Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby Kreistor » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:25 am

This is a reassurance post, I hope. Some of you may be concerned when I talk about the Wiki. Yes, I am heavily involved. No, you don't need to worry. See, aren't you reassured? Heh...

Yes, I know on this forum I get argumentative, overly demanding for proof, and so on. I do not do that on the Wiki. Well, not in the same way.

Rob asked that when we created the rules parts of the Wiki, that we place the ideas in two sections/categories -- Speculation and Proposed Canon. He would go through the Prop C and advance it to the category Canon, where appropriate -- basically if we got it right. Problem is, no one was willing to place their bets on their own thoughts. They were pseeimistic about their ideas, so tons of correct info went in as Spec, when it was in some cases copied straight from the Comic, and so should have been Prop C. I've taken it upon myself to move a lot of that up to Prop C. Yes, I am moving Spec up, and generally not Prop C down.

But, and you won't like this, I am also eliminating some Spec. Why? Speculation is speculative, so anything goes there, right? But Rob never set standards on how we shuld judge what is good enough for Prop C. And it's not like we have a huge number of people voting. Right now, it is mostly just yours truly. SteveMB is working on the TBFGK formatting and so on. Others have their own projects. Rules were... languishing. So they're mine for the moment. I'v etaken it upon myself to put consistency and accuracy into any page fittig into Speculation and/or Proposed Canon. Been at it a week now.

Here are my general standards:

Speculation
Anyone can add to the Wiki. Anyone. So, that's an invitation to write whatever pet theory comes to mind, right? Problem is: everyone can delete, too. If you write "the Sky is green", it's obviously wrong and someone will delete it. Like me. If you write, "The sky is green over Hobbittm"... what proof do you have? We've seen something of Transylvito. Maybe a frame or two of Jetstone. Hobbittm? Nothing. Though I can't prove you wrong... chances are, it's blue. The theory confuses. A new reader approaches, sees the theory, but doesn't know that there's no support in the comic, so he thinks, "There's got to be a basis in fact, or it woldn't be there." and so now, that person doesn't think that it might be green, but that it is.

We all have our pet theories. The standard I am using is this: do you have any evidence at all? I don't mean evidence that something must fill this gap in our knowledge, but evidence that your specific idea is the one that fills the gap?

Let's look at Disbanding. What is actually on the disbanding site is... everything. Well, the three most probable theories, anyway, since I really know of only three (besides the fourth of my own that I'm not comfortable adding). It's all in Spec. Something must be the result of Disbanding, but we don't know what. Could be Barbarism, and Jillian disbanded. Could be deletion (you know I hated writing that just now). Could be some Neutral state similar to Cities. There are other possiblities, but those have some basis in the existence of something that does whatever they think disbanding does. (Parson could disappear according to Wanda. Jillian became a barbarian. Cities go Neutral. No one has yet turned into a blue elephant, or been shown as a non-combat creature farming the environment.)

But recently, I noticed a theory that the Arkenhammer was associated with Changemancy and/or Carnymancy. Uhm... guys, there was a big use of Shockmancy that you overlooked. Flattened Caesar with it? Warlords don't cast? It came from somewhere... so, both claims got nuked due to lack of evidence (Carnymancy) or an overwhelmingly obvious alternative that had gotten conveniently overlooked (Changemancy). Shockmancy went in, but as Spec for the moment. I'm waiting for repercussions. I'm not doing this alone, BTW. Big Brothers SteveMB and Noah are watching. (Others have too, but these two are on this week.) Changemancy might go back in, if the case for Shockmancy isn't strong enough, but I think Shockmancy is clear due to its similarity in Power level to Wanda's Croakamancy. Randomly turning some walnuts into pigeons may very well be Changemancy (but we don't know that for certain, though I tend to think not), but pigeons are simply not going to contend with Charlie's "unmatched" Thinkamancy. A lightning bolt that flattens a Chief Warlord stack, on the other hand.... Anyway, someone better have solid evidence for Carnymancy (and what it does) before I'll let that one back in.

