WikiProject talk:Themes

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Themes and scope

I've tried to open this discussion before, but I haven't gotten much of a response. How broad or narrow should our scopes be? As broad as First-Person Narrator? As narrow as Fritos?

Much as it amuses me to see that Big Bad World One, Screwed (demo), Code Monkey, Still Alive, and I'm Having a Party all have references to Cake, I do wonder if we wouldn't be better served (I didn't intend a pun, but I don't intend to change my wording, either) if we filed various comestibles under a category like Food or something.

At the same time, I have to wonder if First-Person Narrator is too broad, since it looks like the majority of the songs in the JoCoeuvre qualify. (Then we can make Third-Person Narrator, and Second-Person Narrator (A Talk with George, Creepy Doll) and No Narrative (Flickr).)

I do think we need to split the difference somehow, and I think we should try and figure out, if not a definition, at least a better statement of what can be a theme.

(Quick, unrelated question: Suppose JoCo writes a song called "Break-ups" or something. What happens to the Break-ups theme? Do we disambiguate it, or do we rename things, or what?) --Bry 14:49, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

I'm responsible for Fritos; I was grasping for a theme in I'm Having a Party, and I missed cake. I'd be willing to nuke Fritos in favor of cake, which seems to be a more valid theme (it comes up much more than one would expect, and long before Portal).
I actually went through and characterized the narrative voice and gender of characters for all the JoCo songs a while back (personal project, long story). It's not worth noting as a theme, IMHO, chiefly for the reason you note, though it might be worth noting in some other way. The typical JoCo song has a first person narrator, but the narrator addresses some other person in the song, and it's often clear that the listener is effectively eavesdropping on one side of a conversation (between Tom and Bob, between Charon and Pluto, between a squid and the people on the ship...). That's really too common to be noteworthy. It merits analysis, in the same way that meter and rhyme or key and time signature merit analysis. In the short term, it belongs in the trivia... if it's noteworthy (e.g.Creepy Doll is unusual for being second person, and JoCo has said in concerts that it's done to enhance the creepiness). In the long term, we might put such information in SongDetails. That seems to be the right place for things that can be described for pretty much every song. -mtgordon 21:07, 9 May 2008 (EDT)

Format of individual theme pages

Right now, each page is its own regular page, like Zombies, for example. However, this doesn't let us get the song pages included automatically.

The point to not using individual categories for themes is:

  1. A pain to link to, such as [[:Template:Zombies|Zombies]].
  2. Shows up at the bottom of the page, which duplicates what's already in the Themes section of the page.

My idea is to make a template called Theme, which contains: [[Category:{{{1}}}]][[:Template:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]]. This will make every page that includes it also include Template:{{{1}}}. Also, it will generate a link (without the "Category:") to the theme page. To use it , just type {{Theme|Zombies}}. What do you guys think?

Wesley 19:34, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

I'll try to get this working. Specifically, I'll be making Category:Robots, Template:Theme, and I'll be modifying The Future Soon or the JoCopedia:Sandbox. (If this doesn't work out, I won't be able to delete the first two pages, so this is mainly here to document which steps need to be backtracked :) Wesley 19:43, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
Looks like the idea of hidden categories doesn't exist in this version of MediaWiki[1], so there's no way to address point 2. In that case, I don't think it's that worthwhile to go to all this trouble and end up with uglier song pages. Can any mod/admin help me out and delete Category:Robots? Wesley 20:23, 27 April 2008 (EDT)
I like it, Wesley. The only two things I truly want out of the Themes is 1) Automatic inclusion and 2) No interference with the Categories on the bottom. If your template does that, then it works for me. --MitchO 11:52, 1 May 2008 (EDT)
The best thing is if we could get a wikibot to automatically add song pages to the relevant theme pages. Now how do we find someone who can write one of those... --Lex (talk - contribs) 16:57, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

Suggested themes

As you all know, I'm too lazy to carry out all the ideas that I come up with, and too stupid to know whether they're even worth the effort, so I'll suggest a few themes that I fear may be too broad but I think might be plausible. If you like them, go ahead and make them, I suppose. --Bry 01:28, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

To avoid overloading the RFC category, I won't expressly RFC this yet. --Bry 01:28, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

From the main page:

