Wiki and You



  • On the recent CGen thread, wiki's came up. Both for sing it pre- and post-cgen. Some places going to web based app even, others mentioned some people refuse and loathe to use wiki at all. Maybe its been discussed already but, I'm curious of opinions on Wiki as a companion to the Mu* experience?

    My take, I'm good with a wiki. I still use +news for some basic theme, some policy, a few things specific to CG when I work on a place. But I feel a wiki is easier to store and sort the information, and lets players contribute to the creativity of developing the theme for a Mu*.

    Same thing with character information, not everyone is into doing things with their char's wiki, but I find I'll go look at other Pc pages on places I play for some motivation. +finger works, but if it breaks the buffer it confused my dyslexia and we don't always get along. Or if I have to dig through pages of +notes, typing the command each time and assuming my dyslexia and poor grammar/spelling doesn't have my mis-keying too much, its still a chore. Easier to click a tab or a link and read away.

    As staff, its easier for me to see logs and activity when someone uses wiki then to ask for constant +requests to know what's going on, on the grid. Likewise, I prefer to open plots for players to run more than hoops via +request. I will usually put a quick plot page up, so people can go there, type the name in a button and start collecting plot information, including logs related to the plot. It can be started and tracked without the hands of staff involved in the mix, reduce waiting times and allowing players to plot to their hearts content and even share plots. Thus another player could even see what's going on to contact the runners (hey, I saw you're investigating the psychic murders of the children of sleepyville, my char has dream powers, maybe I could help ...).

    I also like it when players can contribute to theme. If you're in a city, they can add their motorcycle club or restaurant. Others can see it, be inspired to play with those things, even volunteer to help. In bigger themes, they can contribute more ideas. They can add organizations, locations, NPCs, etc, to help flush out theme and join in the contribution process; yes, this can backfire in some cases, as on Realms, but more often I've seen it help players feel more a part of the game as a whole.

    I think, for me at least, wikis are a tool that can help others find RP, or share stories and help the creative process of the shared environment. I am probably wrong, but those opposed to wikis seem like dinosaurs just not wanting to accept the change. Don't get me wrong, I'm old(ish), I've played on Mu*s since 94'ish, did BBS in the 80s when we dialed up like David Lightman, had a high school teacher who hooked up IBMs on lan to run 'on-line' campaigns for us nerds who played a char from our computer.


  • Admin

    @Lotherio Reasons why I like wikis:

    1. Why not? I don't get this 'it's not part of the game' concern (although I've nothing against people thinking it, it's their right); lots of non-MU* games have wikis and forums - in fact nearly all of them. I've never heard of anyone claim WoW has an out-of-game forum and that's a bad thing.

    2. You can hang things such as maps images, format long lists into tables so they're easier to read, include hyperlinks to reference material - all things you can't due due to telnet limitations.

    3. Information is easier to navigate going back and forth without menus spamming the living crap out of your screen every time you view an index.

    4. Searchable information. Good luck finding that one keyword you remember seeing somewhere on a help file (or was it in a post? then you're really screwed) in-game.

    5. Since you can't edit bbposts custom pages are far more suitable for many tasks. For instance I've used a 'plot index' before, pointing to all the logs in a particular story I'm running along with some basic information regarding what it's about OOC, hooks into it, what people might already assume they know IC regarding it, etc. If I had to do it on a board I'd need to delete the old one and repost every time I want it updated.

    Wikis aren't just a place to hang hawt PBs on otherwise useless, static character pages. That's a very unfair oversimplification.


  • Pitcrew

    I love wikis. I love having visual aids that allow me to see how others see their characters - yes, I think PB's are fun. I like how they give us the opportunity to be more creative and expansive with visuals, add more character to locales, share music, etc - but most importantly, I appreciate how wikis allow me to widen my rp circle.

    A lot of people take the position that wikis erase the OOC masq, but I think that's fine. Because wikis allow me to look at character pages and see that a PC I might not otherwise have occasion to approach shares an interest with my PC, or has a mutual acquaintance, and thus giving me motivation to approach them and ask for rp.

    Also, I like putting information into neat little boxes.



  • I guess I'm kind of old fashioned in that I feel that everything one could need to play the game should be accessible from inside the game. Also, I really really dislike it when I log on to a new game, have questions and staff point me at a wiki page. I suspect that's just me though.


  • Admin

    @RnMissionRun said in Wiki and You:

    Also, I really really dislike it when I log on to a new game, have questions and staff point me at a wiki page. I suspect that's just me though.

    But is it that different if they point you to a help file instead? One spams you less, the other requires that you hit alt-tab.



