Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2017
Once again due to time shortages I never got to do a new Wiki Wednesdays entry this week, so to meet my goal I just converted another existing wiki page to the new format. Check it out!
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017
I never got to do Wiki Wednesdays this week—and have learned not to promise in advance which specific article(s) I’m going to write—so to meet my goal I just converted an existing wiki page to the new format. Check it out!
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
This week I made some further structural updates to the wiki's organization. I didn't get to the article on the Vedere, but, in order to meet my "at least one new entry per week" minimum, I did complete a first draft of the article on Illar! Behold:
First Update o' 2017!
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017
In recent weeks I have made some progress in establishing a structure for both Encyclopedia Reluria itself and the dokuwiki software that runs it. My most noticeable progress was completing a first version on three articles:
One of those is a song, another a historical legend, and the third a type of weather.
I've also created a variety of stub entries to serve as logical placeholders, since dokuwiki's file directory system is such that a directory only exists when it contains at least one entry. Don't expect much from these entries today, and don't necessarily hold them to the same standard of accuracy that you can expect of completed articles:
As you can see I'm doing something fairly unusual when it comes to wikis: I'm bothering with a directory system. Instead of having urls all be something like "wiki.com/entry," Encyclopedia Reluria's urls read like "wiki.com/people/entry." So far I've created the following categories, each with its own file directory:
It's important to make this structural work correct and complete right from the start, because it becomes massively onerous (essentially impossible, on my own) to revise as the encyclopedia becomes populated with entries. And why am I doing it at all, given how brittle it is and how much extra overhead it adds to every internal link? Honestly, there isn't a pressing reason. I want people to have the ability to browse the encyclopedia by category, and I can anticipate the possibility of wanting to have this level of compartmentalization in the future. Plus, it suits my aesthetic. That's pretty much it. Also, doing it this way paid off when I realized I wanted two separate articles for "glarough."
If you have any advice on directories I should add or change, please let me know! Right now "Society" and "Nature" are serving as the catch-alls, but I think they are too broad. I'll probably create a "Customs" directory and an "Events" directory, now that I think of it.
Meanwhile, although these new articles and structures are the most visible improvements I've made to the encyclopedia lately, the most important improvement is a stylistic one: For months I had struggled with the question of point-of-view, specifically because of verb tense consistency problems, which for somebody like me is an incredibly unsettling problem to have. Should it read "Galavar is known for his fondness of gettin' down at the disco," or should it say "Galavar was known for his fondness of gettin' down at the disco"? I had done some research into the policies of other wikis, and had decided on an "end of the universe" PoV where essentially everything besides eternal truths is written in the past-tense, but this ended up dissatisfying me because I would be writing about people and songs and societies and it would feel like they were all dead and long gone. It's very weird for me to write something like "Afiach was known for her..." when, in terms of actually writing the books, these events haven't happened yet and certainly nobody knows Afiach for them yet.
The breakthrough came a few days ago when I realized I should privately conceive of Encyclopedia Reluria as though one of the characters from The Curious Tale were writing it retrospectively. ("Privately" because Encyclopedia Reluria doesn't actually exist in Relance, the way, say, The Lord of the Rings exists in Middle-Earth as There and Back Again.) This led to articles that flowed much more naturally, mainly because it permits a diversity of verb tenses. For instance: "Prior to his death Rennem was known for [whatever], but after his downfall he became known as the one who had [whatever]." Also for instance: "To escape the army's advance, Afiach changed her travel plans, thinking that she stood a better chance of protecting herself by crossing the mountains. This was her way. She would regularly revise her decisions and commitments based on new developments."
Finally, the finishing stroke in solving the problem came with my decision to create a self-referential meta shell around each entry. You'll notice that none of my (fake) examples above use the simple present tense. The problem with its absence is that, at the head of an article, I don't like referring to something with the ring of permanence in the past tense, such as "Tanzibay was a country in the west." This is where the meta shell comes in: That is, each entry begins with verbiage to the effect of "[Such and such] refers to..."; this allows me to begin every entry in the present tense (specifically with the phrase "refers to"), and then nest whatever tenses I like within that shell. So, for instance: "Dinner refers to one of the day's meals. In Gala, people would often have dinner during the evening, while in LaLa Land they liked to eat it at midday, at least until Gala conquered them." Here, through clever use of verb structures, I can accomplish the sense that something still exists without literally deploying the present tense, which has the effect of disrupting the suspension of disbelief.
The present tense may nevertheless appear from time to time. For instance, consider the following two ways of expressing this premise: "After [the events of The Curious Tale], So-and-So still hadn't figured out who had stolen his hat. Undeterred, he continued to look for it." And: "After [the events of The Curious Tale], So-and-So still hadn't figured out who had stolen his hat. Undeterred, he continues to look for it." I haven't made a final decision yet, but I think I'm content to refer to things in the present tense if they can be reasonably expected by me to exceed the indefinite time interval spanning from the beginning of The Curious Tale / After The Hero / The Contemporary Era to the end of The Curious Tale / the hypothetical moment in in-world time at which the character who is hypothetically writing Encyclopedia Reluria finishes it. That, I think, could be more satisfying in certain niche cases.
