#1 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

As a long time Wikipedia editor, and a short time Giant Bomb Wiki editor, I can see a few pages of the Wikipedia playbook that would be excellent additions to Giant Bomb's Wiki.

Problem: A large number of pages need to be re-written for style, grammar, and POV. Many game articles read more like reviews and use the second person.

Solution: A template mechanism to tag pages in need of certain types of editing. On wikipedia, for example, if I use the Template:Cleanup-tense, then it will list that article on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Wikipedia_articles_with_incorrect_tenses. This way, if I notice an article written in second person, I can simply tag it. Later, if any editor wants to tackle fixing articles with incorrect tenses, they can simply navigate to the category page, and fix them one by one. This sort of tagging for cleanup issues is extremely efficient.

Problem: Releases are presented in an unfriendly, long list.

Solution: Releases should be presented in a single grid, so that a reader can quickly compare, say, the publishers of the same game in different countries; or features of a game on one platform compared to another. Moreover, a user should be able to enter in release information for multiple countries and platforms at once, because most of the data will be the same across platforms and countries. The fields should auto-populate with the most recent data, and then the editor only needs to change country or platform specific info. Platforms should be on the grid in chronological order of release, and alphabetically for simultaneous releases (e.g. the virtual console release should be the last one on the list, because it is furthest removed from the original release).

Problem: The right side of articles are very messy

Solution: The "features" and "multiplayer" infoboxes should be completely hidden (not ghosted) for games that have no features listed. This will clean up the right side of the article for just about every classic-era videogame. Even when games have a limited number of the features, it should be a short list of features the game supports, not a huge ghosted box of (arbitrary) features it does not. This also goes for the supported resolutions, ratings, widescreen support, etc... for classic era games. They will always be N/A and convey zero information while cluttering the right side.

Problem: Distinction between "platform" in the game features box, and "releases" is confusing, despite various forum threads.

Solution: Every game should require "releases" to form the article. The "platform" data should auto-populate based on releases. If you want to add Xbox as a platform, start the Xbox release, and it will populate the platform. This has the side benefit of many articles lacking releases, even though consoles are listed. Further, the platforms and releases should both be in an intelligent order, which is chronological by release, and alphabetically for simultaneous releases. It's insane that the first Platform on the Super Mario Bros. page is Gameboy Advance.

Problem: It's not obvious how new articles are started

Solution: A simple form for new articles would be useful.

The design philosophy behind wikis is dynamism. Keep improving it, tweaking it, building consensus. It's very frustrating editing wikipedia video game articles, because there are strict notability requirements, and source requirements. There is a ton of freedom at Giant Bomb that I love - I can write an article about an obscure game for the Atari without having to find sources. The inherent notability of published games makes it a ton of fun to write here; the mechanisms for doing so could stand improvement. It would be excellent to compile and pin a requested features list, and build consensus as to which features and implementation thereof are worthwhile.

#2 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@bhtav: Giant Bomb is not Wikipedia and should not be treated as such.

#3 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

Obviously it's not Wikipedia. It's also not the dictionary, but we can still use prepositions and nouns. I was pointing out a few ways in which the Giant Bomb wiki could be improved, some of which have been successfully implemented by Wikipedia... and hundreds of other various Wikis.

Do you have a better solution for categorizing and cleaning up the articles that are written in second person? Do you like the infoboxes on every Atari article that will always contain nothing but dozens of ghosted words? Do you think that the it would be simpler to enter a release in once, and have it populate platforms? Did you read my post?

#4 Posted by Brendan (7512 posts) -

@hailinel: That was an unfair way to respond to something that was reasonably thought out and specific.

#5 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@bhtav said:

Do you have a better solution for categorizing and cleaning up the articles that are written in second person? Do you like the infoboxes on every Atari article that will always contain nothing but dozens of ghosted words? Do you think that the it would be simpler to enter a release in once, and have it populate platforms? Did you read my post?

Yes, it's called finding those articles and editing them to remove second-person descriptors from them. The infoboxes really aren't a problem and only highlight those items that are relevant. Games don't require release information to have pages created; that information is added separately. But if I know a game was released on the 360, or the Atari 2600, it's as easy as adding those items to the platform list.

You're proposing simplification where there doesn't need to be any. The staff is planning some new wiki tutorial videos that will likely cover topics like "How do I write wiki." This isn't something that needs to be handled from the technical end.

#6 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

I suppose I should have referenced other wikis rather than just wikipedia. Wikis are defined by their capacity to effectively present information from a variety of editors. The more effectively and efficiently we can edit and present that information, the better for the Giant Bomb community.

#7 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@brendan said:

@hailinel: That was an unfair way to respond to something that was reasonably thought out and specific.

You're right, and apologize to @bhtav for that. Honestly, I just had memories of ridiculous wiki edit wars and arguments on Wikipedia that went absolutely nowhere for no reason and would rather not see that sort of madness propagate on Giant Bomb anymore than it already has. That's primarily why I reacted the way I did, though it's not an excuse.

#8 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

@hailinel:

@hailinel said:

@bhtav said:

Do you have a better solution for categorizing and cleaning up the articles that are written in second person? Do you like the infoboxes on every Atari article that will always contain nothing but dozens of ghosted words? Do you think that the it would be simpler to enter a release in once, and have it populate platforms? Did you read my post?

Yes, it's called finding those articles and editing them to remove second-person descriptors from them. The infoboxes really aren't a problem and only highlight those items that are relevant. Games don't require release information to have pages created; that information is added separately. But if I know a game was released on the 360, or the Atari 2600, it's as easy as adding those items to the platform list.

