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Sunday, December 16th, 2012 01:27 pm
I have a dream... a dream that we could build collaborative, shared project pages on Fanlore that would allow multiple people to share a goal (or group of goals). You know - a Wikiproject.

I've been working on pages in the general Anime & Manga category for the past few weeks. After talking with [personal profile] frogspace, I think what I'm looking for is a pony a page on Fanlore that could be collaboratively edited (and if a forum is set up, a topic for the project, if it's busy enough to warrant one). In my mind, the goals of such a page would be something like:
  1. Make getting started easier for new editors who're interested specifically in this topic (and old hands who want somewhere to direct new editors),
  2. Make it easier to review what's already been contributed to the topic and find places to add more material,
  3. Facilitate discussion among editors and collect discussion links, so conversations aren't fragmented and people don't miss things they wanted to be a part of,
  4. Provide a place to cheer other editors on, request review of your work, and generally support one another.

For content, I'm thinking an introduction to the project itself (including goals), a section for new editors so they could have an Animanga-focused introduction to Fanlore (which may encourage them to stick around), a list of resources or instructions somewhat modified from the one I posted on the wishlist, an explanation of the structure of related categories, links to relevent past conversations/decisions about the categories, etc.

For naming, I have no idea.

So, if you're interested in the Animanga side of fandom (and frankly, at this point I'll throw in the kitchen sink and say "anything on East Asia", because we can make sister projects to limit the amount of reinventing the wheel any one person has to do), please weigh in. What would you like to see on such a project page? What would you call such a page?

And if you're interested in the idea of projects, whether or not you have any Animanga background, what kinds of things would be useful on project pages in general? What kind of consistent naming scheme could we work towards?

[Note for mods: Tried adding a 'projects' tag but couldn't.]
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Need to run to work right now, but I'd definitely be interested in this - have a bunch of doujinshi stuff lying around that I want to add, and doing it as part of a smaller cozier project within Fanlore sounds like a lot of fun.

I'll think on content for project pages, but what you say sounds great already.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 05:50 am (UTC)
Okay, back! Some random thoughts.

To have a successful Wikiproject-like thing, we'd need a way to have a group of editors communicate and have at least some sense of community. And that communication would have to happen in a place/way that's easy to find and easy to participate in for new people. A dedicated forum section or topic sounds good, especially if we're talking about anime and manga folks.

For wiki page content, a very easy intro to making Fanlore pages is definitely a must. One that emphasizes that many things that look scary are actually not - for instance, people are hit with mediawiki syntax as soon as try do do anything editing-related, but there's actually an editing menu above every editing panel to help with that. (Though I find the menu kind of confusing, but that's a broader issue.)

I also like the idea of drastically expanding your very useful wishlist section to include links not just to pages that need expanding, but also to pages that don't exist yet. One giant map of the Anime & Manga universe on Fanlore, as it were. That will result in a terrifying mass of red links, given how much info is still lacking, but red links make me twitch to click and create those pages. It would also help people see at a glance if their fandom/favorite topic/whatever already has a page, as well as giving everybody in the project a more detailed overview of what still needs to be done.

(Making it accessible and familiar for the kind of people we want to welcome is key in general, of course. The more I think about this, the more it feels like it would be nice if we could have the whole experience be a bit more like Wikia instead of Wikipedia. Wikia feels more accessible for new people in many ways... *muses*)
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
For how to make an environment that will make new people say "Hey, this looks like a fun and active community that I may want to join", I'm probably better as a test subject than anything else - I still haven't quite gotten the hang of making/sensing "community" on wikis. (Suspect it has something to do with the talk pages being out of sight, so the discussion takes place in a space that's separated from the actual article. I sometimes wander into the comments under a Wikia article, but on Wikipedia or Fanlore, I constantly forget that the talk pages are even there.)

For tutorial stuff, maybe there's some good things on Wikipedia that we can build on? As for chats, a chat window on the site itself where an experienced editor is waiting (rotation?) may be nice. I'm not so sure about scheduled chats at specific times - those are hard to get to. An open chat window or a dedicated and easy-to-find forum topic might be more accessible, and with a forum topic, new people can more easily check out questions posed earlier.

that could grow exponentially, not to mention fandom itself), but we could at least link to categories, lists, and other pages that make it clear what's present and what's missing.

*nod* Any sort of map that gives people a good overview of what we have already, and where they can dive in. And where they can feel good about having turned a red link blue ;)

As for things to add to the wishlist right now, there's articles that are about Japanese doujin fandom (category doujin_fandom) instead of about individual doujin works, and there are many more kinds of doujin works besides doujinshi, like doujin music, doujin games, etc. And do we want any sort of dedicated glossaries?
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, the chatroom now is good too! I'm just a little leery of people having to plan chats in any way, instead of being able to just pop in any time. Planning and having established chat times probably works much better for people who are already part of the community than for newbies. But yeah, manpower :/

The people working in doujin fandom right now all seem to be into doujinshi, so that's where the focus is at the moment

Yeah, I think I'm the one who's got pages about doujin fandom in mind ;) (Background: I'm doing a research project on doujinshi, so I'm amassing a lot of info that I want to put out there in a useful place like Fanlore.) It would be great to find other people interested in that, and maybe some others will notice more easily if it's in the wishlist!

By the way, I remember Kylara making a handy form for creating new doujinshi pages. Can we repeat that for other kinds of pages? I don't remember what software she used...

Glossary terms are shared by nature, though we can encourage users to add certain terms and to add them to specific categories. Or did you mean helping new editors by providing definitions of certain terms?

