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Oluseyi

GameDev.net Wiki

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I originally suggested replacing General Programming with a Wiki in October of 2002. Based on a slew of recent comments in various forums (You''re gonna need a bigger FAQ, many of the suggestions in this forum) I''d like to propose to the community that we expand the Wiki to cover essentially all of GameDev.net. The moderators have discussed the idea and reception is favorable, but some specifics of the implementation details remain to be worked out. I want to present the idea to the community at large and gather feedback on how to go about it. For the uninitiated, a Wiki is "the simplest online database that could possibly work."
quote:
Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly. Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself. Like many simple concepts, "open editing" has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage. Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users.
Please see Wiki: What Is Wiki and Wiki Wiki Web Faq for more details, and for answers to questions on security and abuse. Examples of Wikis include Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia and the Portland Pattern Repository. Everything2 is also very similar in concept. GameDev.net is a huge repository of knowledge in the form of its members and their posts over the years, but that knowledge is dispersed throughout the site and in people who aren''t necessarily available all the time. Creating a Wiki would allow us to synthesize much of that knowledge into a single hyperlinked and cross-referenced, searchable database accessible to visitors at all times. Pages could be translated, providing this material in several languages. Content paths (like the Java Tutorial) could be created that gave overviews, detailed explanations or exhaustive analyses of various subjects. That''s the justification. Wiki software is readily available, implemented in a variety of languages, so technical implementation is a minor detail. To an extent I favor integrating with Wikipedia, but at the same time I support maintaining and adding value to the GDNet brand identity. Questions of copyrights and patents arise, though; generally, individuals retain the rights to their contributions, but give GameDev unrestricted license to publish said contributions. There were a few misgivings about competitors co-opting the technology/material and then trying to muscle GDNet out of the game. I''m still not clear on the dangers. What are your thoughts? What would you like to see? Thanks.

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In theory, yes, it''s a good idea. The practice could be somewhat different.

Often in graphics or game programming people have wildly different implementations and theories of how to do things which could result in a conflict of interest / knowledge within the wiki. Provided it is well managed and maintained, the wiki idea would work well in the Gamedev environment, especially in scenarios where there is a recognised and definitive answer. There''s also the possibility of people abusing the wiki, acting like idiots if they get trashed in the forums - I assume that is where good, consistent moderation comes into play.

Why not set one up for one of the medium popularity forums and give it a try?

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quote:
Original post by downgraded
In theory, yes, it''s a good idea. The practice could be somewhat different.

Often in graphics or game programming people have wildly different implementations and theories of how to do things which could result in a conflict of interest / knowledge within the wiki.
The Wiki doesn''t have to ordain any one solution as the "right" way. It can provide several suggestions side-by-side.

quote:
There''s also the possibility of people abusing the wiki, acting like idiots if they get trashed in the forums - I assume that is where good, consistent moderation comes into play.
Also intelligent software. Comments by people would be temporal - labelled as "suggestions" or "pending acceptance" - until approved by a site admin. That way anybody can contribute/edit, but only approved content makes it in.

quote:
Why not set one up for one of the medium popularity forums and give it a try?
I think I''ll do that. I have some webspace lying fallow...

Thanks for the suggestions. More!

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honestly it sounds like the site would turn into a big mess.
unless you are saying that tutorials and implementations of code mentioned in a forum would get their own code Wiki?

[edited by - Alpha_ProgDes on February 13, 2004 3:03:54 PM]

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It sounds like a good idea, however I wonder if anyone would read it? N00bs don''t seem to read the FAQ or any of the tutorial articles now as it is.

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I'm not convinced. I can't see it doing any harm, but it looks like a lot of effort for not much effect.

If nobody's reading the FAQs--hell, many don't even know they exist--then I can't see why reorganising their production would help. The problem isn't that the FAQs suck. Some are outdated, sure, but even a Wiki requires that *someone* write the content; it won't fill itself in for us. If people aren't interested in writing FAQs, why would they write a Wiki entry?

