Building an RPG database Wiki-style?
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:58 am 
 

(Edit - July 2008 - this post was made almost 2 years ago - bumping it for renewed discussion - see below)

I am relatively new to the forums, though have been visiting The Acaeum for 6 years or so. I see that this type of discussion pops up from time to time then fizzles. I was going to post in the 'Distributed Computing Project' thread but note this is largely inactive.

Since I started collecting, I have continuously struggled to learn about RPG items. I have struggled especially to learn the individual components of items. For example, I had DLA1 and two years later got another copy and found it had a large fold-out map. I could not find contents data anywhere including Acaeum.

Since I renewed my interest and started collecting about six years ago, The Acaeum has been my main point of reference. It is undoubtedly the best site available. It also gives links to the other best sites around.

Recently, I picked up some White Wolf books second hand, knew little about them, so searched and found a White Wolf Wikipedia offshoot. I notice on the real Wikipedia they are starting to accumulate references on various RPGs including TSR. At these sites registered users can add to build on the body of knowledge.

I see that Acaeum now has the Judges Guild subweb and I have been reading about the donations / subweb programme. I think that is great (I have about 50 JG items too). My worry is that this is slow and limited. There is SO much information in the forums. I just wonder if in the future a Wiki-style Acaeum could be made, where all the serious contributors and users could start building the definitive RPG encyclopedia. Starting with TSR and JG and slowly building. I think someone will do this eventually - so it I hope it is Acaeum, which is the greatest site.

I realise finances are a problem and quality control is very important. But perhaps there could be some mechanism where item page contributions could be submitted first to a pending area, reviewed by a senior panel before being put on the site. I think a good 'contents' segment for each description is critical to the Collector.

Anyway, just brainstorming here, but I guess in a nutshell I am suggesting:
- reformatting and providing more information on item description pages
- creating a mechanism where the broader community can contribute to these pages without compromising quality

i.e. getting the masses of data and photos onto encyclopedia quality items pages systematically and more quickly.

Incidentally, I have now 488 pieces in my collection:

Mostly TSR first edition (some rares)
Some TSR second edition
Avalon Hill (focussing on fantasy, sci fi and RPG releases)
Judges Guild
Iron Crown Enterprises (Particularly MERP and board games)
FASA (Dr. Who)
Fantasy Productions Inc (this is a quirk of mine - I am trying to get all prints and editions of Jeffrey Dillow's erstwhile RPG)
    and just starting with
Columbia Games (Harn first edition)

Next year when I get through my PhD confirmation, I would very much like to contribute in some way. It is my main hobby and I enjoy researching items in my limited way. Another question - are there any other subwebs nearing completion?


Last edited by HermitFromPluto on Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
  

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:31 am 
 

HermitFromPluto wrote:I am relatively new to the forums, though have been visiting The Acaeum for 6 years or so. I see that this type of discussion pops up from time to time then fizzles. I was going to post in the 'Distributed Computing Project' thread but note this is largely inactive.

Since I started collecting, I have continuously struggled to learn about RPG items. I have struggled especially to learn the individual components of items. For example, I had DLA1 and two years later got another copy and found it had a large fold-out map. I could not find contents data anywhere including Acaeum.


http://home.flash.net/~brenfrow/dl/dl-dla1.htm
For DLA1, but more importantly this site is good for the components side of TSR stuff+some others: http://home.flash.net/~brenfrow/index.htm

HermitFromPluto wrote:Since I renewed my interest and started collecting about six years ago, The Acaeum has been my main point of reference. It is undoubtedly the best site available. It also gives links to the other best sites around.

Recently, I picked up some White Wolf books second hand, knew little about them, so searched and found a White Wolf Wikipedia offshoot. I notice on the real Wikipedia they are starting to accumulate references on various RPGs including TSR. At these sites registered users can add to build on the body of knowledge.

I see that Acaeum now has the Judges Guild subweb and I have been reading about the donations / subweb programme. I think that is great (I have about 50 JG items too). My worry is that this is slow and limited. There is SO much information in the forums. I just wonder if in the future a Wiki-style Acaeum could be made, where all the serious contributors and users could start building the definitive RPG encyclopedia. Starting with TSR and JG and slowly building. I think someone will do this eventually - so it I hope it is Acaeum, which is the greatest site.

I realise finances are a problem and quality control is very important. But perhaps there could be some mechanism where item page contributions could be submitted first to a pending area, reviewed by a senior panel before being put on the site. I think a good 'contents' segment for each description is critical to the Collector.

Anyway, just brainstorming here, but I guess in a nutshell I am suggesting:
- reformatting and providing more information on item description pages
- creating a mechanism where the broader community can contribute to these pages without compromising quality

i.e. getting the masses of data and photos onto encyclopedia quality items pages systematically and more quickly.