Anyway, that's the standard I'm using. Some proof of the existence of the concept in Erfworld somewhere. Parson can disappear, so other Units could, so "Disbanding=un-popping" is good enough for Spec, much as I disagree with de-popping living creatures. If nothing does what you theorize already, sorry, it's not up to Spec: it's a Pet Theory that someone will probably delete because it violates their belief in what Erfworld is. There is a place for Pet Theories, and that's this Forum. Or "Epileptic Twees" on the WIki. Not all pages are about Spec and Prop C. That's the one way I'll keep unsupported Spec in: get enough people to sign on that they think it's probably the right idea, and I'll let it stay. Right here on this forum works best.

I know I'm sounding dictatorial. Well, folks, I'm doing the work. You can change my rules, if enough disagree with me. I simply feel that there needs to be a certain level of evidence to deserve a place on the Wiki, when the alternative is a massive, confusing list of poorly written concepts, some of which are clearly disproven by the text.

Proposed Canon
In general, anything that's clearly stated in the comic automatically gets Prop C status. Most of Magic comes from the Klogs, so whoomph, it's all Prop C.

Second, theories with unparalleled proof. Usually, I get that from this forum. The concept of when a Ration pops, for instance. Bogroll says it pops at dawn for GK. Well, once it didn't: the turn Charlie shows up at GK. Then it popped at start of turn. Some overlooked that Bogroll also said that everyone else popped rations at start of turn. Solution: all rations pop at start of turn, but GK turn as initially dawn, so Bogroll got confused thinking GK was exceptional. I posted about that here, everyone pretty much agreed, and so it made Prop C. It's not outright stated, but all the evidence is there with nothing contradicting.

Third, theories with pretty solid evidence and no evidence to the contrary, and no competing theories with sginficant evidence. A rare event: there's usually lots of conflicting ideas based on hints and details. This just came up with "Level 5 is the maximum for cities." Well, check elsewhere for the argument, but what it comes down to is that a few people think there's insufficient evidence to call it proven. I'm making it Prop C anyway. Why, when I'm such a stickler for proof?

A) No competing theory with evidence. You can theorize anything, but is it in the comic?
B) It's based on good knowledge. Serious combination of statements on different pages, not an opinionated view of a single sentence taken out of context. The sources are strong (not Bogroll). Opinion isn't the basis for the argument, though opinion may be part of some of the connections between ideas.
C) Rob will see it and decide one way or the other. We're not asking him to decide between three good ideas, just Yes or No a single one. I don't mind putting him in a yes-or-no situation, but I don't want thim wasing time performing multiple choice questionaires. He's promised a bunch of answers this summer, so he'll fill those questionaires when it's time.

What I am not doing is putting up whatever I feel like. No, "Disbanding=Barbarian" is not Prop C. That's favoritism. I'm trying not to as much as possible, and Steve and Raph and Muzzafar and Noah are all there to keep an eye on me. I'm trying to be as fair as possible. My goal is to see that the Wiki is a source for good information that a new reader can approach in order to answer questions, without having to read the entire comic to realize that what they just read doesn't have any basis in fact. That's what it's about: after all It's a source for info, and the people that need it most are the new readers. Hopefully lots of new readers as Book 2 gets underway. More than anything, that site needs to present them with solid, professional answers to questions. Anyway, I know from experience that too much info can be greatly overwhelming, and so smaller really is better for an info site. That's part of my reason for limiting Spec so much: lots of spec written by different people will just grow into a monstrosity that no one can use. Your pet theory is useless if it's poorly explained, and it's harmful if it causes someone to disbelieve a truthful statement.

There's always going to be debate on that, but I hope you'll believe me when I say that I have worked in a position where answering questions from really smart people was a part of my task load. I know something about helping people through problems. And I hope you'll understand that I'm trying to keep your best interests in mind here. Would you want people writing "The Sky is Lime Green" on Wanda's page the first time you checked it after finding this comic? If you said, "No," your own pet theories would have to go out with that one. It's the price to pay for a page on Wanda that is useful.

