BestPractices/PastComments

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Comments Archived 15 No 2004

(Egocentric comment bumping) Given some pretty abhorrent flame-esque behavior that managed to draw the ire of Scott Taylor, I had a thought: Would anyone be interested in a livejournal community/page as a place to relocate some of the more heated (and less aesthetically pleasing) discussions, where people could use an already well structured and well coded (in regards to point by point responses) site to argue with each other? I think something like that could be useful as a means to de-clutter the wiki. I think it'd be good to move debates off the site so that the Wiki could remain more of a place for collaboration and resource/generation. - EJGRgunner

I think this is fair enough as far as it goes, as long as you specifically exclude supbages of user pages. That should be up to the individual user. ^_^ -- BrokenShade

Don't know where else to ask this. How does one go about getting a page deleted? Should one simply do a major edit with the message "delete me" or something?\\ ~ Shataina

You can't exactly delete a page easily. The process I normally use is as follows ...
1. copy any text I want to preserve to a new page
2. edit the old page, delete the contents, and save it
3. do a search (using the search function at page bottom) for all pages that link to the old page, and change the links on those pages to point to the new page.
(note that you could use the REDIRECT function instead of step 3, but I personally think redirecting is messy. ^_^) -- BrokenShade

UserPages shouldn't be exempt. One of the things which makes the wiki hard to navigate is the tendency for people to place everything they do in subpages of their Userpages. See the third paragraph of the first bullet point for my feelings on this matter.

Really, the main point of this is to avoid bottlenecks. MartialArts is a bottleneck; all the styles are subpages of it, for no real reason -- they aren't categorized by author, and their names are unique enough that they could easily be top-level pages. Charms is a bottleneck; it's impossible to jump straight to SolarResistance or LunarShapeshifting, or even SolarCharms, without going through Charms and/or typing a redundant link (e.g. Charms/SolarCharms. A lot of UserPages are getting to be like this, too.

Bottlenecking is bad because it places artificial constraints on the way pages can be accessed.\\ _Ikselam

However, sometimes bottlenecking is good, if the bottleneck is necessary to place the content in proper context. For example, random Charms sitting on the top level would be bad, because it's often difficult to look at a Charm and immediately know what kind it is. Placing Charms as subpages of an appropriate category -- SolarMelee, SiderealLore, whatever -- makes it difficult to access them without being aware of their place in Charm taxonomy. This is the same reason I think it is good (or at least, not bad) for people to place their characters and game writeups in subpages of their UserPages -- the UserPage provides needed context.\\ _Ikselam

Ikselam, none of these things have caused problems for me, despite an inordinate amount of time on the wiki. But clearly they do cause problems for you, so it makes sense for you to change them. ^_^

However, if you removed the subpage nature of my user page it would cause a problem for me, as follows.

The reason I like subpages of my user page, is that the information on these subpages has the following characteristics:

  1. I want others to comment on it, and even suggest alternative formatting
  2. I don't want others to freely edit it (as I need it to be in the format I find useful)
  3. I believe they are useful for others to look at, and may help give them ideas

Allowing everyone to freely edit this information removes the benefit of 2, and makes putting the information on the wiki pointless. But removing the information from the wiki means that I don't get the benefit of 1 and 3. There has to be middle ground, and this middle ground is only provided by subpages of my user page.

Unless you can suggest another way to store this information, keeping all three of the above characteristics? ^_^ -- BrokenShade

Many of your campaign pages are examples of stuff which probably should go under a UserPage, because they're idiosyncratic to you. However, some of it just has no reason to be buried there. There are a bunch of pages that are just generic cheat-sheets, not specific to you in any way besides the fact that you typed them.

Actually you would be surprised how specific to me those "cheat sheets are". Others have gone in and changed them and I had to change them back (they didn't mean any harm). The format I like is also significantly different to the format others seem to like - perhaps that is part of my problem here. ^_^

The point here is that I would never see any of the useful information in your UserPage subpages unless I already knew it was there. Even from visiting your UserPage, it's not readily apparent what's hanging off it. You need to dig through multiple pages to figure out what's there. You doubtless find this really convenient, since you know exactly what's where. However, to the casual observer, it's really opaque. No one except you will find it easy to benefit from the stuff you have written there. One of the basic points of the wiki is that it's a place to share ideas, not a place to archive stuff purely for your own personal use.

