What motivated you to join WikiProject A Song of Ice and Fire? Were you first introduced to the series through the novels or the television series? Have you contributed to any of the project's 11 Good Articles?
sgeureka: I really loved the first season of the show and started reading (and loving) the books shortly afterwards back in 2011. When I checked out the main ASOIAF article to answer some of my book questions, the article was very unbalanced, with a major focus on fictional details and translation. I was on a longish wikibreak at the time, but I knew that since I wanted to research that topic in depth anyway, I might as well use the research material to expand the article for future readers. After a good year of work (four months were serious), the article finally reached Good Article status.
TenTonParasol: I started reading the novels when I saw my bus stop had an ad for the first season, and I was halfway through the second when the series began airing. I loved it, and as is my habit with series I love, I put the whole family of articles on my watchlist. I really started working on the articles when I decided it was ridiculous that the characters were split across two articles: Major Houses in A Song of Ice and Fire and Characters of A Song of Ice and Fire. However, I never really watched the television series past episode four and I focused all my work on the character list, so if I contributed anything to the project's Good Articles, which are mostly television episodes, it was minor.
George R. R. Martin last year. An American screenwriter and author of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, he is best known for A Song of Ice and Fire, his bestselling series of epic fantasy novels that HBO adapted for their dramatic series Game of Thrones.
Jclemens: I started with the novels when A Feast for Crows came out, seven years ago. After hearing friends rave about it, I snagged a copy of A Game of Thrones from a bookstore in Regan National, and was hooked. Interestingly enough, since Wikipedia doesn't actually know when my account was created, I have no idea if I bought the book or created my Wikipedia account first. While I've worked on most of the GAs, my role has pretty much been that of a polisher and editor, rather than a wholesale content creator.
Sandstein: I don't think I've actually joined the project if by that you mean signing a list.... As far as I recall, I read the novels first, and when the TV series came about I started making substantial edits to the article about that, its seasons and episodes, and wrote some sub-articles such as those about the music, the comic and the ... other stuff.
With just over 100 articles, the project works on a relatively small collection. Has this been a curse or a blessing? Have any of the project's lists of characters or locations spawned an independent article for a single subject? Do you foresee any of the project's articles reaching Featured Status in the near future?
sgeureka: I joined the wikiproject after people had already cleaned up the previous mess by merging dozens of plotty stubs about individual fictional elements/characters/locations into lists. This condensed state has been a blessing for me, as it's far easier to maintain. Fortunately, with the successful TV show and availablity of good source, I can actually imagine spinning out a selected few characters into their own articles again. But my future work will likely go into improving the book articles we already have. I believe the main ASOIAF article is currently the closest to reaching FA status, but real-life doesn't allow me to go that extra mile time-wise.
TenTonParasol: Like sgeureka, I joined after the project was condensed. I find it to be a blessing that the project is so small. I've worked in other, much larger WikiProjects and there the work seems to be never-ending. Here in ASoIAF, there's a lot of work, but at least we know exactly what we have at any given time and it's easier to maintain. I also think that a few characters and houses--House Stark, House Lannister, a few characters in those Houses, and Daenerys Targaryen to name some--are fair candidates for their own articles. I was actually drafting three, but then I wandered off to draft character articles for other series. For the longest time, I've also thought the main article was closest to FA. But with some work, I think "Lord Snow", "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", and "Baelor" could make it.
Jclemens: I'm not an article creator, for the most part, but an accomplished article improver. When I was first looking at the Wikiproject, most everything was a mess, in large part because of how non-notable fictional elements get merged together into list articles, like the characters. Since the TV series aired, we now have plenty of reliable secondary sources on just about everything in the first couple of books... but not enough editors interested in adding those sources such that characters or locations could be appropriately broken out into standalone articles.
Sandstein: It's probably helpful to work on a more manageable set of articles. In general, I think the balkanization that afflicts the coverage of other popular media franchises on Wikipedia - articles for every single minor character, for instance - has been kept well under control. This I think is a good thing, because the more articles there are, the easier it is for cruft to accumulate in them, or what WP:NOT#PLOT refers to as "summary-only descriptions of works". As for FA, some of the season 1 articles have the potential to get there, if only because writing about an episode provides a well-manageable scope and range of sources as compared to the whole TV or novel series. Also, I think that articles covering the whole series can only be reasonably called "featured" after the series - and hence the article's coverage of it - is complete.
