Forum - On Role-playing vs Mapping

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Overview > Community > OGF-related random discussion > On Role-playing vs Mapping

I want to make an observation. This site (OGF) is not meant to be an "imaginary country role-playing" website. This is meant to be a mapping website.

I think that's an important distinction.

I have come to believe that having a wiki on OGF is actually a MISTAKE, since a lot of people have come to believe that role-playing is a central aspect of the site. It creates a lot of administrative headaches, a lot of misunderstandings, a lot of unnecessary social conflict, etc.

One way that I, personally, have decided to deal with this problem is to NOT roleplay my territories. I have been very gradually removing Ardisphere, Mahhal, Makaska from the wiki - and my long term goal is to have them each have only one single page, simply introducing the territory and nothing more.

I am not building embassies. I am not roleplaying historical or contemporary interactions. I am not joining sports leagues or international associations.

In fact, I am quite interested in these things (as people who have seen my past work know). However, I strongly feel that as a member of the admin team, I want to set an example. And the example I intend to set is: concentrate on the mapping. Period.

Happy mapping.

Posted by Luciano on 3 January 2019 at 14:46.

I don't get your point of 'not role-playing', do you mean that there shouldn't be any history about the mapping? I think you're talking about overwikification, but a wiki on OGF is like an extra resource for our mapping. I'd rather to believe that it's not just what you see on the map, it's about the story this universe is telling us.

Posted by Voivod on 3 January 2019 at 14:58.

Is this supposed to be an immutable statement or a starting point for a discussion?

In any case, this question should be answered as well: Why using OGF for mapping instead of mapping offline? What exactly is the point of uploading? What kind of interaction should be there? For now it was building embassies and creating a history around the country. Undoubtedtly, some people overdo the non-mapping part.

But if you want to discourage that, what kind of interaction would you like to encourage instead. Or would you propose isolationism as the right way.

One way of interaction I would like to see as an alternative could be something like discussions about mapping, i.e. I would comment on your mapping and you would comment on mine. At the moment I had the impression that talking about someone else's mapping style is strongly discouraged.

However my question for now is: What kind of collaboration or interaction would the admins like to see?

Posted by Toadwart on 3 January 2019 at 15:12.

I only mean to start a conversation, and present my own perspective and intention for future behavior.

OF COURSE, I don't mean to neglect history and culture. In fact, I intend to build out my own wiki, off-site, and I will likely overwikify to my heart's content, there. I have hundreds of draft pages, and many more in mind. But as far as the wiki on OGF, the problem is that people misunderstand the balance, and we get far too many users who are either uninterested in quality mapping, or who are unable to do quality mapping. I would argue, in fact, that the MAJORITY of our current active user base are in this category. So they role-play on the wiki, create poor-quality maps, and complain when others won't role-play with them.

By minimizing my own wiki participation, I can emphasize the importance of the mapping aspect.

@Toadwart - I actually agree with you on your point about more "about mapping" discussion. But most people don't react well to criticism - myself included. I don't know that it would lead to a very friendly community.

Posted by Luciano on 3 January 2019 at 15:32.

I think it's a complicated issue and can't be resolved by simple answer like use/don't use the Wiki. Everything in the naturally created community has a purpose delivered from a need. So why Wiki exists? Because most of us have very precised vision how the country should look, it's culture, language and general feeling. It can be shown both in mapping and in Wiki because without articles about some places (like Pointing Man) the potential of mapping is decreased (the whole world becomes as flat as the map sheet is). While some users have tendency to overuse Wiki compared to their mapping, this is neccessary sacrifice for the greater good.

Embassies have a different purpose. As it is said OGF is a collaborative platform for mapping and building embassies sometimes forces the first contact between neighbors which leads to collaboration (on borders and history). What's wrong here?

@Toadwart, some people see criticism of their mapping as the criticism of themselves, that's why they don't like it. I think the best option is not to talk about someone's mapping until he/she ask about it.

Posted by Rustem Pasha on 3 January 2019 at 15:39.

I think Toadwart has brought up an important fact - OGF is a community website. Just like sports teams, improv groups or art classes, it is a place for people with shared interests, where they can showcase their work and learn from each other. And as always, different people have different approaches to geofiction. I understand your dissatisfaction with the wiki and I consider it a completely valid opinion, but I disagree. I think the wiki, when used properly, can add a whole extra layer of realism to the map.

That being said - even though the name of this website is literally OPENgeofiction, suggesting it's a platform open to the public - I do believe we should be able to enforce some requirements on new users to keep the roleplayers and wiki geeks out, while letting the people who are truly passionate about maps in - and I am ready to help with whatever administrative work I can.

Posted by Eklas (administrator) on 3 January 2019 at 16:32.

I'll probably put my recent mapping up for discussion later on. That's an example I can set.

Generally, there is some stuff which needs to be wikied. Just mapping public transport is only half of it, you need a transit map as well and explanations why lines are not connected in this or that way for historical reasons. My ice-hockey cups are indeed pointless, but I would say I kept the mapping-wikiing ration in a reasonable range.

I wonder if there are any other ways to promote better mapping. Leaving the wiki might be too subtle to be heard.

Posted by Toadwart on 3 January 2019 at 16:39.

Mapping is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world. If there are reasons why certain things on the map evolved the way they did, that aspect is lost without some sort of further explanation. If people fleshing out their visions for their maps with backstories, anecdotes, sports leagues, whatever it may be that keeps them excited about refining their vision and adding more detail to their maps, we shouldn’t be trying to kill that motivation.

Posted by TheMayor on 3 January 2019 at 17:20.

I clearly understand Luciano. But mentioning any examples can offend some users, and I dont want it.

Posted by BMSOUZA (administrator) on 3 January 2019 at 17:25.

Let's approach this a different way. Let me propose a thought experiment:

Imagine it was announced tomorrow that the OGF wiki would close - perhaps our server is too full or something like that. How would the community be affected?
My core idea is that OGF would be improved. Those who have valuable material on the wiki would adapt - there are dozens of free wiki-hosting websites around. Meanwhile, the temptation to upload unnecessary junk on the OGF server would be removed, as would the tendency of new users to think the wiki is more interesting than the map. We could attract users who are interested in MAPPING which is, and should be, this site's strength and focus. No one would be prevented from developing compelling history and culture - such material could even be encouraged off-site.
Posted by Luciano on 3 January 2019 at 18:00.

This seems like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Instead of getting rid of the wiki, why not just set and enforce some common sense rules that underscore the idea of the wiki as a way of augmenting (not leading) actual mapping? Simply saying that a place has to be mapped in at some basic level of detail before wiki articles can be published would be a great first step. And just ban the #*&@$ing sports league crap. It has literally nothing to do with mapping.

This gets back to the idea of verisimilitude; you can't have a place that looks and feels realistic on the map without culture and history, because land use is always a reflection of culture and history. I love mapping and learning from how other people map, but when I find a place that looks amazing on the map I want to be able to read all about it. The wiki brings the map to life. To echo Toadwart, why bother mapping on OGF instead of mapping offline? A map with no story behind it is inert; a lot of my favorite countries have great wiki articles, too. How would the OGF world be improved by becoming less richly imagined and more two-dimensional?

Posted by Louis walker on 3 January 2019 at 18:15.
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