Talk:Index of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition monsters

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More books[edit]

Many 1E AD&D game books have featured monsters over the years, and listed below are only just a few! If you want to add the templates to any of these books and move them to the main list page, feel free!  :)

  • TSR 2013 - Deites & Demigods (1980) (scattered throughout the book) - ISBN 0-935696-22-9 (include notes on the Cthulhu and Melnibonean monsters that were eliminated from later printings.)
  • TSR 2018 - Oriental Adventures (1985) (p115-128) - ISBN 0-88038-099-3
  • TSR 2021 - Dragonlance Adventures (1987) (p73-80) - ISBN 0-88038-452-2
  • TSR 2022 - Manual of the Planes (1987) (p120-123) - ISBN 0-88038-399-2
  • TSR 2023 - Greyhawk Adventures (1988) (p20-34) - ISBN 0-88038-649-5

Copyright question[edit]

This article was brought to AFD on 2 May 2012, with part of the nominator's contention being that it constituted a copyright violation. After some discussion of the issue, the AFD was closed based on the possibility that it may be a copyvio, and that we should be cautious. I brought the close to DRV to further discussion the copyvio issue, and after a significant amount of discussion the AFD closer agreed that the close should be overturned, which was the consensus of the DRV.

Naturally, Wikipedia is sensitive to concerns of copyright, and for good reason. Those, like myself, who feel that this list does not violate copyright and should not be deleted for that reason, feel we have good reason to feel that way. Those who are concerned that this list may constitute a copyright violation also have good reason to feel the way they do. AFD, DRV, and article talk pages may not be the best venue to discuss these larger issues, but I feel that this might be a good place to discuss what can be done with this article to be certain that it no longer violates any copyright, if it ever truly did. BOZ (talk) 23:13, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Would removing the Description col be enough? In lieu of the description we can link to the monster description on WP from mythology. IE Medusa, Minotaur... Web Warlock (talk) 00:31, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
That's an interesting idea. I could see switching out the "description" column for a "notes" column; this could list things such as the mythological or other inspiration, and for things like giants/dragons/etc we can keep the listing of what subtypes are in the book. BOZ (talk) 01:46, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
The reason this list is a copyright concern is strictly that it lists all creatures within the book, a list that was created creatively by TSR to fill out their world. As such, just removing the descriptions will not help.
One approach is simply to trim this list to only those monsters that have their own articles (notable monsters). That gets around the copyright but not incredibly useful.
The other approach and one that gets around the copyright problem and retains all the monsters is to create a single master list of Monsters in D&D, irregardless of book or edition - this is equivalent to the justification for why we have the List of Pokemon, since they're taken across multiple disparate works released at different times. This list can use a single column to identify the origin of the creature (which edition/book it was added) or use multiple columns to say which editions the creature is present in. An optional method on this is again to limit this to just notable monsters, but this is not required. I would also argue that in cases of monsters of the same "type" (read: dragons as in the current list) that only the core type need to be listed. --MASEM (t) 16:22, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a good idea, because there is also List of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition monsters, which breaks things down into every single separate book that was released for that edition. If copying lists like that is a problem, that page is not going to pass muster either. Merging both lists together, listing every single monster in one big list, and then adding a column with the books it was included in, could be the best solution, especially in light of the fact that there are no lists for the 3rd or 4th editions. We could actually end up adding information to Wikipedia in the process. :) Torchiest talkedits 16:37, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
And if that overall list grows long, it would be acceptable to split to alphasections (A-M, N-Z or however best). Again, from a discussion on NFC, the list of pokemon are determined to be not a list copyright problem, so if you can mirror something like that here for D&D, the less the issue it becomes. --MASEM (t) 17:10, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I've been thinking about creating a big "master" list like that for some time - the main thing keeping me from getting to it is, MAN that would be a lot of work. ;) It could be done though, just would take several hours to get it together. And it would be easier to break up (alphabetically most likely) than an edition list; just take a peek at how big the 2nd edition monsters list is! We would have to break up a list like that or it would be ridiculous. BOZ (talk) 17:15, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Haha, yes, it is a gargantuan task, no doubt. I think we should preemptively assume we'll need to break it down into at least two alphabetized sub-lists to make the page size reasonable. Then we could begin one list from A, and the other from Z working backward, and keep them both at similar sizes. If they get too big, we pull the middle section out and make a third sub-list. But this is definitely something that would benefit from some planning and division of labor. I'm willing to help. Torchiest talkedits 17:20, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
