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The currently dominant model seems to be WikiAsMicrocosmOfWeb. People create a UserPage, then hang their content off it in paths, creating an environment that's much like the WorldWideWeb, except with the not-so-tacit agreement that almost all content should be directly relevant to Exalted.

I think this is a natural outgrowth of the fact that, pretty much since its inception, one of ExaltedWiki's major functions has been to serve as an archive for CustomContent -- FanFiction, Charms, HouseRules, and so forth -- produced by a large group of disparate individuals. ExaltedWiki is by no stretch of the imagination a discussion forum; much of its content is presented as "finished" material, which discourages people from directly editing it, unless it's to do something cosmetic like formatting or proofreading.

I'd feel alienated if someone just busted in and edited the hell out of my HearthStones, because they represent a fairly large investment of my time and effort. I'd rather not people edit them without my consent, just like an artist who displayed a bunch of pen-and-ink drawings would be upset if she came into the gallery and found some random guy coloring them in. I think building off other people's work -- making up Manses for HearthStones, bulding new branches for Charm trees, namechecking custom characters, and the like -- is great, but I'm not a fan of the idea that everyone should feel free to alter everyone else's work willy-nilly. I don't want to end up in a situation where we need a discussion entitled WikiStiflesIndividuality, which I think would be the result of attempting to mash all content together into WikiPudding.

On the other hand, the WikiAsMicrocosmOfWeb model also recreates one of the major problems of the actual web, namely the difficulty of actually finding stuff. I think that the real "problem" with ExaltedWiki isn't that people are too timid about editing other people's stuff, but that BestPractices are not generally adhered to, are largely undocumented, and are often obsolete when they are documented.\\ _Ikselam

I agree to a large extend, Ikselam. The BestPractices problem is very real, and I think that the most frequent and prolific wiki users are the ones who can actually tell us what they really are. But, I think it's also crazy to say that I couldn't reword your HearthStones description to make it clearer, so long as I was sure I was correct in my interpretation.

Once we stop people from editing anything but their own content, we might as well stop using a wiki and instead use something else that is less inefficient. I might as well start handing out free weblogs and write an indexing engine, because that's what the wiki becomes.

To an extent, this is okay, but it's frustrating to me to see so much of the wiki potential untapped. I'll respect everyone's wishes in the end, because I am mostly only a maintainer and guide in this endeavor. However, I do believe that some change is called for. -- DaveFayram


I just wanted to chime in and say that I agree with, well, pretty much everything Ikselam posted. Consider some additional Wiki user weight to be behind this. :)

More specifically, I think that Wiki interactivity for purposes of game crunch design works very well with the current model; it allows us to insert suggestions and advice into ongoing work, without the obfuscating and somewhat disrespectful effects of actually changing the work. We can chip in our two cents -- and that is interactive, in a productive way -- without actually making any changes. I think that creative endeavors have the best result when there's a single hand at the tiller, rather than everyone rowing in different directions and steering by committee. - Quendalon

Digressing slightly, the key concept in DaveFayram's HearthStone example is that you don't reword my stuff unless you are sure your interpretation is correct. Presumably, you do this by asking me, "Hey, Roger, I think the Stone of Instantaneous Victory is poorly explained; is this what you were trying to say?" or "I think the mechanism for the Gem of Oblique Character Assassination is totally broken. Maybe it would be better if it worked like this?" and if I agree with you, then you go to town. If I don't agree, the polite thing to do is to link to a DaveRemix page, on which you display your versions of other people's HearthStones, with credit given where it's due.

To go back to the art-gallery analogy, if you see pen-and-ink drawings, and think they'd look better colored, you have two acceptable options: talk to the artist and get her permission to bring in your Crayolas and use them on her drawings, or create some kind of copy of the artwork, and color the copy. In RealLife, the second option could land you in copyright trouble if you displayed the colored pictures (even with proper credit given), but I don't anticipate it being a huge issue in a venue like ExaltedWiki.

Respect is one of the basic things which makes the wiki work. Our layout is similar to WikiPedia, but unlike that project, we aren't attempting to document objective truth. Almost everyone who posts here has a different idea about what makes Exalted special, and how various game systems "should" work. In addition, role-players tend to make a big deal of individuality (which is probably due, in part, to the socially-marginalized nature of the hobby). Any attempt to strip away "ownership" of CustomContent will be seen as an attack on that individuality, unless the CustomContent is explicitly marked as PublicDomain.\\ _Ikselam

If all that the Exalted community needed was a bulletin board with searching, user home pages, and a long archival period, then I would have used what I used for the GMCA project. I wanted users to collaborate to make better things in a mass scale. WhirlwindBrushMethod is a beautiful example of this. Lexicon is pretty neat too.

Roger is correct, in that it's polite to ask for major changes. But if you make typos or word something unclearly, and someone changes it to make it more clear, you should thank them for helping out, not berate them for ruining your WorldShapingArtisticVision. If they got it wrong, they got it wrong, and in practical wikis, it seldom happens. Instead, I feel like people would be angry, like you're somehow stealing their thunder or their work. This isn't the case, but evidently people feel this way.

This is very depressing to me. Perhaps I need to start a second wiki whose purpose is more clear. I've been talking to Telgar and Killed about this for quite awhile. This new wiki could be for deliberately collaborative projects.

Or format is also very dissimilar to C2's, and they do not try and document objective truth either. WikiPedia is an exception, not a model.

In the end, the wiki wants what the wiki wants.

-- DaveFayram

I don't think anyone was proposing that Fixing Typos Is Bad. I certainly wouldn't be upset if someone went into my pages and fixed bad grammar and unclear phrasing. I didn't think that was what you meant. - Quendalon

I realize that my posts on this subject have been pretty cranky, so let me say this: the Wiki has been a wonderful tool for me in improving my game and giving me free rein to exercise my creativity in tandem with others of similar interests and temperaments. Dave, I thank you for giving me access to this tool, and for expending the time and effort to maintain it. I am deeply grateful. - Quendalon