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Wikipedia Games

Wikipedia and the History of Gaming 240

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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  • Re:then? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 6031769 ( 829845 ) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:14AM (#34938080) Homepage Journal

    If it is of importance to you, why not create a page on your own site which is entirely under your own control and there you can state all your opinions as well as facts with or without citations. If you like you could then create a wikipedia stub which could reference your own page. It's then up to the wikiguardians to decide if the wiki page is appropriate, etc.

    Wikipedia is useful, but it's not the be all and end all of information resources on the web.

  • 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.


  • I've been seeing articles on Wikipedia which cite stuff I wrote on Everything2... in which I cite the selfsame Wikipedia article. Fail, fail.

  • Re:then? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkIye ( 875062 ) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:58AM (#34938348) Journal

    This is an interesting variant of 'if you think his music is so bad, why don't you make your own?'.

    The reason he can't is because that would make him a nutty man. The point of Wikipedia is that it combines the efforts of hundreds of nutty men to generate credibility.

  • Re:then? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @08:58AM (#34938350)

    Here we go again.

    Wikipedia is problematic beyond problematic. Want to know why? Here's a transcript of a Jason Scott presentation [cow.net] that goes over a lot of it.

    The short version is: Wikipedia as it exists today is an insular, closed circle-jerk operation. Even good contributions and spelling corrections are apt to be "reverted" by a legion of people who are using semi-automated tools to up their "edit count", because the prime metric for becoming an "admin" is a stupid-high edit count that an actual writer could never reach in 10 years, and they don't give a crap how you got there.

    Once you get to be an "admin", basically anything goes. That's when you start entertaining offers to be the protecting force for groups of people who create politics, that's when you start being verbally obtuse if not outright abusive towards any new editors, and that's where the whole system falls apart. Want to try to repair an article, add links? Ok, but now you have to speak 18 categories of acronyms, you have to be online 24/7 to instantly respond to "questions" that can be posed in a dozen or more possible places ranging from your talk page, other editors talk pages, article talkpage, "related" article talkpages, various "admin" forums, two or three email forums, and on and on. You have to master an entire subset of "how to write a citation" code rather than sticking a link at the end of the line, because otherwise some ass-hat will revert you and claim you're spamming.

    It's a mess. It's a mess because Wikipedia is not, and never will be, an accurate encyclopedia. Wikipedia is just the latest in the MUD/MMORPG line of games where a bunch of assholes grind time, gain "XP" (aka "edit count"), and once they get powerful enough and get the "admin" hat, spend most of their day griefing [wired.com] incoming players and claiming it's "thinning the herd", "fun", or "protecting the encyclopedia."

  • 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?
  • 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.

  • Re:then? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @10:39AM (#34939294) Homepage Journal

    Wikipedia has flaws, but you're better off finding real, sane discussion of those flaws than listening to a rabid troll. Jason Scott makes stuff up. He did it with much of his BBS "history", and he's making it up here. He has a grudge against Wikipedia because he brought his pairing of grand ego and crazy to the project, and could not handle when people disagreed with him on topics he tried to own. He then left in a huff, and was angry when his attempts to remove the contributions he made (under the regular open license) failed.

    His attacks are personal, and not much connected to reality. You should steer clear of him, both on Wikipedia and on any other topic he might decide he's an expert on tomorrow.

  • Re:then? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @04:03PM (#34943624) Homepage Journal

    My knowledge of Jason Scott is not ungrounded - if you go look at the history associated with his account, you'll find his actions to be exactly as I describe. He is not an expert on anything, he's just a troll with a big ego. Wikipedia, like Usenet, got a number of trolls, and dealing with them was often a challenge.

    I'm a former wikipedia admin myself - I left the project some years ago. I know it's flawed, but not for the reasons you or JScott describe. I remember these position-organisations (generally they went by the name "Association"). They actually were problematic - removing them was helpful in bringing dialogue over policy a bit closer to the center.

    Of course administrators will coordinate their actions. I did this myself - I was once fairly prominent. So what? This isn't a sign of corruption, it's simply necessary to keep a big project running well and true to its ideals. Any community that has philosophical stances will necessarily have divisions between those who have been part of it for a long time who really understand how things work and take responsibility for it, and people who are either very causal or new who might not understand or agree with the ideas around which the project was founded. Keeping things civil and on-task is not something that always happens entirely in public, especially when one has people who are either out to make trouble or have problems with not being fully vested in the community yet. That's not corruption (in the end, it's an encyclopedia project - nobody's getting paid anyhow - people stick with it for the project and the community).

    (for what it's worth, I largely agree with Sanger's analysis - neither Sanger nor Wales represent great leadership, but I think the project would've been better off with a lot more Sanger in the mix than what happened - don't confuse the respectable opinions of Sanger from that of Scott)

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman