Rules and standards discussions


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:: Yes, that's a great improvement. However, sometimes magazines don't have a date on the cover, but do have one on the masthead. How about, "If there is no date on the cover, use the date on the masthead; if there is none there, use the year only. Do not use a publication date." --[[User:Vasha77|Vasha (cazadora de tildes)]] 18:47, 13 August 2018 (EDT)
:: Yes, that's a great improvement. However, sometimes magazines don't have a date on the cover, but do have one on the masthead. How about, "If there is no date on the cover, use the date on the masthead; if there is none there, use the year only. Do not use a publication date." --[[User:Vasha77|Vasha (cazadora de tildes)]] 18:47, 13 August 2018 (EDT)
:::A couple of thoughts:
:::# If the publication date is known/stated and is consistent with the cover/masthead date, why not use it? I don't see why we'd want to record a less exact date.
:::# For magazines with no cover/mastehead data, if the publication date is known it should be used as-is (not in the title, though).
:::--[[User:MartyD|MartyD]] 08:03, 14 August 2018 (EDT)
== Serial essays ==
== Serial essays ==

Revision as of 12:03, 14 August 2018

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Format pb vs. tp - interim solution for German publications

Continuing the discussion from above about Rules_and_standards_discussions#Format_pb_vs._tp which was left open with an unresolved proposal, and because "'pb' or not, that's the question" is a recurring problem with submissions for German publications, I suggest to add Chrstian's proposal from above as an exception rule for German publications to Template:PublicationFields:Format until a more generic solution has been found. Here it is again (I amended to values in inch to exactly fit the values in cm and added "or smaller"):

Since the histories and dimensions for the mass market paperbacks are slightly different for different countries, there are the following exceptions:

German paperbacks ("Taschenbuch" in German) / trade paperbacks ("Paperback" in German):

  1. For books at least as tall as 19.01 cm (7.48") and at least as wide / deep as 11.5 cm (4.53") use "tp".
  2. For books as tall as 19 cm or smaller, generally "pb" should be used. Exception:
  • For books as tall as 19 cm or smaller, but with a width equal or higher than the height, "tp" should be used.

Jens Hitspacebar 06:03, 24 March 2018 (EDT)

I knew I was forgetting something! As per our last discussion, I changed the way publication formats are handled internally a few months ago. I was going to post to the effect that the enhancement should make it easy to add new formats going forward, but then it slipped my mind. Sorry about that! We can add "taschenbuch" to the standard drop-down list if desired. Ahasuerus 11:14, 24 March 2018 (EDT)
Oh, very cool! And no worries, we all forget things :) "Taschenbuch" would be a great addition. As per discussion in Rules_and_standards_discussions#Format.2Fbinding_-_proposed_software_change) we should on one hand indeed leave out "German" in order to include other German-speaking countries in this term. On the other hand, here comes the tricky part: we'd also need something similar for "trade paperback", but they are called "Paperback" (sic!) in German, which will certainly lead to confusion with the standard "pb". Therefore it's probably necessary to call it "Paperback (German)" for disambiguation with "pb". With "(German)" at the end we also imply other German-speaking countries (opposed to a term like "German Paperback", which rather implies paperbacks in Germany only). If we decide to use "Paperback (German)" we should probably also use "Taschenbuch (German)" for consistency. Jens Hitspacebar 05:38, 25 March 2018 (EDT)
I am afraid I don't know enough about these formats to have an opinion, so I'll defer to the experts. (We may want to wait a week for Christian to come back from hiatus.) Ahasuerus 11:08, 25 March 2018 (EDT)
Ok. I leave a message on his talk page. Jens Hitspacebar 11:32, 25 March 2018 (EDT)
Hello Jens! I can only say that I completely agree with Herve's point of view [1].If someone thinks that common sense leads to chaos, then a solution is barely achievable. It will always be searched to find new pitfalls. A solution-oriented discussion is no longer happening. I am in favour that everything should stay as it is. Rudolf 15:02, 26 March 2018 (EDT)
I fully understand Hervé's point regarding complexity, and I'm also ok with not adding new formats, as long as we somehow get rid of the recurring discussions about "tp or pb?" for German publications. If we leave everything as it is they will never stop and will be wasting time again and again. I currently don't see any other solution than to at least add a special rule (without adding new formats) for German sizes, as initially proposed above. If we don't, especially most of newer German paperbacks ("Taschenbuch") will all have to be changed to "tp" - which they are definitely not (that's what I meant with "common sense" on Wolfram's page). If there's another, better solution - count me in! :) Jens Hitspacebar 15:24, 26 March 2018 (EDT)
I am fond of the labels "Paperback (German)" & "Taschenbuch (German)", which really seem to be the most consistent. Thanks for your efforts, Christian Stonecreek 00:51, 3 April 2018 (EDT)
Before this peters out unresolved again and to sum it up it seems there are the following different solutions/opinions:
  1. Leave everything as it is (please no).
  2. Only add a rule exception for the German formats to the help, but don't add a new entry in the selectable list of formats. That's actually my initial proposal above. This needs no software change except for the the mouseover help which would become language-specific, and it would be sufficient to solve the problem. However, as for the sizes, I just dug around a bit and it looks like the current "official" German definition of "trade paperback" is quite different from my original proposal: according to these sources, a "trade paperback" for the German market must be at least as tall as 20.5 cm and must have inner flips on front and back cover. That's it. Everything else is just "paperback", no matter how tall or wide. Sources (all in German, sorry):,,
  3. Add new formats for the German market (which, admittedly, adds complexity which may not be necessary considering options #2 and #4, and would also require to correct the format of all German pub records with softcovers).
  4. Only add one new format: "sc" for "softcover". Wolfram and I think Annie also proposed something similar as well recently. With additional fields for width and height (and maybe an option to choose "inch" or "cm") it would provide all we need for cases which don't match the current pub format rules. Personally I'd prefer to get rid of the distinction between "pb" and "tp" altogether and only keep "sc", but I highly doubt that this is going to happen :) So, this would be "pb", "tp" and "sc" for softcovers to choose from, and you'd use "sc" if you can't make a clear decision regarding "pb" or "tp".
I'm in favour of #2, though #3 or #4 should probably be considered in the long run if more and more non-English pubs are added from markets which have other pub formats and can't be handled with just "tp" and "pb". Jens Hitspacebar 16:15, 9 April 2018 (EDT)
Hello Jens, meanwhile, I have the opinion, that we must include all countryspecific formats (worldwide).--Wolfram.winkler 13:58, 19 April 2018 (EDT)
It seems to be too complicated, therefore only softcover/hardcover and the dimensions height/width/thickness...--Wolfram.winkler 05:46, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I agree. Come on, please, let us vote, so that there is finally a result.--Wolfram.winkler 08:07, 29 June 2018 (EDT)
I am not sure how we would go about it since we have 4 options on the table and 4 editors with different takes on it. I have left a message on Jens's Talk page to see if he would like to revisit this issue. Ahasuerus 16:23, 29 June 2018 (EDT)

Rewriting "Exception for works which have illustrations preceding their title pages"

Forgive me if my links and formatting are not ideal. I'm a newb.

This rule is not well written and should be changed. Template:PubContentFields:Page reads in part: Exception for works which have illustrations preceding their title pages - If a magazine presents artwork for a story or essay preceding the piece's title page, and it is apparent that the art accompanies the text, the starting page of the story or essay should be the page number of the artwork which illustrates it. If you're creating content records for both the work and its illustration, they would have the same starting page. (See "Sorting" below for multiple works appearing on the same page.) If there is no indication that the artwork is related to the text on the succeeding pages, and no indication in the table of contents that it illustrates the work, then do not count it as the first page of the work.

The initial use of the word "works" causes confusion. Let us consider any Easton Press published novel. Nearly all Easton Press novels include an illustration on page i or ii, preceding the first page of the story text by several pages. As written, the rule above says first page of the story should be listed as i or ii, because the novel is a "work," the artwork is for the story, and the artwork precedes the "piece's title page." One potential literal interpretation of the current rule leads to nonsense. A book with length [viii+232] could have a story length of 238 with the first page an illustration on iii, and 5 of those 238 pages being either blank or containing the colophon and other front matter.

For any work which has an introductory illustration, it should be included in the story's page count only if it immediately precedes the text of the story. Otherwise a preceding illustration listed as the first page could create a situation in which the illustration, 3 pages of ads, 2 blank pages, and an introductory essay included in a story's length. This very situation has just occurred on data I entered, with a moderator citing the rule as it is currently written (above), insisting on including an illustration and a blank page in a novel's length. (That is not how I read the current rule, but I'm not a moderator.)

The rule does make sense for magazines or collections that often include introductory art for a story.

Suggested changes: "magazine" to "publication" and "preceding" to "immediately preceding".

The rule would then read: Exception for works which have illustrations preceding their title pages - If a publication presents artwork for a story or essay immediately preceding the piece's title page, and it is apparent that the art accompanies the text, the starting page of the story or essay should be the page number of the artwork which illustrates it.

This is my first suggested change to the editing rules and standards. If my organization of this suggestion is off-base, forgive me.MartinStever

Hi, and welcome. I like your proposed rewording. --MartyD 06:58, 15 April 2018 (EDT)
It's been my understanding that this exception only applies to magazines which is certainly where this situation occurs most often. How have other editors interpreted it? --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 08:50, 15 April 2018 (EDT)
This wording makes sense for illustrated stories in anthologies and collections, but not so much for novels. We already have rules for how to deal with illustrations on unnumbered pages in novels. So instead of "publication," how about "magazine, anthology, or collection"? --Vasha 12:49, 15 April 2018 (EDT)
I am a bit rusty in this area, so perhaps it's a dumb question, but better safe than sorry. What is the rule for illustrations on unnumbered pages in novels, please? Ahasuerus 12:20, 21 April 2018 (EDT)
I was just wondering the same. I cannot think of a specific rule off the top of my head at the moment... Annie 19:38, 23 April 2018 (EDT)
I was just thinking of the rules in that same Regular Titles section which say to derive a page number and put it in brackets or use designations like fp, bp. Not actually any help in the current discussion. --Vasha 19:53, 23 April 2018 (EDT)
It's irrelevant here - this specific case here is for using the page number of one element to denote another one (the art page number to be used as a story/essay page number). Deriving numbers is clear (so if the art is there and not numbered, count and bracket it). I wonder if Martin is not conflating the two things as well a bit (because of the Easton Press example). The rule does not say "for example, if a a magazine". It specifically talks about magazines (and it is a lot to do with the way American and British magazines use artwork if you ask me). Anyway - back to the question at hand. Annie 20:01, 23 April 2018 (EDT)
Yes, that seems to fit most. Stonecreek 14:02, 15 April 2018 (EDT)
I like Vasha's suggested change to my suggested change.MartinStever
This is my first time participating in a rules and standards discussion. How are they concluded? MartinStever
Some discussions linger on, never coming to a conclusion.... In a case like this, where there's no apparent opposition, I suggest you "move the question": Post an out-dented summary statement of what was agreed to above and provide a full quote of your final proposed wording, plus a deadline for any objections (e.g., a few days or a week). When your deadline passes and no objections have been raised, edit the help text and update the change log. --MartyD 08:13, 21 April 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) I think clarifying that this exception only applies to interior art pieces which immediately precede the works that they illustrate would be useful. I am a bit leery about enumerating the publication types to which this exception applies since it would be likely to make things more complicated. For example, does the word "magazines" also cover fanzines in this case? What about non-fiction? Etc. Ahasuerus 12:25, 21 April 2018 (EDT)

