Battlestar Wiki talk:State of the Wiki II

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide

Ah, What Fresh Hell is This?

OK, after much gnashing of my teeth, I tried to be fair in making an update to my iniitally arbitrary review of our wiki to others. But now I think this page pretty much violates every single S&C and POV rule we have. Since I spent a lot of time to try to get some levelness to the playing field, I protected it while the other contributors and admins do the following:

  1. Determine the proper name and namespace for the article.
  2. Correct any bad math or just plain bad calculations to add/remove bias.
  3. Reformat the article so it looks remotely readable.

Please create a new subtopic for each area that you find a problem with. Other admins can tear up, adjust, fold, spindle and mutilate the article based on all contributor comment (after unprotecting it) to aid in this. I will leave it alone from here but add my 2 cents here as required. I've done enough damage as it is. --Spencerian 22:12, 14 August 2006 (CDT)

Comparison to other Wikis

Comparing BattlestarWiki with Memory Alpha, Wookipedia, and the Great Machine:

The Great Machine is a joke. Someone could have simply transfered the Lurker's Guide into Wiki format but it's not; major character articles are little more than stubs.

WookiePedia: I do not know why you think it's bad that they have non-canonical Expanded Universe content; the Expanded Universe of Star Wars is a special case; besides they label what's EU and so forth. Incredibly detailed, in all aspects.

Memory Alpha: My mantra is "When in doubt, do what Memory Alpha would do" Memory Alpha's character bios, cast and guest pages, as well as alien race, planet, technobabble pages are excellent...however many episode guide pages themselves remain little more than stubs....I don't blame them, there's over 700 episodes.

I actually think we run BattlestarWiki better than or equal to any of these, in terms of quality, but admittedly we don't have as much material as they do, what with only 2 seasons so far...--The Merovingian (C - E) 00:37, 15 August 2006 (CDT)

That was the goal of this second comparison. The results bear out your opinion: given the balance of quality and quantity, this wiki stands out. However, whether my methods in determining this is merely out of whack or REALLY out of whack is the problem, which is why I ask for some commentary to correct. If we should compare other wikis other than what I've listed, I'll be happy to amend this. As far as the "extended universe" stuff: Each SF universe handles this differently, as does each wiki. Memory Alpha realizes (I believe) that the vast amount of literature and its ensuing contradictions require it to limit what is canon, thus, like BS Wiki, it mentions novels and the like, but doesn't enter it canonically, usually noting it under the subheading, "Apocrypha." We mark anything here with "separate continuity." Babylon 5 novel content is considered canon, and Star Wars, well, I know its generally canonical as LFL watches for certain points and limits what events, locales and characters can be handled. To draw a line in the sand, I had to restrict items to make a good comparison of quality and quantity. Even with the arbitrary penalties I gave Wookiepedia, it still shone well. If there is a way to make EU/noncanonical benefits work that don't affect quality and authenticity of a site in terms of this comparison, I'm all ears. --Spencerian 11:45, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
Perhaps some comparisons can be made to the Lostpedia? Its of a similar size to the BSwiki just with like a 20 times more page views lol. And while not strictly a sci-fi wiki, it is based on a tv series... --Mercifull (Talk/Contribs) 04:56, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
I really miss the Lurker's Guide, it was such a great source of Babylon 5 info. Noneofyourbusiness 09:51, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
Lurker's Guide It appears to still be up. I didn't know about it while B5 was still airing new episodes, but I used it extensively when I watched reruns and the DVD's. Good content, and no missing episodes. --Steelviper 10:08, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
I hear people mention the lurkers guide quite a lot, why hasnt it just been converted to wiki format instead of making anew like the great machine? Also another wiki for comparison is the Stargate Wiki. Lots of content but very unorganised imo. I like the episode transcripts though... Is that something that we are allowed to do? --Mercifull (Talk/Contribs) 10:10, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
I think maybe I'm thinking of a different Lurker's Guide. One that went offline. I remember it had a Xenobiology section. But this is good too. Noneofyourbusiness 10:12, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
for discussions about transcript hosting here. --Steelviper 10:15, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
Noneofyourbusiness might be referring to The B5 Tech manual, which had an xenobiology section. I don't know how canonical it is to the series, though... -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 14:57, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
No, the one I'm talking about is closed. Gone. I think it was called something similar to the Lurker's Guide. Some sort of guide. Noneofyourbusiness 12:36, 16 August 2006 (CDT)

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

While I agree with the qualitative comparisons you have made, I feel the use of numbers beyond the gathering of statistics like article count is obscuring and not elucidating your points. In particular, I don't think you can set up a reasonable numeric scoring system without a more abstract foundation, if then.