  • I love wikis so much. I love storing logs and having information accessible and organized and searchable. I'd much rather have a comprehensive wiki than have to root around in helpfiles.



  • @Lotherio said in Wiki and You:

    I think, for me at least, wikis are a tool that can help others find RP, or share stories and help the creative process of the shared environment.

    This is my take on it also. I wouldn't call folks who are wiki-averse also change-averse, though, but there's a reason for that.

    Like any other 'new thing being tried', some people hate the very idea of people trying it. Sometimes it's because something similar has been done badly. Sometimes it's because they like the old way a lot. Sometimes it's a misconception about how things work, or an assumption that things will be a certain way -- they can't see a positive way it could work, or one that would be seamless from their end re: what they're used to.

    I saw enough of this in the other thread that I just didn't really bother responding beyond where I left it; I can either fumble around trying to explain shit that's above my paygrade to explain but can be done, or I can get on with doing it. (I'm better at showing than telling is the best way to sum this up.)

    A lot of explaining was required to even get there, because what I've managed to get done was not done without help.

    Explaining why doesn't always come across. I probably couldn't explain why now to most people who would have the capability to help me get there, because those people have vastly different skillsets, and a fairly large chunk of the principle behind it is 'make it easier on people who don't have those skillsets'. 'Develop that skillset' is not the best answer; for instance: what we have now is an advanced skillset (MUX/MUSH/MUD/etc. code), it takes a great deal of time to learn, documentation is often not written in plain or easily digestible language for a novice or requires understanding of concepts that the documentation assumes the reader already knows (when often they do not and it's not always explained elsewhere), and even as someone with reasonable intelligence who has poked at things a little from time to time, I have difficulty making sense of it at times, so I can't imagine how hard someone who is relatively new to this on the whole.

    If there are alternative approaches that can reduce this specific barrier to entry in game play, and especially in game creation, I think it is wise to explore them.

    The tl;dr of this: pretty much anybody can fill out a web form without needing any prior education in MU code -- using or writing it.

    While explaining 'if we had this one thing... ' took a while before someone was willing to bite, a few discussions of what that one thing could do have (I think? I hope?) made some of its potential clear, at least to the folks who helped make it happen. (And that's just what I could envision doing with it in a short span of time, not 'the whole community throws in ideas'.)

    What I know is this: with what's essentially one tweak to an existing tool, as a hopeless novice MU coder, I'm now able to take a piece of data from the wiki and format it for the MUX. +finger? Populate it from the same data that's on the wiki, and both remain consistent. Chargen? Fill out a form. Click a link. It takes the information you entered and creates the basics of your character page -- which you never need to touch or fiddle with again after that if you don't want to; a second link of the same kind for staff sets up your sheet on the wiki, which is in a staff-only editable namespace, preventing tampering and automatically providing a log of all changes to that page viewable to everyone for full transparency. And so on.

    Wiki cross-references better than a MUX in a variety of ways. With one single change to a drop-down menu, faction maintenance, wanted concept listings, sphere/group membership, 'who lives in this region', etc. can all be maintained at once without further changes. If that information is also being piped to the game, again, you have one change that requires no formal code primer or cheat sheet for even the newest staffer on the team to keep things current without running through half a dozen MUX commands to accomplish the same thing. Again, these changes are visible on the wiki and the game after the few seconds it takes SQL to update. In regard to the amount of time this saves in terms of game maintenance (and everything staying properly updated across the board instead of something getting missed), it would be hard for someone to convince me this is in any way a bad thing, or is not useful, and that's without even considering how much faster and easier it is.

    For instance, we're looking at something like this: Need a statted NPC or creature? Like creating a +temproom, make a +tempnpc. Just set the name of its wiki page when you create it, and it automatically populates its sheet, stats, and powers, for immediate reference without requiring notes, making it easier to run things on the fly. (This is 100% doable, it's just a matter of the doing.) Want to set up a Creature, Generic Thug, or other NPC like that that doesn't exist? Create it from drop down menus and save the page in minutes, tops -- and then it's a resource that the whole game can potentially use when/if needed just as easily as indicated above going forward; you've just added a valuable resource for the game and lowered the barrier to entry for scene runners by providing them with a helpful quickstart for a pickup scene to run on the fly or an NPC they can use when creating their plots.


