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Discussion A Consultation about the Fanfic Index -- The index has been updated for 2016

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by FanficIndex, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. FanficIndex

    FanficIndex Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2015
    Dear all,

    I finally got around to working on the 2016 update of the Master Fic Index and I’m struggling a bit to figure out how it should be organised, so I’d like your input please :)

    What this thread is about

    We need to figure out how to organise the index of 2016 fics in a way that makes it easy for readers to go there and find a story they would like to read. So the question I am asking you to answer is, “How would I like the fic index to be organised if I wanted to find a fic about XYZ?”

    What this thread is not about

    This isn’t the place to discuss the current era tagging system in fanfic, as it will change again when the XenForo upgrade comes around. This is also not the place to discuss awards eligibility, or the breakdown of eras we will adopt in the upcoming awards – that will be up to the awards volunteer team.

    The indexing problem right now
    • There are more than 300 Saga era fics. A post with 300 fics listed alphabetically by author isn’t going to be very helpful if you’re trying to find a story about this or that in particular.
    • A second aspect has to do with splitting Saga into sub-eras. The cut-off point defined in the current tagging system is the first film of each trilogy, but authors, and presumably readers, tend to define a fic by the trilogy with which it is most closely associated, not by the moment when it takes place in the IU chronology.
    • Lastly, the New Canon/Legends differentiation is a headache, because so many fics involve a mash-up of the two continuities.
    My proposed solution

    If it were only up to me, I would list the Saga era stories using a system loosely based on the current era tags, keeping Legends stories in a category of their own and splitting New Canon stories into sub-eras wherever possible. This is my imperfect attempt at answering the questions “where do I find fics about Mara Jade?” “where do I find fics about Jyn Erso?” “where do I find fics about Ben Solo?” However, everyone’s brain isn’t wired the same way as mine, so please criticise the below so we can come up with a solution that works for everyone.

    Here are details of the breakdown I suggest, plus definitions:

    1. Category One: Saga – Legends stories, meaning stories taking place in the Legends-verse from TPM to ROTJ. This includes stories where the dominant storyline follows plot elements from the Legends EU; stories where a Legends character plays a prominent role; and stories where the storyline could be either Canon or Legends but the author’s worldbuilding draws its inspiration from the Legends EU.​
    2. Category Two: New Canon stories associated with the Prequel Trilogy and early Imperial period, meaning chiefly stories that take place in the New Canon-verse from TPM to before Rebels. This does NOT include Rebels and Rogue One stories, which fall under the next item.​
    3. Category Three: New Canon stories from the Rebellion period to the fall of the Empire, chiefly from Rebels to before Bloodline. This includes Rebels and Rogue One inspired stories, OT stories and stories based on the post-OT New Canon material (e.g. Aftermath, Lost Stars, etc.). This does NOT include stories that feature the main cast of TFA in a prominent role, which fall under the next item.​
    4. Category Four: all stories associated with the Sequel Trilogy, chiefly from Bloodline onwards in the New Canon continuity. This includesALL stories that feature the TFA protagonists in a prominent role, even if they take place outside of this timeframe.​
    5. Category Five: New Canon stories that span more than one trilogy/sub-era. When there are interconnected stories by the same author that take place at different moments of the New Canon Saga era, I’ll include the whole series under this category.​

    A few examples:
    • A Clone Wars story based on the Republic comics goes under Saga – Legends.
    • A Clone Wars story based on the TCW TV series goes under “PT & early Imperial era”.
    • A story that follows closely the ANH storyline and where Mara Jade is the protagonist goes under Saga – Legends.
    • A story where Kanan and Hera mention in passing that they are hunted by Mara-Jade-Emperor’s-Hand goes under “from the Rebellion to fall of the Empire”.
    • A story about Bothans on Bothawui as it is described in Vision of the Future goes under Saga – Legends.
    • A story about how the Bothans stole the DSII plans with lots of fanon about Bothan culture goes under “from the Rebellion to fall of the Empire”.
    • An OC-centric story about the battle of Jakku goes under “from the Rebellion to fall of the Empire”.
    • A story about Poe spying on the First Order goes under Sequel Trilogy.
    • A story about Temmin Wexley’s childhood goes under “from the Rebellion to fall of the Empire”.
    • A story about Ben Solo’s childhood goes under Sequel Trilogy.
    For stories that are a heavy Legends/Canon mash-up:
    • If the dominant storyline is Canon (e.g. Legends characters travelling to a post-TFA reality), it will be listed as Sequel Trilogy.
    • If the dominant storyline is Legends (e.g. Finn’s role during the Vong war), it will be listed as Beyond-Legends.
    • Where both tags are possible, I’ll go with the author’s choice and/or some form of word count and/or my gut feeling (which isn’t a very scientific criterion, but it’s the best I’ve got).
    As for the other eras, let’s keep it simple – one post for Before stories, one for Beyond stories, each with the New Canon/Legends differentiation, and that’s that.

