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Forum:Building a community

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It seems like Heaven's Agent and I are the only active contributors to the site, other than the occasional edit by someone else. Other than my serving my fondness for wikis and desire to document everything, I really would like for this wiki to actually mean something and be used by players throughout the game. How do we drive more traffic to the site and increase the community and contributions? Is anyone from Curse out there anymore? I performed several Google searches and just about every other TOR site out there is kicking our butt in rankings. Heck, sometimes I can't even find our site. I know we have some quality info that you can't get at the db sites. I've been trying to put the word out to get people to join here, but it doesn't seem to be working. While I love contributing, I don't want this to all be for nothing. Help. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 19:06, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

We are here. Building a community is something we struggle with daily on all of our sites. I have no magic bullet to fix the problem, other than to try to provide the best possible site, with the best possible information. Unfortunately, this site suffered from problems long before the game was launched, which drove the founding community to other sites, and getting them to come back is hard. We have unfortunately not met with much success with the partnership with Darth Hater, they seemed not very motivated to support our wiki efforts, especially after the db got set up. Other than encouraging you to be active on the forums, and include links back to the wiki whenever possible, there is not much I can tell you. -- Wynthyst 19px talk 21:19, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Is there any way to at least help our search engine rankings? If you search for anything TOR, Wikia comes up first. I still think our product is superior to theirs. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 21:30, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree that our project is better, if for no other reason than ours is becoming a true game wiki project and theirs has become nothing more than a copy/paste of Wookieepedia articles. That said I don't think there's anything we can do directly to boost our Google rating; Wikia does a masterful job at promoting their sites, as their revenue stream relies on the ability to show their advertisers that they have the top site around. I have a suspicion they pay Google to have their sites placed higher in searches.
We really need support from allied projects if we are to succeed, but our hands are tied in this matter: DarthHater does not want to help us, the DarthHaterDB is viewed as second-rate by the game community and doesn't link to us anyway. Additionally, we cannot even attempt a partnership with the community-favored DB due to policy constraints. I've tried to drum up support for the project on the official forums, but I've actually received replies stating, essentially, that they don't care to visit our project because we don't work with TORHead.
I honestly don't know what to do; we're supposed to be part of a larger Curse-SWTOR community, but due to DarthHater's unwillingness to work with us we've been cut off from any support structure we might have been able to draw from. We're adrift on the internet, and the anchors that should be keeping us tied to the game community have been severed. I'll be honest, I've been contemplating giving up with greater and greater frequency over the past two months. Without support from our fellow Curse projects, and without the ability to seek out partnership of our own, we're sunk. -- Heaven's Agent 22:07, 25 June 2012 (UTC)


