A Story Games Wiki

edited August 2006 in Story Games

Okay, so: time to be less coy about this.

A Story Games Wiki

This is an attempt to have a place to point people who want to get a quick glimpse of the length and breadth of story games. Mostly what we have now are forums and blogs, which are great for up-to-the-minute live conversation, but not good at all for giving people the big picture.

I would love it if people would hop in and help me list and describe some games. It would also be entirely appropriate to discuss here what else we might put on a wiki intended for introductory-type information.

(Also, if anyone knows of a better venue than infogami for this endeavor, let me know. It's a good blend of simplicity and customizability, but it is missing a couple of key features in my view, like pervasive RSS feeds.)


  • Mike,

    Why don't we put this on a hosted site somewhere, maybe with MediaWiki?

  • Hey, sure. MediaWiki seems like overkill to me, but if someone has the hookup I'm fine with it.

  • I don't mind hosting it off of story-games, but note:

    1) I won't be able to get around to installing new stuff until Sunday.
    2) While I like Wikis, I never have the time to fill it out. So it'll be all youse's* sandbox.


    * perfectly legit NY grammar
  • I'll be happy to put it on somethingorother.forgreatjustice.net, but yeah, hosting it off Story-Games would be ideal. MediaWiki is good stuff.

    Are we still hoping to work in some of my previous idea? There are a few things I'm not certain about how to do in a wiki. Primarily:

    • Putting games into categories. (But MediaWiki has a Category feature, so we can work with that maybe.)
    • Personal Lists of games. (But there is room in MediaWiki to keep a personal page or two.)
    • Showing more popular games first... This is actually something that I don't think a wiki would be at all good at. I could be convinced that this is optional, though.
  • Infogami can theoretically do the voting/popularity thing - that's part of why I chose it. It's also nice and simple in terms of interface, and has really, really thorough permission controls.

    MediaWiki has some of those things, and also RSS feeds and crazy templating action that is powerful enough to level small cities. There may be other options as well, but I am tired.
  • Mediawiki is bloated and ugly! I like this infogami thing; it doesn't colonise all four edges of the page.

  • Mike, could you show me where/how popularity can be configured in Infogami? I can be convinced to give it a try for a while, of course. (Although then of course we have to be sure that Infogami will stick around & such.)

  • You folks think there's a way that RandomWiki can be expanded to do what you're talking about? Already quite a few indie games represented there.
  • The only thing that I'm wary of with wikis is this:

    "OMG! Someone got on our wiki and deleted all our stuff!"

    I see this kind of thing all the time, especially in volatile communities. Is there a way to prevent it? Cause as I said, I'm gonna be the low-key nonexistant moderator being. I'm thinking if there's a wiki "security" option which opens all changes to be forwarded to the content moderator (not me) for approval before change, that would do the trick.

  • History, rollback, not a huge deal if somebody is paying attention. I'd much prefer it to be open.
  • RandomWiki's been open for editing since the get-go. There are a couple sugar-trap pages in wikis that spammers like to target (Main.HomePage, Main.SandBox, Main.SideBar, et cetera), and those I've opted to password protect, but (as some folks know) I've set up password-authentication to Approve links to new external sites the first time they show up on the site, and you flat out CAN'T save a post with more than like 15 new external links in it, in the same edit -- that stops a lot of spammers right there, as does the simple script-busting practice of requiring a UserName.

    Beyond that, I just watch the RSS feed (and my emailed updates -- which can just be shunted to a subscribed mailing list so that anyone can sign up to see when things are changed on the site), and if someone I haven't seen before is making a bunch of edits, I go over there and make sure they aren't a smacktard. If they are, I undo their stuff.

    If I want, I can tie the whole site into MoveableType's Blacklist functionality, or enable IP Banning in the current version of PMWiki, but there just hasn't been a need.

    *sigh* At some point, I really need to upgrade Fireflywiki.org from 1.* to 2.* and get some of that security in there -- that site attracts many more spammers.

    Anyway, that's PMWiki -- pretty much any currently maintained Wiki tool should have that level of content protection.
  • If it does end up hosted on the Story Games box, may I humbly suggest NOT putting it in a directory or subdomain containing the word "wiki?" I host several, and the only one that receives any substantial spam is in a /wiki/ directory, linked to by the word "wiki." Spammers use Google too. Maybe story-games.com/mess/ or story-games.com/everybody/?
  • I rather like story-games.com/guide. I want to keep the focus on accessibility for non-initiates.
  • OK, a quick update:

    Mike, you will be our Wiki High Lord Executioner. You'll be "the man" when it comes to admin of the wiki.