I don't have problems navigating the wiki. This is because I've been using it since it went up, and because I check RecentChanges constantly. But I can imagine ways in which it could be organized better, and by better I mean more transparently. The Charm subpages, in particular, are a joke. They're redundant and obfuscatory. UserPages are becoming little islands where people keep all their interesting stuff, even if that interesting stuff is not anything which benefits from being "proprietary" to them. Part of this, I think, stems from paranoia about other people "messing up my stuff." I think this attitude is kind of foolish. How often do you see people actually altering the content of any not-explicitly-collaborative page, except to leave comments? Based on my understanding of prevailing ExaltedWiki etiquette, it's not necessary to worry about anyone screwing up your ideas. What's of more concern is that the wiki is gradually trending toward a format which discourages casual users (i.e., those who don't hit RecentChanges every day) from ever even finding others' ideas, much less commenting on them.

Note that it will be an incredible pain in the ass to go through and rearrange stuff, but I think the results will be worth it.\\ _Ikselam

It sounds more as if linking is your problem, and that is not affected by subpages (which are really just used to change the name of the sheet you linked to by inserting a prefix).

I think you might be surprised by how accessible my cheat sheets are. When I think anything on my user page is particularly useful I make sure there are multiple links to the information. I did that for my combo construction pages (from Combat/Solars etc), Mail and Steel sheet (from Combat/MailAndSteel) , individual challenges pages (from IndividualChallenges) etc.

In fact its quite a coincidence, I specifically created each of those "global" pages, some of them a while back, to provide navigational tools for the community. I believe that each page should be accessible from multiple other pages (that the information is relevant to). That, to me, is a "better" fix. ^_^ -- BrokenShade

See, you should have named them SolarCombat, MailAndSteel, etc. Top-level pages are inherently more intuitive than subpages, and therefore easier to find. I think that's the thrust of what he's saying, anyway. -dissolvegirl

Well, I named them before I came across these discussions. ^_^ And I guess I don't agree, disolvegirl! I find subpages more intuitive not less. Besides, the only real way to make a page accessible is to insert links to it from elsewhere, which is what I do ... changing the page name (i.e. not making it a subpage) seems to accomplish nothing? I truly don't object if you want to change page names though. I just don't want people changing the names of my userpage or its subpages, for the reasons given above. ^_^

Whoever put up above that subpages of user pages are ok, thank you kindly!

The ways I know of to find pages you don't know about are

- following a series of links (e.g. Important Links to Combat to Combat/Solars etc)
- doing a search using the search function at the bottom of the page
- recent changes
- the random function

None of these are any harder to use if the page is a subpage. Am I missing something?

If someone could give a concrete example of a subpage, how it is difficult to find, and how it would be easier to find if it were a top level page that might help me understand. I just don't see it yet. Nevertheless, I will try not to create any more supbages except subpages of my user page. ^_^ -- BrokenShade

What Ikselam is suggesting is a GoodIdea, because it increases page accessibility. When we talk about PageAcessibility, we're not talking about how easy it is to get to, we're talking about how visible it is to someone who doesn't know it's there. If I was looking for CheatSheets, and I didn't know that BrokenShade had some CheatSheats, then I wouldn't know how to find them. This is the danger of UserPage SubPages. Still, they are good when you have content clearly associated with yourself (like campeign data) that probably won't be sought after by folks new to the wiki but still can be up for people who need it (people in your game) or people who are interested (watching via RecentChanges).

SubPages are a dangerous trap. They're useful sometimes, but they're also more hidden. You don't just accidently type in a SubPages as a WikiWord, because the culture surrounding SubPages is intertwined with the AdHocPractices of UserPages. This is not bad, per se, but it's something that we should realize. So, making your content easier to find (and thusly, more visible and more likely to draw comments and readers) is to your benefit.

So, the hidden-aspect of this is just one problem. The other proplem is that SubPages are harder to link to than normal pages. It's easy to bang out a WikiWord OnTheSpurOfTheMoment, and indeed that's why WikiWords in traditional wikis do not have special markup. It's designed to proliferate linking. Think of this like you would think of aerating soil. You mix things up and make sure that related pages naturally have a short distance from one-another. SubPages do not have this property, which is easy to see intuitively.

Another problem with SubPages is that they're more confusing than standard WikiWords. Most people associate the SlashNotation of SubPages with file system paths like on your computer. This leads to confusion. I still see people try and nest SubPages deeper than rank 1, even from experienced folks. It's easy to make that mistake.

I enabled SubPages (and have left them on) because they are very useful in some scenarios, and I believe in having a large well-managed toolbox to a small limited one. However, overuse of them can be ConsideredHarmful for a variety of reasons. This doesn't mean you can't use them where you find it's appropriate. It just means we should prefer other methods to SubPages if possible.

