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Multiple Snapshots Per Article?
This idea popped into my head within the last month, then sort of sank beneath the waves, and then I was reminded of it again just now.

Would it be desirable to set up/figure out a way to support multiple Snapshots per EG article? Currently, we limit this to one per article - but given enough time we might have a situation where different people want to write snapshots about different aspects of the same article. Major places like Kepleria or Metropolis City Ring come to mind, but also for different aspects of life in the setting or different takes on the same aspect.

From a technical perspective, I'm not sure if this is something we could/would want to just do within our current Content Management System capabilities (And what what would look like). Or if it is something that should wait and be done as part of the EG Redesign that I'm moving toward starting with Trond (I can imagine some possibly cleaner ways of doing this if we are building in additional capability in the EG).

But at the basic level there is the question of whether that sort of thing should be done at all.


I think that having one or more snapshots for an article would tend to bring the EG to life, so that the EG isn’t just a dry exposition. The number of snapshots doesn’t really concern me if people are sufficiently enthused to write them. However I’m also concerned that they’d make it that much more difficult to implement changes when it becomes necessary to retcon a topic.
Indeed! Also because snapshot are not necessary long, could be just a 2-3 quick snap.
If you get incinerated by Trond's death stare it was a pleasure meeting you Todd   Tongue
Semi-professional threads diverter.
I think figuring out a way to do this in a manner that makes editing - including retconning or adding/subtracting - relatively easy is important, regardless of whether we attempt this using existing EG functionality or try adding in something new. I have some ideas, but am open to hearing from others, certainly.

Re Trond - I don't think Trond's given to death stares - but if all my online accounts suddenly vanish and my robo vacuum starts trying to kill me, I may take that as a hint I've annoyed him. Tongue

TBH I was thinking that people might have more of an emotional attachment to whatever snapshots they’ve written than to the article contents.
I suspect the number of snapshots will remained low enough for the foreseeable future that we can keep with one per article except when two per article works, depending on the existing article length. It would help when the snapshots are spread out between a few paragraphs of EG article.
As for retconning any future snapshots, we can put them in the fiction section under the appropriate author with a note that it’s out of canon for xyz reasons, or just adjust the snapshot if the canon change is minor
I think this is easily within the current cms capabilities and we might have already done it somewhere. I tend to just put snapshots in block quotes and so that seems easy enough to do twice in a article- though I think it helps to put some EG wiki paragraphs between the two or three snapshots
If the snapshot is a quote from a longer story in the fiction section I just put a link

And if we need to remove the snapshots or put most of the scene somewhere other than the article,
Keep extras in stories by author
We could put the snapshots on a separate page, with a short extract followed by -MORE- or something. I wonder if there is a way to do this on the page, with a drop-down section or something.
Another option is a feature I think I’ve suggested for other purposes but which requires extra implementation
Expand collapse content /accordion

Though that’s extra web development
In the immediate/short to medium term, we could (using the existing CMS) do as Steve suggests and place snapshots on their own pages with links from the article (with or without an opening excerpt included in the article itself).

Also possibly in the immediate/short term we might do something like the table of contents (generated via hand coding of HTML, I assume) such as exists in the Corona article. This would not so much hide the Snapshots as let a reader jump over them and might work best in longer articles. In short articles, it probably wouldn't be helpful.

On a more general/related note - If the TOC coding is relatively straightforward to do by hand (asking Steve and anyone else who might know how to do this) it might be something we want to do more of as our articles get longer and if it would be as easy to just hand code this kind of thing as asking Trond to create some kind of CMS tool for it.

In the longer term (whatever that might mean)? - I like the expanding/collapsing content option, either as something Trond might work into the CMS/EG functionality or as something the Editors hand code if it is simple enough (meaning that an English major - aka yours truly - can do it Tongue ). Again, if this is something that is easily hand coded within the EG (I assume we would need to test that) and doesn't cause anything to blow up, it might be something we look at just doing as part of the Editor function rather than having Trond code up a way to do it 'automagically' via the CMS. Could potentially happen faster and is one less thing for him to spend his time on rather than more complex stuff that only he can do.

OTOH - if expanding/collapsing or TOC functions are something that will only work (or work properly, or work without hair pulling levels of effort) if Trond codes it into the CMS (aka codes it so it plays nicely with everything else) that is something I'm sure he can either do or suggest an alternative for that will get the same basic job done in the end.

In my experience Trond will point out problems with doing things in a particular way that I was not aware of and/or suggest alternative approaches that get the job done, often with better results than my ideas or ideas that have been kicked around more generally. This is his area of expertise and background after all. Smile

As far as the LOE for Trond about coding any particular option - I have honestly given up on trying to predict that. In working with Trond on the site redesign, I've learned that things I would think require massive LOE he either shrugs off as trivially easy or embraces as a fun challenge while things I would think would be simple he will either point out a number of problems or risks with or will explain that making it happen that way would basically require a multi-person team of full time programmers on retainer for multiple months (aka way too much time and money for us) and then suggest more workable alternatives.

Basically, I've found it simpler to just explain what we'd like with the understanding that Trond will give it thumbs up/down based on his best judgement rather than trying to second guess.

My 2c worth,


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