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  1. #1
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    Default 14 Easy Steps to a Better Compendium

    This is a thread I should have wrote long ago, but since laziness is part of my charm and procrastination just is fun, I have avoided writing it. I have been trying to convince myself to write it for a while, as my signature shows, and GoldyGopher editing the quest section (or rather creating it) in the last few days has been the last thing I needed to motivate myself to write this thread.

    Some of it is simply personal gripe with their Compendium, but most of it are suggestions are needed to make the Compendium the useful tool it should and was intended to be. Anyway, enough rambling and let's go directly to the core of the subject.
    1. Remove the <no edit> tags. Many page contain incorrect, mislead or incomplete information. For example, take the description of Evasion that has yet to contain anything explaining the user that it only works if you are wearing light armor or no armor. Players did edit the page, however, one has to scroll down and look unofficial information. The presence of your HTML "official data" makes the page much uglier and less pleasant to read.

      If you are concern about players editing pages to insert misleading and incorrect information, then I would like to remind you that our accounts are linked to our forums account which are themselves linked to our real game accounts. In other words, someone cannot simply create a new account to vandalize any page. Besides, vandalism is a rare problem on any wiki and there are extensions that can be used to address this problem, like FlaggedRev which shouldn't be too problematic to include in your wiki if that really is the concern.

    2. Add parser functions. These are required for the existence of any wiki, as they contain basic functions such as #if, #ifeq and a few others that are needed in the construction of most good templates. I'm not talking about useful stuff like variables, which would be of a great help, but really basic required stuff if you want this to be a wiki.

    3. Create, or let us create, template for those pages to replace your current HTML template. As I started earlier, the mix of regular text and those black boxes make the page not so enjoyable to read. But, beyond that, there is a more practical reason: HTML structure is less confusing than a "fill-in the blanks" wiki template. Editing the template is more complicated, but since most user would simply add/correct information, it wouldn't be a problem.

      If this means you have to stop pulling data directly from in-game, then so be it. On that topic, I would like to remind you that the information that I call incorrect and misleading is pulled word for word from the game. This means that the in-game feat, enhancement and spell description is as misleading or incorrect. It would be worth revising the descriptions to clarify any question. I'm surprised this wasn't done in the NGE.

    4. Create meta templates and other rules to have a somewhat uniform structure. For any web page to exist, there needs to be set rules of usage and consensus made on how the web site should be structured. A wiki does not escape that rule. In fact, it needs it more than any other type of website. Since a wiki is the contribution of multiple users, with different preferences, visions and backgrounds, there needs to be a common ground on how the website is built.

      The DDO Compendium has avoided chaos thus far because it is extremely repulsive to edit. However, if it starts being used more, there will be a need for these. It is better if turbine publish them, since they will have a better control on what the wiki will look, then if they let us users decide on it. Also, deciding on those rules can lead to a lot of drama unless dealing with very mature and professional editors.

    5. Create help pages. Currently, the DDO Compendium lacks any. In fact, when you click the tiny Editing help button at the bottom of an edit page, it leads to this page which ironically states "There is currently no text in this page, you can search for this page title in other pages or edit this page." Obviously, this needs to be fixed right away. It is also to make this button bigger to that others can see it. Right now, it's hidden and hard to notice.

    6. Stop the heavy usage of namespaces. For a reason that escapes my understanding, Turbine felt it was appropriate to use as many namespaces as possible. The only logical conclusion I can make that it was easier for them when pulling information from the game, as it will avoid any conflict between possible homonyms rather than having to give the problem descriptor in parentheses.

      This, however, is not a sufficient reason to create extra confusion.

      On the user and editor side, it is really annoying. When linking to page, instead of linking to [[Alertness]] the editor has to link to [[Feat:Alertness|]]. This is useless word typing. The problem arises on the readers' side when he is looking a page, and is useless clutter.

      And, more importantly, it is confusing when adding some information.


