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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 41: 30 June

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  • The related video module is being introduced on Avatar Wiki in a few weeks after being tested elsewhere on Wikia. It will appear as a module on the right sidebar, and will contain content such as trailers.

User rights report

48px-1025281.png The life of an administrator...
The 888th Avatar

...Is not what it's cracked up to be. At all. I mean, who likes to be blamed for everything that's wrong with the wiki, especially when it's not even your fault? Let's examine one common criticism, that admins effectively control the wiki and stifle innovative thought, and look at why it unjustly targets admins.

Formal leadership is often associated with adminship, often in the form of a cabal that has the real "control" of the wiki. Some are quick to make that association when an admin takes the initiative or makes an impassioned argument. But the system of consensus ensures we can be outvoted every time. A fundamental mistake is made in this assumption of "control". Leadership on a wiki like ours is not a position, but an attitude. Although admins have no position of authority, this shouldn't exclude us from the kinds of leadership any user on the wiki can display. If I persuade others to co-operate with me, it should not be considered coercive. If I have a good idea, it should not be seen as imposition.

Certainly, after the manner of the exclusivity often ascribed to adminship, unfit administrators may perpetrate a myth of superiority by closing themselves off from the community. But it's worth remembering that this myth will also arise if the community isolates them rather than simply considering them to be another intelligent person dedicated to our collaboration.

By remembering to emphasise equality that other users should be on level ground with the admins, we sometimes forget that admins should be on level ground with other users. If we're to take seriously the idea that all users are equal, then we should extend that treatment to admins as well. Remember, we're humans too.

48px-5161988.png New admin interview
KettleMeetPot

"The administrator nominations for the wiki are long over, yet this new addition of BSST brings it back to the forefront! Today, we will be interviewing none other than the illustrious The Ultimate Waterbender, who due to popular community opinion, won the nominations in a landslide."

The Ultimate Waterbender has been well known on the wiki for years, from her time as a productive user through 2010, and then as a rollback user from the start of 2011. She has always been regarded to be amongst the most open and compassionate of Rollbacks, consistently sparing time to talk with new users and always exercising a calm, empathetic demeanour, no matter what the occasion. The editors of The Ba Sing Se Times are eager to have her as our new administrator, and we want the entire community to recognise why The Ultimate Waterbender has enamoured our support in such a fashion. To that effect, we have invited The Ultimate Waterbender to give us a few open words to some of our questions.

1. As the newest administrator, how do you feel about being given this responsibility? How will you step up to your predecessor's shoes, who was widely known for his contributions in the Fanon Portal, and to a lesser extent, on Canon articles?

I’m honored to be able to aid this community using the tools I’ve been given and prepared to handle certain situations that may arise. I hope to carry out my duties proficiently and decisively, as my predecessor had, and serve the wiki well. Although the fanon side of this wiki has never been my most prominent area in regards to editing, I will always be on the look-out for fanon articles that need touch-ups. Ultimately, the canon side of the wiki will remain my most significant area of editing; however, I am striving to become a more active editor of fanon articles and lend a hand wherever needed.

2. Most of the community has welcomed you with open arms, however, there will always be critics. What do you find are your most apparent weaknesses, and how do you intend to improve them while fulfilling your role as an administrator?

My main concern lies in the fact that I’m, by nature, a forgiving person and imposing a block on someone may conflict with my inclination to absolve them. I fear clouded judgment and being lenient when issuing a block. However, I hope to be able to make decisive resolutions based on a user’s history of contributions if and when the time comes. I can’t let my natural tendencies lead to the wrong decisions and I will have to be firm and think rationally. Most likely, I will also have a look at other instances of users being blocked – see what offenses they have committed and for how long they were blocked – to better shape my judgment. And lastly, I’ll keep in mind that blocking is a measure taken to protect the wiki and, because it is always in my best interest to protect the wiki from harm, that thought will help in keeping my priorities straight.

3. How much time are you likely to be an admin for on this wiki? Are you intending to fill the role as a long term commitment, or will you be here for a relatively short time when compared to veterans such as The 888th Avatar?

I sincerely hope to be an administrator and a user in general on this wiki for many more months to come; my intention is to remain an active member on here all the way through high school (of which I have three more years left) and, who knows, beyond that? This, for me, is a long-term commitment, a duty I intend on carrying out for as long as I possibly can. Unless something dire happens – and spirits forbid that – I’m here to stay.

4. This year, a plethora of community issues have appeared in our ever growing wiki. One of the most important recent events has been the controversy over the removal of article comments. Exactly where do you stand on this issue, and how do you intend to contribute to a solution as an administrator?

With the debate over the removal of article comments, I take a neutral stand. I feel that comments are quick and easy ways for users, especially newer users who may not know other forms of correspondence, to communicate their ideas pertaining to that article. However, there has been an influx of non-contributive and sometimes inflammatory comments, mostly due to the new series and the hype it’s been generating, and it can really flood the recent changes page. Thus, I viewed comments overall as having both a positive and negative side.

I feel that the compromise that was recently reached, in which the commenting feature on Korra articles has been temporarily closed, is the most effective way of dealing with the issue at hand. It’s only for a short duration of time, while people re-gather themselves after the finale, and we have many blogs open for discussion, should anyone want to voice their opinions. Had the compromise not been put into effect, we would have been inundated by a tidal wave of comments, among them irrelevant and spammish ones that we don’t need. I know there are people who are upset by this turn of events, but I find it to be an effective method; and keep in mind, it is only temporary and only for certain articles.