I think the setting of article numbers per season is notably arbitrary; different styles of writing would lead to different expectations in a nontrivial way. I had an elaborate justification for this typed up, but it boils down the idea that a flat number per season assumes too much.

While this kind of comparative analysis has great merit in my opinion, I cannot in good faith say the same of attempting to quantify it. --CalculatinAvatar(C-T) 15:44, 15 August 2006 (CDT)

600 articles for Galactica 1980 will never happen. The TOS category has 369 articles, while 1980 has 36. I could see 1980 having 50-100 pretty reasonably as a long term goal, but I don't think 600 is attainable. Even TOS is unlikely to achieve such a number, though getting into the low mid four hundreds might be reasonable. Unlike 1980, though, I think a great majority of the important TOS articles have been created (even down to a lot of the minor characters).
I am glad we're looking at the numbers for this, though, and we should consider the TOS and 1980 content in our assessments. They are just as much a part of our site as the RDM stuff (though likely less visited), and should be held to the same standards. --Steelviper 15:52, 15 August 2006 (CDT)
Right. Quantification is important in this for any real attempt of objective analysis, thus its use. I know its flawed for the reasons you noted. The number is arbitrary; I figured that geeks like us may find or glean technology, mentioned-only characters, events, objects, and the like that populate a season's worth. Just because there aren't an average of 600 articles per season doesn't mean we haven't fully scoured everything there is to know, and since 1980 spent more time on Earth than amidst spaceships, yes, they'll be less to see there. I appreciate CA's point: if we used our wiki to refine the "average" entries for a season to something less arbitrary than my ballpark, it may help, too. Mind you, sagas like Star Wars lend themselves to excessive detail versus character-driven shows like BSG and (at least in the past) Star Trek, so YMMV. --Spencerian 11:15, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
I think I was insufficiently clear... my primary objection is to numeric scoring of wikis. I think the article counts can be made into good targets with some refinement, but I think the scoring system should be scrapped. --CalculatinAvatar(C-T) 21:29, 16 August 2006 (CDT)


