Forums: Helping Hand > Cleaning up the wiki

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We've had an excellent time of cleaning things up around the wiki, with lots of regular users tagging problem pages, converting them to past tense, working on formatting and citations and so on. So, I wanted to start a discussion on this. What areas do we need to focus on? How can we clean things up more efficiently? Any ideas for making the process faster or easier? How can we most quickly improve our reputation with readers?

One area is our most visited pages, linked to from Special:Top. These are the 25 most read pages on the wiki, and contain no surprises. I assume people search for these on Google, and are linked to our wiki. So these pages are our first impression to new users. Polishing these could go a long way to improving our image. I've tidied up and added to Drizzt Do'Urden, User:Boo Too has tidied up Bane, and User:Moviesign may be applying his talents to the Mystras. These pages are good choices for big projects (though they tend to be the really big, daunting major project kind).

Another are the Years pages. Some years ago, a user copied out practically the whole of The Grand History of the Realms, and was thanked for his efforts at the time, because no one checked up on them until too late. There are currently 2711 years pages, about 22% of the wiki. I estimate (from Special:ShortPages) that about 1200 are only "Year of __" and nothing else. I've personally checked and mostly rewritten 200, and other users have done some more. So approximately 1300 years pages still need to be checked and rewritten, or about 10% of the wiki. Hit "random page" and there's a 1-in-10 chance you'll get one of these. So tackling these is a high-volume, low-impact, relatively easy way of cleaning up. I've made some code for doing the sorting math and categories to make the rewrites quicker.

Plus of course there's everything at Category:Articles needing attention: pages needing rewrites of copied material, or clean ups, or references.

Any other ideas?

— BadCatMan (talk) 13:33, June 25, 2013 (UTC)

Those are are great ideas BadCatMan and just the sort of blue-sky thinking we need. In the 4 years I've been editing here (By Ao, that is long...and I don't even have a thousand edits yet!) I think the best tool we've managed to muster is the community itself. In the past there has been people have generally stuck to their own projects and corners of the wiki, with their own referencing, formatting and language styles. In the last year or so we've seen the community work together a lot more and bring a real collabrative appoach that has worked wonders.

I'm wondering is their a way to bring the Helping Hand forum to the fore, perhaps even with a section on the main page with the lastest posts? I often forget to check the forum myself and find discussions have passed me by, so I can only imagine how esoteric our conclaves must seem to the casual editor or curious viewer.

The recent recruitment drive by BadCatMan at [Candlekeep] and [Wizards] boards was a good way of teasing out some more helpers and skilled loremasters like User:Jeremy Grenemyer to the cause.

Eli the Tanner (talk) 17:25, June 25, 2013 (UTC)

Hmmm, I definitely agree with organization of the wiki :) I have noticed people using old infoboxes, which makes sense because they are copying them from pages, but maybe we could put something on the Main Page about general organization of pages with up-to-date infobox links, correct citation format, and general category organization. Overall, I agree with both you guys, this wiki has become more of a community in the last year or so :)

Darkwynters (talk) 18:03, June 25, 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps we should expand the Help:Editing articles page or create a new page with examples on using infoboxes and other templates. I know when I got started that I was not aware that many of the templates have /doc pages that explain what each field is for, required vs. optional, etc. For Eli, perhaps the widget that produces the Recent Wiki Activity box could be copied and adapted to produce a Recent Forum Activity box? I don't know if we have that kind of flexibility within the wikia framework, but we could look into it. Making cleanup faster and more efficient? Hmm...I don't know of any substitute for rolling up your sleeves and pitching in. Recruiting more editors is the best. This is a hobby for most of us and sometimes other things take priority. Making it clear and easy for new members to contribute seems the best strategy.
Moviesign (talk) 00:50, June 26, 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure I can squeeze much more on to the Main Page. If I do add more, I'd have to cut back on the Contents panel (the descriptive stuff descends from old versions of the page, but isn't really necessary).

Darkwynters: What is the Recent Wiki Activity box? Do you mean Special:WikiActivity, accessed via the "On The Wiki" tab in the oasis skin? The community tab links to the forum. (That whole panel can be edited with MediaWiki:Wiki-navigation.) Otherwise, I'm not sure how to make a special, automatic panel for these, though I've seen them in use on Wikia wikis years ago.

Darkwynters/Moviesign: Okay, that would be another area to improve upon: update and overhaul the Help pages. Us veterans tend to just copy what we see others doing, so we usually know how we do things now, but the help pages haven't all been kept up, and new users may flounder a bit. This doesn't really help us clean up the existing pages, but should help new users not make the same problems.

— BadCatMan (talk) 09:49, June 26, 2013 (UTC)

BadCat, I think your question was directed at me. Click on..blah, I can't make the link work, at least in preview mode. Go here:
and notice the box in the upper right-hand corner entitled Recent Wiki Activity. This:
<section id="WikiaRecentActivity" class="WikiaActivityModule module">
is a wrapper for the first four entries in Special:WikiActivity with some code behind it to format the title, author, and time-since-edited like so:
<section id="WikiaRecentActivity" class="WikiaActivityModule module">
      <img class="sprite edit" width="20" height="20" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIABAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAEALAAAAAABAAEAQAICTAEAOw%3D%3D">
      <em><a href="/wiki/Calaunt">Calaunt</a></em>
      <div class="edited-by">edited by <a href="/wiki/User:BadCatMan">BadCatMan</a> 52 minutes ago</div>
  <a class="more" title="Special:WikiActivity" href="/wiki/Special:WikiActivity">See more ></a>

So, we would need a Special:ForumActivity function that does the same thing. I have no idea how easy/difficult it is to create a Special page, or if we can even do it without going to Wikia management and getting them involved.

Moviesign (talk) 13:22, June 26, 2013 (UTC)

Ah, yes, it was. That's what I get for trying to respond to three people at once. :)

Thanks for that. I normally use the monobook skin, and miss all the extra widgets Wikia has cluttered everywhere. I've have a fiddle and looked at the options. Unfortunately, it seems to be inherent to Wikia's coding, and even as a bureaucrat I can't access, edit, or create Special pages. Forum:Index has code to produce a list of forum pages, but that just reads out the whole forums category, and I can't think how to limit it to five or so.

I had a look at some other wikis to see if they'd done something similar, and couldn't find any. If even the great Wookiepedia can't do it...

— BadCatMan (talk) 04:43, June 27, 2013 (UTC)
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