      • Does a category listing quests by location goes into the Quest: namespace?
      • Do we need a new namespace?
      • Can a page have no namespace?
      • What about basic stuff like AC and ability scores, do we put them on a namespace?


      The list goes on. Heck, even for more obvious situations there still is confusing as the existence of these two pages demonstrate.

    7. Stop wasting space on a page with redundant pages. Anyone who ever tried to use the Compendium knows how space is wasted by listing information that could be contained in one page. Maybe this unclear, so I will give an example. The feat category lists all kinds of Greater Weapon Focus and all Favored Enemy when each could have been contained in one article. At worse, the Greater Focus pages could have been at least regroup into four categories: ranged, slashing, bludgeoning and piercing, like it really is in the game.

      On top of being annoying to the reader, it is also misleading because there is no such feat as Greater Weapon Focus: Ranged Weapons (Repeating Light Crossbow) for a fighter to take since that "feat" is merged with the Greater Weapon Focus: Ranged Weapons feat.

    8. Allow the creation of a community. A community is crucial for the survival of a wiki. The more contributors there is, the more update there is, exponentially. Without a vivid community, a wiki will die. However, give it an active community and it will grow in accuracy. People adding the Recent Changes page to their RSS feeds, watching pages, wanted pages will be made, the quality of information found will increase and so on.

      Encourage the community to participate. Try to find incentive for users to get started and break the invisible barrier that is the first edit. Create a structure.

      A wiki has different level rights. The basics are are bots, normal user, sysop and bureaucrat. Or, you can customize the groups as you want. Granting these to trusted users would go a long way in managing the wiki. A good start would be those owning fansites, like Ustice, Jerry, a few DDOwiki editors and knowledgeable posters on the forums. Promotions could then be given if an editor is capable and knowledgeable of the wiki.

      It doesn't matter if it is totally biased and subjective at first. Those who deserve it will get promoted one day or another.

    9. Allow EU players to edit the wiki as well. EU players are also DDO players, but do not have neither forums or Compendium access. If possible, it would be a great move to allow them to be able to edit the wiki as more hands is always good. They'd love forum access as well, but there might be legal reasons to why they don't.

    10. Give us access to that pop-up feature through the means of a template. A personal request but I wanted to throw that one out there.

    11. Change the skin. The current skin is tiring on the eyes and makes browsing the Compendium for too long not a pleasant experience. The design is also too vertical. When trying to display thumbnail, information boxes or even ToC, it looks horrible as it takes way too much of the horizontal space. As a result, pages are really vertical which makes them more complicated and pleasant to read.

    12. Give us access to edit pages important pages like the home page. Just because it's important. Nothing more to add.

    13. Create pages explaining the basic information about the game, such as Armor Class, ability scores, spell points, alignments and so on. To players with no D&D background, this can be very confusing. Even so, there are many things that have changed between the tabletop game and the video game so being able to read about it would be a great help to the new and less knowledgeable players.

    14. Link the Compendium with the game and/or find a way to inform new players of its existence. Every new player starting any video game will have tons of question. This is even truer for DDO because of the huge learning curve there is if you are unfamiliar with 3.5 D&D. If there is a way for them to be informed of the presence of the Compendium or even being able to consult a glossary while playing, it would be a fantastic.

      It would have been nice to see such a feature added in the NGE.

    As I said earlier, some of them are just personal gripes, but most of them are really important and should be considered.

    If they are not, then you should seriously question yourself on the validity of a wiki format for your Compendium, Turbine. A wiki requires more effort to maintain, especially if you have no community watching and correcting bad edits, which is the current situation.

    The current black boxes that distinguish the official information from the unofficial is not any helpful. At best, it is a cop out but it is in no means helpful for the player. either the player knows it is unofficial information and decide to not trust it, remaining uninformed, or the player is mislead by false or out of date information (if it is) left by someone to fill in the holes left in the information that you gave. And there are a lot of them, even prerequisites are missing!

    Also, it is simply disrespectful to user like Zenako and GoldyGopher who are going through the efforts to improve your Compendium. If you really have no intentions of improving your Compendium into something more usable and editable, then they are wasting their time when they could be updating a real wiki, even if it is managed by the community.

