User:Luciano/Bliki/2017/01/17 - Daily

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This "bliki" (wiki-based blog) is an ongoing experiment by Luciano. I encourage other users on OGF to try their own experiments in using the wiki to find new ways to communicate with other members of the OGF community.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this bliki represent my personal views. I am speaking primarily in my role as a user of OGF, NOT as a member of the admin team. Nothing I say here should be taken as an indication of admin policy.

The Daily Blik

Tweaking the OGF "About Page"

We have so much difficulty with new users who just go map wherever they want when they first join. Obviously our efforts to communicate with new users are not very effective. Some of the issues with improving communication with new users is technical - we can only make certain changes to the OSM interface tools that are part of the package being used to support OGF. Also, a lack of dedicated time or expertise on the part of the various members of the admin team create issues, too.

Yesterday, after a particularly annoying exchange with a clueless new user, I had a brainstorm to try to include a thumbnail map on the About Page, which hopefully at least a few users might look at.

Hopefully other users who have been maintaining the various translations of the About Page to other languages could take a moment to include this update on those versions.

Second draft for January Islands

Thilo suggested a move of the islands away from the exact midway point between the two countries, and I decided it was a good idea, after deltanz agreed. As Thilo said, the asymmetry will make the conflict more plausible, maybe, providing additional motivating factors. I also began tweaking the vegetation for the island, replacing woodland with heath for higher elevations.

Loading map...

Suggestions?

Before continuing more detailed work on the islands, I'd really, really like feedback from the community on the general layout of the islands. Is it realistic and natural-looking? It's meant to be a long-extinct volcanic outcropping. Does it all work reasonably well? What are people's thoughts. Well-reasoned advice may be followed - although I can't make guarantees especially for large changes that would involve changing topography, since I've put a lot of work into contours for the island (still not complete and not uploaded).

Happy mapping - Luciano (talk) 01:07, 18 January 2017 (CET)

Comments are welcome, below the line

Please "sign and timestamp" your comments.

I also think the islands look better "offset" from the midpoint. But I think they'd even better around 200km south-east of the current location. That is because the alignments of the continents make you expect the mid-ocean ridge might surface somewhere in this area - but I don't want to get into discussing that... I also think they need "something else" in their location - they don't fit on the map like real world islands (well, quite a few places in OGF are like that). Here, I think if you had a small island group, even some uninhabitable rocks, to go with them it would make a big difference; if you don't move the islands, stick some tiny islands or rocks in around 200km SE, maybe a bit further SE even, for balance. Check the real world map. I think you have to play around with the location a bit, don't set it too soon. About page looks clearer too!--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 01:43, 18 January 2017 (CET)

In terms of what's on the islands - in the real world,there are no trees past 56 degrees south - but of course we're not in the real world. Looking at Aiki's map, we're imagining a sub-antarctic climate (Dfb).
Aiki's climate map
Really, I don't think there should be trees here at all. If you map them here, you're mapping something that couldn't occur in the real world. That would bring up questions of verisimilitude, interesting to discuss, but always open to criticism.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 01:55, 18 January 2017 (CET)

(Repeating my comment from the forum) I'm very excited about this project! One of the most interesting aspects of OGF, in my opinion, is the attempt to recreate diplomatic situiations that we can find in our world. What are countries without conflicts and cooperation? Neo Delta seems to be a quite isolated country due to its location (and the current absence of its closest neighbours, whose owners seem to be busy in real life), so the issue with Mahhal is more than welcome! You already got my feedback, that I'm really happy with the current state of the islands. I would only add a few "beaches", which would not be sandy, due to the recent formation of the islands, but could be tagged as "scree". Those few places would serve as natural ports or settlement areas. Anyway, I think this could be done at any other moment by any of us in the mapping process, if you think that's ok!--deltanz (talk) 02:10, 18 January 2017 (CET)


