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Old 01-11-2009, 01:24 AM   #161
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
don't see either TMS or TMC as establishing notability.
I do not think those two sites by themselves single, or double-handedly establish notability. But I am inclined to agree with Dr. Bartle and Raph Koster that they are notable and reliable sources for information about MUDs. As such, they are legitimate sources for moving towards establishing notability of a MUD. Furthermore, the whole obsession with notability is ridiculous in a non-paper encyclopedia. Verifiability is what should matter. Let readers and users worry about notability by choosing to search for the topic or not.

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That's kind of funny but I find it hard to care much.
You are obviously entitled to feel this way. There could be a lot of reasons why you don't care about situations like this whereas other people care passionately about it. I won't even begin to postulate.


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Anyway, just pointing out that it's easy for people in general to overestimate our own importance in the scheme of things since we are all the center of our own little universes.
I don't think anyone is overestimating anything. I believe MUDders are painfully aware that MUDs are a niche hobby that receives very little mainstream attention.

But I believe it is fact that MUDs played a significant role in the growth of the internet, and a tremendous, absolutely vital role in the growth of the MMORPG industry. For those two reasons alone, I believe MUDs are notable and it is important to preserve MUD history. Who knows where the gaming industry will go? In 20 years virtual worlds could be the dominant form of entertainment - dwarfing movies or television. That is not an absurd possibility. Science fiction has postulated as much for decades. If that happens, the importance of MUDs to entertainment in general would be enormous. What a shame it would be if that history was lost simply because 5-10 years after their heyday everyone just dismissed them as irrelevant.


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Well, everything's days are numbered in one sense, but I think that you're taking what is a VERY minor issue (seriously, whether a text MUD is included or not may be offensive to us but I don't think it matters very much to Wikipedia as a whole).
I'm not sure where you were going here, so forgive me if I misinterpret. If you meant this incident will not spell the demise of Wikipedia, I agree. I don't think Milawe or anyone else was arguing differently. This situation is a symptom of the much larger, deep-seated problem with Wikipedia. It is neither the cause nor the most significant example.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:36 AM   #162
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Hmms. At the risk of getting yelled at, why are we still discussing the pros and cons of the AfD of Threshold? Considering the decision has been taken (not the way we wanted it to go, but the way it HAS), I strongly feel that we should be discussing how we are going to ensure other larger MUDs (the ones that COULD theoretically be considered notable) can make a case for notability. What had to happen to Threshold has already happened. The title of the thread is after all about the notability of MUDs being questioned, not of the particular entry. Yes, the_Logos has a point about the notability of the genre as a whole in the larger global scale of things, but assuming someone IS interested in finding space for their entry on the wikipedia and accepting it works the way it does (and not the way one or the other of us wished it did), what are the learnings that we can take from this experience to help others. Just pointing it out since people have started repeating themselves again
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:06 AM   #163
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Yeah, you're right Kleothera. It's hard to get out of the habit after having to defend it on Wikipedia so much where it sometimes seem volume speaks more loudly than quality. (Btw, the DRV was invalidated by some neutral admins, and the article recreated... much earlier than I thought, but some things just can't be helped.)

Right now, muds should be making sure that they grab all the citations and mentions of their game from third party sites that they can off the web before it goes away. LegendMUD had actually let something slip from their own webpage about a pretty major award they won in 1995. Raph Koster was able to find it in an internet archive, but something like that probably shouldn't be removed even if it feels a bit outdated. (Even if it's moved to some attic page on the website, it should still be kept.)

With Threshold, players had to help dig up references from newspapers and magazines. Some of this involves going down to libraries and dragging through microfiche or calling other libraries for aid. This actually took a lot of time and some money, and ultimately, isn't worth it to just keep a Wikipedia article. It is worth it, however, to just keep all press on your mud. The easiest thing is to go ahead and put it in MLA citation style as well, in my opinion.

So, seriously, the first step is for all muds interested is to go out there and start tracking down press, awards, rankings, etc. Whatever you can, really, even if it seems minor. The second step is to put it in one resource that can easily be maintained and archived in an academic manner. The hows and whys need to be carefully considered.

If you do not have this on your mud yet, add it: Make sure you have a way of finding out where your players came from. That aided us greatly in finding sources and references including an international reference written in an Italian magazine.

