Forum:SophontData infobox update

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Forums: Index > Watercooler > SophontData infobox update

Updating Sophont Infoboxes (2018)[edit]

Base Information
Classification {{{type}}}
Status {{{status}}}
Terrain {{{terrain}}}
Locomotion {{{locomotion}}}
Size {{{size}}}
Weight {{{weight}}}
Communications {{{languages}}}
Social Structure {{{government}}}
Technology Epoch {{{epoch}}}
Psi Potential {{{psi}}}
Homeworld {{{home}}}
UWP {{{uwp}}}
Primary Star {{{primary}}}
Multi-world {{{multi}}}
Existing {{{existing}}}
Reference {{{ref}}}
Canon {{{canon}}}

Maksim and I have been kicking around a few ideas to update the Template:SophontData with more relevant information and make it more generally useful. In addition to the template update, this would capture this information in the underlying Special:CargoTables/Sophonts cargo table.

The Base Information section has been expanded from the Template:Animal simple.

The Details section has been expanded from several notes, and the discussion from earlier.

The Homeworld section has been expanded based upon several notes about the home world of the races and details. The plan in the UWP parameter will have the same pop-up functionality that happens in the Template:UWP currently. So people can see what the UWP values are.

The values for these new fields (where they have a defined list) would be:

Major Race
Minor Human Race
Minor Race
Uplift Race
<X> Chimera
<X> Ethnic Group
Terrain (This is from the T5 rules)
Exotic (include note)
Ocean Depths
Locomotion (This is from the T5 Rules)
Exotic (include note)
Epoch (this is from the T5 rules)
  • TL-0 Found Tools
  • TL:1-3 Tool Making
  • TL:4-6 Mass Production
  • TL:7-9 Processors
  • TL:10-12 Gravitics
  • TL:13-15 Biologics
  • TL:16-18 Artificials
  • TL:19-21 Matter Transport
  • TL:22-24 Transformations
  • TL:25-27 Psionics
  • TL:29-30 Stellar
  • TL:31-33 Pocket Universe
  • TL-34+ Signularity

Questions & Discussion (2018)[edit]

Outstanding questions:

  • Language: Did we want this to be just one (primary) language, or did we want to include a list of (potentially) several languages. For several what criteria are used for determining inclusion.
  • Status: Maksim asked to include a list of Status types (minor race, minor human race). This seems utterly redundant to me, but opinons are sought.

All feedback is requested and welcomed. Tjoneslo (talk) 14:47, 28 October 2018 (EDT)

Comma for the languages.

  • TL & TL-Epoch for the tech.
  • Atmo & Grav.
  • Terrain or Environ?
  • Please.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:47, 30 October 2018 (EDT)

I now understand why you want the list of status type. It's unnecessary to allow the template to add categories to the page since they should obvious if you select the primary one correctly. The status should be one category (a primary one), and the template will derive the other categories as needed.

  • Using the term "Minor non-human race" is redundant. None of the minor races are human (a major race) by definition. It's also not the common or canon term.
  • The term "Variant Race" is undefined. Which race is it a variant of? Do you have examples of Variant races that are not Chimera or Ethnic Groups?
  • "terrain" is the term used in the Template:Animal and referenced by the T5 core rules.
  • The inclusion of the full UWP captures the gravity, atmosphere, hydrographics, and Tech Level of the homeworld. (if known).
  • I'd like the simpler version of the Epoch, it make entering the values correctly easier. The template can be smart enough to include the TL range if needed.
Tjoneslo (talk) 09:22, 30 October 2018 (EDT)

Please leave manual option even if you like the automation. Minor race and Minor Human Race.