An issue that has maybe been overlooked is that the passage MartinStever highlighted is in the section on how to enter Regular Titles. So some of this discussion (including some of the things I said) is moot. Novel titles in publications with type NOVEL are not usually treated as the kind of regular titles that need page numbers, but they can be--for example, if there are also introductions or afterwords. So in that case, it is necessary to decide which page to say that the novel begins on. I don't know why the exception was written to apply to only magazines. Martin's proposed change actually works, without enumerating which publication types it applies to, if we understand that it applies to novels only if we need to decide which page the novel text begins on for some reason.
I don't see any guidelines stating what to do if a story in an anthology/collection has a separate title page. The usual practice is to use the title page number, right? Is that stated somewhere I overlooked? That should be added, maybe as a section before "Pages without a printed number." Say, "Content items with a title page immediately before the text -- The item should be given the page number of the title page." Then, the exception will make sense in the form Martin proposed. --Vasha 16:27, 21 April 2018 (EDT)
It is not just fanzines - what happens when we have omnibuses that reprint (or rebind) magazines/fanzines? Do we change the number of pages compared to when they are single entities? What about stories added to a novel or collections that are essentially one novel and multiple stories. And then we have the not so uncommon anthology -> magazine conversion and vice versa - some of the publications we have are clearly one or the other; some are not and something conversion may be needed based on additional research. Having different rules for magazines and anthologies made this conversion especially weird if one applied the rule just for magazines).
How about we look at that from a different angle - instead of trying to define the containers, define the TYPES which first page changes based on a preceding interior art - short fiction, essay, serial, poem (don't forget the poems - they do not get art that often but they do now and then). That's it, isn't it? Covers all the cases and I think is what MartinStever was going for. Annie 18:24, 23 April 2018 (EDT)
Actually no, we have to decide what page a novel, anthology or collection begins on if it's in an omnibus. So it's all regular titles that have page numbers. --Vasha 19:17, 23 April 2018 (EDT)
Then add novel and non-fiction if so you wish - the same applies. Don't list the containers, list the types for which this applies. Or we are bound to find a corner case again or end up in the same situation.
Although we also need to be very careful - we have quite a lot of publications already and moving this rule from "magazines" to "any/most publication(a)" will invalidate the page numbers in a lot of them - because strictly speaking the rule specifically specifies magazines at the moment (not even fanzines). Interpretation had differed I am sure and I usually would stretch it to fanzines but the rest of the types? Tricky and a bit too stretchy (despite my grumbling for being a bit illogical above). It may be logical to change it but such a change is not trivial and changing such rules in the middle of a project are bound to backfire. And quite honestly I would rather have consistency in the DB than try to "make it correct". Maybe a few of the people with larger collections may chime in on how this had been interpreted by looking at some real books (collections and anthologies) and their records here and see just how different the page numbers will be. As for the Easton Press - I would not count the start that front piece as the start of the text... Just my 2 cents. Annie 19:30, 23 April 2018 (EDT)
After sleeping on it, I think I share Annie's concerns.
As an aside, it occurs to me that there is a noticeable difference between the way we enter interior art in books as opposed to magazines. When entering magazines, we generally enter each illustration as a separate INTERIORART record and assign pages to each one. On the other hand, when entering books, we often enter all illustrations as a single INTERIORART title. That's how it was done in the publication which prompted this discussion: according to the Note field, there are seven illustrations, but we have only one INTERIORART title. Help supports both ways of entering illustrations, but in practice the former way is more common on the magazine side of the database. It may be one of the reasons why this Help exception was originally created. Ahasuerus 21:26, 24 April 2018 (EDT)
Sure, that makes sense. But we still do have to add a line to that paragraph about whether or not to give the page number of a story (etc.) in an anthology as that of the preceding half-title page if there is one. Note that sometimes the title may be printed on the half-title page and at the top of the story text. --Vasha 22:24, 24 April 2018 (EDT)
The rule now says "magazines". Which is different from anthologies so it does not apply for anthologies. I am not sure why should we add anything more if the rule remains only for magazines... Or am I missing a place where it is unclear - because if you read the exclusion rule, it is very clear: "If a magazine" - not "for example if a magazine"... If you are advocating for adding a new exception for other types - then this is a separate topic but my concern above about existing data applies to it... Annie 22:39, 24 April 2018 (EDT)
My apologies for branching off to a different topic-- this is something that I noticed while reading the help section looking for info about the illustration question. I will start a different thread for the half-title issue. --Vasha 22:51, 24 April 2018 (EDT)
I'm jumping back to address Annie's comment of 24 April 2018 (I was on an 11-day road trip, no isfdb time while traveling). My reason for suggesting this rule change was based on an edit I submitted that was rejected. An interior illustration of a novel appearing two pages before the start of the story was listed as the starting page. I don't see that as the initial page. The moderator in question claimed this rule we're discussing applies to novels as well as magazines. That interpretation does not make sense to me. In order to correct the situation it seems that either a) the moderator should be informed the rule only applies to magazines and the rule is tweaked to make "magazine only" more clear; b)the rule is clarified to say "immediately preceding," which makes sense to me as I can picture many magazines and anthologies with illustrations including a title to lead off a story (which we called a splash page when I worked in publishing); c) the rule be left alone, which as written means Easton Press novels start on page i or ii.MartinStever 19:03, 7 May 2018 (EDT)

page numbers section of Help:Screen:NewPub -- half-title pages

Currently, the help screen talking about how to find the page number of content titles doesn't mention what to do if there is a half-title page (with the story title on it) preceding a story or essay or a novel in an omnibus, etc. We should probably add a sentence like "If the title is on a separate page from the beginning of the text, use the page number of the title." And we should also make clear what to do in the uncommon case that there is a title at the top of the text and a half-title page preceding it. I do not know, myself, what the decision would be in that case -- although using the number of the half-title page makes sense. In that case, it would be "If the title is on a separate page from the beginning of the text, use the page number of the title page, even if the title is also printed at the top of the text." --Vasha 22:57, 24 April 2018 (EDT)

Editor vs author data for OMNIBUS/ANTHOLOGY?

As I thought it of general interest, I've moved discussion from Willem's talk page to here for broader discussion. There's actually two topics here, so may want/need to split up:

  • What to choose: editor vs author data in editor/author field of an OMNIBUS or ANTHOLOGY record, and
  • Ambiguity in field name depending on edit mode
Hello Willem. I suggest to remove the editors (Scott Card & Tanith Lee) from this publication since the actual editor is not known of this (two-story-long) anthology, and to add an explanatory note to clarify why. This way I feel it's more correct. Can you agree? Regards. MagicUnk 18:50, 26 April 2018 (EDT)
Sorry, but I don't agree. The helptext has no specific rule for this case, but I think the rule for a multi-author OMNIBUS that has no editor credit (and no secondary source for the editor credit) comes closest, so it should be credited to the authors. --Willem 16:40, 27 April 2018 (EDT)
I think an omnibus customarily requires/has an editor, and since there isn't one identified it is still better to enter ‘uncredited’ because the author(s) are not necessarily the editor, and if you do enter authors in the editor field it is in any case redundant information as author information is already available from the 'Regular Titles' section.
That said, when I took a closer look at the data I noticed that its pub type is actually ANTHOLOGY (which is correct as per Pub Type definition page as far as I can tell). But regardless, same argument holds for ANTHOLOGY I'd think: editor=uncredited, authors identified in the 'Regular Titles' section so as not to end up with redundant information, but actually ending up with more information instead .
And, while looking into the records some more I noticed something else that struck me as odd; when in editing mode the Tweesprook 2 Title Record says 'authors' while in editing mode, and displays 'editors' when not in editing mode. Same observation holds for Tweesprook 2 Publication Record : ‘editors’ when displayed and ‘authors’ in its Publication Metadata section when editing the record. There’s even more: 'editor' is used as field name when adding a new ANTHOLOGY record in its title section. Question for Ahasuerus perhaps?
Thoughts? MagicUnk 10:20, 29 April 2018 (EDT)
Trying to make a single rule for two vastly different types is not very useful here.
For omnibuses - the authors of the individual books collected into the omnibus are the authors of the omnibus. Don't forget that we use omnibus for all kinds of box sets and other multi-books and multi-works publications as well. But it is always about books that had been published before Leaving something uncredited or attributing to some "editor" does not make sense - add that to the notes if you want to but unless the editor is very prominent on the title page, the authors of the collected books are the authors of an omnibus (the corner case of an omnibus where you have 2 novels and 10 stories is a bit different but if they are from the same author, I would rather use the author name). We may have somewhat confusing UI in places for that but leaving an omnibus uncredited or crediting to a house editor is a bit against any logic of how this DB works.
Anthologies are quite different - there you always have an editor and if it is not credited, it needs to be set to uncredited.
So let's not try to discuss omnibuses and anthologies as if they are the same thing? Think of the omnibuses the same way you think of novels - these have editors as well but you are not advocating to make them the authors, right? Annie 17:03, 2 May 2018 (EDT)
I do think that fiction OMNIBUSes are very similar to anthologies if they collect works by different authors (just as they are similar to COLLECTIONs when all the significant works are by the same author), they just have NOVELs instead of SHORTFICTION, and it in my opinion it does look more odd to have authors who may be already dead in place of getting together to edit it (because edited they were, and we should mirror that fact). Stonecreek 23:39, 2 May 2018 (EDT)
Books like this have been in the database for ages, no questions asked. Is it strange that I treat this one the same way? --Willem 14:53, 3 May 2018 (EDT)
No, it ain't. But maybe we should stick to the good old rule as to index what is stated on the title page. There are some who only state the titles of the container titles, and others (like this), who credit an active editor other than the authors of the novels. Stonecreek 15:28, 3 May 2018 (EDT)
That's what the rules say. If an editor had been credited for Tweesprook, his/her name would be in the author field. But there isn't. --Willem 15:31, 3 May 2018 (EDT)
That's exactly the point. The authors are in the editor field of the anthology example. Card and Lee haven't edited this anthology, so the current entry is 'wrong'. Sticking to anthology for a moment, I think you can agree having an editor makes sense so has to go in the editor field-uncredited if not known, and the authors mentioned with their respective contributions.
Rereading what I wrote earlier, I agree with Annie that omnibuses can be/are to be treated separately. And for omnibusers there's no editor field, but an author field instead (leaving aside the strange observation on field names when editing or creating a new record I mentioned earlier, which needs to be fixed eventually) . So in short editor for anthologies, authors for omnibuses, as that's what the field labels say too. MagicUnk
I think this is a side effect of the fact that these doubles are anthologies by name only (aka - these two are "short novels" and if they were longer they would have been omnibuses. The one that started this whole discussion (I just looked at it again) is exactly like this in my mind and I would much rather keep the two authors up in the field than go for uncredited (if there was one that was credited on the title page, that would be different). There is a big difference between an anthology like Dozois's Year's Best and this kind of doubles (which are anthologies in name only). Just thinking aloud. :) I am leaning towards leaving the authors as editors in this case if no other editor is mentioned anywhere... Annie 16:42, 3 May 2018 (EDT)
But why would we want to put authors in an editor field if we have author information in the contents section already? (apart from the anthology-in-name-only, that is :-). As I see it, using the editor field strictly for editor(s) when there's one, conveys more information than what you would get by repeating the authors MagicUnk 11:27, 4 May 2018 (EDT)
For proper anthologies? We would not - we put the editor in for these, uncredited if none is specified. And in your case we were not even discussing an editor - it was going to uncredited. Now - what kind of information does this convey? That the publisher cannot be bothered to name their editor? :) These anthologies in name only seem to be the main problem here, right? So let's just do the usual - if an editor is prominent on the title page, use that; if only the two author names are there, use that. It matches both our practice and the rules... Annie 12:09, 4 May 2018 (EDT)
Yes exactly: uncredited = publisher couldn't be bothered :-) Still not convinced it's the right thing to do, but as it looks like there's no consensus to the proposed change, I'll go with the current practice (btw, I couldn't find the relevant rule you're referring to, can you get me a pointer?) MagicUnk 16:48, 4 May 2018 (EDT)
That's what the notes are for :) The rule that we go with the title page? :) That's the one I am referring to (and the only rule we have around what names and titles to use) - sorry if it was not very clear what I meant. I can understand where you are coming from - it is just that our anthology type is a bit of a catch all which makes it a bit weird sometimes. Annie 16:53, 4 May 2018 (EDT)

A novell devided into multiple titles.

