- I opened discussion for what will likely be a large section of the community portal to here. This is to give the discussion the space it needs to develop. Hope this will keep the discussion running smoothly and still make the Community Portal readable for other topics. -- Mason11987 (Talk - Contributions) 08:27, 26 February 2007 (CST)
I offer SW a Vision
Apologies ahead of time if I sound arrogant. I usually don't notice I offend people until I see their reactions (no matter how much I pay attention to how I word things). Even if you get offended, I humbly ask that you at least read the last 2 paragraphs, to see what my main point is. The intermediate paragraphs can be summarized as:
- Why compete against GuildWiki?
- If GameFAQs ever goes wiki (and I'm surprised that they haven't), how can you compete against them?
Consider the game Guild Wars. There exists a wiki, GuildWiki (part of the gamewikis network), that is unquestionably the current best resource for Guild Wars. It has the following advantages:
- The wiki format of GuildWiki allows for multiple editors
- One game, one guide
- GuildWiki ensures that the guides remain open
- There are no more "plaintext" guides
So, why is StrategyWiki trying to create its own walkthrough for Guild Wars? With GuildWiki already having an overwhelming headstart, everyone who is anyone in the guild wars community is going to pay attention, and contribute, to GuildWiki. There is no way StrategyWiki's walkthrough on Guild Wars can catch up to be 10% as good as Guild Wiki, unless Gravewit (the guy behind the gamewikis network) gets killed in a car accident and the contracts expire so that two years of contributions by thousands of people vaporizes.
Even if GuildWiki were licensed under GFDL (it's not, it's under the CC-BY-NC license), and StrategyWiki manages to get a hold of a dump of the entire GuildWiki (minus personal user information), importing all that information into StrategyWiki will still make the guide on StrategyWiki inferior, in a sense, to GuildWiki.
You see, the very fact that the walkthroughs for every single game on StrategyWiki shares the same wiki-space, puts limitations and flexibility on what it can do. The fact that the game Guild Wars gets its own independent wiki-space on the gamewikis network gives it room to be better than any walkthrough that can be hosted on the current form of StrategyWiki.
Even if you ported all GuildWiki articles over (which you can't), and add necessary (Guild Wars) disambiguation (or put them under Guild Wars/), so that you have 100% identical information as GuildWiki has, when an avid fan of Guild Wars thinks about whether he should contribute to StrategyWiki or GuildWiki, I bet the bigger Guild Wars fans will choose GuildWiki, simply because it's themed, and is dedicated to Guild Wars, and they won't have to include the extra words "Guild Wars" in the names of 99% of the articles. Most of them won't know (or care) the difference between GFDL or CC-BY-NC, or your bigger visions.
Any set of articles for the game Guild Wars, hosted on StrategyWiki under its current structure, is going to be intrinsically inferior to GuildWiki.
Here is how I, an outsider, sees StrategyWiki as: I see it as a site that wants to become a GameFAQs.com that has only one guide for each game, uses pictures and richtext, and is open for collabrative editing. If I want help with a random game and I don't know where to begin, I would probably go to GameFAQs first, and your vision is to replace the role of GameFAQs by providing guides of higher quality (GameFAQs' current structure makes it intrinsically inferior to StrategyWiki). A noble vision, but limits the guides and prevent some of them to become the best guides that could exist for some of the games. Additionally, if GameFAQs ever decide to go wiki (with a copyleft license), you will be almost instantly defeated because they are already better known and have developed a bigger user base. StrategyWiki will no longer be different.
