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Post Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:51 pm 
 

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note. I will be away for three days at a conference (in a rural town sans email). If anyone wants to sign up over the next few days, please PM grubbiv in my absence as an alternate to grant your editor status.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:07 pm 
 

Some new features were added to the wiki recently:

Product Categories

There is now a product_category attribute in the Printing template.  This addresses Rakeesh's post:

what are modules what are rulesets?? try telling with 400 items if have no Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition (module) cat or such


For examples of use, see AD&D 2e and D&D 3e.

A difficulty with product categories is there are a lot of synonyms in the industry: adventures, modules, scenarios.  I don't think we need to use a single term for the entire wiki: instead use whatever term is printed on the product, or whatever is standard for the game in question.  Also, use the plural form to be consistent with other categories on the wiki.

Intersections

To make the product_category attribute useful, I added the ability to display the intersection of two categories.  The way to show the intersection of AD&D 2e and adventures is to create a page called

Intersect:Advanced_Dungeons_and_Dragons_2nd_Edition_and_Adventures


and put the following markup in the page:

Code:
<intersect>Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition|Adventures</intersect>


You can link that page with this syntax:

Code:
{{I|Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition|Adventures}}


Sometimes it is useful to set up a page that shows the intersection of a game and a company: e.g. D&D 3E and Goodman Games.

Default Sort Order

Pages in category lists are sorted by page name, which is the same as the product name.  There are two common cases where this produces an undesirable sort order: (1) names which start with the definite article "The", and (2) series such as periodicals with numbers in them.  The latter is bad because the sort is lexical, so Dragon 15 appears before Dragon 2.

It is possible to deal with this problem by specifying the desired sort order each time {CL| ... }} is used to categorize the item.  That is a lot of work, though.

Now you can specify the sort order once for all categories on the page using

{{DEFAULTSORTORDER:Adventure Begins, The}}


or

{{DEFAULTSORTORDER:Dragon 002}}


ISBN

The Printing template also has an isbn attribute, useful for newer products.  You can turn an ISBN into a link to the Amazon detail page for the product using this syntax

{{Amazon|078693946X}}


For an example, see Expedition to Castle Ravenloft.

This helps prevent typos and Amazon may have the product for sale.  Since Amazon has an open API, I may eventually upgrade the template to display the number of items and the cheapest price so the user doesn't have to click thru to check Amazon for inventory.

Front Page and User Stats

For those interested in the progress of the wiki, I added some stats to the front page in the lower right.  If you want to track your personal contributions, you can add this to your user page (replace my handle with your own):

Code:
<userstats>Grubbiv</userstats>


Ampersand Fix

A few people ran in to a problem where they created a page with an ampersand (&) in the name, but then couldn't navigate to the page because of the redirection performed by the webserver.  I don't have admin access to the webserver, so I can't fix the redirection problem, but I was able to prevent these pages from getting created by making the ampersand an impermissible character in page names.


Last edited by grubbiv on Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:39 pm 
 

I've been working on an auction tracker.  Before I spend any more time working on it, I would like to get a sense for whether people would use it and how much.  There is a link to a survey at the bottom of the post.

The auction tracker would work a little bit like AuctionSieve, except that it would be a web application, not a downloaded app.  The user would be able to specify an ebay search query and get the search results displayed.  For each auction, the user could specify the item(s) and their condition.  The auction would then be added to the database.  Like AuctionSieve, the auction tracker would remember the auctions the user has already looked at and not display them in future searches.

When the auction closes, the software could determine whether it sold, and if so the price.  We could then display average prices on the wiki, and the discerning collector could click thru to see the entire auction history.  We could also display open auctions for an item on the wiki too.

Items would be specified via drop down menus.  There would be some setup involved to create the drop downs: someone would have to come up with an authoritative list for each game we wanted to track, and that person would have to decide whether it is worthwhile to track certain printings separately.

Anyway, because implementation will likely consume several more weekends, I want to gauge interest first.  To do that I set up a quick seven question survey.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:42 pm 
 

What is a "product authority"?

Is it some one who knows that particular game line inside and out?
That's a far cry from what I am.

What do you mean classifiying acutions?

An I believe all open RPG actions should be displayed, not just ones no one has an interst in buying. (If you have an interest, say so, and maybe we can keep our hands off of it for you.)


