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Increasingly, and especially with episodes and films where we can see new details obscured by the lower resolution, the reference blocks have become unwieldy and cumbersome. Some of them have literally fell into the hole known as the TL; DR chasm. I looked at the Memory Beta website, where I noticed that they categorized the references. I suggest that we do this here, with the reference block being divided into sections. These sections would have as their headings category names. Like, 101 California Street would fall under "Earth landmarks". When an article has more than one category, I suggest that we go with the category that most closely identifies the term.Throwback (talk) 23:34, October 4, 2013 (UTC)

I'd like to see an example before discussing this, because I'm not sure how that really works out with many "headings" each having just a few entries. Can you copy an especially "unwieldy" reference block from an episode article to this page and then edit it as suggested? --Cid Highwind (talk) 23:39, October 4, 2013 (UTC)

For those entries that have a small number, I would think that those entries would fall under the heading of "Other". The question is, what is that small number? Is it three, ten, or some other number?Throwback (talk) 23:42, October 4, 2013 (UTC)

Well... Give an example, and we'll see if it works. --Cid Highwind (talk) 23:49, October 4, 2013 (UTC)
I'd like to see the references section actually include all references from the episode or film first before trying to categorize things. -- sulfur (talk) 23:54, October 4, 2013 (UTC)

I am working on the fourth movie. I am including all references seen in that block.Throwback (talk) 23:58, October 4, 2013 (UTC)

I'm not opposed, necessarily, though I haven't made up my mind yet. But I do have a number of "Random Thoughts" to offer.
  • There's plenty of pages where this isn't a problem, and in fact there's rather few references. Maybe it would be best if we only only start doing this once that section reaches a certain size. Otherwise the references section might look very bloated, having lots of categories taking up lots of vertical space, yet each only containing a few references.
  • It seems worth pointing out that we already have a primitive version of categorization sometimes, as seen for example in "Conspiracy" or "Projections".
  • In fact, if I may just throw out an idea (not necessarily advocating this), that gave me an idea for an alternative system: maybe we could separate references that were said in dialogue from stuff that was not, ie stuff read on labels or things like a horse seen but not mentioned to be one by the characters. (I've seen that distinction made before (in philosophical discussions on canon), so it's not exactly a random division I just came up with)
  • Also worth pointing out is that Wookiepedia also uses this system. (and maybe there's more wikis, I dunno) We might want to look at that example too once we get to the point of having to decide which categories to establish. -- Capricorn (talk) 00:49, October 5, 2013 (UTC)
I would think using "lower level" (or "higher level" depending on if you view tree as growing up rather than down) categories to break these down would be a bad idea, in that "Earth landmarks" is highly specialized when compared to just "locations". The most general category should be used first. That said, breaking down large reference sections based on how the content of them was referenced could simply be the easier way to go there. - Archduk3 03:47, October 5, 2013 (UTC)
It seems like Throwback has gone through with changing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as an example, and while I'm sorry for all the work I've let him do by suggesting it could be handled that way, I'm afraid I actually think its not that much of an improvement. -- Capricorn (talk) 17:27, October 8, 2013 (UTC)
I can see some benefit to the method used in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but at the same time, perhaps (hidden?) categories right on the articles to indicate their specific source (ie dialogue, visual identification, LCARS screen, etc) might be worthwhile instead. -- sulfur (talk) 17:32, October 8, 2013 (UTC)
Can we discuss this before extending it to other articles (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for example)? First, I think it is a little strange how this went straight from "categorization" to "division by type of reference" - not because one would necessarily have been better than the other, but because it now looks as if a specific partitioning has never been the goal, just some partitioning. If that is the case, I wonder how having three huge blocks is so much better than having one enormous block. :Second, what I don't quite like about this way of structuring references is that it puts information in the wrong place. Basically, if we think it important to know if object X was seen or "just" mentioned, we should put that information on article X (for example in its episode list, or in a completely new, to be determined section/subpage/discussion area/...). In that regard, sulfurs suggestion of hidden categories sounds nice at first, but would probably not work well for things that have been mentioned in one, but seen in another episode.
Third and last but not least, I wonder what everyone thinks what the "reference block" is for, anyway. When we first started doing those, it was mostly meant as a quick way of getting episode articles linked to objects they "contain", so that better connections (referencing the objects in the episode article text; using eplinks on the objects' page) could be established later. Basically, it was meant to be an intermediate help for editors, but never something that readers should have to rely on directly. Do you think this has changed, and do you think it is sensible to put that much work into editing ~750 episode and film articles? -- Cid Highwind (talk) 08:49, October 9, 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Cid that we are certainly not at a point where this can be rolled out to the wider wiki. And if further experiment were to be made, maybe it would be better if that was done on a temporal copy of the page for demonstration purposes rather then the page itself. I think the mentioned or "just" seen categorization makes some sense in that it helps users that want to track down the reference know where to look. Though when visual stuff is easy to miss, we already often adres that by adding a note on where it was approach, which I think is an excellent thing. I have to stress though, when I proposed it that was just a bit of blue sky thinking I threw out there, and I think it shouldn't be the only route to explore. -- Capricorn (talk) 16:16, October 9, 2013 (UTC)