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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 36: 3 December

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48px-1025281.png From the editor: Spoiler leaks
The 888th Avatar

Recently, there have been a number of leaks of official material to sources of varying credibility and reputation around the Internet. The most damaging of these has been the posting of enough pages from Gene Yang's upcoming graphic novel to deduce all of its major plot points. Only a few days ago, images from the opening sequences for The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra also surfaced before a personal request from Mike DiMartino was issued to remove links to it.

As a site that does its best to respect copyrights, to uphold moral rights and to protect the integrity of the franchise, Avatar Wiki does not, and should not, condone or spread leaked spoilers. In contrast to some sites (the moral compass of whom could be questioned), we operate with the intention of catering the widest Avatar audience possible. Many on this site don't appreciate their enjoyment of franchise installments being hampered by leaks.

We should keep this in mind across the site's various communication and informative features, particularly comments. They become difficult to administrate when many of our rollback users and administrators don't want to see leaks, but may stumble across them by accident during the course of work. Avatar Wiki should set an example by taking a stand against the unethical spread of leaks. Prevention of further leaks is preferable.

48px-3232697.png Interview: PSUAvatar14
The Ultimate Waterbender

1. How does it feel being a fanon admin? What are some things you hope to achieve now that you are one?
It feels pretty good, though at the end of the day, I'm still just another user with pretty much the same level as the bulk of the userbase. I just hope to help keep our fanon space at the high quality it has been praised for – ensuring all are up to our standards and that they're all in the right place (categories).

2. What are you really hoping to see in Legend of Korra?
I want to see the roots of the Equalist Movement, the same character depth we got with most characters in ATLA, just how far we have come in 70 years, and of course some flashbacks to the past.

3. Did you see the movie, The Last Airbender? What disappointed you the most about it? Would you see parts 2 and 3, if they come out?
I have never seen it in full, but I have seen enough to see that it is a poor movie. I was truly disappointed by the bending – the moves were really weak and complicated. Further, the characters had no depth and emotion was sorely lacking. I don't think I would be up for anything further.

4. You've written/been writing several fanons. Was it difficult to make time to write them? Are you happy with the way they did/are turning out?
I have had a good amount of free time on my hands, though it has been dwindling as of late. I was not happy with how the first half of "Engagements" turned out, those needing some serious pre-release revisions, but I loved the second half. I like where "Weatherbenders" is headed currently, I'm just hoping I can keep it on the right track.

5. Where do you think the Wiki can be improved?
Our fanon space still has quite a number of articles that could use fixing up. Also, some canon space articles lack information that can be used, as was brought to my attention a few days ago. We are a solid wiki, but, users should not think everything is perfect – there is always room for improvement.

6. How has your time here been for you?
Oh, wow...get ready for rambling. :p My time here has been incredible. I have met many awesome people, just too many to name specifically – though I'm sure they know who they are. ^^" This wiki, thanks to its fanon space, has felt like I can free my mind up helps me get some creative ideas out of my head and into words, such as "Weatherbenders". But, mostly I've loved my time here because of the community. If I didn't join... well, I wouldn't have made some close friends. :)

48px-3511228.png Ice dodging: Avoiding huge ships

News: Demotes are officially making a comeback next BSST. Hooray for a clear schedule!

This is not going to be funny but rather a reflection on the shipping insanities of a truly crazed fandom - or should I say fandumb?

Even though 70.483% of all statistics are made up on the spot - and nine out of five people suffer from math illiteracy - let me give you a few fictional statistics. TvTropes is a popular website that deals with things seen constantly in media; examples of "tropes" include "Mind-Control Eyes", referring to the swirly/googly/pupil-less/iris-less/etc. eyes that the brainwashed usually have, such as Jet and Joo Dee, and parodied "for the lulz" in The Ember Island Players; "Sealed Good in a Can", which refers to any sort of benevolent force trapped somewhere, such as Aang in his iceberg; and "Kangaroo Court", describing a sham legal proceeding a lá Avatar Day. Now, TvTropes is a really great, really entertaining little site that makes sense and knows about what it is talking; most of its users are of the "Internet age" that loves sci-fi, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and video games. In fact, Avatar itself isn't a common staple on most trope pages.

Then one sees the pages on shipping.

Avatar features prominently on Die For Our Ship, Fan Preferred Couple, and Launcher Of A Thousand Ships - and that's only through clicking just three shipping trope links.

