Discworld & Pratchett Wiki:Mended Drum

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 This is a location to discuss non-content matters (what do we do with content disputes, vandalism, etc, what do we want to do with this wiki, and so on).

Well, that hurts

Changing the backend of architecture had a hiccup and I had to restore from my previous backup. We've all new changes since the 23rd :( --Osiris (talk) 18:12, 7 July 2021 (UTC)

Back up again faster than expected; now about the previous problem... Is there yet hope of recovering the Discworld & Terry Pratchett namespace (or the missing images)? I have the Mended Drum archives, but I don't know what's to be done with the rest of the missing pieces. Old Dickens (talk) 21:48, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
I restored the Mended Drum archives. What other pages are you looking for? --Osiris (talk) 18:57, 10 July 2021 (UTC)
The portals on the Main Page, mainly (the About page doesn't even have the link now); there may be more I haven't seen yet. --Old Dickens (talk) 19:56, 10 July 2021 (UTC)
I think everything is back. At least all of the ones I can find in the database are restored. Can you give me an example page with a missing image? I'll tackle those next. --Osiris (talk) 21:12, 10 July 2021 (UTC)
Yay! (I wonder how you did that.) Missing image in Chidder, e,g. --Old Dickens (talk) 22:55, 10 July 2021 (UTC) The File List suggests that all images between Aug, 2006 and the Long Drive may be missing. --Old Dickens (talk)
Sent you an email --Osiris (talk) 05:20, 11 July 2021 (UTC)

New staff

After a long period of inadequate supervision, the wiki is pleased to announce the appointment of new administrators:
Jagra as Head Librarian and
Rabbi Moishe Rosenbaum as Spiritual Adviser . Old Dickens (talk) 00:42, 24 January 2022 (UTC)
And belatedly, having opened his email:
Guybrush representing the underside of the Disc.

Much appreciated! I'll huddle up with Pastor Oats. Thanks, Old Dickens and Osiris! Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 01:08, 24 January 2022 (UTC)
Thanks very much; and a position that no ones going to try to assassinate me over. Ook. Jagra (talk) 22:20, 24 January 2022 (UTC)
Well, you know what they say about "running on Fourecksian time"... Thanks folks. Nice to be on the team. - Guybrush (talk) 03:43, 2 February 2022 (UTC)

Discussion of respect for peripheral creations

(moved from Talk:Jocasta Wiggs.)
Gee I hate The Watch! Does it deserve references here beyond its own page acknowledging its existence? It has almost nothing to do with the works of Terry Pratchett. --Old Dickens (talk) 00:47, 4 February 2022 (UTC)

I mean, it's a related work and people are going to want to know more about it; I don't like the idea of trying to put everything relevant on that one page. And if someone wants to know more about the character in the show, who gets a lot more screen time than the book version, this felt like the right place for a little paragraph. But if the consensus is it's not wanted here, fair enough and I'll stop adding info about it. I'll note it's not universally hated, though, despite its faults. -- Guybrush (talk) 03:59, 4 February 2022 (UTC)

OK, two opinions. Is anyone invoking Terry's name entitled to advertising here? Where's the limit? --Old Dickens (talk) 05:01, 4 February 2022 (UTC)

I haven't seen the show, and I don't intend to - not after I saw what the young (my age!) Ms. Pratchett had to say about it on twitter a long while ago. But, that said... it's not a pirated fanfic, it's a legit derivative work that, as Guybrush says, people may come to this site for info about. As long as anything about it is clearly marked as from the show, or "non canonical", or something like that - as long as we're not representing The Watch as an actual Terry Pratchett creation - I'm okay with it getting coverage. Though my heart agrees with Old Dickens. And someone please correct me if I'm wrong about anything here. Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 05:24, 4 February 2022 (UTC)
Terry's name appears in the titles, Rob is still credited as a producer and the Narrativia logo appears at the end, which for me is qualification enough; and no other adaptation has been different enough to require additional information like this (except maybe the TV version of Good Omens). But it's true that the important difference between The Watch and other adaptations is that the official Pratchett team are clearly unhappy with the result, and that they didn't have the equivalent of the veto power Terry had on all projects while he was alive. I also understand why people don't like it, even if I did (if with plenty of reservations). I want to document it somewhere - not least for fans who want to know more about it without watching it - but to avoid contention, perhaps we should just confine it to the specific article. I can find somewhere else for the greater detail. (As it happens, I have a whole separate wiki I've been working on, on which I've already set up interwiki to L-Space.) -- Guybrush (talk) 12:11, 4 February 2022 (UTC)