My suggestion, only having done it myself, is to make sure to get agreement on what the table format will be like. Obviously you'll have monster name, but how will you handle editions? Do you want things sortable? Once you know exactly what you want to build the table, you can easily create the framework within a spreadsheet and export to wikimarkup text. --MASEM (t) 17:24, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
As I have already explained in the DRV, I do not think that a list with all monsters in a book without descriptions is a copyright violation. However, I think the idea of organizing the monsters alphabetically instead of according to book is a good one. But when we have to split, do we really want to split into alphasections instead of according to edition, like we already successfully have? Anyway, I would really like to keep subtypes, which in some cases construe a lot of material, though it could be argued if they fit better below the type or singly in alphabetical order (or both?). Clarifying table setup beforehand I support strongly.
By the way, there already are lists for 3rd and 4th edition monsters (and more).
Lastly I do not want to sound pessimistic, but are we sure we can defeat the claim of such a list being WP:GAMEGUIDE that was raised in the discussions. I would not want us to devote our time to this task and then see it go to waste afterwards. Daranios (talk) 17:52, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I still think all the monster may be too much by gameguide but if you go in this direction, and you're told it's a gameguide, the fix is easy: strip down to notable monsters (that is, monsters that have articles about their D&D variant), as that makes it more a navigational aid than a gameguide. The classification by edition is still there for those remaining monsters. --MASEM (t) 18:08, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
At least two list pages would be necessary, and even those would be hefty if we take everything we currently have. I actually made a list a couple of years ago and saved it for just such an occasion as this sort of discussion coming to be. When I have a bit more time (in a couple of hours or so, not right now) I can look at that list and get a ballpark idea on just how much content we’re talking about. As far as what format for the table, I think we have a lot of room to play around with that. For those of you who weren’t here a few years ago when we originally made these lists, it took a lot of discussion to get them to the point they are at. At that time (2008?) we had (and still have) a lot of monster articles which weren’t necessarily notable, so the initial solution to this problem was AFD. For some that was too time consuming, and for others that was getting rid of too much useful info, so the compromise we came up with was to make lists a la Pokemon that articles could be merged to or at least redirected. We weren’t sure how to format it – alphabetical, by edition, or other – but the consensus we originally came up with was by edition, and in order to make that make any sense we concluded that it should be by book. But apparently, no one at that time knew about or took into account any possible copyright violations that might involve, so here we are again.  ;) BOZ (talk) 19:53, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
OK, so I took a look at my list. It contains almost 500 creatures, although I suspect I am missing some. This does not count just current articles, but also many former articles which had been redirected to one page or another. I maintain that it would be a strain to fit all of that onto two pages, but I think three should be able to hold it. I found where the midway points would be on the list, and it fits almost perfectly at A-E, F-N, and O-Z being even thirds. If you prefer to halve it, then A-J and K-Z fit reasonably well. BOZ (talk) 23:42, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Note that if people want a giant list in addition to sublists that are more manageable, Complete list of songs for the Rock Band series shows how this transclusion could work. --MASEM (t) 23:44, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't want to refactor your comment, but the correct link is Complete list of downloadable songs for the Rock Band series, and that is a pretty neat trick with the multiple lists merged like that. It could be a good solution. Torchiest talkedits 03:46, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

I started a sandbox page. Feel free to edit, but let's start some discussion here before going crazy with it. I copied these straight off the Monster Manual list. The "page" column is no longer necessary, since we are working with all books in one; I am thining maybe a "debut year" instead? All the ones I selected aside from the mimic actually appeared before the 1977 MM, so you can see there will be some variety. "Other Appearances" can be changed to just "Appearances". "Variants" is probably not necessary, as we can cover that info (if at all) under the description column. Speaking of the "Description" column, I chose most of these because we have actual sourced stories about how they were created, so I think we can include a brief note in that column. BOZ (talk) 23:28, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

BOZ, can you provide a list of all the monster list articles on Wikipedia we have? —Torchiest talkedits 21:24, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

