Talk:Middle-earth/Archive 1

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I think that Middle Earth would make a better jump-off point for Tolkien's fictional universe then JRR Tolkien. -- Stephen Gilbert

I'd agree that Middle Earth (or possibly The Lord of the Rings) is the best jump-off-point. When linking/creating these I assume we should use sublinks? (e.g. Middle Earth/Gandalf) -- General Wesc

Never mind, I see we already are sublinking from Middle Earth. I'll start listing the characters on Middle Earth. -- General Wesc

I think the characters should be included placed in the individual books, not on the Middle Earth page, except for, perhaps, the major ones- Gandalf, Frodo, Gollum, Sauron. -- SGL

There aren't any individual books. The Lord of the Rings is a single novel, which is only sold in three volumes for convenience. (And while we're at it, the proper spelling is "Middle-earth", but it's too late to change that now.) -- Xaonon

Middle Earth does far a meaning outside of the realm of Tolkienania so it might be confusing if someone wrote an article on Nordic mythology

In Norse mythology, the term is usually left as "Midgard", so I think reserving "Middle Earth" for Tolkien's universe would be acceptable.

I notice now that JRR Tolkien/Rings of power should really belong to Middle Earth. Do you think it'd be best to move them, merge the two altogether, or drop the matter? --Uriyan

I wouldn't bother at this point. When we move to the new wiki software, all subpages will be convered to normal pages. --Stephen Gilbert

Yes, but still, a [[Middle Earth -- Rings of power]] would make more sense than a [[JRR Tolkien -- Rings of power]] (JRRT is by the way the only case, known to me, that LMS actually approved of a subpage - see Faramir). As a side rant, I often wish that there will be allowance for at least these topic pages). --Uriyan

"In Norse mythology, the term is usually left as "Midgard", so I think reserving "Middle Earth" for Tolkien's universe would be acceptable."

I seem to remember Old-English and Middle-English? texts mentioning 'middle-earth'. Certainly the Project Gutenberg translation of Beowulf does (see

Yes, 'middangeard' occurs half a dozen times in Beowulf. I think 'Middle-earth' is a poor choice as an overarching handle for Tolkien's creations. I don't think he often used the term for that purpose, and his principal editor (Christopher) tends to avoid it except when using it to refer to the geographical region properly so named. Much of Tolkien's writing covered events which took place outside Middle-earth itself. A page like [[Middle Earth -- Valar]], for example, would seem rather out of place.

--Matthew Woodcraft

There are two Shire's, Middle Earth/Shire and Middle Earth/The Shire. Guess that we should merge them. But which one to save? - Peter Winnberg

Definitely Middle Earth/The Shire. Remember the conversation between Radagast and Gandalf. I am now in the process of combining the two pages.

Hi everyone; there are a couple of things about the Middle Earth page that bother me, and I wanted to share them. First of all, Middle Earth is a bad name, as it is only a subset of Tolkien's planet (Arda) and universe, Eä (so say it is less relevant to the Valar and Maiar). So perhaps we should relocate our work ti either Ea or Arda?

Secondly, all authors (me included) have a natural tendency to involve more and more subjects, which involve yet other subjects and so on, ad infinitum (just look at /Elrond !). Nevertheless, I think it would be better to begin with the most basic things (like characters from LoTR), and then proceed with the more advanced topics (like Silmarillion).

And finally, is there any possiblity that we could import entries (with copyright issues settled, naturally) from the Encyclopedia of Arda, as we did with FOLDOC? That could really help Wikipedia, as much more people will get exposed to it.

What do you think of it? --Uriyan

I agree that Middle-earth is bad, but I don't think Arda or Eä are good - too obscure. Subpages are going away anyway. If all these pages will have to be renamed I'd suggest including 'works of Tolkien', or something similar, in their titles.

I'm not sure of the need for all of the pages that exist or have been linked to - where an article can be written which summarises information from different sources, I can see some value, but I think a page on something which just occurs once in a book isn't really worth it.

I guess that then we need some sort of a plan what kinds of pages will go in and which not --Uriyan
Furthermore, 'Eä' does not include the Timeless Halls. I actually covered this issue in the article itself, in the last paragraph before the "note."