Anyway, those are my standards for now. Complain too much and they'll change in response: I'm not a dictator, but I'm setting my own standards for the moment, because I'm the only one doing this particular task. Or help, if you're interested: there's lots to do on the Wiki, and you don't need to know how to program or stuff just to help: just type. Wiki can be edited by anyone, including you, so if you really hate me and my ways, you can solve the problem by looking over my shoulder and undoing what I do. (Please, please, please create a login so we can communicate! We like to know who's in the pool.) Of course, you and I will have a problem from that point on, but I can't break your leg, can I? Or can I. No, I can't and you know it. Unless your name is George.

And like I said, folks are already watching me. They're keeping me in check.
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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby doran » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:35 pm

Including the link to Epileptic Twees.

Also, Kreistor, if you have a different view of speculation, it would be useful to discuss the redefining the term more precisely as stated here.

So:
(all points below are my personal views, important points bolded.)

Kreistor wrote:Speculation
Anyone can add to the Wiki. Anyone. So, that's an invitation to write whatever pet theory comes to mind, right? Problem is: everyone can delete, too. If you write "the Sky is green", it's obviously wrong and someone will delete it. Like me. If you write, "The sky is green over Hobbittm"... what proof do you have? We've seen something of Transylvito. Maybe a frame or two of Jetstone. Hobbittm? Nothing. Though I can't prove you wrong... chances are, it's blue. The theory confuses. A new reader approaches, sees the theory, but doesn't know that there's no support in the comic, so he thinks, "There's got to be a basis in fact, or it woldn't be there." and so now, that person doesn't think that it might be green, but that it is.



You definitely have a good point. Readers, mainly due to wikipedia, tend to assume what is on a wiki has a basis in fact, and so care needs to be taken in what is presented as true information.

On the other hand, again as in wikipedia, this can lead to the "what is notable" problem, where you can get into subjective edit wars over whether a theory has 'enough' evidence. Also, due to deletion of their content, casual editors may be a lot more leery about adding things to the wiki, depriving it of valuable users. So requiring 'evidence' of a theory in Speculation, while making it better should not be a factor in removal; seriousness, however should be. Proposed Canon content is where evidence is needed.

I think 'pet theories' do have a place on the wiki, rather than just the forum, as it is much easier for someone to access a single page containing peoples theories on a subject, rather than dig through tens of rambling forum discussions buried about a month back. It would also cut back on newbies mistakenly reposting theories, that have already been discussed to death, as seen on the OOTS forums.

    Therefore, either/both:
  • the casual reader must know Speculation is just that. Anything under speculation must be assessed under its own merits.
  • theories should have a clear structure, e.g. having their own subheading and summary.

For the first point, maybe the roles of the three sections, could be defined in other places than just the main page, so any casual reader knows exactly what each section is for. So maybe have each section title in a page could have a subtitle under it (via template?).

Rough example:

----
Canon
How Erfworld is - according to the authors.

Proposed Canon
How Erfworld probably is - according to the evidence.

Speculation
How Erfworld could be - according to anyone.

Analysis
Explaining Erfworld events.

----

Another option is to split speculation off onto its own page, and have "This page has Speculation", similar to WMG on tv tropes, leaving just Canon and Proposed Canon, making it more like wikipedia.

For editors adding new theories to speculation, maybe a few guidelines:
  • The theory should be serious, silly theories go to Epileptic Twees.
  • Theories should be well structured with their own subheading. Very short theories go under 'Misc'.
  • A Theory should be removed only if it directly contradicts Canon or clear evidence in the comic (As in, there is no way it could ever be really be true). Link to evidence on discussion page.
  • If under heavy debate on its details, a theory should contain a link to a section on the discussion page or a thread on the forum. (template?)
  • If the two sides are unable to agree the theory ultimately stays, and a counter theory is posted
  • Variants on a theories should be posted as subheadings under the main one.
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We're the people sitting around discussing our pet theories based on nomenclature, citing references, discussing ad nauseum while Parson finds out how it works.
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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby Kreistor » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:01 am

For the vast majority of pages, there are no waorries. The problem ones are the ones with "Controversy". How do we allow the points to get across without argumentation? For instance, this is Disbanding right now:
==Speculation==
There are three major schools of thought as to what happens to a disbanded [[Unit]]:
:1. The Unit [[croaked|croaks]] or disappears.
:2. The Unit becomes a [[Barbarian]].
:3. The Unit becomes Neutral.

