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Wiki Task #008: Central game data source

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Usgu   

This forum thread documents the activities related Wiki Task #008 as listed on the Community portal.

 

Recently, Sneaky and NoOriginality got into a discussion over at Discord #wiki. Two ideas came out of the discussion:

  • Instead of maintaining numerical game values on the wiki pages manually (e.g. weapon statistics or ticket/score counts), we should store that data centrally in one file/place and use that central data to display it on the wiki pages with some automatic mechanism. This way we only have to maintain one source of data and all pages will automatically (magically!) be updated. This is particularly useful for translations, as values no longer would have to be updated separately on all translated pages. This idea has become Wiki Task #008 (see full list of all wiki tasks on the Community Portal).
  • An additional idea came up: We should automatically pull as much of this game data/stats from Squad game files with some tool (aka "data mining") instead of manually deducing it in-game. This way we can quickly and accurately update the statistics and data on the wiki every time a new patch comes out. Of course, this idea goes well with the first idea and would be a natural second step. To deal with these two ideas one at a time, this second idea has become Wiki Task #009 - read more about it in this thread.

Both ideas are not entirely new; we had internally discussed them with the devs in the past (they liked the idea!) and we considered it a future possiblity. Maybe now is the right time to start this little project.

 

Organisating work on the wiki:
As wiki editors we have several tools at our disposal to coordinate and communicate our work on the wiki. These tools are particularly necessary/useful for tasks that are complex, involve multiple people, affect many wiki pages or the fundamental structure of the wiki, or take considerable time to complete.

  1. The Community Portal is the number one hub for all editorial things. Start here. It has a list of tasks and to-dos and shows all communication channels we have available. It's a bit out of date, but we can use it more if wiki editors will use and follow it too.
  2. For complex tasks, it's useful to use the forum for documentation and coordination (this is why I created this thread here). We can describe what we aim to do and we can document and share important progress and insights here. We can also have complex discussions here which would get a total mess on Discord. The orginal poster just needs to moderate the discussions and keep the first post up-to-date with all relevant information. For complex tasks I also strongly recommend to write up the aim and action plan (and maybe an open point list). It helps the person doing the task to think everything through before he starts. If a team of people works on the task, having an aim and plan is a necessity to coordinate the work of each member. Also, all of this communicates the activities to all wiki editors and the community. Who knows, maybe someone will offer their expert help for a specific step.
    1. Aim: Describe what you want to achieve. Give a good and thorough description.
    2. Action plan: Think about all the things that need to be done, then bring it into a logical and chronological order. Make notes of what is important to remember when you are doing these steps. When you write the first draft of the action plan, it's ok if it's not 100% perfect and has missing steps or lacks details. You can add to the plan as you go along.
  3. In the early Wiki days, we started this Google document to list all the wiki pages and to coordinate and track progress. Initially, we used this document to complete the transfer of the text from the Squad User Manual to the wiki, but we can use this spreadsheet for other tasks and management, too. It's very useful to keep track and have an overview of what needs doing and what has been completed, page by page. We can add as many new columns to this spreadsheet as we need. We can also create additional Google documents if we need them (please let me add them, don't just share your own Google documents). Anyone can view the document. I will only give write permission to wiki editors assigned to specific tasks.
  4. Discord should be the main tool for direct communication and close cooordination. If we really do this task, we will probably kick it off with a voice meeting on Discord to discuss everything with the assigned wiki editors (as I did for Wiki Task #006 - sadly, this task was never completed).
  5. Recent changes is an excellet way to check what has happened on the wiki recently. Alternatively, you can also check the change history of an individual page (example: Community portal history). There is also a comparison function that lets you see the differences between the current page and older revisions - very useful! This shows you why it's so important and useful to always enter a "summary" when you do an edit of a page.
  6. We should use the wiki itself as much as possible for any of these tasks, too. MediaWiki provides useful tools. For example, you can mark a page as "stub" (and other categories) and it will be automatically be listed as a page that needs work done (see Wiki Maintenance and Stubs). This way we can also mark pages for editors to work on. We can add a description of what needs doing in the page itsef or the discussion page of the page.

We can create additional "management and collaboration tools" if we need them. But for now, lets try to use the tools described above.

 

Volunteers: But most importantly, for task this big, it needs someone (or multiple people) to take up the assignment and start working on it. I don't have the time to do neither of these two tasks, so unless someone from the community picks it up, it will not get done.


Aim for Wiki Task #008:

  • Create/add automatic mechanism to the wiki to achieve the following:
    • Manage all numerical game values centrally in one place or file on the wiki ("the source").
    • Wiki pages pull data from the source in order to display it on a page.
    • When we update the data in the source, all pages will automatically get updated. We no longer have to edit the pages individually to update the data on each page.
  • We should try to use existing mechanism/scrips/wiki modules/wiki add-ons - no need to reinvent the wheel.
  • We should keep in mind Wiki Task #009 as we want to integrate both together.
  • Our solution has to work with our Gamepedia MediaWiki. We cannot install whatever modules or add-ons or scripts we want, we need to coordinate with Gamepedia staff what is available or what could be added.

Open points:

  1. Who will do this task? Volunteers?
  2. Do we want to do this for numerical values only? We should list specific data examples and pages to see where we would apply this mechanism and what types of data are we talking about.

Action Plan:

Just as a suggestion and starting point for discussion, let me outline how we could approach this task.

  • 1) Phase 1: Preparation
    • 1.1) Research: How could it be done? How have other MediaWikis done it? Lets compile a list of what we can find on this. I can also talk to the Gamepedia staff to seek their advice; also, I am direct communication with all the other wiki admins at Gamepedia - I can also poke them.
    • 1.2) Evaluation: Which of our wiki pages would we use this mechanism on (lets list them all up)? And what types of data would we use (lets list them all up)?
    • 1.3) Design: Decide on how we implement it. Maybe it makes sense to use templates.
  • 2) Phase 2: Implementation.
    • 2.1) Do what is necessary to implement it. Probably test it first with a few test pages, then roll out for all relevant wiki pages (English pages first, translations later).
    • 2.2) Maybe it will be necessary to standarising some of the wiki pages. We should probably making more use of templates, too. (See also Wiki Task #006: Weapon pages)
  • 3) Phase 3: Wrap up
    • 3.1) Documenting how wiki editors need to use this mechanism. Document the mechanism itself too, in case it needs maintenance.
    • 3.2) Discuss with the devs a process by which they could provide us the latest data after a new patch has come out so we can quickly update the source.
    • 3.3) Proceed with Wiki Task #009.

Assigned wiki editors:
(will be added once we have found volunteers)

 

History:

  • 2017-07-15: Idea was documented in this thread.
  • 2017-06-24: Idea was proposed by Sneaky on Discord.
Edited by Usgu

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