-- DaveFayram

I think the argument is not that subpages are not, in and of themselves, difficult to find, but rather that the organisation of them can be somewhat counterintuitive or difficult to follow. I can see Ikselam's point about the difference between Charms/MoxianeSolarResistance vs. SolarResistance/Moxiane (to use an egoistic example), and the latter being better. - Moxiane

Indeed. Because if someone is looking for content written by you personally, they will start at your UserPage, but if they are looking for content in general, they will not. In other words, we want art museums, not private collections. -- DaveFayram

I don't understand how "art museums" and "private collections" are in any way exclusive. Its easy enough to have both at the same time (the collection via subpages of a user page in their own linking stucture, and the art museum by different links from the relevant museum section). I want both, not just one! ^_^

I agree that subpages don't contribute to organisation (they are more an expression of ownership by another page). My use of them outside of my user page was according to what seemed to make the most sense (to me) at the time. And it does make just as much sense to limit subpages to user pages. ^_^

I do have a slight concern now that there needs to be more linking to user pages, and that people aren't using the search facilities as well as they could.

Anyway, thanks for listening and for the replies. Its a rather interesting subject. ^_^ -- BrokenShade

Being my normal busybody compulsively-organising self I have set up a couple of Charms pages according to the principles stated above, namely SolarArchery and SolarResistance, tried to set up a simple format for the index pages and copied the content across. I have deliberately left the original content alone, but having multiple copies of the same work scattered all over the Wiki is a BadThing (multiple pathways to the same work is a GoodThing IMHO, though). So, the question is would emptying the old non-BestPractice pages and redirecting them to the new ones ruffle anyones feathers? - Moxiane

Not mine, anyway. It looks like you are working hard! ^_^ -- BrokenShade

I didn't know where to put this, so I'll put it here. I've run into this with my MA, and I see that Moxiane has recently run into it with (his? her? gah, silly linguistic categories) artifacts - should there be a universal way of marking a bit of content that pertains solely to a personal houserule? For example, I houserule MA Charms to require (usually) at least one extra Ability. Should there be some sort of flag I can put on these bits of content to denote that they pertain solely to my houserules, and I'm not actually making a style that requires extra Abilities without that houserule? Or should pages just have some sort of disclaimer at the top if they include content of this sort? The latter option would be simpler, but the former would (in my mind) make the wiki a bit more uniform (which idea i quite like). - SMK

The times this comes up, I tend to make a italicized note at the end of the charm -- CrownedSun

One option, which I am going to do, is to make the bit of personalised content (artefact ranking for me, extra Ability requirements for your MA, frex) a link to an appropriate Wiki page. The fact that it's a link is immediately obvious, and anyone interested can click on it to see what it means. - Moxiane

This is probably a really good idea, Mox. I'll go through and update my MA styles... at... some... point... *lazy*. - SMK

Comments Archived 21 Apr 2010

Well, here's the deal with this page. The excellent Ikselam originally wrote it because he was trying to get his ideas about subpages down, but I didn't realize that when I first found it; I thought it was intended to be a kind of guide for how to work with pages as a polite wikizen, and I thought it was incomplete, so I soon edited the hell out of it and then added a bunch of new stuff. (Delayed apologies, Ikselam.) (See, this is an example as to why you should put very obvious and clear indication of authorship on pages.) As such, this page is a work in progress that originally came from a page that was made for a totally different reason, so I apologize for places where it is unclear to the new wikizen. I've done my best, but I use this wiki way too much and even though I'm comparatively new (or at least I feel new compared to people like Ikselam), I'm still accustomed enough to using the site that I occasionally fail to make things clear (because I'm so used to them). If you're new, and are confused about any of the statements on this page, please leave a comment and I'll try to make it so obvious that you feel horribly patronized. <grin>
~ Shataina

I'm tempted to rewrite the section on subpages, for a couple of reasons. 1) The text doesn't really convey how the wiki now actually uses subpages these days. 2) All of its talk about "taxonomy" conveys the wrong message, making it seem like page names are intended to describe a category hierarchy "path". (These comments are also provably wrong, but that's sort of beside the point.) I think approach taken by the "What should I name a new page?" section of the HowDoIDoThat page is both more correct and less confusing. What do others think? - Wordman

Since no one commented on my previous comment over a year, I'm doing said changes. - Wordman

Thankyou! That's all I really have to say. I appreciate the work you do for this wiki. A lot. nikink
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