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Legacy:Tarquin/Mumblings

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Nothing on this page constitutes an opinion. Any resemblance with rational thought would be mere coincidence. They may also be out of date...

Epic hires[edit]

(12 feb 2005)

Ok, so is it me, or am I pretty well qualified for this job?

Epic Games has an immediate opening for a full-time manager of all technical support and documentation for the Unreal Engine. This full-time position requires a combination of technical, writing, organizational, and managerial skills. Tasks will include interfacing with engine licensees to determine documentation needs, surveying and maintaining our external documentation website (http://udn.epicgames.com), and working with programmers and content developers to create new documentation. Depending on workload, this position may also involve supervision and maintenance of other Epic websites, including http://www.epicgames.com and http://www.unreal.com .

Unfortunately, it's on the other side of the Atlantic, I'm busy with something else up to the end of the year, and I'm not sure I can or want to go live in the states. hmm....

Over the hill[edit]

(2 April 2003)

I think we're past it guys. I'm quite worried about it. I think we are now on part 13 of the MeatBall:WikiLifeCycle:

13: Wiki:WikiSuccessCanInhibitNewWriters -> stagnation of contribution

Our problems are:

  • too much damn MeatBall:ThreadMode
  • too much damn mess
  • too many pages say "to be updated for UT2003"
  • we have a bad lurkage-to-writing ratio
  • we have a LOUSY writing-to-tidying ratio
  • the "must-read" tutorials are on other sides – writers like Hourences and Rachel don't come here

All in all, I'm starting to think that this is it. I asked for help in cleaning the place up, and a few people said "yeah great" but not many people actually did something. I realised I dind't exactly give clear instructions and hoped people would make their own decisions. So I've made a clear list on UnrealWiki To Do. But that feels more like the action of a MeatBall:GodKing, which I don't want to be.

How is asking people to do something abusing your power as system administrator? That is the total antithesis of being a god king. – SunirShah

Wikis don't run themselves, guys. We badly need some MeatBall:BarnRaising, or we're going under.

Mychaeel: I would be more concerned if you wouldn't be writing something along those lines every six months or so (see entries below on this page).  :-)

Why some people still don't post their tutorials on the Wiki as their first choice is probably because they are only remotely acquainted with it; usually the people writing tutorials have much less inclination to visit a site like the Unreal Wiki to obtain information. It would be interesting though to directly ask Rachel, for example, why she chose to post her tutorials on a read-only site instead of the Wiki. The straightforward way to extract information usually works best.

Tarquin: You know me too well, Mych! time for another round of plastic surgery ;)

Mychaeel: Do write that email asking Rachel though. Would be interesting to read what she replies.

Tarquin: *points to Mych* you're the diplomatic one :) any thoughts on how to encourage more WikiGardening & less lurkage? I'm hoping Wiki tags will encourage people a bit ... what about a "Request for import" wikitag, eg on AssaultPath? what do you think?

EntropicLqd: With reference to the contributor to lurkage ratio - my thoughts on this are as follows.

  • How many websites allow you to actually change the content on a page? Almost none (the Wiki's are the only ones I know of). This coupled with people's natural ability to avoid reading information presented to them means that a fair number of people simply don't know they can contribute.
  • There's too much "repesct" on the Wiki for each other's contributions. If I write a piece on the Wiki and someone finds an error, the error will very rarely be fixed. Instead they'll put a thread in the page pointing to the error. This leads to the threadage problem we have. So much of IT is about IP that the very idea of being able to change whatever you want is an almost alien concept.
As an aside, why not release a "press release" asking for feedback on why people don't contribute? There was one guy on the Devastation forum who said that he'd not found the Wiki much use because the information on it assumed too much knowledge. I did ask him why he didn't become a contributor but he avoided the question. Given that the Devastation modding community (as tiny as it is) seems to be very new to the Unreal Engine there could be an opportunity to get a handle on the "basic info" we appear to be lacking. I'll probably make a post (or two) in the Dev. forums to give people a prod and see what gives.
EntropicLqd: I made the post and you can see it here: http://www.devastationgame.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1497. Don't know how useful it is particularly - but I'm not really sure what I was expecting.