Which elements of the series tend to be better covered than others on Wikipedia? Are any of the books or episodes neglected?
sgeureka: So far, I haven't seen any good wikipedia article specifically on fictional worlds (i.e. setting and geography). So I started working on the World of A Song of Ice and Fire article, and it's my long-term plan is to get it to Good article status.
TenTonParasol: All of the season one episodes are pretty well covered; they're all Good Article status, I believe. The World article is also very nicely covered, thanks to sgeureka. From a quick look-through, most of the season two episodes aren't as well covered. And the character list could use a lot of work.
Jclemens:User:Sandstein and I worked on the first series episode articles, and I hope to finish off S1 and S2 to Good Article (episodes), Featured List (series/season articles), and thus Good Topic eventually. I think good topic is an excellent target for popular topics, because it assures our readers they'll get a good treatment of a topic, without the added work that goes into a Featured Topic. I work on the TV series because it is the gateway for so many new readers into Wikipedia, and the Wikiproject should be focusing on such high-visibility articles.
Sandstein: I think we have everything reasonably well covered on the TV side of things. The articles about the books could need some more attention; e.g. A Storm of Swords is mostly plot summary now.
Does the project deal with a lot of fancruft? Has sourcing been an issue with any articles? What are the most difficult aspects to improving articles about the series?
sgeureka: All in all, I'd say the ASOIAF book-related coverage doesn't suffer from excessive fancruft anymore, thanks to the good work of editors before I joined the wikiproject. I have tons of real-world information in my userspace and a few secondary ASOIAF books on my shelf, and I know how to find plot references in the multi-thousand-page story quickly. So the most difficult thing for me is actually finding the time to add the material and the refs to the articles.
TenTonParasol: I don't know what it was like before, but I can say there isn't as much fancruft as I've seen in other articles (though I do worry a bit about the character list). I have a lot of reviews book-marked and queued in my Readability account. Finding references in the books is not as hard as it seems. I can sometimes remember about where something happened or what point of view character witnessed it, and what I can't remember I can generally use A Wiki of Ice and Fire as a guide. The problem is finding the motivation to add the references, which isn't unique to this family of articles. Besides my laziness, the hardest thing is deciding what to cut out when writing the character entries. There's a lot of nuance in these characters, and in five books, each with hundreds and hundreds of pages, there's so much character development. I just want present everyone with a whole view of the characters as I think the fandom generally cherry-picks traits and refuses to see entire sides of the characters. But at the same time, I'm afraid I'm contributing cruft.
Jclemens: Actually, I think "fancruft" as it applies to A Song of Ice and Fire has been redefined. Fancruft are things that no one actually talks about in reliable sources because it's petty nuance that no one but the hardest core of fans ever care about. With the exploding popularity of the TV show and the books upon which it is based, what used to be considered fancruft is now actually a lot more mainstream.
Sandstein: There's not as much fancruft as in articles covering other popular culture franchises, in part perhaps for the reasons Jclemens mentions, but probably also because several experienced editors are watching the articles. And for some reason the topic doesn't seem to attract the type of ultra-fanboy editor willing to devote page after page to, say, the clothes worn by each character or their romantic relationships. One minor issue is that the TV series articles are relatively often edited to add leaked casting announcements or other rumors sourced to fan websites, which unfortunately we can't accept.
How is the project preparing for the next season of Game of Thrones? Are there any articles that fans can work on while waiting for the sixth novel?
sgeureka: The novels have always taken years to get published, and ten TV episodes of hype per year isn't that much either. So, unlike a lot of fiction wikiprojects I know, this project isn't really about coordinating the weekly TV rush&news and preparing the immediate future, but it's a place that offers long-term coordination and gathering opinions.
Jclemens: I will be going through and polishing up the work of enthusiastic and dedicated Wikipedians, who form the backbone of the project's contributions and create the series' episode articles as they go. I need to work on S2 first, but will probably be doing that once the DVDs come out.
What are the project's most pressing needs? How can a new contributor help today?
sgeureka: Thankfully, the project is in a state where I don't see any pressing needs. The "Other media" secondary articles may need a little extra love though, since sources and enthusiam are a admittedly harder to come by for them. With such a large franchise, there is something for everyone's taste. Help is always welcome.
Sandstein: I agree that there aren't any pressing needs right now, but there are always quality improvements to be made. A permanent concern in most articles about fiction is to keep the focus of the article on the real world and the works' reception in secondary sources, rather than immersing the reader in the fictional setting the works take place in. The style guide for writing about fiction has good advice about how most articles about A Song of Ice and Fire, or other articles about fiction, could still be improved.