wall at Westgate. The Watcher in the Water took Óin" If the Watcher can do that, is it not also possible that he could somehow get into flooded tunnels? Who's to say the Watcher has been confined to that same pool for all his life?

Tolkien didn't say it, so I'd say that makes it's perfectly defendable to have the Watcher in a different location, not even AU. Tolkien only describes so much, we don't know what went on before or after the events he portrayed - we can only dream...

--Admin 5 September 2005 11:44 (GMT)

I shall[edit]

I shall point out your thoughts on the Watcher to my beta reader...she's the canon-queen. I think it perfectly logical that the Watcher could:

  • have a brother (or sister);
  • be on holiday; or
  • have travelled through the tunnels to avoid Gollum, with whom he has had a lovers' tiff;

--Lexin 5 September 2005 13:04 (GMT)


Eep! Watcher/Gollum!

Seriously though. There's a whole lot of blank space before, after, and in between canon. What is not written, is for us to make up. Only when you make up something that outright contradicts that what is written, you go into AU territory. (And not that that is a bad thing per se, just not my thing - if I can avoid it; but then again, sometimes it's well worth cheating a little...)

Many characters are mentioned only once or twice. We don’t know what they did the rest of their lives, where they were at any given time other than those described in the books. It's hardly reasonable to assume they stood frozen waiting for the fellowship to show up.

--Iris 5 September 2005 13:27 (GMT)

A suggestion[edit]

Lets start and author index too so we can search for chappies by the author's name.

I will be the first.

- Gabby aka Gab

later ...or have we already? I see Lexin seems to have a page as do admins

(face-palm) now there's something i should have thought of earlier! excellent idea gabby! i'll do the details tomorrow, create a link in the menu and all.

and btw, you get a page like lexin and admin when you create an account. then you can also create a 'watchlist' (list of favourite pages), and receive email notifications when pages are changed or updated

--Admin 8 September 2005 20:02 (GMT)

Have mercy on me if I screw this up. I'm still figuring it out through trial and error. Hi Iris! I like what you've done with the Wiki, it looks good. Glad to see you've gondorianized it w/ the white tree.


To Liz[edit]

Hi Liz!

No worries, you can't possibly screw this up. And if you do, you can just repair it yourself (go on, check the history tabs to see how many silly typos i have to correct before i can get anything right...).

Glad you like the tree - nicked it from Dream...

Still might do a complete make-over to make the wiki look like the other archive pages. As soon as I have the time for it...
Custom skin - first try

--Iris 9 September 2005 07:11 (GMT)

Update: worked on that skin: Though for now I haven't yet corrected for the mistakes some browsers make in interpreting cascading style sheets, so it only works in Firefox.

--Iris 12 September 2005 14:04 (GMT)

From Cyndra[edit]


Let me add my praise at the site. I like it. Especially how you don't have to use HTML codes to bold or add a horizontal lines between scenes like you had to on the other program.

It took some time to find my way around, but once you get the hang of things, it is simple.


Glad you like. I wrote a 'find your way around' guide in the help section. Will do a general clean-up before we switch over.

Now let's hope the slow summer season's over and we can get more people to write!

--Iris 12 September 2005 14:04 (GMT)

O.C. Character information and Posting[edit]

Can we write mini bios on OC's? Such as characters in Umbar, and those who interact with Marek and Faramir in the Harad story line that refuses to stop talking to me. <G>.

Also, posting a new chapter. If you make a mistake, can you go back in and re-edit without having to ask someone else to fix the problem? I can understand if you can't, but with this new system, I'm afraid I'm going to make some mistakes. I just don't want to bother people and make a nuisance of myself.


Reply on: O.C. Character information and Posting[edit]

Can we write mini bios on OC's?

Sure you can, many readers might well find that very helpful, but bear in mind that characters can develop differently in different threads (and should be able to do so).

Character X, sole heir to the throne of Khand in one thread -last of his line, so constantly under attack from rival families with royal aspirations- might well turn out to have a brother named Y in another thread, who tries to assassinate him for the same reason. If you then write in this bio that “Crown prince X has a younger brother called Y”, you’d also have to include somehow that this information applies to that second thread only, not the first.

So in the end, only the information given about a character in the first chapter in which he or she appears is valid throughout, because after that different authors can take him or her off into different directions. Of course you could, as soon as you introduce a new character, create such a bio with some basics. But be aware that, the more you lay down, the more you limit the creativity of other authors. For example, had anyone written even something simple and basic as “Prince X of Khand is an only child”, that second thread with the brother as contender might never have happened.

If you make a mistake, can you go back in and re-edit without having to ask someone else to fix the problem?

Yes, you can edit as much as you like. There's a 'Show Preview' button I would advise anyone to use before saving, but also after saving you can always come back and edit some more.

If you do come back to edit something small, say a typo or a small layout change, please tick the "This is a minor edit" box below the main editing window. Some people filter the Recent Changes list, or the email notifications they receive, to exclude minor edits (i.e. to only include major edits: edits with new text).

--Admin 3 October 2005 07:17 (GMT)


We've just had our first spammer - luckily one that created a new page and left the existing ones alone - but just to be safe, I'm protecting this page and some of the main help pages so only authorized accounts can edit them.

If you see room for improvement on any of the protected pages, just leave a note on the attached talk page.

--Admin 17 December 2005 14:14 (GMT)

New Chapters List[edit]

The block of new chapters is now formed dynamically (i.e. automatically) and lists the newest additions to the Chapters category.

Because I've added chapters to the category in the order in which they appear on the Overview page, at first this list will not show the newest chapters, but those near the bottom of the overview.

As soon as there are new chapters, they'll show up on this list. *Automatically*!

--Admin 18 January 2006 20:09 (GMT)