What is the procedure with this? I have Frank Herbert's Dune divided into three books. Debolestis 15:58, 2 May 2018 (EDT)

Add the books one by one as regular novels and then variant all 3 into the full novel. The French novels suffer from that a lot :) Annie 16:05, 2 May 2018 (EDT)
PS: Here is an example: The Snow Queen. See how the Portuguese titles are added? Annie 16:07, 2 May 2018 (EDT)
Does this relate to this discussion? ../Doug H 16:25, 2 May 2018 (EDT)
No - the one you linked is about how to date the original when it was published in pieces. This question is asking how to enter a translation that had been published in parts - the original already has a date and each of the parts here will get its own date (as it will be a separate title). So not related at all. Annie 16:52, 2 May 2018 (EDT)
OK, I now have these 3 titles,,, Do I add them all as variants of Dune? Do I need to merge them later? Debolestis 14:30, 3 May 2018 (EDT)
Yes, you make them variants of Dune (I actually would change the Title record to contain information that it is volume 1 of 3 for example (not the publication title but the title itself)). No, you do not merge them - they stay separate - the same way the 2 Portuguese ones in my example are. Annie 16:45, 3 May 2018 (EDT)

Author or Authors

On the title page appears "Author" on the publication page "Authors". Better is "Author[s]" for both pages.--Wolfram.winkler 05:44, 7 May 2018 (EDT)

No comment?--Wolfram.winkler 15:17, 18 May 2018 (EDT)
It is in the wrong forum - so people kinda missed it I suspect. Yes, that can be standardized via the usual way - a FR and then implementation :) Annie 15:29, 18 May 2018 (EDT)
Requests for changes to the user interface should be posted to the Community Portal. I am moving this there now. --Vasha 16:58, 18 May 2018 (EDT)
My mistake, but again a new administrator?--Wolfram.winkler 11:02, 20 May 2018 (EDT)
I assume you are referring to your earlier comment about our decision-making process:
  • ... we need an administrator, who says: yes, we can do it. If no one makes a decision, the discussion will never ends.
At the time I wrote that:
  • Most of our decisions are made after reaching consensus. The downside of this approach to decision-making is that there are times when we can't reach consensus, so things remain hanging for a long time. The upside is that we are less likely to lock ourselves into a solution which may prove unworkable or counterproductive in the long run. I find our current approach generally superior to the alternatives which we tried in the past.
Would you suggest abandoning the consensus approach and appointing a single person who would be responsible for making decisions about our data entry policies, project scope, software design, etc? Ahasuerus 11:57, 20 May 2018 (EDT)
I prefer a consensus approach, if it's the consensus of the majority. A few times in the past it only took one, angry, shouting person to derail the process.--Rkihara 15:58, 20 May 2018 (EDT)
We usually define "consensus" as "significant majority". 4-3 wouldn't be considered consensus, but 8-2 would. In my experience, a slim majority often indicates that the proposed solution may not be ideal and that a better solution may be possible. Ahasuerus 16:16, 24 May 2018 (EDT)
I meant that someday somebody should make a decision if there is no democratic majority. And this can only be an administrator. Wolfram.winkler 07:48, 29 June 2018 (EDT)
Here is how the process currently works:
  • An issue re: data entry rules or project scope is posted on the Rules and Standards page
  • Proposals are formulated and debated
  • If a clear consensus emerges:
    • Someone (either a bureaucrat or a moderator) posts a note announcing that he or she is going to change Help if there are no further objections
  • After a day or two Help is changed as per the outcome of the discussion
  • If no consensus emerges:
    • The issue is dropped for the time being and Help is not changed
    • Another round of the same discussion may be started at a later point if new proposals emerge, we accumulate more experience with the issue or the bibliographic world changes
    • Sometimes it takes multiple iterations to come up with a consensual solution
Ahasuerus 14:42, 29 June 2018 (EDT)
In my post above it must mean: moderator... and that related to Vasha. The moving of a post can only make a moderator. I didn't know that Vasha is a new moderator.--Wolfram.winkler 07:48, 29 June 2018 (EDT)
Ah, I see. Vasha is not a moderator, but she didn't have to be in order to move a feature request to the right Web page. Annie is a moderator and she made the same point at the time -- see above. The proposed feature was disscused and then implemented on 2018-06-02. Ahasuerus 14:42, 29 June 2018 (EDT)

Directory Entry for an American Von

This question was raised by Dirk P. Broer with regard to Eddy Von Mueller. This author is American and his last name, legally in the US, is "Von Mueller." Dirk argued that his directory entry should be "Mueller" and wrote, "The directory entry is the place where you look for the author in a library or store. I go to the ’M’ shelf for von Mueller." But I'm not sure about that. Shouldn't the directory entry be the actual last name?

Note that the same problem arises for "De" names. The "De" is included in the last name in some countries, e.g. US & Italy, and not others, e.g. France. --Vasha 06:34, 11 May 2018 (EDT)

I believe we had this discussion a couple of years ago. The US standard is to include the prefix, i.e. "Von Mueller" rather than "Mueller", in indices and directories. Other countries' standards vary, sometimes even within one country. For example, here is what the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions says in Names of Persons: National Usages for Entry in Catalogs about "van":
  • If the person is Dutch, "van Beukering" should be sorted under B
  • If he or she is Belgian, sort it under V (but note the small print that says Belgian libraries aren't consistent across the country)
  • If they're from the US, sort it under V
Ahasuerus 09:29, 11 May 2018 (EDT)
* If the person is Dutch, "van Beukering" should be sorted under B.
That is right, and the directory entry ("Beukering") takes care of that. The family name is "van Beukering" and the legal name field takes care of that.--Dirk P Broer 19:08, 11 May 2018 (EDT)

Odd one (Bruce Sterling)

Sterling has a story that was likely written in English first, then first published in Japanese, and latter published in English and other languages. Right now, the English title is varianted to the Japanese title, which creates a mess with the author pages. Thoughts on how to list this? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:02, 25 May 2018 (EDT)

I think it's covered by the following clause in Help:How to enter translations:
  • If a work was written in one language, but a foreign language translation was published first, then the original language title should be considered the canonical title and the translated title should be considered variant title. The year of the canonical (i.e. parent) title should be set to publication year of the canonical title, not to the year of the translation (though the latter one was released earlier).
Ahasuerus 20:13, 25 May 2018 (EDT)
I just fixed this one (showed up on a report) as per our standard - the original is the parent even if it is published later (or never). Annie 01:54, 26 May 2018 (EDT)
Awesome, thanks. I'd never run into this situation before. (^_^; ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 10:31, 26 May 2018 (EDT)

Record Numbers from Secondary Sources redux

There was a discussion a few years ago where I noted that I have been adding catalog numbers from secondary sources (e.g. Reginald, the Bleiler indexes) in the notes section of publication records (a recent example). At the time there was one editor who objected to my doing this. A compromise was suggested that such numbers be put below a {{BREAK}} tag, which I did adopt (once I learned what the tag was and how it is used) and a FR was created to add such numbers much as to a dedicated field as we now do with External IDs (perhaps it was the same FR). Regardless, there was no consensus at the time, or I believe since, that the addition of such numbers to the notes was prohibited. Today, I discovered that Reginald and Bleiler Early Years numbers that I added to this publication have been deleted. If I am mistaken, and this data is prohibited, I'll stop doing this. If it is not, what is our policy on the deletion of allowed data that an editor does not like? If editors should not be deleting allowed data, what is the recourse when they do so contrary to policy and etiquette. I am aware of this instance, but I wonder whether other data has been deleted without establishing a policy first. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 22:03, 3 June 2018 (EDT)

While I was moving OCLC, LCCN and other external numbers out from notes, I made a point of keeping these where they were and cleaning the br's and what's not around them (and even pinging the verifier if one of the numbers was missing while it looked like it was supposed to be there). I think that they are useful information and if someone is deleting them, then we are losing information. Just my 2 cent.
Plus if one day we DO have a new field, finding the data again is much harder than just moving it. Annie 22:21, 3 June 2018 (EDT)
The Bleiler indexes do not have catalog #s, all that's being added is a page #, more than useless. We already have verification spots for all the Bleilers and Reginalds, none of which have any online source nor are they likely to. Adding Reginald's numbers or a page # adds nothing, what's next, adding the line from Locus? The ONLY verification source which also has an external ID spot is OCLC, as they can have multiple records even for a single edition [some worthwhile, many not] and that was the only reason for putting their record numbers in the notes in the first place. I thought the purpose for having the external ID slots was to remove links/numbers/clutter from the notes. If a particular datum has been gleaned from one or more of these external sources, by all means that should remain in the notes, but the number/link should still be removed [what's the point of having it there twice?]. The original discussion noted above had four participants, three of whom thought these 'identifiers' to be nothing but clutter, the fourth that any secondary sources shouldn't be present if the record is primary verified [like that's likely to be implemented ...]. They're still just clutter. --~ Bill, Bluesman 12:55, 13 June 2018 (EDT)

the suffix Jr.

Do we standardize the suffix, no matter how it is written in the book (if it appears as "John Jones jr." do we enter "John Jones, Jr.")? --Vasha 13:47, 5 June 2018 (EDT)

Yes. See "Ranks, suffixes, prefixes" in Template:PublicationFields:Author (last bullet). -- JLaTondre (talk) 16:44, 5 June 2018 (EDT)
[Copied from here --Vasha] Yes, but I understand that this is an English / American regulation that doesn't necessarily apply for other language authors (though this is not made clear in the help). So it seems that James Tiptree jr. (as published with many titles) is regularized because we want to avoid unnecessary pseudonyms, but other authors should not be, especially when there's no English involved. Christian Stonecreek 03:05, 6 June 2018 (EDT)
Are there examples of non-English names that use "Jr.", etc.? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 12:44, 6 June 2018 (EDT)
a few :) Annie 12:47, 6 June 2018 (EDT)
Keep in mind that we use the same rule for other suffixes like "III" even though it's not a standard English practice.
If I recall correctly (I am not 100% sure since it's been about 10 years), the original reason for this blanket rule was the way our software behaves when parsing new author names: it considers anything after the last comma to be a "suffix" and populates the Directory Entry field accordingly.
In retrospect, it may not have been a very good reason. We shouldn't be creating data entry standards based on the way the software behaves -- it should be the other way around. Ahasuerus 13:11, 6 June 2018 (EDT)

Novels published ONLY as serials

As per the date rules for serials, a novel takes its date from its first publishing in book form. What do we do when the book never made it to a book form? 0000-00-00 or 8888-00-00? I can see it both ways but wanted to ask (and we need this rule updated for that). Thanks! Annie 17:48, 11 June 2018 (EDT)

I think the majority of our "phantom" NOVEL titles for unreprinted SERIALs use the date of the first SERIAL publication. (Parenthetically, I still think that there is got to be a better way to handle the SERIAL/NOVEL date mess in the software, but it's not a high priority at the moment.) Ahasuerus 18:27, 11 June 2018 (EDT)
So should we add a note to that effect in the help page? Annie 18:30, 11 June 2018 (EDT)
It may be prudent to ask some of our "pulp" editors who have been active lately to be sure. I haven't entered any pulps in a long time. Ahasuerus 18:44, 11 June 2018 (EDT)
Not a bad idea. I was moderating around this one today and it came up - I went for 8888-00-00 initially (Vasha went for first serial date which the help page explicitly says not to do), then I decided changed it to 0000-00-00 and then decided to come and ask because neither of the 3 looks correct. I had never edited or moderated such a case before - so I was reading the help page and working based on that. :) If noone shows up in a day or so, I will ping some directly on their pages. Annie 18:49, 11 June 2018 (EDT)
I tend to give these cases the date of the end of the serial, but with only year precision. Thus in the example you cite, I would have dated it "1934-00-00". When the serial spans years, I go with the later one. I'm not wedded to this approach. Of the two that you mention I would think that 8888-00-00 makes more sense insofar as the book publication was never published, rather than the date of that publication not being known. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 19:52, 11 June 2018 (EDT)
I like this approach even if it goes against the help pages (plus that won't send the novel at the bottom of the author's list). Probably we should add a line in the help page about that specific case considering that we already have a big note about serialization of novels and dating around them. Annie 14:07, 12 June 2018 (EDT)
If there are no objections, I will change Help later this week. Ahasuerus 10:03, 21 June 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) Is it still appropriate that the mouseover text for 8888-00-00 is "announced but never published"? By now, it is being used not just for that case, but quite often to record the original title of something that's only been published in translation. And here we have yet a third kind of unpublished title. --Vasha 09:23, 12 June 2018 (EDT)

It would be easy to change the mouseover text, but we would want to agree on the data entry rules and update Help first in order to keep everything in sync. Ahasuerus 13:59, 12 June 2018 (EDT)


I have made a number of changes to Help:Use of the SERIAL type‎, Help:How to connect serials to titles‎ and Template:TitleFields:TitleType to reflect the outcome of this discussion and to eliminate all vestiges of the infamous "lexical match" logic. Back when we changed the software, I reviewed our Help pages and deleted all explicit references to "lexical match", but apparently I missed a number of indirect or implied references. Without the original context, they muddled the waters and made the affected Help pages hard to follow. Sorry about that!

Hopefully the updated Help makes sense. Ahasuerus 17:13, 23 June 2018 (EDT)

Alternate (as opposed to sub) titles.