You may be right. I started here arguing against content restrictions since we don't take up any weight or shelf space.
What, then, might be reasonable limits to inclusion or linking in the wiki? So far, I and contemporaries have treated spam pretty ruthlessly because it was obvious. What credit do we give a book/story/movie/tvseries/game/... that has only a nominal connection to Terry Pratchett? We already treat Discworld Noir as if it were canon, so it's muddy. --Old Dickens (talk) 18:33, 4 February 2022 (UTC)

This discussion is getting big enough that we should shift it to the Drum, since it's no longer just about The Watch, but what our policy is on inclusion of stuff in general. My two cents though is that anything officially licensed should definitely be included, and that unambiguously includes both The Watch and Discworld Noir, even though neither was written by Terry himself. -- Guybrush (talk) 00:39, 5 February 2022 (UTC)

I think the difference is that Discworld Noir does not get equal billing in an article if it uses a canonical name. What do we do with fanfic versions and creations? I still prefer separation of peripherals. Old Dickens (talk) 04:52, 29 December 2022 (UTC)

We used to have a page for administrative discussion, but Osiris never liked the idea. -- Old Dickens (talk) 04:18, 5 February 2022 (UTC)

Down time

And...we're back. They blowed that cable up real good. --Old Dickens (talk) 16:27, 25 February 2022 (UTC)

Railroad company doing maintenance didn't check for existing lines and dragged it's feet taking responsibility and allowing access for repairs. 1100 Tuesday to 0200 Friday complete outage. Then I had to update the DNS back to normal and wait for propagation. --Osiris (talk) 16:59, 25 February 2022 (UTC)
Woo-hoo! Thanks, Osiris. For all I understand about such things, you might as well have said "a witch flew into a tower." Glad we are up and running again! :-) Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 18:45, 25 February 2022 (UTC)
Yeah, he often talks IT to me. I just smile and nod. He's a sort of Ponder Stibbons among us old-fashioned wizards. --Old Dickens (talk) 00:25, 26 February 2022 (UTC)
As someone who did understand all of those words...thanks for getting it sorted, Osiris! ;) -- Guybrush (talk) 05:00, 26 February 2022 (UTC)

Those missing facilities

Is the loss of hit counters, PopularPages and such interesting utilities due to practical or philosophical reasons? --Old Dickens (talk) 01:53, 2 March 2022 (UTC)

CQ Vade Mecum

French site Vade Mecum has been hijacked and the link leads to a load of malevolent crap. Their Facebook page remains and doesn't mention the problem. It wants someone with better French than mine to ask them. -- Old Dickens (talk) 03:13, 31 March 2022 (UTC)

Page count

Trying to do a count of total pages (the page counter having been broken for some years), I find that Special:AllPages reports:
"A database query error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software."
It gives the error code [71b51ca94cd2a7996b274243] 2022-05-12 04:37:07: Fatal exception of type "Wikimedia\Rdbms\DBQueryError" Old Dickens (talk) 04:46, 12 May 2022 (UTC)


I'm glad "TilanissaWildhawk" and "Argent Stallion" are just spammers. They sound problematic as real contributors. Old Dickens (talk) 15:55, 1 June 2022 (UTC)


Editing appears to work.

Does editing still work?

I dunno; ISP has been down all day all over the country. (Seems to work Old Dickens (talk) 05:00, 9 July 2022 (UTC))

This is me. Testing editing after applying the upgrade... --Osiris (talk) 19:37, 9 July 2022 (UTC)

Server Move

Editing may be a bit slow for a while. I had to move to a slower system to perform some maintenance on the old server. I'll move it back as soon as i can. --Osiris (talk) 20:40, 18 July 2022 (UTC)

Moved DB to Amazon RDS so we'll see how fast it goes. --Osiris (talk) 20:28, 19 July 2022 (UTC)
Not that fast at the moment. Old Dickens (talk) 23:42, 19 July 2022 (UTC)

Everything okay?