  • I don't believe in obvious because what is obvious to you or me is often not obvious to others. I believe in spelling things out as overtly and obviously as possible. I am maximalist, not minimalist. It's one of our stylistic preference differences.
  • The sophontology terms are logical and ok and even used by MWM in many of his notes. Many have been in use since CT and were used often in MT and other versions.
  • We can define the terms later. They were coined by Inner Circle and MWM. They have pages defining them. We can work on the rest later.
  • Many of the terms should be Venn diagrammed since they have overlaps.
  • That's ok. Please don't reject it because you don't get it yet.
  • Terrain is for animals (creatures). Why not use environ or environment for sophonts?
  • Those other categories (atmo, grav, etc.) are specifically important because we don't always have the UWP.
  • I'm fine if there are multiple choices for the Epoch, but please include multiple entry options. TL:1-3 AND Tool Making Epoch.
  • Happy to hear from you.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 21:00, 31 October 2018 (EDT)

The problem with a maximalist is they tend to include all the ideas, including the bad ones. We need a little bit of a filter.

Since you decided to add a number of parameters to the template without discussion, I thought I'd add them here for further consideration

Since you decided to add a number of parameters to the template without discussion, I thought I'd add them here for further consideration

Yes, I am performing my leadership role and making decisions. Thanks for adding them. Discussion welcome.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:51, 7 November 2018 (EST)

Parameter: Status[edit]

The categories I'm proposing starting point:

  • Major Race: The difference of Major and Minor races is empire building. Major races build major empires. Minor races do not. It's also defined by the Traveller canon. There are six major races (Aslan, Droyne, K'Kree, Hiver, Humaniti, Vargr) according to Marc. No more. No less.
  • Minor Human Race: MHRs are not a sub-category of Minor race. The MHRs were spread, and in many cases geneered, by the Ancients. They are, as the name implies, derived from Terran humans thus making them a Major race. All of the MHRs should be either Human Chimera or Human Ethnic Groups, but we put them into their own special group because of canon.
  • Minor Race: Any race that isn't a major race is, by definition, a minor race. All minor races are non-human. So I prefer the more compact "Minor Race" because it's defined in canon that way. The implication here is a race that has naturally evolved, or at least not artificially altered since the time of the Ancients.
  • Uplift Race: This is a Minor race that has been geneered / breed from beast to sophont by another sophont race after the era of the Ancients. Example are: Dolphins, Ursa, Pr't.
  • <X> Chimera: This is a geneered or otherwise artificial variation on an existing race (major or minor). Like the uplift races, it refers to races modified after the era of the Ancients. Example: Jonkeereen (Human Chimera).
  • <X> Ethnic Group: The difference here is mostly sociological. Ethnic groups are self-perpetuating and self-identifying. The Aslan Clans count as Ethnic Groups. Many of the variations on the Vargr are Ethnic Groups. Additionally there may be morphological changes from the base race. For example size, mass, skin, hair, or fur color, eye color, and so on. But the Ethnic groups can interbreed with the base race. Sometimes refereed to as a culture or cultural group

Don't use "sub-species" or "sub-race" or variations, please see discussion.

What other types do we need and, more importantly, why? I'm not rejecting them. I'm asking you to justify them. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:17, 6 November 2018 (EST)

Parameter: Terrain[edit]

I'm using the animal template "terrain". The section of the Infobox refers back to the creature the Sophont evolved from. The terrain the beast was part of informs the physiology and psychology of the sophont. One of the key characteristics of sophonts is their tool use, enabling them to inhabit any and all of the environments. So this is a historical note about the source beast, not a current note about the sophont.

Ok. Great observation.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:54, 7 November 2018 (EST)

Parameter: Confluence[edit]

Confluence (human likeness). I strongly dislike this. Traveller has spent a great deal of time avoiding the humanocentric descriptions of its aliens. I really don't want to encourage the bad habit.

"Semi-" is vague and unhelpful. I really prefer more precise terminology.

On the other hand Minor Non-Human Race has a set of X-oid definitions, simple descriptions of shape which work better. It seems a shame to loose all that work.

I eventually want to get illustrations for everything. I understand your objection.