The current rule explains how to enter a title that has a subtitle. Would the same rule apply to alternate titles? An example is "Five Weeks in a Balloon; or, Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen." (in 4 variations of font style and size).

If so, would the "; or," be replaced by a ":"? Could the consensus be included in the help entry? ../ Doug H 15:08, 18 June 2018 (EDT)

We actually have quite a lot of these (they were kinda common in the past) and the current practice is to threat the whole thing as a title - not as a title/subtitle. That's a search for Title contains "; or,". Annie 15:22, 18 June 2018 (EDT)
What's the thinking on how to punctuate it if the title page isn't clear on that? Like, if it's written one above the other (Five Weeks in a Balloon / or / Journeys and Discoveries in Africa). I know the old way was " ... in a Balloon; or, Journeys ..." and I know that has fallen out of fashion. Nowadays most people use either "Balloon, or, Journeys" or "Balloon, or Journeys." Do we have a preferred choice here? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 16:04, 18 June 2018 (EDT)
I don't think there is a standard; I have seen it done all kinds of ways. Ahasuerus 10:02, 21 June 2018 (EDT)

Online publications that are not downloadable

A recent submission which I currently have on hold (the link is moderator-only) has raised the issue of non-downloadable online works yet again. At this time, ISFDB:Policy#Rules of Acquisition are as follows:

  • downloadable e-zines are in
  • web-based publications (webzines) available only as an HTML readable file are out except when:

Under the current rules, the submitted anthology is apparently ineligible even though its contributors include Gregory Benford, Brenda Cooper, Bruce Sterling, Nancy Kress, James Morrow, Margaret Atwood, Karl Schroeder, Paolo Bacigalupi, Mike Resnick, Kevin J. Anderson, Catherine Asaro, and Peter Watts, to name only some of the better-known authors. They probably have a few hundred awards and nominations between them.

We have discussed this topic a number of times over the last few years. There seems to be general agreement that the policy is outdated because:

  • it's too US-centric ("eligible for SFWA membership")
  • the SFWA membership criteria change from year to year
  • more and more major SF works appear online as seen in this case

At the same time there has also been reluctance to start accepting all online publications. As far as I can tell, the reasons are as follows:

  • there are literally tens of thousands of stories getting self-published online every year; there are well over 100,000 Twilight fanfics on alone
  • HTML-based online publications can be unstable as authors can tweak them whenever they want to (hence the "downloadable" rule that we currently have in place); they can also be taken down abruptly for copyright and other reasons, leaving no trace except, perhaps, at the Internet Archive
  • many online works appear as Web serials with dozens and hundreds of installments, which our software is poorly equipped to handle -- see the ever-popular Mother of Learning, Worm, Everybody Loves Large Chests, etc
  • the serialization problem is further complicated by the recent proliferation of translated serializations -- see Novel Updates, Wuxia World, etc. Different translators and groups of translators may be translating different parts of certain serials, sometimes with a considerable amount of overlap. (Some are machine translations with minimal human editing involved.)

As far as I can tell, there are two ways we could approach this issue.

The first approach would be to try and further relax out policy to make it less US-centric and more accepting of online works published by notable authors while trying to keep fanfiction and Web serials out. If we decide to do it, then I think "stability" may be one of the more viable (if admittedly subjective) criteria. Author Web sites, publisher Web sites and projects like the one that prompted this discussion are generally fairly stable.

The second approach would be to throw in the towel and accept -- in theory -- all online publications. It may not be as scary as it sounds. Back when we were considering relaxing our e-book inclusion criteria, we were concerned about a potential flood of ASIN-only ebooks published on Amazon. As it turned out, it hasn't been a significant problem. Just because some works are eligible for inclusion doesn't necessarily mean that there are dozens of people dying to submit them.

So, what do you think? Ahasuerus 23:29, 26 June 2018 (EDT)


The current rules also give smaller languages a lot more leeway - there is no webzine in Bulgarian that publishes fiction that had not been nominated at least once for one of the big awards for example... Even without relaxing the rules, they would be eligible. Which is not true for the major languages. On the other hand as much as I love Bewildering Stories, I am not sure that we should be indexing it. Or maybe if someone cares enough, we should...

One of the major issues in our rules is the "downloadable" part - it is trivial to create a file for an ebook reader with a browser plugin these days and most of the webzines would rather leave that to the reader and not force the full content (including good old 'Strange Horizons' which makes it in the DB because of its awards). It made sense 10 years ago I suspect, these days - not so much. Annie 00:02, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

Yet another reason why it'd be good to have broader criteria for inclusion is the magazines that used to have ebook-editions and then went web-only. It just adds a degree of complexity to have to explain why only part of a magazine's run is in the DB. And then there's the time you enter a webzine issue because the editors say "we'll be releasing the ebook any day now" and you look back years later and find that either the ebook never appeared or it's hard to tell whether it did or not (e.g. there's a download link which is dead--was it ever live?)... Yeah, that would be solved by only cataloguing with the ebook in hand, but that isn't always possible. My point is that allowing more webzines would simplify some mess. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 16:11, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

Fan Fiction and Web Serials

I'm in favor of a middle ground - and similar username based publications are out; Annie 00:02, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

An interesting idea. "Username-based sites and forums" is a good fit for what I have been looking for. It would automatically exclude a great deal of fan fiction and Web serials. We'll just need to define "username-based" carefully. For example, the author of "Mother of Learning" is listed as "nobody103", but his user page also links to his Patreon account, which is set up under "Domagoj Kurmaic", his legal name. Ahasuerus 14:11, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
If someone links to their real author page, they are allowed in - using pseudonyms is not new in our genre (one of those fan fictions even changes the names of the characters and is pretty popular these days). :) And then common sense will apply. If Stephen King decides to post some fan-fiction over on a fan fiction site tomorrow (I know, implausible but stay with me) and links his username page to his real author page, we will catalog it. But that won't make the whole site eligible. So for these, it will be down to "check carefully. Annie 14:29, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
The more I think about it, the thornier the issue looks. The big problem that I think we have with Web serials is not (so much) the number of potentially eligible works out there, but their format. For example, the author of Worm and other Web serials, J. C. McCrae, makes a living writing Web serials, which is more than many traditionally published SF novelists can say. There are hundreds (!) of Worm fanfics, some of them quite long and quite popular. He has had multiple TV offers, etc. I would be all for adding these serials to the database if not for the fact that they were published in -- quite literally -- hundreds of installments. Cataloging the output of just a few of the more successful Web serial authors would quickly overwhelm us if we were to use our usual standards.
After typing the paragraph immediately above, it occurs to me that perhaps the way to address this issue is not to exclude Web serials outright but to change our data entry rules a bit. If we were to allow the inclusion of Web serials as standalone "container" publications -- perhaps with a new publication type, "web serial"? -- it would alleviate most of the issues that I have with them. They may require somewhat more extensive Notes than other publication types, but nothing outrageous.
Of course, if this change in policy resulted in tens of thousands of Web serial records getting submitted, we would still have a bandwidth problems. However, our experience with allowing e-books without ISBNs suggests that there is a big difference between what is potentially eligible and what actually gets submitted. We were concerned that we would be overwhelmed by thousands of ISBN-less e-books, but the reality has been different. Ahasuerus 16:15, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
We do not need to solve all the issues in the current policy in one single change - we can always leave the web-serials out (for now) so we can see how relaxing the policy for webzines and what's not work and then tweak it again. Or we can add a new type (which sounds better and better the more I think about it). I just really do not want us to get boggled into this kind of issues - and never move anywhere (I know that a comprehensive change is always better but... sometimes divide and conquer is a much better strategy). Plus who knows what will be the new fad tomorrow or in a year anyway - digital publishing is changing daily. Annie 16:25, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I agree that we don't need to address all forms of Web-published fiction at the same time. Web serials present unique challenges and may need to simmer a bit longer before we can decide how to handle them. If we were to create a new publication type for them, it would alleviate some issues but it may also raise others. For example, what should we use as the publication date of Mother of Learning, which was started in 2011 and is still in progress? Should we create a new title type to handle monstrosities like Worm, which is over 1.6 million words long? How do we handle Web serials which have been partially published in book form (Everybody Loves Large Chests)? Etc.
That's why I created a separate subsection for fan fiction and Web serials -- hopefully this preliminary discussion won't prevent us from reaching consensus re: webzines and possibly other forms of Web-published fiction. Ahasuerus 18:31, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I am actually going to argue that we need to call by name Annie 14:29, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Keep in mind that is only one of a number of sites hosting fan fiction, crossover fiction and related works. One of its cousins, Archive of Our Own, hosts 3,942,000 [sic] titles. Ahasuerus 15:52, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
True - and yes, ", Archive of Our Own and other predominantly fan-fiction sites" is probably a better wording. If an author cannot tell a Annie 16:05, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
and just exclude it - it's fun and so on but... do we want to deal with all that when an author gets in a fit and decides that all the fan fiction using her characters should be removed? Annie 14:29, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Well, we already have to deal with withdrawn/replaced e-books, so Web-published fiction wouldn't be qualitatively different. However, the volume of changes may be a concern. I have seen a number of Royal Road authors take down their serialized novels prior to e-book publication.
Ultimately, it shouldn't matter much as long as we document our sources and the time frame carefully. Changing/removing links to third party sites may be time-consuming, though. Ahasuerus 15:49, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
This is why I am not keen on adding author sites (and even publisher ones) as eligible - it is a lot less likely for someone publishing a webzine to take down a story than for a publisher/author to do it because they are about to publish it in an e-book/vanity press. Middle ground and common sense should be foundable. Annie 16:05, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

Different Types of Sites

... publisher and personal author sites are out unless the author is already in the DB (this will keep the online only poets and authors out until they actually publish something in a place that is eligible - although most of them probably are going the kindle route anyway) - I know that they are stable but... do we want the index of every wanna-be writer and poet in the world? Webzines, special projects like the one that started this and so on are eligible provided that for a webzine, it had published 3 issues or at least 10 poems/stories in the first year of its existence (numbers are open to debate) and it had published more than one author. That should keep some of the one-day webzines out... Annie 00:02, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

Yes, Annie's point of view is the one I also subscribe to. Christian
Me three. There are some venerable, major webzines (Kaleidotrope comes to mind, but there are plenty of others). It would sure be nice to have a systematic record of their contents integrated with our other records. And the well-run ones are a lot less ephemeral than some ebooks (try tracking down info about the contents of an anthology that was on sale for a month four years ago and you're not sure anyone even bought a copy!)
So, as I see it, there are three classes of websites that need to be discussed: webzines; sites that publish fiction by multiple authors but don't call themselves magazines; and single-author websites.
I don't really have an opinion on whether or not to allow the single-author sites, but I'm skeptical about them. [snip some things I changed my mind about]
Webzines & publishing sites, though, that should be doable. Annie's criteria are good. Also think about specifying that they must publish predominantly genre. But currently, when including pro or award-winning web publications, we draw a distinction between those that have regular issues & are indexed completely (Strange Horizons) and those that are blog-like or general-purpose websites and only have fiction indexed ( Can we systematize that distinction to make it easy to classify new websites one way or the other? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 01:04, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I would disagree on the "predominantly genre" a bit. Take for an example Words Without Borders which is non-genre for the most part. However they have Special themed issues that fit us better than some of our genre sites (it is not eligible now because it is not downloadable...) and they also have a speculative story or 2 in pretty much any country-based issue (and the magazine usually translates authors that are popular in their own countries but unknown or less known in the English speaking world). Then there are the web-versions of the standard journals and reviews (Kenyon Review for example had expanded their site in the last few years from being just a supporting platform, posting a story or 2 from the printed versions into a full blown online magazine to complement the printed one). None of those would be called genre publications but restricting them when we allow stories from printed non-genre magazines makes little sense. And while early in the webzines development they were almost segregated by genre, I see more and more of them using more of a "let me include different genres so I get more readers" kind of approach. So I would say that we should treat a non-genre webzine/web-magazine the same way we treat a printed one.
PS: My 3 issues or 10 stories above was exactly because of the two types of sites we have out there (the structured webzines vs the blog/non-issues specific ones) :) Annie 13:49, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
It doesn't entirely make sense to me to omit non-fiction just because the contents aren't organized into issues. Some of the articles on have won awards, for example. And there's a degree of arbitrariness to the distinction: Fireside Magazine went from posting issues monthly, to a continuous stream of posts, and then quickly started organizing their content into monthly issues again but having the contents appear bit-by-bit over time, as many webzines do. I actually did leave out the nonfiction for those few in-between months but that feels wrong. Consider that if we want to only index fiction from sites that don't have "issues," then a site could post the exact same things and we'd treat it differently if they said "new content will appear on the 1st, 10th, 18th, and 24th of March" or if they said "the contents of the March issue will appear on the 1st, 10th, 18th, and 24th." --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 14:39, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I was just talking about fiction above :) As for non-fiction - indexing the whole (or locus's online site) does not make much sense either - although indexing some of their reviews may be a good thing, that is a bit outside of our main focus. My view is that we are predominantly a fiction DB and the non-fiction we index is mostly ancillary (aka - it just happened to be in the same place where the fiction was so we started cataloging it). Quite frankly, I would not have indexed the reviews in "Strange Horizons" either but that ship had sailed. But it is a very thin line between "we allow some of it in" and "we get overwhelmed by reviews and essays". And then some awards start having categories for "short non-fiction" that allows blog posts and the like so we may be stuck indexing these. On the other hand (again), we are a fiction DB, not a "webzines/magazines/blogs" db.
One possible option is whitelisting of webzines and sites - we keep a list of "fully indexed ones" (led by Strange Horizons), if someone wants a new one to be added, we discuss and add it eventually (and maybe have some automatic rules such as "nominated in a major award as a whole"); if one changes, we can put an "up to date" date on it. If it is not on the list, only fiction is eligible for inclusion. That will remove some of the differences. Annie 15:42, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I mentioned something similar before in another discussion: I like the idea of a publication's being in or out. We could apply that thought to webzines/blogs/whatever. If we were to take Annie's idea that a web-only work is "in" if written by an author having other, non-web-only "in" works recorded in the database and extend it a bit to then let us categorize the site -- i.e., it's a "genre" site and everything is "in" because some of the things are "in", or it's a "non-genre" site and only the "in" works are "in" -- that might be a workable compromise that would also be fairly easy to remember and to apply. I do believe we need some way to be more permissive with regard to this medium. --MartyD 19:32, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) I still think that we should make a difference between web-only in webzines/online magazines (which we should be treating in a way similar to printed ones and not as the red-headed step children we really do not want to hear from) and web-only somewhere on someone's site, in a blog and so on. Annie 19:44, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