GRAF!K: Yes, I agree, Tarquin. The wiki is in a bit of a fix. But perhaps the way we're approaching the problem is part of the problem: For example: If your home was half torn apart by a hurricane, would you replace each 2x4, pipe, etc. as necessary? or would a new house be in order? Perhaps we should rebuild the wiki (off a seperate link from the home).

Tarquin: If it's a nice house, yeah :) I'm feeling more positive about it now. The clean-up is going well :D even if only a relatively small number of people are helping.

Mychaeel: There was no hurricane in the Unreal Wiki – just a lot of people who didn't dot their "i"s and cross their "t"s for an extended length of time. If we started over with no change in our approach, the very same would happen.

  • It is not a good idea to create a page just to put a statement on it that it should be created with some real information.
  • It is not a good idea to put a hint "Refactor this!" on a page. Either do it yourself or leave it alone.
  • It is not a good idea to add a bit of information as a comment. Make sure that the information is correct, then add it in the document itself.

And, lastly, my pet peeve, additions that look like their author was in an incredible hurry – unable to start a sentence with a capital letter, unable to close it with a punctuation mark, and probably with one or two typos thrown in for good measure.

GRAF!K: Sorry Mych. You're right, I was in an incredible hurry - I wasn't on my own computer and was kicked off as I frantically attempted to finish my sentence. ;-)

That page was intended to be much longer once I got back online, and (in the event my suggestion became a reality) hold the new, reworked index.

As for the hurricane bit, when UT2003 released, IMO that was a considerable 'hurricane' that hit the wiki. Things were not seperated between UT and 2K3 as well as they could have been.

Question: Is it okay to refactor Developer Journals? Or are they considered more of a 'hideout'?

Tarquin: I'm really happy with some of the work done lately. The rewrite of Zoning & the refactoring of stuff into Map Optimization for example: they read like proper pages, with good explanations, links etc. UnrealScript Lessons is sharpening up too. I'm still a bit disappointed that so few people are helping out with the cleanup. I don't think the people who already are helping should do more – we need more people to do a little bit.

Who am I kidding?[edit]

(2 September 2002)

Arg! I've just realised why this whole endeavour will always in some way be running water uphill. Some time ago I read something about "how to post noob questions". I think it was linked to from one of the BuF forums. There was the usual:

  • phrase your questions clearly
  • give some indication that you've tried to solve the problem yourself – that you don't just want a free ride

And there was also a bit about why the knowledgeable hang out in forums answering questions in the first place – status. If you have knowledge, giving it to others is a form of benevolent power. However, once you've given it all away, you no longer have the power or the status. (this is a well-known factor in complex government bureaucracies. Take the scene in The 12 tasks of Asterix, for example.)

So you either need an influx of newbies who are in awe at your knowledge, or you need to ensure that you're always a step ahead.

What bugged me into starting the place was that after so many years of Unreal editing, with hundreds of people gaining working knowledge of the engine, finding information was still often a matter of:

  • hey, how do I do X?
  • er, try A.
  • no, that don't work
  • try B!
  • hey, this is a great tute.
  • that's the last version of UEd. Try this tute.
  • I followed the tute but it doesn't work. help!
  • well, send me the map and I'll try to fix it
  • thank you, u r a god!

You'd think that after x years, it would all have been said, somewhere. But why? That would mean that no-one would hold the keys to the information.

Having said that, there are a LOT of experts writing on this wiki: people who realise that knowledge is not the same thing as intelligence and talent. No matter how much of your knowledge you share, if you have talent and intelligence you still have the status, should you want it.

Kuhal: Why does one donate to a worthy charity? There is no reward other than the knowledge that you have done a good thing. Perhaps a smile or thankyou from the person/body you donated to. It's not (usually) as if donations directly save lives in the sense that an trauma room doctor saves lives.

Although I'm a newcomer, I've come to enjoy reading the recent updates (and especially topics like this) so if nothing else. it's a nice place to hang out. Better than 99% of forums because there's no boring flame tolerated.

I've started embedding links to topics in here as I've seen you and Mychael and others doing so I believe your efforts are not going to waste! You are pushing water uphill, only there is a hell of a lot more water now than before you started because through your efforts and the efforts of the contributors, people are coming up to speed faster than ever before. Less beginners are giving up early because of the wealth of experience expressed in pages like these... (Man I am in a rant mood today - lol)

Future of the Site[edit]

22 June 2002

This is probably just inspired by low blood sugar, but I'm having doubts about the future of the site. I was pondering whether to email Fordy to ask him if we can import his list of new engine features ( http://www.planetunreal.com/fordy/newutengine.htm ) to New Features In UT200X, so we can hit the ground running amd quickly cover new things once we get our hands on the new Ed...