I meant getting anime and manga-related glossary terms in one list (eg by adding categories) so it's easier for people to see what's missing. There's no separate "anime and manga glossary terms" category now, right? Or did I miss it?
Thursday, December 20th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
I didn´t look at it in detail yet, but I like the specific tutorial! Definitely something that would fit nicely on the project page.
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 04:51 am (UTC)
We already have a chat room that is open all the time that any editor can hang out in while editing. It has been my dream to have it staffed at least part of the time, like office hours, but that hasn't happened yet. The emptiness of the room feeds on itself; it's empty, so no one bothers to go in. Changing the format and acquiring yet another chat tool won't change that. The Fanlore chat room is linked from the sidebar under "Shortcuts for Editors", and there is a link on the main page, and if we create project pages, we can include a direct link there as well.

Theoretically, anyone could post to the dreamwidth community and invite people to join them in chat a) right then or b) at a specific time.

The talk page for the project page itself is another place to discuss the project.

What sort of tutorial do you mean? We have a tutorial for basic editing. Writing tutorials geared specifically toward making edits for each project would be great, too. Maybe use subpages, like

Fanlore:Doujin Fandom project
Fanlore:Doujin Fandom project/Tutorial

The talk pages are not out of sight when you visit the Recent Changes page. That is where you see all the activity happening on the wiki. You can even look at just talk page edits
Edited 2012-12-19 04:54 am (UTC)
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 06:11 am (UTC)
Writing tutorials geared specifically toward making edits for each project would be great, too

Yes, that's what I mean!

And yeah, the chatroom :) It would be awesome to have someone in there all the time, and/or to have a way to check right from Fanlore whether or not someone's there to chat with. I stopped clicking the link when I didn't find anyone in the chatroom after my first couple of tries. That's why I suggested something more obviously embedded in the wiki for some reason - because that way people can immediately see if the doctor is in, so to speak, instead of clicking on a link a few times and then never going there again because they feel it never gets results anyway. The current chatroom would be a lot more useful if there was a way to tell from the wiki if someone's in there. (Planning chats by posting to the DW community doesn't sound like something new people would feel comfortable doing, I fear...)

When I said that talk pages were out of sight, I meant that the discussion isn't in the same location as the content that it's about, and that's not very obvious for new people. Not nearly as obvious as, say, the comments section right under every Wikia article. Even if people notice the Discussion tab, there's still no way for them to see if there is any discussion - nothing "comment count"-like - until they click through to the page and see a lot of nothing. The issue is a bit similar to having the chatroom on a different location where people have no idea if anything is happening until they click through and see nothing. I feel like entering or getting to know a community is really hard if there's no way to monitor where activity is going on, unless you click a bunch of separate links to other pages.

You could argue that it's just a few damn clicks and people can afford to do that, but in terms of mental transaction costs, a few clicks make a huge difference. (I very much suspect this is one of the reason why the OTW volunteer forums aren't very active. There's no way to monitor activity there without actually going to the site, logging in, and clicking through to the forum. Those few steps all take a few seconds max. But they *feel* like a lot of work, especially compared to how frictionless it is to monitor activity on many other community sites.) If it's in any way non-obvious how to find where the action is going on and keep up with discussions, building community is much harder.

Of course Mediawiki is Mediawiki, and I have the exact same difficulties "finding" the community on Wikipedia. My personal experience (emphasis on that bit) is that "finding" and keeping up with the community on these sorts of wikis is hard. I don't mean to harp on Fanlore in specific, at all. I'm just musing about the limitations built into this platform that need to be kept in mind if we're going to make an Anime & Manga project thingie.

I'm really looking forward to having forums for Fanlore! Those could become a more centralized an newbie-accessible water cooler place of sorts.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
I gave you a "projects" tag.

What you're saying sounds great! I imagine a "landing page" for Animanga-content (or other projects - cosplay! Fandoms in other languages! Fanart/fancraft!) that includes the goal of the project, a list to relevant categories, a project-focused wish list, a link to the help pages, a prominent link to the discussion page/discussions on other pages, a list of editors interested in the projects who are willing to help, and maybe other stuff? Much less complicated than the WikiProjects on Wikipedia look like (though I have no experience with them.)
A forum is coming next term, so we could use that as a second platform for people who are more comfortable there.

It's a wonderful idea, and I'd definitely support it. Now the bad news: At the moment the Wiki committee does not have the resources to help build anything like this. Not with structure, general content, not with design, and definitely not things like permanently staffing an open chatroom. (A partial explanation why will be posted soon.) If nothing goes wrong, my hope is that Wiki will be able to do so in maybe half a year.

But! That doesn't mean it can't be done! I'm excited that you're brainstorming for this, the more concrete ideas there are for what people want and how to do it the easier it'll be for Wiki to help. And if editors want to start building it themselves even better :)
Thursday, December 20th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
Just some of my thoughts (and aethel´s, thanks for brainstorming): In principle it´s definitely okay if non-committee editors do it themselves. As a guideline I´d prefer it if the committee and/or the gardeners are contacted when a new project is started so that they know about it and can help with the set-up (categories etc.) Consistent naming would be good, but we could do that by editor consensus, I don´t have any particular preference (Project:xxx, or Fanlore Project: XXX, or Fanlore: xxx Project...)

Eventually we should have a help page that explains what a project is, how to set it up, what to include, but we can do that after having one "test-run", so to say, and it doesn´t have to be done by the committee either.

I´d also prefer if the project only went "public", i.e. people are explicitly invited to join, once at least the basics are complete. Maybe it could be drafted in the sandbox or in a sandbox subpage so that other editors can discuss it?

I imagine that it would be easiest if one person involved in the project has gardener rights and can keep an eye on the relevant pages, but that won´t be a problem.
Friday, December 21st, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
BTW, "Fanlore:" would be a required prefix because it marks a separate namespace. We wouldn't want to put these pages in the main namespace since they're about the project itself (Fanlore) and not documenting fannish history.