Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

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Should Savage Coast fans bother to restore and improve the Savage Coast article at Wikipedia?

Yes - bring it back and make it better
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93%
No - it isn't worth the effort
1
7%
 
Total votes: 15

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Big Mac
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Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:38 pm

I'm sad to say that the Savage Coast article on Wikipedia has now been removed and replaced with a redirect link that points to a very small description (a description that doesn't even mention the alternative name "Red Steel").

Now, it might be possible to get the article back, but before everyone "grabs their pitchforks" ;) I have to say that there were problems with the article before it was deleted.

I did a minor edit on the Savage Coast artcle a while ago (fixing a dead link), but the article was never really done very well. It needed to have more stuff added. And more importantly it needed to have citations to reliable secondary sources. Neither of these things happened and the article, like a lot of D&D articles, got targeted for deletion. (For the Savage Coast article, the challange was under "notability" rules, but the article was also tagged for having bad citations.)

If you actually check the original text you will see that it breaks a number of Wikipedia "rules" and it is really this rulebreaks, rather than the subject matter, that have been used to argue the deltionist case. I've seen these deletionists at work elsewhere and challanges against badly citated work are often quickly backed up with a notability challange and then a deletion challange. But on Wikipedia, even deletion isn't the end. Things can be undeleted (by an admin if necessary). But to get them deleted you need to use your debate-fu and disarm the reasons used to kill an article.

So while the article has been deleted, if people are interested, we can actually fix these problems, create a better article and reverse the change into a redirect page. But as someone who doesn't really know much about Savage Coast (and is especially ignorant about background things like who was working for TSR when X, Y and Z were published) this isn't something that I can do.

So it is up to you lot. Do you want to fix up the Mystara articles on Wikipedia or allow the deletionists to rip them apart one by one? I'm not interested in an edit war (because the delitionists will claim that lack of real improvements means that the articles are not going to be fixed), but if someone out there wants to do some research (which you may already have done) and get the facts straight, I'll help try to get this article back online.

Here is the last version of Wikipedia's Savage Coast page before it got turned into a redirect page. For your convinience I'll copy over the meat of the article:
Wikipedia wrote:The Savage Coast is part of the Mystara Campaign Setting for Dungeons & Dragons and was later spun-off into a campaign setting for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition). The area is a 2,000 mile long frontier coastline about 2,000 miles to the west of the Known World of Mystara. The Savage Coast is an area under the Red Curse, which eventually kills its inhabitants by mutating them unless the metal cinnabryl is worn in contact with the body.

The first published information on the area was the module X9 The Savage Coast for Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set. The region was later expanded in Dungeon magazine issues 6 and 7 (1987) with the adventure "Tortles of the Purple Sage".

Two series in Dragon Magazine, "The Princess Ark" and the "Known World Grimoire", described the Savage Coast in more detail. These articles were partially reprinted in the D&D game accessory Champions of Mystara (1993)[1]

In 1994 campaign setting for the area was published as a boxed set entitled Red Steel, an expansion Savage Baronies was released the next year. These supplements were for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition), all the previous material had been for the non "Advanced" version of D&D.

In 1996 the setting was revised and re-released under the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Odyssey line as three fully online products. This range included the base Savage Coast Campaign Book by Tim Beach and Bruce Heard, a supplement Savage Coast: Orc's Head and a Monstrous Compendium Appendix.

External links
The Savage Coast Campaign Book
Previous Edition Dungeons & Dragons Downloads (Free TSR download from Wizards of the Coast. Scroll down the page to find the Savage Coast Campaign Setting)
Red Steel and The Savage Coast at TSR Archive.
Here are the main problems with the article:

No citations: If you are writing something for a game, citations are not important. In fact you can freely mix in canon and fanon. But Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia - not a freely editable scrapbook (like some other wikis are). That means that anyone using a page, needs to be able to check all the facts on that page.

It isn't enough to list a number of articles at the bottom of the page. You also need to link to those citations in the text of the article. For example the Savage Coast article makes this claim: "In 1996 the setting was revised and re-released under the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Odyssey line as three fully online products. This range included the base Savage Coast Campaign Book by Tim Beach and Bruce Heard, a supplement Savage Coast: Orc's Head and a Monstrous Compendium Appendix." That might be true and it might not be true. So to "back up" the claim, we need a "reliable" webpage that has all of that information on it. And if one reliable page doesn't have all the information about the Odyssey line, then the claim needs two or three citations.

The basic principle is that Wikipedia can not be used for "original research" (i.e. writing your own articles) and that means that you need to find other websites, books magazines or other "reliable" publications that mention every single one of these facts.