But if UT2K3 ships with a full manual, the UDN is opened up to the general public AND there's a book published too, I'm wondering if we're still useful.

Hugh: I think that linking both way could be a good thing - the people who write the tutorials over there (myself included) have been using the tools for months, and for a while after UT2003 (for example) comes out, they will be the most mature tutorials around. So, at the beginning, it might be good for you to link over there. However, as time moves on, users may write tutorials over here that are much more in-depth than the UDN ones, as there are hundreds more people working on this kind of thing. At that stage, the situateion would reverse, and UDN may start linking over here.
Dma: You'll have a fit when you see the class tree.
Tarquin: Why's that?
Mychaeel: Not necessarily... but we'll definitely have to introduce namespaces or something like that, as discussed in the forum before. (UT2003:Bot, for instance, still exists as a class, but it's now a subclass of Actor >> Controller >> AI and has a very different meaning than the trusty old UT:Bot...)
Dma: For one thing... The location of Texture (UT) in UT2K3 (now a subclass of Material). Also... THEY HAVE DEPRECATED THE DECAL CLASS! IT IS HORRIBLE! HORRIBLE!!!!!!!! GIVE US BACK OUR POCKMARKS!
Dma: Oh wait. Decals seem to be replaced by something called "Projectors".
Hugh: I think I was about to say something about that... Projectors are really powerful. They do pretty much what their name says - think of having a slide projector floating in mid-air somewhere in your level, projecting a texture onto a wall/floor/whatever. One very nice use I've seen for a projector was to make a shadow of a tree on the ground.
Mychaeel: If there was any doubt to that, no more than three publications would ever be written on any subject.  :-p
Tarquin: any colour, as long as it's black. Good point though. I think I was starting to worry about the middleman syndrome; caught between the Official "all you'll ever need" sources and the "homegrown nature's way" homepages... I suppose the positive spin on that is that the Unreal Wiki is both open and homegrown AND a comprehensive resource.

On the other hand, those 3 resources aren't going to stop people from writing their own tutorials. Why? Well, the Wiki is a fairly complete resource, yet people are still writing tutorials elsewhere.

Sigh. It's Charybdis and Scylla. I'm off to eat chocolate.

EntropicLqd - There will always be people who won't want to buy the book (I bet it'll be at least the price of the game). I doubt the manual that ships with UT2K3 will be comprehensive enough to answer all the questions, and there will always be some people who want to go it alone with their tutorials. The single biggest advantage the Wiki has over all of them is that it changes, adapts, and grows on a daily basis. There is always new information on the Wiki to look at, and the random page feature is a blast. The only possible danger to the Wiki is if it is percieved as breaking copyright with information contained within the book. But then all tutorials would probably fall under that category.

T, stop whining. You're the leader. I've learnt that whining gets you nowhere because it tells people that things are really just that bad. Who wants to work on a project that is falling apart? You know, Wiki:FixBrokenWindows. If you stay positive, things will be positive. If you have a problem, follow through and do something about it. Don't forget you're the MeatBall:RoleModel. – MeatBall:SunirShah

Ouch. consider me slapped, Sunir. I should probably just delete this entire page. - T

Tarquin: SavannahLion has been asking me for advice on setting up a wiki for halflife. So I think this page should stay, if only to give other wikihosts an idea of the tribulations...

GRAF!K: How did you reset the list of edits to this page?

Tarquin: I didn't. USeMod cleans up old versions after a while

TwelveBaud: Just put a plea on the wiki home for people to research stuff and clickey on the quezzies. I see some UMenu stuff in the Actor Browser; I look on the wiki to see how to use it but it's marked with a qmark; I read the code and make a page. More importantly, when I find out how it all interrelates, I put all that on the wiki simply because my desktop isn't a safe place, and this is provided I'm right in what I post. Also, mess is good. WikiGnomes, not that they currently exist here but I think I could unearth Valdimarian and PyroAer for here, can test it and in good time clean up the mess.


This page is in Category:Legacy Rant... obviously. :D