You're proposing simplification where there doesn't need to be any. The staff is planning some new wiki tutorial videos that will likely cover topics like "How do I write wiki." This isn't something that needs to be handled from the technical end.

"it's called finding those articles and editing them to remove second-person descriptors from them"

That's woefully inefficient. What about when you're just reading and article and don't feel like doing a big edit? What if you are of a mind to edit a bunch of articles for proper POV? What if you aren't an editor, but notice a problem you want to tag?

"The infoboxes really aren't a problem and only highlight those items that are relevant."

They are large and convey no information. They aren't a problem, per se, but they are also entirely useless.

With regard to releases, this is simply not the case. It's a jumbled mess where some articles have some releases, but no platforms, some have the reverse, and most have some amalgamation of the two. If the info only needed to be edited ONCE and populated the other automatically, how can you possibly say it wouldn't be useful.

I feel you are being contrarian for no reason, as was your initial response.

Edit: Welp, that's my 5 post limit for tonite, so I will let the community take this for what it will, and continue my edits.

#9 Edited by DarthOrange (3497 posts) -

IGN's wiki is fairly new and there pages are already more neat then ours (although ours is much larger and detailed).

Also I lost all my wiki points a while ago, can I get those back? (i know this is a random place to ask but maybe one of you knows the answer and I won't have to make a new thread).

#10 Edited by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

IGN's wiki is fairly new and there pages are already more neat then ours (although ours is much larger and detailed).

Also I lost all my wiki points a while ago, can I get those back? (i know this is a random place to ask but maybe one of you knows the answer and I won't have to make a new thread).

You'd probably have to ask the mods or in the Bug Reporting forum about your wiki points.

@bhtav said:

@hailinel:

@hailinel said:

@bhtav said:

Do you have a better solution for categorizing and cleaning up the articles that are written in second person? Do you like the infoboxes on every Atari article that will always contain nothing but dozens of ghosted words? Do you think that the it would be simpler to enter a release in once, and have it populate platforms? Did you read my post?

Yes, it's called finding those articles and editing them to remove second-person descriptors from them. The infoboxes really aren't a problem and only highlight those items that are relevant. Games don't require release information to have pages created; that information is added separately. But if I know a game was released on the 360, or the Atari 2600, it's as easy as adding those items to the platform list.

You're proposing simplification where there doesn't need to be any. The staff is planning some new wiki tutorial videos that will likely cover topics like "How do I write wiki." This isn't something that needs to be handled from the technical end.

"it's called finding those articles and editing them to remove second-person descriptors from them"

That's woefully inefficient. What about when you're just reading and article and don't feel like doing a big edit? What if you are of a mind to edit a bunch of articles for proper POV? What if you aren't an editor, but notice a problem you want to tag?

"The infoboxes really aren't a problem and only highlight those items that are relevant."

They are large and convey no information. They aren't a problem, per se, but they are also entirely useless.

With regard to releases, this is simply not the case. It's a jumbled mess where some articles have some releases, but no platforms, some have the reverse, and most have some amalgamation of the two. If the info only needed to be edited ONCE and populated the other automatically, how can you possibly say it wouldn't be useful.

I feel you are being contrarian for no reason, as was your initial response.

Nope.

Actually, the previous version of the site before the redesign had a Wiki Task system in place where pages could be assigned bounties for specific editing requests, like removing second person, adding releases, or just more detail in general. However, these tasks had to be managed by humans, were updated infrequently, and from what I could tell, were largely ignored by most of the site's users. The task/bounty system has since been removed.

That being said, users have in the past created their own initiatives to catalog pages that need help and fix them up. There's no reason an "anti-second person" thread couldn't be established to do the same.

The infoboxes are brand new to the site as of the redesign earlier this year and much of that information is still being collected and populated. But I see no harm in the feature and it's a pretty nifty reference guide that highlights which games have which common features.

Releases are a clusterfuck, but tying them to platforms would not help. Releases aren't just about platforms, but territories, and can contain all sorts of information from a territory's release date to its region-specific serial number. There are releases for each individual platform/region combination. For major releases, that's a lot of information to keep straight, and saying "Release = Platform" does not solve the larger problem of gathering and archiving the information for each individual release. And that doesn't take into account the debates surrounding re-releases/remakes that are part of the same page versus re-releases/remakes that get their own page.

#11 Edited by BisonHero (5662 posts) -

I agree with OP, pretty much across the board. The GB wiki has a lot of heart, but a lot of articles are amateur hour all over the place. It's kind of crazy that it has existed for over 4 years without any kind of style guide or template or anything to ensure consistency other than "C'mon guys, just write good". I try to use the GB wiki to look things up, but more often than not it fails me and I quickly find what I want from Wikipedia instead. It's cool that the GB wiki will allow articles for things that wouldn't warrant a Wikipedia article, but for topics that have an article on both sites, I almost always find Wikipedia more useful.

The GB wiki could be good, but there needs to be more management from Jeff or Rorie or something. Jeff lonesharking it and updating the credits on obscure old console games kinda isn't getting us anywhere.

#12 Edited by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

I agree with OP, pretty much across the board. The GB wiki has a lot of heart, but a lot of articles are amateur hour all over the place. It's kind of crazy that it has existed for over 4 years without any kind of style guide or template or anything to ensure consistency other than "C'mon guys, just write good". I try to use the GB wiki to look things up, but more often than not it fails me and I quickly find what I want from Wikipedia instead. It's cool that the GB wiki will allow articles for things that wouldn't warrant a Wikipedia article, but for topics that have an article on both sites, I almost always find Wikipedia more useful.