I think the most relevant distinction is not between whether a site calls itself a magazine or not, but whether it publishes multiple authors, or is one person's work (even if with occasional guest appearances by others). This is a pretty easy distinction to make, whereas sites that publish multiple authors' fiction come in many forms and fall on a continuum that makes it hard to say what is really a magazine. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 20:14, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
That's down to how we define a webzine. As for the single author - untangling pseudonyms may turn a 10-authors magazine into a 1 author one overnight - would you then delete it because it is now not a real webzine? And if one of big authors of the genre decides to start publishing a webzine with their new stories, it will be excluded if we just look at how many authors participate in it. Annie 20:55, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
OK then, how would you define "webzine"? I might try "A site intended for a public audience, which adds new content of fiction or feature articles somewhat regularly;" there's a lot of undefined terms in that though. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 23:18, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Your description will cover an author's blog (for an author that publishes fiction now and then) :) . And regularity is not really needed for a magazine (look at some of the schedules of the smaller printed ones). Webzines, ezines and so on are still "-zines" - which had always implied issues for me - just posting stories or articles online makes you a blog (and yeah, I am looking at - Daily Science Fiction, Escape Pod or Strange Horizons are online magazines. Annie 00:00, 28 June 2018 (EDT)
I meant "intended for a public audience" to exclude blogs; too much informality and personal chitchat makes them the equivalent of some more personal fanzines, not magazines. And seems blog-like because it has so many Tor publishing announcements, talk about their authors, words from editors, as well as "filler" posts provided by staff that aren't substantial articles. As for the updating part, a site which posts a whole bunch of stories and then never updates again isn't a magazine, even if we might perhaps want to index it. How could I express this better?
BTW we don't draw a distinction between all-fiction webzines that have "issues" and ones that don't (like Daily Science Fiction). Is DSF a blog that just happens to post lots of fiction? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 00:29, 28 June 2018 (EDT)
How we deal with web publications now and how we want to deal with them is the whole point of this discussion, isn't it? If it is online, it is intended for the public audience - otherwise you keep it at a place where only your friends can read it. DSF posts a monthly schedule - so it is a magazine in my book - in a funny way the way we are recording it here is how I see their "issues". Especially because this is all they publish. :) Why would a site that posts 20 stories and then stops be ineligible - that would exclude all the special publications like the one that started this whole discussion - and which should obviously be eligible? Printed magazines with a single issue or 2 are eligible. Plus, DSF is a special case - together with sites like 365 tomorrows for example (which I am not planning on indexing - just pointing out another daily story site) - it just happens to be paying (better). I am not sure why we need to define webzine, site and what's not - what matters is the fiction, right? We are not discussing just making webzines eligible - if a site does not fall under that category, it can fall under another eligible one. Annie 00:40, 28 June 2018 (EDT)
Right, taking a step back here, the main issue is finding what online fiction we want to index. Until we find a site that publishes fanfiction in monthly issues, we should (I hope) be able to define exclusions narrowly enough that we can assume everything else is OK; it'd probly be better to try defining what is out rather than what is in. Talking about what else we want to do with the sites we include (like maybe indexing their full contents) can wait until we've settled what to include. We can keep the ones that are full-contents now under a "grandfather clause," especially since it's a very short list: just Strange Horizons, Fireside, and Abyss & Apex at present, and maybe a few more in the past like the recently-defunct Sci Phi Journal after it stopped being a print zine. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 01:13, 28 June 2018 (EDT)

Proposed Subcategories

After sleeping on it, I came up with some subcategories:

  • The Genre web publications
    • 1. The webzines - anything that publishes issues weekly/monthly/irregularly - things like Strange Horizons, Bewildering Stories, Kaleidotrope, all the zines that stopped publishing paper versions (and sometimes even e-books) but kept the creation of the issues - the stuff that would have been on paper once upon a time and already has at least 3 issues.
    • 2. The sites and blogs that publish a lot of fiction from different authors: Daily Science Fiction can go in either this or the previous category, is here (minimum of 10 stories and predominantly publishing genre fiction for a site to be eligible)
    • 3. Special publications - like the one that started this round of conversations - anthologies and one-time sites that have SF, are not likely to get updated but obviously belong here. Maybe this needs to be merged down with 1a?
    • 4. Personal author sites
    • 5. Publisher sites
    • 6. Random sites (aka - I am not an author but I wrote a story)
    • 7. Random stories in random weird non-fiction related places (the town of Nowhere asked a genre writer to create a story for them and then published it on their site.
    • 8. Fan fiction sites
  • The non-genre ones
    • 1a. Special speculative fiction issues of non-fiction webzines (like the one from Words Without Borders I linked somewhere above)
    • 1b. Single stories inside of issues non-fiction webzines (that have issues)
    • 1c. Single stories in sites that publish stories but are not exclusively genre (Everyday Fiction comes to mind).

Based on that:

  • Eligible: 1, 2, 3, 1a (we would catalog a speculative fiction issue of a printed journal)
  • Conditionally eligible: 4, 5, 7 (when we already have the author in the DB)
  • Never eligible: 6, 8
  • Not sure: 1b and 1c. I want to say "yes" but then we will get into "what is speculative fiction" so to be on the safe site, I;m more inclined to go for the conditionally eligible for these as well...

A few more additional thoughts:

  • When cataloging a webzine, adding a link to the issue AND a link to that shows the issues should be strongly recommended. That will give us both proper dating (the archive links contain a timestamp) and even if the site dies, we catalog. Links for each story/poem in their title records may be annoying and/or an overkill but will protect us from having too much ephemeral content. The smaller (and newer) the zine is, the more we want this.
  • Same rules for all individual stories that are eligible under the rest of the categories.
  • Do we want to discuss a new type (e-chapbook) for these kind of stories? Alternatively, we can standardize the Daily Science Fiction style convention and have monthly "webzine" entry for those? This way the webzines that publish issues are catalog with their issues numbers and so on; everything else goes under the "monthly" plans. The more I think about it, the more I like the monthly idea thingie...

So... any obvious gaps? Anything that sounds weird? Any other thoughts? Annie 18:37, 28 June 2018 (EDT)

Webzines and single issue anthologies

The good news is that this discussion uncovered a lot of permutations which we (or at least I) hadn't considered. The bad news is... well, the same as the good news -- there are a lot of permutations.

I wonder if we could take a piece (or maybe two pieces) of this puzzle and present it as a concise proposal, probably in a new section? Something like:

  • Webzines, which are defined as online periodicals with distinct issues, are "in"

perhaps? We could add more qualifications if desired, although in my experience quantitative thresholds ("at least X issues", "at least Y authors", "at least Z stories", etc) do not work too well. We always seem to end up with too many exceptions and unexpected scenarios which take longer to sort out than to simply enter into the database. Ahasuerus 21:41, 1 July 2018 (EDT)

Sounds like a plan. And I agree - the number of issues will probably not going to help much - I would prefer to wait until a second issue appear but that's not really that important. I kinda want to be able to include the publication we started with (and the Words Without borders special issue) in that first pass (because a lot of the big names will show up in these project and not in the proper genre webzines). Let me think on how the two can be defined in a single line as with the webzines. Maybe:
  • Special speculative fiction issues of non-genre webzines and one time web-anthologies Annie 22:07, 1 July 2018 (EDT)
If I am reading this correctly, your proposal would be as follows:
  • Remove the words "and downloadable e-zines" from the "Included" section of ISFDB:Policy#Rules_of_Acquisition
  • Add the following lines to the "Included" section:
    • Speculative fiction webzines, which are defined as online periodicals with distinct issues
    • Special speculative fiction issues of non-genre webzines
    • One time speculative fiction anthologies published on the Web
Is this about right? Ahasuerus 13:56, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
I do not think we should be removing the "downloadable" part of that specific rule - these are still eligible based on their e-book versions (the ability to be downloaded) even if they have no issues - e-zines and webzines are different animals so I would leave the e-zines rule alone and just add a webzine one(s). Annie 14:14, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Oh, I see. Makes sense, although it may be beneficial to clarify what we mean by "downloadable e-zines". For example, does a downloadable single issue anthology count? Ahasuerus 14:33, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Between the e-zines rule and the last line in the Includes section, we have the downloadable content pretty well covered I would think. The single issues anthology if downloadable will be eligible under "Internet-based publications which are downloadable as electronic files in any number of ebook formats (ePub, Mobi, PDF, etc)" even today... I was actually thinking that we should split the Included section into 3 sections: printed, downloadable e-books and web-only publications and work based on that. There will be some repetition but it will make it clearer. Or we can make two separate sections (printed and downloadable e-books)- which is what we have now and a new "web-only publications" where we start qualifying them. Annie 14:47, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
OK, let's leave the current "downloadable e-zines" language alone for now. As you said, one thing at a time. Ahasuerus 16:22, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
I would leave the Included section as is now, add the 3 lines above at the bottom and rework the first line of the Excluded section by adding a third line under 1:
  • Webzines and online anthologies that are included as per the Included section.
Annie 14:14, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Presumably we'll also want to change the sentence which starts with "Works published in a web-based publication (webzine) and available only as an HTML readable file are not eligible for inclusion". At the very least we will want to delete "(webzine)". Ahasuerus 14:36, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Well, this sentence finishes with "with the following exceptions" and we are just adding more exceptions - so no need to change that sentence (yet). Although deleting the word webzines makes sense - I think it is a hold over from the time when these were the only sites that actually published fiction. Annie 14:47, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
We could have a third category besides included and excluded, and sites w/out issues and Non-genre webzines would belong to it: "Exercise caution: only catalog a story from these sites if there is a clear justification for including it in the database (by a genre author, reprinted in a genre anthology, nominated for a genre award, etc.)" That way, it wouldn't be impossible to include these stories if you had a reason to, you would just have to have a reason. It would be similar to our patchy coverage of non genre print sources but more cautious. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:14, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
I'd leave this alone for now - let's take baby steps. There are a lot of stories we do not cover yet (even with the changes for the webzines) but trying to cover all of them in a single change will end up in doing nothing. So let's start working on the different types one by one - now the webzines, next step will be other genre stories... We can always start a wiki page for these and keep an eye on how many we find and where - and then use that during the next discussion on what else to allow in. The more I think about it, the more that wiki idea sound like something we should do. Annie 15:19, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Page created, with sample entry under M. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:59, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
How about adding one more column: type of site - author, publisher, blog, non-genre webzine, (whatever else exists)? The idea is to see what kind of stories we would like to add but are just online and having them properly categorized will help in some data mining without clicking on all links. And then leave the notes for any other notes :) Annie 16:25, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Done --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 16:47, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Then, if accepted, depending on the results once we start seeing what is being added, we can start looking at the rest of the possibilities.
The other question is how we want to treat non-genre fiction and both genre and non-genre non-fiction in these webzines - as we treat them in a genre magazine (which would make sense) or we draw the line there so that we do not end up cataloging 100 reviews that accompany the 2 stories in the issue. I am not sure what I am leaning towards quite honestly - cataloging the complete issue will be consistent with the e- and printed magazines so we probably should try that and keep an eye on what is added. Annie 22:07, 1 July 2018 (EDT)
One thing I would like to see is for former print/ezines to continue being treated the same if they become web-only; that'll simplify life. They will presumably continue having issues online, any rare exception can be dealt with individually. So there's one class of webzines that should automatically go on a "whitelist" if we have one. I think the list still wouldn't be very long--a couple dozen at most? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 22:38, 1 July 2018 (EDT)
Special rules for "print magazines-turned-webzines" would only be necessary if we were to decide to treat print magazines and webzines differently, right? If so, then I think it's another argument in favor of using the same rules for print magazines, downloadable magazines and webzines.
Re: Annie's concern that "reviewzines" with a couple of fiction pieces tacked on may overwhelm us, do we know how many webzines use this format? I have seem some sites/blogs that post mostly reviews with a smattering of stories. However, most of them seemed to be "not webzines" in that they did not have distinct issues. Was my sample not representative? Ahasuerus 14:21, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
No, if we stay with the "have issues" for now (aka actual webzines), we should be fine - I would say to just say/assume that webzine, e-zines and printed zines are treated the same (so fully cataloged as long as they are considered genre). The special case that remains is the case where a printed/e-zine switches to web-only and drops the issues (so it becomes just a blog with stories). In this case we just declare the 'zine dead, record the URL and if one day we decide to catalog the non-zine sites (aka blogs and so on), we will catalog then.
The two big sites that we might have needed to do special provisions for are and the Daily Science Fiction (as they are not webzines). But they are eligible now under the awards rule so we are covered. If another shows up, we can revisit. Annie 15:02, 2 July 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) Are we ready to create a new R&S section and post a proposal encompassing the three new areas of inclusion (genre webzines, genre issues of non-genre webzine, single issue anthologies)? Is there anything that we may be forgetting? Anything unintended that the new language may be covering? Should we take a step back and wait until tomorrow morning in case anything pops up overnight? Ahasuerus 16:26, 2 July 2018 (EDT)

