UESPWiki:Archive/CP A New Home for TES4 Modding Information

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A new home for TES4 modding information?

For a good while now the CS wiki has been the home for information on Oblivion modding, but it may be time for a new home. During last summer Bethesda did a great job of cleaning up a spam bot attack, but their involvement in the site has declined since then. More recently, we have requested Parser functions and 2 months later, have yet to get them (or hear back from our second request).

As well, as expressed in a recent thread on the Bethesda CS forum "Revitalizing the CS wiki" there is a great deal of animosity towards the CS wiki due to navigation limitations, using the wiki in a non-wiki way (though it has been out of necessity for the task, see the fifth comment here), bad information and a difficulty in centralizing information to keep it updated/good.

Hopefully a new face will interest people in the modding wiki (wherever its home) again. More importantly I hope that the navigation issues can be fixed with the extras in the UESP (bread crumb trail, etc.) and that we can get a little more attention than Bethesda is giving us. Also, moving would give us a better chance to filter the information on the CS wiki.

I guess the first two questions are really:

  • Would the users and editors of UESP want the modding stuff over here?
  • Would there be a relatively easy and quick process to move some of the categories to the UESP? For instance, the Functions list contains a lot of good information (still needs to be standardized, but otherwise good info).--Haama 15:38, 13 February 2008 (EST)
This is the sort of topic that I usually get involved in, but I've cut back on my wiki time substantially (busy with Cobl, Bash and other projects). A couple of quick comments:
  • Such a move has been suggested before. The main counterargument has been that CS Wiki was the natural site for tes4 modding information (TESCS itself links to it). However, it appears that the long time argument that Bethsoft has a limited amount of time to devote to the CS Wiki is finally becoming paramount.
  • The move will likely require a substantial amount of re-organization -- but since the move is growing out of efforts to re-organize and cleanup the information anyway, now is a good time to do it.
  • Effectively this move would expand our active editors list -- expand it with people who are technically proficient. And its always useful to have a pool of such people given the tendency of admins to come and go. (Speaking as as semi-active admin!)
  • In moving pages, some automatic text munching would be useful. NepheleBot might help here, or editors might pre-munch pages (if I were doing it, I'd probably do a python function -- something to auto-convert categories as needed).
Move specific comments:
  • The info will fit very naturally here. The only reason that our Tes4Mod section is limited is because of the existence of the CS Wiki. So, the space is reserved, it's just a matter of filling it out.
  • Re categories. I've always been more than a little wary of them, and I think that CS Wiki has demonstrated some of their limitations (e.g. splitting lists into groups of 200). Hence, while we've used categories, we've also tended strongly to use manually created indices. E.g Tes3Mod:Alphabetical Function List, Tes3Mod:Categorical_Function_List, Tes4Mod:Mod_File_Format. Newer index pages have tended to make more use of tables (more work to create, but easier to navigate).
  • With the move, the Tes4Mod:Modding page would end up being restructured. A structure like Tes3Mod:Modding would probably be better, though even that is probably too simple given the large expansion in number of articles.
  • Many of the current articles on Tes4Mod:Modding are rather outdated (e.g. Tes4Mod:Mod_Merging and even Tes4Mod:Programmers). Such articles might be updated, or moved to an Historical selection and/or flagged on the page themselves as outdated.
  • One thing that might be used a bit more is subpaging. Some of the previous objections against using it have been removed, and I've been using it on the Cobl pages (e.g. Cobl/Modders/Death_Handling). Combining that with navigation templates (nee crumb trails) is quite useful. So, we might have pages like Scripting/SetFactionRank, Scripting/Functions, Scripting/OBSE Functions, etc.
Those are my initial thoughts. Back to other projects... --Wrye 17:27, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Thanks Wrye. You hit the hammer on the nail there.
Anyone else have a comment? I haven't discussed this with the other major CS wiki editors or placed the suggestion on the Bethesda Forums thread - for now I'm just trying to find out if it would be welcome and feasible.
Oh, and to be clear - by moving the category I mean all of the articles in the category, not necessarily the category itself (good info anyway, Wrye).--Haama 12:48, 14 February 2008 (EST)
For reference, the previous discussion on this topic was at Tes4Mod talk:Modding#Migrate CS Wiki?. And my contribution there probably still summarizes my reaction ;) In particular, my primary concern would simply be that it's what the majority of the CS Wiki community wants. I don't think there are any real issues on the UESP side: the content is definitely compatible with UESP; we have tools such as bots (both NepheleBot and RoBoT now) that can facilitate any batch-type jobs.
Just to state the obvious, though: the move would be a move from one wiki to another ;) Some objections to wikis in general were raised in the forum thread; although I personally don't think those objections outweigh the advantages of a wiki, it might be hard to convince some contributors. Also, any useful components that may be making UESP attractive (parser functions, bread crumb trails, redirects, patrollers, bots, etc.) could in theory be installed on CS Wiki. So the factors that seem relevant are those that reflect fundamental differences between the two wikis:
  • Bethsoft vs. Daveh. The driving factor here seems to be lack of trust in Bethsoft's commitment (in particular future commitment) to the site, despite the fact that Bethsoft has money (e.g., no ads on the site) and promotional power (e.g., links from the CS). But even at UESP there are tasks that can only be done by the site's owner, in our case, Daveh. Daveh has doubtlessly been far more responsive than Bethsoft at providing upgrades and new features, but the bottom line is that we're just as dependent on Daveh as CS Wiki is on Bethsoft.
  • Size and scope of site. At UESP, CS Wiki would just be one part of a larger site. The larger site and larger community would have advantages (better integration with UESP would probably increase use of CS Wiki content; modders involved in both sites wouldn't have to "divide" their time; more people could help with basic maintenance and with advanced tasks such as templates; etc.). But there are some possible downsides, too. CS Wiki articles would only be one part of the site, and therefore would not dictate overall site design issues; in other words, CS Wiki articles and editors would have to adapt to UESP standards rather than the other way around ;) And the modding community would not be its own community here. For example, Haama and the other "sheriffs" would just be regular editors here (at least initially!).
I'm not bringing these points up to discourage the idea. I'd just like to make sure that any decision to make such a dramatic change is based upon full consideration of the factors, both positive and negative. But if CS Wiki wants to migrate, I would welcome the new articles and new editors at UESP :) --NepheleTalk 14:52, 14 February 2008 (EST)

