Forum:Newbie Questions

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The First Question[edit]

Hi, my names Thomas Barclay (kaladorn on COTI and in the TML).

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Noted! Kaladorn (talk) 13:22, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

Laconic Bio: Started Deluxe Trav boxed set 1981, still gaming. GMed mostly, played some. Was a hardcore completist from the late 80s up until T20. Picked up MgT stuff. Still like MT rules though. Have run multiyear campaigns in CT/MT time frames and in ATUs. Once ran a 19 year D&D campaign. Software developer/analyst. Want to help support Trav tools that help all Trav players.

I wanted and want to do a wee bit of helping out with some small things - I started on a couple of polities filling out their member planets. I did so by grabbing an example which did not use the automatic population of the planet list, it used a bulleted list and, as the automation wasn't pulling the membership in these polities, I figured following the example that did show data made sense. (N00b mistake)

BackwoodsTraveller pointed out the {{ClusterWorlds2}}e should pull the list if the pages have the correct Category tagging. Except, in the cases in point I was muddling around, the automation couldn't because they weren't tagged and most of the worlds' pages were not yet defined.

Anyway, this brought up some questions and Tom Jones-Low kindly got me some starter links then told me to report here with questions and points of discussion.

So: 1. If MgT stuff is mostly off limits, but you have data in there that is (at least on attribution on a very sparse page) indicated to come from one of their sources, where's the boundary? I'm guessing from what I've seen now, UWPs may be fair game, and a wee bit of the text for some entries. Is that fair to say?

The some data published by Mongoose (e.g. the UWPs) was supplied and vetted by Marc Miller and FFE, and available via other sources (Traveller Map in particular). We have a license to use all of the material owned by FFE. Copyright describes the technical details. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

2. If I have found (as I have with Tech-World in The Borderland subsector) a case where text that seems like it came from the an MgT supplement mentions 4,000 people (and 1 million bots) but the UWP pop digit is a 1, and I confirm this (I have looked it up: MgT Aslan and Trojan reach UWPs have a 1 in the pop digit and Aslan talks about the 4,000 people so their stuff is broke - I posted on their forum to let them know), and check the MgT Errata (none found) ... if it is inconsistent (appears to be broken in Aslan & Trojan Reach), and MgT hasn't issued an errata yet, what's the policy? Leave it broken? If so, how would I call attention to that on the world page? Some sort of 'alert box'?

The fact that the text description of Tech-World doesn't match the UWP is, as noted, an item of errata for Mongoose to resolve. You have placed a note in the Talk page for the world which is the best starting place. Like librarians having precise page citations and quotes of the problems are requested. The problem has been if we fix the wiki, we get questions back about why doesn't the wiki match published source X. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)
I can see that point. Here is there weak (IMO) response: I find it weak because the particulars (the magic port they built) was not a 'sudden invasion' scenario. It was a planned activity. This sort of excuse making I can see from a business perspective (no fussing about UWP discrepancies then... it's a feature!), but I think it is lazy. Anyway, they don't plan to fix it. Is there not a box that can appear on the main page simply to draw the reader's attention (without having to go to talk) to the discrepancy? That shows the Wiki folks are aware of it and it isn't a new discovery by the reader. In most wikis, the discussion pages only get seen by the people contributing, not the broader base of readers. Kaladorn (talk) 13:22, 28 August 2020 (EDT)
Within the wiki there are currently three ways of handling this. First is how we've done, which is to make a note on the talk page. This works under the assumption that people who are going to want to take action on this will read the comments there. Second is to use the Template:meta, adding the template at the bottom of the article (just above the Sources template), and add the details to the meta page. This adds a visual indicator to the article with directions to the update. Third, since the articles are supposed to an in-universe perspective, adding a note to the effect why the UWP (from the last official system survey) is incorrect could be done. Tjoneslo (talk) 18:40, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

3. Your style guide is useful, but, in reading it, I found it reminds me of the stuff that people who understand a thing well write (the nuts and bolts) with very little higher level linking text. Would you be open to either adding to the style guide or providing a related page to show 'best practice implementation examples' or 'how all these components can and should be used on a page'?

I would love to have a style guide. Traveller:Style Guide looks to be a good place to start. There is no page there currently, so anything you would like to add to make this a better article would be wonderful. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT) seems to have what I was referring to. Kaladorn (talk) 13:22, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

4. Also there are examples, but they totally resemble the output of code snippets vs. the *places you should be using those snippets* or any sort of fulsome examples (like say build an example of each sort of template as a fully populated dummy with all cases embodied) so that there is a tangible best case example. Would that not make some sense? I say because having stepped on a mine (pulled a bad representative example by random choice) and I think a single well done repository of fully fleshed examples could be a great guide to anyone new (plus a reminder to anyone who has been away from things for a bit).