Let's try to point all links that should be within Middle Earth to really point within Middle Earth to make sure that we don't write several articles about one thing with more or less the same content. Like Vilya and Middle Earth/Vilya. I redirected Vilya to Middle Earth/Vilya. Since many of the names of Middle Earth are unique like the names of the Three maybe we should redirect them to within Middle Earth? --Peter Winnberg

That's the general idea of subpaging. Note that in links you can shorten [[Middle Earth/Something]] to simply [[/Something]], which is much shorter and simpler. --Uriyan

While the general effects of the "no subpages" policy can be debated, it definitely doesn't work here (as almost all links are internal) and make editing much, much harder. I wanted to ask whether there could be any current or future work arounds (e.g. #base [[Middle Earth]] at the head of each article). As a related note, is there a new wiky markup for tables (instead of the annoying HTML one)? --User:Uriyan

I had a idea to move everything out of Middle Earth and use the categories that can be found in the new software ( see [1] ) and name that category Middle-Earth or maybe Arda. Then have one of those to include the list of pages that is in this category ( done by software if I understand it correctly ). Then maybe in the future the search on wikipedia can be limited to search only one category. Or maybe use a category without moving the pages out of Middle Earth. However this would require a lot of work and I have not tested the categories system in the new software. --user:Peter Winnberg
Yes, but that doesn't resolve the main problem: link relativity. For example, in [[Middle Earth/Legolas]], I want to link to [[Middle Earth/Mirkwood]] simply as [[Mirkwood]]. What could be needed is some sort of a command to add-to-all-links-a-given-prefix (like #base [[Middle Earth]] at the top + [[Mirkwood]] in the body = [[Middle Earth/Mirkwood]]). --user: Uriyan
If we move all pages out of Middle Earth, that is Middle Earth/Saruman -> Saruman that would solve that problem. However if we don't we could always create &amp;lt;nowiki>#REDIRECTS</nowiki> for most links. That is, redirect Saruman -> Middle Earth/Saruman. That would also solve the problem for most links anyway ( not where there already are articles ). And then one could just create links to Saruman instead of Middle Earth/Saruman. -- user:Peter Winnberg
Yes, but that would mean that [[Middle Earth]] and the "real world" would mingle, which is perhaps not what we want (after all, ME is a separate and self-contained universe). And for the time being we already do have a solution - the default links made by the transformation script e.g. [[Middle Earth/Saruman]]. I pondered about creating a new wiki or namespace for ME, but that would be a bit too radical, I'm afraid. --user:Uriyan
It's still possible to make pages with a slash in their names. The subpage syntax might in the end become merely an accepted naming convention rather than an explicitly supported feature. --DY
I know it's possible, but I don't want to fill the pages with millions of [[Middle Earth| link prefixes! Ideally, I'd want links like [[Legolas]] to become translated somehow to [[Middle Earth/Legolas|Legolas]] so we'd able to write fluently ("[[Gimli (Middle-earth)|Gimli]] and [[Legolas]] were members of the Fellowship" rather than "[[Middle Earth/Gimli|Gimli]] and [[Middle Earth/Legolas|Legolas]] were members of the Fellowship"! --user:Uriyan

Are we supposed to move everything into a Middle Earth namespace now? How is this suppsoed to work? Can someone explain this to me? -- GayCommunist

I don't think a namespace would suit us. I'll probably send a request for comment via Wikipedia-L. --user:Uriyan
That's a good idea, not only the people who edit the Middle Earth pages but also the people who edit Star Trek and Star Wars pages (probably more as well ) would be helped by a good solution to this. Peter Winnberg

There's no easy way to accommodate the following two desires:

  1. to be able to link simply to Legolas or Frodo without prefixing "Middle Earth/Legolas" or "Middle Earth/Frodo" to make the links work
  2. to make it clear that these are characters in J.R.R. Tolkien's vast fictional universe

I think Middle Earth was a fairly good compromise, but admittedly it's only a subset. Also, I don't like the idea of making Frodo a subpage of Tolkien: as in ((J.R.R. Tolkien/Frodo|Frodo)).

In fact, I'd like to promote all the slashed characters, places, and things in Tolkien's world(s) to top-level articles. I think we can handle distinguishing them from non-fiction.


Samwise Gamgee, companion of Frodo in The Lord of the Rings

But what about:

Glamdring, sword discovered by Gandalf

Must we say "in the LOTR", or will readers understand they can click on Gandalf (excuse me? you want to do WHAT on my head?) to get the context?

Ed Poor

Thank goodness somebody is going to do the heavy lifting on moving and redirecting all those ugly subpages. I can think of no other uses of the name Frodo, Gandalf etc. other than with Tolkien's universe. We can allways disambiguate later if need be. -- maveric149

What's the convention for disambiguating things like Venus (goddess) and Venus (planet)? Many thoughtful contributors have worked diligently on things like the planets (thanks, April!), but each solution was ad hoc.

