To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

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To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by Zixinus on Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:52 am

The Wiki is in a woeful state and MoE is the kind of comic that would really benefit from a wiki. Even dedicated readers can forget who a particular character is, when did we see that gadget before or where was something previously mentioned.

I was in a hospital for a month and I had downloaded Whitehound's archives. I began building up the Wiki by going trough the archives from the start and noting into an ever-increasing word-file anything I found noteworthy. This was slow and sure, but also prone to my individual judgement. Also, it relied on me knowing my place in the comic which I lost, losing my note-taking interest. However, it gave me an idea.

So I have devised a revised approach: start a strip-by-strip archive in the wiki where we tag what each strip contains. An example of this would be the XKCD wiki.

Instead of explaining each and every comic of course, we would merely note certain things of importance. Such as the appearance and/or naming of new characters, sighting new items, learning of new locations, etc.  These would then link to the appropriate page on the wiki. If we are clever, we can also put in overlays for such.
The page would also put in Robert's comments that are in the main page. If the wiki code allows it, it can also store or link to user comments (although if the wiki code favors this, have that on a separate page).

The idea is that anyone can help tagging the project from any point from the archives.

I have not yet begun this because there are a number of things that should be decided first.


  • First and foremost, is Rob okay with this? We are creating a third archive for his comic and one that is actually more beneficial for a new reader than the original strip.
  • Second, what should be the end-format? What should be noted? What is it that needs a tag?
  • Third, how would this look in wiki code? This is important because we need ┬áto import thousands of strips that has a large things. Ideally, the wiki should automate this but still allow manual insertions.
  • Fourth, how should this look like for a user that is willing to contribute?
  • Fifth, how should user comments come into play with this? Ideally, we should have a system that allows commenting for someone going trough the main archives? How should moderation come into play?
  • Sixth, how should we handle spoilers? This is a big risk for someone going trough the archives. I haven't figured out how to do blackout-text in the wiki, never mind how we should compartmentalize information to help avoiding spoilers.
  • Seventh, To do this properly we will need to essentially create a more advanced archive for the comic. How would this look like? Should we just use a mix of strip number + Whitehound's system (like 0075 P01:04)?


If anybody has any thoughts, please share them!

To start, here is a rough tag-collection for characters (xxxx-xx-xx is strip format):

Name: Bifon
Alternative names: Squasher, Big No-bob
First appearnce: xxxx-xx-xx
First named: xxxx-xx-xx
Occupation: Brawler (seen xxxx-xx-xx, admitted xxxx-xx-xx)
Former occupations: 'shroom-farmer (mentioned xxxx-xx-xx), pain-in-the-arse (xxxx-xx-xx)
Notable skills: swearing like a **** ****** of a bitter ***** that ****-drowned in ****'s **** (xxxx-xx-xx)
Notable items: Endless Bottle O' Rye, Big Club
Social affiliation: Nevus's gang, Hole132 Resident
Location: Basement

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by Geoduck on Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:04 pm

I have no objection to this idea, or to Whitehound's alternate setup, or to the Wiki as a whole. (Though I have left the last to be an entirely fan-run operation.) Unfortunately, I probably don't have enough of a fan-base to make it a practical reality. Lately I've been contributing to the Wiki for Girl Genius, which has an exponentially greater reader-base than MoE, and it's still in pretty sorry shape in places. I've updated a whole slew of major articles that had laid dormant and out-of-date for years. Still, happy to be proven wrong!

And sorry to hear about the hospital stay. Hope you're feeling better.
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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by eman on Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:02 am

I'm not sure I understand the idea, but when I want to find out something, my first stop is Robert's own recap page, and my second the OhNoRobot search. Wiki comes third, but the recap page is so good I rarely even need the search, never mind the wiki. That said, my own memory probably helps a lot; I've read the entire archives at least twice and long stretches several more times.

I have contributed to the wiki, and I think I could do a bit more, but I really wouldn't want to get involved with tagging every strip. It sounds like an exhausting task, and as I've said I wouldn't use it.

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by Zixinus on Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:08 am

The basic idea comes from my training in Object-Oriented programming (first semester though). I only know C#, not HTML. The idea is that plot-relevant things becomes objects that can be sorted by classes (plot element categories). If that sounds confusing, don't worry, I'm not 100% how this would look in HTML/PHP either.

Basically, see that above quoted bit? Every entry leads either to a wiki page or to a strip. Adding to it just requires adding the strip number or relevant wiki page.