5. I was looking particularly for an exemplar of the page for a polity which describes the polity and the planets in it. I see them show up linked into individual planet pages, but I did not see an example in the Style Guide of what bits go into one of those pages. (and again, pulling from another random page might not be representing the latest thinking/standards). Should there be a template?

Manual of Style/polity has an example of a page layout for a government. Manual_of_Style#Suggested_organizational_layouts as a list of page layout templates by type. If you can review these as part of the Style Guide and examples it would be great. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

6. Nothing I ran into explained how the automation used {{ClusterWorlds2}}e to pull in list contents based on a Category tag. Where is that? Shouldn't that be in the style guide or an accompanying obvious place? "What things are automated and where you want to use them, Billy!"

One of the broader issues is understanding that terms wrapped in double braces are templates, and they are pages in the Template namespace. Template:ClusterWorlds2 is the original page for the template, and contains directions for working with and a brief explanation of why it is used.
The Template List also has a collection of templates and suggested uses. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

7. I see there is support for Eras. Traveller Map right now doesn't support GT (could, but Josh said no big drive to make it happen from anyone) and I think T20 also not supported (though I don't know enough to even know how divergent it was... I bought the rules, but Trav and D20 never sat right with me...). I think Thomas Jones-Low is a GT afficionado. Would it make sense to try to compile GT data and get it into the map, and then into the Wiki, or is the UWPs/Systems not work with the particulars of the GURPS Traveller limits? (I did a quick look, but not clear to me yet)

There are a few templates, eg. Template:GURPS Worlds paragraph to support the GT world information. The Eras in the wiki are for the content of the, and not so much for the technical details. The challenge here is we do try to separate Milieu as a era of time within the Traveller Universe from the Versions of Traveller. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

8. The explanation of the userbox in the style guide is kind of flippant but not very illustrative. Was this just an 'in case' expansion option? It doesn't look like anything was ever added to the list of userboxes though it seems like one might want them. (Again, kind of related to not having higher level guidance on how to glue the bits together on various page types which might hint where userboxes could be used usefully).

The section was put together and then never reviewed. If you would like to fix that, it would be great. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

9. If I edit a page, is there any queue for review or how does that work? Or does it just stay as it edited until someone is concerned and they examine the list of edits?

There is no queue for review. I look through Special:RecentChanges just to check that nothing terrible has happened to articles. But the general rule is you, and all contributers, are trusted to make good and constructive edits to the articles. For general items we map post suggestions to your Talk Page, please take them in the spirit which they are offered; as improvements. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

10. What's your definition of a minor vs. major edit?

The definition varies with user. Spelling mistakes, grammar fixes, any change of a few characters or less are the general rules. If I remember to check the box. Tjoneslo (talk) 08:30, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

11. I went to the page for the Sword_Worlds_Confederation and then Anduril_(world). I figured they'd be a good idea of what BackworldTraveller suggested (putting a Category entry in planets in the Langemarck polity so ClusterWorlds2 would pick them up automatically), but I could not find in Anduril where the Category was declared. In fact, I became more confused because when I toggle on the edit tab I get part of the page, then when I look at other places edit is a link on the page, I get more, but there seem to be parts of the page (like the first section) that I can't even figure out how to edit so I haven't been able to figure out where in a planet's page to put the Category entry. I also wanted to see how the box at the bottom pulled in the list of planets but I couldn't find (or didn't recognize) the code that pulled in that box. There were a ton of templates used in the page (from what I saw at the bottom of the edit for the whole page). Am I missing something very obvious here? Kaladorn (talk) 04:02, 30 August 2020 (EDT)

