Author Topic: Can we improve the wiki?  (Read 5653 times)

Revan

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Can we improve the wiki?
« Topic Start: August 05, 2013, 04:25:04 PM »
So, we have the idea that maybe we can give people their Locals Board fix through a return to maybe using newspapers or what have you, but I think if that's going to have any traction the wiki needs to be adapted somewhat. At present, I would say it isn't as easy to find interesting content on the wiki as it could be. And there doesn't seem to be any way for us to obviously push the good content that will get people interested in frequenting and using the wiki more often. The wiki is probably fit for purpose if we just wanted it to be a static manual or aid to playing BattleMaster, but we also want to use it for changing in game content and world building and in that regard perhaps the experience could be improved.

Can we make it so that the wiki main page features some dynamic content alongside the static content? Could we get a list of new articles featured on the main page for example? (and emphasis on new articles by the way. Not recent changes that will flag up all the spam account creations or multiple changes to old articles or what have you). Additionally, could we have a featured articles section that gets changed every once in a while. I guess, essentially it would be a way to curate content and to emphasise the kind of articles we appreciate on the wiki. Could be good realm pages, good roleplay features, newspapers etc. The important thing though is that not only would these changes help create more of an audience for those who put the time into making new articles, but it gives people a reason to come back later to check for new content.

I don't know whether any of that is achievable at present with the current wiki version and extensions but I've had a little look and there are a couple of extensions that might be relevant to this:

Extension:RecentPages
Extension:FeaturedFeeds

As for the continuing plague of spam accounts, the list of new spam accounts in the recent changes log can regularly exceed double figures each day. Even if we deleted them as soon as they were created, you would then get a list of deleted accounts clogging up the log as well. Ideally that also can be reduced for a better experience, but if I recall correctly, we simply don't have the tools. I had a little look at things that might help with that as well, but it could be a hiding to nothing:

Extension:Phalanx
ExtensionBlockandNuke

egamma

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #1: August 05, 2013, 05:02:56 PM »
Is there a newer version of the wiki software? That might help. I noticed that en.wikipedia.org has a new WYSIWYG editor, I think it's in beta.

Hroppa

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #2: August 05, 2013, 05:14:46 PM »
This is really important. The wiki has been and could be a really engaging part of the Battlemaster experience, and it saddens me that there's less IC content being posted on it than there used to be.

Revan

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #3: August 05, 2013, 05:31:53 PM »
Is there a newer version of the wiki software? That might help. I noticed that en.wikipedia.org has a new WYSIWYG editor, I think it's in beta.

It seems we are on version 1.19.0 of the MediaWiki software, but the latest version is 1.21.1. No idea what changes have been made between versions or what effort it entails to upgrade, but I imagine even just updating to the latest 1.19 version would be useful.

Indirik

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #4: August 05, 2013, 06:21:13 PM »
As for the continuing plague of spam accounts, the list of new spam accounts in the recent changes log can regularly exceed double figures each day. Even if we deleted them as soon as they were created, you would then get a list of deleted accounts clogging up the log as well. Ideally that also can be reduced for a better experience, but if I recall correctly, we simply don't have the tools. I had a little look at things that might help with that as well, but it could be a hiding to nothing:

Extension:Phalanx
ExtensionBlockandNuke
Neither of these extensions will help us. Neither will actually block the creation of the bad accounts. We already have some filters in place to prevent some creation, such as a filter for new usernames that prevents the registration of usernames with numbers or symbols. We already have BadBehavior installed, which is blocking almost everything that the accounts that do manage to get registered try to post. That's why you never see any real spam pages. (They are very rare, and get nuked quickly.) We also have a Nuke extension that lets us nuke all pages created by any account.

The only real problem with the spambot accounts is the flooding of the Recent Changes page. There's nothing we can do about that unless someone knows of a way to remove the listing of new accounts in the Recent Changes log, or a way to stop spambots from registering accounts in the first place.

I haven't had a chance to look at your first suggestions yet.
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jaune

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #5: August 05, 2013, 07:06:58 PM »
I was wondering if there should be IG news bulletin, which ruler could give permission to update? Kind of official news paper.

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Anaris

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #6: August 05, 2013, 07:46:26 PM »
I have already made some suggestions that would cut down at least somewhat on the spam accounts. However, since there is the small chance that they might conceivably prevent some new players who are completely oblivious and unwilling to click on a single link to find the answer to a simple question from creating new accounts, they were vetoed by Tom.
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Tom

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #7: August 05, 2013, 08:49:28 PM »
The wiki needs to be updated. It will be when the server is moved, which will happen probably within the month.

egamma

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #8: August 05, 2013, 09:48:21 PM »
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Wikilog

Blog-wiki hybrid extension, may be the answer for our newspapers.

