In OpenGeofiction, overwikification is when a place is the subject of numerous or overly detailed wiki articles, despite having little or no significant mapping.
Overwikification is generally discouraged, for several reasons:
- It's not necessary. The main purpose of the wiki is to describe what's on the map, so if a place has very little mapped, then there's no need to spend time filling the wiki with all sorts of detailed information about it.
- It can distract from mapping. If something is overwikified, then by definition it has only a limited amount of mapping. Every hour spent on the wiki is one less hour adding to the map.
- It can distract from developing mapping skills. Overwikification can be especially unfortunate for new users or others with limited mapping skills. Every hour spent on the wiki is one less hour that they could be developing their skills to become better mappers.
- It can lower the quality of the wiki. Overwikification sometimes manifests itself in a way that involves creating large numbers of mediocre or stub articles, thus lowering the average quality of content in the OGF wiki. See also OGF:Making a good wiki article.
- It can increase inconsistencies and contradictions in the wiki. It takes time to learn about the complex and confusing OpenGeofiction world before being able to write cohesively about it. Extensive articles by users who aren't familiar with this world often end up including content that conflicts with content elsewhere in the wiki.
- It can generate interest in a country that isn't really "there." When people see an elaborate wiki article about a country, they often expect the country to be elaborately mapped as well, and they want to go exploring it on the OGF map. So it can be disappointing to discover that the place is virtually empty of any detail.
- It can leave a mess to clean up if the creator abandons the project. Unfortunately, some people who overwikify do so because they're not really that interested in mapping, and so eventually they leave OpenGeofiction. The wiki articles they leave behind need to be dealt with, the connections to other countries need to be revised, the lists they've added to need to be edited, etc, etc. This is annoying stuff that no one wants to do.
- It can spread an inaccurate impression about the purpose of OpenGeofiction. This site is primarily a mapping project. The wiki is a secondary project that exists as a way to bring the mapping to life, to enhance it, to support it, to express it on another level. This site is not for people who only want to write wiki articles about an imaginary country; there are other places on the internet for that.
At the same time, there are a few cases where it makes sense for a wiki article to be somewhat more developed than the mapping it describes:
- For introducing a country to the community. A wiki article for a new country can be useful in letting the neighbors and the wider community know what the mapper has in mind for the place. But the article doesn't need to be long or elaborate in order to serve this purpose. A rather brief and basic article can do the job just fine.
- For helping to organize a collaboration. Collaborative countries in particular can benefit from a wiki article to make sure all the collaborators are on the same page and share the same vision. Again, this article can outline the essential information, maybe provide some inspiring images, etc, but generally it doesn't need to get into extreme detail about anything.
- For a mapper to give themselves a framework. Planning is important, and sometimes it helps for a mapper to create a wiki article for themselves to serve as a framework to guide their future mapping, organizing their thoughts about a place so that they can better map it.
In all of these cases, the current practice by experienced members of OGF is to create a "Sandbox" in their User pages, e.g. User:XX/Sandbox. In general, users may create any content they wish in their User pages, and if you later map an area with more detail, it is easy to move content from your sandbox to an "official" article.
What can be done about overwikification?
- Self-reflection. We can each look at our own balance of mapping content and wiki content. If we find we're spending more time in the wiki than on the map, then we may be in danger of overwikifying things.
- Raise awareness. Often times the issue may come up in other discussions.
For example: "Another thing I really want to do is write wiki articles for all the cities I have planned, but I don't want to overwikify!"
- Help others. If you see someone struggling with overwikification, don't be afraid to point them here in a friendly way.
For example: "These articles are really interesting, but beware of [[OGF:Overwikification]]!"
Questions or comments? Feel free to use the talk page!