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My new Direction: Simplify

M.mendel January 28, 2011 User blog:M.mendel

This blog post is an overview of how I see our present situation. I am writing it to explain the thrust of my current initiatives on this wiki. I realize that there are other ways to perceive our situation, and other initiatives that have merit, and I am committed to support anyone in their initiatives. However, this is what drives mine.

The Situation


The GuildWiki community created most of the content on this wiki. Apart from the community shrinking as Guild Wars gets less popular as a game, there were three surges of editors leaving:

  1. when ArenaNet created wiki.guildwars.com and tied it into the game
  2. when GuildWiki moved from being hosted by Gravewit to being hosted by Wikia
  3. when GuildWiki moved from being hosted Wikia to being hosted by curse.com on guildwiki.org

This means that there are now 3 encyclopedic wikis with Guild Wars content. How is GuildWars Wikia different from the other two?

  1. We have the smallest editor base by far.
  2. We have Oasis, a skin that is oriented towards getting non-technical people involved
  3. We have the Wikia tool suite, again largely oriented to get a non-technical user base to contribute

Encyclopedic standards must go

It's pretty much consensus that we must abandon the encyclopedic standards by which this wiki grew. The reason is that it takes a large user base to update the content properly; guildwiki.org is already struggling to keep up, we simply haven't got a chance to do it as well as the other two. In short, it would be a losing race, and that's no fun.

To update the content in its present state requires much technical knowledge, which the audience we can hope to attract doesn't have.

Consequences

We seek new content. Freed from the shackles of having to be encyclopedic, we can add content to mainspace that would previously have raised controversy. We can present the community more in mainspace than we did before.

We embrace Wikia tools. They set us apart and help us reach a demographic the monobook wikis can't.

We simplify the wiki. Since we want to invite new contributors to take responsibilities, we shouldn't expect them to have to first read lots of pages and learn lots of technicalities.

We remove maintenance burdens. With a reduced and not as technically savvy community, maintenance tasks need to be simplified so they don't present a burden to present and future staff, especially in the light of future Wikia skin updates that might need to be met with an even more "skeleton" crew than the present.

Initiatives

  1. Main Page redesign to be more like other Wikia wikis, more community-oriented
  2. switch on and use more Wikia tools (RTE, Achievements, ...)
  3. simplify wiki layout: cut down on css "tricks" and hardcoded layout (background colors, ...)
  4. remove customizations, run more on Wikia defaults (I've deleted a lot of MediaWiki: namespace)
  5. remove inactive "legacy" content (abandoned projects etc.)
  6. simplify policies (style guides etc., red tape)
  7. work on "maintenance" special pages (this is made a lot easier with removing unused content)
  8. refactor templates (e.g. the notices) and subst: as much as possible (good for RTE)

Outlook

Once these initiatives have reached a satisfactory state, I hope to cut down the time I dedicate to this wiki to a level closer to what I was at most of last year.

As I have mentioned, these initiatives are what I personally would like to do, from my perspective, and I'm doing it. However, I am very curious what your perspective will lead you to do, and I'm committed to support anyone who wants to improve this wiki in any way if it doesn't make it more complicated.

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