Site's been offline for a day or two, by my reckoning; just moving back to the old server, or something else? (PS - I've been bit quiet, but I'm still around!) -- Guybrush (talk) 05:57, 30 July 2022 (UTC)

Back for a while, but not on the real server, apparently; still at dial-up speed. Old Dickens (talk) 16:04, 30 July 2022 (UTC)
Back on dedicated hardware. --Osiris (talk) 22:02, 2 August 2022 (UTC)
Back at warp speed already! Nice work, Scotty! Old Dickens (talk) 14:56, 3 August 2022 (UTC)
Special pages is not back, however. [7f0d5fb90f244811375db569] 2022-08-03 20:03:27: Fatal exception of type "TypeError" Old Dickens (talk) 20:05, 3 August 2022 (UTC)
I complained before about the loss of some features of Special Pages, but I wonder if we can get along without the whole set. Are they coming back?
(I can search out individual pages if I can remember the Speling, and Categories are available from the Main page, but the list was more convenient. If the list must go the link should be removed from the sidebar.) Old Dickens (talk) 23:35, 21 August 2022 (UTC)

Annotations (again)

Soliciting opinions of administrators and all users on the admissibility and editing of annotations; does the old consensus hold? Does anyone's opinion qualify as an Annotation? See User talk:Moishe Rosenbaum#Annotations. Old Dickens (talk) 02:51, 17 November 2022 (UTC)

I think some editorial control would be appropriate, at least in the form of some basic standards. We're the successor of the APF, and that was compiled intentionally, rather than including every comment made by fans on the group. I agree with Moishe that "this reminds me of this other thing" isn't sufficient. As a baseline, specific similarities should be cited, and where possible evidence for a link. If there is none, then that should be clear by using language like "might be a reference to" - there are some long bow comments in some annotations which are written as if they are fact. And I am also okay with old annotations being edited where appropriate, too. Part of agreeing to contribute to a wiki is understanding what you write is not permanent and may be changed by others over time. Disagreements can be hashed out on Discussion pages if need be. -- Guybrush (talk) 11:12, 19 November 2022 (UTC)
Well said, Guybrush. Successor to the APF - large boots to fill! You're right that we need to aspire to that level, even if we don't reach it all the time.Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 00:39, 20 November 2022 (UTC)

With all due respect to Leo and Mike, I had hoped for more than a collection of annotations. If, on the other hand, we were going to be a continuation of the APF, annotations would need to be filed in the annotation pages with original edition page numbers. Nobody does that. Old Dickens (talk) 02:13, 20 November 2022 (UTC)
Moishe said: "Yet I kinda think that on a wiki, we have to put up with some of the less-specific annotations in order to get the awesome ones, the same way panning for gold requires one's hands to get quite mucky before the good stuff filters out." I guess that depends on your idea of less-specific but I'd prefer we tried to refine the gold and dump the muck. Old Dickens (talk) 02:34, 20 November 2022 (UTC)

Well, I do put annotations in that way - and I'm willing to go through and move them to separate pages, with page numbers, for the books at least. (Page numbers don't have to be from the original editions (the later paperbacks are far more common these days, after all), as long as the edition is noted.) For other kinds of articles, a separate annotations section at the bottom is fine, but should be cleaned up wherever possible. We aren't just annotations, of course - I also think our role is to be a source of "who is that again?" kind of information that the Discworld Companions are actually really bad for, as they are all jokes and no actual context - but we're also not the only Discworld-themed wiki. I'm keen for us to differentiate ourselves and not end up a dumping ground for everything like some of them are; the Fandom one, for example, has huge slabs of the APF next to stuff from this wiki and other stuff that's just nonsense, with no differentiation or proper organisation. So I also definitely agree we should dump the muck and refine the gold! -- Guybrush (talk) 02:17, 22 November 2022 (UTC)

Bonzer! Death to graffiti artists! We have been something of a dumping ground for any crackpot opinion since the consensus of ten years ago that "my uninformed and illogical opinion is as good as yours". My ideal would be no annotations in factual pages, but if we can edit them and cull the worst it's a useful compromise. Old Dickens (talk) 02:55, 22 November 2022 (UTC)

I'm 100% on board with "edit them and cull the worst". Here we *go*. (And good luck to your respective foot-the-ball teams today and tomorrow!)Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 18:39, 22 November 2022 (UTC)

No such luck. Moishe/Osiris 5, Guybrush 6, Old Dickens X. Old Dickens (talk) 21:03, 23 November 2022 (UTC)

After watching the first games, I would've wagered on Old Dickens over any of the rest of us. Your team looked great. Alphonso Davies is a beast.
Now, in the 2023 Women's world cup, USA/Canada/Australia sound like three favorites. DYK I have a Haley Raso jersey?Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 21:50, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

...and then

Here's a challenge for the new consensus on annotations. See Moules. Here is a looong annotation based only on a similar made-up word, but it's amusing. There's nothing wrong with it in itself and I'd say it was positive contribution, but it does over-balance the main article. Opinions?