Incidentally, I have now 488 pieces in my collection:

Mostly TSR first edition (some rares)
Some TSR second edition
Avalon Hill (focussing on fantasy, sci fi and RPG releases)
Judges Guild
Iron Crown Enterprises (Particularly MERP and board games)
FASA (Dr. Who)
Fantasy Productions Inc (this is a quirk of mine - I am trying to get all prints and editions of Jeffrey Dillow's erstwhile RPG)
    and just starting with
Columbia Games (Harn first edition)

Next year when I get through my PhD confirmation, I would very much like to contribute in some way. It is my main hobby and I enjoy researching items in my limited way. Another question - are there any other subwebs nearing completion?


The Planescape Subweb is near completion.

On the Judges Guild Subweb, you'll notice I include the contents of the various products like the above TSR Archive site and also include a scan of the components as well.

Oh and another good site for ICE: http://www.icewebring.com/ICE_Products/ ... od_RM1.php
and for the smaller companies there is this site: http://www.afterglow2.com/

So there are some resources around but so many more could be helpful. If you do start a site like you propose you'll find many fine folks here that will help.

ShaneG.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:33 am 
 

A RPG Wiki would be a fine idea. especially for magazines (which are extremely poorly researched  :cry: ) and for non English language RPGs or books (for example, French or Italian - well, just one for now  :wink:  - CoC books).

  

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:38 am 
 

I like the idea, I find that uploading the info takes the most time, Wiki allows you to modify and upload at the same time, wish I knew how to implement it on my site... oh and I have done more magazines I (believe it or not) just haven't updated the pages.. and I see that someone has already borrowed the iffo on the site for their ebay auctions without asking (actually 3 different in the last couple of weeks)

Brette:)

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:07 pm 
 

Thanks Plaag for those comments and links. It is good to hear that the subforum development is still ongoing.

I like the DragonLance site. It is simple and has clear, concise descriptions of all items including contents.

The MERP one is quite good too. I have seen sites come and go for this, but that one looks more permanent.

I'll see what I can contribute in the future. I am interested in the idea of how to get all the information from forums and even product listing on Ebay - into a user friendly RPG database.

For example, I see that the James.Sinks lot erupted into a big debate on another thread. However, the pictures and data he posted is very valuable in itself. To research that lot you'd have to spend a lot of time on many different sites.

I am familiar with the Afterglow site. It is great but has a long way to go.....Hmm anyway, food for thought.

Thanks also Alexander1968 and beasterbrook for your comments.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:46 am 
 

BTW. I see that grodog was considering a non-D&D TSR subweb. Is this still ongoing?

  


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:59 pm 
 

Hi all,

I recently linked this old thread in a discussion in the non-TSR forum and it has sparked some renewed discussion. I still think some sort of transition to a more interactive site would be useful. Where trusted members can help turn 'The Acaeum' into an online successor the Schick's Heroic Worlds!

I realise it is massive undertaking and management is overstretched. But just bumping it again in case anyone has some thoughts to add or ideas about how we could try something without it being a burden. Maybe we could start with a single sub-web add-on in this style as a trial.

Ideas, thoughts ?

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:10 am 
 

I'd like to see an RPG version of BoardGameGeek.  That would be fun with user uploaded images, personal comments, in-depth reviews, lists galore of all kinds, etc.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:57 am 
 

I would very much like to see something like this as well although I am not sure that The Acaeum is quite the place for a complete RPG catalog.  Everything TSR, would be a good start but even building obvious subwebs is not something that is happening very quickly.

Just out of curiosity but has a "mission statement" for the Acaeum ever been talked about?  Even something such as everything TSR would probably be another decade worth of work.

For everything RPG, there is RPGnet and work is progressing on the Tome of Treasures.  RPGnet and The Tome both strive for similar goals - list all RPGs, have pictures, allow user input, etc.  My hope is that someday the Tome will also have features to add reviews, list your collection, be more automated, etc.  With all the existing websites already (I could probably add ABC and drosi and roliste and lokiwookie's site, etc) it really shows how huge the scope of such a project is.

I firmly believe that a project (or even a subweb) should be done with as much detail as possible.  I want to see the different printings and how to discern between them.  Most websites do not do this.  The Acaeum does this for TSR and Judges Guild.  The only website attempting this for other systems (as well as TSR) is the Tome of Treasures.

I think one question to decide upon is what is the scope of The Acaeum and what is the best direction for it to expand.  Once that is decided maybe a development forum for such goals should be started.

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:11 am 
 

If it includes something like this only with pictures, scans, reviews, and rarities... I'd be in love with it. As of now, these things are so scattered and haphazard. The only real problems are 1) workload, 2) authenticity


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:23 am 
 

It seems Tome of Treasures has been down the past couple days, or is that just my connection?