Well, the only new thing today is the language itself so I'd say to make a new section and see if anyone else is interested (because I can understand why people do not want to read the maze of a discussion here). We probably should allow for partial success as well - if there is strong opposition against one of the three new categories (not sure why but it is possible) :) Annie 16:48, 2 July 2018 (EDT)

Author-specific sites

I am somewhat burned out after sorting out thousands of Fixer's ISBNs at the moment. I'll probably post a more coherent response tomorrow, but for now I'll comment re: author-run sites.

The main issue that I have repeatedly run into while working on Fixer's submissions has to do with urban fantasy and paranormal romance series. A number of UF/PR authors make certain stories "online exclusives", which means that you can't find then anywhere else. They seem to be "freebies" given by their authors to loyal fans or something close to it. When I come across them, there is no easy way to catalog them short of creating a "naked" title record.

Of course, other authors make some of their stories available on their sites as well, but most of the time they are not exclusive -- e.g., see Greg Egan's site -- which makes it easier to process them.

I hope that whatever standards we come up with will address this issue. Ahasuerus 21:29, 28 June 2018 (EDT)

That's an interesting point - I am not sure I was aware how many of those are out there. I wonder if some modification of my "monthly webzines records" idea (or even yearly records) won't work here as well - it will collect them into somewhat of a series and won't litter the page with the multiple chapbooks or fill the DB with pub-less titles... I need to think a bit on that. Annie 21:48, 28 June 2018 (EDT)

Space before ellipsis

We have a rule for the space after an ellipsis if it is in the middle of a title but we do not have a specific rule for a space (or lack of one) before it. In my book, an ellipsis at the end of a title is the same as a dot or a question mark (so no space is needed); an ellipsis in the middle of a title serves the same purpose as a comma so it also does not require a space before it but the DB has both styles (in non-trivial amounts). Should we standardize this a bit? Or leave each editor to do whatever they prefer about that? Annie 19:41, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

It should be simple to search-and-replace correct everything to whichever one we choose; I can't think of a single case where this would go wrong, can you? Then we could just do that periodically rather than expecting users to be consistent when they enter things. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 20:24, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Having a backend process changing data in the DB is not as easy as you seem to think and I will be very careful in proposing such unsupervised changes - such mass replacements tend to backfire when a special case that noone thought of appears. Plus it is really easy for the editors to just pay attention and do it properly to start with - we somehow have most people get the capitalization and the price formats right. That's not the question though - the question is "do we want to standardize and if so, it what direction - or in short: to space or not to space" :) Annie 20:50, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Both Chicago Manual of Style and MLA Style Guide (also Harvard University and quite a few others) recommend "word . . . word" No help there. I don't think that style looks good in most computer fonts. Here are the other possibilities and sources I could find recommending them in a quick search.
* Word... word Newcity Network
* Word...word - University of Oxford
* Word ... word AP Style Guide; Florida Virtual School; Google Developer Documentation
I close with a quote from Wikipedia: "According to Robert Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style, the details of typesetting ellipses depend on the character and size of the font being set and the typographer's preference. Bringhurst writes that a full space between each dot is "another Victorian eccentricity. In most contexts, the Chicago ellipsis is much too wide"—he recommends using flush dots, or thin-spaced dots (up to one-fifth of an em), or the prefabricated ellipsis character ( … ). Bringhurst suggests that normally an ellipsis should be spaced fore-and-aft to separate it from the text, but when it combines with other punctuation, the leading space disappears and the other punctuation follows." --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 21:19, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) The big problem that we ran into when we last reworked out ellipsis standards was that, as we discovered, different languages support different ellipsis conventions. Some allow style A and B, but not C. Some allow B and C, but not A. And so on. The current, somewhat incomplete, standard was the best compromise that we could come up with without stepping on any language's toes (do languages have toes?) while still supporting language-independent searching.

If we are going to revisit this issue, we'll want to be careful not to upset the delicate balance that we currently have in place. Ahasuerus 21:32, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

"Supporting language-independent searching," that's the hundred-dollar issue. Have you made any progress in investigating the possibility of searches ignoring punctuation? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 21:34, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I am afraid not. It's a bigger can of worms than I originally realized. There are some third party software packages that may be worth looking into, but I haven't done anything on that front yet. Ahasuerus 22:15, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Well, my point is that we do not have a standard at the moment for the space before the ellipsis - and everyone seems to have their own idea about it :) So if there are search issues out there, we already have a problem. Annie 21:39, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
People should not have to know what our standard is in order to search, right? That's an issue with all kinds of punctuation (like commas). --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 21:43, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
I think all of our supported languages follow the "word, word" standard for commas. Colons, OTOH, are a different matter: Alien: Resurrection and Alien : La résurrection have to remain that way in order to accommodate language standards. We'll need to make the search logic smarter if we are to make our searches more user-friendly. Ahasuerus 22:09, 27 June 2018 (EDT)
Sure, and how not having a standard at all helps with the search now? Instead of people knowing the standard to search, they need a crystal ball to know how to search for the title. :) I realize that we have an issue with the search when punctuation is involved but this specific question was about a case of a missing standard and the fact that we are inconsistent in the DB - and if anything, using the same standard will make the search a bit more consistent. Annie 22:52, 27 June 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) So do we want to have a standard about it or should we just supply a crystal ball to everyone that tries to search for a title (so they know how to look for it) and/or just tell them to use google to search us? Annie 15:29, 2 July 2018 (EDT)

Poll of contributors? My vote would be to follow the AP style guide and go with "word ... word." --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:58, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Could the search manage to insert optional blanks before and after the special characters like colon and ellipsis? ../Doug H 19:46, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Sorry, I missed this question when it was asked 12 days ago.
At this time the search process uses the same logic as the data entry process. What this means is that if you enter ". . ." anywhere in your submission, the software will replace it with "...". The same thing happens when searching: ". . ." is automatically replaced with "...". Similarly, we replace multiple adjacent spaces like " " with a single space. It's all part of the "filter" that we use to massage the entered data before submissions are created.
We could use the same "filtering" logic if we can agree on what the data entry rules should be. If we decide that we should always have a space between words and ellipses, we could modify the software to insert them as needed. I think it would be a better solution than making the search logic and the data entry logic diverge. Ahasuerus 13:22, 14 July 2018 (EDT)

Inclusion of webzines and one-time anthologies

The discussion of non-downloadable online publications above has identified a significant number of subcategories. They all have their quirks and caveats, so it's probably best to handle one or two subcategories at a time. Based on what we have discussed so far, the following proposal has been formulated:

  1. Add the following lines to the "Included" section of ISFDB:Policy#Rules_of_Acquisition:
    • Speculative fiction webzines, which are defined as online periodicals with distinct issues
    • Special speculative fiction issues of non-genre webzines
    • One time speculative fiction anthologies published on the Web
  2. Remove the word "(webzine)" from the "Excluded section" (after "Works published in a web-based publication".)
  3. After the bullet point "It has been shortlisted for a major award" add another bullet point which reads:
    • Webzines and online anthologies as per the Included section

Please note that this proposal was designed to exclude blogs, author-run sites, fan fiction, Web serials and other online oddities. We may revisit all or some of them at a later point, but the proposed language was crafted to make this iteration of scope expansion more manageable. Ahasuerus 19:49, 2 July 2018 (EDT)

For the Exclude section changes, instead of adding that bullet point, how about just changing the main bullet text along the lines of:
Works published in web-based publications not designated as included -- such as blogs, author-run sites, fan fiction, web serials, and other online oddities -- and available only as an HTML readable file ...?
I think the examples will help clarify the framers' intent for posterity. --MartyD 22:38, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
I am fine with either of the two ways to word the change in the Excluded section. Annie 22:53, 2 July 2018 (EDT)
Yes, both would be fine, I think. Stonecreek 00:05, 3 July 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) It looks like there is substantive agreement re: including genre webzines and single issue anthologies.

Re: the best way to organize the Rules of Acquisition, it occurs to me that it may be possible to change the structure to make it more user-friendly. Currently the structure is:

  • Inclusion list
  • Exclusion list with the following exceptions:
    • SFWA-qualifying markets
    • Shortlisted for a major award

"Exceptions to exceptions" are hard to parse. How about we move them to the Inclusion list? That way the Exclusion list will simply say "Works published in all other types of Web-based publications available only as HTML readable files that are not listed in the Included section" and then we can optionally add "such as blogs, author-run sites, fan fiction, web serials, and other online oddities". Ahasuerus 12:33, 3 July 2018 (EDT)

There are lots of online publications that call themselves magazines even though they don't have distinct issues and thus aren't webzines by the definition here. How can we help people to not overlook this distinction? Add "magazines not organized into issues" to the list of examples of exclusions? How does it sound to say "... such as websites publishing without distinct issues (even if they call themselves magazines), blogs, author-run websites..." There must be a less-wordy way. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 12:50, 3 July 2018 (EDT)
I think it would be better to keep everything webzines-related in one place. Perhaps add something like "(and only with distinct issues)" to the end of the bullet which currently says "Speculative fiction webzines, which are defined as online periodicals with distinct issues"? Ahasuerus 13:01, 3 July 2018 (EDT)
Maybe after the sentence you originally wrote, "If a publication calls itself a magazine but does not have distinct issues, it is not included." --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 13:16, 3 July 2018 (EDT)

Planned Changes to Project Scope

I'll leave notes on the Talk pages of some of the more active editors to make sure that we are not missing anything. Unless substantive objections are raised in the next couple of days, I plan to change the Rules of Acquisition tomorrow night. Ahasuerus 11:08, 4 July 2018 (EDT)