Had a long bus trip today and did some thinking about this. If we want to make the project to succeed, we have no choice but to do it ourselves. We literally cannot rely on anyone for help. As I see it, then, we have three things we have to accomplish:
  • Refine and formalize our purpose and structure. We've always left these sorts of things unspoken, and its caused us headaches before. We have to formally recognize our goals, determine how we are going to present our content, and put in place policy documents that define this foundation. We should also consider a general facelift of the site.
  • Identify information currently lacking among the fan community. What is needed and desired, but not yet provided by the game's fansites? This type of content is what we use to entice new users. This is what we have to develop in order to receive a positive response from the community on the official forums. This will then lead into the third item on our to-do list ...
  • Get basic game mechanic guides in place. Everything from character classes and species to FPs and Warzones to Legacy and Item Customization should have up-to-date and complete articles that present all aspects of these basic game mechanics. Once this is recognized those who come here to use the information we alone provide will begin to point new players in our direction.
What do you think, Alianin? It's a lot for two people to accomplish; I have my doubts as to our ability to pull it off ourselves. Should we give it a go, or leave the project as is? -- Heaven's Agent 01:44, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
We've put too much work into this to leave it now. I'm for trying to pump life into it. If we can just get a couple more dedicated contributors, it'll be a lot easier. You made three excellent points of focus. I'm going to mull them over and come up with ideas for each. Two things I know of right off the bat that people look for are fight strategies and datacron locations. We also need to revamp the main page to bring attention to certain portions of the site. As I mentioned before if we could just come up with a couple more contributors, we could each focus on certain items and knock them out quicker. I may try to throw a line out on the official forums looking for some people to help build and see if anyone bites. But first things first. Structure. I'll sleep on it and post more tomorrow. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 03:50, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Alright then, let's give it a go. I need to get some sleep as well. I'll see what I come up with in the morning. -- Heaven's Agent 05:13, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm creating sections below to address each of the items that you brought up. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 13:02, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Be sure to survey your guildies for ideas, as well. Ask what they like and dislike about this project, what they like and dislike about other wiki projects, and what they want to see in the future. Just casually mentioning this effort to a fellow ACoy member this morning revealed that while she uses the Wikia project, she doesn't like it because the content is unpolished and non-uniform. We avoid these two aspects, and we've got ourselves a new user right there. Guild members are more likely to provide feedback and be honest, so they're the perfect people to survey. -- Heaven's Agent 21:47, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Here are some SEO ideas - If you haven't already, make sure you have a link to the wiki in any forum signature you use on any forum. If you are answering a question on any forum where the answer is available on the wiki, link to the page. Links to the wiki from other sites are a big boost to SEO. Again, having meta-descriptions on well written/well presented pages will help by providing more specific information when someone is searching, making our pages the more desireable target. I think the largest problem there is to building a community here is the state of the game itself. From all reports, people are leaving it left and right, and I would imagine now that the GW2 release date has been announced for August 28th, it's going to get even worse. (My understanding is that Bioware is virtually ignoring player feedback). -- Wynthyst 19px talk 14:59, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Luckily what you're hearing is nothing more than negative hype. The game is doing much better than predicted at this point in its life span. Players have moved on, but no more than expected after the post-launch bubble burst. These losses were amplified, though, due to the massive amount of servers; the player population is both stable and sustainable at this point, but was spread too thin over too many servers. This led the masses to cry the game's doom, because from their perspective it was dead.
With the recent server transfers this perception was proven false. Now that the player population is distributed on a proper number of servers the game is beginning to boom once more. I would expect a dip in numbers with GW2's launch, but imagine most will return to SWTOR as any new game is going to suffer its own growing pains. In all I'm not too worried about the state of SWTOR at the moment. -- Heaven's Agent 15:49, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Purpose and structure[edit source]

This is the big one and is going to take a while to flesh out. This is probably also going to be the hardest for me as I'm not the wordiest of people. I can help with providing feedback though. ;)

First off, purpose. Personally, I think the site's purpose should be to fully document the systems, lore, and content of Star Wars: The Old Republic. I also think that secondary goals once the majority of that information is in place, is to include lore and other information related to SWTOR such as the KotOR stand-alone games, books, comics, etc.; just about anything related to the Old Republic era.

As for policies, based on what I've seen on other sites and observed here, this is a partial list of policies/guidelines we need. Some can be short and sweet, others need a lot spelled out.

  • Style guide - This is probably one of the first ones we should work on so new contributors have something to go off of. We need to keep in mind that not all editors are wiki experts, so we don't want to block them from contributing. Boilerplates could help with this. A lot of topic fall under this such as naming, categorization, external links, editing, layout guidelines, disambiguation, etc.
  • Block/vandalism policy - What infractions count and how long for each. Also how to handle warnings, etc.
  • Deletion policy - Speedy vs voting.
  • Voting policy - Procedure for voting on deletions and new policies.
  • Fan fiction policy - Is it allowed and how is it handled? Also, what about character RP articles?
  • Guild page/listing policy - Naming, content, etc.
  • Stub policy - Tagging and management.
  • 3 revert rule - Prevent edit wars.
  • Neutral point of view - Standard wiki guideline.
  • Image policy - Format, sizing, what's allowed.
  • Copyright/attribution policy - What's allowed, how to source, etc.
  • Do-not-post policy - What we won't allow on WikiSWTOR. This could include testing NDA, exploits, etc.