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:00 am 
 

mandalaymoon wrote:It seems Tome of Treasures has been down the past couple days, or is that just my connection?


It might be just your connection.  I had trouble connecting for a couple of hours two days ago but it has been fine since.

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:06 am 
 

serleran wrote:If it includes something like this only with pictures, scans, reviews, and rarities... I'd be in love with it.


I forgot about darkshire.  Again a good resource for different RPGs but by no means complete and no product listing for individual companies and companies that produced generic adventures are skipped altogether.

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Post Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:07 am 
 

tomeoftreasures.com is nice, but putting the info into a forum makes it hard to use.

The easiest way to set up a wiki would be to use pbwiki.com.  It's free for 1-3 editors and $4 per editor per month for 4-999 users if you get the discount rate, which you should because this would be a nonprofit enterprise.  All editors would be able to edit all pages.  More fine grained control is available for a premium price.

You could also rent a server in a data center for $100 a month and install mediawiki on it, which is the software wikipedia uses.  One server is probably all you would need, especially if you hosted the images elsewhere like on photobucket.  Easy to install mediawiki if you have a bit of knowledge of unix system administration and apache.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:36 am 
 

grubbiv wrote:tomeoftreasures.com is nice, but putting the info into a forum makes it hard to use.

The easiest way to set up a wiki would be to use pbwiki.com.  It's free for 1-3 editors and $4 per editor per month for 4-999 users if you get the discount rate, which you should because this would be a nonprofit enterprise.  All editors would be able to edit all pages.  More fine grained control is available for a premium price.

You could also rent a server in a data center for $100 a month and install mediawiki on it, which is the software wikipedia uses.  One server is probably all you would need, especially if you hosted the images elsewhere like on photobucket.  Easy to install mediawiki if you have a bit of knowledge of unix system administration and apache.


That looks quite promising grubbiv. Just had a look at it and it would be a perfect tool for a group of Acaeum people to get together to start to construct a subweb or an Acaeum-Wiki. To get some of the research data out of the forums page and into an RPG database. Is it possible then to build a site that is accessible for everyone (i.e. how do you export the data once it is built).

The best examples I can think are actually community built Wikis for computer games. Here are two as an example:

http://nwn.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Morrowind

To have a whole group of us here able to work on an Acaeum-Wiki in the style of the sites above would be great. What does management think of this? How about you Plaag? Building up that JG subweb has taken you a phenomenal amount of work. Could a subweb be built in through a group effort with these tools?

Another idea I had last night relates to valuations. I note many of our values for items are slipping behind market reality. It is just such an immense job. It must be possible to create some sort of page where a greater number of people can input sales data - and then these automatically build valuation sheets. A trusted member could say log in to a page and input code, value, product number for items they have bought or sold. Ideas?

  

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Post Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:59 am 
 

I still consider it a great idea and I strongly suggest to enlarge the wiki to gaming magazines, a fascinating subject poorly researched (I guess that, apart from a few publications, they fall in the ephemera category). More, I hope tha project not limiting itsefl to English language RPGs  8)

  

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:11 pm 
 

I think it might be worthwhile to maybe have a pole to see what direction most of the locals here see the Acaeum heading.

I personally don't see The Acaeum as being the place for an all encompassing RPG database.  I agree that magazines and different language RPGs are all important for the big database as well - we also shouldn't forget convention programs, tournament modules, etc.

I think my biggest problem is that the idea of starting a complete RPG database type project now is just a duplication of work when there are places like the Tome of Treasures that have been in development for a few years now.  Having now entered about 500+ small press items myself over there, I probably would not be very interested at duplicating my time to re-enter them here.

The other thing that bugs me is the whole idea of "Wiki".  I think Wiki is great to look something up and get a general idea but I don't think I have ever (or ever will) think of Wiki as being credible - personal opinion.  Its full of the bias and opinion of the wikikeeper.  Ever try making a change to a Wiki entry, even one backed up by fact?  Chances are your changes will be removed without explanation or though because the wikikeeper thinks they know better.

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:53 pm 
 

Good points. I guess ToT is the best project at the moment and similar to a degree with what we have been discussing here. I know you have been a key mover and shaker there and have read about all your work on non-TSR items. Question: at ToT, do you plan to eventually transfer all the data accumulating in the forums into catgorised, data pages as you have done for Classic D&D etc? As in my mind this is the goal of building a Wiki-style database.

I do disagree with your Wiki views. We are talking building a catalogue only. This is not debatable social or political subject matter that draws so much angst on Wikipedia. Just straightforward facts that are already printed.  I do feel that the Wiki model would allow a greater number of people to get directly involved in building item description pages. It would also allow people to work at different levels of input. Some could work intensely, some just add bits and pieces now and then. This difference between this and all the other initiatives is the number of people working on core description pages.

But you are right, a poll is a good idea!

  
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