@Udi - I know we've argued this before, but at the risk of rehashing an old argument, perhaps with a different emphasis, I'll make another try.
Let's talk about "Real Earth" for a moment. Why is the Southern Hemisphere different from the Northern Hemisphere? In the Southern Hemisphere, there are no trees below 56° S. In the Northern Hemisphere, there are trees as far North as at least 75° N (Siberia - inland), and 70° N (Norway - maritime). Why? Obviously, latitude is not the essential factor. There are other things - patterns of circulation of air (Jet Stream) and ocean currents, the lack of an arctic land mass vs the presence of an antarctic land mass.
Now, let's look our OGF world. We don't have an antarctic land-mass - but we have a much more land in general in the far south, in comparison to Earth. This means, in my mind, that we should be taking our cues about southern hemisphere bioregions from Earth's northern hemisphere. Is there some important point that I'm missing, that makes this line of reasoning unlikely?
Unrelatedly... I think the islands will stay where they are, despite issues with continental shape, which I think are valid points. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, Thilo actually contributed his opinion, placing the islands at this spot. When he deigns to dabble in the affairs of us mere mortals, I tend to prefer to defer. Secondly, and despite my arguments above, I still think I'd like to keep the islands as northerly as possible, thus making them more "habitable" and thus more interesting/valuable to the countries trying to control them.
OK, well, that's some commentary. More later.--Happy mapping - Luciano (talk) 03:01, 18 January 2017 (CET)


Well, firstly, if the islands stay where they are its not a big issue; maybe they make the OGF world look slightly more believable, maybe not. I'm sure I'll get used to them.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 11:02, 18 January 2017 (CET)
I don't know if its an important point or not, but Earth - probably any world - is a particular way. You can't switch north and south, or mix them together. What you end up with is something with no logic, or, in a fictional world, no backstory. Technically, trees probably could grow in that location, both in this world and in the real world. In the real world they can't grow at that latitude naturally: I'll explain that with a technical note later (hopefully today). Natural vegetation cover depends on history. At its most basic, I think both plate tectonics and biogeography should be 'considered to exist' in our creation - since they are a core part of 'verisimilitude', like physics or biology. But that may not be everyone's opinion. If we follow the laws of physics (which hopefully is why we're able to map this world), they exist, there are rules that go with them. Those rules contribute to a whole - or to a story - but they don't stop us being creative in any way.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 11:02, 18 January 2017 (CET)
Right, there is probably more land in OGF than in the real world - but its an impossible discussion to have, because the OGF 'new world' is in some sort of limbo: is it land with no people? how come no-one's sent an expedition? what strange creatures live there? is it the 'unreal' part of OGF where the elves live? Personally, I think its a big mistake to have those continents there at all, the balance of life on earth - terrestrial life at least - is very delicate and depends on a high ratio of water to land area. In OGF, that's broken. For now, I try and imagine that those white areas don't actually exist.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 11:02, 18 January 2017 (CET)
How many real world factors do we introduce to explain things in OGF - that's probably the question we should be asking. But this touches on the boundaries of verisimilitude, so its open to interpretation. Personally, my issue with having trees on these islands is that it makes it clear from first look at the map that this world isn't imagined to be like the real world. Perhaps that's how its meant to be... --Udilugbuldigu (talk) 11:02, 18 January 2017 (CET)
Just to be clear, I want to go on record (perhaps on record again, I posted about it here), that when it was first introduced, I opposed the verisimilitude rule. I felt, even then, that verisimilitude was a kind of "slippery slope" that would lead to unsolvable conflicts such as the one we're having right now. One person feels having magic or orcs violates verisimilitude, but another says, well, it could be, in some world. Another opposes excessive motorways, but another says, well, it could be, in some world. Another person says that trees at 62 S are unrealistic, but another says, well, it could be, in some world. I later supported the verisimilitude rule because I was in a minority in complaining about the rule. I not only supported it, but I aggressively enforced it. And now it's biting me in the ass. I think I'm going to put the magic and aliens back in the Ardisphere, and the high-tech back in Mahhal (which they had originally), and verisimilitude be damned.--Happy mapping - Luciano (talk) 12:01, 18 January 2017 (CET)
I'm hoping that this is a 'conflict of ideas' rather than anything else, I'd start by saying that we share much more than we disagree on.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 13:07, 18 January 2017 (CET)
I actually don't think its just a question of verisimilitude - its rather more than that, its more about what we imagine this world, and the story about it, to be. Obviously, this world is already 'science fiction'. There are people speaking english, almost everyone uses the latin alphabet, there is a 'wikipedia', but the world itself is completely different. The way I understand it to be explained is that this fits into the 'internal logic' of the world, that people and the languages they speak, arose within the world (I suppose that isn't the only way it could have been done, but it has been, because this is 'a world' and there is that rule). With that premise, it is one thing to try and imagine a world which led to that 'realistic' outcome and a different thing to imagine a world where, as well as this, there is stuff that doesn't exist in the real world. I wouldn't see verisimilitude as a 'slippery slope' but rather as a fixed baseline. Sure, we could argue about small stuff, like trees on islands, but its only worth arguing if we agree that the world has an internal logic.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 13:07, 18 January 2017 (CET)
I came into OGF way after the verisimilitude rule had been 'set', so I've only ever worked within it - that is by trying to map things that could exist in a world with real world rules (I'm sure I haven't succeeded in doing that, but its what I've been trying to do). Maybe if I'd found OGF earlier I'd have questioned that more. I don't mind working outside those parameters, but what I'd like is to have a 'fixed base' to work with. Maybe by that I mean a 'backstory'. I could work with a world with orcs and elves (and I think there are mapped places that indicate there are giants in this world, if not other powerful and mysterious creatures). I could even work with a world where magic suddenly 'appeared'. But, if things I map would interact with other parts of the world they'd have to be part of a story the world was set in.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 13:07, 18 January 2017 (CET)
So, again the question is: is there a 'world story'? ... perhaps there just isn't one. I'd find that rather disappointing, but I guess its possible. It would only mean that it was transparently not a real world at all (which I suppose is what it looks like to most people anyway). There are plenty of mappers 'doing their own thing' and not participating - I just hoped that one day there could be the potential to bring the whole together. Looks increasingly unlikely. Like in the real world, most people just mind their own patch.--Udilugbuldigu (talk) 13:07, 18 January 2017 (CET)
I expect that you're right - we're not likely to ever get a coherent "world story" as you call it. And when confronted with a rule like "verisimilitude," we all have our areas of expertise - these areas of expertise have an impact on what we consider important. It drives me crazy that people don't care about the fragmented and implausible linguistic map in NW Uletha - no "alternate world history" can justify having a Portuguese linguistic enclave in the middle of "Germany"... etc. That's because I have a broad background in linguistics. I fought about that, I argued about it, and everyone else basically told me that I was nitpicking, that it wasn't a big deal, it wasn't a major violation of "verisimilitude" - that there is such a thing as major violations of verisimilitude and minor violations of verisimilitude. Then, in this case about trees and climate in the southern ocean, I find the tables reversed, because I just don't have the expertise to see any major problem with my proposed arrangement of things, but you do. The lesson I take from this is that "verisimilitude is in the eye of the beholder." "Verisimilitude" becomes a bunch of normative bullshit that some people want to use to control what other people can or can't map. As you say, without a world story, there can be no coherency to a rule of verisimilitude. So I throw up my hands and say whatever, I'll just stick to mapping what I want to map, and what I'm mapping fits into my world fine. The main problem this raises is that it impels me to speculate that I probably should quit trying to play admin at this site. It's a pretty thankless undertaking, this business of enforcing rules I don't actually even agree with - too much like my day job.--Happy mapping - Luciano (talk) 00:03, 19 January 2017 (CET)

