Forums: Index > Watercooler > Avoiding becoming a storage site

A passing comment by Kormok on the Blizzard ER forums got me thinking. It was in regards to posting the stories from the fiction contest he and others have run (which was fantastic, btw!), and he put into words a perception that I think many share: "It's also the equivalent of moving a cool magazine to a closet before anyone's had a chance to read it when it sits out on the coffee table."

Whether you agree or disagree with the view, I do think it's the perception that a number of members of the community have, so this is no slam on Kormok. For me, it makes me wonder how we make this wiki more than a library or archive.

To that end, I'm wondering if there's some way to have an automatically updating box or scroll on the main page that highlights new articles. Personally, the most frequent page I visit here is 'Recent Changes' precisely because I want to see what's new! I checked wowwiki and they have code like this for a 'news' box on their page, but I can't tell if this is automatically pulling information from another page.

WOWWIKI NEWS BOX --> {| class="mainpagetable toccolors collapsible" cellpadding="8px" cellspacing="0" |- class="mainpagetabledarkblue" ! style="text-align:left;" | <span style="font-size:125%; line-height:90%;">'''[[WoWWiki:News|<span class="speciallink">WoWWiki news</span> »]]'''</span> |- class="mainpagetableblue" | {{:Main Page/News}} |- class="mainpagetabledarkblue" |  [[Image:Icon-news.png|News icon]]   '''Visit [[WoWWiki:News]] for more WoWWiki news.''' |}

The calendar of events and these forums have not, to date, gotten folks to visit the site routinely to see what's new. Even the highlighted articles don't accomplish this, in my opinion. I'm curious if others see this as something we should address, and, if so, how we can do that. --Tai 19:46, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

I think we need to update the wiki thread on the forums as a weekly thing. I've repeatedly run into people who think that the frequency of updates to that thread is indicative of the frequency material is added to the wiki. It is a regular reminder for people who don't regularly look at the wiki. I've tried to do this periodically, but it gets awkward doing it on weeks I've contributed (and I didn't this week for what I feel are obvious reasons). I also think we need to put in more effort to gather the stories and other information scattered across guild sites and realm forums onto the wiki, as, currently, we're just another scattered source among scattered sources rather than the comprehensive database the wiki was intended to be. --Eupheria 01:38, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

I apologize, Eupheria, but I'm not completely in the loop, so the reasons are not obvious to me. If you could elaborate for me, please?

Tai, let me make sure I understand this much correctly before proceeding: you want the ERWiki to at least be a library and archive, but you also want it to be more than that. Do I understand correctly?

--Cogitatus 16:56, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Cog, I awarded one of Eupheria's characters the character/guild page of the week, so she's being humble. Also, you are correct. I think that the ER Wiki is the best library and archive that we have currently and I think that's a very valuable role. In fact, I consider it essential to what we're doing here. Eupheria makes a good point about trying to be more comprehensive, though there will be some point of diminishing returns.
Eupheria, I had no idea folks looked at the date on the stickied thread on the Blizz ER forums! Now that I know that, I'll try to bump that occasionally. That's a great way to make sure people come to the 'front door'.
I still think, though, that we need something on the front page or some prominent feature that clearly sends the message that this wiki is where new, exciting things happen and that ER RPers would do well to keep an eye on what's happening here. It's not good if folks think of this as a 'closet'! --Tai 19:25, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I also don't want people to think of it as a "closet", but the original point of the wiki was to have a comprehensive resource, not to replace the realm forums, or even compete with them. In any case, I'm working with Lil on the thing for the main page. After looking over WoWwiki's coding, I think we need to use something like what we do for featured stuff (that being make a page and a template that are linked and manually update them). Then we can list new articles, stories and art without frequent edits washing them off the front page.
As for the realm forums, would you guys be interested in making a set rotation for doing a weekly realm forum topic or bump on the wiki thread? What about making contests a regular thing? Maybe one a month? Do you think a news section on the front page with upcoming events and the like might help? --Eupheria 21:48, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

The situation is deeper than it may at first appear. After speaking with some of the general public, one of the greatest concerns for the wiki at this time should be the amount of new content coming in, where it comes from, and how it is presented.