I want to add one but I don't know how to sum it up succintly. In one interview JoCo said that a lot of his songs were about (traditionally) hideous or monstrous-type beings who are searching for love or self-worth (grossly paraphrased), and I suppose a lot of the above sort of cover this but since he mentioned it as a theme it might be nice to do something with, think Just As Long As Me, I Crush Everything, Better, Skullcrusher Mountain, The Future Soon etc etc. Unrequired Love doesn't entirely cut it for me in this regard as it ignore the monster aspect ^_^ ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 12:05, 29 April 2008

Well, I understand that there are potentially more general type themes (like JoCo's own "Sad", "Funny" and "Sad/Funny", but as you say, I don't know how we can be succinct about something .. bigger .. like that. I'm thinking that at least we need a generic "Love" category, and maybe at least we can go literal and have "Giant Monsters"? --MitchO 20:15, 28 April 2008 (EDT)
Yeah or "Monsterous Beings" which would cover those not giant :P ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 12:19, 29 April 2008
"Misfits"? --Bry 23:37, 1 May 2008 (EDT)

Bry, the list is for "created Themes", not suggested ones. The only self-loathing I can think of off hand is I Crush Everything, but if you can come up with a Theme, I'd say go for it. The issue I'm going to have with a lot of the "negative emotion" ones is that there will be a lot of overlap, and I'd rather not spam the Themes section of a song with "Love", "Unrequited Love", "Sadness", "Self Loathing", "Depression", etc etc ... then you'd have to add the reader to the "Depression" section. :p --MitchO 10:19, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

Oops, missed that, sorry, Mitch. I think it's okay as long as they're very specific ones - "sadness" is too broad, "self-loathing" perhaps too narrow (but perhaps "low self-esteem" -- at least 25% of JoCo songs wouldn't be covered, I guess). By the way, should all this go on the talk page? --Bry 10:34, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

I've created a bunch of new themes, some of them being significant recurring themes (break-ups, work), others being a bit of a stretch (Fritos). The set of themes is sufficiently small that I don't think it's causing too much confusion yet. I'm not going to create any one-off themes; I always have at least two songs in mind when I create a new theme. -mtgordon 17:11, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Shouldn't Themes be Categories?

Then each song which had the themes could be added automatically to the Categories page. That seems to fit the wiki format better imo. If yes, is it a job for a bot? ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 12:28, 06 May 2008

Well, the initial theory (which I think got some agreement?) was that we didn't want the themes intermingled with the categories on the bottom on the page. It could look like Categories: Songs | Cover songs | Revenge | Unrecorded songs | Insanity | Monkeys, which IMO is messy. The hope is once we get a decent amount of themes under our belt, we'd also hopefully be a little more automated, which would allow us to maybe find themes and put them on the proper page? I like that Themes is it's own page, with a group, and not mingled with the Categories. It's certainly still debatable at this point though. --MitchO 20:49, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Hmm I spose it does look messy-ish but thats wikis imo. That's how I'd expect it to be. I wonder if it's possible to have another row like Categories: but that is Themes: and a new namespace for them rather than them just being in the main namespace.
So at the bottom of a page it would have two bars, Themes: and Categories: and the themes pages would behave like Categories. That way the linking back is automated and its all tidy at the bottom in the wiki format. Might be a question for Lex ^_^ ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 12:54, 06 May 2008
Well, higher up on the page, Wesley said that he couldn't find a way to suppress a Category. I would theorize that would also mean you can't shunt some to a different box, but it's worth asking. Wes? Lex? You guys reading? --MitchO 21:06, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
I guess what I mean, is a whole new instance of Category, called Theme... It's probably not possible but I can dream ^_^ ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 01:17, 06 May 2008

Just as a follow up, I checked our "spiritual father Wiki": This Might Be a Wiki, and they do themes this way. Check out this theme (which is an awesome theme title, btw). --MitchO 22:24, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Very nice. I think that's a good compromise. Thoughts on implementing that here? ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 02:39, 06 May 2008
Well, other than the the Central Theme and Briefly Mentioned sections on the Theme pages themselves, I would think that *is* how we implemented it here. They have a page that's under the Category:Song Themes (ours is just called Themes), and it's on the song page listed in the middle of the song page. --MitchO 22:47, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
True. I've always been looking at WikiProject:Themes not Category:Themes. My only concern is that, for example, the pages listed on Break-ups are not necessarily all the pages where the Break-ups theme is linked. Categories solve that headache. My 2c over. ~ Percephene ~ talk contribs 02:56, 06 May 2008
Or a bot. Wesley, you listening? Hint hint :P --Lex (talk - contribs) 06:17, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
I'll look into it ;) — Wesley | 07:19, 6 May 2008 (EDT)