Anyhow, that's it for this week. Tune in next Wednesday for more.
Rhya Kimbrii, the Sun
Friday, Jan. 8, 2016
This week I wrote my second Encyclopedia Reluria entry: Rhya Kimbrii. This entry is basically complete, and has some interesting information, so check it out.
First Wiki Entry!
Friday, Dec. 11, 2015
This week I wrote my first entry for Encyclopedia Reluria: the Black Armor. This is fitting, since the Black Armor was one of the very first elements I created for the original ATH RPG, way back in the day.
The entry isn't complete, but there's enough there for you to sink your teeth into. Go have a look. And if there are encyclopedia articles that you'd particularly like to see, don't hesitate to contact me!
Wiki Weekends: Wiki Now Operational
Friday, Nov. 27, 2015
DokuWiki is working just fine. You can read the first page of Encyclopedia Reluria here. The wiki is closed to the public for editing (and will remain so), but is publicly viewable.
I spent some time finding out whether it'll be easy to change the layout, so that the wiki can look like the rest of this site. So far, I've found no indication that it'll be easy in the least. I can change various colors to fit with the existing color scheme, but the actual layout looks like it'll be much harder to tweak. Consequently, I'm not going to spend too much time worrying about it. I'm just going to dive right into writing articles.
One question that I haven't cleared up yet is the copyright status of the contents of the wiki. The licensing language from DokuWiki is confusing, but there is the possibility that everything I post would necessarily be granted a Creative Commons license (at minimum!). With most wikis, this isn't a problem, but Encyclopedia Reluria is going to be such a rich source of content that I'll need to retain a fuller copyright on some of what I post. So, until I resolve this question, I won't be posting anything of substance there. I hope to get the information I need in time to report for the next installment of Wiki Weekends.
Wiki Weekends: Install that Wiki!
Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
This week my singular goal was to install DokuWiki and get it operational. No frills, no special layouts, or anything like that. Just get it working. And I got halfway there: I installed it, but haven't done any testing yet. I ran out of time after personal issues arose early in the week.
I'll be back in two weeks, where I hope to have the wiki operational!
Wiki Weekends: Meet the Finalist!
Friday, Oct. 30, 2015
Extensive research has sufficiently persuaded me that DokuWiki is the answer for Encylopedia Reluria. So, that's it! We have our finalist. And I even got there by the end of October, which was my goal.
I've downloaded the DokuWiki installer and plan to carry out the installation in the next two weeks.
Of course, DokuWiki may end up not working out. If that happens, I can go back to the existing candidate pool, where there are quite a few other wikis deserving of further consideration.
If you have any thoughts on DokuWiki, I'd love to hear them!
Wiki Weekends: Broken Mouse
Friday, Oct. 16, 2015
This week I didn’t do any work for Wiki Weekends. My mouse broke on Monday and the wiki candidate selection process is super mouse-intensive. Thus I made the decision to work on other tasks—tasks that are more forgiving of my current setup.
A new mouse is on its way, and Wiki Weekends will return as usual in two weeks.
Wiki Weekends: The Whittling Continues
Friday, Oct. 2, 2015
Yesterday I whittled down another twelve candidates for the wiki software, on grounds like lack of automatic page redirects, lack of various linkback features, undesirable custom syntax or missing syntax, very old home websites, and so forth.
The remaining candidates are starting to put up a harder fight. Roughly twenty remain. Nonetheless I expect that I'll be able to make my final selection by the end of this month.
Wiki Weekends: Welcome to a New Feature!
Friday, Sep. 18, 2015
Programming Note: There will be no Wiki Weekends next Friday (Sep. 25), as my sister will be visiting and I'll be moving at the end of the weekend.
Welcome to Wiki Weekends! For our inaugural edition I'm going to lay out the scope of this features and set expectations moving forward. And, of course, I'll report on my progress for the week.
To me, The Curious Tale at its heart is two things: a lush fantasy world, and the epic story within it. The latter is tended to by my books: After The Hero and its many supplements. The former, meanwhile, is tended to by The Relance Project, an encyclopedia and a dictionary together serving as a home for the background lore and flavor of Relance.
The encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Reluria, will make use of some version of the wiki software that everyone knows so well. I originally wanted to design my own, custom-made encyclopedia—I'm kind of a do-it-yourselfer, as this very website suggests—but I quickly realized it wasn't practical. Besides, if the wiki software out there can serve the cataloging needs of virtually every other fandom, I don't think The Curious Tale is any exception.
My immediate task is therefore to select the most suitable software, install it on this site, and conform it visually to the site layout and aesthetics. The first two steps are considerably more important than the third, as I can't proceed with populating the encyclopedia until I have it installed and operational.
Earlier this year I narrowed down the wiki software candidates to 37 candidates.
This week I eliminated 6 of those candidates, by comparing features or noting lack of functionality in desired areas or finding dealbreakers. An early frontrunner has also emerged in the form of DokuWiki.
In the weeks to come, I will continue to use this space to bring you reports on my progress in finding and installing a wiki.
Afterward, Wiki Weekends will become a place for me to report actual wiki articles that I've worked on.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!