I am aware that I shouldn't be commenting here, not being an admin and so forth, but I feel I must get some points across. Nephele has evaluated the situation perfectly, but I believe that before anything occurs, Daveh and the admins should visit the CS Wiki to see just how different things are there (Syntax, Namespaces, site policy, etc.), and to come to a conclusion on exactly how difficult the move would be. This is certainly not a small matter, and I think Daveh should certainly be heading the final decision. Sorry for butting in! --HMSVictory 15:03, 14 February 2008 (EST)

I've got a few reservations about this but probably nothing that can't be assuaged. At the moment, the modding sections are a fairly small part of the site and 95% of the contributions (outside the dreadful ideas page) are made by Wrye and he clearly knows what he's talking about so I don't bother to check them. If we're going to start getting a lot of edits in these areas, we're going to need people who can make the usual checks for accuracy, redundancy etc etc. We either leave it all to Wrye (something I doubt he'd want to do!), learn about it ourselves (Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to) or push the existing "sheriffs" through our patroller nomination process to get them doing the same job here. I wouldn't want to do that until we'd seen the same ability we expect from any other candidate.
That's only going to be a problem for so long, but the bigger problem is one of compatibility. If the modding community had an interest in UESP they'd already be here, and vice versa. I don't believe that's the case given the lack of activity in UESP's modding section. Thus we run the risk of creating two communities, each with its own editors and needs. If that's going to happen I'd say it's better to keep things as two wikis, possibly by creating a new one for modding on Wikia.com or something similar.
These aren't deal-breaking concerns and at the end of the day, new editors = good; new articles = good; more Elder Scrolls information = good. If those minor problems can be addressed then I don't see any problem. –RpehTCE 15:45, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Re "need to train existing patrollers to handle modding pages". There's no such need. Editors and patrollers patrol what they know. The expectation is that people watch the parts of the wiki that they're familiar with/interested in and ignore the rest. Hence editors coming in to add modding content, will also watch modding content pages.
"If the modding community had an interest in UESP they'd already be here..." Ummm, no. Because wikis are a type of social software, it's best to concentrate contributors on one wiki instead of splitting them across multiple wikis. Hence when two different wikis try to cover the same subject matter, typically one wins and the other loses. So far, UESP has been on the losing side of the contest over modding content; but that's now be reconsidered. If we win, our modding content will explode (and if not, we'll stay the same size). --Wrye 18:47, 14 February 2008 (EST)
I think you've missed my point but accidentally reinforced it! What I meant was that there's no evidence that the modding community is interested in contributing to the UESP articles either inside or outside the modding section - if there was any such interest I'd have expected some updates to the modding articles. That's what will lead to two communities - one group concentrating solely on modding and one leaving it alone. That leads to my other point; if we have some people interested only in modding, we can't very well make them patrollers as there's no way of enforcing a "You patrol that bit, I'll patrol this bit" system - and neither would we want to. I wouldn't be prepared to vote in favour of making new editors into patrollers until they'd demonstrated the same skills as everyone else with that role. I also think you're wrong about people only patrolling parts of the site they know about and are interested in. As trivial examples, I have responded to queries in the Tes4Mod namespace and regularly fix errors in the Oblivion:Roleplaying set of articles despite having an interest in neither.