One last thing is that we need to rework the front page (new fancy logo perhaps?), and perhaps the sidebar, to draw attention to specific portions of the wiki. It would be a good place to show the latest game changes and site updates. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C

Generally I dislike defining policy with so few individuals providing input, but both of us come from past gaming wiki projects, Alianin. I think between the two of use we have enough experience to establish the foundation we need moving forward.
I'm not the wordiest person in the world, either, but sometimes you simply have to buckle down and get things done. We can draw from other successful game wikis as well. The Style Guide is key, and I think other policies of primary importance include an image policy, a fanfiction policy, and a copyright/attribution policy. I also think a Scope of the Project policy article needs to be formalized early; I agree with what you laid out on this topic, though I want to be sure to note we're going to see some bleed-over: we'll want to prioritize non-game lore content that is directly relevant to the player experience, such as bios and backgrounds for playable species.
As for a main page and menu redesign, I'm thinking something a little more broad: A complete reimaging and relaunch. I'd like this to include the establishment of some of our own art elements for things like playable species and classes, images that will work better for our purposes than what we have now. I'd also like to see all parameters used for table and template definition determined by the CSS. This will allow us greater ability to modify things in the future and to provide users the opportunity to completely customize the colors and layout they see when visiting the project. -- Heaven's Agent 13:19, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Now that we have things a little narrowed down here, let's come up with article names and we can start moving this discussion to the appropriate pages. A side note here. Policy pages are named with the project namespace, but our namespace doesn't follow the site naming. I've asked Wynthyst about this before and the answer was pretty much that we're stuck with it. How do we want to handle this? The project namespace is Star-Wars-The-Old-Republic-Wiki, but the site is WikiSWTOR. I did find this article on WikiMedia about the change. Do we just create a new namespace or go with what we have?
Back to article naming, do we want to create a broad style guide or narrow it down to individual articles? I'm leaning towards a broad style guide to start with and we can split it out to separate articles if it gets too big. So Project:Manual of Style? For the others, shall we go with Project:Fan fiction policy, Project:Images policy, Project:Copyright policy? For the Scope of the Project, where do we want to put that? Project:About? --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 14:29, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Yuck, that is an ugly project name. I definitely do not want to use it--far too clunky. I'd say create a new name space, or barring that simply slap "Project:" in front of the document title. As for the documents themselves, I think they need to be an exception to our general naming policy. As formal documents their titles should have all relevant words capitalized: Project:Manual of Style, Project:Fan Fiction Policy, Project:Images Policy, Project:Copyright Policy.
I posted on Wynthyst's talk page about revisiting the project namespace issue. We'll see what our options are. What do we want the new namespace to be called? WikiSWTOR? If you use the "Project:" namespace, it points to what is configured for the site, which is the ugly long name. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 15:36, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
If we're going to define a new namespace, which may end up being easier than changing the Project namespace in the long run, "WikiSWTOR" would be my choice. That tag is an existing element I definitely do not want to change. -- Heaven's Agent 15:39, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
There is already a page on copyright. It's linked on every edit page. I would not be too crazy about creating policies, it's not really going to do a lot for building community. The style guide is a good one to work on. I am looking into the project namespace naming, as I indicated on my talk page. -- Wynthyst 19px talk 15:02, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Policies may not do anything to help build the community, but if they are in place as a foundation the community that develops tends to be more stable. The effect they have is noticeable, though it can be hard to explain.
I created SWTORWiki:Manual of Style and created a basic outline of points I think should be covered. It's a work in progress, so please feel free to add or edit. I included Wikipedia's Manual of Style at the bottom for reference. Theirs is a bit more thorough than we need to be, but it has some good information and standards that I believe should be carried over here. Discussions about content on the Manual of Style can take place on its talk page. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 15:33, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Void in fansite offerings[edit source]