5. Another widespread subject of debate centred upon allegations of bullying by administrators and various other users. Comment on how the role of an administrator correlates to that of community mediators, if it does at all, and if Admin rights should be further regulated by the community.

Administrators may certainly feel the need to act as negotiators and “peace-makers” in discussions, but I don’t feel that the role as a mediator should fall entirely on their shoulders. Any user, admin or not, could become the mediator in a debate, if they felt the need to do so; it’s not a position only administrators can assume.

Administrators should certainly be kept in check to ensure that they are using their tools for the greater good and one’s actions should not be dismissed by the community if they have committed any wrongdoing. That being said, however, I don’t believe any rights at this point should be necessarily restricted, as the tools administrators have allow them to safeguard the wiki. This is so long as those rights are being abused and are genuinely aiding the wiki.

6. Finally, another community issue that has been brought to the attention of the wiki is the lack of a diverse assortment of editors participating in improving our content. Can you give one proposal that you would contribute to as an administrator in order to ensure that the wiki is more open to new contributors?

I believe that a little encouragement from frequent contributors can go a long way in ensuring that this wiki remains open to new contributors. If you see that an anonymous user has made a particularly good edit or has been posting several well-thought-out comments, leave them a message, thanking them for their work and inviting them to create an account and join the community. If you see a newer user making noteworthy contributions, do the same; leave them a message, thanking them for their efforts and telling them to keep up the good work. I believe that with these positive messages and displays of gratitude for their work, users will feel appreciated and motivated to continue making strides on this wiki, and then we’ve got another regular contributor.

7. Much has been said about your new responsibilities and the issues on the wiki, so now for a few questions tailored specifically to you. You are the youngest administrator ever to be accepted in this wiki. How do you think your youth will affect your actions and judgement on the wiki?

I don’t think my age will have much of an impact on my judgment and actions on the wiki, in all honesty. With the time I have been on this wiki, I have come to know the policies and workings of this wiki and I believe I can make good decisions relative to anyone else.

8. You are widely known for your compassion and friendliness, but there are few instances where you have been seen to deal with more unscrupulous figures on the Wiki. As an administrator, it is a very likely you will encounter abusive and unreasonable trouble-makers. How do you plan on dealing with such users on a regular basis?

With any user that stirs trouble on the wiki, at first, I would always take my usual light approach, politely asking them to cease their actions and trying to guide them along the right path. If the behavior persists, I would turn to official warnings and sterner cautions, but I would continue to try and reason with them. If the user does not amend their ways and the situation called for a block, then I would take that measure. Throughout that entire process, however, I would always be mindful to maintain a calm composure and not show any disrespect to him or her, regardless of how irrational their behavior is.

48px-3511228.png A Critique of LoK
Trillian ("TAD")

Korralating Korraspondence: A Critique of Legend of Korra

Author's Note: This was written before the finale took place; the finale will receive, potentially, its own critique. Therefore, some of the issues herein were either rendered null and void or confirmed as a result of the finale. These are simply my thoughts.

Hey there, it's TAD, The Avatar Demotivator, here to bring you an eggsellent critique of Legend of Korra, which, as many know, I adore.

Before I start on this, I need to add a nice little disclaimer for all the haters who are no doubt going to hate on me for complaining about the show:

I love this show. I believe it to be a hallmark of American animation, and I personally care more about the characters than I do about most people I know in real life. I'm writing this because I care. I don't hate Mako; I'm aangry at him for making bad life choices, yes, but I'm only aangry because I genuinely care about him. I don't hate Makorra; in truth, I shipped Makorra like FedEx until episode five; at the moment I'm neutral. I don't hate Korra, or Asami, or Bolin, or anyone. And I certainly do not hate Bryke in any way, shape, or form. Not at all. I know how difficult and time-consuming animation is, and I applaud them for this labour of love, a labour of blood, sweat, and tears, a labour that has resulted in something better than ninety-nine percent of animation out there. This is not a hate post. I repeat: This is not a hate post.

Also, the people complaining that the show is bad because it doesn't "live up to ATLA" are a tad confused. I personally prefer [or would prefer] LoK because it's much more personal. Whereas ATLA was painted on an epic, LoK is the story of four teenagers slammed together unexpectedly and expected to fight against a cause whose morality is greyer than Aang's eyes. Whereas the protagonists of ATLA seem almost unapproachable in their high level of honour, wisdom, and general epic actions [and I mean epic in the homeric sense, not the modern sense], the protagonists of LoK are much more personal in that they could be you or I or anyone. While I can't imagine ever being, say, Aang or Zuko, I can definitely imagine being Mako or Bolin - if I had been in Republic City, I could have been the one to join Team Avatar. But I digress.

That said, let's dig into why Legend of Korra isn't quite as good as it could be.

Firstly, I feel that twelve episodes was not long enough to tell the story. I am not stating that it is rushed. What I am saying is that this forced the creators to squander plot-lines, resolve issues rapidly, put off on character development, and rely on telling-not-showing when it comes to certain things like romance. I know that not everyone out there is a Kataangist, but let's examine that ship for a moment. Whether you like it or not, the three-season, sixty-one-episode build-up was masterfully done, and by the time Katara finally kissed Aang in the finale, you could put your forefinger on the television screen and announce that it was true love. You can say many, many things about Kataang, but one thing that cannot be said is that it was forced in terms of development. Back to my main point: Twelve episodes is not enough to tell the story of a revolution, a corrupt politician, a love triaangle, the spirits potentially making war on the human realm [based off of The Revelation], and Korra becoming a fully-realised Avatar, which took Aang sixty-one episodes to accomplish. I know that LoK was intended from the beginning to be a mini-series, but that is not an excuse to squander plot arcs, pigeon-hole characters, and ignore the implications. Frankly, if you can't do it in twelve episodes, make more.