Now, in the past, people have tried using pretty much anything as a source that can be used for citations, but the delitionists have been trying to challange the accuracy of these websites. (Basically if the deletionists can say that a Mystara fan site isn't well written they can then call for Wikipedians to "ignore it" and articles that do have citations end up not having "reliable citations".)

Now I don't know about you, but I just don't have time to mess about endlessly defending articles. So if you want my help getting this article back online, I suggest we first obtain a varied list of watertight sources that are just too good to be challanged. (I would say that places like Paizo and RPGNow would have download pages for most if not all of the products. Hopefully they would contain many of the important facts.)

As the official Mystara website, Vaults of Pandius would be an obvious source for "reliable information", but I know that with fanon stuff being up there, any page used for a citation is going to need to have its own citations (or at least a list of sources) to make it look like reliable research. But there might be some stuff that is missing. If anyone is sitting on a "history of the Savage Coast" article, please get it up onto VoP ASAP. And if there is an article already up there, that isn't quite accurate, please get it fixed ASAP.

Fiction: Wikipedia isn't an encyclopedia about RPGs or fiction and this is where the deletionisits really try to undermine articles. So real world context is very useful. Any intereviews with the game authors, artists or pretty much anyone else connected with Savage Coast (or Red Steel) would be useful. Things like the real world inspiration for the inclusion of red steel would show how the game fits in with real culture.

Stub: Just as now, we have a small number of well meaning deletionists, who think it is their job to remove all fiction from Wikipedia, we used to have a small number of well meaning RPG fans who created a ton of stubs (short articles) and then didn't return to expand them. One of the main reason that the Savage Coast article was targeted was that it looked to be neglected. (In fact, this article was left for 9 months after being tagged, before the content was zapped and it was turned into a redirect.) If this article is going to come back, it needs to say more about Savage Coast than the above article. In fact, it should really say everything that a non-Mystara fan could possibly want to know about Savage Coast.

Inline links: There is one link embedded into the main text (to a Champions of Mystara review by Jacob Skytte). That could be turned into a more standard citation. (I'm no wiki-expert, but for a sligthly better idea of how citations could work check out my "crystal sphere" article at Spelljammer Wiki. Now SJ Wiki has a different editing style to Wikipedia, so don't copy that style, but you can see how citations lead to information about publications. If people are actually interested in fixing this, I'll try to find examples of good articles on Wikipedia.)

Neutral point of view: This article doesn't actually seem to have point of view problems, but with Mystara having different editions, anyone who expands on this encyclopedic information needs to do present the information without bias (i.e. you can't say anything like "2nd edition Mystara is awful", as that is just a personal opinion).

So, by now, you should know what is wrong. Now it is up to you. You need to ask yourself this question: Is Savage Coast important enough to warrant an article on Wikipedia?

If your answer is yes, then I hope you will agree that it should be a good quality article, that follows Wikipedia style and has reliable "secondary sources" where people can check facts and learn more.
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by agathokles » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:06 pm

While I'd certainly like to have a good SC article on Wikipedia, I'm not interested in writing it, for exactly the same reasons why the old one was deleted:
  • I'm not that interested in writing about the real world aspects of SC. To me, it is more important to know who was the King of Renardy in 875 AC than knowing what type of paper was used in the Red Steel Boxed Set.
  • I'm not willing to spend time defending the article from people who aren't interested in RPGs, let alone Mystara or Savage Coast. Wikipedia has clearly taken a stance against very specific articles (or articles that are of interest to smaller communities), and other wikies have been established to cover those areas, or even to salvage articles deleted for these reasons (e.g., annex.wikia.org).
  • It is very difficult to prove notability by the standards of Wikipedia, especially since periodicals on RPGs with a significant readership are tied to the RPG publishers, which doesn't make them third party sources. Unfortunately, I think the only RPG settings that are going to stay are those that have been used as settings for successful CRPGs or novels (so basically FR and DL). These are going to have citations on book or computer game review periodicals, most likely. Unfortunately, SC has a single novel (Black Vessel) and no computer game at all :(
GP

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:46 pm

Personally, I'm not fond of fighting the WP deletionists either. Even if the fight is won once, they will just try again later.

I once had to defend an article on some obsolete real-world weights and measures. They justification for trying to get that article deleted was, quite literally, that the weights and measures in question were "obsolete" :lol:
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by NPCDave » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:37 pm

Wikipedia deletionists are a cancer.