    Looks like we were deciding between Infogami and Mediawiki. After thinking on it, Mike, do you have a preference?

    I've got one or two things to do at night on the Names Project front over the next 2 days, but as soon as I have a chance I'll install the latest release of Mike's choice, in a subdir or domain fronter that ISN'T wiki (info, happy, everybody, something small and simple).

  • edited August 2006
    I guess the safest thing is MediaWiki. *sigh* why is wiki software still SO BAD

    I'd like to formalize story-games.com/guide/ as a subdir/subdomain/whatever.

    Thanks very much! I know it can be scary when admin jobs that don't pay suddenly multiply, so thanks for taking this on. (I refer to server admin, not wiki admin, which is my job. But to make both those jobs easier, can I also ask you to install the Spam Blacklist plugin for MediaWiki? I'll scare up the URL if necessary.)
  • I like the BadBehavior extension for anti-spam in MediaWiki, too.
  • Another suggestion, if you don't mind, is to use Wikipedia for this. Back in January I started a WikiProject on Role-playing games to help coordinate the various people writing articles on RPGs on Wikipedia. My own main interest is the indie RPG category, and I would really like to get some help in expanding it.

    The game page template at the Story Games wiki looks very much like the Wikiproject style guide for RPG articles. The only reason I can see for avoiding Wikipedia is if you don't like the demand for an objective point of view and references to outside sources, but I get the impression that the Story Games wiki would strive for that as well.

    So feel welcome to start an article on Wikipedia on Story Games the help write articles on those and other role-playing games. I would be very happy if more people edited the indie RPG articles.
  • Doyce has posted twice, with no response. Is there some problem with Random? As he points out, lots of indie stuff there already. Why start over?

    Yeah, I'm biased. All my stuff is over there. What I'm wondering is why nobody is interested, seeing as the new Wiki hasn't even chosen a software package, much less have any content.

  • That is a great point, Mike. I support it completely!

  • Mike, I'm biased as well, as I'm aditing the Wikipedia articles, but I say the same thing: Why start over? We have started doing this already, describing games in a way that newcomers can get an instant grasp on what the game's about. That's the goal at least, and as the rest of Wikipedia a work in progress.

    But if you choose Random that's cool of course, I've used both the Sorcerer and theory wiki and think they're great.
  • Wikipedia is not useful for reviews, actual play, or discussion.

  • Posted By: Mike HolmesDoyce has posted twice, with no response. Is there some problem with Random? As he points out, lots of indie stuff there already. Why start over?
    Mike Sugarbaker has me ensorceled under his spell with his "step forward and take the reigns attitude" and his mystical knowledge of kabbalistic wiki-magic. So I am totally deferring to him for the project, whatever he goes with is what I will implement.

    Now, I won't have time to implement for another 48 hours or so, so you've got two days to convince him otherwise.

    I admit that having 10 small wikis scattered everywhere is pretty weak. Having a "story games wiki" that specilizes in the bizarre talk and concepts of this place would be cool. Piggybacking on another available wiki is a thought, but we can't control anything from our side if it goes toes-up.

    Parallel to whether we go with AwesomeWiki or ShaolinWiki or HughlaurieWiki, we can still have people build entries at the same time on King WIkipedia, to appease his thirst for knowledge and information completeness; uploading information that's more universal to the idea of "Story Games" in general.

  • edited August 2006
    No, Shreyas, but I didn't think the point was to have a new place for discussions, but a place to orient people to what games are available and what they're about. You can certainly link to reviews from Wikipedia as long as they're hosted by some well known site and not a personal blog, but you can't use it for reviews per se. If that's the point, then I agree Wikipedia's not suitable.
  • Well, Jonas, frankly I think that you and I and the designer can have differing and equally valuable opinions on what a game is about. That's not the sort of stuff that belongs on wp.

  • Well, I think that Random can do what Wikipedia can do, and still be good for the other things we use it for - like, as Shreyas says, actual play. I modify my character ten times a session or more.

    In any case, we can cordon off space on the random wiki, if that's needed - things can be put in heirarchy. The only problem with this is that TSOY, Agon, HQ, etc, etc, etc, are all already on the first level of heirarchy. But if you needed a space for just Story Games links or something that's trivially easy.

    Besides individual games...just what would go on such a wiki? I think nailing down what he content would be, might go a long way to figuring out how to configure. Right now I'm seeing games, and they're already, a lot of em, on Random. If there was some other big category... I mean discussion itself remains here...