Hello Luciano, I've made some corrections on the original proposition for Mahhal climate. To me (but I'm definitely a climatologist), the islands lie on the border between polar cells and Ferrel cells (mid-latitudes). As there is no land east of these islands, I would presume that the westward cold current would be quite strong, while the rest of the East Anteraphian warm current pushed by westerlies and Coriolis Force would have some influences. So we have a place, pretty austral, encircled by cold non-freezing waters, where strong winds blow alternatively from the east and the west: it would be quite cold and foggy (and reasonably rainy but not too much). I would say that most locations exposed to cold and/or damp would be ET (Tundra climate) while some well-sheltered patches if there is any - let's say in the lower valley of some streams - could be Dfc (subarctic climate)with some lone dwarf trees. --Aiki (talk) 19:30, 20 January 2017 (CET)

@Aiki - first of all, and most importantly, I really am quite grateful for your generosity in putting your time into helping me to think clearly about these issues. Based on some additional conversations with other users, I have abandoned my impulsive desire to move Mahhal (see Bliki here), but I think I will probably be "downscaling" Mahhal's populated regions further, concentrating most of the country's concept in the far northwest (where you have estimated a more human-friendly Cfb climate), while leaving much of the rest of the country fairly "empty" with a lot of heath and tundra landcover and with more glaciation at higher elevations. I have been working on my climate map of Mahhal - based essentially on yours - so when that's ready I'll definitely ask for your feedback.--Happy mapping - Luciano (talk) 23:43, 20 January 2017 (CET)