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:23 am 
 

jkason wrote:What is a "product authority"?

Is it some one who knows that particular game line inside and out?
That's a far cry from what I am.

What do you mean classifiying acutions?




By classifying an auction, I mean choosing the item and the condition from drop down boxes.  There's not going to be a write-in option on this ballot, so someone needs to come up with the list of products for each game that is tracked.  If that person owns all the items, great, but the info can be gathered by searching the tubes or looking at dead-tree resources like survey are now more verbose and hopefully clearer.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:41 pm 
 

Just to add to grubbiv's reply, I do not think the person needs to be an expert as such, just to have a good knowledge of the contents of a particular product line and a commitment to building knowledge of that line.

I must say that grubbiv's work building an auction tracker and linking it to product valuation is a stroke of genius.

I have been a member of the Judges Guild valuation board. Monitoring prices has involved meticulous trawling of existing and closed auctions and copying a lot of detail into a spreadsheet. With grubbiv's auction tracker, you simply find open auctions, put them on the list with a grading and the detail automatically goes into the product database and updates prices on the webpage. It is a fraction of the work we are doing on the Judges Guild valuations and will allow us to monitor the prices of a lot of things easily.

I would say, if you are a real fan of a particular product line, sign up for that line. All that needs to be done is a complete list relating to that game placed in the dbase and once a week identifying open auctions and putting them in the tracker.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:07 pm 
 

I have been asked to upload some images so I have started doing so. It will be very slow, and likely start with all the C&C stuff -- right now, only two images have been uploaded, but at least it is more than there was. I will not be writing the articles covering C&C as that is just wrong (being as I work for the company...) but I can, and will, provide images of all the products.


Those who can, don't. Those who should not, do.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:50 am 
 

serleran wrote:I will not be writing the articles covering C&C as that is just wrong (being as I work for the company...) but I can, and will, provide images of all the products.

Well, there are a lot of products without article text.  I'm rather nervous about starting some of them off myself -- it's always difficult to take the first "stab" at an article.  If you have time to submit articles, go ahead!  

I wouldn't worry about you being employed by TLG at all.  Your wealth of knowledge is welcomed, and far outweighs the concern, in my opinion.  Besides, there's enough of us with editor status that if anyone posted something obviously inaccurate and/or self-serving, it'd be caught in short order and fixed.

Hopefully people are comfortable editing each other's submissions, and having their own edited as well, without taking any such edits personally.

 YIM  

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:33 pm 
 

Gosh, I sure hope people feel free to edit anything I put on the Wiki.  Generally if I had a decent copy of something that wasn't already up, I scanned it and put it on there.  In hopes someone who actually knew something about the product would fluff it up.  That's what Wikis are all about, aren't they??


If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. - John Kenneth Galbraith

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:05 am 
 

Hey grubbiv, the auction tracker is a great idea. In fact that's what AuctionSieve was originally going to be! Dunno if some of this info might be of use to you...

When I first started trolling ebay for D&D in the dim dark past I thought it would be great to keep track of all the auctions and arrive at an average price for things. So I started coding...

What I ended up with would let you put in an item number and it would go and scrape the item page and then try to do two things :
- try and figure out the condition of the item (searching for phrases like "near mint", "good" etc and count up how many times they occurred and arrive at a recommendation - ie it would autoselect the condition in a dropdown box for you to confirm)
- try and categorise the item - I had the concept of keyphrases like "AD&D" "Q1" "The Demonweb Pits" - it would try and match as many things as possible to figure out where to categorise things

As a second step it would then create a web of pages which would categorise things according to an algorithm that figured out the most common keyphrases. So, for example, it would automatically see that the most common keyphrases were "D&D" and "AD&D" and the top web page would have links to those 2 sub categories. And then you could follow the links to more fine grained results. At every step it would display the average price for all the sub results. And broken down by condition! Uhmmm it's a bit hard to explain actually but it was way cool.

As part of my trolling I started writing some code that would grab all the results and then basically do a grep -v with a list of keywords I specified in another txt file. But that was really painful and I envisioned a way of adding to that list of killwords merely by highlighting the text and pressing a button.... and thus the idea for AuctionSieve was born.