I'm in favour of more material even if it stretches boundaries. My concern is dilution of effort. There are a lot of projects on the go and on the books. The reason for the rules is to prevent scope creep. If allowing this expansion means a few people enter things that moderators can approve rather than argue about, I'm good. If it means days of software updates, more moderator discussions to set boundaries or fewer editors entering material for the existing bounds, I'm not so good. The exact definition of the boundary is far less relevant. ../Doug H 11:29, 4 July 2018 (EDT)
I don't expect this particular change to require software changes. We already have "webzine" listed as a valid publication format and I can't think of anything else that we would need to change on the software side. Some other scope changes discussed earlier (Web serials) may require software changes, but they are not included in this proposal. Ahasuerus 12:00, 4 July 2018 (EDT)
On the other hand, we may get more editors - ones that come to enter webzines and stay for other things and that would have never started helping if they did not start with their favorite webzine. I don't really expect people to rush in adding them but on the other hand, we already allow any e-zine and downloadable webzines - so this just closes the circle. And a magazine changing to e-zine changing to webzine won't cause head scratching on what is eligible and why we stop cataloging it... :) Annie 15:27, 4 July 2018 (EDT)
I'm OK with proposed expansion as both useful, and consistent with our charter. That said, I doubt we enthusiasts will be able to keep up with the wave front of qualifying online publications. But it's a worthy goal, and could attract new, web-first enthusiast editors. Markwood 11:49, 4 July 2018 (EDT
I can agree on the intent of the rules change, however I'm unsure on the format: sometimes I guess it's going to be difficult to discern a periodical as such, especially if they're loosely formatted and displayed. Are we going to leave it to the editors to decide whether it's to be entered as a webzine or one-ofs? MagicUnk 13:59, 4 July 2018 (EDT)
If they are loosely formatted and the issues are not set as such, it won't be eligible under the current changed rules - we will get it on the next change (eventually). The idea is not to catch all periodicals but to slowly start allowing them - the reality of genre publishing are changing and there are quite a few webzines out there that had survived longer than some print and e-zines :) A one-of is something like this - a non-periodical that just happens to be on the internet and not in an e-book or in print. Do you have an example of what may be hard to categorize? It's a first step - not a "let's get all periodicals and web-stories in the DB". Annie 15:27, 4 July 2018 (EDT)
I have no problems with this change. I personally have little interest in webzines, but I can see the value of including them. --Willem 15:11, 4 July 2018 (EDT)
Sadly, we're gonna lose the smell of books, but that's the future. It's okay with me.Rudam 01:38, 5 July 2018 (EDT)
I support the increase in scope. I would also support going further, but this is a good initial step. --Ron ~ RtraceTalk 07:13, 5 July 2018 (EDT)

List of Webzines

FYI: I have been keeping notes on current webzines, so I've put them on a Wiki page: Webzine List. It contains all the current ones I know of, plus a very few random examples of the hundreds of former ones. Feel free to add to this list, or edit it to be a more formal directory (I don't feel like spainding time on that). --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 16:02, 4 July 2018 (EDT)

A nice list! What about non-English non-downloadable webzine or web-anthology? sanfeng 07:35, 6 July 2018 (EDT)
As long as they produce distinct issues, any webzine is eligible, regardless of the language. Same for the one off web-anthologies - as long as it is an anthology and not someone's blog where they post stories all the time for example. Annie 10:10, 6 July 2018 (EDT)

Outcome of the webzine discussion

Consensus has been reached; ISFDB:Policy#Rules_of_Acquisition has been updated. As per earlier discussion, "exceptions to exceptions" have been moved to the "Included" section. The old note about excluding author-run sites has been incorporated into the language proposed by Marty ("such as blogs, author-run sites, fan fiction, web serials, etc".) A note re: unstructured online periodicals has been added to the webzine definition as per Vasha's suggestion.

Hopefully the new language is reasonably clear and reflects the consensus reached above. Ahasuerus 19:39, 5 July 2018 (EDT)

You may want to update the note at the bottom of the section that serves as an "update log". Annie 19:44, 5 July 2018 (EDT)
We have something even better these days -- Rules and standards changelog :-) Ahasuerus 19:58, 5 July 2018 (EDT)
But we should do something for that last like in the ROA section - because someone not knowing about the new changelog will think that these rules had not changed since 2014. Annie 20:00, 5 July 2018 (EDT)
Hm, that's a valid point. For now, I have added a link to the changelog to the bottom of the section.
Ideally, we would want to review the last 12 years worth of discussions on the R&S page and add all agreed-upon Policy changes to the changelog, but that could take quite a bit of time. Ahasuerus 20:07, 5 July 2018 (EDT)

Page number for novel in an omnibus

The rules are not clear on whether a novel in an omnibus is taken from the title page or first page of content. Which should be used? Oddly, in this volume some entries have a title page and others do not. ../Doug H 21:34, 13 July 2018 (EDT)

Yep, good question. The same goes for anthologies and collections which have a title page before the start of the story. It might even happen that they have such a page (technically called a "half-title page") and then the story title is repeated again at the top of the text. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 22:16, 13 July 2018 (EDT)
I would go with where the content begins over what the table of contents says. It's the most accurate. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 12:18, 14 July 2018 (EDT)
The rules are clear about using the actual page rather than table of contents. The question is whether to use a title page as the start or the actual text. The title page provides a pretty clear beginning, but we use text for single content novels. I guess you could consider the title pages in the omnibus (anthology / collection) as more of a half-title page. But it is what we should be using for the official title (as we should not be relying on the table of contents for that either unless necessary. Consistency is a reasonable goal and more detailed rules to cover this instance would help. ../Doug H 12:40, 14 July 2018 (EDT)

Prepositions to add to the list of uncapitalized words

Although most changes proposed in last year's capitalization discussion didn't find favor, one thing that people did seem to like was the idea of adding a few more one-, two- and three-letter prepositions to the list of uncapitalized words at Template:PublicationFields:Title. As is the most significant one, followed by o’ (short for "of"); the others would be ca. (abbreviation of "circa"), per, re, ’til, via, and vs. Is everyone here OK with all of those? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 14:05, 17 July 2018 (EDT)

I am against it on general principle - we already have a list that everyone is used to - just adding some more to it because someone thought of them or cannot be bothered to remember or check the list is just replacing one list with another and the longer the list is, the harder it is to remember.
We can discuss making ALL prepositions and conjunction words (based on length for example) uncapitalized but just extending the list with another set of prepositions and conjunctions ("as" is not always a preposition - is your proposal to change it only when it is a preposition) is counterproductive in my opinion. Annie 14:53, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
Have I stepped into mirror world? :-) Last year I proposed uncapitalizing all one-, two-, and three- letter prepositions and conjuctions, and you said it was too hard for people to understand a rule and argued in favor of having a list instead! I definitely would prefer a rule to a list, so if you and other people want to work on one, just say the word. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:00, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
Just different context and more exposure to the DB :) I still do not like the idea of making up a rule that requires a degree in English to decipher. On the other hand making the list very long ensures that noone will remember it and we will spend more time fixing this and monitoring this than anything else. You want the short ones on a list - that's fine - but how is "as" different from "so" or "and" from "but" for example? Just adding a few more random ones into the current list does not solve any of the issues of this list. Annie 15:09, 18 July 2018 (EDT)

(unindent) OK, so you do want to keep the list? It does not have all the common prepositions on it, though; at the very least as and o’ need to be added. However, the main issue is that the situations where preposition-like words are lowercase are fewer than the ones where they are uppercase, so it would be simpler to define that. After all, you also capitalize a preposition when it has been separated from its object ("What Are You Thinking Of, Joe?") and the exceptions go on and on. So, maybe a rule that says to lowercase the preposition in a preposition phrase (Lost in the Woods, Believe in Me, None of That, Never on Monday, etc.) and in comparisons (It's as Simple as That), would get us close. Someone with a shaky understanding of grammar doesn't have to know what a phrasal verb is in order to think about "Turn On the Light" and realize that there is no preposition phrase "on the light" in there. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Vasha (talkcontribs) .

After moving this to the correct discussion (as the list has NOTHING to do with the other discussion)...
No. We need simple rules. Not complicated ones that require an English degree. Annie 16:37, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
OK, what's your simple rule? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 16:38, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
The one we have now suits me just fine - a flat short list - it may not be perfect but it is consistent. If we decide to make an exception for phrasal verbs (the same way as we do for first words in a title and/or sentence), that's a separate conversation. But something that contains "preposition phrase" and "comparisons" (how about "like" - how come it does not get the same treatment in this case)? And if someone does not know what a phrasal verb is, they won't know what a "preposition phrase" is either. Just saying. :) Annie 16:42, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
I am just saying that IF we decide that the list approach is insufficient (and I really think it is--if we applied it consistently, our data would look awful) we should say that the default is to capitalize all words and come up with a rule for the rare cases when they are not. Definitely no exceptions-to-exceptions, no "put only these few words in lowercase except when."
Defining a few simple grammatical terms is actually the simplest way to talk about these things. That's why grammatical terminology exists. If, instead of a list to memorize we say 1. One-, two-, and three-letter prepositions (What is a preposition?) plus from and with, only when they form a phrase ([ What is a preposition phrase?]). 2. The as of comparisons. 3. The conjunctions and, or, and but. 4. The articles the, a, and an. -- In short, we trust that people can understand, and they will do a better job if they understand rather than trying to keep an arbitrary-seeming list in mind. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 17:11, 18 July 2018 (EDT)

Capitalization in English and special cases

We have two special cases where our capitalization rules are just ignored in practice:

  • Poetry - everyone seems to these as they are in the magazines/collections until we need to merge two of them and then one title prevails. Which is the whole reason to have the rules to start with - the ability to not have myriad of variants and invalid data because an editor chose to specify a title in a specific way
  • Phrasal verbs - the way the current rules are written mean that "on" for example is not capitalized even when it is a part of a phrasal verb. I like that interpretation but seems like most editors do the opposite. Plus that makes it easier for non-native speakers (and for ones that have no idea what a phrasal verb is) to know how to add the title.

Can we either agree on changing the rules for these two cases OR alternatively, we should start enforcing the rules as written... And while we are at that, we really need to insert a "in English" to this rule - otherwise pretty much any Spanish, Bulgarian and so on title is not following the rule :) Annie 14:58, 18 July 2018 (EDT)

I just don't see any way to get around the fact that capitalization in English is tricky and requires understanding a little grammar in order to tell the difference between phrasal verbs and prepositions. Could we have a non-native speaker help desk or something? One thing I definitely do not want to see is a rule applied to the data in this database that results in capitalization different from standard publishing practices -- we should try to look good, and that may require a little extra effort. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:06, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
We make the rules of THIS DB and we follow them as written as opposed to trying to follow rules of other DBs and standards? The rules say that "Go on" is capitalized this way and not as "Go On" regardless of the fact that it is a phrasal verb. That makes is easy to understand and implement for anyone.
Which publishing practices? Can you show a capitalization standard that is valid for all possible standards? Because the publisher standard depends on the house style - and depending on which one they follow, it differs between publishers. So as soon as I find a standard that all English language publishers (USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and so on (add all other countries where English is used enough to publish books into)) follow and I will support you in changing to that.
If we want to separate the phrasal verbs as separate rule for capitalization and then work with non-native editors, then fine - but we need a rule change for that. We don't just decide to ignore the rules just because :) Annie 15:15, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
Publishing standards vary, but they don't vary infinitely. There are some things that are common to all of them. I don't think we are yet widely enough known to be able to use practices that no one else does and have them follow us instead of the other way around. :-) We should be copying either big publishers or big academic bibliographies & library catalogs. Being as the bibliographies and catalogs tend to use sentence-case, we need to figure out what the practices of major English-language publishers are. They have a lot in common with each other. Alas, leaving phrasal verb "prepositions" uncapitalized is not something anyone else does, so I don't think we have the freedom to do so ourselves. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:35, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
Then we need to make that an official rule :) Or an editor that actually follows the rules will be told that they actually need to do something else. At the end of the day, as long as we are consistent in our DB, we will be fine. When we are not, we look as if we are just making up things as we go (and each editor does it differently). Which is why I started the conversation - because as they stand now, we are NOT capitalizing these (despite a lot of people doing it and some moderators allowing them to go through). :) Annie 15:40, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
In that case, I actually agree with you. The list approach has the problem that it does not allow for context and does not admit that the words on the list may have multiple uses, some of them capitalized and some not. We should not continue the current situation where in theory, the list reigns over all, but in practice, a lot of people are entering standard-publishing-capitalization and the moderators allow it. It's true that this is far from the only instance here where practice diverges from principle, but that's just an argument in favor of updating the rules when they don't match what people actually do (rules changes are perpetually lagging behind). --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 15:55, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
Two separate issues... let's try to work on them one by one? This is for the phrasal verbs ONLY - the list does not matter at all - the list is already irrelevant if it is the first word in a sentence/title; the phrasal verbs exception will go on the same level :) The conversation about the list is elsewhere and connecting them again ends up in a long convoluted and fruitless discussion... Annie 16:02, 18 July 2018 (EDT)

Convention for name of series published in multiple languages?

