Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Television

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Additions to MOS:TVCAST[edit]

Would anyone be opposed to the following additions to the first paragraph in MOS:TVCAST? I've been working off of this criteria for a bit on the series pages I work on, and I think it is a very reasonable way to "define" recurring status over simply being a guest. (changes are in bold)

Remember to follow the notability guidelines when creating a cast list: Not every fictional character ever created deserves to be listed and even fewer will deserve an individual article. For the main article of a series, it may be appropriate to split up the cast listing by "Main cast/characters", "Recurring cast/characters", and "Guest cast/characters". If the series is long running, and has an overwhelming number of recurring guest stars, it may be appropriate to split those into a separate list of characters articles (see below for style guidelines on "List of ..." pages). The main cast should be organized according to the series original broadcast credits, with new cast members being added to the end of the list. Please keep in mind that "main" cast status is determined by the series producers, not by popularity or screen time. Additionally, "recurring" cast (over simply being a "guest") is generally determined by a reliable source; for example, when an actor is cast, the announcement may state the actor will be a "recurring" one on the series. If a reliable source does not exist for this information, a general rule-of-thumb to follow for a 22-24 episode season is 4 or more appearances would make the character recurring for the season. As well, if a series goes for multiple seasons, a character that appears as a guest in a season, but has appeared in 4 or more episodes across the entire series, could be considered a recurring character for the series. However, every series is different and may require slightly different criteria when considering if a character is recurring or a guest, should a reliable source not exist. Furthermore, articles should reflect the entire history of a series, and as such actors remain in their spot on the list even after their departure from the series.

- Favre1fan93 (talk) 17:31, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Where did the number 4 come from? It's arbitrary, right? It seems easiest if a "guest" appears in one episode over the entire series and "recurring" is in two or more, unless credited otherwise. The word "recurring" means happening more than once. Also, setting up guidelines for a "22-24 episode season" doesn't make sense to me, as most shows don't follow that schedule anymore. Many seasons are 13 episodes or even 6 now. I don't see any benefit to getting so specific. -- Wikipedical (talk) 20:09, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Not completely arbitrary with 4 appearances, as it was under the guise of 20% of the season (22-24 eps) which was approximately 4. While you are correct in the definition of recurring, "Recurring" generally means a significant reoccurrence in a show. Since all characters appearing outside of the main cast are guest stars, we split up the once that appear frequently and significantly (recurring) out of the "1 or 2" appearance characters, that are not as significant. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 20:38, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
I'll oppose 4 – or any number greater than 2 – as used here on the basis of arbitrariness and WP:CREEP. Mdrnpndr (talk) 21:34, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - At bare minimum, I would opposed anything less than 4 that isn't identified specifically as a "recurring guest". You can technically appear 4 times in an arc, and not be a recurring guest. You're a special guest who had a specific arc, and then your arc is done. Those guests typically have all their episodes right after the other though, and then it's done. If they weren't identified as "recurring", then we shouldn't be doing that just because they had a multi-episode arc after the course of 3 to 4 episodes back-to-back. I also don't think that appearing twice is "recurring". I think that's putting a lot more importance on a special guest appearance than the actors that actually get real recurring contracts.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 22:43, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Appearing twice is literally recurring. -- Wikipedical (talk) 18:33, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
      • Not according to Recurring character.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 18:43, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
        • Are you talking about the five-episode minimum inserted by an IP? As you know Wikipedia is not a reliable source. That number is as arbitrary as the four episode proposal above. The "more than one episode" unless credited as main employs the least arbitrary interpretation by editors, since it follows the actual definition of 'recurring.' No reason to get so precise, especially as the number of episodes in a TV season is changing. -- Wikipedical (talk) 20:06, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I feel that a specific number should not be given in the MOS, but that it should be noted that the editors at whichever TV series page need to decide upon a definition that is most appropriate for said series and stick to it. - adamstom97 (talk) 22:15, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
It may have been added by an IP, but the reality is that 2 episodes is not "recurring". Recurring is meant to be multiple appearances across the length of time. Two episodes cannot span any length of time and is nothing more than a guest spot. If you're going to try and create some ridiculously easy criteria so that every Tom, Dick, and Harry character can be added to a list (which would be borderline indiscriminate), then lets just leave it as "reliable sources identifies them as a recurring guest".  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 02:14, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think you are the arbiter of what recurring is "meant to be." It literally means occurring more than once. Like Mdrnpndr, I would be opposed to inserting any number greater than two. Many articles do parenthetically list each character's episode count in the cast list– if it's believed that the number of appearances indicates significance, as expressed by Favre1fan93 (which isn't necessary the case), ordering recurring characters by the number of appearances should address the above concerns. But redefining the word "recurring" arbitrarily (20% of a season? 4 times? 5 times?) isn't the answer here. -- Wikipedical (talk) 07:25, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Opening it up to every actor that has multiple guest spots, but is not actually considered recurring isn't the answer. There is a reason that some people are announced as "guest roles" and some are announced as "recurring". You cannot say that series regulars are defined by the credits, but recurring can be anyone that has appeared 2 times or more. That isn't what a recurring guest is. Recurring guests are ones that appeared across time, not a couple of one-shot appearances and then they are done. That isn't a recurring guest.

According to Thinking Inside the Box, they are ones "who often and frequently appears from time to time during the series' run". Two times is not "frequently" in any sense of the word. You have to set an arbitrary number high, otherwise this ridiculous notion that two appearances will cause character lists to explode with an indiscriminate collection of information about characters that were merely guests. Again, you either set a realistic number, or you simply say, "if a reliable sources says they are".  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 13:17, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

The latter option is the only one compliant with policy, or WP:OR more specifically. Mdrnpndr (talk) 14:29, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Present tense for shows with no copies[edit]

"References to the show should be in the present tense since shows—even though no longer airing—still exist, including in the lead" Really?

What about shows that were completely wiped, such as The Joan Edwards Show? Suddenly There Is a Valley (talk) 15:52, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

If there is well-referenced info that there are no-extant copies then we can say the show no longer exists. Most early TV shows were live, transient, and not copied. Unfortunate as history is lost. Geraldo Perez (talk) 16:04, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Should TV show episode articles link to other episodes using information?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The OP has withdrawn his request and the original question at the specific article has been settled. Although there was not much input, Option B seems to be the preferred version, but Option A may also be used, depending on editorial judgment and context. The too specific original question and the low input are not enough to create a specific guideline on this point. Closed without further action. Kraxler (talk) 13:20, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

If you take a look at this edit the question will become clearer. Should edits like this be the norm or should we refrain from linking to other episodes (of the same show) using info that has previously happened in that show. An example of a different attempt of linking the episode would be: ...returns to the vet that had previously treated his bullet wound ("Five-O") and asks...
So would you propose
Option A:...returns to the vet that had previously [[Five-O (Better Call Saul)|treated his bullet wound]] and asks... or
Option B:...returns to the vet that had previously treated his bullet wound ("[[Five-O (Better Call Saul)|Five-O]]") and asks... Thanks for your input! Rayukk (talk) 19:54, 13 May 2015 (UTC)


To avoid the idea of easter egg links (links that appear to be about one thing but lead to a completely different thing) I prefer calling out the episode title when referencing any required past events to understand the current episode in context. --MASEM (t) 19:57, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Option B in this specific instance. There are merits to this type of linking in some cases, but if you are referencing information from a past episode of the same show, it is best to use the styling of Option B. - Favre1fan93 (talk) 21:28, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Option A because that way reading the text remains friendly while simultaneously giving the reader the proper option to read about the event. Option B looks clumsy and forced. EauZenCashHaveIt (I'm All Ears) 00:30, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: @Rayukk: please remove your vote because you are the creator of this RfC, which makes it unethical at best. EauZenCashHaveIt (I'm All Ears) 00:30, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
OK, I wasn't sure about this. I removed it. Rayukk (talk) 08:25, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: This is not a vote, he was open about starting the RfC and he is expressing his preference which has value to this discussion. Geraldo Perez (talk) 00:37, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: @Geraldo Perez: the point is to solicit the opinions of OTHERS. It's as if he is replying to himself in what looks like "thickening" support for his view. EauZenCashHaveIt (I'm All Ears) 01:01, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Option A because it provides the reader information where the incident previously occurred. Generally, the link will provide more of the story and background of the story. I find it very helpful to refresh the reader's recollection of the incident that occurred in a prior episode. A good example is the link " an earlier conversation" found in Gliding Over All which references back to a previous episode Bullet Points (Breaking Bad). Television fan (talk) 14:55, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment & question - The guideline for RfCs says Before using the RfC process to get opinions from outside editors, it always helps to first discuss the matter with the other parties on the related talk page. Is there any prior discussion regarding this or did Rayukk jump immediately to RfC? This looks like an attempt to use RfC instead of dispute resolution, which is not the point of RfC. --AussieLegend () 00:49, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
No there is no prior discussion, but I figured the outcome of this could result in a change in Wikipedia, so I dind't want to leave it between just two users. Rayukk (talk) 08:25, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
As worded, the question deals specifically with a single article and the RfC outcome cannot extend beyond that article. In no way can it affect anything more than that. There are many ways that prior episodes can be referred to and the two examples aren't that good anyway. You would have been far better to, and should have, ask a general question about wording. RfC is not the way to go for something like this. --AussieLegend () 09:15, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Well in that case, I guess this discussion can be closed. What I meant to achieve was to establish a new standard for all episode-style articles. For this one episode in particular it's actually fine either way. Sorry for wasting everyones time --Rayukk (talk) 20:40, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Option B Per Masem. More transparent and clear.Bosstopher (talk) 20:25, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Option B avoids the WP:EGG issue. As a reader, I find it clearer. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:21, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Neither option While it's nice to see people responding, nobody seems to have noticed that "the vet that had previously treated" should be "the vet who had previously treated". In any case, the RfC is moot, as the article has since been modified by three editors and now reads "... returns to the vet who had treated his bullet wound in "Five-O" and asks ...". --AussieLegend () 05:53, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: Actually, both "that" and "who" are valid, with the sole difference of a single comma. Also, this discussion is far more general than one particular case. EauZenCashHaveIt (I'm All Ears) 06:31, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
"Who" should be used when referring to a person. Since most vets are human... --AussieLegend () 08:57, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.