The GB wiki could be good, but there needs to be more management from Jeff or Rorie or something. Jeff lonesharking it and updating the credits on obscure old console games kinda isn't getting us anywhere.

There are rules that have always been in place; the problem is that they've never been well-documented. When a question has come up in the Editing & Tools or Delete & Combine forums that have required Jeff to step in and make a ruling, his decision stands, but the decision quickly becomes lost in the forums. More than any sort of technical change, the site just needs better organization and surfacing of a style guide.

#14 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@ch3burashka: He was specifically talking about a technical feature to tag a page for someone else to clean up. Not to clean up the page himself upon locating one.

#15 Posted by Slag (3339 posts) -

@bhtav: sounds like you have some suggestions that make sense to me.

dunno how hard it is to code, but I really like your first suggestion quite a bit. Grammar errors and such can persist for a long time on unpopular pages.

but what we really need is a styleguide first. A lot of these errors would likely have never happened if newer editors had example on how to correctly write a page.

#16 Posted by BisonHero (5662 posts) -

@hailinel: Agreed. Any rulings/precedents made by Jeff/Marino on the wiki editing sub forum quickly fall by the wayside, and are only applied to the article the current debate is about, and likely won't be applied to future articles where the same ruling would apply. Those decisions should be going into a master document or guideline or stickied forum thread or LITERALLY ANYTHING with some permanence.

#17 Posted by Chaser324 (5966 posts) -

I agree with a lot of the points made in the OP, especially number one. The style/format inconsistencies can make the GB wiki feel like a bit of a mess at times, and I would love to see some improvements made there.

Jeff mentioned recently that he might do some video tutorials to provide some guidance on wiki editing, so I'm hopeful that might get more people headed in the right direction and improve the quality of the submissions.

Moderator
#18 Edited by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

I got most of my wiki points from the Task system but the number of people who were aware of its existence was abysmally low, I'll bet.

I'm happy to help edit pages when I randomly stumble on them but that's all chance. Maybe a semi-frequently-updated forum thread about pages needing help would help give some direction to myself and other wiki editors.

#19 Posted by BlackLagoon (1321 posts) -

I seem to recall Jeff mentioning that ideally they'd have a paid wiki manager on staff, but that it's hard to find the resources to make that happen. It's hard to imagine any major changes without someone like that though, unless a skilled volunteer with a lot of free time comes along.

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#20 Posted by Praxis (234 posts) -

There definitely needs to be an easier way to find pages in need of help; just trolling through the database is, as you say, inefficient, and if you happen to find something massive that you don't have the time to fix your only recourse is to start a forum thread, which may or may not lead to anything actually getting done. There was a brief discussion back when the wiki task system went away about what should replace it, but as of this moment there is nothing.

To be honest I was really taken aback by the inclusion of "Single-Player" and "Multiplayer" feature tabs during the site relaunch. Why you would add additional fields to releases when the existing ones weren't getting filled out consistently is beyond me. It seems like one of Jeff's "wouldn't it be nice" features that utterly fails to take into account the actual labor that would be required to make such a feature useful. Whatever the case, the way releases are handled on this site needs to be simplified or at some point people will just decide to not deal with them at all.

As far as getting additional style guidelines goes, I have a hard time not being cynical about the prospect. I remember a user posting a while back that, statistically, if a wiki does not instate firm guidelines within its first few years of existence, it probably never will. I don't mean to be a pessimist, but I'm starting to come around to this way of thinking. Many people have tried to get clarification from the staff, but not much has been offered.

#21 Posted by Mento (2257 posts) -

I don't think there's any reason to be unilaterally down on new suggestions. It is worth keeping in mind however that we have a relatively small engineering team and that they're often busy working on changes for Comic Vine, GameSpot or GameFAQs as well. While they are planning to rebuild the wiki system it's not worth adding to the amount of work they need to do unless it's a truly important addition. I guess ultimately it'll be up to them whether or not they want to implement any of these ideas.

The style guide and "how to create a new page" ideas are already being planned out by Jeff. After E3 he intends to make a few "How-to Wiki" video guides which will hopefully include a style guide - more than a few of us have suggested it in the thread. Hopefully that'll clue future editors in on not using second person or the past tense or subjectivity or any other errors. (Personally, I hope they bring Coonce and backwards-cap "Fart App" Ryan back to do a "Goofus & Gallant" take on wiki editing.) As for editing any existing pages with those problems, it seems more convenient to just do them yourself whenever you come across them. Even a giant page filled with errors just takes a few minutes to fix. Seems like less effort than implementing a whole new template system at least (though one could feasibly use the related pages system we have in place for that, like a "this page needs work" Concept, except I'm not sure if that'll fly).

Releases and platforms: New releases will actually auto-populate the platforms section if those platforms weren't already listed. Really, the only reason people are able to add to platforms separately is if they don't want to create a new release for that platform themselves - kind of like your suggestion to have a system in place where you can create a marker and let someone else deal with it. I'm not sure we need to do anything to the releases but since the site switch I've definitely been less enthused to completely fill out all those extra fields, especially when you get to the various "sound systems" and "multiplayer features". There's a shortcut list on the release page itself that makes browsing a game with many different releases a lot easier so I don't think changing it to a grid will do much. Auto-filling fields just seems like a bad idea considering how much disparity might exist between one region's release and another and people may be prone to just create releases and not bother to change any of the auto-filled details that need changing, thus creating a lot of factual errors.