Last edited by Milawe : 01-11-2009 at 04:13 AM.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:06 AM   #164
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Originally Posted by Kleothera View Post
Hmms. At the risk of getting yelled at, why are we still discussing the pros and cons of the AfD of Threshold?
Yeah, I don't really know why that keeps happening either. Frankly, I'm pretty much fed up with defending its notability. Where there's smoke, there's fire. If a MUD has been noted in 20 or so magazines, newspapers, and web sites, and if its deletion sparks a gigantic news story on 20+ blogs, multiple gaming news sites, etc. the whole notability argument is absurd and moot. I certainly have no interest in rehashing it here for the umpteenth time.

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what are the learnings that we can take from this experience to help others. Just pointing it out since people have started repeating themselves again
Here is what I mostly take from this, as far as what we need to do:

1) Claw, kick, and scratch to find a way to establish TMC and TMS as reliable sources. They don't have to be internet juggernauts for that to be the case. There are countless examples of acceptable, reliable sources in Wikipedia (or elsewhere) that are far less "significant" than TMC and TMS. I don't know the exact process for establishing this, but I believe it begins with finding noteworthy journalism about the two sites, and to somehow document the methods they use for writing reviews (in the case of TMC's staff reviews) or compiling data. For Wikipedia in particular, they have a process where you can pseudo-officially have a source declared reliable. If at some point we can really shore up these sources, with tons of information and citations, we should move forward on that and see if the Wikipedian powers that be will be amenable to that declaration.

2) Every MUD administrator needs to take it upon him or herself to RECORD every single mention their MUD gets in any type of newspaper, magazine, web site, etc. For off-site mentions, try to get a letter from the organization verifying the appearance of the article, and save that along with a screenshot of any online version. Find out if the site that mentions your MUD is blocking Archive.org from saving it (for some insane reason, TMJ created a robots.txt file to block the Internet Archive. Ugh).

3) Court mainstream media attention as much as you can. If you do something news worthy, contact any news agency, magazine, or web site you think might find it interesting or newsworthy. I have found that a lot of news organizations love to write about something in a game if it reflects a hot political issue in real life.

4) If you get a chance to give a speech, write an article, or do anything of that sort where you could specifically discuss either your favorite MUD, MUDs in general, TMC, or TMS, seize the opportunity. If you actually write for a newspaper, magazine, etc. then do whatever you can to get an article published. Try to get as much substantial information included as possible. A full paragraph or two is better than a single sentence.

All of these methods have two additional, very positive effects outside of any Wikipedia benefits:
  1. They all increase the attention for MUDs in general, which is great.
  2. They help preserve MUD history. This is good for its own posterity as well as for inclusion in whatever types of reference appear long after Wikipedia is gone.
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:22 PM   #165
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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But I believe it is fact that MUDs played a significant role in the growth of the internet, and a tremendous, absolutely vital role in the growth of the MMORPG industry. For those two reasons alone, I believe MUDs are notable and it is important to preserve MUD history.
But MUDs as a whole aren't being removed from Wikipedia. This was an issue with a particular MUD having a hard time meeting Wikipedia's rules for notability. I don't see any way MUDs in general are going off Wikipedia en masse, though I agree it's helpful to get MUD admins in general in the habit of documenting their history in ways that are more preservable. The really tough part seems to be that there's no acceptable way to preserve coverage on sites that are acceptable for notability purposes if the site itself goes away or takes the coverage down. Screenshots don't work, you can't just copy and paste text to your own site, etc.

--matt
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:51 PM   #166
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
But MUDs as a whole aren't being removed from Wikipedia. This was an issue with a particular MUD having a hard time meeting Wikipedia's rules for notability. I don't see any way MUDs in general are going off Wikipedia en masse, though I agree it's helpful to get MUD admins in general in the habit of documenting their history in ways that are more preservable. The really tough part seems to be that there's no acceptable way to preserve coverage on sites that are acceptable for notability purposes if the site itself goes away or takes the coverage down. Screenshots don't work, you can't just copy and paste text to your own site, etc.
How could you know if anything is true at all? In the end you can only have a certain belief that something is valid but you can rarely be certain. For example I assume most posters here are different persons, but everyone here could very well be "roleplayed" by some mysterious individual. If that would be the case I would have been fooled.

