Sunday, 27 March 2011

The OSR House Rule wiki - what next? And a poll.

Links to Wisdom has grown fantastically fast. Maybe too fast.

Richard made a comment at Zak S' blog asking, "I think your efforts at quality control on the wiki are a good thing, except I don't know what other people will consider good quality. And I think jovial and alex aren't also policing for quality?  I've put a couple of things up there without really asking myself if they're worthy because I figured if other people thought they were timewasting crap they'd delete them (it being a wiki). Now I'm not so sure about this approach."

A searching question. Who is actually in charge of the wiki? Alex owns the site, is it his? Is it mine? Is it anyones? Whose policing it for headings and structure, or more controversially, quality?

If no one polices it, will it just drown under its own weight?

I have a number of thoughts.

I see the wiki as a repository of links.

I am of the belief that if the wiki is to prove beneficial for the OSR community, it must belong to the OSR community.

But can we organically grow, maintaining order and quality, without 'authorised' moderators?
I hope so. There is a reason we are bloggers. Many of us have left forums or never started there, and one reason was an ambivalence to moderators (the concept, not necessarily the people).

I think some clearer advice on headings and structure could prove useful, and I am happy to give some, but in the end it won't be rocket science.
1. Keep to Moldvay/Cook as much as we can
2. Sub headings, lots of subheadings
3. If one can group 2 or more links together - subhead
4. If a link sits in two logical places eg currently we have B/X Blackrazor hats in How to Create a Player Character and Armor - Helmets and Headgear (both within section heading Player Character), delete one or at least state in black text that this link is also in...) 

I remain philosophical and optimistic. Every time I go the the wiki I find new excellent links or links to posts long lost or forgotten. Until we have twenty links to dual weapon wielding I think we aren't drowning under our weight. At one stage I was hoping wiki readers could rate the links (giving guidance to the better posts), a bit like Amazon. This isn't as easy according to Alex as it seems. We would possibly lose one of the wiki's most important characteristics - it is extremely simple to edit and create a link. As many of us have been pleasantly surprised to find. There is a manual way of adding stars (some links already have them),  so we could use that more, but anyone can alter or remove the stars. Is that a problem, not at the moment and not for me.

There are some poll questions to the right in this blog. Don't just agree with me, what do you think?
I am sure to be fascinated by your answers.

Final thought, for the day. If you are wondering if such and such a post or House Rule is worthy...
Don't just think it, link it.


  1. Unless this remains a purely democratic community exercise with no leaders or small number of decision makers deciding what's in and what's out, it will be open to the same criticism that was directed at TARGA by some folks - and may end up with the same result, the loss of something positive as those involved say "why do I bother?" and quit.

  2. Blogger just ate my post. Grrrrrrrr!

  3. I'd rather have it collapse under it's own weight while being a collective effort that have any policing, councils of elders, or any hierarchical stuff. While many folks are more creative than me, more insightful thinkers than me, more productive bloggers than I am, and produce actual well-made gaming products, I still feel that my opinions and ideas and small contributions are just as valid as anyone else's. If folks don't like what's on a blog, they don't have to read it.

    And more generally, maybe solutions can be found when the problems arise, rather than trying to solve them pre-emptively. That's how good house rules evolve, probably a good wiki can evolve the same way.

  4. I recreated most of what I wanted to say on a wiki page: Wiki Maintenance.

  5. What I am finding incredibly useful about the wiki is the exposure to great content-oriented material of the second and third-tier blogs (which seem heavier on this type of material than many many of the first-tier ones).

    My worry with over-zealous "best of" kind of weeding-out is that you would lose those voices. I have read and appreciated (as have likely many others) many of those great posts too and it's nice to have them collected--but I am truly digging and marveling at the exposure to the posts from the many smaller-voiced, sporadic, or inactive blogs (like the awesome Valley of the Blue Snails).

  6. I think there has to be a small number who overlook headings and structure (Alex + Priest is fine) but not content. The best thing for content is the rating system.

    It worked for /dot :)

  7. I seem to be in the minority but I like "The OSR House Rules Wiki" as a more descriptive title.

  8. @ austrodavicus - Luckily or unluckily I remain largely ignorant of TARGA.
    @ Spawn - As is obvious from my post I don't want to be the policeman but neither do I want to see the project fail from my own failure to continue what I helped to start.
    @ Alex - Yep all good advice, I have added more just now about headings, order and logic to the How to Edit this Site section of the wiki.
    @ Ckutalik - I love the themes that are emerging on the wiki eg Bards 3 excellent bards - who to choose?
    @ Migellito - I am and not surprised by the support Alex and I have in the poll for keeping the wiki ordered, it tells me that we haven't pissed anyone off too much yet... Overwhelming negative for us or anyone to police quality - thankfully!
    @ Roger - Damn! I should have placed The OSR House Rule Wiki as an option in the poll. I have tried an add on poll just beneath it.