- That is pretty much as we are. Although GameFAQs can't switch licenses, as they can't change the license of already submitted info without the creator's permission. That being said, many GameFAQs writers don't want their guides under a copy-left license (I've asked dozens of them to put their guides here). So if they did switch licenses, they would have to remove pretty much all their content, and I believe we would win out, because at least we would have some content. Because we started with a copy-left and all our content is a copy-left, then barring any large mishap, we will overtake GameFAQs in terms of content, we already have in terms of quality. Simply because of the fact that they can't change to be like us. -- Mason11987 (Talk - Contributions) 08:52, 26 February 2007 (CST)
Last 2 paragraphs starts here
I offer SW a vision: Become a hub, a portal, a place where everyone goes to find where the best open guide for any game is located at (which may or maynot be on SW). The game Guild Wars has GuildWiki, so you just point everyone who come here to look for a walkthrough for Guild Wars to Guild Wiki, and never worry about making one hosted on SW. The game Foo Bar has several extensive guides on the internet, but none of them are in an open (wiki with copyleft licensing) format, so StrategyWiki developes its own at http://strategywiki.org/w/Foo_Bar. Later say Foo Bar come out with a total of 3 sequals, all highly connected, and the world view and lore has become greatly enriched, and you create a "sub-wiki" at http://foobar.strategywiki.org for the entire Foo Bar game series. You will still have wiki walkthroughs for games, and you can win over Foo Bar fans as contributors (against other encompassing walkthrough sites that also decide to go wiki) because there is a dedicated Foo Bar sub-wiki hosted at strategywiki.
Hack the mediawiki software to allow displaying of "local recent changes" (say, on Foo Bar Wiki only) and "global recent changes" (across ALL sub-wikis and the central wiki on the strategywiki network). Attract community of gamer fans by giving the games they love enough space to call home (by having themed sub-wikis for games that are connected and have more freedom in article creation/naming), not hotel rooms. With that, issues 3~5 regarding the merger offer for AliceSoftWiki can all be resolved by having a http://alicesoft.strategywiki.org. I offer the vision to you freely, and hope that if things work out I might have some subliminal advantages when negeociating about issue 2 regarding AliceSoftWiki. d-: -Afker 06:04, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- First, noone should be offended, we greatly thank you for your discussions here and for bringing up this idea. I hope I didn't offend by moving your topic to a place where it can have more space to be discuss fully.
- Now... this is all plausible, the only thing is we would have to be able to of course carry user log-ins across subdomains (wp is working on this now, so it's clearly possible). We would also have to be able to possibly have different servers or specially designated server space for each big name series. Other then that, I don't see this having may hiccups. I believe something like this DOES have potentially huge benefits. At the moment, I'm one of two people running SporeWiki, I don't know if this would fall within the bounds of even this newly broadened sets of goals (as it has A LOT of user created "fan-creatures") but it would sure come closer, and we do have a fairly large following, and really idiotic management of server space apparently as the link is down... eh, show you later, and we're also GFDL. So come closer to launch I could see that coming over, maybe.
- The key reason why we have put limitations on what we can do is because if we broaden our goals too wide, too early on, we may lose focus (even wikipedia has limits on content) and create a broader, but lower quality, site. That being said, I think this is something we should look into, each subdomain wiki could be accessed via interwiki links, (such as the Guild Wars guide going to [[guildwars:Guild Wars]]) and we can have all the main pages and information mages on the sub-wiki's redirect to the main one. It would be best if this could all go under one mediawiki installation, but having subdomain wiki's might make that impossible, and so upgrades would be even more difficult.
- There are certainly some pro's, but there are large con's, and this is potentially a significant change to the site. All in all, I Support the concept and the basic workings of the idea. Interestingly enough, even though it is a large change to the physical workings of strategywiki, it would be relatively minor to get going compared to some of our other large scale changes we're tried (the re-licensing project...). This is because no articles would actually have to be moved at first, although I imagine we'll start this off with the alicesoft stuff if that goes through, then likely set up a Final Fantasy one (which I would love to get connected and working if this goes through). I don't know the actual difficulties in getting something like this going from echelon's end, but if it's feasible and not very difficult, and there aren't any major reasons to not do this which I haven't brought up already, I think this could be very useful and beneficial to strategywiki. -- Mason11987 (Talk - Contributions) 08:52, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- The idea of making branches of the strategywiki site for games would work quite well in my opinion. However, it'd have to have requirements on a game for it to work well. There's no point of giving the game super mario brothers it's own section of strategywiki other than the existing page. The entirety of the game can be summed up easily (and already is) in one page. Unless you were going to make pages on all of it's different variations, glitches, tricks, baddies, backgrounds, and styles of playing, it's simply not big enough for the section to have it's own search engine. But if we were working on a game like Guild wars or Pardus, we'd need a way to sub-categorize it so we can search for a page in it and so we don't have to make pages with names likeGuild wars/Combat/Application of skills/Elementalist#Control storm. If the game had it's own subsection, we could put a Guild Wars symbol before every page and shorten the page to [[/GW/]]Application of Skills/Elementalist#Control storm. That way, it'd still be classified as part of the guide and shorten the page name. Another idea that could work is putting a search bar into the guide although that wouldn't be as useful.--Navy White 10:21, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- While I agree with Mason that there is some merit to your suggestions, and may be feasible later on in SW's lifetime after it has become a little more established, the two enumerated points that you make at the top of logically flawed.