Furthermore, the Avatar shipping crises are highlighted on almost every single shipping trope. For a site that deals with mostly sci-fi, what's going on here?!

The answer is simple. After scouring the Internet, I came up with proof of the worst kind: Avatar has one of the most rabid ship followings - and one of the rudest, deadliest, most idiotic-beyond-a-scrap-of-doubt in any way, shape, or form, shipping wars. Cha, wait, there's another prominent Avatar feature! [facepalm]

So who's to blame for all of this? The fact that less than half of the fans of Avatar are female? The constant ship teases on the part of the creators? The woe-is-us-the-fanatics cry of "they're just shipping it because they're never seen the show"?!

It might just be a combination of all three. But first, let's take a look at the history of shipping. Warning: The following may be extremely disturbing; just remember that I had to experience . . . firsthand . . . as I was doing research for this article. [puts on aviator goggles] These goggles do nothing, but they sure make me feel much better!

And why am I qualified to write this kind of stuff? I've been everywhere. Zutara, Kataang, Zukaang, Sukka, Yukka, Tokka, Ty Lokka, Jetara, Hatara, Taang, Azulaang, Hakursa, Zhaozai, Tyzula, My Cabbages - you name it, I've seen it or read about it, not because I ship them necessarily, but because I like to keep myself informed on all things Avatar, and unfortunately Avatar is, as we have seen, one of the most, if not the most, shipping-and-flame-war-inclined fandoms. I have seen it all, and I'm got the mental scars to prove it. All I did was take the most mainstream of the shippings and bring it straight to you, no awkward fanfics or terrifying fanart required. You're welcome.

I've had some particular experience with Zutara, Zukaang, Sokkla, and other "crack" pairings, mostly thanks to my sister and my friends, few of whom ship Kataang. Therefore, one might say I'm more or less qualified. No, this column will not be about debunking these other pairings. The canon shippings - Kataang, Maiko, and Sukka - have been confirmed to occur in the end, and there is no way around the fact. This is only a history of the bloodiest war since the Amercan Civil War.

That's bloody.

There will also be, towards the end of the article, a few spoilers of The Promise. The spoilers in question are very minor plot points and cover perhaps three panels in total, but it is understandable that some do not wish even these small ones. There will be another warning at that point in time. Just letting you know that I'm watching out for you.

In order to do research for this article, I am very literally going to go back in time. Arming myself with nothing more than the useless goggles mentioned above and my own wicked humor, I raced about six years back in time: In other words, I went back to the blogs and comments, etc., on websites since Avatar's creation. Let's see what the Avatards have to say.

Please note that the views expressed in this article do not reflect Avatar Wiki's or even the author's. Because the article deals with "proof" of non-canon shipping paraphrased or quoted from various blogs around the interwebz, please keep in mind that the author does not necessarily ship these ships. The author's preferred shippings may be found at the bottom of the article.

Lettuce souprise ewe - great restaurant name, by the way - by starting out at the very beginning. During the first few episodes, Zuko had this fangirls, sure, but no one really paid attention to him until the Agni Kai of 103; that was when the first wave of Zuko fanart rolled out, and some, looking for a shipping partner to admire Zuko's great qualities of aanger and aangst, turned to Katara, who was then the only recurring female character on the show. Aang acted particularly childishly in those first two episodes, and even his great explosion of sorrow-turned-to-Avatar-State in 103 was considered nothing more than a temper tantrum by some. Younger fans tended to identify with Aang and say it was Kataang at first sight; older fans tended to go Beauty and the Beast and/or misinterpreted Lion King II and assume that Zutara would result either in Zuko's defection or from the fact that he was a villain.

And by fans, naturally, I mean females.

The male fans, most of whom didn't care either way, either assumed a) Aang was the protagonist and therefore Kataang would happen or b) Avatar was an animé and therefore . . . Zutara would happen. Either way, very few realized Avatar was in fact Americanimé, not Japanimation - and trust me, viewers confuse those all the time.

Personal story time: I was chatting over the web with one of my sister's friends, who mentioned she thought Zuko was "hot". Disgusted, I asked her how she could think that - after all, Zuko had an ugly scar. Cha, I was, what, eight at the time? The friend typed, "*shrug* idk he is". And that was the beginning of Zutara for many. Very many. Extremely many.

