I figured I might as well use the blog functionality to actually write a blog for once ;) The start of a new year seems like a good point to look back and to look into the future at the same time. Consider the following my personal thoughts on the state of the wiki. Feedback most certainly welcome!
What we have improved
When you've been here for a while, it's easy to forget what we've already accomplished. At least to me, it occasionally seems like working on the wiki is a neverending stream of necessary improvements. So I guess a collective pat on the shoulder can't hurt ;)
The Vault has come quite a long way in the past year. Aside from doubling our article count, we've made tons of improvements. Just to mention a few: Infoboxes were added to most articles, guidelines were introduced to make the presentation of content more streamlined, projects were started to put those guidelines into practice. We've added portals for all major games we cover in order to make the content easier to find and, thanks to Wikia's introduction of the blog functionality and Ausir's persistence, we've become one of the better sources for up-to-date Fallout news.
I guess few people would dispute that The Vault is the best Fallout wiki on the net; those who do will have to live with my bias :)
What we need to improve
All this does not mean there's nothing left to do though. Quite a few projects are still unfinished, and a lot of the new policies and guidelines still need to be put into practice.
In my opinion, there are two major issues we need tackle:
- Adapting our articles to the new layout guidelines to improve the quality of the existing content.
- Find better ways to deal with multi-game content.
While the first is fairly self-explanatory, the second point might need some elaboration.
In my opinion, being a wiki which covers all Fallout games is both our biggest strength and our biggest challenge. It is a strength insofar as that we can offer a wealth of background information and interesting tidbits from all games and that the wiki can serve as a central point of reference no matter what Fallout game a reader plays. But it is also a challenge; in comparison to wikis which only deal with one specific game we have to deal with an increased demand for good structure and navigation.
Quite a bit of work has already been poured into the navigation side of things. You know, all the work on linked infobox headers, portals and overview pages wasn't just done for the hell of it :) Its purpose was to make it easier for a reader to find content for the game he or she is looking for. I think this has gone pretty well, and on that front we're ready for more games to be added to the series.
What we definitely need to improve is the organization of multi-game content. In a lot of articles with a subject which appears in multiple games, it's hard to see what information refers to which game. While that is not a major problem for lore information (as long as non-canon information is properly labelled), it is one for gameplay information. It's very frustrating trying to figure out whether the note you just read refers to the game you're playing or another one. Splitting up the weapon and armor articles (which we - mostly Ausir so far - have started to do) is a good first step, but I think we're far from the end of the road in that regard. As such, any suggestions how to improve the organization of multi-game content are more than welcome.
There's one thing we should always keep in mind: Articles are written to be read, and the more readers leave because finding the information they're looking for is a tedious and frustrating task, the less purpose is in writing the articles in the first place.
That's it for this blog (I guess it's more than long enough) - congrats for enduring the wall of text :) I'd love to hear your thoughts about the matters I've brought up - whether I'm right or wrong, ideas you might have etc - so please leave a comment if you want.