Secondly, there is the entire Equalist revolution. "The Revelation" hints at a rift between the current Avatar - who is spiritually unconnected - and Amon, the spirits' new mouthpiece. However, this, along with the idea of Amon as the Dark Messiah, has been completely ignored since then. I have not heard it brought up once, but you'd think that the spirits speaking to a mortal man would be pretty significant, especially if said mortal man went on to actually perform the 'miracle' of taking away bending. Beyond that, the idea of a citizens' uprising, seen all the way up to "And the Winner Is...", was fantastic; unfortunately, the next time the Equalist revolution comes into play, the uprising has devolved into another army of faceless mooks akin to the masked firebenders making up the Fire Nation army in ATLA. This completely obliterated the point. I had hoped that the revolution would follow a historical, realistic revolutionary ideal, wherein the citizens would up only to be pushed down once more by their glorious leader once the revolution is complete. I was certain that we were going to have a "the revolution ends when it hurts the people it was meant to help" moment. Instead the revolution skipped from citizens' uprising to aforementioned faceless mook army with enough resources to build copious amounts of airships, mecha tanks, et cetera. I understand that Hiroshi Sato is helping them, but no man could have that much money. It's ridiculous. While the idea of hiding out in the sewers is beautiful, the sheer amount of stuff the Equalists possess is ridiculous. The creators quite literally had the opportunity to play out a true revolution made of ordinary citizens and instead portrayed the Equalists as little more than an overcharged terrorist cell. Where are the protests of the commoners? Where are the March on Washingtons? Where are the Gandhis to represent the oppressed? Where are the Moseses trying to liberate their people? For that matter, where are the Lenins organising the peasants or the Hitlers charming their way through Germany? Nope. We don't get any of that. Instead we only see a masked man and his massive artillery with his legions of nameless cardboard cut-outs destined to be thrown at the protagonists for some nice fight scenes or as a plot point of being chi-blocked.

Speaking of the Equalists, whatever happened to the grey morality they were supposed to represent? Nonbennders actually are being oppressed, for one. It's inevitable. We saw the winds of it in ATLA, and we certainly see it in LoK. I could imagine sympathising with them and the Equalists significantly. But the nonbenders, outside of aanger at Tarrlok pulling the power, seem to not care whatsoever, while the Equalists have devolved into terrorists, turning the show into White and Black Morality: While the Krew certainly makes mistakes, their actions are most definitely protagonistic, while Amon's bombing of the city and whatnot are portrayed as definitely antagonistic. Urch. It's the same issue I had with Ozai in ATLA: He was shown to be evil. That's it. Certainly he was a civil evil, but at the end of the day, there was no moment of mixed morality. It's for this reason that Ozai is not my favourite villain, while Azula and Long Feng are two of my favourites; even Zhao was more chaotic neutral and had his own motivations. I thought that this had chaanged with Amon, who was even shown rescuing Korra unintentionally in Out of the Past. But no, now the Equalists are the evil army again, boo hoo, and it's up to the Avatar to rid the world of evil.

I'm going to take a quick break to discuss characters like Toza. You'd think that, since he more or less saved Mako and Bolin from the street, after the Pro-bending Arena was bombed, the fabulous bending brothers would at least try to see if he's okay. But they didn't. Instead, they immediately went off to pack for a stay at the Satos'. What? We've been introduced to so many wonderful characters, like Skoochy, only to have them never brought up again. I understand that that's life. But occasionally it's unrealistic, as in the Toza case, unless that happened off-screen. Why even design and bring in Toza as this apparently parental figure for Mako and Bolin only to give him four or five lines of dialogue centred around Korra's bathroom needs? On a note of praise, I'm very glad to see that Gommu, the wise and noble hobo, is back in the finale.

Moving on. Scrapped plot-lines. We continuously see arcs brought up short. The most notable and immediately presentable of these is Tarrlok. After having been introduced initially as a potential ally, albeit one of whom Tenzin did not approve, Tarrlok was transformed into an enemy possibly worse than Amon, since at least Amon's actions are painted with a greyer morality; however, he is abruptly taken down to unimportant status by the next episode. In the same vein, in "The Voice in the Night", the flashback arc is introduced - remember that Korra has had issues with her spirituality and meditation since the first episode - and it builds to a climax in "Out of the Past", where Korra is stressfully placed into a metal box for hours, if not days, and prohibited access to food or water. Entirely stressed and trembling with anxiety, Korra attempts to meditate . . . and succeeds in the most sudden and anticlimactic way possible. It left me with quite the bitter taste of disappointment in my mouth, as I had expected her to receive more disjointed flashbacks, then figure out the rest for herself . Whatever happened to her issues with meditation, particularly in such a stressful situation? Also, it wasn't very helpful to Korra after she was kidnapped; the new knowledge did absolutely nothing to help her situation beyond using it as an reasoning behind the non-full-moon-powered bloodbending. Another thing that bugs me is that "Tarrlok is Yakone's son" is for some reason considered a valid explanation of his bloodbending powers. How does that explain how Yakone got his powers then? It's treated as though "everything makes sense now". But it doesn't, because the entire bloodbending without a full moon idea is another aborted arc. And this isn't a new occurrence, either. Take Borra. It was first hinted at in "A Leaf in the Wind" with the line about Bolin believing Korra to be special and tantalisingly pushed in "The Voice in the Night". By "The Spirit of Competition", Bolin was so in love with Korra that he was able to work up the nerve to ask her out. By the next episode - and confirmed in "Out of the Past" - Bolin claimed to be over her. What? Love doesn't work like that. It's not about what you ship, it's the simple fact that if Bolin has been crushing on Korra for several episodes, he wouldn't just "get over it" in ten seconds flat. It's an unrealistically aborted arc. On a side note, whatever happened to the turf war brewing in "The Revelation"? Right, another abandoned arc. If you're going to bring in an arc like Tarrlok or Borra, you have to paint it realistically, and you can't drop it the moment it climaxes. There's always a resolution period, which didn't happen in any of these cases.