All that said I will absolutely support any wiki editor that endeavors to make a huge thread/list of pages that need edits. Hailinel mentioned our erstwhile Wiki Task system and while many users ignored it there were always a handful of editors happy to help with problem areas: sometimes it's just a matter of being told where to start. StarFoxA, one of our wiki kings (wikings?), once created a list of every SNES page that needed help as the first stage of a Wiki Completion Project. I'd love to know what happened to it.

Moderator Online
#22 Edited by Slag (3339 posts) -

@mento: I dunno what happened to it. Probably got pushed off the forums too fast. But I did think @starfoxa had a really great idea with his enormous SNES list. It was like the Ultimate wiki task initiative.

I know for awhile @morrow was updating a list she found of pages she felt needed work.

http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/morrow/lists/wiki-articles-that-need-some-work/73081

I started my own, but it got too depressing too fast. Seems to me the weakest pages in terms of content tend to be character and place pages.

#23 Edited by BlackLagoon (1321 posts) -

@mento said:
Releases and platforms: New releases will actually auto-populate the platforms section if those platforms weren't already listed.

Are you sure about that? I mean, it used to work that way on the old site, but currently adding releases seems to only affect the list at the top of the page above the deck. The platform list on the right side seems to remain unchanged, even after waiting for over day to let it update itself.

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#24 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

I hope the tutorials list the proper way to write... it can be hard to figure it out at first. I mean if you're writing about something that's not necessarily story related, then it's kinda easy; I've been updating the Crusader Kings 2 page a lot and it's basically just "here's the new shit in the expansion, here's how the game mechanics work".

Meanwhile, you kinda have to write differently if you're describing story beats; like when I wrote the page for Kax-Teh, you have to be ever mindful of the fact that you are writing from a different perspective than the character.

#25 Posted by Mento (2257 posts) -

@blacklagoon: After making a new page I always add the releases first and then usually discover that the same platforms have been added to the section you're talking about (in "Game Details") as well as at the top of the page under the title. It's possible the site only adds the first platform included in a release just so something is listed there. I've noticed that the first release date is weird like that as well: sometimes it gets filled in (if blank) when the first release is added and sometimes not.

@slag: I've noticed a lot of the entries on Morrow's list tend to follow a theme; groups of characters belonging to the same franchise and the like. Those are the kind of things the wiki community could build some really good Wiki Task initiatives around. There was a thread not too long ago about someone wanting some idea of where to start editing, so I'm sure we'd find plenty of people who would be game. If some enterprising soul (perhaps a mod) wanted to start a Wiki Completion thread in the Editing & Tools forum for a specific franchise and its related character/game pages we might see a lot of good work come out of it. (Though I suppose such a task would need to rely on editors who are familiar with whatever that franchise happens to be. I don't know the first thing about One Piece, for example, so I'd probably be of no help there.)

Anyway, I could see why someone might be squeamish about adding releases since they might not have all the data (like Product IDs) on hand, especially now there's way more fields to fill in. If that person just wanted to add the correct platforms to the game's details from the main wiki page as a suitable stopgap, they should be allowed to.

I should really add something to that "How-To Wiki" guide that we need something about image galleries too. It used to be you had a bunch of pre-generated galleries whenever you created a page (Box Art, Screenshots, Concept Art, etc.) but now they're all gone. If newer editors wanted to add images they might not realize there's an established precedent for where specifically to put them.

Moderator Online
#26 Posted by Slag (3339 posts) -

@mento: I think that's a great idea. I really miss the old wiki task system. It wasn't perfect by any stretch but it sure beats what we have now.

As far as Releases go, I don't think many people find that fun. It would be nice if there was a Giant Bomb could automate that to some degree. Still leave the ability to add stuff in for exceptions, but having pull at least the new game and DLC stuff from PSN etc would go a long way if possible to do. Especially in the age of DLC release stuff gets crazzzzy data entry intensive.

I totally agree on the images. There used to be a good thread about that stickied somewhere I think. That's what I used when I was more active in the wiki.

#27 Posted by LordAndrew (13982 posts) -

No, not templates! Oh god! If you're one one of those guys who prefers tagging issues to fixing them, why not create a list of pages that need work? It will be displayed on the wiki and people can click through to see what needs to be done and find other pages that you think need work. I have a list containing things I want to do, but anyone else is free to handle them if they wish.

#28 Edited by StarFoxA (5123 posts) -

At the very least, we absolutely need a general style guide. I like how different a wiki page can be based on the editor, so templates isn't exactly what I would go with. I agree with a lot of your criticisms.

#29 Posted by Prestige (73 posts) -

Yeah, I agree about needing a style guide. I've been pretty involved in a few different wikis, and when I came to Giant Bomb's wiki a couple of years ago, the first thing I looked for and failed to find was a guide to article formatting. Yes, there's the "Wiki FAQ" in this forum, but it only offers an overview, not specifics about how articles should be laid out.

Instituting a style guide on this wiki is way easier than on most wikis because instead of having to get community consensus, Jeff can just decree one. Or the moderators could write one, and Jeff could OK it. Hell, I've even considered just writing one myself (even though I have no authority on this wiki), posting it on this forum, and saying "You guys can use this if you like it, or ignore it if you don't."

#30 Posted by bhtav (49 posts) -

The five post limit is obnoxious, especially in my own thread....