    Either make a non-wiki website with better information or improve your wiki, otherwise you are hurting your own game.

    Borror0
    Last edited by Borror0; 01-16-2009 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Removed the underlining
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  2. #2

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    Great suggestions. Most are even things that can even be just added with little more effort than point and click.
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  3. #3
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    1) Just direct everyone to DDO Wiki
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
    1) Just direct everyone to DDO Wiki
    LOL, glad to see you're back.
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  5. #5

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    It would be nice to have Turbine in on it though. There is info that is just hard to get any where else. Plus this is where new players will look.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ustice View Post
    It would be nice to have Turbine in on it though. There is info that is just hard to get any where else. Plus this is where new players will look.
    Aye, #14 would be great to have.
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  7. #7
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    Nice post and good suggestions.
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  8. #8
    Founder & Hero Steiner-Davion's Avatar
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    Kinda makes you wonder what they were thinking when they decided to go the Wiki route. Granted, everything takes time and Time = Money

    But that is no reason to do a halfassed job, either do something like this right or don't do it at all. I know the few times I've tried to use the compendium, I've been extremely frustrated trying to navigatge it, and by the lack of easy to use, useful information.

  9. #9
    Community Member Lorien_the_First_One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steiner-Davion View Post
    Kinda makes you wonder what they were thinking when they decided to go the Wiki route. Granted, everything takes time and Time = Money

    But that is no reason to do a halfassed job, either do something like this right or don't do it at all. I know the few times I've tried to use the compendium, I've been extremely frustrated trying to navigatge it, and by the lack of easy to use, useful information.
    I've also found the compendium less than friendly...and less than useful. Phrases like "some chance" or "improves" or other vaugeness in the descriptions make it useless. I need to know "+1 to the DC", "3% chance", etc. DDO wiki is where I tend to go. I only go to the compendium of the DDO wiki doesn't have the answer. It would be nice if the compendium was a properly functioning wiki so that it could be the focus of research and everything could get migrated here in the end.

  10. #10
    Community Member Noctus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lorien the First One View Post
    ... Phrases like "some chance" or "improves" or other vaugeness in the descriptions make it useless. I need to know "+1 to the DC", "3% chance", etc. ...
    I wholeheartedly agree.
    This vagueness need sto be replaced by the correct numbers to make the compendium a worthwileplace to go when planing a build / need to check some facts.
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  11. #11
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    My first answer "send them to the ddowiki" was a bit snarky. But also contains a grain of truth.

    In the perfect world, if Turbine were to implement Borror0's suggestions, then DDOWiki would not be needed - the compendium would be the one and only place you needed to go for just about everything.

    The problem right now is that

    1) Developers can't edit the DDOWiki. Well, technically they can. But I'm sure they have restrictions against putting out information in unofficial third-party sites.

    2) Players can't edit the Compendium. Well, technically they can. But, only some things, in some ways, on pages that are less than user-friendly.


    DDOWiki is a great source of user created content that covers much more information in much better format than the official wiki. But, Turbine can't updated with new information it has and can't police anything on it.

    Compendium is a good source of information. But, alot of it isn't the easiest to navigate. And, Turbine can't dedicate the manpower/resources to update it as completely or as often as player created documentation would be. (And I don't blame them -- that would be a fairly serious investment. The compendium we have now is better than many game official documentation, but still is far from perfect.)



    So, to do it right, what we need is something that is updated by players like the Wiki and yet still updated and policed by Turbine like the Compendium.

    The Compendium was a decent first attempt at doing this, but still has a ways to go.
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  12. #12
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    Great post Sojouner, and it's basically the point I was trying to make in the OP.