I've now covered three major points: The shortening of the story, the Equalist revolution, and the aborted arcs. You're starting to see a pattern here, I'm certain. Now, the entire love triaangle and character development, which must be covered as one. Note: This is a ship-neutral section. Think for a moment of the characters who have received the most character development. Keeping that in mind, think of the characters who have been sidelined. I would guess that many of you instantly jumped to Bolin as a perfect example: In the past few episodes, he has received almost no dialogue beyond telling Asami about the kiss. But I would also say that Mako has not received very much character development either; most of his development is centred about the love triaangle. He's alternatively hot and cold to the other characters, he has been characterised quite well, and he has certainly shown off some badass bending, but - and here's the important bit - he hasn't learned anything new. There has been little growth in his character. Even though he is receiving screen time, he is not experiencing an arc of development other than "fall for Asami, then fall for Korra". That there is a perfectly valid story arc; I'm not criticising the very realistic idea that a man could fall in love with two women, nor the fact that Mako is leaving Asami for Korra, nor even the game he's playing between them [again, it's realistic]. What I am criticising boils down to his lack of personal development. Take Asami, who has received the most character development out of the Krew save perhaps for Korra herself, going from a weak Daddy's girl to a kickass warrior goddess, similar to Katara's arc in ATLA. Episode by episode, you can see Asami growing stronger, even through all of the pain she'd had cast on her. Asami's arc is, in my opinion, one of the strongest points in the show, because it has been done masterfully and, I'll stress again, realistically. When Asami first appeared in "The Voice in the Night", I disliked her for being little more than an "obstacle" for Korra to overcome in her pursuit of Mako; she did not have very much personality beyond her need for protection, which Mako was more than happy to provide. I actively wished her to drop away from the show. However, after following this arc for this long, I can say that Asami has grown, dumbfoundingly, into one of my favourite characters on the show. This character development has taken place mostly as a result of influences outside the love triaangle, such as her father's betrayal, but also came partly because Mako started to protect Korra instead of Asami, and Asami filled in that protection gap.

But why am I going on and on about Asami? Asami is an example of some sirius character development occurring in the span of a few episodes without feeling jarring in any way. This lets me know that the wonderful team creating the show can write character arcs in a short period of time. But they're not, which infuriates me. Again, returning to Bolin: There were so many places he could have been taken, but instead he was demoted to comic relief because he is not part of the love triaangle. Asami, Korra, and Mako are receiving screen time to expound the love triaangle; Bolin's most recent sirius appearance was . . . talking to Asami about the love triaangle. Er. Okay. Let's take a look-see at Mako and Korra's arcs, then. Korra has most definitely grown from the impulsive, headstrong girl of the earlier episodes and has become more patient and understanding while still being strong in spirit [at least most of the time, but I'll come back to that shortly], as emphasised by her exchaange with Tenzin regarding the Equalists in "Turning the Tides". No problem. Korra is a fantastic character, and I admire her for many reasons. Mako, too, is fantastic, and it's for this reason that I selected him as the point of view character for a fanon of mine called Scarf. I bring that up because, in writing him outside of a love triaangle context, I adore him for his strength, his resilience, his intelligence, his inner flame, and his brotherly love for Bolin. I know that he is a good person at heart, but due to the show's focus on the love triaangle, we as the audience are instead seeing the jerky side of his personality caused naturally by the two beautiful women wanting him. I suppose it sickens me to see such a great character devolved into a weak "prize" at the end of Korra's tunnel of tribulations; I feel cheated, as a viewer, to watch him act like this when I know he can do so much better. Like all characters, Mako has flaws, with his white knight syndrome and his struggle to properly express his emotions, but I adore him all the more for it: One's imperfections make one perfect. What I can't stand is this feeling of, well, losing what could have been my favourite character. And there's one more thing about his character I don't like . . . the way wherein he turns Korra into a wet rag. Now wait a moment. Don't click away yet. Let me explain what I mean by that. If you look at Korra's recent moments, when she's by herself, she tends to be a bamf, a strong character, and overall an amazing person up to whom I could even look. But put her in a scene with Mako, and she becomes flustered and raggedy. That makes sense. Think about some of the Kataang scenes from ATLA: Aang was certainly flustered, for instance, in the beginning of "The Cave of Two Lovers" or "The Headband". On the other hand, there were plenty of Kataang scenes not involving fluster. Fine, you say, we have those two, in "Out of the Past". At the end of that episode - which has already been analysed multiple times as to why Mako should not have been the one to carry her to the bison - Korra is lying in Mako's arms in one of the sweetest scenes in animation history. Unfortunately, Korra is sporting the most uncharacteristic serene expression on her face, an expression about as appropriate for her as a Meelo expression for Lin Beifong. I was expecting Korra to break down as she did at the end of "The Voice in the Night", considering how weary, defeated, and battered she was, but that serene expression was so out of place that I still cannot quite get over it. That expression did not belong on her face. That expression was . . . submissive. In order to woo Mako, Korra has submitted to him. Where's that fiery, flirty Korra from the first few episodes, the Korra whom I could imagine with Mako, the Korra who kept her flame even when she flustered, like in the scene on Air Temple Island from "The Revelation"? Gone. Replaced with a submissive, desiring-of-protection Korra, a Korra that of course is more attractive to the protective Mako. It's nearly as though Korra and Asami are switching personalities, as if they are on a inversely sliding scale of bamfness together and cannot both be bamfs at the same time. The base line is this: Korra is amazing. Mako is amazing. Put them together, and they turn into a wet rag and a jerk, respectively. Again, I feel cheated out of the fiery Korra and the sirius but intriguing Mako I absolutely loved, and it's why I find it difficult to support Makorra, since it is twisting my two former favourites.