I say this as someone who never wrote a Wikipedia article or modified one. I say this as someone who uses Wikipedia. What sold me on the usefulness of Wikipedia is when I ran into some people who were talking about a show I had never heard of, and couldn't find in my TV Guide. I tried google and found a Wikipedia entry, which explained the show was a brief clip on Cartoon Network's adult swim the previous Saturday. I was so impressed that it had been updated with this little bit of trivia, which of course would be useless and meaningless 99.99999999999999999999% of the time. But it mattered to me and it made a difference when I needed to know.

Now I am back to just relying on google and the general web, since wikipedia has long been in the grip of people who are determined to strip it of information that might someday be of use to me.

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by night_druid » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:46 pm

I'm not sure how its tied together, but I find sub-wikis, such as the SJ wiki or battletech wiki, than relying on wikipedia's main site itself. Maybe its better to have a "Mystara-wiki' & work that out rather than worrying about wiki's main page. :p
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Gawain_VIII » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:45 pm

night_druid wrote:I'm not sure how its tied together, but I find sub-wikis, such as the SJ wiki or battletech wiki, than relying on wikipedia's main site itself. Maybe its better to have a "Mystara-wiki' & work that out rather than worrying about wiki's main page. :p
You mean, like this one? Which, BTW, really needs more advertisement, articles, contributors, etc. It has a very solid base to build on--but there's only a handful of regulqar contributors.

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Ashtagon » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:59 pm

One thing that saddens me is that the person who removed the SC article happens to be, judging from his profile, an avid D&D player, specifically a fan of the Forgotten realms setting. One could be forgiven for thinking that he was promoting his favourite setting by downplaying the others.
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Thorf » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:23 am

Interesting discussion.

My viewpoint is similar to Dave's, in that I use Wikipedia a lot, and from a user's point of view I want it to include as much detail as it can - however trivial.

The best example of how I have been using it lately is for songs: I'm sorting out my vast music collection, trying to tag all the different tracks as fully as I can by filling in not just the track title and the artist, but also the year, the composer, original artist, the genre, and even some trivia in the Comment section. Some of this info can be found in the CD's liner notes, but half of my CDs are in Scotland, so I can't rely on them in every case. Plus, I usually try to put the original date on each song, and since most of my CDs are soundtracks, they don't necessarily have this information at all.

This is where Wikipedia comes in: I search for the song title, and a lot of the time I find an article giving me precisely what I want: who did the music, who did the lyrics, who performed it originally and when, and often who has performed it since, and when. It also gives the genre, which is important for me since I'm useless at musical genres. I find that I'm learning a lot about old songs as I do this, which makes the whole exercise rather fun.

But the key point is that the rarer a song is, or the more obscure the artist is, the more valuable (and hard to find) the information gets for me. Sure, Google can turn up most or all of this info, but Wikipedia gives me it all in one place, in much less time and with a much higher rate of success. I hope that one day it has pages for pretty much every song ever written.

Carry all of this over into the RPG world, and I think I have a strong argument for having articles on Wikipedia for each setting (at the very least!). Unfortunately I doubt that deletionists are going to be swayed by this argument.

Anyway, I'm afraid I have too much on my plate already to worry about writing Wikipedia articles. I may be able to contribute something eventually, because I am actually quite a fan of quoting sources - I tried to do it in my Timeline project years ago, though I only started doing it halfway through, so the results are not as good as I would like.

I'd be happy to review and help other people write stuff, though. And if we did the original writing here, perhaps we could work to avoid the major pitfalls before ever posting it at Wikipedia.

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Big Mac » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:59 am

