Forums:Ideas to improve the wiki

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Hi, I'm Lorenzo. I'm leaving the wiki soon and I don't know when/if I will be back, so I'd wish to comment some things that (in my personal opinion) the wiki needs to improve. I don't expect the admins to do anything I could do myself, but there are somethings that only depend of them; anyway I want to hear opinions and put my ideas in order.

  1. Remove unfinished fan-fics and screenplays from search engine (I mean redirects like this) and categories, specially User:Amroth/Screenplays. It would be great to give them visibility if they were at least finished, but they are abandoned.
  2. Remove all those blank LOTRO "books". Years ago somebody began to make outline after outline, but finished only a few of them. LOTRO is active for now, but new LOTR MMORPGs are coming and nobody is gonna write all those ugly "book" articles.
  3. Define better the policy about the names and apply it: if Lómion should redirect to Maeglin, where and how should be placed that information within Maeglin's article? How do we include its Etymology? Am I correct thinking that King of Gondolin should redirect to Turgon, but King of Nargothrond deserves its own article because it is a title applied to more than one character?
    1. Clarified that, remove those unnecessary name categories that are not properly applied: Category:Masculine names, Category:Feminine names, Category:Essi, Category:Epessi, Category:Amilessi.
  4. Choose between IPA or respell; then apply the one and remove the other. (I personally dislike IPA, and I would have been changing it with respell, but I'm not an English speaker). I also think that any kind of pronuntiation info should be included only within the infobox: right in the first line it looks so ugly.
  5. Define a policy about Category:Manuscripts by J.R.R. Tolkien. When is the category (not) applied? Was the initial plan that all manuscripts had their own article? What happens when a text has diffent manuscripts (like the many Ainulindalës?
  6. Decide a policy about the matter of the BoLT. See my talkpage, in which Sage proposes a way to deal this matter that deserves attention. Personally, I think that it would be better to classify things in their own terms rather than looking for a continuity only within the BoLT. In brief, it is very unfortunate to have many Gnomes within the Category:Noldor.
    1. More important and easy to resolve: articles with """[non-canon]""" and disputed canonicity. I think we should get rid of those templates and categories, or at least to reduce them to characters deliberately deleted by Tolkien during the composition of TLOTR. Instead, for those characters of the BoLT and other early/abandoned works, I propose the style I've been applying to the Houses and lords of Gondolin: right in the introduction, explain it is "according to the early version of the Legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales Whatever Work".
  7. There are some things that could help reviving the wiki (btw, why the community died so suddenly? Ok, it's quite ironical asking this when I just said I'm leaving).
    1. As far as I can check, TG has no Chat. Why not having a Discord channel or a Facebook private group, only for autoconfirmed users? Voting and short discussions in the talkpages are fine, but sometimes feels quite lame.
    2. Who was in charge of the Facebook page? It takes nothing to publish just twice a month, no need for more. It would be a great way to ask help with specific matters, and to give visibility to the new/rewritten articles.
    3. Something similar with the abandoned Main Page. An user offered help with it years ago, and if he had done a bad job, he could just be removed, but for some reason everything must rely on the admins.
  8. Define a policy on languages. There are lots of articles for words and roots, but there is no consistency: different styles, and some of them are excessively expanded, while others do not have references at all. Also, looks like the initial idea was having articles for every root, but that work was left unfinished: at least 50 points from Gryffindor.