Note: At heart, I'm a canonite, so I'll ship whatever happens in the show. That's not my issue.

Another issue I have is the underbelly of the city. Again, as with the Equalist revolution, the show had so much potential. In the first few episodes, they were fine with showing poverty, discussing triads, and introducing characters who had grown up on the street. Recently, however, that seems to have been ignored. Again, why aren't the Equalists stirring the poor? To paraphrase Emmanuel Goldstein from 1984, the Middle will always entice the Low to revolution, which causes the Middle to become the Top. It's how revolutions work. And the Equalists would no doubt be able to recruit the poor easily, especially considering that most of them are implied to be nonbenders. From where are all these chi-blockers coming? Seemingly nowhere. But I digress again. From the first several episodes, I was certain that we were going to see the seedy, depressing underbelly, particularly with the brewing triad turf war that . . . was never mentioned again. At least in the released clips for the finale, we see Gommu and a bit of poverty, but it seems to be mostly played for laughs in the clip we saw. LoK is dark enough to show poverty, but it refuses to do so. Even Mako and Bolin appeared in the show only after they were rescued from poverty. Such great potential. But nope. Though this is more of a stylistic issue with which I specifically have a problem, so I won't go into this one, even though they hinted at it in the first few episodes.

To take a quick break, I'm going to discuss the comic relief. ATLA was ingenious for the ways in which it meshed sirius action and much-needed comic relief. In general, however, it had light-hearted episodes and sirius episodes: Though there were usually both funny and sirius scenes in each episode, there was an overall feel to each episode as well. Because LoK has only twelve episodes, it had to condense each one, but this also meant cutting out the transitions between funny and sirius. It also means that more intelligent humour can't be used, because that takes time, so they've come to rely on my least favourite brand of it. Fart jokes. Every time I see Meelo come on-screen, I quiver with fear that he's going to come out with another fart joke or, worse, a line that befits a three-year-old. Meelo, according to the creators, is five years of age. What five-year-old informs his new caretaker than he has to defecate? Meelo of the never-ending flatulence has managed to ruin the best moments, like the Team Avatar moment in When Extremes Meet, or the completely sirius scene of Lin Beifong fighting the Equalists. Both of these were randomly plucked from memory. In the former, just as I thought the Krew was - at last - functioning as a unit, Meelo popped in with a fart. What? In the latter, Meelo not only uses fartbending in the most inappropriate way possible, but we even have the privilege of a slo-mo on his contorted face for a few moments. This destroyed the very sirius and very pulse-pounding momentum of the scene. It felt like, I don't know, the famous battle from 300 suddenly being interrupted by Timon and Pumbaa dressing in drag and doing the hula. When the character designs were announced at Comic-Con last year, Meelo was originally my favourite of the airbender kids. He's become my least favourite character of the show. Say what you will about Bolin's style of comic relief, but at least it's somewhat humorous, at least to me. Whenever Bo opens his mouth, I end up smiling. It's definitely not fart jokes.

On an unrelated note, I'm very, very intrigued as to why Mako never had an issue with firebending, particularly after his parents' death at the hands of one. That would most definitely stir up my sympathies for him. Think about the shot in "Out of the Past" when Mako held the Equalist up to the wall and was quite literally about to burn the Equalist's face off. Why didn't that trigger any bells? Imagine if we had at some point had Mako have a heart-to-heart with Bolin [when's the last brotherly moment we had between them?] or even, in the next episode, with Korra. I wouldn't mind such a wonderful and actually deep Makorra moment. Sadly, Mako carried on as though nothing had happened. If you give your character a traumatic past - remember that Mako watched his parents be cut down right in front of him - then you need to bring that in. Or have Mako mention it as an offhand remark. Something. Even say to Korra, "When I was little, I couldn't firebend for a long time. I kept remembering my parents dying. It took me a long time to forgive myself." Really, anything. Ironically, Asami's mother was burned by a firebender; Asami, too, is burned, albeit in a different way, by another firebenders. Anyway, in ATLA, after Aang went Avatar State in "The Desert", he and Katara spoke about it in "The Serpent's Pass". They didn't just "drop it". The creators knew they had to bring that back. Nearly burning someone's face off is pretty darn rewarding of such a scene, or even one remark. One. And that brings me to my next point.

