This table is my best compromise between table-of-contents compactness and utility, based on the ideas that:
- People who don't know the episode names aren't going to find the standard TOC very useful;
- People who know the names spend too much effort scrolling or paging down to the appropriate episode in the TOC just to click-jump to the episode, and may just use their browser Find/Search function to get there more quickly;
- People who are looking for a specific quote aren't going to use the TOC; and
- People who just like looking at quotes are just going to hop around anyway.
Of these alternatives, only (2) is aided significantly by a TOC, and the new TOC provides all the episode and shorts links on the first screen. Admittedly, having the episode title appear (in a Wiki-encoded format that adds underscores and translates punctuation into odd sequences, like ".21") in the browser status bar is not ideal. On the other hand, this table also adds a few additional benefits:
- It shows a succinct overview of the progress of the 11-year series, including:
- How many episodes each season had.
- How many shorts there were.
- When the personnel and channel changes occurred.
- Plus, it just looks neat.
These are, of course, side benefits for a quote page, probably more useful in a Wikipedia article. (Hmm… maybe List of MST3K episodes could use it.) But I hope readers (and editors) will find this TOC interesting and useful. — Jeff Q (talk) 22:24, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
As of this posting, there are three ways to know what episode/short goes with which numbered box:
- Memorize the entire list, which is pointless for anyone except hardcore fans of the show. (It doesn't help with the shorts, anyhow, since they have no official numbering system. They're in alphabetical order in this TOC.)
- Click on a link to see where you go. If you're looking for a specific episode, and you don't know when it aired, this isn't very helpful.
- Hover over the numbered boxes until your browser status bar shows a URL that ends with the episode title you're after. This is, as I mention above, hardly ideal, but is the best I could do with ordinary Wiki markup.
- I've figured out a decent way to make the titles pop up, by wrapping each link label (a terse 2-digit code) in a SPAN tag with a TITLE attribute that has the title. Most modern browsers will display these as tooltips. (I confirmed this for Firefox 1.0.2, Mozilla 1.6, and Opera 7.2.3 (and know it works with Opera 6), and verified that it does not work with ancient Netscape 4.79. For some reason, it wouldn't work for this table in MSIE 6.0, despite the fact that span-title elements usually do work this way in IE. (It may have something to do with how these elements are buried inside Wiki markup, with the span element's title failing to override whatever else it's inside of.) All the browsers I tested still show the URL for the link, which includes the title, however oddly formatted. If anyone knows how to fix the MSIE problem, or has a better mechanism for accomplishing this title pop-up, please let me know. — Jeff Q (talk) 10:02, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Excellent idea! It looks indeed neat. Would you let me make a comment? The basic design and idea of TOC is great, but in my personal preferences, I like more soft (or not so bright) color. I think this TOC can apply to other TV series. Nice idea. --Aphaia 07:55, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
- I agree with you on softer colors. My goal was to distinguish between 18 different pastel colors in 9 strikingly different groups, to provide an instant feel for the flow of the series. I had some concern about browsers or computers that might reduce the colors to a "web-safe" palette, and I don't have a convenient setup for testing this potential problem, so I think I probably made some colors a bit bolder than I'd like them, too. (I'm not even sure that "web-safe" colors are much of an issue anymore. If they are, even the current solution isn't completely adequate.) I'm certainly open to varying the colors, so long as the vast majority of readers can see at a glance how the seasons are broken up — without making the table's contents difficult to read, of course. — Jeff Q (talk) 10:11, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)