Tom

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #9: August 05, 2013, 10:50:20 PM »
urgs. Blogs are probably the worst "solution" we could come up with.

Swiftblade

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #10: August 06, 2013, 03:10:47 AM »
Blogs aren't great, but since it uses all of the wiki functionality it could be a great asset.

As long as all of the posts can be formatted to look like a paper it could be an easier way of doing it, and having all the issues, or atleast all the recent ones on one page (with it easy to see the old posts too), it could put some more interest in the paper. I wouldn't mind bookmarking a few pages and reading the bi weekly paper or whatever.

Also a blog is good because if you are only interested in current goings on, it could show the last months worth of post. So between each issue there could be "breaking news" blurbs that could be sort of news as its happening events. Then there could be a full write up of those in the issues.

Not a perfect solution, but this isnt a perfect world. In a perfect world we would have a professional coder, ask for unpaid fulltime work because hes bored, so he could create us a fully custom battlemaster system with custom coded wiki and newspaper software etc.
This might be the next best thing, and it intergrates with our current system which means no extra links need to be added to the actual game, and it doesn't seem like it would be a huge amount of work to get running.

EDIT: Reading more into it even, since you can have collaborative "blog" posts it would be so much like a newspaper, much more than the current ones. Its not really even like a blog, in the traditional sense, and you can RSS or ATOM the newspaper (or all of them) to keep abreast of current affairs. Now if 2-3 realms on each island actually tried to make and maintain a newspaper (with this aswell, it would be possible to have a guild in game that is for a continent wide newspaper and have a collab project on the wiki aswell), then we could have 10-15 new newspapers, with semi regular newsupdates, with larger more comprehensive issues every now and again. Would be a great way to keep abreast of current affairs all over the battlemaster world, which seems to be the main reason people want to have the local forums anyway.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 03:23:27 AM by Swiftblade »

Tom

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #11: August 06, 2013, 03:16:08 AM »
A blog is absolutely horrible. It is the worst kind of journalism you can imagine. There's no focus nor control. Actually, it's not a newspaper at all, it's a diary.

Seriously, no blog.


Swiftblade

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #12: August 06, 2013, 03:28:06 AM »
If you read up on the extension, its not really like a simple blog, its like a easy system of linking wiki pages. Your letting bias towards a system cloud your thoughts.

Its a slightly more efficient way of doing the current newspaper system on the wiki. It could have the same amount of moderation and make it easier and quicker for people to publish news, which is a main complaint that people make when you bring up the newspapers, is that it takes so much time.

This could be the stand in for the local forums, with easier moderation and the added bonus of being roleplay.

Journalism is what you make it, if someone wants to make it "diary" like then your not going to have many readers anyway. But if someone can make more issues of a wiki newspaper because it wasnt such a chore, then it could be a a great boon. Also the RSS options, mean that you could get more readers, and have a higher retention, because a little notification is telling them there is another issue or breaking news, and they dont have to refresh the page each day to check for new issues.

Anaris

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #13: August 06, 2013, 03:47:42 AM »
A blog is absolutely horrible. It is the worst kind of journalism you can imagine. There's no focus nor control. Actually, it's not a newspaper at all, it's a diary.

Seriously, no blog.

Tom, please make an effort to separate the common modern content of blogs from the blog format.

The newspapers as they existed back in the day were, in fact, all pretty much blogs in their format.

I think this extension (with the proper configuration) sounds like it's an excellent way to make running a BM-Wiki newspaper much smoother and easier.
Timothy Collett

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Tom

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Re: Can we improve the wiki?
« Reply #14: August 06, 2013, 11:43:32 AM »
I see I need to elaborate.

The problem with blogs is that they do not prioritize. New information goes to the top, old information drops off the bottom.

Now look at a newspaper. Any newspaper. You will notice a total disregard of temporal order. IMPORTANT news go to the top, while less important stuff goes to the bottom, or page 5. THAT is part of journalism as well, and the main reason people still read newspapers when they could also wade through Twitter themselves. Seperating out the important from the unimportant, merging things, summing up, putting related articles next to each other, the lot.

This is all about format and presentation, and it is crazy important. There's a reason people are employed full-time in the job of laying out the newspaper every day, even in an age where if the issue were just to fit everything, a short script would sort it out much faster.


A newspaper system needs to work with tiles and allow its users to place the content. Tags are nice to find related articles. And that's about it, it really isn't difficult, but it is a far call from writing an online diary. Heck, bug me some more and I'll write one, or better yet: How about we try to find a PHP coder for this particular task? Symfony2+Doctrine and there could be a prototype literally within a day. Make it a standalone system and it could even be sold, I'm sure a million school and hobby and club newspapers are looking for just such a system.