According to the Article Organization page, the categories go at the bottom of the page, under the Sources template ({{Sources}}), but above the Library tag ({{LE}} or {{LEN}} ). What may be confusing about Anduril is there are no existing category links in the correct position. Tjoneslo (talk) 07:03, 30 August 2020 (EDT)
I see the Sword_Worlds_Confederation shows up in a box at the to bottom of the Anduril_(world) page. And the Sword_Worlds_Confederation shows a box with all the Sword World planets. Part of what is causing me duress is: a) I can find no way on any of the edit links on the world page to edit/see where the box at the bottom of the page got there and where Sword_World_Confederation got into that box and similarly on the confederation page, I see the {{ClusterWorlds2}} template invoked in the section about Astrography where all the planets should appear, but I don't know where the box with the listing came from (something inside ClusterWorlds2 automation somewhere?). If I could figure out where/how to include the bottom box I'm supposed to add and how to get the name of the polity into the world page, that would help.
That is driven by the Allegiance Code (as far as I can deduce) inside the Template:StellarDataQuery. Tjoneslo can confirm? BackworldTraveller (talk) 18:23, 30 August 2020 (EDT)
The documentation about the Template:ClusterWorlds2 is in the page of the template. The ClusterWorlds2 template uses a wiki extension called [Dynamic Page List] (DPL). This extension allows running a database query against the articles in the wiki, including their categories, text in the article, titles, and other items, and formats the output in a wide variety of ways. The DPL functionality is used extensively in the wiki to automate a number of items.
The Template:ClusterWorlds2 takes as default the name of the page in which it is included (in our example Sword Worlds Confederation) add a " worlds" to the end, queries for that category ( in this case Category: Swords Worlds Confederation worlds), and creates a nicely formatted list of worlds. All you, the contributor, needs to do is to make sure the world articles have the correct category, and the system updates the list automatically. Note: There are several caches in the system to improve performance, so the list isn't always updated instantly. If you add a category to a page and want to see the template update, you may need to use the "Purge Cache" function hidden under the "More" option in the menu at the top of the page. Tjoneslo (talk) 18:38, 30 August 2020 (EDT)
Thanks. I begin to see the structure that is behind the magic (and the relationship to article names), by wading through what you've suggested. I'll do some reading about the DPL extension as well. 00:12, 2 September 2020 (EDT)
Follow up: Solomani_Confederation - the box for the planets in the polity has an enabled link, but when I click on it the page reloads with the same 200 planets. That matches your comment about limits. Is there a plan to be able to support larger lists like the Confederation planets? Or the 11,000 systems of the Imperium? The best idea I've got is the box, once the count exceeds 200, should be one listing the sectors that have holdings for the polity and that would in turn take you to a list of subsectors, then you could safely pull the territories owned by a polity in any sector as that maxes at 80 entries. A sector would max at 1280 and that's still too big for one box. You may already have a better idea in mind? Kaladorn (talk) 01:38, 2 September 2020 (EDT)
That's a bug in the template and DPL. I've encountered this before, but I'll have to check my notes to see if there is a work-around for the problem. I've looked at doing the nested list for the worlds list, and found it was more complicated than expected. I'll take another look, as it is a good idea. Tjoneslo (talk) 07:34, 2 September 2020 (EDT)

12. NEW: If I want to have a page (or series of linked pages) to experiment with (that can later be deleted) - to try some of what you've shown me, where/what name would be appropriate so that it isn't in the way? I like to confirm what I think I know by trying to make something work (then I know I've got it). 00:12, 2 September 2020 (EDT)

The general recommendation from Wikipedia and other Wikis is to create a Sandbox page as a sub-page of your user page. e.g. User:Kaladorn/sandbox. You can create as many sub-pages under your user page as you would like without anyone complaining. I have more than a dozen for doing experiments. Tjoneslo (talk) 07:34, 2 September 2020 (EDT)

That's it for now. :)

Thanks for inviting folk in. I hope I can gradually work on small things to fill in bits here and there.

Kaladorn (talk) 13:22, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

How many answers?[edit]

Regarding question 9[edit]

No. There is no formal review. But there are a bunch of people who watch changes and start a discussion if they don't think it fits for some reason. On top of which anyone can edit almost anything so your carefully crafted work can get undone/reworked/replaced at any time!

Regarding question 10[edit]

Personally I mark it as minor if its spelling fixes, fixing links. Anything else isn't.

Regarding question 7[edit]

This is one of the areas of contention. "How do you represent eras". Just a timeline doesn't work because 1140 in GT and 1140 in TNE are so very different. There isn't (as far as I have found) a consensus. On the other hand the histories of some things don't all appear in a "History" section e.g. Planetary Demographics; Planetary Atmospheres, etc.

Regarding Documentation notes[edit]

You are correct. Documentation is not all it could be. You aren't the first to mention this. Any contributions you can make would be appreciated. Part of the problem is finding "Good" examples. What is "Perfect" doesn't always remain so. The world may change (e.g. new publications), the page may change (more edits), the templates may change (they aren't static either).

BackworldTraveller (talk) 03:31, 28 August 2020 (EDT)

I agree that that what is 'best practice' may change. That's why having a single common reference point for finding out what the current 'best practice' for any given template (and an example) would be a good thing I think. Anytime an evolution happens in designing a given page to meet a newly identified scenario, one would normally then reflect that back (in an ideal world) into the common reference document/examples. Kaladorn (talk) 13:22, 28 August 2020 (EDT)