    (I order to avoid having to log into this sock all the time, I'll be participating in the discussion with my usual handle Chyntuck).
     
    yahiko, Tarsier and jcgoble3 like this.
  2. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    All of those points look great to me. :)
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  3. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Looks good to me. I'm most interested in being able to separate Legends from New Canon. I think you make a good point that many people are looking for specific characters, and I think your solution addresses that as well as it can. :)
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  4. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Category Four works for me.
     
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  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
  6. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    If you are willing to put this much work into the index, you are either a saint or insane. Either way, it's better than anything I can think of.
     
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Of course I'm a saint. The Feast of the Holy Chyntuck takes place on the 36th of each month O:)

    However, it doesn't really make any difference if I do it this way in terms of work -- I had to check the era and the date of the latest update for last year's breakdown too, and most fics have a lot of info in the title bar and/or the intro in any case. Also, indexing is the key to my super-secret spreadsheet of fics that I must read asap, so I'm scanning the fics for stuff to add to my list anyway :p
     
    mavjade , Kahara and jcgoble3 like this.
  8. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I think it's a good sorting system for characters, with the possible exception that I can't think of a single story that would fit into Category 2 -- unless all TCW stuff goes in there, but I tend to think of that as old canon? If it's all explained at the top of the page as I assume it will be, it works for me! :) One thing that may help for character finding is to have everyone list their main characters in the little blurb thingy. (I think you were doing this already with the old fanfic index?) If a character's name is listed with the story in the index, people can probably find it with a Ctrl+F search.
     
    Findswoman and Chyntuck like this.
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks Kahara!
    Oh, don't worry about category 2, chances are it will be the largest category we've got. All the Anakin/Padmé stories go there, the PT AUs, the Anakin/Obi-Wan stories, the Jedi-on-the-run stories and so much more.

    And yes, most TCW stories fall under this too, even though TCW is a bit complicated. The TCW television series is New Canon, but all the EU material written before 2014 is Legends (such as Karen Traviss's novels or the SW: Republic comics). For the purposes of the index I'm assuming that, as long as the author doesn't specify that s/he based the story on a particular piece of Legends material, the story is Canon. Or I can keep all Clone Wars stories together if you think it's easier.

    Edit to give an example: A story about Quinlan Vos as Dooku's spy goes under Legends because it's from the comics. A story about Rex, Kix and Fives goes under category 2.
    Like in the older posts of the index I'll be keeping the blurbs from the title bar for 2016 fics too, and these often include character names. However, some authors choose not to put them for a variety of reasons (some don't have blurbs at all, others don't want to spoil the name of a mystery character in the title bar etc.) so we'll have to make do with what there is :(

    (In an ideal world, of course, we'd have a search system that enables you to find fics by length, genre and so on, but that requires reading and taking notes on every single fic and even I am not that much of a saint :p)
     
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  10. FanficIndex

    FanficIndex Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2015
    Hey everyone,

    If you want to give any extra input, it would be nice if you could do it over the weekend -- my plan is to start indexing on Monday.

    Thanks @};-
     
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I think the breakdown of the categories looks good, and seems to cover everything both era- and continuity-wise; also, I appreciate the helpful list of examples (which help me think about how I'd classify some of my own gray-area stories). :)

    Just want to ask a couple thing about this bit here:

    1. Could you please tell us a bit more about what you had in mind for the word count and possibly give an example? Like, counting up and comparing the number of mentions of canon vs. Legends elements, that kind of thing? (Could the author be asked to do that in truly ambiguous cases?)

    2. I am guessing that the "gut feeling" option would come into play mainly only as a last resort? As in, if the author had really and truly dropped off the face of the earth and was not longer responding to any kind of contact at all?

    Thanks, as always, for your work on this. :)
     
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  12. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Everything looks great and if you need any help at all then I can assist.
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks for the feedback Findswoman RX_Sith [:D]
    What I had in mind for this are stories that alternate between the Legends and New Canon storylines, or stories with two protagonists, one Legends and one New Canon (we've got a few of those on the boards). A good ol' fashioned word count could help determine which continuity gets the most screentime, but there are obviously cases where that wouldn't work.

    Just to say a bit more: the idea of a word count comes from stories with a flashback or an element of time travel. Some authors choose to tag them based on the "framing" era, whereas others tag them according to the era where the bulk of the story takes place. I'm still working on identifying all those stories, and I'll go with what the majority do, in order to have them listed consistently. My first impression is that most authors go with the bulk of the story; if that's the case this is where the word count comes into play.
    It would be a last resort of course, but not only for cases where the author has dropped off the face of the earth -- a lot of people don't bother answering PMs about the index even when they're regular visitors to the boards. When I started indexing, I used to keep "ambiguous" fics in a separate list and I added them to the index only after I received a reply from the author, but with so many people not replying I had to give up on that. Now what I do is that I list them where I think they belong, and if the author answers later on I move them around in the index.