Now that we are becoming so multilanguage, we are getting more series that have different series-names in their original language and English translation. Should we establish a standard convention for handling that -- for example, "Original / English" or "English / Original" (I would favor the latter)? --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 20:23, 18 July 2018 (EDT)

And what happens if the series already has a / in the name? Or if we first enter the books in German while the original is Bulgarian? I think that we need to start talking about "series name per language" instead of how to do a "Frankenstein" name for a series so that people can see the main DB record (in English), the original DB record (in whatever language) and the "language version" when attached to the book in that language (or any combination of the above). This way you don't end up with a "German / English" series on the display of a Russian book (with the Russian name of the series nowhere to be seen unless you want to put it in the notes (and that does not work very well for publications with multiple stories from multiple series). Annie 20:35, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
It would certainly be nice to have the series name displayed on a title record match the language of that title, but implementing it sounds tricky.
One possibility is that the series could have multiple names, each with a language assigned to them. That way, the title page could pull up the appropriate one for the language. And when entering a new publication, you could put any of the names into the Series field and the software would find it. There'd have to be a way of combining with an established series if you entered a publication with a language that hadn't been used before. Disadvantage: doesn't deal with the problem of series having been published under multiple names in the same language (you'd have to keep dealing with that the same way we do now, with slash-separated alternate names and use of notes). --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 21:01, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
We can even make it easier - when adding a new publication, if it is a new series, mark it with whatever language it is in and make that default for this series. Then make series mergeable as titles are. When showing a series for a title, use the language of the title or the default language if the proper one does not exist (I do not know why a Russian magazine series need to have an English name in the same record or as a record at all... but that's a different question:)) There are a lot of ways to implement it - as long as we agree to at least put it on the development's plan list at some point. :)
PS: Are you saying that we should not have any non-English series without an English name in the name of it? Or is that only for the ones that are not in the Latin alphabet (for this we need transliteration - and we have a discussion about it). Because we have a lot of German and French series out there. :) Annie 21:36, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
I was only thinking about the display on the author's summary page, and only in those cases where the series has been published in English. I suppose it could be an option like the "display all translations" option: display series names in default language only, or in default language + English if both exist, or English only! Yeah, I'm just tossing out some thoughts that might be implemented at some point --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 21:47, 18 July 2018 (EDT)
I am thinking about the publications pages for collections for example where the series names are on the lines with the content they belong to. The author pages are a different kettle of fish altogether :) Annie 21:52, 18 July 2018 (EDT)

Location of ISFDB biographies: Policy/FAQ updates

Please note that ISFDB:Policy#Biography Policy, Help:Contents/Purpose#Biographies, and ISFDB:FAQ#Can I enter author biographies in the ISFDB? have been updated to reflect the fact that author bibliographies are now entered directly into author notes as opposed to using Wiki-based "Bio" pages. Ahasuerus 13:09, 26 July 2018 (EDT)

Rules of Acquisition -- unpublished books

ISFDB:Policy#Debatable currently includes the following item:

  • Unpublished works by established authors, e.g. John Taine's manuscripts? Or do we just mention them in their respective Wikipedia articles? On their ISFDB Wiki page?

This was something that I wrote back in May 2006 when we were trying to define the scope of the project before opening the beta phase of ISFDB 2.0. The John Taine example was a reference to his manuscripts which are known to exist but remain unpublished -- see the Eric Temple Bell Papers stored at University of California at Santa Cruz. Over the last few years this has become a common occurrence as more and more archives make their catalogs available online.

On the other hand, Template:PublicationFields:Date, which reflects our current data entry standards, says:

  • 8888-00-00 is used to date publication records for books that were announced but never published. In most cases these publications turn out to be vaporware, but there is good reason to keep these records in the database: it prevents Fixer (along with other automated bots) and editors using secondary sources from submitting records with duplicate ISBNs as well as establishing a bibliographic record of important titles like Last Dangerous Visions.

I suggest that we try to reconcile the Rules of Acquisition and Help. How about adding the following line to ISFDB:Policy#Included:

  • Announced but never published works of speculative fiction may be entered as "unpublished"

Similarly, ISFDB:Policy#Excluded can have the following line added:

  • Works of speculative fiction which have been neither announced nor published. This includes manuscripts, unpublished drafts, etc.

? (We may also want to clarify what "published" means, but that's a separate topic.) Ahasuerus 11:27, 27 July 2018 (EDT)

Yes, good idea. However, 8888-00-00 is also quite frequently used to record unpublished original-language titles of translated works. These have never been "announced" but they ought to stay anyway. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 11:49, 27 July 2018 (EDT)
That's a good point. The language should probably cover Fixer's forthcoming books as well. How about:
  • [Included] Unpublished works of speculative fiction which have been:
    • announced as forthcoming within the next 90 days
    • announced but never published (entered as "unpublished")
    • published only in translation (the original should be entered as "unpublished")
  • [Excluded] Unpublished works of speculative fiction unless they fall within one of the categories explicitly listed in the "Included" section
 ? Ahasuerus 13:48, 27 July 2018 (EDT)
I like the wording. Annie 14:41, 27 July 2018 (EDT)
I have inserted "only" between "published" and "in translation". Ahasuerus 15:19, 27 July 2018 (EDT)
Looks good. It was implied already considering that it is in an "unpublished" section but adding it does not harm.
I think that we do need to revisit the "unpublished" when something is published only on translation (we had a similar discussion for when something it only published in serialization) - the "unpublished" sends the book at the end of one's list which is annoying. Maybe a change in the way the author page orders books is how we can handle that - use the earliest date even if it is an a variant. But this is a separate topic and I need to think a bit more on that. But we will see more and more of these as we add more and more international works. :) Annie 15:30, 27 July 2018 (EDT)

Outcome -- Unpublished books

ISFDB:Policy#Rules_of_Acquisition has been updated with the proposed language. Ahasuerus 11:26, 31 July 2018 (EDT)

Unpublished books -- Mouseover text

We probably should drop the mouseover text on "(unpublished)" now. It is not true that that indicates "announced but never published," and I think rather than wordily explaining both uses of 8888, "unpublished" is informative enough. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 13:28, 31 July 2018 (EDT)

True, the current wording can be misleading. I'll remove the mouseover bubble until we can think of a better way to do it. Ahasuerus 15:06, 31 July 2018 (EDT)
Done. Ahasuerus 15:12, 31 July 2018 (EDT)

Does the rule for dating magazine issues need to be reworded?

I know that magazine issues should be dated according to their cover date rather than their publication date. However, the corresponding section of Help:Screen:NewPub doesn't say so in so many words:
For magazines, the month on the cover is rarely the month of actual publication. However, since this is a well-known fact about magazine publication schedules, and also because there is no good way to determine actual publication date, both month and year should be given where possible. For bimonthly magazine dates, use the earlier month: "January-February 1957" should be entered as "1957-01-00", for example. If a bimonthly magazine only quotes a single month in the title, use that month. E.g. the March 1959 issue of Fantastic Universe was preceded by January 1959 and succeeded by May 1959; it should be entered as "1959-03-00". If a bimonthly issue spans a year boundary, such as a December-January 1960 bimonthly issue, use the earlier year and month: "1959-12-00". For magazine cover dates that cannot be assigned to a specific month, use the year only: "Spring 1943" is just entered as "1943-00-00".
That is really pretty unclear. I think the section should start with the words "Magazine issues should be entered using their cover date as the date" or something to that effect. --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 22:12, 1 August 2018 (EDT)
I agree on both counts. I also think that much of the verbiage could be consolidated. How about something like:
  • When entering the date of a magazine/fanzine issue, use the year and month which appear on the cover. If more than one month appears on the cover, use the earliest year and month, e.g. "December-January 1960" should be entered as "1959-12-00". For magazine cover dates which cannot be assigned to a specific month, use the year only, e.g. "Spring 1943" should be entered as "1943-00-00".
I think that should cover everything. Ahasuerus 17:35, 13 August 2018 (EDT)
Yes, that's a great improvement. However, sometimes magazines don't have a date on the cover, but do have one on the masthead. How about, "If there is no date on the cover, use the date on the masthead; if there is none there, use the year only. Do not use a publication date." --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 18:47, 13 August 2018 (EDT)

A couple of thoughts:
  1. If the publication date is known/stated and is consistent with the cover/masthead date, why not use it? I don't see why we'd want to record a less exact date.
  2. For magazines with no cover/mastehead data, if the publication date is known it should be used as-is (not in the title, though).
--MartyD 08:03, 14 August 2018 (EDT)

Serial essays

Can we either create a title type SERIALESSAY or treat essays the same as SERIAL when they are combined into a single volume. In this case, there are a bunch of essays that differ only in a number at the end, and they were all collected into a single volume. Basically, these are a serial, but non-fiction. Thoughts? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:10, 10 August 2018 (EDT)

Would it be feasible to put them in a series? Essay series are supported by the software. Ahasuerus 20:24, 10 August 2018 (EDT)
I don't yet know how many there are, so I don't know if adding them all as titles to the collected volume is feasible. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:12, 10 August 2018 (EDT)
After doing a little digging, there are at least 133 of them. That would be cumbersome to add to one volume, to say the least. Can that many titles be in one publication? ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:15, 10 August 2018 (EDT)
At this time the software allows up to 1,999 titles per publication. However, once you get into the 500+ range, validation and filing become very sluggish. In addition, submissions can time out or error out, so I don't recommend it. Ahasuerus 20:23, 10 August 2018 (EDT)

Opinions wanted -- how absurd does a satire have to be to be included here?

I am puzzling over the line between comedy/satire and fabulation/fantasy with regards to Machado de Assis's "The Alienist." In this story, a doctor who has a new theory of insanity sets up a madhouse in a Brazilian city and begins interning in it people who are vain, covetous, duplicitous, etc. eventually locking up four-fifths of the city ... events escalate from there. Now, if a story like that was set in a country with an imaginary name, I think we'd all include it here. But if it's set in Brazil, and involves a lot of recognizable local detail, is it fantasy? (PS I have found this story in an anthology of fantastic stories, so I guess it is in.) --Vasha (cazadora de tildes) 02:03, 11 August 2018 (EDT)

"A doctor locks up 80% of the city population in a madhouse" sounds like magical realism, so I would be inclined to include it as a genre story. Admittedly, magical realism can straddle the fence between fantasy and reality, but in this case I'd say that it favors the speculative side. If it was only 8%, it wouldn't call it speculative. Ahasuerus 17:24, 13 August 2018 (EDT)

Canonical name for an author with lots of non-genre and a few genre works only

From the Glossary: "Canonical name. (...) For authors who publish under multiple names, the canonical name is the most recognized name for that author."

This is not clear enough and it should be added if "most recognized name" is based on the genre works of an author only, or regardless of genre. Imagine an author with a vast amount of non-genre works published under his real name and only a few genre works under a pseudonym. We'd include the genre works only in the ISFDB then, and based on the help text an editor may believe that "most recognized name" means that the author's pseudonym should be used as canonical name (because we are a SF database). I'm actually not sure right now if there is an unwritten rule / standard practice for this already (is there?), but I think the help should be more precise. It should be similar to one of these (italics are my additions):


"For authors who publish under multiple names, the canonical name is the most recognized name for that author, regardless of whether the author's work is mainly genre or non-genre."


"For authors who publish under multiple names, the canonical name is the most recognized name for that author, based on the author's genre works only."

Jens Hitspacebar 14:59, 13 August 2018 (EDT)

I think Help should say something like "the canonical name is the author's most recognized name within the genre". William Fitzgerald Jenkins, who published most of his SF as Murray Leinster, comes to mind. He was very prolific (hundreds of stories) in multiple genres and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that he had as many stories published as "Will [F.] Jenkins" as "Murray Leinster" if you counted all of his mysteries, westerns, etc. That shouldn't affect our choice of "Murray Leinster" as his canonical name. Ahasuerus 15:28, 13 August 2018 (EDT)
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