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The ColonelThe Colonel 15 Jan 2020 11:12
in discussion Meta Forums / Per page discussions » Mark Of Cain

For reference I got a "you have saved a draft copy, do you want to edit this or edit the original" message - so if I have wrecked anyone else's edits I'm sorry. There was no reference to any edit lock.

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 15 Jan 2020 11:12

I really debated whether to:
make this bare-bones mildly redundant page so that he could come up in character lists and random generators,
just make it a redirect page to the article about Tubal and his brothers,
or just go change the link that was pointing at Tubal-Cain so that it pointed at The Sons Of Cain Invent Technology.

I went with the version that populates random generators, but I'm not sure it was the right way to handle it. Oh well.

Hmmm. by r_b_bergstromr_b_bergstrom, 15 Jan 2020 08:44

Just sharing an opinion here, you're welcome to disagree. I feel that the footnote function on the site is at best a double-edged sword.

At times it can be helpful to tuck a small note away at the bottom of the page rather than have it disrupt the flow of a paragraph. Footnotes definitely have their place, and I wouldn't call for an all out ban. In fact, I use them myself every so often.

That said, I think we collectively tend to over-use them. I frequently encounter two problems that footnotes cause:

  1. They make it harder for other users to edit the page you made.
    • 1A) If someone wants to edit something that's in a footnote, they have to hunt all over the page to figure out where the thing they're trying to edit is buried.
    • 1B) If someone wants to edit something that's not in a footnote but is in a heavily-footnoted paragraph, it still raises the difficulty of that edit. It's harder to get a sense for the flow of a sentence you're editing if that sentence is broken up into two or three pieces by lengthy footnotes.
  2. The footnotes at the bottom of the page lack context. But if they catch your eye, trying to figure out where on the page above that footnote is anchored can be perplexingly difficult, and often that missing context is highly important to the meaning of the footnote.

Personally, when I'm using Arcanawiki, I don't always read articles exhaustively. Sometimes I skim them quickly looking for the most useful nuggets, especially if I've followed a quick link from another page that was the main topic I had intended to read about. Sometimes I refer back for a refresher on an article I'd read months ago that has recently become relevant to my campaign. There are also a few beloved pages that I follow and check in on regularly whenever the site notifies me that someone has added more information or cool new ideas to them. In all those cases, a cryptic sentence fragment in a footnote at the bottom of the page has astounding powers to derail me. :)

I would encourage my fellow users to avoid using footnotes in situations where the potentially-footnoted-statement could just as easily be demarcated with parenthesis. If the thing you were planning to put in a footnote would work just fine as a new sentence in the main text, please consider doing that instead.

Likewise, when using footnotes, I would encourage my fellow editors to consider whether or not the footnote makes sense when encountered without context at the bottom of the page. Cryptic incomplete-sentence footnotes can sometimes be rendered completely intelligible by just adding one or two extra words. If that's the case, please phrase them so that they make sense when read on their own. If doing so would cause the footnote to greatly grow in length, then please consider whether or not the article would be better served by the footnote becoming it's own paragraph or sub-section of the article, rather than a displaced snippet.

Thank you for considering this suggestion. I realize it's entirely possible these are just my pet peeves, but I really do feel like footnotes can at time be problematic, especially on longer articles or when an article of more modest length has more than 2 or 3 footnotes.

The ColonelThe Colonel 28 Oct 2019 21:12
in discussion Meta Forums / Per page discussions » Three Ladies

I did wonder what was going on…

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 28 Oct 2019 21:12

Just FYI: Over at TV Tropes Wiki they've broken out Three Faces of Eve, The Hecate Sisters, The Weird Sisters and Three Successful Generations into their own pages. Noticed earlier tonight that we had some dead links to Hecate Sisters, so I built that page… and I did so before noticing we already had some related content here under Three Ladies. *shrug* It's a little redundant having two rather similar pages, but seems better than merging it all together and losing what makes the slightly different versions distinct. I put a link on the two pages to connect them for anyone wanting to be thorough.

