0beron wrote:Thanks Justyn, for both that info about Rob and the wiki (not an intrusion at all, I assumed that because he's so busy he simply never had time for the wiki, which is totally understandable) and also for the gentle reminder about etiquette.
The idea for the Wiki was simple. It was open for anyone to do anything. Rob was heavy into the Creative Commons License at the time, and wanted to apply it fully by giving us complete control over the Wiki. Which I admit annoyed me. I wanted the Wiki to serve a purpose, specifically, to be a resource to new readers to guide them to the known Rules and most common ideas, so that we weren't always saying the same counter-points about common misconceptions that lead to bad speculation. I imagined every statement having reference links to the comic to support them (Wikipedia was working on that at the time), and so forth. I was hoping, essentially, that it would be a kind of tech support that people could use to find the references for the beliefs they held about the comic, so they didn't have to hunt through the comic to find obscure references to accepted Rules.
Thus, anyone was allowed to create anything on the Wiki. Rob wanted people to create their own Sides, people, places, etc., and he might even incorporate some of them into the comic.
But I and others also sought to insert the known people, physics and creatures of Erfwrld into the Wiki. The process we were given for Canon was simple. We would write articles, Rob would review them, and anything we wrote that was Canon Rob would move to the Canon section of that article. That was what he asked us to do, and so we complied with his wishes. Anywhere in the Wiki you see something in a "Canon" section, it's because Rob either wrote it or advanced it from our identification. Usually, anything we recommended that made Canon was heavily edited, and in my opinion weakened. He seems to prefer breathing room, and less constriction, so our Proposed Canon became a lot less foundational.
The big problem we faced when it came to Canon, though, is that most people don't organize what they do. The alternate content creators didn't face that, because one guy created a ton of stuff early with fairly good organization, which others copied as a model. But if you go back to pages about Rules and so forth, they were a mess: they lacked any kind of structure. Identifying potential Canon and striping out the really unsupportable Speculation became necessary, not just to save Rob time, but also because the wild speculation was not identifiable from known Canon. So I began the effort to reorganize a lot of the major pages, and I tried to use a Game Rules format as a theme. Rather than being a collection of random relevant statements, the Game Rules format provided a Foundation most people would recognize and accept as appropriate. Since all of the editing history is still there, you can go back and see what the pages were like before my organization effort. Rob did advance some of it to Canon, but most pages have a Proposed Canon section that has not advanced. My page-by-page organization split the statements into three parts.
1. Proposed Canon. Anything requiring no entity invention.
2. Speculation. Anything that required some entity invention.
3. Removed. Anything that was just wishful thinking, or largely Invention. Some of this was a reasonable prediction, so I moved the text to the Discussion page, with notes to return it if certain facts I deemed reasonable came to light.
The difference between 2 and 3 is, of course, entirely opinion based, but that did not lead to any complaints. People that proposed wild speculation tended not to stay on teh Wiki anyway: they posted their pet theory, and then never came back to check on it.The problems came in due to basic Speculation arguments from regulars, who didn't like other people contradicting or countering their beliefs. People don't like their ideas being criticized, so with no hierarchy, you got people putting the same text on and seeing it taken off minutes later by the opposition. As I said before, this came to a head on the Arkenhammer page, and Forum Moderators eventually stepped in. Since then, Wiki activity has been small, and I'm not about to step back over there until I'm reasonably certain others won't try to use it as a weapon against me, as happened once before.
As for the alternate content... there was a bit of an argument about how to deal with it. Alternate content was not being identified as such, so we had cases where new readers jumped to the Wiki and confused some of these pages with real content: a fan-created character had the same format as one of Rob's. The initial freedom Rob gave us permitted such. One of the content creators finally admitted that it was hampering new readers, so proposed a page identification mechanism that would make their alternate content more visibly identifiable. Rob agreed to it. And then it all quickly died. After that initial flurry of creativity, it just stopped. Maybe there was too much arguing from the Speculators. Or maybe it's just hard to do what Rob seems to do so easily: create characters that incorporate modern reference. I wasn't a part of that, so I don't know what inspired the end of creativity. I only know that it's still perfectly acceptable to create complete Fan-invented Sides on the Wiki.
If anyone wants to revive that old Fan created content, look up the Rules for it on the Wiki. I believe you identify it as "Fanon", but it's been years, so i may have gotten the term incorrect.