Like I said in my previous post, I know two big things that players look for are datacron locations and FP/Ops fight strategies. Now that the Legacy system has dropped and is being improved on, there's potential for us to play up on that. Be a complete resource on the system. We have a unique advantage since we are a wiki. We are able to provide information in a complete picture unlike DB sites. We also have an advantage over Wikia since our site is full of actual content and not copy/paste from Wookiepedia. Our layout is a big advantage as well since Wikia's unpopular change drove lots of users away. The players wanting a wiki are out there. I did a search through the official forums for the word "wiki" and got lots of results of players looking for the best site.

With that being said, perhaps our best bet is with the Legacy system as datacrons have been covered pretty well by other sites. Fight strategies seems to be another possibility as most information out there is pretty much videos. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 13:02, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Datacrons should be a focus of ours but agree with your assessment: Because datacron guides do exist elsewhere I think they should be shifted to point three. We can do better guides than what's currently available, but for the moment that's not our most pressing concern, nor the community's most pressing need.
Guides and full documentation of FPs and Ops are a must-have. I'm surprised an in-depth resource describing this content has not yet appeared, but it gives us a unique opportunity to fill a much-needed void. In addition to bosses we can document the story, trash mobs, instance-specific loot.
I don't know about the need for Legacy as one of our part two focuses. It's an important aspect of the game, certainly, but there's not much to say about it that isn't readily available already, most of it being found in-game; it definitely fall into point three, I just don't know about point two.


Some additional ideas I had about this:
  • First, as far as I am aware there is no comprehensive and complete crafting lists available. The DBs lack a lot of reverse engineered schematics due to the way they gather information. I have a max-level Armormech, and I can begin incrementally unlocking new schematics and adding them to the project. It will take a while though, especially with some of those items that start out at Prototype quality. It'll cost a small fortune, too, but in a game with a simulated economy that's not the greatest concern.
  • There is no complete visual catalog of customizable item styles. I know of one project that's started doing this, but the layout and interface is bad and the site ignores artifact-quality customizable gear. It ignores a lot of the random drop customizable items as well. We have the ability to present a visual guide in a much more easy-to-navigate manner here, and I think it's something we need to tackle. If we don't want to be accused of stepping on someone elses' toes we can invite the Admin of the existing site to join us here, though my initial attempts to contact that project's staff went ignored.
  • There are no documentation of this game's random loot tables. This isn't a big deal in most cases; players don't usually care where and at what level random items drop. However this also means the source of certain desirable items, such as rare modifications and color crystals, schematics, and customizable gear, remain in limbo. This is another void we can fill, and to be honest has been a pet project of mine for a week or two now: I'm in the process of trying to figure out how the loot tables are defined, how they are selected, and how items are generated from them. I was the one that asked the question on the topic in the recent Friday Q&A, and was thrilled to get such an in-depth answer. -- Heaven's Agent 13:37, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