For those who criticize the template idea: that's fine, it doesn't need to be a template. A simple check box that an article should be listed on a page of articles needing attention for grammar, second person, or POV would get us 90% the way there. The idea that just stumbling across articles with problems, and fixing them on the spot is woefully inefficient, and ultimately fruitless, as new articles will be written at a faster rate than people who care to edit them randomly stumble across them. Without a mechanism to tag articles, the wiki will absolutely remain problematic.

@lordandrew "If you're one one of those guys who prefers tagging issues to fixing them, why not create a list of pages that need work?"

(Obviously) because it's far more efficient for me to correct a bunch of articles that I didn't randomly stumble across. A big forum list is also far less effective, as it is unwieldy, and needs to be constantly curated. A list of pages that is tagged is a much better solution, in that it automatically propagates, and can simply be untagged after it is fixed. I can simply navigate to the list, fix a bunch of pages, and not start forum topics, ask someone to edit a pinned list, etc... Tagging problem pages would do more to improve the wiki quickly and efficiently than any other single upgrade. This is precisely why numerous wikis have some version of a system in place.

Everyone who wants a style guide: This is important. It is also largely irrelevant, unless new editors are somehow forced to read it. Right now, new edits need to be reviewed in order to become live. Are new edits reviewed for tense, POV, etc? Obviously, it's a bad idea to stifle new editors, but problematic edits could also be an opportunity to link new editors to a style guide, and ask that they make some corrections.

@mento "Releases and platforms: New releases will actually auto-populate the platforms section if those platforms weren't already listed."

I don't think this is the case. It should be.

"Really, the only reason people are able to add to platforms separately is if they don't want to create a new release for that platform themselves - kind of like your suggestion to have a system in place where you can create a marker and let someone else deal with it. I'm not sure we need to do anything to the releases but since the site switch I've definitely been less enthused to completely fill out all those extra fields, especially when you get to the various "sound systems" and "multiplayer features".

Creating a release is no more onerous than adding a platform, in that one can add as little or as much information as they want. You can start a new release, and just add "Atari 2600" and call it a day. This would populate the platforms, and keep it in sync. This seems like a no-brainer. Why duplicate tasks? What's the point in entering the same information over and over? The releases and platforms would be in perfect sync across the board. They should also, as I said, be listed in an intelligent order. It's insane that Super Mario Bros' first platform isn't NES.

#31 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@bhtav said:

Everyone who wants a style guide: This is important. It is also largely irrelevant, unless new editors are somehow forced to read it. Right now, new edits need to be reviewed in order to become live. Are new edits reviewed for tense, POV, etc? Obviously, it's a bad idea to stifle new editors, but problematic edits could also be an opportunity to link new editors to a style guide, and ask that they make some corrections.

All edits submitted by users with wiki point totals under a threshold have their edits reviewed by a moderator before the submission goes through. Anyone above the threshold can submit edits that go live immediately.

@prestige said:

Yeah, I agree about needing a style guide. I've been pretty involved in a few different wikis, and when I came to Giant Bomb's wiki a couple of years ago, the first thing I looked for and failed to find was a guide to article formatting. Yes, there's the "Wiki FAQ" in this forum, but it only offers an overview, not specifics about how articles should be laid out.

Instituting a style guide on this wiki is way easier than on most wikis because instead of having to get community consensus, Jeff can just decree one. Or the moderators could write one, and Jeff could OK it. Hell, I've even considered just writing one myself (even though I have no authority on this wiki), posting it on this forum, and saying "You guys can use this if you like it, or ignore it if you don't."

The user-led rules approach has led to problems in the past, particularly when a certain bloc of users attempted to delete all compilation titles from the wiki. That did not go over well.

As for a wiki style guide in general, at this point, it's better to just wait for Jeff's style guide videos to go live.

#32 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@bhtav said:

Everyone who wants a style guide: This is important. It is also largely irrelevant, unless new editors are somehow forced to read it. Right now, new edits need to be reviewed in order to become live. Are new edits reviewed for tense, POV, etc? Obviously, it's a bad idea to stifle new editors, but problematic edits could also be an opportunity to link new editors to a style guide, and ask that they make some corrections.

All edits submitted by users with wiki point totals under a threshold have their edits reviewed by a moderator before the submission goes through. Anyone above the threshold can submit edits that go live

Yes, you keep summarily dismissing what I say. You quoted the part of my own message where I said "Right now, new edits need to be reviewed in order to become live." Obviously, I already know that "All edits submitted by users with wiki point totals under a threshold have their edits reviewed by a moderator before the submission goes through. Anyone above the threshold can submit edits that go live". Please take a second and read what I say or don't bother responding with your dismissive remarks, as you have throughout this entire thread.

What I asked was: "Are new edits reviewed for tense, POV, etc?"

In other words, it seems that new edits are allowed to go live, even when badly written. If a new editor writes in the second person (as an example), they should be corrected, so that by the time they have full editing privileges, they aren't writing in the second person. The fact that many (most?) of the articles in the wiki have major problems, means that badly written articles are slipping through, and new editors aren't being corrected before they are no longer reviewed.

Or, is it a problem with long-time editors not having proper guidance? Most likely a combination thereof.

EDIT: Hmmm, maybe the communication breakdown was in my phrasing of "new edits" rather than "new editors' edits" which is what I was referring to. My bad, if that's the case. I'm talking about moderated edits by new editors.

