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Forums: Village pump → Infobox images, part 2

For the original (but differently-focused) discussion on infobox images, see Forum:Infobox images

Those of you active on Discord have probably seen, or been part of, the discussion with regards to the images used for major characters in infoboxes. To wit: for characters who have appeared across multiple works, in significantly different states, how should we represent them? The two main viewpoints seem to be that we go with either the most recent iteration of the character, or the most notable iteration of the character. The former has the benefit of being purely objective, but the latter would seem to create greater resonance with viewers.

This is a discussion that has become significantly more important given the Shadowlands expansion, as the most recent version of a character could potentially be wildly different than previous ones. This isn't so much about, for example, whether we show Jaina's Battle for Azeroth outfit or her WarCraft 3 outfit; to use a specific example that was brought up, it's about whether Uther's infobox would be him as a living paladin in his prime, or him as a winged forsworn kyrian.

I'm starting this Forum post because the discussion on Discord has demonstrated that this is an issue about which people have pretty strong opinions, and is important enough to the wiki that it should probably be a codified guideline, but we apparently do not already have one. For my own part I lean towards the more subjective "more notable" argument, but I don't feel particularly strongly; I'll go with whatever the consensus is, but I think it's important that we do agree on a standard that we can point at going forward. -- Dark T Zeratul (talk) 20:51, 4 October 2020 (UTC)

Hmm, I can understand the prime pic having a certain value, but I lean more towards the "most recent look" pic, just like the Uther example. HordeRace bloodelf male.jpg Mordecay (talk) 21:13, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
I feel like the infobox picture should potentially when they were at their most influential. Houndmaster Loksey isn't important as a random soul in Shadowlands, he's still kinda relevant as a Scarlet Monastery boss, so the infobox picture should be him as a Scarlet Monastery boss, excepted if we ever create a "(strategy)" page for him Xporc (talk) 21:17, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Yeah if we go with "most recent", then we would have to swap Houndmaster Loksey's infobox picture for a picture of a random, generic soul model, when we should stick with his living appearance.
I think going with what they looked like when they were still alive (or undead), before they became a soul, could be enough. So Loksey would keep his living appearance, Uther would use his paladin picture, Sylvanas would use her undead (Shadowlands) model, etc. This is already how we do it on most pages (for example, we weren't using the translucent Uther soul picture on Uther's page, or Terenas' page, we were using their "alive and well" appearances).
But I would also be fine with doing it on a case-by-casis basis, and decide for each page what picture would suit it best. Only problem with this approach is that there wouldn't be a global policy. -- — MyMindWontQuiet 21:28, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
My view is that it'd be better to stick to the most recent iteration. The same way the text should accurately describe the current lore, the main image on the article should show what the character is currently like (to use the Uther example, while he's best known as the first paladin, mentor of Arthas, etc., what his character is about right now is that he's a Forsworn in Bastion). I don't think it's up to the editors of a fansite to decide what the most iconic or popular iteration of a character is; we should try to represent Blizzard's characters the same way the devs choose to represent them, and then readers can form their own opinions. In cases like Uther and Draka, they haven't been relevant in the world of the living for years but will play important roles in Shadowlands, so for the next couple of years that's the version of those characters that will be most relevant and important.
Obviously, however, there are cases where this rule wouldn't be optimal, like Loksey or any other characters who show up with the generic soul model in Shadowlands. In those cases it's probably better to show what they looked like in life when they had a unique appearance and weren't just identical to millions of other souls in the cosmos. It's probably best to handle on a case-by-case basis rather than striving for 100% consistency for consistency's sake and making it a rule that every page has to follow, but I think it's better if the general, default guideline is to use the most current appearance, at least for major characters with unique models. -- IconSmall TrollDeathKnight Male.gif DeludedTroll (talkcontribs) 21:30, 4 October 2020 (UTC)