Additionally, there is some speculation that the above effects may vary depending on the Unit being disbanded, or the cause of the disbanding.

There is insufficient evidence to eliminate any of these possibilities at this time. Due to the highly controversial nature of this subject, please present arguments and discussions on the Forums or the Discussion page.


No explanations. No references. No arguments. Three theories, presented equally. All parties equally dissatisfied.

But a Wiki free of argument.

You know that one is close to my heart, but what's the alternative? Constant editting and bickering as the various participants try to augment their arguments or vandalize opponents'? With prejudicial judgments of victory? I trimmed it down to nothing. No defensiveness, no offensiveness, just a statement of fact only. I think everyone accepts that as the best alternative.

I'd love to say that "reasonableness" is the best judgement of what Sec should stay, but that's not quantifiable. People will disagree with my own sense of what is reasonable, so I have to stay away from that one. I need something solid I can judge from.

Really, we have two types of Speculation here. We have "Supported Speculation" and "Unsupported Speculation". I've been turfing the latter. If you really want a place where anything can be written, then maybe just a name for the section would be what you're really looking for?
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby doran » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:33 am

Kreistor wrote:Really, we have two types of Speculation here. We have "Supported Speculation" and "Unsupported Speculation". I've been turfing the latter. If you really want a place where anything can be written, then maybe just a name for the section would be what you're really looking for?


In my view "Supported Speculation" is "Proposed Canon", whereas partially and unsupported speculation is "Speculation".
The more citations and evidence a theory has for its points, the more it is supported, until it is moved to Prop C.
A theory should never be removed from Speculation due to lack of evidence, only rewritten because of clearly contradicting evidence.
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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby Maldeus » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:43 am

Speculation is just that; speculation. There's a nice big header on top that informs all readers that everything beneath said header is, in fact, speculation, and therefore should not be assumed to be canon, as if it was, there would be a canon header instead.

Now, let's take bets on how long it is before we see a page that says that there are currently two main schools of thought as to what constitutes "speculation" and "proposed canon."
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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby Erk » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:35 am

There is a single major difference between the Erfwiki and a wiki like Wikipedia.

We have a directly top-down moderative approach.

Unlike wikipedia, where everyone is equal and even administrators must explain their reasoning for altering a subject (because it's based on fact), we have a direct Word of God, not just from Rob and Jamie, but also indirectly from any moderative staff that are put on the wiki [Rob could correct me on this, but I am pretty sure presently there aren't any because there hasn't been a strong need]. Yes, we all collaborate and work together, but no users really need to 'take it on themselves' to prune out speculation they think is inappropriate. If it's downright silly, and I don't believe there is much of that yet (nor do I think there ever will be; we have a pretty mature community), there will be mods to either remove it themselves or defend users who do delete it. For the rest, there's no call for giant discourses on what constitutes speculation and proposed canon. The rule of thumb should be simple: if there's any room for debate, chances are it's not Proposed Canon. Finally, in the long run, it's not going to affect the community in the slightest if some speculation gets placed under PC by accident, or vice versa. It's just not that important.