  • Pitcrew

    Despite my lack of using them in any real way I am not anti-wiki but i see them as a appendix to the game.
    This might be because the main things they get used for are pretty low importance to me.
    I have no problem with wiki being used as a tool but make it a mandatory part of the game and I will move on.
    I realize this might make me a dinosaur but I am fine with moving on to another hobby when that time comes. After all I stopped getting video games with the onset of DLCs and needing to be online to play a single player game.
    Honestly, I would not even make a character page if the 20 minutes f slapping one together wasn't less annoying the regular comments of how I need to make one.



  • @Arkandel said in Wiki and You:

    @Lotherio Reasons why I like wikis:

    1. You can hang things such as maps images, format long lists into tables so they're easier to read, include hyperlinks to reference material - all things you can't due due to telnet limitations.

    2. Since you can't edit bbposts custom pages are far more suitable for many tasks. For instance I've used a 'plot index' before, pointing to all the logs in a particular story I'm running along with some basic information regarding what it's about OOC, hooks into it, what people might already assume they know IC regarding it, etc. If I had to do it on a board I'd need to delete the old one and repost every time I want it updated.

    These two, double these. To have maps and reference material. Even if you put in +news all the rules of the game, having reference tables on a wiki is way easier to have open while running scenes. And just a second of plot coordination.



  • @ThatGuyThere said in Wiki and You:

    Honestly, I would not even make a character page if the 20 minutes f slapping one together wasn't less annoying the regular comments of how I need to make one.

    I hear this a lot. It's actually kinda why I set things up like described above. Instead of having to enter a pile of data a bunch of places, it means just entering it all once... and two clicks shuffles it all over to a charpage right then and there that the player never needs to hassle with again if they don't want to, but they have it, and nobody can yelp about it. (Also means it can have them linked in proper places and whatnot for the 'cross-reference to find people to RP with' stuff @Cupcake mentions without them having to ever do anything extra.)

    I'm a huge fan of only having to do something once, since it both saves time and helps ensure consistency. :D



  • @Arkandel said in Wiki and You:

    @RnMissionRun said in Wiki and You:

    Also, I really really dislike it when I log on to a new game, have questions and staff point me at a wiki page. I suspect that's just me though.

    But is it that different if they point you to a help file instead? One spams you less, the other requires that you hit alt-tab.

    I agree, same as pointing to help files. But I'm not a fan of staff just pointing to news files or wiki. That is more on staff though, I try to answer in part some of the question, offer news or wiki for reference, and then answer more specifics as needed.



  • @Lotherio There is one time I will do this: when it is painfully apparent the person hasn't read a damned thing and just wants to be hand-held 100% of the way. It's absolutely easy for someone to miss a thing or two, but if they're asking to be told every step of a process that is clearly laid out somewhere instead of reading something that is literally right in front of them, 'read the directions' is eventually going to come up.



  • @surreality said in Wiki and You:

    @Lotherio said in Wiki and You:

    I think, for me at least, wikis are a tool that can help others find RP, or share stories and help the creative process of the shared environment.

    Like any other 'new thing being tried', some people hate the very idea of people trying it. Sometimes it's because something similar has been done badly. Sometimes it's because they like the old way a lot. Sometimes it's a misconception about how things work, or an assumption that things will be a certain way -- they can't see a positive way it could work, or one that would be seamless from their end re: what they're used to.

    This right here, how its done, is probably part of the issue. Like staff that lock down a wiki completely and have to 'create' a char page for others to work on. Once its staff only and players have little stake in it, its not fun or pointless.

    Its so easy to make tools for others to add pages, to add theme, plot pages, etc. It is easier to learn than mu-code for most and further still, its much easier to make it functional for others to use. It not hard to set up templates to add new elements.

    It goes back in part to staff control; like plots or needing every thing +requested.



  • @Lotherio said in Wiki and You:

    Its so easy to make tools for others to add pages, to add theme, plot pages, etc. It is easier to learn than mu-code for most and further still, its much easier to make it functional for others to use. It not hard to set up templates to add new elements.

    ^ Exactly this. It's a great way to allow people to contribute to the game and affect the game world directly by contribution, rather than destruction. A lot of players feel that blowing things up is the only way they're going to make an impact on the world, which is as sad as it is potentially problematic. Allowing people the ability to make constructive changes rather than destructive ones opens up an enormous wealth of possibility, and allows people to be able to say: That, I did that, I made a mark and people are having fun with it! That is something that should never, I think, be underestimated.


  • Pitcrew

    I guess I can understand people not wanting to deal with it; I on the other hand often love to constantly tweak my wiki.

    I also note that learning to deal with wikis has helped me with my HTML and wiki formatting skills, as well as learning different types of formatting for different wikis. These can be framed as marketable skills to pad a resume, even if only at lower administrative levels to make one look impressive.


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