I was expecting to see an article about the state of the wiki and instead found an exhaustive article comparing this wiki to others. This isn't a competition. If you want to talk about the state of the wiki you should be focusing on its individual strengths and weaknesses. What others do is pretty much irrelevant. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • The site is very good in its organization and technology. Most small wikis have a problem with the community portal type pages but this one is excellent in that regard.
  • One problem I see is that some of the articles aren't very NPOV. The entire "possible cylons" article is opinionated and seems like a flame war waiting to happen.
  • Also it's difficult to find episodes from the main page. For RDM you have to click that, then scroll down and find episode guide... it's quite difficult if you haven't visited the site before. --Mateo 12:37, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
Sorry for the name confusion. That may have been my fault (due to an entry I left on Spence's talk). However, you did spark an idea. What about a "Strategic Planning" project? We would try to objectively assess/quantify areas of deficiency and attempt to identify solutions/projects that could help address them. While this sounds somewhat like the "Think Tank" (and it is) it is more directed in focus to coming up with a list of "What's broken/what should we focus on." For example, looking at how there are only 30 some 1980 articles, and aiming to get articles created for at least the major recurring characters for that series. Maybe even prioritize (sort by priority) the existing projects so that people would know where the areas of greatest need are at a glance. As those needs are filled the priorities would be updated. Don't mind me... I'm just brainstorming. --Steelviper 12:45, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
Well thoughts on that are that yes, we are NPOV, we also have Analysis sections. No, the Cylon agent speculation page, rather than "a flamewar waiting to happen", is supported only be evidence and logically progessing analysis. Nextly, I openly wash my hands of anything relating to the Original Series or the 1980 series. I'm a fan of the Re-Imagines series. As I've said before, our only real problems here are in working out cast and crew stuff (which Joe has already proposed in the Think Tank) and the podcast transcripts. --The Merovingian (C - E) 14:27, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
Ah, those blasted podcast transcripts. If not for Misco I would have lost hope. --Steelviper 14:31, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
A few points: By their very nature, speculation pages are going to be POV. Yes, we try to limit the POV as much as possible, but it's there. Same thing with the analysis sections of the episode guides. As for the portals, I'm sure Shane could move the episode guide and pertinent sub-page icons up to the top-most area of the portal in question, since you do make a great point. (I personally don't use the portals, as I'm more of an "recent changes" kind of guy.)
I do agree, though, that we shouldn't really be hell-bent on comparing ourselves to other wikis. However, I believe that healthy comparisons to how other wikis do things would only help us out in the long run, with the reason being that there may be something another wiki does that would help us improve with something here. Take for instance the portals and the main page redesign, they were inspired by Wikipedia. Same with our battle pages. So, really, whatever other wikis do isn't exactly irrelevant to what we are striving for at Battlestar Wiki. -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 15:01, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
Yeah, I agree. When I first wrote that little opinion, I just wanted to see where we stood. Based on comments here, it seems that the nature of the first comparison has served its purpose and we really don't need to compare ourselves, I guess. --Spencerian 19:30, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
A) I too, am a "recent changes" kind of guy, B) I really think the point in comparing ourselves to other wikis, is that we ourselves were for a long time a "young" wiki, as it were; I mean I remember when like 5-6 regulars were piecing this together (myself, Joe, Peter, Spencerian, et al.) in Season 1, but I really think we've filled out a lot of stuff. The three things we need to fix are Original Series stuff (which I am not even going to try to do, as I don't like it and others known more than me and can do a better job anyway), the podcast transcripts (which I've pretty much stopped doing, because I stink at it: it takes me 3 times as long to do a teaser as other people reported it took them to do other ones. I might verify a few, but I just don't have the coordination to keep that up), and the cast and crew articles (a major update I intended to round out over time, as an ongoing task). But I agree that *NOW* we don't need to compare ourselves to other wikis anymore, because I think on the whole we're just as well set up as any other at this point. As for POV Analysis: I think we've done a good job of limiting it to a minimum, i.e. my sweeping edits to the Season 1 episode guide turning them from "reviews" into "Analysis", which I think really fixed things up (they'd been bugging me for months, but I never got around to it). I guess we should try to put more episode links on front, although we already list "most recently aired episode" and I think when the show is actually running new episodes that will be a major conduit. --The Merovingian (C - E) 16:40, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
My point in talking about NPOV was not to criticize there being POV pages, but that those pages a support a particular POV. The Analysis section on episode pages is fine, because anyone can add their POV (as long as it has basis in reality) to that section.
But, just using the cylon speculation page as an example that page by it's very nature can not support all points of view. It is a ranking of "most likely" to "least likely" cylons based on POV criteria. I think some of this can be fixed by rearranging the page, but it's a problem here and one that should be dealt with before it gets out of hand and this becomes a place dominated by elite-driven groupthink.
Going back to comparing to other wikis, Lostpedia is a good example of a wiki that, by the very nature of the show, must have speculation on it, but does so without being a wiki for a particular popular theory. --Mateo 17:27, 16 August 2006 (CDT)

Mateo, this is not a place driven by "elite groupthink"; if you'd like to voice your own counterpoint, I encourage you to make your own contributions on the matter. As we already said, a page dealing with "Analysis" is going to be a little POV; over the months, we have done an exemplary job of weeding out Analysis which verged on total POV. Yes, the Cylon agent speculation page can very well "support all points of view". Please add your own counterpoint contributions if you want. --The Merovingian (C - E) 18:29, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
How can it possibly support all points of view when the page ranks the likely cylons based on POV criteria. If a person disagrees with one or more of the criteria, then the ranking would be different for them. The very nature of the set up of a ranking system requires that one POV be supported over others. --Mateo 21:34, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
NPOV does not mean all points of view are equal. They aren't, for very many POV's are stupid. No page here should support, say, the idea that the re-imagined series is a documentary smuggled out of US government quarantine zones into which the fleet's survivors were placed when Galactica reached Earth in 1980; this point of view is patently moronic.
Regarding ranking systems requiring a non-neutral POV, one counterexample is a footrace; only one ranking system does not support a blatantly dumb POV. That ranking system supports a POV, yes, but it is the neutral point of view by the lack of validity of all others.
Yes, that requires making a value judgement, but the idea of not making any is ridiculous; valuing canon more than non-canon is such a judgement and is vital to the wiki's basic premise. --CalculatinAvatar(C-T) 22:12, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
Like the Re-imagined Series itself, we have faith in the intelligence of all contributors, that they can write stuff that isn't ridiculous but insightful :) --The Merovingian (C - E) 22:19, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
You are using extreme examples. Let's look at the actual article itself instead. The first qualifier is "The suspect must have a regular association with other Cylon agents". That's a POV, one that I happen to disagree with. There is nothing inherent in cylon agents that requires that they have contact with others (indeed, Boomer had no contact with other cylons, let alone regular contact. This qualification would eliminate a cylon we knew existed by the end of the miniseries for crying out loud).
Hey, there's nothing wrong with having this point of view that cylon agents should have regular contact with other cylon agents. But to say that it is a "superior POV to other POVs" is blatantly false. It's a POV plain and simple. To ignore these types of things creates the exact kind of problem I warned about earlier. --Mateo 22:44, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
Rather than decrying this as some inherent flaw of BattlestarWiki, you could bring this up on the Cylon agent speculation Discussion page. I think there was actually debate on their as to what factors to or to not include in factoring that in. Rather than some sort of grievous flaw, if you wish you could bring that up on that page's Talk section if you want. Actually, the "regular association" thing was more of a footnote, as it really had no impact whatsoever on the standings of suspected Cylons (if it were to be removed, nothing else would actually be affected). --The Merovingian (C - E) 23:21, 16 August 2006 (CDT)
A footnote? It's the first item on the list of qualifications! Bringing it up on the talk page won't help any. It's all speculation and POV. Unless RDM says on his blog that all cylons chew bubble gum, then that's nothing but POV. You said that these things were "debated" on the talk page (I wasn't aware that this was a message board where people debate their opinions on the show, I thought we dealt with facts. There are no facts as to who can be a cylon), but that only confirms my worry about this place becoming a groupthink project. You can't vote for POV inclusion. It ceases to be a wiki and becomes one side's opinion.
The best way to recover that page, as far as I can tell, is to completely remove the qualifications and ranking. Instead, including reasoning for each entry (basically as it exists now). That would allow for all people to include their own POVs without the article supporting one over another. --Mateo 23:29, 16 August 2006 (CDT)