Kreistor: To get more specific, are you running into a lot of situations where people are misusing Proposed Canon? What sparked your long post there? If there is a problem with how clearly the idea of proposed canon is being disseminated to wiki users, that is a more important issue than just trying to define two quite clear terms even more (overdefinition leads to long, unreadable wiki entries that are opaque to new users).
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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby Kreistor » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:54 pm

Erk, what sparked my post was the recent arguments I had here. Because I had already taken it upon myself to organize the Spec and Prop C (no one else was, and the other common names on the Wiki had just picked up their own projects... this started when TBFGK first-pass editing ended), and then I got embroiled in that nastiness you are too aware of, I felt I needed to reassure those outside the arguments that I was not treating the Forum and Wiki with equal standards. That I was treating the competitors to my own theories with respect that might not have been detectable on the forum. Besides, a couple others had had their Spec nuked, and didn't understand why.

No, Erk, it's not that people are abusing Prop C: it's that too many are afraid of promoting their ideas as Prop C. People haven't wanted to sstick their necks out. They've been putting everything under Spec, even the stuff we're certain is Canon. Rob only looks at Prop C to decide what goes to Canon, so whole pages of Canon have been stuck as Spec. Someone needed to go in there, separate the known from the suspected, and get the Wiki moving. I took that upon myself, but know that I'm being watched carefully: and some of the watchers are people I have had "interesting" debates with in the past. They aren't going to give me the benefit of the doubt, so expect a critical eye.

The issue is with the two types of Speculation. There are competing ideas for some things: those tend to be highly controversial. The Spec reads as a back-and-forth argument, as different factions go in and modify the debate. They tend not to delete previous comments, but they will append. A paragraph will read well and then you'll get. "However, this fact other fact".... It's the nature of multiple authors disagreeing with each other. A reader can usually figure out that it's two different authors, but usually isn't good enough for me. Further, they tend to be very defensive/offensive and so you get a strong Bipolar (even Schizoid) feel to these pages. Then there's the basic flawed thought processes. One side's people will disprove a countering theory to their own argument, and treat that as proof that their own now stands alone (since no one posted a third), and though they are right in removing the contending false theory, they'll make it look like their own is the only possibility: we saw this in the recent Disbanding thread: those arguing against me thought that all they needed to do was disprove my foremost theory and then theirs was obviously the only alternatve. It was false logic: a presumption that there were only two possibilities; so I added a third, just to constrnate them. They still won'trisk pushing to Prop C, but tstill, it's written in such a way as its the only possibility. A smart new reader sees that and it can make the Wiki community look partisan.

Yes, we could blow open Prop C to allow competing theories. But that throws the problem in Rob's lap, and that's something no one will convince me to do. He's overloaded: we should solve this ourselves, because we can.

Supported Spec is not Proposed Canon. Look at Disbanding, for instance. We have Supported Spec for three different results of Disbanding: all have some form of support, but all are fairly equal in their support, and none have any evidence to disprove the others. If I took any one of those as Proposed Canon, it would simply be playing favorites. I'd get complaints, and they'd be correct. You're suggesting that there can only be one possible Supported Spec from the comic, and that's just not true. We've got several cases where there is controversy over what the reality is. Parson's sword provided "Combat, Leadership, Ruthlessness". Is Leadership an increase to Leadership bonus? If so, why was it never mentioned, since it should be determinable from other units stats? Or as it a Natural Thinkamancy that merely helped Parson understand how to lead (ie. give orders that units would more readily follow)? It's speculation, and deserves to be there, but we can't propose anything as Canon without some confidence we've figured out the truth, especially with such disparate ideas.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

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Re: Standards for Wiki -- Spec and Prop C

Postby DentedHead » Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:04 pm

I'm inclined towards Kreistors view that someone needs to manage the Spec/Prop C. While Kreistor and I have had a long debate via PM regarding whether a particular theory should be Prop C or Spec (and ultimatly I still disagree) Kreistor showed no favoratism, and followed the rules he set out (ie, the theory Kreistor was defending had multiple points of referance, while mine had only a single statement). Given that the Spec would be either constantly edited/re-edited or ridiculously long and convoluted without someone managing it, and no one else has put their hand up to do it, I say we let Kreistor do his thing. If at some time, Kreistor becomes unfair, or is shown to favour his own theories, rest assured, someone will call him out. I certainly would, if I thought that were the case.


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