Is there a standard? I'd sure like to follow one, whatever it is. Something like,

Put a disambiguating term in parantheses following the ambiguous term

So Sting (sword) could be a separate article from Sting (musician).

Ed Poor

Have you not read both wikipedia:Naming conventions and wikipedia:Disambiguation? If there's something not covered by those, bring it up and we'll update them. -- Lee Daniel Crocker

Thanks, Lee, I just read both of those articles. Did you write them? They were very helpful.

I think, based on reading the articles Lee pointed out, that we can safely promote all the Tolkien-related articles from the slashed hell of <code>[[Middle Earth/Gandalf|Gandalf]]</code> to the main level of <code>[[Gandalf]]</code>.

What do you think, Stephen Gilbert], General Wesc, SGL, Xaonon, Uriyan, Matthew Woodcraft, Peter Winnberg, DY, GayCommunist, maveric149, and Lee Daniel Crocker? -- Ed Poor

Those articles were written collectively early in the project after much discussion, though I did revise them and do the last edit after we installed the new software (which changed some things like eliminating subpages). Yes, eventually all the Tolkein/Middle Earth articles need to choose the name of their context ("Middle Earth" is probably OK, but I'd personaly prefer "Tolkein"), and then rename the articles to the form "Gandalf (Tolkein)", etc. There was a further discussion here and on the wikitech list of adding a software feature to make cross-linking among articles within a context like this easier by automatically filling in the context in parentheses sometimes (one could do this in a few different ways), but those discussions never amounted to actual code. Perhaps it's time now to take it more seriously, since we have more such articles now than we did then. I'll bring it up to both lists. --LDC

Unless somebody can think of another use for the words in Tolkein's universe, I say we should simply do what Ed wants and promote the ugly subpages to top level namespaces (Frodo instead of Frodo (Tolkein). This would make it easier to link to within the text of articles. There is no need to disambiguate terms that only have a singular meaning.

Can anyone provide any justification for the spelling "Middle Earth" used throughout Wikipedia? Where in Tolkien's work is this spelling used? Everywhere I've looked he spells it "Middle-earth" (hyphenated, with a lowercase e). --Zundark, Friday, April 12, 2002

Since no one provided any justification, I've moved the main page. But we still need to fix the spelling in almost every Tolkien-related article. --Zundark, Sunday, April 14, 2002
First of all, I agree to the change of spelling. Secondly, I prefer automatically generated links (like Faramir (Middle-earth)) to the alternative (just [{Faramir]]). Finally, it's Tolkien, not Tolkein (what blashpemy :-). --Uriyan

There are three name formats relevant here:

  1. the name of the article, e.g., "Faramir" or "Faramir (Middle-earth)"
  2. the bold first-mention of the subject of the article, e.g., Faramir, brother of Boromir and Frodo's benefactor in The Lord of the Rings.
  3. the link, e.g., [[Faramir]]

I vote for making all three of these as short as possible. For an unambiguous term like Faramir we can name the article Faramir, write Faramir in the article text, and link to Faramir with the wiki code [[Faramir]].

I would say Frodo is similarly unambiguous (as well as much more famous).

However, his cutting weapon -- Sting -- is ambiguous. So the article (if one needs to be sliced off from the bass player, the police operation, and the biological body part) could be called "Sting (Middle-earth)"; its first mention simply Sting, the knife (or sword) used by Bilbo and later Frodo; and the wiki code variously as [[Sting (Middle-earth)]] or [[Sting (Middle-earth)|Sting]], depending on whether you want the disambiguating term to appear in the text.

Sorry for being long-winded, but I'm a software engineer and right now I think I'm writing documentation (grin).

Ed Poor

Well, very few spare-time projects suffer from investment of excessive thought or documentation so I can only appreciate the time that you put into it. As to the matter itself, I think that both unlinked mentionings (#2) and links inside pages (#3) should be without "(Middle-earth)" inside them, but in order to be consistent, all links describing Middle-earth (or Arda, which appears to me to be a better name), should contain "(Middle-earth)". It would be odd and inconsistent if we'd have just [[Frodo]] but [[Sting (Middle-earth)]]". Using [[Sting]] alone would be ambiguous, so I opt for having [[Middle-earth]] in all cases and invent a mechanism to mask this by default. --Uriyan

I'm trying to find a specific way of handling Middle-earth references that conforms to the general disambiguation rule as much as possible. I am perhaps prejudiced in that I have only read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; I have much less interest in other Tolkien stories, although I did skim a separate story on Tom Bombadil written before (?) LOTR.