- Why compete against GuildWiki? Why does any site compete with any site? This is the basis for content on the web. It's a bit of digital Darwinism, survival of the fittest. After wikipedia gained popularity, tons of wiki sites began to pop up. How many of those are still active today? And tons more will start in the future, but the likelihood that they will have an appreciable inpact on the web, or even stick around very long, is unlikely unless they are a top quality site like SW. More than likely, a spin-off wiki site will live or die by the dedication and vibrancy of it's supporting community. So you are more than likely correct that we will never match GuildWiki, or for another example, FFXIcyclopedia. But that is no reason why we shouldn't at least attempt to provide basic information. If they voluntarily offered to join StrategyWiki as you have, that would be wonderful. But until that voluntarily happens, there's no reason to change SW's strategy in to a Borg-like assimilation of multiple web-sites. SW is subject to the same forces of survival or withering that other wiki sites are subject to. And I believe we are proving to be quite a force to reckon with.
- If GameFAQs ever goes wiki, how can you compete against them? A) GameFAQs will never go wiki. At least not unless CJayC is willing to sacrifice the model that he has spent the past ten years developing and promoting. What would happen to all of the files currently stored on the site? They certainly wouldn't be regarded as archaic overnight, there are some brilliant pieces of work over there. B) Wikis will never replace FAQs. The two formats may compete on some level, but both are going to coexist for quite a long time. Some authors of video game guides will always choose to work alone rather than in tandem with a community of writers. And while the visitors of SW prefer to community approach, GameFAQs will have considerable amounts of contributions from lone authors for the foreseeable future. It's all a question of taste, on both the writers' part and the readers' part.
- As far as subdomains go, I think it's a great idea if, and only if, a site voluntarily offers their content to SW. Perhaps http://alicesoft.strategywiki.org could become the first test bed for this approach, and if it is proven successful, it can serve as a model of possibilities to attract other sites. I guess my point is, I believe SW should keep doing exactly as it's doing, and hopefully grow influential enough to attract wiki talent on its own, rather going out and offering it's services to other sites. Procyon 10:27, 26 February 2007 (CST)
I Support the concept and the basic workings of the idea. Interestingly enough, even though it is a large change to the physical workings of strategywiki, it would be relatively minor to get going compared to some of our other large scale changes we're tried (the re-licensing project...). This is because no articles would actually have to be moved at first, although I imagine we'll start this off with the alicesoft stuff if that goes through, then likely set up a Final Fantasy one (which I would love to get connected and working if this goes through). I don't know the actual difficulties in getting something like this going from echelon's end, but if it's feasible and not very difficult, and there aren't any major reasons to not do this which I haven't brought up already, I think this could be very useful and beneficial to strategywiki. -- Mason11987 (Talk - Contributions) 08:52, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- (edit conflict...haven't read Procyon's comments yet) TLDR....I mean....I like going with the saying, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Some of these character progression things are covered on wikipedia already, though only the really popular ones. Guild Wars (and Oblivion) has it's own wiki, and there is TONS of info there (I used to edit there when I was playing). Most of the info would be useful here, and we could copy a fair bit of it (you can't copyright information you don't own). However, the missions are the main walkthrough, and that is all that we require for a "complete" walkthrough. The rest is just bonus. Also, Guild Wiki was around before StrategyWiki, they might actually have come here if we were around back then. Actually, their latest two wikis, NeverWiki and HammerWiki are both GFDL, so we can copy whatever info we need. In general MMO games aren't that great for a wiki like strategywiki. There's too much information to easily organize (MapleStory came out OK, but it needs more work, and still relies on places like hidden-street.net for some information). However, they can only pull in the niche GW gamers, whereas SW can potentially pull in all gamers (even the non-gamers :P). Finally, I highly doubt GF is going to go wiki for all the reasons Mason11987 mentioned. Sorry if this is a bit muddled....the topic was a bit long >.> -- Prod (Talk) 10:32, 26 February 2007 (CST)