agathokles wrote:I'm not that interested in writing about the real world aspects of SC. To me, it is more important to know who was the King of Renardy in 875 AC than knowing what type of paper was used in the Red Steel Boxed Set.
Well, actually real life details, would include things like the fact that Savage Coast was also called Red Steel and that the name got changed because of X.
agathokles wrote:I'm not willing to spend time defending the article from people who aren't interested in RPGs, let alone Mystara or Savage Coast. Wikipedia has clearly taken a stance against very specific articles (or articles that are of interest to smaller communities), and other wikies have been established to cover those areas, or even to salvage articles deleted for these reasons (e.g., annex.wikia.org).
The problem with the Annex, is that as an archive, I can't see it growing (like Wikipedia used to). There is also the fact that Wikipedia users deserve to be able to find out basic information about all RPG campaign settings.
agathokles wrote:It is very difficult to prove notability by the standards of Wikipedia, especially since periodicals on RPGs with a significant readership are tied to the RPG publishers, which doesn't make them third party sources. Unfortunately, I think the only RPG settings that are going to stay are those that have been used as settings for successful CRPGs or novels (so basically FR and DL). These are going to have citations on book or computer game review periodicals, most likely. Unfortunately, SC has a single novel (Black Vessel) and no computer game at all :([/list]
Hmm. Looks like the (alegidly) naff SJ computer game is useful for something! :lol:
Ashtagon wrote:Personally, I'm not fond of fighting the WP deletionists either. Even if the fight is won once, they will just try again later.
Some of them do. And some of them try to alter Wikipedia policy to give them a "right" to enforce policy via deletion.
Ashtagon wrote:I once had to defend an article on some obsolete real-world weights and measures. They justification for trying to get that article deleted was, quite literally, that the weights and measures in question were "obsolete" :lol:
Hmm. I can imagine these sorts of people bulldozing museums because they are full of old stuff that isn't made any more. :roll:
NPCDave wrote:Wikipedia deletionists are a cancer.
And the really annoying thing is that the tag and run deletionists actually pat themselves on the back thinking they are "cleaning up bad content". It is really hard to stop people who are convinced they are helping Wikipedia.
night_druid wrote:I'm not sure how its tied together, but I find sub-wikis, such as the SJ wiki or battletech wiki, than relying on wikipedia's main site itself. Maybe its better to have a "Mystara-wiki' & work that out rather than worrying about wiki's main page. :p
That is why I moved over to writing on them. But the specialist wikis are all split up and don't have cross links. On Wikipedia I can search for information about beholders and find references of them in various different D&D campaign settings. On SJ Wiki (they are not there yet) but you would never ever find anything about beholders in Savage Coast, because SC has no representation.
Gawain_VIII wrote:
night_druid wrote:<snip>Maybe its better to have a "Mystara-wiki' & work that out rather than worrying about wiki's main page. :p
You mean, like this one? Which, BTW, really needs more advertisement, articles, contributors, etc. It has a very solid base to build on--but there's only a handful of regulqar contributors.
I'm told that wiki is a "fanon wiki". I'm still looking for a Mystara wiki of "canon".
Ashtagon wrote:One thing that saddens me is that the person who removed the SC article happens to be, judging from his profile, an avid D&D player, specifically a fan of the Forgotten realms setting. One could be forgiven for thinking that he was promoting his favourite setting by downplaying the others.
Sadly, some D&D fans, are into some settings where a product line has 30 products dedicated to a particular subject and a few of them assume that level of product support is required for something to be an "important part of that campaign setting". They then take this "yardstick" to another tiny campaign setting and everything looks unimportant to them.

My Spelljammer novel article (based on a Forgotten Realms novel article) got merged into the main SJ article because there were "not enough novels in the product line". That was OK, because they didn't delete the data, but as small things get herded into a single article, you end up being one article away from deletion. :o
Thorf wrote:Carry all of this over into the RPG world, and I think I have a strong argument for having articles on Wikipedia for each setting (at the very least!). Unfortunately I doubt that deletionists are going to be swayed by this argument.
I certainly think that Vaults of Pandius support for a "dead" product line proves that it is notable, even if some of the neglected D&D lines (like Jakandor) are not notable.
Thorf wrote:Anyway, I'm afraid I have too much on my plate already to worry about writing Wikipedia articles. I may be able to contribute something eventually, because I am actually quite a fan of quoting sources - I tried to do it in my Timeline project years ago, though I only started doing it halfway through, so the results are not as good as I would like.

I'd be happy to review and help other people write stuff, though. And if we did the original writing here, perhaps we could work to avoid the major pitfalls before ever posting it at Wikipedia.
Sadly, starting up a canon wiki for Mystara is probably going to be more "value for money" that trying to fight deletionists if you don't have the time to spare to support articles that get an AfD stamp and become ticking timebombs.
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by night_druid » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:34 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Personally, I'm not fond of fighting the WP deletionists either. Even if the fight is won once, they will just try again later.

I once had to defend an article on some obsolete real-world weights and measures. They justification for trying to get that article deleted was, quite literally, that the weights and measures in question were "obsolete" :lol:
Deletionists seem, to me, to be a subset of vandalists of Wikipedia. I suppose some mean well, but too many delight in trashing well-written articles. Their efforts are fast making wiki a useless resource. :P
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:39 pm

Big Mac wrote:Sadly, starting up a canon wiki for Mystara is probably going to be more "value for money" that trying to fight deletionists if you don't have the time to spare to support articles that get an AfD stamp and become ticking timebombs.
There's a Mystara Wiki over here:
http://mystara.us/wiki/

It still needs work, but its a start :)

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by night_druid » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:53 pm

Havard wrote:There's a Mystara Wiki over here:
http://mystara.us/wiki/

It still needs work, but its a start :)
Everything needs a starting point :) Even if it starts small, it can grow quickly with some work and effort :)
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Hugin » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:44 pm

Havard wrote:There's a Mystara Wiki over here:
http://mystara.us/wiki/

It still needs work, but its a start :)

Havard
Isn't this the one that was just started last year by someone from the MML?