Here are some values I'm proposing we consider (and try to balance):

  1. Maximize the number of people who contribute to Tolkien-related articles (and the quality and quantity of their contributions)
  2. Minimize the confusion readers (including those dropping in from Google) will have when they see article titles and read article text.
  3. Minimize the effort needed for a contributor to create a link to a Tolkien-related article
  4. Group the Tolkien-related articles somehow.

Aside from ending each article with boilerplate text such as See: [[The Hobbit]], [[The Lord of the Rings]], [[Middle-earth]] I can't see any way to group them. I don't want to use slashes as in Middle Earth/Sting for a title, because it's not a subpage and the article explains the context -- just as an article on riposte would mention that it is a move in fencing.

I am willing to do my share of the heavy lifting, but I don't want to start until there's a stable consensus. Like hobbits, I like to see everything laid out neat and proper, but also (like some hobbits?) I don't want to do any unnecessary work. It's bad enough Frodo had to unmake the ring. Ed Poor

Perhaps you were thinking 'if only I could have used the power of the ring for a short while, to help me do all this heavy lifting'? But the power of the ring would have perverted you (you perhaps a bit later than lesser men), for its purpose is evil.--branko
Sometimes I think computer programming is the Ring. Joseph Weizenbaum, in Computer Power and Human Reason, had some rather sharp comments about the tremendous (seemingly unlimited) power a programmer has: no drill sergeant or orchestra conductor or movie director had such power! Ed Poor

"Tolkien saw Elves as human beings prior to the original sin; while this made them perfect (it is specifically told that not a single Elf joined Morgoth or Sauron the Enemies), it also made them less able than the mortal Men, that appeared after them."

I have a few problems with this:

  • One of the hypotheses on the origin of orcs is that they *are* corrupted Elves (the film decided to back this one 100%).
  • I don't see how freedom from Original Sin could be conceived to make anyone "less able". (Look up the term "Adam Kadmon" if you want to see some really wild ideas on this.)

Well, Tolkien was Catholic and what I'm writing this from a (pshat) Jewish point of view, but my guess is that they're not as different. Genesis 3 reads thus:

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

So, what this means is that following the original sin, God imposed a number of restrictions upon humans, which were not there earlier (afterward, Genesis 9:3, God also allows Noah's descendants to eat meat Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you) - implying that the original humans did not even eat meat, hence were more harmonious with the nature. And of course, humans were expelled from the Garden of Eden. All of these make them "less able" and "perfect" than the original humans. Note that these original humans were not unable to sin (the very existence of the Original Sin implies otherwise!), so this could lay the ground to the possibility of corrupting the Elves - but since we do not know how Morgoth is supposed to have done that (is altering genetic material a form of corruption?), we also can't know to what extent their "perfection" was an obstacle to that. --Uriyan

No one seems to have objected since the discussion of several weeks ago, so I have resumed contributing to Hobbit and LOTR related articles. I am giving each article the shortest possible name:

  • Frodo Baggins and Gandalf, are described in
  • Frodo and Gandalf, and linked with
  • [[Frodo]] and [[Gandalf]]

I am planning on moving all the articles which currently are called something like

  1. "Gandalf (Middle-earth)" into
  2. "Gandalf"

merging as necessary.

Anyone who thinks this will mess things up, please stop me. I will listen to reason. Ed Poor, Wednesday, June 19, 2002

I have been slowly but surely removing "Middle Earth/" from the titles of articles named like "Middle Earth/Frodo" because:

  1. There is only one Frodo (no disambiguation needed)
  2. It's spelled Middle-earth (hyphenated)
  3. A link to [[Frodo]] is easier to type than [[Middle_Earth/Frodo|Frodo]]

Again, if anyone wants to help me (or persuade me to stop), let me know. Ed Poor, Thursday, July 18, 2002

I'm mostly finished fixing links. Now I'm starting to move articles. Before marking "please delete" on an article, I double-check to make sure that no articles link here. "very good, always helps" (see Gollum) Ed Poor 09:19 Jul 23, 2002 (PDT)