Hmmm...it appears I've arrived a little late for the party. I don't think much of this is feasible, for reasons mostly mentioned before. Your first suggestion about deferring to external wikis defeats the point of competition, as Procyon so eloquently said. How are guides meant to get better if there's nothing to beat? Your second suggestion about subdomains would make the creation of new series guides a lot more complex, and introduce disparity: different conventions could develop on the subdomain wiki (as I don't think cross-domain wikis work yet). I think the current system of using sub-pages of the series' page works fine, and is completely logical. Additionally, hacking MediaWiki is a very bad idea, as it would make upgrades intolerably difficult; they're not easy at the moment due to the custom skin, and making large changes would effectively tie us to one version of MediaWiki, which would then leave us at a disadvantage in the future. I do like the idea about theming for different series, and it's something which may be possible with MediaWiki 1.9's per-page CSS support. Perhaps we should do a pilot run on a guide? --DrBob (Talk) 11:30, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- Really? We could do game-particular theming? Little tweaks to certain spots would be very cool if we could do it for like the Pokémon guides or the FF guides, ect. Just to give the guides some kind of style. I'm not sure how exactly it would work best without having the site looking strange depending on what guide you were looking at, but I think it's something to consider, although this isn't really the place. -- Mason11987 (Talk - Contributions) 15:00, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- On the specific technical issue of cross-domain wikis, Wikia somehow managed to pull it off. I don't know the details of how it is implemented, but a link like [[w:c:AliceSoft:FooBar]] from any wikia subdomain (*.wikia.com) will take ppl to the FooBar article on AliceSoft.wikia.com. The "w:" part is an interwiki link to central wikia, and the c:AliceSoft tells central wikia to redirect to AliceSoft.wikia. If you are interested you can probably ask the wikia technical folks on how it is implemented. -Afker 16:42, 26 February 2007 (CST)
Collaboration vs competition
This section is mostly in response to one of Procyon's paragraph above, dubplicated below for ease of follow.
- "Why does any site compete with any site? This is the basis for content on the web. It's a bit of digital Darwinism, survival of the fittest. After wikipedia gained popularity, tons of wiki sites began to pop up. How many of those are still active today? And tons more will start in the future, but the likelihood that they will have an appreciable inpact on the web, or even stick around very long, is unlikely unless they are a top quality site like SW. More than likely, a spin-off wiki site will live or die by the dedication and vibrancy of it's supporting community. So you are more than likely correct that we will never match GuildWiki, or for another example, FFXIcyclopedia. But that is no reason why we shouldn't at least attempt to provide basic information. If they voluntarily offered to join StrategyWiki as you have, that would be wonderful. But until that voluntarily happens, there's no reason to change SW's strategy in to a Borg-like assimilation of multiple web-sites. SW is subject to the same forces of survival or withering that other wiki sites are subject to. And I believe we are proving to be quite a force to reckon with."
Why does any site compete with any site? For the money in that sector of the webspace, for ego, for fundamental differences in principles or policies that prevent them from working with that site.
Part of StrategyWiki's claim of uniqueness is: "Unlike other sites, which allow an unlimited number of guides per games, we only allow one: with too many choices, it quickly becomes a confusing task to choose which guide is right for you. Collaboratively working on one central guide for each game ensures a higher quality guide in the end."
However, if I click on the Guild Wars link right now, I actually see two guides. An incomplete guide by SW, and another guide as an external link to GuildWiki. It feels like going to GameFAQs, pick a game, and see a guide made by "WeKnowAlmostEverythingAboutThisGame" and a second guide by "WeWantToMakeOurOwnGuideForEveryGame". By developing your own guide at SW, you are in fact not collaboratively working on one central guide with the majority of the Guild Wars gamer community. And I think the only justification you can have, is some kind of claim that you have certain disagreements with GuildWiki's policies/principles/structure that prevents you from collaborating with them (such as if some of you have a fundamental problem with the CC-BY-NC license, and absolutely refuse to license your work under it; or if you are worried that your work might vaporize after a car accident).