wall of text cuz passion lmao

Wowpedia is a historical archive. It is by no means an extremely important archive in some real world sense, but it is an archive of current live realities and past realities of the game, as well as the narrative progression for the game and each major character as the years go by. Wowpedia is primarily used by Lore Nerds such as us, Warcraftlore Reddit, Story Forum, WoW Social Media Circles like Ishura (Queen_Ishura on Twitter, maintains Warcraft Lore Archives on Tumblr) and Nobbel (Youtube and Twitter) etc, Lore Noobs such as people who like the lore and want to get into it, Roleplayers who use the Lore to create their own histories, and Players Otherwise who dabble into the lore on occasion.

Wowpedia has two aspects to it, the Technical Function of the wiki and the Community Impact of the wiki. The Technical Function is the “raw” archive. A series of quests and books and otherwise that gets compiled into pages. We are materially the archivists. Blizzard creates the “history” to be sure, it is their story, but it is us who are compiling and interpreting it as part of the playerbase. The Community Impact of the wiki regards how the information is presented upon compilation, to be read by the aforementioned groups. The presentation also involves a visual dimension, which the Infobox Image is the FIRST encounter with that character within the wowpedia. For the same reason that the textual information should be as clear and concise as possible, the image must demonstrate the character in their truth.

I believe that the image of the Infobox should not be the most recent iteration but rather the most impactful/narrative height iteration. Narrative height I am defining as the moment of this character’s Warcraft History that is the reason why a portion of the playerbase roots for or automatically recognizes the character. It is the moments of that character’s history that explains why that character is important to the playerbase, as well as moments that make us go “Fuck Yeah”, “Damn”, “Oh Shit”, etc. These moments are obvious; they are not some extremely arcane subjective science as others claim.

In contrast, the general rule for Most Recent Iteration runs into many problems: Eg 1) Houndmaster Loksey: His most recent iteration in shadowlands is a Generic Revendreth Soul. Obviously anyone would say, of course the image should stay the same, using the Houndmaster’s artwork. The reason for this being ignored is because that artwork demonstrates the narrative height of that character. Eg 2) Jaina: Her most recent iteration is not the cinematic screenshot currently used that is from the end of the Alliance Campaign in BFA, where Jaina is triumphant against Lady Ashvane after becoming Lord Admiral (a moment of Narrative Height), but the most recent iteration of Jaina we see is where she is worried during the Saurfang Cinematic before Mok’Gora against Sylvanas, or alternatively when Baine gives Derek back to Jaina. It is obvious that screenshot was used over equally FUNCTIONALLY EQUIVALENT screenshots because it demonstrates a moment of narrative height. Eg 3) Kael’thas: The artwork shown demonstrates Kael’thas in Outlands with his 3 Verdant Spheres and Al’ar, with a manaforge in the background. Alternatively, we could be using Wretched Kael’thas, with a verdant sphere in his chest, or Shirtless Chained Kael’thas when we rescue him from Castle Nathria, or Uncorrupted Penitent Kael’thas when we undo what Denathrius did to him in Revendreth. None of these represent Kael’thas at his core; in fact, when we are helping the accuser purge sins from his soul, his soul’s “image” of itself is the same as the artwork shown in the current page.

The visual/aesthetic aspect of the narrative presentation in our small archive cannot be overstated. The image of the infobox should be of a character’s “narrative height” that most Lore Nerds or RPers were to recreate if they were asked to draw the character in their most core/central depiction. It is no different than how on Wikipedia, historical figures are depicted via clear but iconic poses and motifs, such as Che Guevara, or Hitler, or Charles V Holy Roman Emperor, or whatever. World of Warcraft is not growing, it is dying. Player retention and new player gain has been difficult for Blizzard. Wowpedia is a small way in which interest to World of Warcraft can be instilled, inspired, and maintained, and that is done in part via the visual presentation (ie the character infobox image) Baalqliphoth (talk) 21:32, 4 October 2020 (UTC)