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Author Topic: Forge Wiki, Part 2 - Questions of Use  (Read 2805 times)
Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« on: December 20, 2004, 02:36:40 PM »

In the recent "Forge Wiki" thread, I mentioned that it was fine for folks to continue to use and grow RandomWiki along lines that interested them -- it's not like I'm hurting for space, after all.

John Kim immediately took me up on this, and created a really amazing glossary of Game Theory terminology that I think is really valuable and could even improve as time goes by.

I commented on my gaming blog to that effect:

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For those of you interested in such things: RandomWiki - TheoryTopics.

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This is a collection of theory topics, concepts, and glossary ideas in role-playing theory -- in particular ideas and terminology from The Forge. You can browse by the first letter of the term using the links above.

The idea is for this to be like an encyclopedia with references. Pick a term or topic from browsing or add in a new one. Then add in links to important Forge threads relevant to that topic by putting them in the "References" list.


I monitor/moderate the Wiki pretty closely -- watching both the RSS feed and checking emails to me from the wiki itself about updates and the like, and yes, the new traffic to the wiki attracted a few wiki spammers, but it was easy enough to fix all that -- the added cool stuff more than mitigated any problems.  Best of all, I started to see folks coming in and expanding entries here and there -- adding new links... it's excellent -- it's exactly what I think a wiki is supposed to be.

Vincent posted a comment to my original blog post that I think is important to answer publically, however:

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Hey Doyce. Could you say just a little about your vision for the future of this thing? I know I can edit in it, and have indeed done so a teensy bit - what I don't know is if I should.


I run other wikis where basically everyone and anyone who feels inspired to do so can monitor and police the integrity of the site (with the wiki code I use, ANYONE with an RSS aggregator can keep an eye on the wiki from anywhere on the net), and more importantly, can improve the quality of the material submitted by updating and editing what's already there, as well as adding stuff.

I think a similar philosophy can and should hold true with RandomWiki. Mike Holmes works on his area, but he also drops good info in the Heroquest section, Sorcerer, the Theory section and elsewhere -- I know I feel a surge of 'yay' whenever anyone posts new info to the Sorcerer wiki -- I consider section that a community resource at this point, and really most of the sections on games are that way.

Obviously, some areas make more sense for that philosophy than others -- I have wiki pages up there for some of my home campaigns, and I don't imagine that anyone but I and my players would be editing those areas (unless there's some glaring typo, of course) -- that's pretty obvious.  Sometimes I set an 'edit' password on a particular area, while leaving it wide open for public viewing, simply to clarify such things.

But the bottom line is, if the system lets you edit it, you should feel comfortable in doing so.

None of which speaks to questions about how and when to correct or add to someone else's interpretation of an entry.  Let's discuss some guidelines.

* Be nice - don't be rude or offensive.
* Write in a way that is easy to understand.
* Don't use too many acronyms (or at least, have a page explaining them)
* Correcting typos is quite okay - in fact, it's a very good habit, since it makes the web page more readable.
* Avoid the "click here" phrase!! Don't say: "More info about FOO can be found here" but use "More info about FOO can be found at WikiFoo". I'd suggest avoiding it for external links as well.

* You are free to contribute anonymously, but I'd prefer that you sign your ADDITIONS (not to be confused with simply corrections and the like) with your name.  It is common to prepend the signature with '--' like this: -- Doyce Testerman (While you're at it, you are free to create your own wikipage under the "Profiles" group and tell us about yourself, but don't write your email addresses out in plain text.)
* Remember that Wiki is not a high-speed conversation board. It's not a news server either. What you say will stick around for everyone to see and comment, but it's not really good as a forum.

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How should I treat the text already present? Given a definition which in my opinion falls short, should I correct it without identifying myself, correct it as though it were a conversation (like "actually, what it really means is..."), or something else?


Simply: treat entries with respect.  I am, personally, VERY comfortable with 'deepening' an entry -- I think that's brilliant -- but I want to avoid "revision wars" in which people delete previous entries for their own take on the subject, into infinity.

Hell, even if you disagree, it's a simple thing to say "Another view of this topic might be..." and so forth.

When it comes to changing or deleting text from somebody else's writeup, put yourself in the other person's shoes: would they be upset with what you are intending to do, or would they be grateful? If in doubt, ask, and invite some other opinions.

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Does Wiki have any conventions for such things? How free should I feel to spin out implications, when I think that a definition is correct but very shallow? How free should I feel to editorialize?


As I said, I think it's a very good thing to deepen what you feel might be shallow entries, provided it's done with the kind of respect usually present here on the Forge.  Be comfortable doing that... I know I am.

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Should I do my editorializing in a Forge thread and then link it as a reference?


Eh.  Personally, I think if you want to add something to the post, add it.  If your expansion can then be illustrated with a conversation thread on the Forge, link it.  If not, don't worry about it.  Heck, someone expanded the entry on IIEE by linking to part of Clinton's text for The Shadow of Yesterday... that rocks.

The glossary can't BE static.  If it is, it's useless, because it references discussion forums that continue to thrive and grow and expand their understanding -- it's important to acknowledge that it will never be "Done" or "Closed" as long as we keep talking and thinking.

Thoughts?
Logged

--
Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Doyce
Member

Posts: 442


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2004, 03:03:28 PM »

At the risk of looking like an ass for replying to myself, I'm going to add this:  I wrote it as a direct email to vincent after writing all that other dross up, and I found it more concise.

1) I present this guideline for the Wiki:  Edit with respect, add depth with fervor.

2) Wiki is not a good debate/discussion forum -- it's a great place to record and cross-reference the results of debate.  Some wiki have suffered in the past from people forgeting that and turning what should be a glossary entry into a battleground.

2a) I don't think that will happen, mostly because I think that kind of debate what the Forge is for, and that's where it will stay.  

3) Ideally, I'd love to see the wiki used for the sort of thing I did with the Sorcerer section -- sorting through all the conversations and dross and recording/indexing the results.  

When folks starting making posts on the Forge and elsewhere with links back to the Wiki to provide the background for the terms they're using, and when those entries in turn have links back to their originating posts -- that's when I think it will have gone from 'cool idea' to 'awesomely useful'.

Hope that clarifies things a bit -- sounds like it would be a useful entry for the wiki, actually.
Logged

--
Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
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