Has anyone got that quote from Zulu about Cetshwayo having a regiment of "young girls, warriors" … called something pronounced ripeyajanood…? Seems appropriate but that's clearly not a Zulu word as written and I can't find it anywhere in writing…

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 29 Sep 2019 00:24

Prior to today, this page made the assertion that there were only two types of centaurs - normal centaurs and onocentaurs. Classical Greek art is full of ichthyocentaurs, and the myths made various subdivisions as well. Cyprian centaurs had horns. Lamian centaurs were water spirits (but were distinct from ichthyocentaurs, if I'm understanding things correctly). So I'm updating our page to match and recognize that reality.

I'm about to start a campaign set in the Old West, and I wanted to know which "Indian Wars" were ongoing in the era of my game. Since I was looking that up, I figured I'd quickly add a little section to this page listing all the wars the US had been in. I naively thought this would be about 30 entries.

I have rarely been so amazed at my own ignorance. Two days later, I had over 120 wars. So I moved them to their own page.

What a can of worms by r_b_bergstromr_b_bergstrom, 05 Sep 2019 18:14

If that is your weapon of choice, then it certainly does reveal something about your personality. ;)

Isn't this a euphemism for penis?

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 03 Sep 2019 22:20

Yeah - not a problem from my POV. I've just done the web check myself and was surprised that it wasn't common knowledge - the only obvious reference I could track down was:
…which is a Reubens painting of the myth…

Still, even if we typed the whole article contradicting one another in l33t it would make more sense that the religions in most fRPGs.

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 31 Aug 2019 23:07

As I said, I'm no expert, but I don't remember there being anything along those lines. A quick check of Wikipedia (not the best source, I know, but it's quick) shows that neither the "Rhea Silvia" page nor the "Founding of Rome" page nor the "Mars (mythology)" page make any mention of him raping anyone, nor any stories of him lying about having sex. The Mars page there does relate the the Ares & Aphrodite sleeping around behind Hephaestus' back factoid, and says that there are several instances of Roman art of Mars and Venus together, with the implication that the Greek version of that tale had some traction in Rome. And someone added their Mars page to the category of "mythological rapists" on wikipedia, but whoever did so didn't put any actual mention of who he may of raped anywhere on the page. …but then the "Rhea Silvia" page says that she was forced into being a Vestal Virgin against her will, and the "Founding of Rome" page says that the father of Romulus and Remus may have been either Mars or Hercules. Clear as mud.

Anyway, like I said I don't really feel like the page needs to me rewritten or edited. I am fine with it the way it was, because even if my understanding is correct (and I might well be completely wrong about it), your write-up was interesting (I mean that in a good way). I just kind of wanted to append the contradictory view point to the discussion section so that if someone was puzzled by this page disagreeing with the content of other related pages, they might be able to read up on a possible explanation of the contrast without having to search elsewhere outside of arcanawiki.

Let's face it, it's classical mythology: there's bound to be contradictions, apocryphal variants, gnostic inner-mysteries, and bisociation a plenty. We are, after all, talking about public domain characters with over 2,000 years of history (and fan-fic), not a single official canonical version that one can honestly refute definitively.

Heh. It was in a footnote already. Mind you, didn't the Roman Mars knock up a vestal virgin and then lie about it (hence Romulus and Remus)? Or is that post-interpretatio modification of a later myth?

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 30 Aug 2019 08:54

Yeah … I guess that in itself gives us a new layer of complexity: do we look at a primitive, numenistic Mars or the post-interpretatio one (bloody thing keeps autocorrecting me to interpretation)? I've found it difficult in a lot of cases to get anything about Roman history to acknowledge the historical changes … I'll take a crack at one of my dreadful footnotes.

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 30 Aug 2019 08:47

The ideas/suggestions/inspiration this page gives in regards to Mars (mythology) and how you might make a complicated deity for your campaign world are pretty great. I really like this page. That said, the actual factual information the page lists about Mars (mythology) is sort of wrong, I think. I'm no expert, so I could be mistaken, but my understanding is that Mars as the Romans worshipped him before annexing Greece into their empire was NOT a rapist or bloodthirsty. He was a god of duty, patriotism, and protection, with a minor agricultural theme due to his parentage and his role as stable provider, but was for the most part totally lacking in mythic tales of his deeds. Mars was originally a more or less just a disembodied ideal to be aspired to. Many of the Roman gods were like this in their earliest incarnation.

