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A policy change has been proposed that would affect how episode articles are written and how episodes are numbered on Lostpedia. As this proposal represents a major policy revision affecting all seasons of the show and every episode article, discussion is being called for to gauge consensus.

After carefully considering the below, please go here to weigh in.

Summary of proposed policy change

Both the press release and preview for episode 5x14 ("The Variable") (not linked because they contain spoilers) refer to that episode as the 100th episode of Lost to air. However, because Lostpedia has, to date, numbered all episodes, including all four 2-hour season finales, by the episode numbers accorded to them when originally aired, by the current policy episode 5x14 will be only the 96th episode article created, rather than the 100th.

The proposed policy change is to recognize each produced hour of the show as an individual episode, regardless of how episodes were presented in their original airings.

Consequences of the proposed policy change

Relevant previous discussions

This issue has been debated in the following locations: 1 2 3 4 5 6. (The previous and earliest debate on the issue came when the Season 4 finale aired, here.)

Summary of arguments for the change

  • The renumbering will allow the number of Lostpedia episode articles to conform to the numbering of the episode count as advertised in the official press release for episode 5x14 (the "100th episode"). There would be 100 full-length episode articles (which would be in conformity with the 5x14 press release) as opposed to only 96 episode articles.
  • For online viewing purposes, the official ABC web site already recognizes some of the episodes as they would be named under the policy change. Also, the official season DVDs and synopses list the finale episodes separately in their subsequent parts.
  • When aired in syndication, the episodes will be aired in 1-hour blocks, and all 2-hour season finales will be aired as they would be named under the policy change.

Summary of arguments against the change

  • The proposed policy change would create episode titles not originally given the episodes. For example, there was never an episode called "Exodus, Part 3"--there was only a one-hour episode called "Exodus, Part 1" and a two-hour finale called "Exodus, Part 2". Similarly, there was never an episode called "Through the Looking Glass, Part 1" (until the DVD release and/or syndication).
  • The renumbering would have disadvantageous technical consequences for the previously-aired season finales. For example, all images categorized as coming from 1x24 but which actually came from the second hour of "Exodus, Part 2" would need to be identified and re-categorized in order to show up properly on a 1x25 image category page as linked to from the episode infobox template. (Referencing the two-hour episodes as multiple without breaking up their articles has been deemed an untenable solution for technical reasons.)
  • According to this perspective, the "100th episode" press release, as a publicity instrument, should carry less weight than the original episode numberings. In the television industry, "100 episodes" has been the traditional marker for syndication qualification, and so carries fiscal and celebratory significance for the production company, which should not necessarily affect how the encyclopedia organizes the episodes. (See Wikipedia:100 episodes.)

A note on issue complexity

It is noted that this is a complicated issue, with arguments on both sides and supporting evidence that sometimes points two ways. For example, "Because You Left" and "The Lie" were both originally aired as a single block on the same night, but were given separate episode titles and numbers, and have been always been considered separate episodes in the encyclopedia. On the other hand, while the listing of viewable episodes on the ABC web site breaks up the 2-hour season finales for Seasons 2-4, as this proposal seeks to do, it counts the 2-hour Season 1 finale as only a single episode.

Poll page