Sometimes when looking at old documents or even posts I have written, I am like "Have I written this?" though I assume noone has edited it as long as the text is not too far from my beliefs and way of writing.

It is really the same problem here, I think. Say Threshold was shutdown. What proof is there that it has ever existed? Absolutely none, and I think references are only valid as long as you trust the references.

The question then is if you can trust references at all. For example are news articles in newspapers always correct or are perhaps part of their content made up? Even if something is written and is factual true, it might be written in such a way to make you yet interpret it in a different manner by for example only pushing certain aspects of the facts while hiding others.

Last edited by Aeran : 01-11-2009 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 01-11-2009, 02:36 PM   #167
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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How could you know if anything is true at all? In the end you can only have a certain belief that something is valid but you can rarely be certain. For example I assume most posters here are different persons, but everyone here could very well be "roleplayed" by some mysterious individual. If that would be the case I would have been fooled.
Hmms. All these posts have been generated by the Matrix. Nods sagely, barely concealing a grin.

Is there such a thing as absolute truth? I dont think the philosophers have sorted that one out yet. In the meantime, scientists have settled for peer reviewed journals with pages and pages of references.

My point being (post midnight sleep deprivation caused silliness apart) that I agree with the_Logos that the crux is the need to figure out a way to have these constantly disappearing sources preserved somehow in some sort of verifiable manner.

What WOULD a neutral source be for the wikipedia anyway? Something that they (and other serious sites) would consider authoritative?

Also why DID the older references disappear, like the Mud Journal for example? Was it readership? Was it people writing meaningful content? Both? Its going to help to avoid reinventing the wheel. Also I remember at one point seriously considering doing a research on leadership in MUDs but figured I was going to get almost nothing in terms of references and no place to publish it once completed. so it is one idea that in its serious form pretty much lasted only two weeks. However, a place where serious content related to MUDs is kept would still probably be usable to wannabe researchers and armchair MUD theorists like me. Thing is, even smaller MUDs get undergrad/post grad students coming to us when doing research on online communities which could be preserved some place third party and be used by the said students as well. Most game websites are principally made for advertisement, but there is still need for a sensible, serious MUD resource site that actually has a lot of content on it. Most MUD sites have a couple of introductory essays on MUD issues (with the possible exception of TMCs old articles), and pretty much nothing else.

And now I need to sleep!
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:59 PM   #168
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

I recently got an article published with all the nitty gritty details from beginning to end.

Wikipedia's War on Gaming History and Threshold RPG

Later tonight I am going to add an update to the article with some recent news. The enormous media attention this story has received finally got some objective editors and administrators to look into the matter. Now that some objective people are involved, the question of Threshold's notability is no longer a problem.

If nothing else, this specific incident (and the ultimate survival of the Threshold entry and complete agreement it IS NOTABLE) should help other MUDs if they face the same situation.

Moving forward, as many people (including myself) have said, we really need to gather sources and references from our own history. Nobody is going to do it for us.
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:14 AM   #169
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
Here is what I mostly take from this, as far as what we need to do:

1) Claw, kick, and scratch to find a way to establish TMC and TMS as reliable sources.
This is exactly what I see needing to be done to help out MUDs on Wikipedia. I believe TMS /TMC could help a huge amount if they published "mud of the month, second place, etc" awards with the results at the end of every month before they cleared the voting on a static page, then did this again for "mud of the year" year. This would also IMO improve the websites. The major problem now is that is not verifiable that mud X has been in the top 10 for y years, if it were verifiable this is a criteria that could satisfy notability.

TMC should also clear up its about page and make it more professional, and clearly state that reviews are not self published (if this is the case).

These are a couple very simple items that I think would help out muds and the sites themselves for use by Wikipedia. Also, I believe it will improve the sites and make them more usable and interesting.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:11 AM   #170
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Thumbs up Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
I recently got an article published with all the nitty gritty details from beginning to end.

Wikipedia's War on Gaming History and Threshold RPG

Later tonight I am going to add an update to the article with some recent news. The enormous media attention this story has received finally got some objective editors and administrators to look into the matter. Now that some objective people are involved, the question of Threshold's notability is no longer a problem.