Why not just make them redirects? pty 09:24 Jul 23, 2002 (PDT)
I could, but what's the use of a page like [[Middle Earth/Bilbo Baggins]] if no other page links to it? All we need is either a Bilbo Baggins or a Bilbo, and one can redirect to the other. Okay? Ed Poor 09:29 Jul 23, 2002 (PDT)
Yes, if no other page links to it, it would not be a problem. The problem is that we can only control articles on wikipedia that link to it and not if a page outside of wikipedia links to it. And moving a page without a redirect would break that. pty 09:41 Jul 23, 2002 (PDT)
I think I'm with Ed on this one. We should concentrate on making Wikipedia itself complete, usable, and self-consistent. If we have to break a few external links, that's a small price. People should realize that if they make a link to something like "Mordor (Middle-earth)" that it's less likely to be permanent than, say, "Philosophy". Redirects should be used for titles that people are likely to guess. --LDC
Here's my simple philosophy: search for the subject on google. If the Wikipedia article with the old title turns up, redirect, don't delete. --Brion VIBBER
Wholeheartedly agree with Brion - If an article title of an otherwise valid article has been here long enough for Google to index it then that title should not be deleted if that article is moved. BTW, this is item number 7 on out policy on the permanent deletion of pages and preserving links are vital to maintaining copyright compliance for others using our material (See wikipedia:copyrights). The link-back requirement alone is enough reason to keep old page titles beside the fact that preserving links is just plain good web-page design. Redirects are harmless. --mav

Well, it will lighten my heavy lifting if I don't bother to delete the Middle Earth/Narnya type links, so I'll stop putting "please delete" on those pages. Ed Poor 10:15 Jul 23, 2002 (PDT)

I disagree that "redirects are harmless", though they certainly aren't a big problem. The greatest harm, I think, is that they encourage people to link to article titles that we have deemed incorrect or suboptimal for whatever reason. If they're deleted, people look for the real title; if they are redirects, both internal and external links appear to just work, and so offer no incentive to fix the links. Yes, leaving URLs alone is good traditional web design, but a Wiki is not a traditional web site. It is, by its very nature, dynamic, and we shouldn't try to apply to it standards meant for static content. I agree that we should probably leave alone any reasonable article title which has been around for a while and accumulated external links; but just the fact that Google has indexed something doesn't tell us that.

Apply human judgment in all things. --LDC

<rant>Exactly what I'm doing -- my human judgement tells me that I, as a user, hate hate HATE broken links. The existence of links to "article titles that we have deemed incorrect or suboptimal for whatever reason" is harmless except in the case of disambiguation; and such links can be easily found and fixed from "what links here"... which can't be easily done if somebody deleted the page from existence without first fixing the links. "Wiki... is, by its very nature, dynamic": exactly why we need redirects, to keep us flexible. Now, if you want to propose a new kind of redirect -- "#DEPRECATED" or some such -- that spits a nasty note at the user or automatically fixes a link in the referring wiki page, that's fine, but there's no need to go out of our way to break links just because we don't like the intermediate title that will only show up on the "redirected from X" line.</rant> --Brion VIBBER
Not only that, but Google caches Wikipedia pages, so if a link is broken (during the few days or so between the times they reindex us) the article will still be found.--Ed

But you both failed to mention the link-back requirement of our copyright and the fact that needlessly breaking links prevents others from linking back to the original source article on wikipedia. --mav

Linking back to Wikipedia as a whole totally satisfies the GFDL, and should be the preferred way to do it anyway. If the copyright statement doesn't say that, it should. I'll discuss that on the list. --LDC

Okay, instead of deleting text from articles like Middle Earth/Palantiri I will make a redirect to palantir. Fair enough? Ed Poor

Looks good to me. --mav

I am nearly finished transforming the Middle-earth articles. Every article I could find entitled like JRR Tolkien/Silmarillion or Lord of the Rings/Gandalf or Middle Earth/Frodo has been promoted to an un-slashed title, like The Silmarillion or Gandalf or Frodo Baggins.

I apply the parenthesized disambiguator "(Middle-earth)" only when required. There's an ancient European king named Frodo, so I had to add his last name to his article title. There's (possibly) a Gimli in Manitoba so there's a disambiguation page at Gimli, and I changed all the Gimli links I could find in the Middle-earth articles to Gimli (Middle-earth).

It was a long job, but I planned it out during the slow-server period this summer, and yesterday and today I pretty much straightened everything out.

I made redirects from articles like Middle Earth/Gandalf and Middle Earth/Frodo Baggins to Gandalf and Frodo Baggins, although I really agree with LDC. If someone thinks the redirects are extraneous, I wouldn't mind if they deleted them; but for Brion's sake I left them in. Ed Poor 07:35 Jul 24, 2002 (PDT)

Thanks. I simply cannot fathom why some of you people insist on deliberately deleting these things; it's not just user-unfriendly, it's downright user-hostile. --Brion VIBBER
Thanks Ed! I can't imagine how much tedious work this must have been. But it's been very useful to me, I now find it much more fun and rewarding to add articles and fix things up.