The biggest bit of work to get this started is to upload the entire archives to the wiki and turn it browsable there.

Geoduck wrote:I have no objection to this idea, or to Whitehound's alternate setup, or to the Wiki as a whole. (Though I have left the last to be an entirely fan-run operation.)

Thanks for you blessing. I should contact the Wiki-hoster/maker then.

Geoduck wrote:And sorry to hear about the hospital stay. Hope you're feeling better.

This actually happened in the spring. I didn't have internet there so I had the time and not much else to do. Since then I neglected the Wiki.

eman wrote:I'm not sure I understand the idea,

The point isn't to help recapping, it is to have a simple system that would make it easier to build up the wiki's content.

eman wrote: but I really wouldn't want to get involved with tagging every strip. It sounds like an exhausting task, and as I've said I wouldn't use it.

The idea is that no single person would have to do it. With the system in place, any user can do it from any point of archives at any time (although with some consulting on the wiki). It's taking the system I started to use by myself and improving it by turning it into a crowdsource version.

If it could be built, it can be used with other comics too, like Girl Genius.

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by Zixinus on Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:00 pm

A small update on a step closer on how this thing should work. I am taking a classical advice of Kipling's Six Honest Serving men. The follow are what need to be tagged in a strip correspond which of these you need to answer for it:


  • What: Plot devices that are of significance. They aren't necessary devices or machines, but any object that has significance on its own (ie, Comshaw's poking stick does not yet qualify as it is only remarkable for being Comshaw's).

  • Why: Motive, which is something we don't necessarily need to note with tags. We can include in a report page like the one quoted above, but noting that would be the proper wiki page's job.

  • When: Events in history or even in the future. Mentioned and explained often.

  • How: Skills, technology and other abilities. This includes magic but also semi-mundane things like Poking. Taged when either when it is demonstrated or explained.

  • Where: Locations, simply put. This can be simply a room to geographic countries.

  • Who: characters, all kinds that appear.


This gives five categories. Then it is making a code system, which is where things will get complicated. It needs to keep track of all the people and things that are tagged. Sylvester being the first character can be C#00001 but then you'd be reliant on a search feature to find him in a list. That's the next bit that I need to figure out.

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by whitehound on Sat Dec 20, 2014 2:04 am

I feel that tagging every strip would be excessive, when Rob already has all the strips transcribed - you can see what strip a character first appeared in (so long as Rob names them when they first appear) just by looking them up in the transcripts and picking the first date that appears for them.

But it would be a nice idea to go through the strip from the beginning and list every character, not just the main ones Rob has in his cast list, along with the sort of biographical details you suggest (and date of first appearance if desired). I've already done this on my page for the Earls and their partners, giving their interests and family origins and so on, but it would be very helpful to have something similar for all the characters, and also detailed listings for places.

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by archangelm127 on Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:51 am

I envisioned the Wiki as an encyclopedia-style reference. Some data, like affiliation, residence and species, could be included in a boxout in each article, but mostly it would be written in paragraph form, with lots of internal hyperlinks. Some way to automate the citation process would be welcome, but there's also the question of whether we need cite data pulled directly from the comic at all. Insights from forum posts should definitely be cited, though.

What do people think?

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by eman on Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:20 am

I think I'm getting a headache just thinking about the presented structures. I can follow structure that's already there well enough, it's understanding it when it's described that I have a problem with.

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Activating the wiki

Post by Argadi on Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:10 pm

The wiki hasn't had much activity, and this is an old discussion, but is anyone here still interested the wiki?

I've been trying to make at least one edit a day. In a few months I will have more spare time and hope to work on the wiki. (But I also have other plans for the spare time, so who knows what will happen.)

I'm considering adding some features similar to the Girl Genius Wiki. (I'm approaching 7000 edits in that wiki.)

Chronology: http://girlgenius.wikia.com/wiki/Chronology_-_Volume_2-4
Timeline: http://girlgenius.wikia.com/wiki/Internal_Chronology

If you are interested please join the edit-a-day club.

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by eman on Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:28 am

I've just found more email from your edits than almost any other topic in my inbox, Argadi! It doesn't bother me too much, but it is surprising. It's only a comic wiki, but I have to say that making an edit every day might be harmful to it if no-one who knows the comic well has time and energy to review your edits.

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Re: To Wiki Reader/Editors: wiki comic page tagging idea

Post by Argadi on Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:51 pm

Are you saying we should abandon the wiki because it isn't complete and popular?

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