When we learned that Koschei the Deathless was actually a mahjarrat, the immediate decision (as a result of Forum:Changes to RS:G and Forum:Changes to RS:G part 2) was that these two should be merged. But if you think about it, this really makes no sense.
First and foremost, it's really confusing to readers. The article is mostly about Karshai, his true form. But anyone who searched for "Koschei" likely only cares about the monster. They're probably doing the quest. If I knew little about the game, my first reaction would be that I misspelled his name. I'd try typing it again, but would wind up in the same place. I'd go back in game to make sure I read it correctly, but alas, Koschei isn't there! He's killed me while I was distracted and now I'm back in Lumbridge.
Koschei/Karshai isn't the only example. There are a handful of other examples where a character has established a persona that bears significance beyond their true form.
Other examples include:
- Ali the Wise; he's actually
BattlebenWahisietel, but he existed for 2 years or so before we knew that, and during that time he was a significant enough figure that he should still have his own article.
- Dr. Nabanik; he's actually Azzanadra. While we knew on day 1 of this relation, it could be argued that Nabanik as a character is significant.
What would this not include? I don't want to split everything just because they can be considered reasonably distinct. The splits would be mostly open to discussion and so called "common sense".
- Basic disguises which are nothing more than disguises; e.g. Sliske (holy damn I'm using Mahjarrat too much) disguises himself as a shadowy figure, but that figure doesn't do much. It's there, it's mysterious, it's Sliske. It hasn't done much other than be spoopy.
- Insignificant characters that come in multiple forms; e.g. Cosplayer
- Characters that change only in appearance, but not as a guise; e.g. Sigmund
- Characters with both an attackable and non-attackable form, assuming such distinction is the only difference.
- Characters met at multiple ages; mostly to exclude Sarah, et al.
The solution is to acknowledge these significant personas and split them off so that information can be searched for properly. Taking our Koschei example, Koschei would get his own article, and it would contain only information about Koschei. Some infoboxes, his strategy, his purpose, how he came to be from Karshai. Karshai's article would do the same. Most information that we put onto Koschei's article (namely infoboxes and strategies) would be removed from Karshai's. We would, of course, still acknowledge the relationship. Karshai and Koschei are the same individual, and both articles would make that clear; however, the significance of each persona is great enough that putting everything on one article hurts the ability to discuss each properly.
This is one of the smallest reaching changes (I don't think I can name more than 20 articles to be split) that I'm considering, but it's also one of the most important.
Support - Current guidelines and extremely broad-scoped and counterproductive. MolMan 15:09, April 12, 2016 (UTC)
No Support - Character history. I understand that with precedence when we split Abyssal demon from Abyssal demon (Heart of Gielinor) or combat level of certain other NPCs. But here, Azzanadra WAS Dr. Nabanak for a time, for whatever reason. Ali the Wise was for a long time, the guise of Washitiel. The characters flipped back and forth between them. I would consider it redundant in this case to create a Dr. Nabanak profile for a small section, that is then completely copied and pasted into Azzandra's page, with mutual links back in forth ... both effectively saying how this is the same person. --Deltaslug (talk) 15:20, April 12, 2016 (UTC)
- The idea isn't to purport that Azzanadra and Nabanik are different. It's the idea that the latter has played a significant role outside of his true form. But I also don't see the problem with size or duplication.
- What exactly do you even mean by character history? Azzanadra can cover information both about himself and Nabanik, while an article on the latter can focus more and to greater detail on that specific persona. The actual content of the Azzanadra article would likely not change at all. The article on Dr. Nabanik can be one written in a different scope. Whereas currently his character is only discussed from a lore perspective, a separate article could be used to discuss his role more easily and neatly from a game perspective as well.
- Furthermore, we have several articles already split of entities that are the same individual; e.g. Amascut and Wanderer. What we have here is what I'm looking to establish as a guideline standard. The latter plays a significant role outside of her role as the god. And look here! The existence of this article that specifically details a particular form does not detract from the main article. Why? They're written in different scopes.
- The biggest problem is the popularity and size of some of the examples I used in my opening statement. It's baffling that two large articles had been merged together, when the same people opposed the idea of merging the smaller ones.
- Yes, Ali the Wise is a guise of Wahisietel, but he's also an established and significant character in and of himself. MolMan 15:37, April 12, 2016 (UTC)
Support - I think alter egos should be split from their "true" form in the majority of cases. They're usually either distinct enough to effectively be their own character, or minor enough that it doesn't really matter. Take Koschei/Kharshai for instance, they have completely different roles, appearances, and even personalities. One is a minor character in the Fremennik series and a quest and Dominion Tower boss, the other is the central character in several miniquests.
On the other hand, we have the exceptions like Dr. Nabanik/Azzanadra and Shadowed Figure/Sliske. Their alternate forms are pretty much interchangeable with their main one, to the point that those forms are even renamed "Azzanadra" and "Sliske" later on.
Ali the Wise/Wahisietel is a strange case. While Ali the Wise is around for 3 quests before being revealed to be Wahisietel, both versions of the character have a very similar role and purpose. Furthermore, "Ali the Wise" does not disappear once his true identity is revealed, and becomes interchangable with Wahisietel. A split could make things messy, because a lot of Wahisietel's roles are as Ali the Wise, even after Ritual of the Mahjarrat.
So my stance is split all NPC alter egos unless they are interchangeable with their true form. This would split stuff like Eluned/Dark Lord and Vanescula Drakan/Nessie, while still allowing Azzanadra/Nabanik to share a page. Where exactly Ali/Wahisietel and any similar cases would fall under that probably needs further discussion.16:14, April 12, 2016 (UTC)
Comment - Oh glorious, this again. At the time, I was a vocal opponent of merging Ali the Wise and Pietel but at this point it just seems like a hassle. That said I'd be ok with helping split some pages on a case by case basis - shall we compile a list of nominated articles first, though? For instance, I'd support Ali/Wahi and Koschei/Kharshai but perhaps not Vanescula/Nessie and Azz/Nabanik.19:35, April 12, 2016 (UTC)
- Shouldn't be a hassle. For the most part, I don't see much information being removed from the main articles. And the information that would be (like combat strategies) are all in their own sections.
- For now, I'd rather not discuss individual articles beyond pure example. When the thread closes, we can open a few RfMs to discuss each subject individually. MolMan 19:38, April 12, 2016 (UTC)
Support - Can we put up those "not to be confused with" thingies? --15:25, April 14, 2016 (UTC)
- There can be hatnotes, but that's not the correct one to use. MolMan 15:28, April 14, 2016 (UTC)
- Awesome. Well I knew it wasn't that but you knew what I meant, right? ;p -- 13:05, April 15, 2016 (UTC)
Closed - Articles can be split if there is a significant difference between different versions of major NPCs. Because this criterion cannot be written to exhaustively contain all possible variables, it is recommended that (at least initially) the articles this new guideline will effect be subjected to the Request for Splitting process. --LiquidTalk 16:48, April 19, 2016 (UTC)