When 104 aired, almost everyone thought Suki would be a one-off character, and the Sokka fangirls - of which there were few at this point - squealed with delight at the prospect of their "holy shrine" finally "getting a girl". They jabbered and flamed those who didn't agree that Suki would return. Incidentally, this is a case of Fandom Gone Right.

The Kataangists - of which, again, there were somewhat less at this time - were excited about the Kataangst present in 104, and, let's face it, there were a few questionable shots, all of which were swiftly Photoshopped. However, the Zutara push was stronger - though very weak compared to what it would become - as Aang hadn't yet quite proved himself, and Katara still seemed more like an older sister to him than anything else.

48px-743796.png Royal Family primogeniture
H-Man Havoc

Although it never was addressed in the series, it would be interesting to determine if primogeniture had a direct influence in Fire Lord succession protocols. Before I go any further, primogeniture refers to the right of inheritance granted to the firstborn. It's obvious that this form of system was in effect in the Fire Nation, but which type exactly? There are two major types of this: male-preference (a.k.a. Agnatic), and absolute (a.k.a. Absolute Cognatic). The former is traditionally how primogeniture is viewed; the oldest male child gets the inheritance, regardless if he has older sisters. The British Royal Family traditionally used this form of succession, with the notable exceptions being few (including Queen Elizabeth II). The latter refers to succession by the oldest child, regardless of gender. This form was very rarely used until around 30 years ago (especially with regards to the monarchies), when Sweden passed an amendment to change from male-preference to absolute. This is why the current King of Sweden (Carl XVI Gustaf)'s eldest daughter (Victoria) is now the heir apparent (her younger brother, Carl, had it for a few months, until the amendment). The British monarchy also recently passed an amendment to change from male-preference to absolute primogeniture, which would benefit Prince William and Princess Catherine should their eldest child be a girl.

In terms of Avatar, I would assume that the Fire Nation (and the Avatar world in general) uses male-preference primogeniture when deciding their lines of succession. Here however, some assumptions and liberties must be distinguished due to lack of information from the series. Firstly, with the notable exception of Ozai, none of the Fire Lords (or purported successors) had more than one child (Ozai obviously had Zuko and Azula). Secondly, every child borne by the known rulers were male (except Azula). Thirdly, it can be assumed that both Sozin and his son, Azulon, had no siblings (at least none mentioned in the series or the continuity' yes, this is contradictory to what I mentioned as the first assumption, but it's still relevant nonetheless).

The only reason why Ozai got the throne and not Iroh was that the former asked his father to extricate the latter from the line of succession (making this occurrence the only time that an heir apparent was disavowed and removed of his title and replaced by a younger sibling; it nearly happened again when Azula was almost crowned Fire Lord).

In conclusion, I believe that male-preference primogeniture was used in the Fire Nation, as well as the rest of the Avatar world. Now that I've parlayed my reasons for this, what are your opinions on the matter?

48px-3390396.png Message Wall

Many of you might know about the upcoming "forced" replacement by Staff of MediaWiki default talk pages by "Message Walls", which are similar to article and blog comments and are under development. I posted a blog about this to inform users about the change, and all of the users, except two users *cough* wjxhuang and Rass *cough*, have several negative opinions about it. First of all, I really want a preview function, which a huge amount of users has been demanding. I'd also like if some of the extra white space were removed. That one's really annoying me. Users are also criticizing the use of the "aka" name in bold and the actual user name in a smaller font size. I was originally not happy with it, too, but I'm now pretty indifferent to it.

After the repeated demands by users for a header where you can add text like you add now, like talk page picture or other messages, a sub-page was created, where you can add such text and images, which is transcluded on the Wall. One of the other improvements applied to the Wall is the improved time-stamp. Another thing I like about this new feature is that newer users don't have to be pestered to add signatures, as the time stamp is added automatically. But one draw back is that the work of people who have spent some time making good signatures will be mostly wasted. Now, the messages are replied on the user's own message wall, which is easier, allows easier checking up of discussions as logs, and is more efficient. I'm still not sure about the automatic pagination, as I've not seen it work.