  • But, we need tools to help us understand what they look like.
  • I been working with artists, zookeepers, and biologists.
  1. Non-humanoid
  2. Semi-humanoid
  3. Humanoid
  4. Human
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:52, 7 November 2018 (EST)

Let's try this list:
  • Avianform - bilateral symmetry, 2 limbs + 2 wings
  • Dracoform - bilateral symmetry, 4 limbs + 2 wings
  • Humanoform - bilateral symmetry, 4 limbs
  • Centauroid - bilateral symmetry, 6 limbs
  • Arthropod - bilateral symmetry, 8+ limbs
  • Asteroidea - radial symmetry, 4+ limbs
  • Trilobozoa - trilateral symmetry, 3 limbs
  • Calcarea - asymmetrical, 2+ limbs

Tjoneslo (talk) 22:58, 8 November 2018 (EST)

We can do both.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 14:50, 9 November 2018 (EST)

Well, if I'm going to add most or all of the extended animal template, these both become redundant. Tjoneslo (talk) 21:42, 9 November 2018 (EST)

I don't know if I am keen on the animal template merging.

  • I haven't thought it out yet.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 20:10, 12 November 2018 (EST)

Parameter: Limbs[edit]

I omitted this from the base information on purpose. If we wanted to go into this level of detail about the base creature, we could include the Template: Animal under the Template: SophontData and capture all this detailed information.

Also for Parameter: Symmetry, Parameter: Gravity, Parameter: Atmo

Build it into one template.

  • Makes better sense.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:53, 7 November 2018 (EST)

Parameter: Extinct[edit]

I'm not happy with the negative manner of expression. Most races are still in existence, so this becomes "Extinct: No". This can be confusing on reading. I was simply going to reverse the title to "Existing", and reverse the yes/no. So most races have "Existing: Yes", which reads better.

Extinct and Extant. Unknown. etc.

  • It works.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:53, 7 November 2018 (EST)

Parameter: Lang[edit]

I prefer full names for the template parameters, so "languages".


- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:54, 7 November 2018 (EST)

Advanced Template (2018)[edit]

Base Information
Classification {{{type}}}
Status {{{status}}}
Terrain {{{terrain}}}
Locomotion {{{locomotion}}}
Speed {{{speed}}}
Strength {{{strength}}}
Body Structure
Symmetry {{{symmetry}}}
Head/Torso {{{torso}}}
Limbs & Manipulators {{{limbs}}}
Tail {{{tail}}}
Skeleton {{{skeleton}}}
Internal Fluids {{{fluid}}}
Skin {{{skin}}}
Natural Weapons {{{weapons}}}
Armor {{{armor}}}
Body Shape
Size {{{size}}}
Stance {{{stance}}}
Length/Height {{{length}}}
Body Profile {{{profile}}}
Weight {{{mass}}}
Communications {{{languages}}}
Social Structure {{{government}}}
Technology Epoch {{{epoch}}}
Psi Potential {{{psi}}}
Homeworld {{{home}}}
UWP {{{uwp}}}
Primary Star {{{primary}}}
Multi-world {{{multi}}}
Existing {{{existing}}}
Reference {{{ref}}}
Canon {{{canon}}}

Per the discussion above, this is an example of the merged full animal template and the sophont data template (above). It's still a little rough, but assumes all the sophonts are updated to the T5 sophont / beast rules. This would take some work as we are around 450 sophonts. Tjoneslo (talk) 23:39, 12 November 2018 (EST)

Thank you. I am going to mull this over and discuss with Marc in our next chat.

  • I will also share it with a few interested fans.
  • Excellent work. Greatly appreciated.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:42, 13 November 2018 (EST)

To expand on the late night comments about these template. It was my intention to create these as "SophontData2", or some other different name, then go through the whole list of sophonts and update the articles to use the new template. This would make sure the article remain easy to read, an only the ones with real attention are updated correctly. Tjoneslo (talk) 18:18, 13 November 2018 (EST)

I haven't reviewed it properly, but I trust your judgment.

  • If you want to do it, I'll back you.
  • I would only ask to leave the preexisting data, not to overwrite or replace it.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 20:38, 13 November 2018 (EST)
Update the color scheme to the new standards.Tjoneslo (talk) 23:52, 29 July 2019 (EDT)