I've come to this rather late (thanks for the note, BOZ), but this is my take on the issue. We've been here before: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition monsters. At that point the argument was that the list articles were valuable because they removed the need for individual monster articles, which many people at the time felt were cruft/non-notable/insert favorite wikiepithet here. Lately we've been going through a similar round of deletions which once again argue that the monsters are not notable, so I think that the list articles are demonstrably useful and relevant, and allow for appropriate redirects from common search terms for Wikipedia users interested in the various versions of D&D. The arguments put forward by the AFD nominator were not on the basis of notability, but on WP:GAMEGUIDE and WP:COPYVIO. I think the GAMEGUIDE argument is suitably addressed by the comments here and on the AFD - we can't be violating GAMEGUIDE because there isn't enough information here to actually play the game, nor are we providing overly detailed information on the individual game concepts. As for COPYVIO, that is a little bit murkier, but only a little. What the list articles effectively provide is an annotated index (name, page number, publication title) plus a description. I'm not sure, but I don't think an index is copyrightable. (This would be a good question to ask or get a legal opinion on from the WMF's legal advisors.)

As to possible options for editing the lists discussed above...I'm not sure that any of these will address the original concerns of the nominator or those who agree with them. If the problem is with the content of the list itself, then merging the lists for the various editions will not address the issue, since people will still argue that TSR/WotC still owns the copyright on the material - or they'll argue that the list constitutes a violation of WP:OR. Reducing the lists down to the purely notable creatures opens a much larger debate regarding the notability of the creatures themselves, and since there have recently been a number of debates on this subject which I will politely term as energetic, I suspect that this will quickly result in an empty list and a large number of editors choosing to retire out of frustration. (I'm not suggesting a vast anti-D&D conspiracy here, just noting that the timing is unfortunate, and extrapolating a likely outcome.) Removing the description column will help if an index is not copyrightable - but if the index itself is the problem then removing the description won't help either. (In my opinion I never liked the description blocks anyway; I think a Notes column for disambiguation of similarly named but otherwise dissimilar creatures is more useful. I also think that removing the description column from the lists entirely will go far enough to removing any COPYVIO issues. The biggest concern I can see with the description field is some neophyte editor blindly copying or paraphrasing a descriptive text from one of the sourcebooks.)

