This page has been made to assist users with issues related to the problem of "verisimilitude" in OGF.
Definition and Policy
Verisimilitude means "like real" - so the issue of verisimilitude is related to what kinds of countries we are working to build together in OGF. Currently, on the About page, it says:
- "The fictional world of Opengeofiction is thought to be in modern times. So it doesn't have orcs or elves, but rather power plants, motorways and housing projects."
These guidelines have been established for a simple reason: we all have to share this one fictional planet. If we want our "world map" not to turn into a crazy patchwork of improbable kingdoms, if we want the trade and diplomacy and geology and everything else to make sense and fit together, we all have to be following the same laws of physics and sociology. It's a way to make sure we are all putting together the same jig-saw puzzle.
Impact and Resolution
That doesn't mean people are not allowed to think about the fantasy aspects of their countries. If you want, you can write about it - but in other places - try to keep it out of the OGF wiki and off of your maps as much as possible.
It has been discussed extensively among the "admins" at OGF whether this policy will "scare away" potential users. It's agreed that that's a possibility, but there are many users who have introduced fantasy elements for their countries, but have later removed them in an effort to fit in better, making the decision that it is not an unreasonable request and that the fun and satisfaction of being able to use a professional quality mapping system for their imaginary countries is worth a few sacrifices with respect to their personal vision.
The admin team frequently discusses (via email to each other and in comments) particular countries, their maps and wiki entries, to decide if there might be a misunderstanding by some user. On the discussion page to this page, we will try to maintain a table of countries where we feel there is problem. This is not an effort to shame or embarrass users, however, so once an issue is resolved, comments will be removed.
All of us among our OGF admin volunteers (Thilo, histor, joschi81, isleño, Luciano) want to help you transition your country from fantasy to realism. If you'd like to do this on your own, that's fine. But if you'd like any assistance from one of us on the admin team, we'd be more than happy to oblige - don't hesitate to send "admin" a message with any questions, concerns, etc...
By user request - Specific unrealistic elements to avoid
The small list from the About page is not meant to be exhaustive. There are other elements that should be avoided.
New mappers may come to the OpenGeofiction Project and start writing their articles focusing on fantasy elements, including but not limited to mermaids, talking animals, magic, orcs and elves. For example, a mapper may came to OpenGeofiction and one to two weeks later, the mapper will write an article for their territory involving fantasy elements, perhaps dragons or alien invasions. The admin volunteers at OpenGeofiction might become concerned about countries having such unrealistic elements, because it will lead to incoherence between countries.
Although in broadest terms, the idea is to just keep it "as much like Earth" as possible, i.e. following scientific laws and avoiding magical or science- fictional extrapolation, some users have requested a specific listing of elements to avoid. Therefore for clarity, here is the list of unrealistic elements new or existing mappers have introduced in their articles when writing their territory's history on the OpenGeofiction Encyclopedia:
- Orcs and elves
- Talking animals
- Cookie countries or candylands
- Fairy tale stories
- Supernatural or paranormal occurrences
- Horror elements including
- flesh-eating creatures
- Humans with animal characteristics
- Animals with human characteristics
- Fantastic creatures in real situations
- Giant monsters
- giant talking robots
- giant humans
- Extraterrestrial life including aliens
- Science fiction elements including
- time travel
- alien ships and invasions
- drone ships
- parallel universes
Here is the list of unrealistic elements users have introduced in their maps on OpenGeofiction:
- Strange, unrealistic highway or motorway patterns
- motorways 100 km or more in a straight line (if there are not very special conditions)
- motorways to every small village
- Excessively big motorway interchanges (if they are more than 1,700 meters or 5,580 feet wide)
- Strange, unrealistic river patterns
- Glaciers near the equator
- Islands resembling real-world islands
- Excessively big supervolcanoes and calderas
- Excessively big glaciers
When unrealistic elements are discovered by OpenGeofiction volunteers, these may be discussed on the Talk:OGF:Verisimilitude discussion page. That means a country is being marked for resolution in a transition from fantasy to realism and mappers who own the territories will be notified by note from staff about the concern. As mentioned above, OpenGeofiction staff are willing to help you transition your territory (or territories) from fantasy to realism. Mappers who are not part of the OpenGeofiction staff are encouraged to help others by sending notes to them. If you do this, please be polite and kind to new and existing mappers, and do the best to avoid being judgmental or impolite to others, but let others know about the policy, perhaps by directed them to this page.
Everyone is aware that it may take some time for mappers of the affected countries resolve their problems by making changes. Further, especially for problems of realism in the OGF map, it is understood that there is a learning process, and some issues, like excessively straight roads or improperly sized objects are not intentional mistakes but just "newbie" errors.
After the mapper make changes to the affected territories by means of help from staff or from other users who are not part of staff, or resolve the problems on their own, the affected territories will be marked as resolved and removed from the list on the discussion page.