For my seventh and final point, here's one thing I truly and sincerely miss about ATLA but that, in my opinion, is vital in any heartfelt show: Conversations between two characters. Toph and Iroh in "The Chase". Aang and Katara in "The Serpent's Pass". Zuko and Katara in "The Crossroads of Destiny". Sokka and Toph in "The Runaway". And, of course, the many, many scenes between Iroh and Zuko. There were even entire episodes devoted to them, like "The Guru", "The Firebending Masters", or "The Southern Raiders". Those are simply a few examples plucked from the top of my head. Those are the scenes that provide the most character development, and most of them weren't filler as much as they were explorations of the characters, explorations that them so much more three-dimensional. In Legend of Korra, the ones we saw in the first few episodes - between Tenzin and Korra, Korra and Mako, and even Korra and Bolin in "The Spirit of Competition" - breathed life in the characters. Unfortunately, recently, the only scenes like that recently have been centred about the love triaangle and are not explorations of the characters but of the [quite shallow] romance. Even in the clip, we see Mako and Korra's conversation that adds nothing to either character. We already know that Korra thinks Mako is amazing, and we already know that Mako has feelings for Korra. In fact, the only thing that that scene did was make me remember a very similar scene in "The Spirit of Competition", wherein Bolin also spouts off a list of adjectives and makes Korra blush. I also find it ironic that Mako calls Korra loyal when he himself is being disloyal to Asami; say that you will about Makorra or Masami, but I daresay we can all agree that Mako is being disloyal to her [I didn't say cheating on her. I said disloyal]. I suppose that the phase regarding his life without Korra in it appeared a tad out of character for Mako, but that's not my problem with the scene. There have been plenty of opportunities for two-character scenes, as I call them. For instance, in "When Extremes Meet", when Pabu found Korra, I was certain we were going to receive, at last, a friendship scene between Bolin and Korra. It could have been thirty seconds long, and then Mako and Asami could have joined them. Or in this past episode, a scene of any two characters - any two - discussing the fact that the city of being destroyed. I think that's a pretty big deal. So why we getting none of it? In fact, Bolin hasn't spoken to Korra at all since "The Spirit of Competition", a fact I find . . . disappointing, if not straight-up heart-beaking. You would think that there would at least be a bit of wrap-up other than "I'm friendzoning everyone". I mean, at least there should have been a friendship scene to let us know that they are still friends.

48px-2217546.png Tension
Annawantimes

Tension and separation are two things that, unfortunately, have become much too prevalent on Avatar Wiki. Though I haven’t been here for very long, back when I started editing in December things truly seemed a lot different here, and I don’t believe it is just my perception that has changed – it seems that the sense of community on Avatar Wiki has dwindled a bit; more so, it seems that there are two groups on Avatar Wiki, and lately communication and interaction between each has diminished. One group is comprised of users who have usually been here longer but are not exclusively old, users who are interested in the upkeep of articles, the technical side of the wiki, forums, etc. Other users are those who usually have not been around quite as long, those who usually comment but do not edit. When I first began editing, I felt that there were a fair amount of contributors who were involved with multiple sides of the wiki, commenting and canon included. It now seems that we have users who are involved in one or the other, but rarely both.

The recent decision to centralize comments was made predominantly by the users who maintain articles and comment on forum threads, but its effects were only felt by those who mainly comment. Rollbacks and admins and even auto-confirmed users who have reported comments (those who moderate them), have rarely commented on 888’s blog for discussion of the finale. Take a look through the blog comments, you’ll find that most of the discussion is done by anonymous contributors and users who usually only comment. A primary reason that this centralization was imposed is because comments have become a place where irrelevance and personal attacks are very common; I believe something contributing to this is the absence of rollbacks and admins in the comments sector.

A way to improve the quality of discussion is for admins and rollbacks to get involved; at the moment, we simply warn users who violate the discussion policy and delete policy-violating comments. A way to mend the tethered tapestry that has become Avatar Wiki is for us all to get involved in affairs all across the wiki. We’re all knowledgeable in our own respects; together, editing and commenting, we can make this wiki a better community and fully restore and strengthen the sense of cohesion here. Admins and rollbacks: jump into the discussions, support others’ theories, share your own, get a little more involved with discussion. Users who tend to comment most of the time: check out our new editing guide, get tips from older users, try jumping into canon editing or even fanon writing, believe me, nothing feels better than making qualitative edits that truly make this wiki’s articles even better.

Hopefully you guys will find these tips useful. I feel we desperately need to restore that sense of oneness here.

48px-4777191.png Userboxes tutorial
MateyY

Welcome to the first Coding Companions tutorial! Here is some information about today's lesson:

What you will need to understand: basic float property understanding, how to write out border names, what margin and padding are, how hexadecimal color values work, how color names work, how to use variables, how to user <includeonly></includeonly> and <noinclude></noinclude> tags, and how to clear out float property.
What is preferred you learn (on top of that): how to change font size and line height, how to crop and image using Template:Side crop, what basic tags (such as <div></div> and <br />) are used for.
What we want you to achieve: By the end of this tutorial, we want for you to be able to make your own userbox.
Notice: The tutorial is made for absolute beginners. If you have experience, it will also be helpful, but may seem quite slow.

To begin our tutorial, we are going to look at the current code for Aang's userbox. (Please note that the <pre></pre> tags in the coding were removed. They just make the yellow box around the text.)

{{#NewWindowLink: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Template:User_Aang?action=edit | Click here to see the code}}

Don't be frightened, as only the first six lines of that code make the userbox. It begins with the <div> tag on the first line and edits with it on the sixth line. The <div></div> tags separate the userbox from its documentation, or an explanation on how it should be used. The <div></div> tags also force a line break, so that there is also visual separation.