The problem, I believe, is that damned few people even realise the FAQs exist. In fact, the GameDev.Net homepage makes absolutely no reference to FAQs whatsoever. The "For Beginners" link isn't exactly prominent and it's not going to 'connect' mentally with newbies who, presumably, will be expecting a more obvious "Here are the FAQs!" link. (A surprising number of current visitors to GameDev.Net do not speak English as a first language, but the term 'FAQ' is known even in countries like Italy.)

Personally, I feel the best thing to do at this stage is to give the FAQs much more prominence during the user registration phase, with Anonymous Posters banned entirely to prevent reduce dumb posts.

I seriously think a redesign of the content navbar is in order. Some of the links appear to point at dead bits of the site. ("GD Showcase" hasn't been updated since December 2002.) Other links seem to be in the wrong places too. Surely the Articles should be listed under the "Features" heading and the Newsletter under "Community"? I can't help feeling that style has beaten the shit out of content.

Ultimately, if people aren't seeing the FAQs, changing the FAQs themselves isn't the answer. We need to attack the root cause.

Regards,

--
Sean Timarco Baggaley



[edited by - stimarco on February 13, 2004 3:01:38 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
The Wiki doesn''t have to ordain any one solution as the "right" way. It can provide several suggestions side-by-side.




True. What I was getting at was that these side-by-side suggestions could possibly conflict, confusing the inexperienced people that will be reading them. Of course, the best part of the wiki concept is being able to separate pages out by key words, informing the users of these sort of ''debates'', but providing the links to the wikis that contain them.


I think a sandbox version would be good for people to grasp the concept, I''m implementing a basic one soon for our intranet at work - but the userbase is only going to be 15 or so people, a far cry from the many thousand on Gamedev.


The other thing I think is important is the fact that people will probably be frightened of posting, maybe not some, the recognisable faces on the site, but some people who have ideas but get fired out for voicing them. I''d be interested to see the impact on the community, if it would remove some of the elitism that is around or whether it''d increase it - people could feel downhearted should their comments be regarded as poor and deleted from the wiki

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Good points, stimarco.

One thing that I''d like to see with the Wiki is for it to actually replace the forums, for the most part. A top-level contents would be the initial presentation, with prominent links to "About this site..." and "FAQs" (mostly operational), along with a search entry form. Search will generally turn up a useful result, and in the case that it doesn''t the visitor will be prompted to add a question (with an option to be notified of its answer via email).

Registered users would see outstanding collections of questions in addition to top-level content, so they can jump straight to those (which are effectively the discussion threads we have now) and make their contributions. These can then be synthesized and added to the Wiki. Because a lot of the core material would be already covered, there''d be less "junk". We''d probably have to keep the Lounge, though, because it doesn''t translate well to either a Wiki or IRC.

In addition, each page of the Wiki would have links to "Related Content" and "Viewers who read this page also read..." sections.

Comments?

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quote:
Original post by downgraded
True. What I was getting at was that these side-by-side suggestions could possibly conflict, confusing the inexperienced people that will be reading them. Of course, the best part of the wiki concept is being able to separate pages out by key words, informing the users of these sort of ''debates'', but providing the links to the wikis that contain them.
Exactly.
quote:
The other thing I think is important is the fact that people will probably be frightened of posting, maybe not some, the recognisable faces on the site, but some people who have ideas but get fired out for voicing them. I''d be interested to see the impact on the community, if it would remove some of the elitism that is around or whether it''d increase it - people could feel downhearted should their comments be regarded as poor and deleted from the wiki
This is interesting. I think that the discussion thread informing an editorial addition to the Wiki should be "frozen", so all contributions are maintained, and the editors extract from that a collection of opinions. In some instances a certain person''s post will comprise the bulk, but in most cases people will be able to see their own suggestions reflected.

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