It seems like I'm playing the bad guy
this month. Sub-par mass-noding projects are meeting their doom
at my fingertips.
As many of you know, I was the one that "pushed the button" on what was left of the Pokedex project. I brought it up during an editorial discussion and was told by a god that it had been slated to be wiped for some time, but just hadn't been done, so to go ahead and do it. So I did. There was a misunderstanding in the process. I thought all the nodes were to die, so I killed them all. There were some nodes, though, that weren't just copy/paste from the cards or the official Pokedex, and there were some hurt feelings those were nuked. They have been restored or are in the process of being restored, however. It then became clear to me that the policy was on mass-noded, information-light projects and/or copy/paste write-ups. Write-ups belonging to projects like that should be evaluated on an individual basis, not JUST because they were part of a project.
Some worries were raised by users that "all" mass projects were in danger, for example the everything hymnal or Project Gutenberg entries. I did all I could to put those fears to rest. The general thought among the majority, if not all, of the administrative body, is that projects with lasting power will stay. Dictionaries (useful, complete ones at least), literature, free-use books, hymn projects, things that can prove their staying power. And generally, things that are FINISHED when they are noded.
Projects like Magic cards and the pokedex are being removed because they are so, so temporary. Most of those nodes were less than 2 years old but horribly outdated by the time they were nuked. The projects themselves had failed to update and account for new additions to their universes and changes of rules in the game.
Scope is also an issue. Literature is generally wide-spread in a far different sense than, say, game rules. Among a fairly educated crowd, you mention Tolkien or C.S. Lewis or Beowulf or the Arthurian legends or Alice in Wonderland, and your audience has some idea what you're talking about, even if they've never picked up the book. If you want to know more, you can go to those nodes and get a general overview of the thing easily.
Things like gaming projects, though, are mostly relative to an internal audience. If you play the game, it's important to you and you understand the nodes--and you already know it, generally. If you don't play the game, they make almost no sense whatsoever. The scope is very narrow. The initiated can find what they need to reference--but they can find it elsewhere, and they can find it a lot better done. The Pokedex on the pokemon site is of much higher quality because it includes IMAGES and interactive text. Magic sites include scans of the cards and the cards related to them. Plain text fails to convey what it needs to. These projects are simply better off left elsewhere.
This brings me to what will most likely leave some with a poor taste in their mouths and make others happy. The Galactic Civilizations noding project. I have spent much time lately discussing it both on e2 and off of e2 with noders I am personally close to. I asked the general editor/god body about it on more than one occasion. I inquired as to what the official policy was, and never really received an answer, and it was really a fairly touchy issue. No one wanted to make the final call on it, and that pretty much tried my patience.
Having waited long enough and never been given an official answer, I took that to mean there was no policy on the issue and that it was a matter of editorial choice. I am now making that choice and am removing them from the database.
I was at first led to believe this project was different from Magic because it was a small project and once it was finished, it was done forever. However, from one of Kalons own nodes comes this line "There are 149 of them, and new ones in the BonusPak and being released all the time." This sounds exactly like the kind of problem the other nodes fell into. Most of the text is straight from stats easily available elsewhere. The flow charts--innovative--are available elsewhere. The "summary" text is unique, but is getting less descriptive and less informative as the project goes along, instead of improving as one would imagine. “Description: Got Evil? Get this. Your production will thank you, as will the Trade Good, that you should hoard for yourself. But hey, you're evil, you don't need me to tell you that ;-)” tells me very little about the concept of advanced slavery.
This does the job much better, with images and interactivity, and a simple web search brings it among the top hits. Any player of the game can find it there. Let's keep it there from now on because it's not staying here any longer.
While I do feel for Kalon's loss of work, as is evident by conversations he's pasted into nodes and discussions others have relayed to me, he was warned from the start that this one day might happen. He chose to keep noding them anyways, instead of waiting for an official decision before continuing. This was his decision, and he stuck by it. Now I'm sticking by mine. I did identify myself to him via /msg as the bad guy, and I have been discussing the issue with him.
I notified the other editors and gods of my intent, because this was controversial and had been discussed, and I received no complaints about doing so.
Do keep this in mind if you feel the urge to node mass “pop culture” projects. General policy is that this sort of thing is frowned upon and will eventually be removed from the database. It’s also my personal policy that I really dislike this sort of thing when it’s badly done. If you do choose to do this sort of thing, read through Secret Projects in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri first. These are damn good nodes and shining examples of how this sort of project SHOULD be done if they are done at all. ALso note that these are the ONLY remaining nodes from the Alpha Centauri project. The others were nuked some time ago for the same reasons as the rest of this kind of stuff. Just a thought.