We need to be a closet--a well-organized, easily-accessed closet with lots of new things to see and do. We have to be comprehensive, and get as much content as possible: character pages, stories, art, and any other ideas that may be put to images or print. We all know that concept well, but an important factor in that is the content must be presentable and enjoyable. We need effective sorting, access, and formatting methods so that when people place something on the ER Wiki, it will be put in the closet, but it will not be difficult for someone to find it again.

For our site, traffic is closely related to quantity and quality. To make traffic, we need to have fresh content; for fresh content, we need rewards. The simplest and perhaps most valuable reward we can give community members is the knowledge that what they place on the wiki does not go into a corner and collect dust, but is given proper care and respect. The community should know that articles will be 1)Sorted, 2)Edited, 3)Linked, and 4)Featured.

1)Sort - Everything needs their proper categories.
2)Edit - Fixing page formatting, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
3)Link - Wikis need links. Lots of them. Links to other articles on the ER Wiki and interwiki links to the WoWWiki should be considered part of the foundation of this site.
4)Feature - The community at large is a powerful part of the first three actions, but featuring is largely up to the moderator staff. Highlighting pages and making contests are great ways to get the community more involved.

Without the four points above, the community will not participate fully in the ER Wiki's project. We are doing well with sorting our pages. Editing is done approximately half of the time, and the pages that need it most are often those that are untouched; this may be due to users and moderators not wishing to alter the author's ideas (we will get further into this later). Linking is even less common, and the lack of such diminishes the feel of the wiki as an organic whole and isolates articles, thus weakening the site.

Weekly Features Snapshot Chart - 12/28/07

Our most dangerous problem, though, is regarding our featured articles as of late. Most of the featured articles in the past few months have been created by the same groups of people. While these groups are large contributors to the site, and perhaps have contributed more than 50% of the wiki's content, as the community sees these same groups highlighted consistently they read the situation as a very strong message: 'We're a clique.' Were it not for speaking with individuals and hearing this problem from their mouths, I never would have believed this to be the conception. Yet, we are at such a point. The diversity of content has not been great enough to overcome such public notions.

I believe all of you to be very correct in that we need more prominent displays of frequent community involvement. To take your ideas and move them into action, we can place a news blurb on the front page; we can use the news page as an archive, and place the latest news on the front page. Additionally, we should have weekly, rolling contests, cycling through stories, articles, and art with the condition that the content be placed on the wiki for judging in order to get a flow of fresh content from the community.

A link to the New Pages page may be prominently made on the main page of the wiki, and the link may be added to the ER Forums thread. We will see about how we may incorporate the WoWWiki's code in order to create a New Page or Recent Changes 'ticker' on the front page.

This leaves the forums and calendar still needing reform. Any propositions?

--Lilithia 19:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Very interesting patterns in the awards, Lil. My suspicion is not so much self-adulation amongst the mods so much as it being a reflection of contributions BUT that doesn't change perception. If folks are seeing it as exclusive, I agree that we need to overcome that. At the same time, we should encourage folks in our guilds to participate! (In fact, I'm sure we do, which leads to a skew in the input to the wiki which then results in an apparent skew in the 'outputted' rewards.)
To date, I have often used the 'New Pages' sort to look for new character or guild pages and attempted to find something there that warrants an award. Is it worth building on a strategy like that, where we provide an award to the best new material on the site, regardless of it being art, fiction or a guild/character page?
As for other suggestions, my suspicion is that the forums are not easy for folks to use and I'm not sure how to resolve that and get more use. So far, discussions here have tended to be among the heavy use wiki users. That said, I think an ER community calendar is one of the really valuable services we could provide. It's hard for any guild to believably provide that service, and I think it's a good niche to jump into. I don't know how to make something like that so it could be embedded but it'd be a nice feature if the ER Wiki calendar could show up on the web pages of various guilds! --Tai 20:50, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Want to see something interesting? Go to your personal preferences for your account and change your skin (I suggest "Slate," as the colors are easy on the eyes). Look at the box directly below the two 'spotlight' ads.
--Lilithia 21:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Some of the "Top Content" listings seem to be reverting to alphabetical order.
--Cogitatus 23:49, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

