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