That's a good point about the Legacy system. I just know it's one of the "hot items" right now. You are completely right about the crafting lists. I'm reaching the top level of Artifice so I can provide information there. What do you mean a visual catalog of customizable item styles? Can you provide a link or example? That can provide another draw to the site as many players are very interested in specific looks for their characters.
So for our point two focus, we want to concentrate on FP and Ops documentation and complete crafting lists with visual catalogs? --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 14:39, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like two good initial foci. What I envision for the visual catalog is essentially a structured image gallery, a compilation of images of all custom items as they appear in game, accompanied by a link to the item's article so that someone interested in acquiring it knows where to go. Ideally the images would be uniform in setting; maybe from the conversation cutscene of a repeatable mission. It could be further expanded into class-specific subpages, which include items that can only be worn by that particular class.
We'd need models for this. I have a max-level Trooper, but as a Twi'lek he's no a good choice for images due to the way the developers are managing lekku clipping. My current alt is a Bounty Hunter that I'll use for this purpose, but it will be some time before she's level-ready. What characters do you have at this point? -- Heaven's Agent 15:20, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm still lost on the visual catalog. Is it a complete model of a set of armor or is it individual icons like what you have in progress? My characters are a Jedi Knight at 41, with a couple low level alts, Trooper and Bounty Hunter. I do have a starter Smuggler that I could focus on after my JK.
Keep doing what you're doing in game, then. We have to play the game simply to enjoy it as well, after all. I'll see if I can get an example up later today. It would probably communicate the idea better. -- Heaven's Agent 15:54, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Alright, I have a quick and dirty example of what I'm thinking of as a visual guide in my sandbox. Take a look. -- Heaven's Agent
I see what you're talking about now. Wow. Do you have each of those pieces to take shots of? --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 11:02, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I've been collecting chest pieces for some time. I realized that I had no easy way to browse my collection, nor did I have room for all of it or any idea where I obtained half of them. I figured this visual catalog would help this issue, and if I'm having this issue others are likely having it as well. Similar but different issues, too.
My collection isn't even close to being complete though, and new chest pieces are added with every update. That's why I'm thinking the screens for this should be taken during the conversation of a repeatable mission. It will allow for the capture of uniform poses and backgrounds, meaning the only thing that changes from one image to the next is the equipped item(s). The lighting during conversation is better as well.
I'm thinking the best planet to take these images on is Alderaan. The atmospheric lighting is clean without being too harsh, as is the setting in general. Going to have to find a repeatable mission with three "shots," one full-body, one waist-up, and one closeup of the head. Two, actually, one for each faction. I think uniformity in this catalog is going to be key. -- Heaven's Agent 12:55, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
This will definitely take some time, but it'll be so nice once it's really populated. There's a couple repeatable missions I can think of right in the first two zones of Alderaan. I'm not sure on the Empire side, but it should be similar. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 13:42, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the Imperial side of things, either, but there should be something appropriate. For the Republic screens I'm thinking Into the Killik Warrens. It's a level 40 Heroic 2 in the Alderaan Bonus area. The background is fairly neutral, it boasts a good contrast of light and shading, and demonstrates all three key character shots.
I'll probably get to work on the Trooper catalog, despite the lekku clipping issues; Any screens are better than no screens, and they will still be high-quality images. We can replace them in the future if there's a need and someone with a non-Twi'lek Trooper steps forward to be the class supermodel. -- Heaven's Agent 16:25, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
After spending last night going from one Heroic mission to the next, I think I'm going to abandon Alderaan as the image location. The light there is neutral, but for some reason they make the shadows blue. It looks off, somehow. Instead I think Balmorra is the best bet. The light has a yellow, pre-sunset tinge to it, but it's not overwhelming and the shadows are color neutral. It seems to better showcase the armor items. I've identified a new Republic mission that seems appropriate for this, Local Predators. It's likely what I'll be using moving forward. -- Heaven's Agent 14:43, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Game mechanics[edit source]

We should make a list of the basic game mechanics that need to be completed (perhaps in another thread) and go through, one by one, each of us tackling a subject. We can mark them off once complete so we can make sure we have everything covered. I'm about halfway done with class abilities. My plan is to updated the articles with patch notes once I'm done so that there's a complete picture of abilites and how they've been changed. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C

That's a great idea, and I'm glad your working on class abilities; it's a subject area that holds little interest for me. I think my initial projects should likely be playable species articles and item modification. -- Heaven's Agent 13:39, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
I created a new thread with a starter list of content we are missing on the site. Please add any items you can think of. --Icon class jediknight.png Alianin T C 15:03, 26 June 2012 (UTC)