When you compete, you deny your opponents resources. In the case of a gaming wiki, it'd be contributor's time and insight. For any particular article you can produce on SW that is of higher quality than the corresponding article on GuildWiki, you could've put that article on GuildWiki instead, and increase the quality of the current best guide for Guild Wars. By creating your own competing guide on SW, you take up resources (in terms of contributor time/effort) that could've gone towards GuildWiki or towards guides for other games on SW itself.
Therefore, I believe StrategyWiki will be a better resource for gamers, if in the case of Guild Wars, that SW simply directs visiters to GuildWiki, instead of offering SW's own guide (and offer users a choice between two guides). It will build a sort of credibility in the sense of, "even if SW doesn't have the best guide themselves, they will for sure point me to the best guide out there, so I'll just make SW my first stop for my gaming needs and never bother search on google or GameFAQs", as opposed to "SW will most likely have a guide, but it might not be the best, so I will first check on google to see if there is a dedicated wiki for the game, compare that with SW's own wiki guide, and finally compare with GameFAQs."
For games that have extensive good walkthroughs out there but is not in an open wiki format, SW would still have its own guide, with a disclaimer saying the guide is currently incomplete, and in the meanwhile, please check that other guide until SW catches up (so your guides still exists, but you clearly admit it is currently inferior and is a work in progress and tell people the other is right now better, so there's no confusion of choice). This is where you compete, because you have something intrinsically better on the structural level (an open platform, a copyleft license, etc) than that other guide which currently has more information.
Save your efforts/resources for the fronts where you actually have an competitive edge (vs non-wiki guides), and collaborate when you do not (vs GuildWiki). That should be an axiom in the Darwinism world. -Afker 18:11, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- "How are guides meant to get better if there's nothing to beat?"
To that, my response is that GulidWiki essentially has nothing to beat. Sure, lots of other guides and fansites for GuildWars exist on the internet, but GuildWiki is way way ahead of them that there is really no competition. Wikis are meant to be able to get better despite not having something to beat. If all other guides for GuildWars suddenly all disappear, so that GuildWiki is the only resource for Guild Wars, it will still continue to get better, because it is the place where serious Guild Wars fans congregate and contribute information to help their fellow Guild Wars players out. -Afker 18:19, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- What you are arguing for, philosophically, is altruism: to do not only what is best for our community, but to benefit others with no expectation for return. Our Guild Wars guide will never be able to compete with GuildWiki in the same sense that any FAQ on Guild Wars contained on GameFAQs will never be able to compete with GuildWiki. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to present our best efforts, if at all possible. About the only benefit we could possibly receive by linking to an off-site guide, regardless of whether or not we are in competition with them, is that we look like "nice guys". And you know what they say about "nice guys". Look, in a utopian world, everything that you're saying would make perfect sense, and there would be only one wiki site, and every single bit of information about everything would be contained there. But that's obviously not the case. It's not that I don't see your vision, nor understand it. I do. It's just not a practical one unfortunately.
- As I said before, if GuildWiki approached us with some offer for a partnership, that would be a great opportunity for both sites. But until that time comes (if ever), SW will continue to do the best that it can at what it does, and GuildWiki will do the same. Realistically speaking, there will be some games that we simply will not be able to offer the best content for, but I would bet a million dollars that the number of those games will never be greater than one percent of the market for the foreseeable future, if ever. Case in point, before SW, I would sooner go to Allakhazam than GameFAQs for information about FFXI, but I would go to GameFAQs for just about everything else. It will be that way for us as well for certain games. But the collaboration will still occur, and I am confident that there is some cross pollination between sites like ourselves and GuildWiki, so I'm not worried about dividing resources too much. No one says you can only contribute to one site or the other. Procyon 18:42, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- Let me present my arguments in terms of profits instead. The way I see it, SW does NOT benefit from developing its own walkthrough for GuildWars (in terms of advertisement clicks due to people reading your Guild Wars articles and overall popularity of SW among people looking for information). On the (debatable) assumption that having SW's own walkthrough for Guild Wars does not benefit SW, giving people the impression that you are a nice guy earns you brownie points, improves the overall impression people have for your site, increases chances that other sites might be willing to cooperate with you. If you direct all your guild wars traffic to Guild Wiki, and it is a noticable amount, that might increases chances of some sort of merger between StrategyWiki and the Gamewikis network (of which GuildWiki is a part of).