Ares, on the other hand, was a hot-headed, violent, sometimes craven, jerk from pretty much his inception in Greek myth. He was mostly a disruptive figure often doing immoral or unfortunate things throughout the body of Greek myth.

It was only after the Romans spread into Greece and were exposed to both the Greek's significant body of myth, and the Greeks existing habit of assimilating other's myths and gods into their own beliefs (see Interpretatio Graeca) that the Romans said "hey, we could do that, too". So they ported over the already highly-successful mythic tales of Greece and ran a "find & replace" algorithm to swap Ares out for Mars. (Take that with a grain of anachronistic salt.) This effectively rendered many of Ares disruptive traits onto Mars thereafter, but my understanding is the Romans still made some sort of distinction between their Mars and the Greek version. Like "this is the real Mars" and "that is what those silly foreigners think Mars is like. They're wrong, but their stories sure are a good read!" At least, that's my understanding of the situation. It's not like I was there, and I certainly don't have a degree in any of this. It's just a thing I read in a couple of books.

Anyhow, I'm not sure that distinction really matters in the context of this page. I may be just splitting ares here, if you'll forgive the pun. You could not know this factoid about Ares and Mars, and still get tons of cool inspiration for your game based on the version of things said on the page. It's fairly pedantic of me to even point it out, but seeing as how this page disagrees with some of our other pages on the topic, it seemed like a caveat worth at least mentioning in the discussion section of this page. So if anyone read several conflicting pages on this wiki and wondered "what the heck is actually going on with this Mars guy," they'd be able to dig a little deeper and get some perspective. The pages contradict each other, and I think it's the other pages rather than this one that get those finer points correct… but the broader point made on this page that "real-world myths and religions are complicated and nuanced, and mostly-good Gods can be still sometimes be kinda evil" is spot-on, so I don't want to excise those excellent bits from the page. This way we get the best of both worlds, as befits the subject matter.

</ soapbox rant>

Now we just need someone who knows Australia well enough to create another "New World" entry for them … not as big as the Columbian Exchange but certainly interesting.

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 27 Aug 2019 08:58

Read a bit more to refresh myself. The L4 and L5 points (where a Trojan Planet would exist) are generally considered much more stable positions than the L3 where a Counter-Earth might potentially exist. Trojans are most likely relatively common in our galaxy, but counters are probably rare and somewhat self-destructive. At least that's my understanding.

L3 is less stable by r_b_bergstromr_b_bergstrom, 06 Aug 2019 23:44

I'm no astronomer either, but it appears that is the case. It's certainly related enough for the purposes of our little wiki. I just googled "Lagrange Point Diagram" and the classic "counter-earth" position is typically labeled L3, while the Trojan Planet positions are L4 and L5. I will adjust the Trojan Planet page to reflect this information, and include a link. Thanks for pointing it out.

(Extra credit: L1 and L2 are in a line with L3 and the Sun and Earth, but much closer to the earth than the other higher-numbered Lagrange Points.)

The ColonelThe Colonel 24 Jul 2019 10:31
in discussion Meta Forums / Per page discussions » Trojan Planet

Does this relate to the idea of a counter-earth (or equivalent)? As I understand it, it's possible for two planets to occupy the same orbit on opposite sides of their primary as well as the 60' ahead and 60' behind … but I'm no astronomer…

(and yes, I know there's not actually a counter-earth out there in our own solar system…)

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 24 Jul 2019 10:31
The ColonelThe Colonel 22 Jul 2019 14:38
in discussion Meta Forums / Per page discussions » Riot

Added the extra categories - in summary anyway.
Might be missing something, but it feels to me like we are reasonably well tied to the wiki article.
When de-stubbing the article I tried to aim it at a fairly objective position - that rioting was an often understandable but almost never productive response to social stress. We had an attempted drive-by politicisation from someone who seemed to like the idea of rioting, so I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the "whiff of grapeshot" tendency turn up eventually as well.
Certainly for gaming purposes the "rioting makes things worse" would seem to be the most viable position - but then I have been on a Deus Ex marathon recently…

by The ColonelThe Colonel, 22 Jul 2019 14:38
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