#33 Edited by LordAndrew (13982 posts) -

Perhaps you're not aware of the enormous backlogs that have built up over the years. Yes, tagging is more efficient than tagging. And that's a problem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Articles_lacking_sources_from_October_2006

There are also problems with tags not being removed after the tagged issues are fixed, sometimes because no one understood what was wrong with the article in the first place.

I am a Wikipedian. I recognize there are many problems with the way things are done on English Wikipedia, and I do not wish for Giant Bomb to inherit those problems.

#34 Posted by LordAndrew (13982 posts) -

It's hard to say whether new editors are given guidance on style. It probably varies depending on the moderator that approved it. We reached the live edit threshold with a completely different set of moderators long before there were any style guidelines so our experiences wouldn't be much help.

#35 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

Perhaps you're not aware of the enormous backlogs that have built up over the years. Yes, tagging is more efficient than tagging. And that's a problem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Articles_lacking_sources_from_October_2006

There are also problems with tags not being removed after the tagged issues are fixed, sometimes because no one understood what was wrong with the article in the first place.

I am a Wikipedian. I recognize there are many problems with the way things are done on English Wikipedia, and I do not wish for Giant Bomb to inherit those problems.

Yes, there is a backlog, but:

1) The Wikipedia is an encyclopedia of everything, with many orders of magnitude more content than the Giant Bomb Wiki will ever have.

2) Most of those Wikipedia backlogs (such as the one you pointed out regarding sources) are not relevant to Giant Bomb (which isn't sourced)

3) Having a large backlog doesn't present a problem, it gives an editor a place to go to immediately tackle problems without having to randomly stumble. Having a backlog or not having a backlog has no effect on the Giant Bomb Wiki, it simply makes it easier to start to tackle problems

Regarding tags that aren't removed:

I don't think the tags should be visible to the Wiki reader, so having a tag or not having a tag doesn't change the experience of reading the Wiki. Any editor with a mind to navigate to the log of problem pages and start fixing them would also have the sense to remove the tag after doing so, no?

Regarding tags that aren't specific ("sometimes because no one understood what was wrong with the article in the first place."):

There only need to be a few tags for very obvious major issues, such as articles written in second person, articles which are written like reviews rather than articles, etc... If an article is tagged as second person, it's trivial to determine what's wrong. I'm not talking about tagging articles for every little thing (the issue with Wikipedia - and I completely agree with you there). Wikipedia gets bogged because there are so many onerous lists of requirements for articles - every single fact must be sourced, and the sources must be reliable, and properly indicated - not to mention notability, overly technical, etc etc etc...

I'm proposing a few basic tags for very major issues that would be straightforward to tackle. More subtle stylistic issues could continue to be dealt with on an article-by-article basis.

#36 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@bhtav: Tagging really doesn't do anything if those tags are never acted upon, though. And when a wiki is drowning in tags, how does that help the situation? You're basically calling attention to so many pages at once that they cease to have any sense of urgency. Size of the wiki doesn't matter; whether it's Wikipedia or Giant Bomb, if you have thousands of tags floating around with no sense of priority other than "Hey, maybe someone should take care of this at some point," few people are actually going to take care of anything specifically because of the tags.

#37 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@bhtav: Tagging really doesn't do anything if those tags are never acted upon, though. And when a wiki is drowning in tags, how does that help the situation? You're basically calling attention to so many pages at once that they cease to have any sense of urgency. Size of the wiki doesn't matter; whether it's Wikipedia or Giant Bomb, if you have thousands of tags floating around with no sense of priority other than "Hey, maybe someone should take care of this at some point," few people are actually going to take care of anything specifically because of the tags.

Why in the world would they not be acted upon? Even Wikipedia has legions of people acting on the most important problems (try vandalizing a page and see how long it lasts).

"You're basically calling attention to so many pages at once that they cease to have any sense of urgency."

No, it makes it incredibly efficient. And if you admit there is any urgency, than ANY system is better than NO system. This is why basically every system of any sort (wiki or otherwise!) tracks problems, bugs, errors, or what have you in a centralized location. This is how bugs work in open source software - you tag a bug in firefox, and a programmer confirms and fixes it.

"few people are actually going to take care of anything specifically because of the tags."

No. That is absolutely false. This is borne out by the countless wikis use this precise system because it works. In fact, absolutely ANY system works better than the stumble and edit system right now (which is functionally admitting defeat - the wiki will continue to be poorly written without a system in place to fix it.). YOU might not want to efficiently edit wiki articles in a convenient list because ... I still have no idea why... but don't speak for everyone. In fact, on this single thread, if just the people who have already agreed with me edit a few tagged articles a day, we'd be well under way to cleaning up Giant Bomb's Wiki. There really is nothing else like it; right now it's like a game in beta, and you're advocating that a bug list is useless... just fix them as you stumble on them. That doesn't work. Which is why software has central bug lists, that get tagged by beta testers, who aren't necessarily the same people who will fix the problems.

#38 Posted by Jeff (3336 posts) -

@bhtav: Yup, the Platform field should essentially be tied to the Releases section and dates should only be editable at the Release level. That was the original plan. Currently it's sort of a kludge because we find that many users don't edit the Releases pages...

...because those Release pages can be pretty unfriendly. It's a lot of weird data, and on some level, it should be slightly unfriendly to prevent new users that don't understand what Releases are from going in and entering bad data. We have some other ideas about how to best handle Releases floating around internally.