- Any effort put into making Guild Wars guides on SW could've been redirected into guides for other games on SW, and in terms of SW-overall-quality vs contributor-effort ratio, SW will benefit more by having that effort spent on a non-Guild Wars guide (on SW). Phrased slightly differently, SW's overall value will increase the fastest if its efforts are spent on doing things SW can do well AND other sites can't do the best. You don't actually lose anything from being a nice guy in a fight you aren't gonna win anyways, and you gain brownie points to use in other fights where you can win. -Afker 19:22, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- Might I point out that you are, of course, assuming that SW has any desire to partner up with another gaming wiki site, and while I don't wish to speak out of turn about the subject, that's a pretty bold assumption for a new member of this community. In all honesty, if we are the go-to resource for hundreds of thousands of games, and some other sites are the resource for a few other games, I think SW will still be OK in the long run. Nevertheless, some of your points have merit, and I'm sure they will be considered by the staff of this site over time. Procyon 19:44, 26 February 2007 (CST)
- Currently, StrategyWiki's only true partnership with another wiki site is Bulbapedia, and only because they contain information that does not fit within the scope of StrategyWiki and because maintaining our own pokédex of that magnitude would be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Having a partnership with a wiki that does do the same thing that we do (i.e. walkthroughs), but better would be extremely unlikely. This is not do to the fact that we feel that our guides should all be localized, but because if the other wiki is a site (like GuildWiki) that specializes in a sole game and builds a great guide about it, they wouldn't want to partner up with a site that is "inferior" in their standpoint, and would have no mutual benefits for them. Other than that, I do agree that a few points you make do have merit. --Ryan SchmidtTalk - Contribs 20:21, 26 February 2007 (CST)
Ok, this time TLDR (too long didn't read). I stopped at the second paragraph as this seems to be going on about the same information, so I apologize if I am repeating. Just because we can't be the best guide for Guild Wars, doesn't mean we can't do other games. If they have good content at other places, then we aren't too arrogant not to link to them. I was just looking at the Super Mario 64 guides at GF and between the original and DS versions there are something like 60 guides. I usually just pick the one with the biggest size, but then many of them have excessive amounts of whitespace, useless tables, etc. just to make the plain text guide look "nice" or increase their size. If someone really wants to add to the GW guide, then it's up to them. They can easily see that there is already tons of info at GuildWiki since we link to them. -- Prod (Talk) 21:27, 26 February 2007 (CST)
In response to Afker
To put my view simply, humans thrive on competition. This is true just about everywhere. Take the spaceflight industry for example. The world's best work in spaceflight came during the 50's and 60's when the Space Race was going on between the US and Soviet Union. The reason so many leaps and bounds were made was because there was a drive for it. If only one country was researching spaceflight during that time, we would never have gotten there so quickly or effectively.
This is why capitalism works so well and true Communism doesn't (I hope I'm not going to start a political debate here, but just look at history). If there is competition, there is a drive. This same idea will apply to StrategyWiki and any other website (whether GuildWiki or GameFAQs). GuildWiki may currently be better than us and may always be better than us. But does that mean we should give up? Perhaps by adding a little competition, GuildWiki will be forced to come up with something new to keep the top spot. Or perhaps we will be forced to come up with new innovative ideas.
I don't want to ramble on here because I'll end up repeating myself, so I'll just sum it up in one italicized sentence. The reason StrategyWiki is here is because we introduce something new and innovative, and we provide competition to those sites that have been around long enough to have somewhat of a monopoly on the market. It is for that reason that I come back to SW and continue to stay with it.--DukeRuckley 17:20, 27 February 2007 (CST)
- Amen ;) Procyon 17:45, 27 February 2007 (CST)