As you haven't contributed much to BattlestarWiki and might not know how this goes down, go to "Talk:Cylon agent speculation" and "edit" in discussion you want to make with other contributors; it's not a messageboard but it's how we talk about stuff. I'll actually start this one off to help out as you seem confused. It's actually *irrelevant* that it just happens to be the "first" qualification we put in there; the order doesn't mean anything. ----->No, and I am adamant about this, it is not "all speculation"; they are all grounded in on-screen evidence, Analyzed for comparison. You seem to be really concerned with the distinction between Analysis and speculation with regard to POV, but I assure you we've spent months weeding out rampant POV stuff, and the pages we have are actually quite respectable. By that logic we might as well remove our Timeline analysis...speculation?...or any other of our Analysis pages which are based on facts on screen that we then tried to figure out.

"Groupthink project" is a buzz word you are using. I am trying to be respectful of your position, but you've just demanded that assuredly, the pages are wrong and must be changed. If you disagree, please go to the Talk page and bring up stuff, but I must say this is honestly the first complaint about this we've ever had, as we set up our Analysis pretty well.

Rest assured, the Analysis pages we have are of excellent quality and do not violate NPOV. Please go to the Talk page of Cylon agent speculation, linked above, if you would like to debate your views there. --The Merovingian (C - E) 23:40, 16 August 2006 (CDT)


Is this page really silly? I wouldn't go so far as to call for its deletion (as it is relevant), but we ought to figure out how to categorize this so that it can be found (so that it can spark further discussion, ideas, changes, etc.) without calling it silly. --Steelviper 13:48, 21 February 2007 (CST)

I agree, not really silly. --Mercifull (Talk/Contribs) 13:52, 21 February 2007 (CST)
It's still some of the worst stuff I tried to write here (intentions aside). I didn't mark it as silly, which I should consider as an insult. :) --Spencerian 15:04, 21 February 2007 (CST)
I removed the silly template. We'll have to find some other way to categorize it. Unless, Spencerian, you'd be interested in superseding it part III. Correct whatever defects/flaws you found in your previous analysis. Myself, I've begun to question some of the thoroughness of MA while catching up with Voyager via syndication, as there are episode guides for Voyager (and DS9) that aren't complete. That just blew my mind. That being said, we really shouldn't be focusing our energy on praising (or deriding) other sites, but rather in identifying our own weaknesses and strengths so we can better exploit the latter and improve the former. --Steelviper 15:28, 21 February 2007 (CST)
Agreed, Steelviper. Well-wrought comparisons though, Spencerian. "State of the Wiki" isn't really the best name for this. Call it "Wiki Comparisons" or something like that, maybe? I'm also going to add an essay tag (as that's basically what this is) JubalHarshaw 13:30, 12 May 2007 (CDT)