I think Daranios' point above is well-taken; we need to confirm that we can successfully defend against the GAMEGUIDE argument. I echo that with respect to the COPYVIO argument: if the issue is the index itself, then any work we do is going to be wasted here.Vulcan's Forge (talk) 02:07, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't think a list of monsters, without statistics or descriptions, could possibly violate WP:GAMEGUIDE. Sure, there is a lot of content, but it's an almost forty year history of publications. The content adds up. As for the WP:COPYVIO concerns, I'm pretty sure that was primarily a risk because the lists currently mostly duplicate individual works, instead of being a mix of all of them together. My impression is that there was a rough consensus that moving forward with an überlist would be an acceptable solution. —Torchiest talkedits 02:21, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
Related to my comments above, the following is instructive. I found it here: [1]. In part it states:
"For similar reasons, copyright does not protect facts -- whether scientific, historical, biographical or news of the day. Any facts that an author discovers in the course of research are in the public domain, free to all. For instance, anyone is free to use information included in a book about how the brain works, an article about the life and times of Neanderthals or a TV documentary about the childhood of President Clinton -- provided that that they express the information in their own words."
This suggests strongly that a simple index by book is a legitimate application of Fair Use, since the fact that the book contains this creature reference on this page and uses this name is not copyrightable. Even an included description would not breach the copyright as long as the description was not a verbatim copy and was summarized in the editors' own words. I think for safety and to prevent verbatim copy abuse (even innocent and unintentional abuse) removing the description column would be enough to make this COPYVIO-safe. (Disclaimer: IANAL).Vulcan's Forge (talk) 02:26, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
And further demonstrating the internet axiom Wikipedia is your friend- Feist v Rural. I think this is a pretty strong argument against the WP:COPYVIO allegations, and further that we can leave the lists separate per edition.Vulcan's Forge (talk) 02:39, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I question the choice to merge this list (and other D&D monster lists). Should articles be designed to survive rules-lawyering of other Wikipedians or should they be designed to provide useful encyclopedic content to people researching the subject? I am inclined to think that the second type of article should be the objective, even if it means fighting AFD reviews or justifying that articles are not copyright violations or game guides. Articles should of course be good, but I think that usefulness is the primary function of Wikipedia and I think that some people forget that and focus far too much on enforcement of policy, instead of seeing policy as a tool to maximise usefuless.
Getting back to the proposal of merging lists, the reason I would prefer separate lists is that the various D&D editions are a series of 'upgrades' of the same game and seeing the monster coverage of each game (or seeing other coverage, like classes, playable races, spells, psionics and other elements) can help a reader see how each edition compares to the ones that preceded or followed it. I'm not so sure how a multi-edition list could do that, without tools to sort via edition or tools to hide or show page content. I think it could all get very clunky and flood the reader with too much information. I can see some readers of the proposed page pretty much needing to reconstruct this page to get the information on monsters of this edition that they need.
I would like to draw everyone's attention to Echohawk's Complete D&D Monster Index both as a reliable secondary source of information on sources of monsters and as a demonstration of how big a list of all D&D monsters would be in scope. Echohawk's index contains fan conversions, as well as TSR/WotC versions, but that is fine, because it is pretty much a list of citations for all the monsters and you can clearly see what is what. (The fan conversions that Echohawk lists may also make for reliable secondary sources and/or help demonstrate notability of individual monsters. So I think that anyone looking to improve coverage of monsters should grab a copy of this index.)
I think there would be merit in improving the links between this list and other lists of monsters from different editions. If a monster in this list is contained in every D&D edition that follows, that shows that the monster has proved popular with D&D fans. I think that demonstrates notability (in the real-world sense, rather than in the WP policy sense) and I'd love to see this list help readers understand which monsters are most notable.
I'm not totally sure where to go with page numbers and descriptions. I think page numbers make for improved citations, so they do have value, but wonder if it would take up less page space to merge that in with the sources section. As for descriptions or notes, I think it is good to show if a monster is a mundane creature (like a bear) a creature based on mythology (like a dragon) or a more modern invention (like a mind-flayer). I think this is information that would be contained if we did expand every D&D monster into an article and I think that it is probably one of the most important things to have in a summary. If a summary in this list is the only thing that Wikipedia is going to have, I think it is important to note the most important facts here. Big Mac (talk) 13:04, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm concerned with both having a list that is useful to readers, and with having a merge target when it's needed. AFD results lately are mixed as they have always been - and if the Adherer/Brownie/Caryatid column, Ant lion, Spinagon, and whatever else gets nominated in the future are not kept, then we need a good place to merge them into. The edition lists have been adequate so far, but after the AFD on this list got it deleted (but restored for now), I am not so sure they are "safe". I have been considering going the A-Z route for a few years now, but to be honest the amount of work we'd have to put into it was prohibitive. ;) We don't *have* to do this, and if consensus does not support it, then I certainly won't be arsed to do the whole thing myself, but I do think it's a good idea. It does not necessarily mean we can't still have the by-edition lists (we could, I think, have both), but I think it would be good to have an alpha list, broken up probably into 2 or 3 parts. If we only have to defend against WP:GAMEGUIDE again, then that is better than going up against that and WP:COPYVIO at the same time. Articles should be designed to both be useful and to survive against wikilawyering whenever possible, because unfortunately there is quite a bit of the latter.
As for discussion on how to implement this, I have been giving that some thought as well. We can dispense with the page and variant columns of course (or replace them with something else), and the description/notes column can be limited to one or two sentences, or nixed altogether, or we can more clearly define its purpose. Maybe the page numbers can be incorporated into the appearances column. I think we should stick to only TSR/WotC creatures, although we can note third party versions (ToH, Pathfinder, etc) in the description or another column.
As for how comprehensive we "need" to be, I don't think we have to go crazy and duplicate Echohawk's index (here known as User:Ant Brooks). :) I think if we consolidate most of the entries in the edition lists (many of which are duplicated multiple times), that should be sufficient. Anyone with time on their hands that wants to extend it beyond that is welcome to do so. BOZ (talk) 01:28, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
If you are talking about 'as well as' then I've got no objection. If a single list is too big, I wonder if it might be worth breaking the monsters down into types (like humanoid monsters or abberations) rather than having a list of monsters that start with A. Mind you, that might be a bit hard to define with the early monsters. Big Mac (talk) 10:26, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
"As well as" may be an option, but that would depend on whether or not people had a problem with both existing at the same time. Let's just say I'm not getting rid of the edition lists unless there is an outcry to do so. I want to move away from using creature types, because like you say it is hard to define with the early monsters, and there is a difference in how they are used in 3E and 4E, and probably the next edition as well. BOZ (talk) 18:20, 3 September 2012 (UTC)