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Author Topic: Open Source Encyclopedia
Harry
Stormwind City Guard
Member # 265

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For the last couple of days, I've been thinking about creating a PHP/MySQL based 'Open Source' Star Trek database.

The reason for this is that most 'closed' online encyclopedias are either copies of official references (be it the Omnipedia CD-ROM or the STARTREK.COM Library), or are abandoned or put on hold after a while (like the Enterprise Companion or the Galactopedia).
And from similar experiments like Bernd's recent Particles and Substances database, it *could* work.


I was thinking about a wiki-like structure, where people can freely add and update information, but with a bit more structure than the average wiki-page.

So do you think it could work? Of course, since most (if not all) content comes from visitors, the entire success *depends* on people actually submitting useful information.

Any ideas/suggestions?

(It may sound a bit like I'm spamming here, but I really just want to know if the idea might work, or if it is doomed to collect dust in a quiet corner of the web)

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Titan Fleet Yards | Memory Alpha

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Jason Abbadon
Rolls with the punches.
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Sounds a bit like Bernd's Journal of Applied Technology.

The thing is, you'll need a level-headed moderator or submissions screener to prevent it from becoming a fanboy funhouse of idiotic ideas (six nacelled Soverign refits with transphasic fuckover weapons and batman armor, etc.).

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Justice inclines her scales so that wisdom comes at the price of suffering.
-Aeschylus, Agamemnon

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MinutiaeMan
Living the Geeky Dream
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Harry, remember when I e-mailed you about help with PHP coding? That is EXACTLY what I've been working on with the Starfleet Reference Databank! [Wink]

I've had my own personal FileMaker Pro database under semi-constant development for nearly 10 years now. It's gone through umpteen million revisions and reinventions, not to mention having been largely ignored for the last two or three years. But I can tell you that I've already got 3,000+ records in there, the entire MySQL database is uploaded, and all I have to do is do the interface and get people to help update and maintain the information.

There are plenty of holes in some sections, but it's definitely pretty far along. It'd need some work to get updated for 2003, but it shouldn't be THAT much trouble.

When I wrote it, rather than an outright Encyclopedia, I created it more as a series of interlinked databases on various topics. The current set basically is this: episodes, characters, alien races, astronomical objects and phenomena, starships, starship classes, and space stations. (And I'm sure more could be added! [Wink] )

I would love to be able to work on this again, but I've got so many different priorities that I can't get effective work done on it right now. But I would absolutely LOVE to get more people in on the job. I really should've thought of that sooner! [Roll Eyes]

My website is down at the moment, but you can check out the directory for a description when it's back: http://www.st-minutiae.com/sfrd/

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“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov
Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha

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Sol System
two dollar pistol
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I'm sort of surprised there isn't already a Star Trek themed wiki out there. Though I feel foolish using that word.
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MinutiaeMan
Living the Geeky Dream
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Well, there really is, if you think about it. Not to disparage anyone's work, but can any of us say that we've done any truly unique reference work for Trek -- technology-related or otherwise? I don't think so, because it's all been copied ad infinitium!

The only difference with this database idea is that it'd all be in one place. Which is, of course, the purpose of an encyclopedia in the first place. [Wink]

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“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov
Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha

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Sol System
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I'm a little confused at what you're getting at. A wiki is, well, this.
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MinutiaeMan
Living the Geeky Dream
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Ah, okay... so that's a bit more different than I thought. But it's still the same principle... I think... Just a bit more open than I realized.

Still sounds like an excellent idea, though!

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“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov
Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha

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cptmkb
I WAS IN THE FUTURE, IT WAS TOO LATE TO RSVP
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the Galactopedia is not abandoned.. i actually opened it up to other people a few times, with poor results.. part of its my fault, its my baby, so when someone else submits, i take it upon myself to nitpick everything to the point where i shouldve written it myself.. and there were only 4 or 5 people that ever responded to my calls for help.

the most helpful thing is when someone points out an entry they would like to see, and/or sends me the info for an entry.. i believe Jason has lately, and a couple others..

i tried opening up some forums with sad results..i use here as much as possible.. if we start talking about something, its what i'll be writing about that week

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"C'mon, tightly hold your hand / Take a deep breath, give them the finger / Are you worried that your thoughts are not quite.. clear?" - Our Lady Peace, One Man Army

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Harry
Stormwind City Guard
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That's a bit of a problem with projects like this. Either no-one contributes, or illiterate fanboys mess things up.

So it's either a free-for-all situation, where everyone can edit and create content. It encourages more people to contribute, but it also is completely unprotected against fanboys, trolls and general nuisances.

Registered users provide a bit more control over who can write what, but many people don't like registering for yet another website.

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Titan Fleet Yards | Memory Alpha

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Bernd
Guy from Old Europe
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If things may be brought online without being reviewed, it is necessary to let only registered users post, and let only trusted persons register.

The second possibility is a review cycle, in which an administrator needs to approve of the submission, in which case anyone could be allowed to post.

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Bernd Schneider

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cptmkb
I WAS IN THE FUTURE, IT WAS TOO LATE TO RSVP
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i've been toying with the idea of adding a form field at the bottom of the galactopedia, but i would review and format every entry as per my standard M.O.

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"C'mon, tightly hold your hand / Take a deep breath, give them the finger / Are you worried that your thoughts are not quite.. clear?" - Our Lady Peace, One Man Army

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Jason Abbadon
Rolls with the punches.
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That'd be a full time job in itself.

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Justice inclines her scales so that wisdom comes at the price of suffering.
-Aeschylus, Agamemnon

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MinutiaeMan
Living the Geeky Dream
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quote:
Originally posted by Bernd:
If things may be brought online without being reviewed, it is necessary to let only registered users post, and let only trusted persons register.

That's what I was hoping to do with my own SFRD, but I've never had the time or know-how to set up that kind of authentication for the website.... (Heck, I've never even managed to get it fully online in the first place!)

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“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” — Isaac Asimov
Star Trek Minutiae | Memory Alpha

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