As you have probably already noticed the <div> is not by itself; it is follow by a strange style="float: left; border: solid darkorange 1px; margin: 1px;">. This defines how the box should look:

style=" " is used to mark-up the code that makes the box look the way it does.
float: left insures that that the box floats left. All userboxes are tagged like that. It is also possible that it floats right, but there is no such thing as float: center.
border is the property that defines the border around the box. I would suggest writing it out as such: width type color. So an example of a border code written out like that would be 1px solid black. The color can also be written in its hexadecimal value, #000000, or just #000, as both values of the amount of red, green, and blue are equal. That may sound confusion, so I would suggest writing out the full, six-digit/six-letter code, as it insures you get it right. Just note that you shouldn't leave spaces between the letters/numbers, as it will not be understood correctly. (#00 00 00 will not be understood.) To get the colors' values, see here. Borders' sides can also be specified one by one (so they can practically use different colors); to do so, write border-side (top, bottom, left, right). However, if you are new to this, I do not suggest it.
margin is the space between the very outside of the box and the edges of the page. It, too, can be defined separately — margin-side (top, bottom, left, right) — but it is fine if you just use the plain margin which, by the way, defines all four sides.
The column (:) is used between the property and the amount, etc. So it should look as such: property:look. You may choose to leave a space between the column and the look part, but it is your choice (I personally don't).
The semi-column (;) separates the different properties from each other; however, if you are using just one property, is incorrect HTML5 to put a semi-column after it. (So it's incorrect to have <div style="margin:1px;">). If you are listing multiple properties, the last one may or may not have a semi-column after it. You can leave spaces between the semi-column and the next property; it is purely your choice.

Moving on, next comes a Wiki table. The first property you see there, cellspacing="0". I would suggest you leave that as it is, since userboxes are formatted to have it that way. Looking at the next markup, we see style=" " again. This time, however, it defines two different properties:

width — the width of the userbox. Most userboxes are 238px wide.
background — defines the background color of the userbox. I would suggest you write background-color instead, as it simplifies things.

Moving on to the next line, we see style=" " again. We also see background. However, if you look at the two codes, they are different. The line we are on defines the background color of the space beneath the image, and it is a different color that they one of the rest of the userbox. What follows is {{Side crop|...}}. When something is placed in two curly parenthesis, it is a template or a magic word. In this case, we are using a template that crops the image. If you want to learn how to do it, please see here. Otherwise, you can just put the image itself.

The third line's style=" " defines the style of the text.

font-size is (obviously) the size of the font.
padding is the space between the text and the text and the, in this case, image and borders. You might have noticed that it is written in pt not in px. That is just another unit of measurement. I suggest you get familiar with one and use it, since then you might be able to predict how it might look.
line-height is the height between the lines of text. This time, it is specified using em. The same applies to at as with pt. For those interested, an em is equivalent to 1/72 of an inch.

After that code follows a | and comes the text. However, there is something strange about it. Instead of it being complete, it has a {{{1}}} and a {{{2}}}. These are variables. They are defined by the user when they use the userbox. That allows them to give their opinions. Practically, you can name the variable anything, but I suggest you leave them as such, as it would be much easier for the template to be pasted correctly.

The finally follows a closing </div> tag, ending the userbox. After it, there are <noinclude></noinclude> tags. That means the following text will not be included when the template is pasted. It is, however, visible on the page. They are the exact oppose it of the tags, as they are always pasted when the template is pasted on the page, but they do not appear on the template page. If you do not put any tags, the userbox will appear on the page and on the page where it is pasted.

The last part that follows is the documentation. You can just use the documentation on Aang's userbox, as this is the one we usually use. Don't forget to change the names in the examples, though! To add onto that, please be careful that you add the category correctly. If you are making a userbox for yourself, save it in your userspace, and do not add any categories.

Hope this helps!

48px-1025281.png Urban Dictionary for Avatar Wiki
The 888th Avatar

This week: terms associated with admins

administrator
noun One of the personfications of the Seven Deadly Sins. A badass.
AvatarRokusGhost
noun 1. See Gluttony. 2. One who has unpredictable and unique views to the extent that choices made are highly unusual. "Don't talk to that AvatarRokusGhost over there. He's barking mad." "Where's the proof?" "His user name. Who names themselves after Avatar Roku's GHOST?" "Oh yeah."
Dcasawang1
noun Person marked by obsession with the romantic elements of Avatar. Often can be distinguished by near-accurate depictions of compromising scenes. See Lust.
Iar Sea
noun (slang) Highly dangerous waters, home to the sins personified. Once set sail upon, it is impossible to find land and escape.
Lady Lostris
noun (derogatory) One who must have the last word in any debate: This is such a waste of time! Keep going, and you'll be a Lostris! See Pride.
Thailog
noun 1. (derogatory) One who displays a unusual affinity for harsh words, the potency of which increases if a similar tactic is employed against them: "Get a girlfriend." "Whoa, now don't be a Thailog. Easy." See Wrath. 2. Person who proclaims themselves a troll with the purpose of establishing self-worth. "TROLLED!!!!!" "Yeah, we get it, you're a Thailog, now shut up."
The 888th Avatar
noun (derogatory) An exceedingly lazy person. Expends their little energy composing walls of text full of rambling: It takes you a century to release a newsletter, but thirty minutes to bore people with an essay on the forum. You're such a The 888th Avatar. See Sloth.
The Ultimate Waterbender
noun 1. See Envy. 2. One whose parallels to Katara are striking or "freakish". "So what kind of user is The Ultimate Waterbender?" "Can't be stuffed explaining, just go read the Katara article."
Vulmen
noun 1. Person distinguished by desire to do everything: Don't be such a Vulmen – do you have to answer 99% of admin noticeboard posts? See Greed. 2. One who displays an obsessive need to use one or more semi-colons in each sentence. "Also; this is something we need to decide; whether this sentence makes sense; or if it's just the usual." "VULMEN!"
wjxhuang
noun (obscure) See The 888th Avatar.