AUGH! Now I can't find anything and I'm lost and confused! That's just strange, how much difference a change in skins can make. Do we even have a link to "top content" on the default skin? When they're sorted by hits it's all A articles, which is odd - either casual browsers hitting the top of the lists, or maybe work by bots? Kind of neat that you can rate articles and whatnot on the slate skin. It's like a whole new wiki in here... It's kinda cool! Though I miss the dancing Tauren, I might leave it like this for a bit...

As for forums and calendars, I'll posit that wiki forums are counterintuitive and strange to many folks not comfortable with wikis. I'm not sure that making the forums into a dynamic conversation ground for the entire server is all that a) possible or b) desireable. I mean, that's what the server forums are for. The wiki's forums, to my mind, should be primarily used for talking about the wiki.

I like the idea of having a calendar for different guild events. Story night, meetings, weddings, etc. That seems pretty handy to me - if someone had the urge to RP they could check the calendar to see if anything was officially "goin' on" on ER that night. Having a link to it in the ER forums and putting it on the main page of the wiki would be neat. It would depend on guildmasters keeping it updated though.

As for the awards, I generally scout the recently modified page for inspiration on those. I've tried randomly clicking through character pages but that leads to a lot of dead ends, and pages that haven't been modified in two years or so. I like the idea of rewarding behaviour (I blame psych classes) so posting an award for someone who's checking the wiki actively seems like it would have higher impact - encouraging them to contribute more, and possibly tell their friends. I don't pay much attention to guild aside from trying not to constantly pick tiger pages. I can add WE and ToD to me "try to aim for someone else's page" list, if that's going to be a goal. Shall we put numbers on this? Say, 2 to 1? Two pages from non-our-guilds users to every one that is? I'm all for the changing-of-perceptions but I don't want to penalize the core wiki users either, by consistantly avoiding them. I mean, some of those pages are damn neat.

In conclusion, this skin is continuing to boggle my mind. --Krelle 14:17, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe setting quotas could only worsen the situation. The weekly features problem appears to be mostly stemming from a lack of new content.
Lacking any strong objections, I'm going to go ahead and change the skin for the site, if only for a week to get feedback. I really feel that changing the skin is an important step for us.
I'll draw up an agenda for actions, such as contests and new awards, and have it up by tomorrow morning for group review and decision.
--Lilithia 14:59, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

A lot of excellent points brought up here. I just want to take a quick moment to (once again) pitch the idea of badges to recognize pages. Everyone who makes a Wiki page might be eligible for one badge, while we might award others to people who have ongoing epic character sagas or lots of short stories about their various characters. We could also have badges for guilds whose members have X number of character pages in the ER Wiki.

It gives people shiny things for their pages, it doesn't *require* that they get recognition on the front page, and it gives us something to keep the Recent Changes page looking busy as we add badges.

It's also something we can announce on the ER forums in the Wiki thread as we post new badges.

--Stamp 17:23, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

After discussion elsewhere, consider my badge idea withdrawn. --Stamp 18:01, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

After using the new skin for a while, I'm starting to believe it could be a valuable asset and should be changed to default for all users. "Most Visited" apparently requires a few days of the skin being the default in order for it to kick in. "Newly Changed" is pretty self-explanatory, and works fine. "Highest Ratings" uses a ratings system that I think could add a new kind of user interaction into the wiki. "Most Popular" is actually something we can edit, and even change the name of; I'm tempted to use that to keep a list of active WikiQuests.

The best part, though? The new skin kills the ad banner.

--Lilithia 20:45, 25 February 2008 (UTC)