If nothing else, this specific incident (and the ultimate survival of the Threshold entry and complete agreement it IS NOTABLE) should help other MUDs if they face the same situation.

Moving forward, as many people (including myself) have said, we really need to gather sources and references from our own history. Nobody is going to do it for us.
Nice work Threshold! I can't imagine the pain in the arse that must have been, to pull you away from admining your own MUD in order to deal with jackasses. But look at the bright side. You got some good media for you and all of us!
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:17 PM   #171
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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If nothing else, this specific incident (and the ultimate survival of the Threshold entry and complete agreement it IS NOTABLE) should help other MUDs if they face the same situation.
Do you mean outside of Wikipedia? Because Cameron Scott just put up another AfD request on the Threshold article on Wikipedia. That's the third one it's been hit with since the DRV a little bit more than 24 hours ago.
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:48 PM   #172
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

That article really doesn't do much of anything to establish notability. You were the author, right? You mentioned your game in an article about Wikipedia which is anything but an independent, third-person, and objective. It doesn't read like a professional article, it reads like a rant. That's really just another example of the lack of acceptable sources that continues to be the problem in the first place. Topping it off, many of your conclusions are in error in regard to professional publications and source material. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and no encyclopedia, paper or online, is an acceptable research source.

I'm also curious. Exactly how is the significance of MUDs in general threatened by the removal of articles about individual games which are not groundbreaking in the field of online gaming itself (such as the first MUD or those which have crossed over into mainstream and are thus within the wider range of public consciousness)? Or has effort been made to remove any reference to the existance of MUDs? The times I've looked at the Wikipedia article on MUDs, I didn't notice any note about being marked for deletion. Has it been? If so, that should be the community's focus. If not, that's a different story.

If only individual games' articles are threatened, I think it's time the crusade came to an end. Like all crusades, it's not particularly helpful when zealousness takes over and entitlement becomes the issue rather than justice. Even though He-Man might have an article on Wikipedia, I'd wager that ten times more people know what He-Man is or owned a He-Man action figure (I did) than have heard of MUDs collectively, much less individual MUDs. Pop culture has its place in the annals of history. But there's a difference between notability of some subjects of pop culture and elements within those subjects. The subject of MUDs would be notable. Threshold or pretty much any individual MU* would not.

Creating a professional environment should be the focus of the community. Once that's done, then and only then can we hope that notability is possible. Even then, most games won't likely be notable to a degree worth an entire article on them. Simply put, there isn't anything enough significant about them to fill an article on Wikipedia or anywhere else. If an effort is made to try and discredit the notability of the field of MUDs, then there's reason to fight it. But if the effort's being spent on the subject of individual games, all the community is doing is wasting its ammunition in the form of time, effort, and credibility.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:49 PM   #173
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

The article has been improved and a new deletion process has been started. So far it looks like the consensus is that the editors trying to get the article deleted are a bunch of dicks who make Wikipedia look bad.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:00 PM   #174
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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The article has been improved and a new deletion process has been started. So far it looks like the consensus is that the editors trying to get the article deleted are a bunch of dicks who make Wikipedia look bad.
Yes, they are a real piece of work. Amazing.

But I just got done with a radio interview about Threshold, and they didn't even bring up the Wikipedia thing. So that is encouraging.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:21 PM   #175
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Right now, muds should be making sure that they grab all the citations and mentions of their game from third party sites that they can off the web before it goes away. LegendMUD had actually let something slip from their own webpage about a pretty major award they won in 1995. Raph Koster was able to find it in an internet archive, but something like that probably shouldn't be removed even if it feels a bit outdated. (Even if it's moved to some attic page on the website, it should still be kept.)