Suggest terms that need to be precisely defined!

48px-2131652.png Apology
Omar067

Hello, this Omar067. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for attacking any user on the Avatar Wiki. Especially the admins and rollbacks. I was wrong to say mean things to people about the comments and now that most of the votes are in, it seems that they'll stay gone until July 23, 2012. I respect that decision and I thank Vulmen for allowing the community to vote for a second time on the matter. I'm not forcing you to accept this apology and I'm not saying that you should. I just thought it was best to give it a shot.

General Iroh
The Ba Sing Se Times needs YOU.
Have a great Avatar or Avatar Wiki joke?
An interesting opinion about the wiki?
A fanfic that desperately needs readers?
A review of a fanfic you'd like to publish?
Just write a column,
and send it in to the editor.

from the fanon portal
48px-3565124.png From the fanon editor
BlackMonkey

Hello folks, this is BM speaking. So here I am, back from my almost week-long inactivity spanning from the 24th of June until just yesterday, the 29th. (That is, if we're all reading this column on Saturday.) I was on vacation - camping. I'm afraid that in two weeks I'll have another week-long inactivity, but that's besides the point. I'm here to advertise my newest project. The Fanon Advertisement System. It is a complex of three large ways we can advertise unpopular fanons across the wiki, and if we use it and work together the fanon portal can come back to life and unpopular stories can get fans.

The first advertisement method involves permanent advertisements on the Fanon Advertising pages. If you want one of those ads, click here.

The next is a cool thing we call "Fanon Rotations", where you can sign up for a spot in this rotation of fanons, where an ad for you is given to the fanon next in the rotation while you have an ad on your page for the story behind yours in the rotation, so everyone is helped out. If you want one of those ads, click here.

Last but not least, my favorite system is what I call fanon promotions, which I described in my last issue. If your story meets our unpopular requirements we have, you can sign up for the fanon to be super-advertised across the wiki in the Ba Sing Se Times, the FRS page, the fanon main page, and the FAS main page. If you want this, See here.

And that reminds me. Our current fanon promotion is for Sshalwani's Avatar: The Continuity of Aang. This is basically your average "after-the-war" story, but with a twist. By that, I mean it includes everything. It's planned to span from the end of ATLA to Korra's birth. That includes Promise stuff too. It only has a few chapters right now, but it's in active production and deserves some fans and feedback. Here's an incentive - If you read the story and then share your thoughts about it to the Fanon Advertising System, you'll be put in a drawing for recognition in the next Ba Sing Se Times, an exclusive userbox, and your name on the Fanon Advertising Page forever. Sounds good, huh? You don't have to write a long review, it can just be a little something on your favorite part, favorite character, or a tip for the author. Just send it in here. Come on, don't be shy!

That's all for now. There really isn't much more going on in the fanon portal these days - in fact, I think it's been pretty dead lately. It was kind of sad seeing this blog recently. The average new user doesn't even know that there's a way people can write up their own stories in the fanon portal. So just as a last bit to all the readers who got this far, try to spread the word about the fanon portal and that it exists, and try to give it some attention.

48px-3511228.png Fanon preview
Trillian ("TAD")

From the author of A Bird Could Love a Fish and Crossroads of the Spirit comes a new chapter in the history of Republic City, a direct follow-up to the thrilling first season of Legend of Korra.

Earth. Fire. Air. Water. Only the Avatar can master all four elements. Only the Avatar can bring balance to the world. Only, the Avatar . . . can fail. We have seen Korra grow from a headstrong girl fighting her way out of everything to a mature woman on the road to becoming a fully realised Avatar, her spiritual side finally awakened, granting her the ability to access the Avatar State, though not, perhaps, by choice. Yet a few questions still remain. What of the rest of the Equalist movement and the very real inequality faced by the benders? What of the triad turf war, last mentioned brewing around the time of the Revelation? What of Amon's mask, floating by itself in Yue Bay? What of the city, hope destroyed and splintered, a desperate need for reconstruction at hand? And what of the council, whose members are still missing or presumed dead?

Although Korra can access the other elements in the continuous Avatar State, she has neither true control over it nor the ability to bend earth, fire, or water outside of the state. Now she must undertake a journey to not only master the awesome power granted to her by the spirits but also regain what she has lost. Along the way, she encounters familiar faces, both friend and foe in a quest stretching from the poverty-stricken streets of triad territory to the frozen wastes outside Republic City, the road fraught with a kidnapping by the Equalists, an uprising amongst the triads, a seed of inception that grows into a monster, a betrayal by the one thought most dedicated to the cause, a rescue from an unexpected ally, a sacrifice by the one who may hold the key to salvation, and a shocking revelation that may destroy the Avatar cycle forever.

While a civil war rips apart mortal and spirit worlds alike and their lives come crashing around them, Avatar Korra and her friends must try to mend what has been broken, find what has been lost, and put together the shattered fragments of their lives if they hope to survive the storm to come.

For this era of Republic City will be written in blood.

Yu Dao city streets

If the peace is not brought united,
the peace will fade away forever.
The Continuity of Aang

Random polls

Most popular runner-up identity for Amon out of the following:
 
17
 
15
 
10
 
46
 

The poll was created at 12:54 on July 2, 2012, and so far 88 people voted.
Critical community reception towards the new administrator:
 
42
 
8
 
14
 
17
 

The poll was created at 12:54 on July 2, 2012, and so far 81 people voted.


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