I think the longterm solution for tense and other content issues is a replacement for the old wiki task system. It's a more general "Needs Help" button that users can hit when they see bad pages and get a selectable list of potential issues with a page (tense, POV, promotional link spam, outdated info). Those then get filed into a system so any user wanting to make a direct impact can see what's been flagged the most. I think that'd handle your desire for specific tagging pretty well without having to clutter up the concept pages with a bunch of wiki-focused concept pages.

We currently have an issue with how dates are displayed in some spots. Games with Japanese releases, for example, are floating onto the homepage's New Releases section, even when their US release is months away. Dealing with dates and regions has actually been pretty tricky for us over the years due to a desire to make the system easy to use while also providing deeper, more expert-level data points. It's a tough balancing act!

You're also right that unchecked data points on the release boxes should be totally suppressed on game pages instead of showing as grayed out. That's a change I've been meaning to file for some time now.

Staff
#39 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

@jeff said:

@bhtav: Yup, the Platform field should essentially be tied to the Releases section and dates should only be editable at the Release level. That was the original plan. Currently it's sort of a kludge because we find that many users don't edit the Releases pages...

...because those Release pages can be pretty unfriendly. It's a lot of weird data, and on some level, it should be slightly unfriendly to prevent new users that don't understand what Releases are from going in and entering bad data. We have some other ideas about how to best handle Releases floating around internally.

I think the longterm solution for tense and other content issues is a replacement for the old wiki task system. It's a more general "Needs Help" button that users can hit when they see bad pages and get a selectable list of potential issues with a page (tense, POV, promotional link spam, outdated info). Those then get filed into a system so any user wanting to make a direct impact can see what's been flagged the most. I think that'd handle your desire for specific tagging pretty well without having to clutter up the concept pages with a bunch of wiki-focused concept pages.

We currently have an issue with how dates are displayed in some spots. Games with Japanese releases, for example, are floating onto the homepage's New Releases section, even when their US release is months away. Dealing with dates and regions has actually been pretty tricky for us over the years due to a desire to make the system easy to use while also providing deeper, more expert-level data points. It's a tough balancing act!

You're also right that unchecked data points on the release boxes should be totally suppressed on game pages instead of showing as grayed out. That's a change I've been meaning to file for some time now.

Thanks Jeff! That basically clears it all up.

Regarding releases - I see what you mean. Also, releases are console specific, so it would also make sense to remove a lot of those unfriendly fields for older consoles which don't support them (i.e. no sense on having ratings fields for any old consoles, etc...). If a release seems daunting, I still think it's better to leave it to the more experienced editor, just to keep the consoles and releases in sync, rather than user-editable consoles. And they really should be chronological (that game boy advance being the first Super Mario Bros console haunts me).

I love the tagging solution, that's EXACTLY what I'm after.

I've noticed the same thing with dates. I personally say handle it through releases, just like consoles, keep everything in sync (complexity be damned for correctness). It's actually really straightforward to just enter a console and date as a new release any way. Also, I feel releases would be much more useful in a grid, where you can compare different releases, rather than a list where you can't. Sortable fields would be great (e.g. sort by date of release, or by publisher)

As far as unchecked datapoints, maybe (long-term) it would be cool to have console-specific data points. For the Atari, things like paddle support, two-player, etc... instead of camera and widescreen support.

EDIT: ... and there's that 5 post limit again. Talk to you all tomorrow :)

#40 Edited by Mento (2257 posts) -

Sounds pretty promising Jeff. I wasn't sure whether to support implementing a whole new system on top of the current wiki infrastructure to highlight problem pages because it sounded like more trouble than it was worth, but if you guys have plans in place to introduce one I'm happy to hear it. We do kind of need one, and specifically one that is able to highlight separately pages with grammatical/spelling/style errors (which can be fixed by anyone) and those lacking information/text (which can only really be done by people who know the subject).

I could've sworn adding new releases adds those platforms to the wiki. Maybe it's just that one initial instance. I'd be fine with bhtav's suggestion to just block out the platforms section and let people create empty releases once the relationship between the two has been fixed (or, hell, vice versa: create a blank release whenever you add a platform, similar to how you can create blank game/character/concept/etc. pages while editing another).

Moderator Online
#41 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

@bhtav said:

No. That is absolutely false. This is borne out by the countless wikis use this precise system because it works. In fact, absolutely ANY system works better than the stumble and edit system right now (which is functionally admitting defeat - the wiki will continue to be poorly written without a system in place to fix it.). YOU might not want to efficiently edit wiki articles in a convenient list because ... I still have no idea why... but don't speak for everyone. In fact, on this single thread, if just the people who have already agreed with me edit a few tagged articles a day, we'd be well under way to cleaning up Giant Bomb's Wiki. There really is nothing else like it; right now it's like a game in beta, and you're advocating that a bug list is useless... just fix them as you stumble on them. That doesn't work. Which is why software has central bug lists, that get tagged by beta testers, who aren't necessarily the same people who will fix the problems.

Again, I'll refer back to the previous wiki task system. Pages were tagged with tasks, but only a relative few users ever made concerted efforts to act on them. Giant Bomb doesn't have an editorship of the size of Wikipedia, nor as dedicated. Check my history and you'll see I'm one of the most active wiki editors on the site. I've gotten into a lot of arguments over minutiae that sometimes devolved into bullshit. I made an effort to attack any wiki task I felt that I could handle. But I'd also argue that I'm part of a core set of wiki power editors. There were inevitably tasks there remained uncompleted for months despite prominent listing on the task page, and some tasks were around for so long that I think they were just taken down after a while because no one was going to bother with them.