Let me say clearly that I'm not against this idea; I simply have a couple of concerns that I would like to see addressed. –RpehTCE 04:32, 15 February 2008 (EST)
To be honest the CS wiki editors will probably be busy for a few months with the move/cleanup. Also, hopefully this will get some more modding contributors so we'll be busy patrolling those. There are only 3 regulars on the CS wiki - DragoonWraith (who disappears around the middle of the semester as school gets busy), Qazaaq, and I. We've had a few people help us with some rather daunting tasks (Werewolf, Red Fault, and Fella come to mind), but they tend to disappear afterwards. Otherwise, we have maybe 5 semi-regulars. In short, we won't allow your workload to increase, but nor would we be likely to decrease your workload.
As time goes on and we get more acquainted with the UESP this will change, and you'll probably be asking us to stop mentioning game settings, OBSE, and mods in the normal articles (another issue for when it comes up?).
As for your example - the articles in the UESP were written initially by Wrye, and you have a good reason to trust him! I have looked at a few of them and don't know of anything to add to them.
I've brought it up on the CS wiki, let me see what their reactions are.--Haama 12:43, 15 February 2008 (EST)
Rpeh, I understood your point(s) perfectly. Perhaps you misundertood my reply.
  • You argued that if modders were interested, we would have seen more participation. My counter was that this was not the case because participation at wikis is typically either all or nothing. I.e., if two wikis are competing for an editors attention, then the editor will usually pick one, and stick with it exclusively, no matter how close the decision was. In any case, this is a moot issue. If modders decide to be more active here, then obviously they're interested.
  • You're suggesting that we would end up with different communities (one focussed primarily on modding, and another focussed primarily on the sort of game-info issues that most of the site is about). I agree, that would pretty much happen. Our disagreement was that you see this is a bad thing, while I see it as a normal, even good thing. It's a natural consequence of the wiki expanding that you end up with different groups that focus on different things.
  • Re patrollers, it's never been a requirement for patrollers that they be able to patrol the whole site, nor is that even a "good to have". What's important for patrollers is that their edits be reliable, quality edits. Lack of expertise in a given area is not a problem so long as the patrollers don't try to fix pages which they're not expert enough to fix.
But enough of that, I don't think the above considerations are substantial issues. What I'm most concerned with is performance. UESP still has significant peformance problems. Several hours ago, I found the site to be effectively unusuable (page wait times went over a minute, and then the server started returning odd page cache complaint pages). It's my understanding that these problems are particularly a problem on Sundays (peak load time). But if that's the case, UESP may be effectively unusable as a CS Wiki replacement (Sundays is when it would be hardest hit by weekend modders looking for info).
Nor is this a new problem. Server performance has long been a problem. I had hoped that with the server upgrade, lightened load (less Oblivion players), a second person with server access, that these problems had been resolved, but it seems that they're not.
In contrast, while there are a number of problems at CS wiki, I've never seen performance be an issue. While generally speaking, I would like to see CS Wiki content moved here; low server/page performance will trump any other annoyances associated with CS Wiki.
--Wrye 20:19, 15 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks for the comments everyone - it's good to know that such a move would be possible. I've brought it up on the CS wiki - the two major editors mentioned before (DragoonWraith and Qazaaq) don't seem to be very keen on the idea. We've also mentioned it on the Revitalization thread, but barring a massive call for the move, I believe the issue is dead.--Haama 21:31, 16 February 2008 (EST)