Prerequisites to stories

This is something that has been on my list for a while but just had an email from @Bondfool about this:

I wish you would add the feature of allowing people to vote on whether or not a story has “prerequisites,” “homework,” etc. or if it’s a standalone story. A way to improve upon the Time Scales’ implementation of this feature would be to allow people to also vote on which stories they say are most important to have experienced for a given story’s context.

This is definitely something I want to add, so I am going to ask you all for feedback about this.

I would make it entirely separate from reviews (but maybe also add it when adding a review, as a good chance to get info) - I’ll let users choose stories that are required to understand the story. Then the most mentioned ones will be featured on the page, with links to them. Maybe with a number of votes so you know how correct it is.

Also I was thinking that because we have a record of what you’ve completed, if you haven’t completed some “required reading” then I can warn you of that on the page, which would be useful to know before buying it!

Does that sound good? It’s something that would be difficult to check without a huge knowledge of all the stories, so would either just need to trust the submissions or have someone with a galaxy brain check everything first.

Let me know if you can think of other ways to improve it!

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This sounds like an awesome feature. Some parts of Big Finish feel intimidating because it is hard to know where to start. But it also feels like a complicated feature to add. Hope that you can take some breaks and just enjoy some Who or other stuff in life.

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I agree, this sounds like a great feature! The Time Scales has this, but it’s very basic. The way you’re planning it sounds much better, as it allows more user activity but also encourages users to explore other stories and hopefully help them enjoy stories with prerequisites.

I also share @Tian’s worries that you’re overworking yourself with all these new upcoming features and everything else you have to keep track of!

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Haha don’t worry about me - I’m really enjoying working on the site whenever I can. I used to play a lot of video games and watch movies and stuff but at the moment I only want to work on the site :smiley: I do have a lot of breaks!

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Good to hear, then keep up the great work I guess :smiley:

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Well you did talk about wiring my brain into the site…

Sounds like a good feature.

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It’s @deltaandthebannermen’s brain!

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IMG_0325

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You were quickest

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I mean I would be more than happy to help figure out what audios need prerequisites - by no means have I listened to EVERYTHING but I’ve listened to a lot. But this sounds like a fun feature and one I would enjoy helping bring to life

I, also, have dabbled into the Worlds of Big Finish (not like I have over 1,000 Big Finish audios in my account or anything…) and wouldn’t mind proofreading or pointing out any errors

yeah, its an amazing thing, but i fear how many stories it’s need to put, because if we have to choose an unpopular story “like the final day” it’s really needed to put + than 3 stories

I wonder about thei usability of prerequisites.

I can imagine going mad if I pick a random story, find that it has three pre-reqs, and that each of those has three more, and each of those has at least two more and so on…

While storing the relationships behind the scenes is a great idea, for usability I think it would need some clever stuff to do things such as:

  • take a story and show a listening sequence to get to it
  • start by showing a list of stories with no pre-reqs, then each time you mark a story complete, highlight any uncompleted stories which you have now ‘unlocked’ by listening to all the pre-reqs.

Does that make sense?

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It also feels like it’ll get subjective. I tend to consider Dark Eyes to have lots of prerequisites, everything from Robophobia from the 7th Doctors run, to Patient Zero from the 6 and Charley stuff, to Unit Dominion introducing that version of the Master, and of course it carries on immediately after To The Death, which is itself the finale to the previous era of 8th Doctor stories. Other people regularly call it a good starting point for new listeners. Having a user-generated, vote ranked list feels like it just opens itself up to inconsistency between different people with different thresholds for what constitutes required context. That’s one of the big issues I have with the way that The Time Scales handles this. I regularly see “50% of users say this story has a prerequisite”. What am I meant to do with that?

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All good points. All reasons this is a very difficult feature to implement!

Thinking outside the box, I have a thing called “story arc” which shows stories that are “required watching” for a certain arc - eg there is a story arc called Amy Pond’s pregnancy (spoiler just in case lol). It could be pretty obvious that starting with an episode in the middle of that arc is a bad idea.

(The issue with arcs like that is the very name of them are spoilers)

Maybe if we get really good at working out arcs and tagging them correctly then you could see that Dark Eyes continues the Liv Chenka arc which started in Robophobia (but is every character an arc?) and is the end of the the Lucie bleedin’ Miller arc because of his state of mind at the start, plus the Master episodes are a continuation of the Reborn Master arc… is this an idea with legs?

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I think the issue is, as people are pointing out, is that plenty of stories can still be enjoyed in isolation even if coming at the end of a sequence or arc.

It all depends on how much is ‘needed’ to understand the story. Robophobia is really not a prerequisite for Dark Eyes because everything you need to know about Liv is given in Dark Eyes.

At the other end of the scale is A Death in the Family, which as a story will probably mean very little if you haven’t followed Evelyn and Hex’s stories but the list of prerequisites would scare off even the most ardent of fans.

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And then there are stories like Patient Zero which is the first of the final Six/Charley trilogy. It was the first Big Finish I ever heard and I loved it. Does it help to have the whole Charley arc in the bag? Probably. But I managed just fine.

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