There was a time when the task system was highly effective, mostly around when MK9 came out and the task list was loaded with Mortal Kombat character pages. However, this list had to be maintained by moderators, and the moderators only have so much time in the day to take suggestions, or add tasks, or verify that tasks were complete properly. The only way that a wiki task list would work in the long term is if there are editors willing to tackle tasks and if those who hold the responsibility of maintaining the tasks have the time to maintain it. That did not always seem to be the case on either end. It was like a bug log managed by overworked PMs and acted on by very few programmers.

Finally, I should apologize again for my behavior toward you in this thread. Though I will say that "Wikification of the wiki" sounds like a nonsense phrase that that only has meaning to the Wikipedia elite. (What the hell does "wikifying a wiki" even mean? Isn't that like sportifying baseball?)

#42 Edited by Brackynews (3966 posts) -

@blacklagoon said:

...wiki manager on staff,

...unless a skilled volunteer with a lot of free time comes along.

I am literally baffled why you don't believe we already have those people in spades?

@mento: What you've described in post #21 could be (and sometimes was) accomplished quite well by the Guide system. Except we no longer have a Guide system... :( But it was always kinda busted, and they never seemed to want to add "crowd-editable lists", so what do internet folks do? Make threads, or make personal lists which can have comments.

Either way, owned posts of any kind (including as Hailinel mentions, a wiki task list) swiftly become out of date unless everyone can edit everything to clean up the list itself. Same principle any wiki is based on: to remove the inherent problems with turnover and time limitations to completing a task, by removing ownership of editing the contents. At which point, it comes down to trust and oversight.

#43 Edited by bhtav (49 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@bhtav said:

No. That is absolutely false. This is borne out by the countless wikis use this precise system because it works. In fact, absolutely ANY system works better than the stumble and edit system right now (which is functionally admitting defeat - the wiki will continue to be poorly written without a system in place to fix it.). YOU might not want to efficiently edit wiki articles in a convenient list because ... I still have no idea why... but don't speak for everyone. In fact, on this single thread, if just the people who have already agreed with me edit a few tagged articles a day, we'd be well under way to cleaning up Giant Bomb's Wiki. There really is nothing else like it; right now it's like a game in beta, and you're advocating that a bug list is useless... just fix them as you stumble on them. That doesn't work. Which is why software has central bug lists, that get tagged by beta testers, who aren't necessarily the same people who will fix the problems.

Again, I'll refer back to the previous wiki task system. Pages were tagged with tasks, but only a relative few users ever made concerted efforts to act on them. Giant Bomb doesn't have an editorship of the size of Wikipedia, nor as dedicated. Check my history and you'll see I'm one of the most active wiki editors on the site. I've gotten into a lot of arguments over minutiae that sometimes devolved into bullshit. I made an effort to attack any wiki task I felt that I could handle. But I'd also argue that I'm part of a core set of wiki power editors. There were inevitably tasks there remained uncompleted for months despite prominent listing on the task page, and some tasks were around for so long that I think they were just taken down after a while because no one was going to bother with them.

There was a time when the task system was highly effective, mostly around when MK9 came out and the task list was loaded with Mortal Kombat character pages. However, this list had to be maintained by moderators, and the moderators only have so much time in the day to take suggestions, or add tasks, or verify that tasks were complete properly. The only way that a wiki task list would work in the long term is if there are editors willing to tackle tasks and if those who hold the responsibility of maintaining the tasks have the time to maintain it. That did not always seem to be the case on either end. It was like a bug log managed by overworked PMs and acted on by very few programmers.

Finally, I should apologize again for my behavior toward you in this thread. Though I will say that "Wikification of the wiki" sounds like a nonsense phrase that that only has meaning to the Wikipedia elite. (What the hell does "wikifying a wiki" even mean? Isn't that like sportifying baseball?)

I'm not saying that tagging will instantly fix everything, but it's a starting point for anyone who wants to do some good. Even if there are "relatively few" editors who will do so, relatively few is better than virtually none. Maintaining the list would be largely automatic - the only caveat would be editors needing to remove tags once they fix problems - but if an editor has a mind to fix a problem, they are probably of a mind to un-tag as well. The task list may have needed some streamlining to get more people involved.

Wikification is not a new or uncommon term. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wikify It simply means to adapt articles make use of wiki tools. I'm sorry if the wiki speak seems elitist or annoying to you, but Giant Bomb's Wiki is... a wiki. Wikis have been around for some time now, and a large toolset has been developed and implemented across myriad other wikis (Wikipedia is just one wiki). Because relatively few articles on this wiki are wikified (many/most are written incorrectly in some way), the entire Giant Bomb Wiki could use wikifying (wikification is the noun / wikify is the verb). It's not a "nonsense phrase"; it's not something unique to Wikipedia, it's a (very) commonly used concept across wikis. Google wikify and find over half a million hits; Google wikification and get over 70k. As a major contributor to a wiki, I'm surprised you've never come across the phrase, except that Giant Bomb is in dire need of... well, you know.

In any case, apology accepted; I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities to get into dust-ups over changes and articles :) On other various wikis, I've spent as much time editing and adding articles, as working on improving and streamlining the process (which is a fairly democratic process at many wikis, not just Wikipedia). I had to submit a Baby Pac-Man article (The hybrid pinball / arcade game) multiple times on Wikipedia, only to have it removed for notability issues (since rectified). That sort of annoyance is why I've decided to re-focus here, rather than there.