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Havard » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:37 pm

Hugin wrote: Isn't this the one that was just started last year by someone from the MML?
Yeah, its Angelo's site. He also hosts my Blackmoor site now, as you may have noticed from the URL :)

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Big Mac » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:50 pm

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Sadly, starting up a canon wiki for Mystara is probably going to be more "value for money" that trying to fight deletionists if you don't have the time to spare to support articles that get an AfD stamp and become ticking timebombs.
There's a Mystara Wiki over here:
http://mystara.us/wiki/

It still needs work, but its a start :)
This isn't a canon wiki...

...it is a fanon wiki.

I wouldn't want to see this valuable fanon resource hijacked as a canon encyclopedia. But I think an encyclopedia of Mystara (with no fanon included) would be useful to the community. (In fact, I think that most settings could do with a pair of projects - one canon and the other fanon.)
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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Gawain_VIII » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:41 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Sadly, starting up a canon wiki for Mystara is probably going to be more "value for money" that trying to fight deletionists if you don't have the time to spare to support articles that get an AfD stamp and become ticking timebombs.
There's a Mystara Wiki over here:
http://mystara.us/wiki/

It still needs work, but its a start :)
This isn't a canon wiki...

...it is a fanon wiki.

I wouldn't want to see this valuable fanon resource hijacked as a canon encyclopedia. But I think an encyclopedia of Mystara (with no fanon included) would be useful to the community. (In fact, I think that most settings could do with a pair of projects - one canon and the other fanon.)
I definitely could see the benefits of two sister-wikis.
Star Trek has the same thing going on. Memory Alpha is pure canon (it even has a rating as to how official the article is (seen on the show, an outtake from a show, written in a book, part of the series bible, popular conjecture made official in a Roddenberry interview, etc.)... Memory Beta has everything quasi-canon and (widely popular) fanon.

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Re: Savage Coast Wikipedia article dumped

Post by Big Mac » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:40 pm

night_druid wrote:I'm not sure how its tied together, but I find sub-wikis, such as the SJ wiki or battletech wiki, than relying on wikipedia's main site itself. Maybe its better to have a "Mystara-wiki' & work that out rather than worrying about wiki's main page. :p
I just noticed something about this that may mislead people a bit.

Wikis like Spelljammer Wiki and the Mystara Wiki are not actually "sub-wikis" (i.e. they are not connected to Wikipedia in any way). They are totally different projects to Wikipedia. If fact each wiki is a totally different project. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different wikis in the world and most of them are independent projects*.

* = To get an idea of just how many there are out there have a look at WikiIndex. WikiIndex is a wiki that lists information about other wikis. They currently have 4,679 pages about wikis, but a lot of wiki owners know nothing about directories like WikiIndex. (I've tried to get all the D&D related wikis I have found onto their books, but I'm sure I'm missing some.)

Wiki software can be installed on most webservers and some wikis are standalone wikis. These include Mystara Wiki and The Great Library of Greyhawk. If you have a standalone wiki you have total control of how it is set up, but have to do a lot more admin work.

Some wikis are hosted by things called "wiki farms". A wiki farm is a hosting company that sets up wikis for other people. You can usually tell a wiki is in a wiki farm because the wiki farm usualy dictates the URL. However, the wiki farms are not the owners of the wikis they host. The owners of those wikis can choose to move at any time. Of course with many wikis being distributed under free content licences like the CC licence, there would be little to stop the wiki farm cloning their wiki and putting it back up with the same URL.

Spelljammer Wiki and Forgotten Realms Wiki are examples of wikis that are hosted by a company called Wikia. Wikia give away subdomains to their wikis. The SJ wiki is on the URL spelljammer.wikia.com and the FR wiki is on the URL forgottenrealms.wikia.com. In other words if you see a wiki URL that ends with wikia.com it is hosted by Wikia. But as I said before, the wikis are not connected to wikia (or even each other**).

** = Even though Spelljammer Wiki is not connected to Forgotten Realms Wiki, I've had a lot of assistance from FR Wiki staff, but then again, I've had equal offers of assistance from The Great Library of Greyhawk (wiki) and even assistance from Mystara Wiki.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
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