I mean, I'm happy to move this to the talk page. It's certainly interesting, and it adds background that I wasn't aware of, since I'm American and younger than TP. Yet, I agree this is more an interesting side note rather than an annotation. Are others okay if I move it to talk? Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 21:52, 1 December 2022 (UTC)

That could be done...I asked because I was torn myself. I have been more interested in getting the utter nonsense out than the merely peripheral. Old Dickens (talk) 02:31, 2 December 2022 (UTC)

Yeah, I agree - we don't need to be ruthless! I'd probably edit something like that shorter if possible, or perhaps in this case add a bit more detail to the main article, but we don't need to remove something interesting as long as its clear and doesn't detract from the utility of the article. Having it in a separate section helps there, too. I don't know if moving it to the talk page is best, though - a lot of users will never think to look there. -- Guybrush (talk) 09:31, 6 December 2022 (UTC)

Repeated annotations

One benefit to having annotations in articles about things and people is that when they crop up in multiple books we can easily do a "see Piecemaker" (for example); as it is now, many annotation pages include annotations for things already annotated elsewhere, and not always in agreement. (The Thud! annotation for the piecemaker said it was a reference to a bomber plane, with the gun mentioned as a "maybe".) I'd be keen to replace a lot of those with a wiki-link, or at least to edit down to a short version with a link to the detail. -- Guybrush (talk) 09:35, 6 December 2022 (UTC)

No argument from me. I've seen a few that are about the same concept, but phrased completely differently on the book's annotation page and on the page for the concept itself. Not the end of the world, of course, but where you see these, I'd say, change it - I'll do the same!Moishe Rosenbaum (talk) 01:32, 7 December 2022 (UTC)


Recalled from the archives:
I'd suggest that for an annotation to count as such, it has to satisfy several criteria:

i) The argument is as watertight, logical and succinct as possible;

ii)The mistake is avoided of attributing specific status to a generic observation. To explain, the anthropomorphic personification of Death is a universal concept which has been around, in the "modern" form of scythe-carrying animated skeleton, since mediaeval times. A lot of people have used this image - Pratchett is only a contemporary user, and not the latest. There is a discussion on the "Reverse Annotations" talk page as to why the makers of the animation Family Guy may' have been influenced by the Discworld in their interpretation of the Death character, and why the makers of The Simpsons almost certainly haven't. In principle, just because other people use the Death icon does not imply they've borrowed it from Terry - as he himself said we're all fishing from the same stream.

iii) The onus is always on the Annotator to explain exactly why they think their insight qualifies as an Annotation. As the maths exam says - explain your workings.

iv) An Annotation you have to explain with a convoluted thousand-word essay almost certainly isn't. In this case it's likely to be the author's own wishful thinking. the best and most certain ones are short, pithy and tie exactly between the Annotation and the idea or concept it showcases.

v) The more points of association you see between the text and an external idea or quality, the more likely it is to be an Annotation. For instance, the shout-outs to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to be seen in the pages of Snuff. Everything fits; nothing is problematic or wishful thinking. Conversely, just because two words used in a character name or description also appear in a Beatles song title, it doesn't necessarily mean this is intentional. Lucy Tockley was not in the habit of spacing herself out on hard drugs, for instance, and almost nothing in the song lyrics is reflected in the events of Lords and Ladies. The association is tempting, but ultimately only superficial. Soul Music aside, look more deeply into the lyrics of songs, not just the titles, to check as certainly as you can as to whether TP is really referencing them. Avoid superficiality.

vi) It helps to know a little about Terry: for instance, his favourite novelists: it isn't then a long jump from George Wambaugh (police procedurals and cops-as-buddies novels) to the City Watch. Nor from George McDonald-Fraser (war stories involving unruly Scottish soldiers) to the NacMacFeegle. We also know his favourite rock/pop/folk music includes They Might Be Giants, the Blue Öyster Cult and Steeleye Span, all bands referenced freely in the books to date. He is also fond of bad puns and absurd humour.

vii) Terry has a serious side. His thoughts on assisted death - and the dignity of life - are well known. Sometimes an annotation might be there to point the thoughtful in a given direction. He's good at multi-level puns, that is, condensing the maximum of information into the least possible words. Look out for this too, but this is necessary more speculative. For instance, a very minor character yet to get even a speaking part - although the context suggests with a very marked and unique accent - is Miss Smith-Rhodes, teacher at the Assassins' School. In one name, Terry has condensed a hundred years of political history in Southern Africa, and this screams out that this name did not happen by accident: Cecil Rhodes created a country called Rhodesia. Ian Smith was its last white ruler, in the tradition of Rhodes, fighting a bitter civil war before having to concede defeat and hand it over to black majority rule and Robert Mugabe's tender care. These two names condense the rise and fall of white empire in Africa into two words - very economical shorthand. Maybe he has a sketched-out plot for a lost colony in Howondaland? And in the context of academia, a Rhodes Scholar is a gifted student from the white British Empire who gets to study for free, and with a grant, at Oxford or Cambridge.... for this number of referents to come together in a single character strongly suggests something is going on here. These things are certainly worth noting.

