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Wikipedia Games

Wikipedia and the History of Gaming 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the citation-needed dept.
Wired is running a story about Wikipedia's tremendous contribution to documenting the history of video games, and why it shouldn't necessarily be relied upon. Quoting: "Wikipedia requires reliable, third-party sources for content to stick, and most of the sites that covered MUDs throughout the ’80s were user-generated, heavily specialized or buried deep within forums, user groups and newsletters. Despite their mammoth influence on the current gaming landscape, their insular communities were rarely explored by a nascent games journalist crowd. ... while cataloging gaming history is a vitally important move for this culture or art form, and Wikipedia makes a very valiant contribution, the site can’t be held accountable as the singular destination for gaming archeology. But as it’s often treated as one, due care must be paid to the site to ensure that its recollection doesn’t become clouded or irresponsible, and to ensure its coalition of editors and administrators are not using its stringent rule set to sweep anything as vitally relevant as MUDS under the rug of history."
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Wikipedia and the History of Gaming

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  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:06AM (#34938042) Homepage Journal

    Something must be notable *and* written about in a reputable academic source in order to be appropriate content for Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a place for people who want to publish new material, no matter how important it is that there be such publication. It's good to see that there are specialised wikis for ad-hoc history projects of MUDs - that's appropriate, and it avoids all these issues of notability and original content.

    Just because a task is worthwhile/important doesn't mean Wikipedia is the right place for it.

    • by Grokmoo (1180039) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:13AM (#34938066)

      There is no requirement that something be written about in an academic source to be included in wikipedia. Any reputable source will generally do, including newspapers and magazines in most cases.

      Any game that had a substantial influence shaping the development of gaming is worthy of inclusion. That doesn't mean that it won't be difficult to find good sources to back up the argument that it was in fact influential.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Something must be notable *and* written about in a reputable academic source in order to be appropriate content for Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a place for people who want to publish new material, no matter how important it is that there be such publication. It's good to see that there are specialised wikis for ad-hoc history projects of MUDs - that's appropriate, and it avoids all these issues of notability and original content.

      Just because a task is worthwhile/important doesn't mean Wikipedia is the right place for it.

      This, quite frankly, is sheer rubbish, and it's really sad that it got modded to +5 - and even sadder that a lot of Wikipedia editors and admins today share this view.

      Remember the fuss about Mzoli's [wikipedia.org]? If not, basically, this was an article that Jimbo Wales started; some admin speedy-deleted it pretty much right away for much the same reasons you cite, and the whole thing eventually ballooned into a big discussion of what Wikipedia is about, with various kinds of fallout [wikipedia.org].

      I think the following reply to Jimbo f

    • by ph0rk (118461)
      As someone who generates academic material, I think this is a flawed position.

      Academic publishing takes time, often a *lot* of time, depending on discipline. History journals and those in the social sciences are generally quite slow-moving. Wikipedia can be there to catalog things that would never see academic publication, and never will if they aren't cataloged *now*.

      Wikipedia is for groundswell. Wikipedia should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. No one in their right mind would cite wiki
      • by tepples (727027)

        Wikipedia can be there to catalog things that would never see academic publication, and never will if they aren't cataloged *now*.

        That would be a job for an outlet other than Wikipedia, such as E2, a Wikia site, or an independent MediaWiki site.

    • Just because a task is worthwhile/important doesn't mean Wikipedia is the right place for it.

      Why not?

  • Sources (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kellyb9 (954229) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:21AM (#34938114)
    If it were more culturally or socially relevant, there probably would have been more sources out there. Sounds like a small community of people are upset that nobody took the time to write about their favorite game.
    • by alphatel (1450715) *

      Sounds like a small community of people are upset that nobody took the time to write about their favorite game.

      I don't think any specific MUD is as important as the concept of having some idea of what it is. Without those 100,000 people who played text muds in the 90's as the only online role-playing outlet, there could never be a successful Warcraft, which is like a graphical mud with a giant exclamation mark.

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      Exactly, people get upset when they have to face the reality that the things that are important to them aren't necessarily important to humanity as a whole.
      • by BoberFett (127537)

        If Wikipedia bases it's content on the importance of a particulr topic to humanity, then all of those articles that focus on individual Pokemon characters mean humanity is doomed.

    • by Todrael (601100)
      The MUD I still play was where Brad McQuaid played before he created EverQuest. He used a lot of content from it in EQ. Fortunately, the MUD was mentioned in at least two published books and a published interview with Brad, so it's got citations enough to stay alive. I'm just wondering what other MUDs out there don't have such citations, but still have the history. Where did the EQ devs play?
  • Wikia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oiron (697563) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:27AM (#34938144) Homepage

    FTFA:

    Eventually, the community decided to move on, and founded MUD Wiki, a Wikia dedicated to the genre.

    Exactly! I'd expect to find specific information about obscure Star Trek characters (even those I consider important for some obscure reason) on Memory Alpha, and not in Wikipedia. A link from main Wikipedia to the MUD wiki, explaining that more information is available there seems appropriate. IIRC, such things have been done in other Wiki articles...

    What's the fuss about?

    • Re:Wikia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @10:29AM (#34939180) Homepage

      Lets look up Wikipedia on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

      Wikipedia seeks to create a summary of all human knowledge in the form of an online encyclopedia. Since it has virtually unlimited disk space it can have far more topics than can be covered by any conventional print encyclopedias.