LorenzoCB 17:57, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

It is sad to hear that you may be leaving TG, your contributions have been very good in improving the quality of articles and hope you return in the future. Here are my comments about your suggestions.
  • 3. I think titles should have a place here as long as there is some information to include, but I do agree with you.
  • 6. It is interesting but I'm not sure if the current website has the capabilities of doing that. As far as I am aware the website is currently operating in a very old version of MediaWiki and hasn't been updated in years. I have noticed that some glitches occur in the code like random line spaces and big bullet points on infoboxes.
  • 7. Activity really has high and low spikes in some days, and I am sure everyone has there own reasons for their inactivity, people come and go is the way of life :). I created my account almost 10 years ago and have been inactive for most of its span, only started to be more active at the start of this year because of COVID Lockdown and had a bit more spare time in my hands. Now that lockdown restrictions reduced people have started to go back to work.
  • 7.1 I think that is a nice idea just to open up communication between admin team and active users, not sure about facebook but discord sounds good.
  • 7.2 There's also a twitter account but has not been active. I think social media presence is not that important as this site doesn't make money so there really is no need to increase traffic. More important is probably SEO.
  • 7.3 The user could have followed up but didn't so its not wholly on admins fault. I think if someone is confident they can do it with some user backing.

Gaetano 19:19, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

I am regular reader, and perhaps in a rather unusual manner I like finding articles by looking at 'Recent Changes'. I am always seeing your name and I appreciate the work you have put in to improve the standard of the Gateway.

I am not an expert at editing Wiki's (hence my few edits) but I agree with many of your points. I would like to help more but do not out of fear of making mistakes.

If there was some sort of Discord or other chat feature I would certainly use it to gain a bit more confidence in discussing and editing articles.

JR Snow 10:54, 21 August 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, Gaetano. Point 6 is about opening the discussion about the topic, no need for updating the wiki in this case.
Thank you JR Snow, feel free to edit anything; if you actually make mistakes, others can correct you.
Thanks specially to Mith for taking care of the suggestions so soon. --LorenzoCB 16:31, 23 August 2020 (UTC)

I also appreciate LorenzoCB's work and would find it sad if he leaves the Tolkien Gateway. I also have a few suggestions and would appreciate to know what other users think about them:

1. Maps that were made by J.R.R.T. and that were redrawn with less details by Christopher Tolkien in The History of Middle-earth series of books should be uploaded and articles should discuss how the geography has changed during the writing of The Lord of the Rings. The maps that were drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien are on different websites and it would be convenient to have them on the much more well known Tolkien Gateway. I did not know them before, because I did not go to exhibitions where they were displayed and the Websites are probably not known by many readers. In addition, many readers probably do not have access to the History of The Lord of the Rings series of books.

2. Many pages use both The Lord of the Rings and The History of The Lord of the Rings (e.g. The Peoples of Middle-earth) or Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth as sources without disclosing the HoLOTR as another version of the legendarium that contains draft versions that were written during the writing of LOTRO and contain deletions and changes that were probably made for a reason and without disclosing UT or Of Dwarves and Men from PoME as unfinished versions that were written after the first or second edition of LOTR. Those sources are not on the same Level as LOTR itself.

3. A lot of articles contain speculations and theories that do not clearly disclose that they are speculations and theories and that do not disclose on what sources by J.R.R. Tolkien they are based.

4.I am aware that various print versions of LOTR exist and that the page numbers are not the same in those versions and that the page numbers are different in electronic versions. Most articles only provide the number or title of a chapter as a source or only apppendix A or at most apppendix A (I)(iv) as a source. This makes it time consuming to Find the sentence or sentences which are the source of a statement in an article on the Tolkien Gateway. It would help to verify those statements and thus to perform a a quality control, if the references would be more specific (e.g. Apppendix A (I) (iv) entry for King Telumehtar, Apppendix B year or date of an Age, stating whether something is from the end, the beginning or the middle of a chapter).

5. The Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) books and maps by Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) contain a lot of fascinating details about Middle-earth that could be included more frequently and extensively in a separate section at the bottom of articles. The notionclubarchives fandom is no substitute since it often does not clearly disclose the sources and often mixes content from MERP, MECCG, MERP Fan modules, The One Ring, computer games and even Fan Fiction by individual users. Tolkien said in a letter that it is up to other minds and hands to provide more details for his world. The Other Minds magazine and Other Hands magazine also contain some good content and could be used as sources in a separate section. --Akhorahil 13:38, 20 September 2020 (UTC)