    Anyhow, whatever happens, I'm certain that there'll be mad linking all around. :-)

  • edited August 2006
    I'm certainly fine with whatever folks decide to do -- come to that, I don't feel any kind of "owner's tension" about totally giving admin-ownership of a section of RandomWiki to someone else entirely -- certainly, *I* didn't start the theory section, or even contribute to it. :) And the only reason I'm mentioning it is because I fully support the idea of Mike Sugarbaker doing this wiki admin thing for the Story Games repository, even if it's on RandomWiki, and certainly if it's not.

    It's all good.

    I did, however, want to good-naturedly respond to this one point:
    Posted By: AndyPiggybacking on another available wiki is a thought, but we can't control anything from our side if it goes toes-up.
    Barring catastrophic, life-ending events (which would, I suspect, harm the long-term survivability of ANY internert site), I can positively guarantee that RandomWiki and the domain that it's hosted on isn't going to go anywhere, period. The oldest section of that gaming repository (My 450+ Amber DRPG pages) is over 11 years old -- while I'm ostensibly on average-bear.com, I've held onto two OLDER domain names that I used to use as my primary for No. Other. Reason. than to prevent link rot for people who have linked to those pages in the past.

    I mean, forget about *saving* the material -- I'm not even MIGRATING it. :)

    My one great bitch about the internet is simply that wonderful material goes away. I can't stand that.

    I mean, on RandomWiki, I'm currently rebuilding (from recently-acquired archived zipped text files filled with different and *discontinued* wiki program language that someone ELSE was hosting at the time) the first two Nobilis Lexicons that players did after Neel first wrote the Lexicon game. I'm doing that BY HAND, post by post, amounting to around... 120 pages for the smaller Lexicon, and something like 300 for the bigger one.

    Why? Seriously, why? I don't play Nobilis anymore. I'm not GOING to. It has no material benefit to me at all.

    Simply because that stuff is awesome, and it needs to be saved and available, and I wanted it put somewhere I know it will survive. I decided a long long long time ago that my site would be one of those solid places.

    So... ahem. Right. By *ANY AND ALL MEANS*, do the wiki thing whereever you want, and however you want.

    ((But lets don't say it's because other Indie Wiki sites are unstable. :) Please? ))

    Is there a way I can assist?

  • edited August 2006
    Yes: correct my bloody typos :)

    I'll be posting everywhere I can reach once the first one's up -- I'll need the influx of energy and karma from that announcement to undertake the Lexicon of the Second Age... :(
  • Mike and everyone: look at the problem from the point of view of someone who is not a gamer and probably not a hardcore internet user. This person wants to know what this "story games" thing is all about. So far he's found a couple of forums, one of which won't let him post until he asks for a membership and seems to be full of designers and in-crowders, and one of which seems to be a bear trap designed to make him feel stupid and is also full of designers and in-crowders. And anyway he doesn't like forums, it's impossible to find things there. What he wants is a page that will tell him, "Story games = this. And here are a bunch of examples of what kind of game we're talking about, with details and where to go to find out more about any of them."

    Wikipedia can do that, but telling someone to go to Wikipedia is not socially different from telling them to fuck off. It shouldn't be that way, but it's true. RandomWiki can probably do this, but the problem is that every other thing it does needs to be visible there too, and every other thing it does that our example user sees on the front page makes it half as likely that that user will get what he wants.

    The entire reason I am doing this to begin with is that packaging matters. Packaging matters crucially. I would be more than happy to get behind RandomWiki if the community there is willing to get behind crafting a concise statement on the front page of what the site is about, and to aim that statement at non-initiates.

  • <-- I agree with Mike S. I think the idea is a very thin and even shallow look at the breadth of the games that are available, first and foremost. RandomWiki is (culturally) a good place to keep deeper information, but I think we want something that feels like a catalog of the options for a new one immersed into these kinds of games.

  • Heck, I'm sold :)
  • OK... what are we sold on? Are we going to work on RandomWiki with the authority to reframe the main page? Or are we installing MediaWiki here?

    (Notice it's "we." I'm willing to lead this effort, but not to be its sole author.)

  • I am sold on your post above, and the need for a high-altitude, aimed-at-initiates approach, with RandomWiki either having that on the front end, or doing it as it's own thing, and probably it's own thing.
  • Oh, BTW Misuba, others, been a busy couple days. I'll have the Wiki up by Tuesday (I have Monday and Tuesday off, so plenty of time then).

  • It would probably help newbies looking for "what are story games" if there were a link to the wiki on the main www.story-games.com/ and a prominent link somewhere on the forums.
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