QBlog writes on the controversy going on over the possible deletion of the article on Threshold MUD. I’ve run into the fact that Wikipedia isn’t a great resource for research into the history of virtual worlds many times before; the articles are of wildly uneven quality, and a recent crappy game can have pages and pages worth of content, whereas historically interesting stuff doesn’t.
LegendMUD’s entry was deleted without even a debate a while ago, despite there being other articles that reference it and point to it, including a whole page on the Karyn affair. Worlds of Carnage has no page at all, despite it serving as the incubation place for scripting in DikuMUDs and for many developers who went on to work on the first wave of MMOs in the US. At least there’s a good DartMUD page.
Curiously, I am used as a reference or citation many times in Wikipedia, yet I suspect my writings would not meet Wikipedia’s guidelines. The challenge here is creating material that does — with so much existing only as oral history or as community-driven sites, little will qualify to be in Wikipedia, with the result that the history is often lost.
This is also the gripe I have about my own entry… very cool that I have one at all (though it came up for deletion once too! Morgan saved it) but it makes no real mention of why I should have one, which makes it read just like a resume. There’s no mention of game grammar, theory of fun, “worldy” MMORPGs, online game design patterns, the timeline, avatar rights, or community management — though it managed to find time to mention that I played MUME for a bit — even though I played dozens of muds as long as I played MUME.
This isn’t just me being whiny about my entry… Bartle’s entry spends more time on whether he is controversial when discussing WoW, than on the core philosophical statement in his writings, which include the ideas that virtual worlds are means of self-discovery, and that they are artistic statements by designers.
Now, I love Wikipedia, and use it all the time. But I am at a loss as to how to help out the Threshold entry, or in general help the cause of VW history there. This sort of thing is why people (ahem) end up setting up their own timelines instead.