It is kept in our archives along with the rest of the old website. We still have all of it. Legend's website was recently moved to a content management system and is not yet quite complete. I felt the need to clarify this as I don't want the wrong information out there.
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:23 PM   #176
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

Thanks for the clarification, Sandra. No insult intended to LegendMud, which is by far an extremely notable one.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:10 PM   #177
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Creating a professional environment should be the focus of the community. Once that's done, then and only then can we hope that notability is possible. Even then, most games won't likely be notable to a degree worth an entire article on them. Simply put, there isn't anything enough significant about them to fill an article on Wikipedia or anywhere else. If an effort is made to try and discredit the notability of the field of MUDs, then there's reason to fight it. But if the effort's being spent on the subject of individual games, all the community is doing is wasting its ammunition in the form of time, effort, and credibility.
I don't disagree with your first statement here, Prof. The difficulty comes in because some MUDs ARE run as a hobby in that the mud exists for the entertainment of the admin as much as the players. And in the end, almost everyone in the mudding community is playing a mud, working on promoting a niche section of the community, or making a mud. It's difficult for anyone person to go and establish a professional mud site (though TMS, TMC, Mudbyte, Mud Portal, RPMUD, etc. seem to be trying their best) that has something more beyond what administrators and players can contribute in their spare time.

It's been a long, tough battle, but if you read the initial AfD, the mentality used to delete the Threshold article needed to fail and fail badly because it could be applied to nearly every hobby or sub-set of a hobby out there. And seriously, do you really think those same admins wouldn't have found something exactly like Threshold to target next? People like them had already taken out Aardwolf, which has a much larger playerbase than Threshold AND have had mentions by the same experts. They'd already taken out LegendMud and a ton of online comic strips that face the same problems as muds.

You may think that Wikipedia is trying to become some sort of reliable, source-able site. That will never happen with its current structure. Wikipedia isn't unreliable because there's a ton of random stuff on there. It's unreliable because anyone in the world can go edit most of the articles out there regardless of whether or not they know anything about it. It's also unreliable because you do not need ANY credentials to speak authoritatively on any given subject. Until the core operation of the site is changed, it's going to be unreliable. Getting rid of muds or amigurumi or rubber stamping isn't going to fix any of that.

On the bright side, deletionists will have to operate more carefully now. I'd given up since the most current AfD, but I went back to look tonight. I feel that it was worth the fight because what better way to get some legitimacy than for individual games to be listed on Wikipedia, the current best source for all things obscure. Now, I understand that you might not believe it's worth the fight, but do you really think it's fair to claim that it's a waste of time and resources for the people who decided to get involved? Maybe people just saw something there that you didn't.

You have to keep in mind that MOST people who got involved didn't do it for Threshold. I initially got involved because of Threshold (and no, none of the administrators wrote the original article that got deleted or the new one though I've tried my best to help), but like I said before, Wikipedia does absolutely nothing for the mud. It doesn't bring in traffic. It doesn't affect our gameplay. It doesn't affect our customers. If it was purely for what benefited Threshold, I would have just given up after the first AfD simply because it's ultimately not worth my time from a business perspective.

Last edited by Milawe : 01-12-2009 at 11:14 PM. Reason: Totally foobared a sentence.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:15 AM   #178
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

FredBauder, Wikipedia administrator and longtime mudder, has helped to resolve this to some extent by creating a Wikia Wiki for preserving mud history. It has very different rules from Wikipedia.

MUD Wiki

I have issued a call on my website for everyone in mudding to jump in and contribute. If we do a good job of finding citations and the like (and we determine sourcing here!) then we can save mud history -- and who knows, maybe some things will migrate back to Wikipedia over time.

I started out with a long article on LegendMUD. Be nice to see more folks jump in.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:07 PM   #179
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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I started out with a long article on LegendMUD. Be nice to see more folks jump in.
You'd want to be careful not to get dragged personally into Wikipedia because that could damage your reputation as a credible source for future publications. Editing Wikipedia directly would certainly do that (conflict of interest) - though I'm not sure if that extends to Wikipedia-like wikis - I've only seen the mess caused when people edit their own Wikipedia articles and subject fields.


I'd work on MUD Wiki, but the overdose of banners makes me schizofrenic (the voices say so). It'd be nice if a reliable person would host a Wiki, maybe mudbytes is up for the job?
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:15 PM   #180
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Re: In defense of all MUDs. Our genre's noteworthiness is being questioned.

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Originally Posted by scandum View Post
I'd work on MUD Wiki, but the overdose of banners makes me schizofrenic (the voices say so). It'd be nice if a reliable person would host a Wiki, maybe mudbytes is up for the job?
A large benefit of Wikia is that you can download(link) the wiki databases from it. So you can take backups. If someone else hosted it, e.g Mudbytes they might not make download the database possible.
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