    By the way, I left a common to you on the talk page of the template you created, in case you've missed. I'm too lazy to leave you a PoI.
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  13. #13

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    Case in point, when I saw how confusing the feats listings were with all of the Greater versions being listed together, I tried to edit them so that they would be listed like Spell Penetration, Greater, but I was twarted at evry turn by not being able to edit the no edit sections, and reiredct didn't seem to work. I ended up giving up and reverting the half-done changes that I had made. The experience made me frustrated and not wanting to contribute further, and I am one of those users that contributes a fair amount of content.
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  14. #14
    Community Member Pyromaniac's Avatar
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    I'd say it would be best to delete the official compendium and just post a link to the DDOWiki. The DDOwiki is definitely far superior to the official info.
    Last edited by Pyromaniac; 01-18-2009 at 11:43 AM.
    Thanks for the long time forum user purge of Aug '10 (Sarcasm for those who don't get it)

  15. #15

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    1) Copy 'DDOWiki'
    2) Paste as 'DDO Compendium'
    3-14) Enjoy.

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    |||-C a f f e i n e-|||
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pyromaniac View Post
    I'd say it would be best to delete the official compendium and just post a link to the DDOWiki. The DDOwiki is definitely far superior to the official info.
    QFT...
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Memnir View Post
    QFT...
    Turbine should be ashamed, and deeply, of their official "effort".
    I don't think that they should be ashamed. The problem seems to be two conflicting motivations, and my guess is that it was not the fault of the web development team, but the management that didn't understand the point of a wiki, and how they work. My guess is that someone in management gave the order to make sure that they kept complete control, and that players knew what was "official" info, and what was user-driven.

    If you think about it, the terrible black boxes are a pretty good bit of coding, since all of that had to be written from scratch, instead of just letting the wiki software format the data according to it's templates. It feels like percisely the type of project that starts out being designed one way and concludes with something completely different, (and wholly inferior) by too many people having input in major design decisions.

    There's hope for it yet. Most of the thinks that Borror0 mentioned are standard install stuff, so it wouldn't take a huge time investment on that front. The hardest part would be getting the data from the current system (or from the game database). I would prefer that we go the second route, and that the API is opened up to player developers.
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    Bwest Fwiends Memnir's Avatar
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    All I know is that the official compendium is usually a punchline - and I'm not talking abstractly or obliquity. It is literally a joke, and is openly considered as such by the vast majority of people I talk to (and I talk to a lot). So yes - I think for that Turbine should be ashamed into doing something about it. Have they? No. Nor do I have any hope they will decide to do anything about it soon. One more reason why they should be nothing but ashamed on the rare occasion they think about the topic.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ustice View Post
    [...] my guess is that it was not the fault of the web development team, but the management that didn't understand the point of a wiki, and how they work.
    I would agree, but only to an extent.

    The web team should have had explained to the management why it would be a bad idea to make of both the Compendium and Lorebook in this manner. Oh, by the way, the design of LotRO's Lorebook is easier to read although still too vertical. Their official edit also blends better with the background.

    This is not an excuse to keep the "official entry" division, for reasons explained in the OP.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ustice View Post
    My guess is that someone in management gave the order to make sure that they kept complete control, and that players knew what was "official" info, and what was user-driven.
    If they want perfect control over the content, they can add FlaggedRev and never give players reviewer rights. It's dumb and paranoid, but if it's what they want.
    Last edited by Borror0; 01-19-2009 at 01:52 PM.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borror0 View Post
    I would agree, but only to an extent.

    The web team should have had explained to the management why it would be a bad idea to make of both the Compendium and Lorebook in this manner. Oh, by the way, the design of LotRO's Lorebook is easier to read although still too vertical. Their official edit also blends better with the background.

    This is not an excuse to keep the "official entry" division, for reasons explained in the OP.

    If they want perfect control over the content, they can add FlaggedRev and never give players reviewer rights. It's dumb and paranoid, but if it's what they want.
    Talking from experience, in these cases the problem is that management doesn't understand the real issue, and they make a decision based on that. I think that had the web developers offered the FlaggedRev option, it likely would have been the road that management would have taken, but then they would likely have locked down most articles. I think that what we have is a compromise that just didn't work out as well as we would like.
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