Now, many users claim that it's a copy of Facebook just because it's related to commenting and has "wall" in its title. I'd like to repeat what wjxhuang said: Commenting didn't originate in Facebook. Also, the idea of "it has 'wall' in its title, so it's definitely a copy of Facebook" is really crazy. The title "wall" or discussions through "comments" aren't copyrights of Facebook. I can't really say I love the wall, although I can say I'm getting used to it, and I'll be able to bear with it, eventually. And with its automatic pagination, which will archive it every 20 posts, wjxhuang has a load off his shoulder: The weight of archiving talk pages with his bot.

Now, while the message wall has negative points that can cause people to hate it and positive points that can cause people to love it, what are your opinions?

from the fanon portal
48px-3565124.png Fanonical Analysis 2

Anyone who was here back in summer may remember that I posted a blog in early July, Fanonical Analaysis, telling the percentages of the total amount of fanons which were complete, inactive, and discontinued. The blog got rave reviews and over the five months since it was posted many users asked me if I could update the blog with new info.
Well guess what? Fanonical Analysis #2 is here for you in the Ba Sing Se Times. Pretty snazzy, huh? Check out these stats: Fanon Analysis of July 3rd:

  • 5% of stories are complete
  • 60% of stories are incomplete but active
  • 22% of stories are incomplete but inactive
  • 14% of stories are discontinued

Fanon Analysis of December 3rd:

  • 6% of stories are complete
  • 47% of stories are incomplete but active
  • 27% of stories are incomplete but inactive
  • 19% of stories are discontinued

The total amount of completed stories has increased (yay!), but basically everything else is worse.

General Iroh
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48px-2247564.png Fanon review

This Review is brought to you by the Fanon Review Squad

Today's Ba Sing Se Times review is Emblem of the Outlaw, by Bassoon Ninja.

Overview: Three years after the death of Avatar Korra, three years after the Avatar was reborn into the Earth Kingdom, a powerful bender opened a portal into the spirit realm. An imbalance between the worlds came, causing several more portals to tear open: One in the Earth Kingdom, one in the Fire Nation, one in the Northern Air Temple, one in the Southern Water Tribe, and one in the middle of Republic City. Spirits poured into the human world through these portals. Most of the spirits who passed through were lesser spirits, but some malignant spirits came through and wreaked havoc on the humans. Likewise, some humans would stumble into the spirit realm and disturb the more powerful spirits; most humans never came back from the spirit realm because of this. Overall, the result of these portals ultimately became that humans suffered more than spirits. The humans cast all the blame for these incident upon the spirits, and being blamed for an incident that was obviously the humans' fault irritated the spirits, thus tensions began to rise.

When a powerful evil spirit crossed into the human world and completely destroyed a village, humans became terrified of the spirits. They foolishly began to believe that the benders were "spies" for the spirits: Any known benders were taken away, and none would return. Bending was deemed illegal, as a method of communing with the spirits. Police worldwide were given the task of tracking down and arresting all known benders, but bending was as natural to the people as breathing. The bending world quickly went underground; over time the underground bending world became a world of crime, violence, and villainy. Bending matches became brawls, bringing the deaths of many talented benders. And with crime on the rise, the police began to take anyone, from any small child to any old man, who showed any sign of being a bender and locked them away.

Special mentions

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What kinds of fanons do you read?

The poll was created at 10:34 on December 7, 2011, and so far 45 people voted.
48px-1025281.png Technical updates
The 888th Avatar

This report outlines any notable technical changes made by Wikia and by Avatar Wiki admins in the last two weeks.

  • Wikia's reintroduction of the dividing line under the page heading was reversed by Vulmen. We are not sure whether this is fully compliant with Wikia's Terms of Use, but this does remove its conflict with our use of page icons.
  • The size of our icons on pages was increased by Thailog. This represents an improvement in visibility and accessibility, and is a return to an older status quo before the size of the icons was decreased to accommodate a previous coding change.
  • Wikia's description of page header layout changes: "On wikis with the new navigation, we're making some changes to the top part of our pages and the right rail. We've made the article talk/comment bubble into a button, and are changing its alignment. We're moving the wiki's page count from the sidebar to the header. The "Add a page" button will now only be accessible through the "Contribute" button in the navigation."
  • Wikia's description of the new "share" button: "Wikis using the new expanded navigation will now have a "Share" button next to "Contribute". Clicking the Share button opens a list of options for sharing that page, including via Facebook, Twitter, or Email. This list is hidden by default until the button is clicked."

  • Never heard of The Ba Sing Se Times? Find out more here.
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