      Ok, so how the fuck does the whole "randomly delete stuff that doesn't make it over an arbitrary notability hurdle" fit into that premise? How is deleting stuff from Wikipedia and moving it to a commercially hosted website outside of Wikipedia fixing the issue?

      I am certainly not going to donate any more money when the stuff I am interesting in has to be found in a Wiki that isn't even part of Wikipedia.

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:28AM (#34938148) Journal
    Keep writing, Wired, as you're publishing material which can be used as Wikipedia sources.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:30AM (#34938158)

    ...is questionable. There had been a significant contributor to the indie player-run shard scene from the late 90's / early 2000's which was the community which showcased one of the most popular Ultima Online shards at the time. It had hundreds of contributors and players in its tenure over the span of 5-7 years, sported a custom scripting language enabling its developers to release features which (at the time) OSI was "thinking about" releasing on the paid-subscription UO servers.

    When I happened upon its Wikipedia article a few years ago, it had been subject to deletionists, who challenged the authenticity of the information presented. Being one of the administrators on the server during the height of its popularity, I counter-challenged with some URLs of fan pages and other related articles, and undeleted a list of staff members who had contributed to the server's evolution over time. The deletionist backed off once another former player joined in the argument.

    However, due to the diligence of the deletionists, the Wikipedia page is no more. Good to know that, while history can be remembered by those who experienced it while they yet live, those institutions that are in place to remember it for all time have selective memory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mytharria
    http://www.search.com/reference/Mytharria
    http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Mytharria

  • With the manga fanatics on Wikipedia. And the Star Wars nutjobs (myself included). And you know, I have to agree with Wikipedia on this one and I would suggest for gamers to go to Wikia and get a specific wiki on there going with the deleted pages from Wikipedia's history. There are already tons of game specific wikis on there [wikia.com] and very successful ones like Wookiepedia [wikia.com] and Mangawiki [wikia.com]. I don't understand why people have a problem with this, Wikipedia is for the normal populace -- not the hardcore fans of s
    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      I don't understand why people have a problem with this, Wikipedia is for the normal populace -- not the hardcore fans of specific interests.

      Wikipedia used to be "the encyclopedia anyone can edit", normal populace and hardcore fans of specific interests alike. Coincidentally, the List of Catgirls [wikipedia.org] article is doing quite well.

  • is any indication of the flowers we could find if in chance the poster or that persons brethren may be allowed to in fact modify said obscure game entries in the previously refered to Wikipedia it may become an eventuality that it would suck to read.

    I am going to deem this a "tight loss". New term, but look it up shortly in wiki. I am pretty sure its going to mean what you think it means.

  • by Dunbal (464142) *

    Hey well you know when you google something there are OTHER links besides wikipedia...

    As far as I know I don't remember wikipedia fighting over the exclusive right to archive video game history.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:59AM (#34938360) Homepage
    Wikipedia is not the right reference to use. *shock* *horror* *how dare someone insinuate that "the wikipedia" is not the fount of all human knowledge!* The best place for research is USENET (search for "Google Groups" instead these days) because that's the only central location where games discussions went on back then. Sure, there were BBS and such, but one-node communications platforms are very limited.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @09:02AM (#34938376)

    Wikipedia is lousy for a lot of recent history precisely because (as soon as you drift away from relatively mainstream stuff) so little of it has been documented elsewhere on the web - I've seen plenty of articles myself which I'm 100% certain are factually inaccurate, and I can name the inaccuracies - but I can't find an appropriate citation. So any correction I make is likely to have a very limited life expectancy.

    • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @09:13AM (#34938460) Journal
      just plaster it with [citation needed]
      • by boristhespider (1678416) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @10:06AM (#34938898)

        I spent a while doing that on every article I could find. Almost every article on Wikipedia is grossly deficient in citations if you follow the regulations some nerd throws at you. So I got fed up and went to one of the more objectionable's favourite page and started adding [citation needed] after every factual statement that lacked verification. There's a shocking amount of things that are just accepted on pretty much any Wikipedia article.

        I got banned for a few days for that.

        I think I'm going to go back to it, actually, and see if I can get the whole IP range of my city knocked out.

    • I've seen plenty of articles myself which I'm 100% certain are factually inaccurate, and I can name the inaccuracies - but I can't find an appropriate citation. So any correction I make is likely to have a very limited life expectancy.

      Even in that case where your edits would likely be reverted, you still must make it and/or discuss it in the talk page.

      Wikipedia is designed for that eventuality; it exposes not only the article's contents but the process by which editors arrived to them. If you know for true a fact but can't provide references, explaining that in the talk page will expose the situation to future researchers.

      Someone really interested will read through the talk archives or even the change logs to find what has been discussed

  • by EWAdams (953502) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @09:06AM (#34938404) Homepage
    ... and writing books, I don't think we really need to worry about what was said on Usenet. Why not go to the source?
  • It's pretty difficult to write the history of ANYTHING if you don't record stuff along the way. Sure, we know when certain game systems and games were released, but that's just a time line. Genuine history happens in between those major events and is pretty difficult to summarize if someone didn't put it all down on paper/disc.

    Also, Wiki is a starting place for research-- not the end-all academic source of knowledge for the human race. If you see something that interests you, check the sources and go from t

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