--AgProv 03:42, 28 November 2011 (CET)

Oh, ay. Should be printed on the Main Page, but, the Devil being in the details, how to enforce it? AgProv has contributed lots of useful and entertaining annotations, generally admitting it, at least, if they become imaginative. We might even be able to agree on what's "watertight and logical", but others won't. I spent last year campaigning against vacuous annotations and graffiti in general but the consensus seemed to be that anyone had the right to free expression here, short of spam. (Meanwhile, why is this meta discussion in Lucy Tockley's page? I'm moving a copy over to the Mended Drum.) --Old Dickens 00:44, 29 November 2011 (CET)

Some guidelines for annotators?

Useful annotations:
Explaining the more obscure bits of British institutions, geography, pop culture, etc. to the rest of us. British movies, rock and roll and some tv shows will be known internationally: not so much comic strips, radio personalities, the Football League and cricket or the British Post Office. This may occasionally work in reverse for Fourecksian or Genuan trivia, Seattle or the environs of Power Cable, Neb. (See SiD's note on Integrated Mail Processors (Going Postal/Annotations). That's interesting (and still in the Annotations page).

Explaining details that might not be known outside your area of special interest (except by a researcher of TP's experience). Math and physics to the journalists, say, or German philosophers to the more technical.

Useless annotations:

The Bleeding Obvious. Please, you can't read Pratchett if you're thicker than a Troll sandwich.
Explaining the Jokes, unless there's a real chance they depend on a useful annotation above.(Even then, a joke explained tends to be a joke spoiled.)
What You Think The Author Was Thinking. If you were as smart as he is you wouldn't be working for free here, would you?

--Old Dickens 03:29, 15 December 2011 (CET)

Opinions? Old Dickens (talk) 06:26, 25 January 2023 (UTC)

I agree with nearly all of this, though the bit about “useless annotations” needs to take into account that Pratchett’s readers in 2023 don’t have the same cultural context as those at the time of publication. What was "bleeding obvious" in 1983, 1996 or even 2015 may not be so for new readers now - and indeed, wasn’t for all readers then! We don’t know who is reading an annotation, beyond that they are interested in Pratchett’s work. So I think annotations should be written in plain language and explain themselves clearly, with a minimum of assumptions. They should convey everything you need to understand the basic reference, then link to sources that explain further so they don’t get too long. (e.g. it’s enough to explain that the band We’re Certainly Dwarfs is a reference to one of Pratchett’s favourite “nerd rock” bands, They Might Be Giants; see also Foul Ole Ron and the origins of “Bugrit millennium hand and shrimp”.) So I guess I’d add “Annotations should be complete.”
I also think some jokes might need explaining now, if the cultural references they rely on are now more obscure than at the time of writing. And I say this as a sometimes professional comedian and comedy writer who hates doing that!
I’d prefer we didn't use language describing folks as stupid for not getting things. Pratchett has a broad appeal, and he read and researched widely; no-one gets every joke and reference.
Finally, when it comes to reverse annotations, I think they ought to have a much higher bar to clear: unless they’re unambiguous or there’s clear evidence, we have no idea if other creators have even read Pratchett, let alone are really referencing his work. -- Guybrush (talk) 05:17, 26 January 2023 (UTC)

As a North American, I didn't get all the jokes in many of my first Pratchett books either, but the bleeding obvious needs moderation before the article/annotation becomes condescending. I'd admit that there needs to be consideration of the generation gap. --Old Dickens (talk) 05:52, 26 January 2023 (UTC)

That was interesting

Hey, we've moved behind the scenes again. Sorry for the downtime. My home internet company decided to remove my static IP so back to the cloud we go. It was a pain to get working again. Let me know if you find anything broken. --Osiris (talk) 03:25, 29 August 2023 (UTC)

Bugger. Are they worse than my IP? Old Dickens (talk) 04:58, 29 August 2023 (UTC)