So I took 2 months off to code it.... Can you believe version 1.0.0 only allowed you to grab categories - no searching! But I digress......

Of course price history stuff finally found it's way into AuctionSieve but in a *much* much more watered down version from my uber price tracker/scraper.

I've always had plans to beef it up and, what's more, make it peer to peer - so everyone contributes to a central database. But at my rate I won't get around to that for years.

Not only that but here's the kicker - the ebay developer program terms and conditions disallow you from keeping auction history. Yep, in converting to using the ebay api I may have to kill off the Price History part of AuctionSieve.

So what I'm saying is, go for it! I'd love to see it implemented.

Nev



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Post Posted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:57 pm 
 

nev wrote:Not only that but here's the kicker - the ebay developer program terms and conditions disallow you from keeping auction history. Yep, in converting to using the ebay api I may have to kill off the Price History part of AuctionSieve.


Do Ebay's term prohibit the export of the auction history?  Might an end user be able to export the history and maintain his own records?


"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
--H.L. Mencken

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:20 am 
 

Hi everyone,

I will be away for the next 7 to 10 days. Any requests for new membership / editing status please forward to grubbiv until I get back.

Cheers, Jeremy

  


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Post Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:42 pm 
 

Quiet here!

Back from a very productive 10 days alone the mountains sans internet, TV and other people!

And I managed to fix my computer yesterday! Life is back to normal  :)

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:35 pm 
 

Table of Contents for Periodicals

There's some new markup available on the wiki for creating tables of contents for periodicals.  Take a look at Sorcerer's Apprentice 14 to see it in use.

It has two advantages.  The first is that the contents will automatically be added to an index covering all issues of the periodical.  The second is that the contents and the full index are displayed in a sortable table.  Click on the column heading to sort by that column.

The markup looks like this:
Code:
<TOC>
P:Sorcerer's Apprentice
I:14

S:Fiction
22^From the Tree of Time^{{CL|Fred Saberhagen}}
35^The Sword and The Curse^{{CL|Lee Duigon}}

S:Articles
13^Devil Games? Nonsense!^{{CL|Michael Stackpole}}^{{CL|Ken St. Andre}}
19^Ship of the Skies^{{CL|John Sapienza|John T. Sapienza, Jr.}}
...
</TOC>


The first two lines indicate the name of the periodical and the issue number.

The S:Fiction line starts a section called "Fiction", and the contents of the section follow.  Each line contains a page number, article title, and up to three authors, separated by carets (^).  If there are multiple authors, they are separated from each other by carets.

If the index page for the periodical doesn't exist, create a page (supposing the periodical is "Sorcerer's Apprentice") at

 Index:Sorcerer's_Apprentice

The following markup needs to be put in the page

Code:
<PeriodicalIndex>Sorcerer's Apprentice</PeriodicalIndex>


That is all.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:06 pm 
 

So....

Is this going to be the preferred method for putting the contents up?

It's cool....but it's not pretty. (It also makes everything more usable, so I'll go along if that't the concensus.)


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:50 pm 
 

I must admit that the format is growing on me. When I first saw it I thought 'Hmmm', but now that I have used it I love it. The amazing thing is, we will automatically build complete magazine series indexes by using it.

In the case of Dragon magazine, we are scanning the contents page anyway, so a user can quickly check the contents original format (which we have been replicating in our uploads so far.

I haven't tried converting a page yet, so I am not sure how much work it will take to covert what we have already done.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:07 pm 
 

I think Grubbiv has strated doing the grunt work on that, Hermit.

Kudos to him - lot of work to tackle.

Ok. Switching over to new style.


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Post Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:50 pm 
 

I did one  - http://wiki.acaeum.com/wiki/Dragon_81

Let me know if it's too busy.

EDITED FEB 4,2009 -
Up to two whole issues now.

Does it take a while for the index page to update?
Or am I coding something wrong (again)?


Dave, get the barbarian in the corner a drink, quick!

  


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:54 pm 
 

jkason wrote:Does it take a while for the index page to update?
Or am I coding something wrong (again)?


The wiki has a page cache.  If you think a page is out-of-date, you can flush the old version using the refresh link at the top of the page.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:28 am 
 

Ahh, yes.....Page Cache.

(I knew there was atechnical term for it.)

Thanks.


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