    To give a bit more background again, this issue seems to affect only fics that are tagged as New Canon. Usually authors who choose the Legends tag have a reason for doing so that matches more or less the criteria I listed in the OP. New Canon-tagged fics are an entirely different kettle of fish -- some people are confused about the tags so they choose "Saga" as a catch-all thing; some people just made a mistake when choosing their tag; I've had authors saying "I want the canon tag because my Legends protagonist should be canon and I don't care what Disney think"; I've had authors who want to keep all their stories listed together because they form a series; etc, etc. I'm trying to figure out a way to do things that accommodates most of these requirements and is still reasonably functional for readers to find stories, but as stated above it's bound to be imperfect.
     
  14. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Suggestion: If it's really a mixture of Legends and Canon, such that it's not obvious what to call it at first glance, then put it under a separate heading that says something like "Legends/Canon mixture". In other words, one more category in addition to those listed in the OP. Less second-guessing, less work for you, and better for the reader perusing the index, as they have a better idea of what they're looking at.
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  15. yahiko

    yahiko Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Nice work Chyntuck!
    I agree with you to put aside the Legends fics apart since there gonna be less and less of fictions in this category as time goes.

    Then, splitting the Canon fics by category is also something I would have done if it was only up to me. I like when you mention that a category in which belongs a fic does not directly rely on its timeframe, but on its links with one of the trilogies.

    For category Five, if I may suggest, instead of restricting only to Canon eras mashup fictions (there should not be much of them), you may want to include Canon/Legends mashup fictions too. This would resolve a lot of headaches and arbitrary decisions.
     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks jcgoble3 :) Yes, keeping mash-up stories in a category of their own is something I considered, but the risk is that it either becomes so ginormous that it stops being functional (because every story that includes elements from both continuities goes there) or so tiny that it doesn't really make sense having it (because from what I saw of the fic list so far, there are just a handful of stories that are really difficult to put in one of the existing categories). However, if I ever get around to re-vamping the entire index, not just the 2016 fics, that would definitely be an option.

    EDIT

    yahiko Thanks! There are actually quite a few stories that cover more than one trilogy among those that take place in the New Canon, so there isn't really a risk that category 5 is depopulated. On the other hand, including *all* New Canon/Legends mash-up stories there raises the problems that I mentioned to jc above, and I'm not sure that it would help readers find a story in the first place. To give an example, speaking purely for myself, if I wanted to read a story that takes place during the Vong war, I'd go looking for it in Legends, because I'd assume that's where Vong stories are listed even if the Republic military command is borrowed from TFA -- so I think that splitting these stories across several categories would do a disservice to both the readers and to the authors, whose fics would be getting less exposure.
     
    yahiko likes this.
  17. yahiko

    yahiko Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2015
    I see what you mean.
    But with the same reasoning, you would not have found such a fiction if it were classified Canon because of word count or author's decision. :p
    With a mashup category, you give a chance for courageous enough readers, who know that there also are Legends fictions in this mashup category, to look into it to find what they want. By forcing a mashup fiction to fit into Legends or Canon, it is unlikely someone gonna look into the Canon categories to find a fiction about Vong. (not sure I am clear, you know my English sucks... ^^)
    However I know that unless a multitagging system is implemented, there is no perfect classification.
    And what you propose is already a huge improvement to the existing classification :)
     
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  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks again!

    Just to clarify before we go on a tangent, this is not about the tagging system, but strictly about the index. I too am hopeful that a multi-tagging system will help, but I also think that we'll need another discussion for the index when that system comes around :_|

    Re: "courageous enough readers", we're deep into the territory of how people choose to use an imperfect index here. I'm personally more comfortable with an index that states what is listed under which category and where the number of fics under each category is reasonably small, and I'll go by the definitions that are given to find what I'm looking for. But there again that's just me. I'm sure that there are other users who don't mind browsing a post of 200 fics listed alphabetically, which is pretty much what we'd get if we put all mash-ups in a category of their own. (And honestly, I don't really mind going with the latter option, since it's a lot less work for me!)
     
    yahiko likes this.
  19. yahiko

    yahiko Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Oups, I believed it was about the classification with tag... :D
    My mistake. I have never used the index to be honest.

    About the all-mashup category (from a tagging point of view, so maybe irrelevant from an index point of view ^_^), it was just in the case the number of multi-era canon fictions were small. If not, it would be more convenient to have a multi-era canon category on one side, and a Legends/Canon mashup category on the other side.
     
  20. FanficIndex

    FanficIndex Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2015
    Hey everyone,

    The new title of this thread "Last Call for Your Input" is a bit misleading, because this isn't the last call ever for your input on these questions -- it's just the last call until further notice :)

    I'll be indexing the 2016 fics in the next couple of days, so I'll go with the majority opinion above once I get started. This thread will remain open for further comments and feedback, but I won't be re-working the index for a few months, so if you have any urgent considerations, please let me know today @};-
     
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  21. FanficIndex

    FanficIndex Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    The Master Index of Post-Move Fics is finally updated with the 2016 stories. I'm pretty sure that nothing is missing, but please have a look to confirm that your fics are listed where you want them to be.Oh, and while you're at it, have a look at fics you haven't read :)

    Happy fanficcing!
     
    Kahara likes this.