Forum:Essay Reform

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Forums: Yew Grove > Essay Reform
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This thread was archived on 29 January 2011 by Liquidhelium.

As I retire from our fair wiki, I've taken time to reflect, and I can say that I have only one true fear, that the wiki's introspective spirit dies with me. I've made it my goal to encourage the community to take a step back and examine itself, it's actions, and most important of all - the reasons behind each of these things. Without a healthy injection of critical thinking and examination on a consistent basis, a wiki cannot function, much akin to the need of an active and thinking populace being necessary for a functioning democracy.

It is with this that I urge the community to reform the essay process, or lack thereof. Under our current 'system' a person could write anything and place it into the essay category. Quite frankly, I believe that anything in the official essay category should be representative of the community. Aside from, the lack of standards, there are also no incentives with this current system, no guarantee that it will ever be read, users are forced to rely on advertising and their own notability to spread essays.

To remedy these issues, I propose we implement a featured images style process to allow for a central community hub for essays, a formalised process for essays placed within the category, to encourage essays from less known users, to allow more exposure to such essays, and allow the community to select essays that either represent the wiki's viewpoints or offer food for thought/debate. This would also prevent any essay threads from being brought to the Yew Grove.

Proposed Changes

  • Create a featured images style process for community essays in the RuneScape namespace.
  • Allow community control over essays to be placed within the essay category.
  • Continue to encourage local wiki essays and cultivate an environment to support their writers.
  • Create a central hub for such essays to be displayed (The current draft may be viewed here).
  • Grandfather current essays in the above draft. - Point withdrawn, it would be beneficial to revisit the older essays.-- 23:18, January 14, 2011 (UTC)


Support - As nom. I'm aware that not many users write essays, however, I feel we should encourage and enable such initiative whenever possible.--

Helm of neitiznot (charged).png Azaz129 Crystal shield.png Talk Edits Contribs

05:00, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

Support - While I'd probably not use the system, I don't see how it could hurt. bad_fetustalk 14:07, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Per Azaz129. Albeit I reference Wikipedia's essays from time to time, it would be nice for an original essay developed by a user on this project. Ryan PM 17:16, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Per nom. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 19:28, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Original essays are always a nice thing to read. Per nominator. ~MuzTalk 21:22, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Per Muzzy. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 22:49, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Essays can be a good read. 222 talk 02:12, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Essays really go unnoticed. — Enigma 02:26, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Grandfathering needs to be addressed -If implemented as proposed people will think they can never challenge any essay, and once in it stays forever. We need to make it crystal clear that just as with policies, anything can be changed over time, and that includes essays. So allow people to bring up the older essays for reconsideration, and just as with new ones they must meet a consensus to pass, rather than a consensus to be dismissed. This is key to prevent stagnation of older ideas that may prevent us from moving forward as we must to meet the new ideas and thoughts springing up every day. Adaptability is critical not only to our surviving, but to thrive.--Degenret01 02:56, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Fair enough, I only suggested grandfathering for the ease of it, as only one of the essays is currently community approved. Though, I agree having each one decided upon by the community would be beneficial. I'll strike out the grand father clause.-- 23:14, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
I do think they should be accepted for now, as long as people understand they can challenge it any time down the road. It would take forever to get each one "passed" in a fully proper discussion all at once.--Degenret01 04:50, January 15, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Sounds good, but it may get a bit unused like RS:FA. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 02:58, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Most of the good articles are already featured.--Degenret01 03:17, January 14, 2011 (UTC)
That doesn't explain why there are only 4 votes in 2 weeks. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 01:54, January 15, 2011 (UTC)

Support - I agree. Although I am a noob to essay's, I'm interested in producing a few. A template would be appreciated.

Bonziiznob Talk

03:28, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Support - I'm really into writing stuff, and it would be easier to have a place dedicated to essays, so that a YG doesn't have to be created every time. Real Nub 19:20, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Comment - While the idea is good, I'm in favor of creating such a system only if it will be frequently used. Who can say that this won't become another of the wiki's forgotten pages in the RuneScape namespace? The only essay that I can see cited at least somewhat frequently is RS:BB, and the only essays that I can think of are BB and RS:DBAD.

There have been several previous initiatives to expand the wiki's features in the RuneScape namespace, like Market, Editor Review, Adventurer's Tales, et cetera. But, each of the aforementioned pages has fallen flat at some point in time. At the end of the day, the wiki is a source for information.

What especially troubles me about this is that the proposer has clearly stated intentions to retire Frown. Even with strong advocacy, most RuneScape project pages are underused. Without a strong advocate, I don't see that much of a chance for the essay page. So, someone besides Azaz has to be willing to step up to be the life blood of the system.

On a completely unrelated note, what is grandfathering anyways? I get an impression of an old man raising a toddler, but that makes no sense in this scenario. --LiquidTalk 23:05, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Grandfathering-- 23:14, January 14, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Per above. Sounds like a good idea. Suppa chuppa Talk 06:39, January 16, 2011 (UTC)

Isn't an essay defined here as just a piece of writing which expresses the opinion of the people who wrote it and lacks any force for enforcement? If so, what good would it serve to require approval for these listed essays, or to allow the community as an entity to have control over what they say? That would effectively make them policy-esque since they've been community-approved. It might be a good idea to have a page listing essays instead of simply a category, but a formal process for listing them there can only make people less-inclined to write them. Essays should be very low-key and taken for what they are; I'm not sure why ad-hoc discussions cannot be used. (wszx) 07:14, January 16, 2011 (UTC)

I imagine the approval is to make sure that we don't end up with essays conflicting with policy, incomplete essays, or poorly written essays spamming up the projectspace. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 18:17, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
Why can't essays conflict with policy? (wszx) 19:47, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
Because it wouldn't make sense to have an essay in the projectspace as to why administrators should be made oligarchs and ban all IP editing. Sure, we can have essays that not everyone agrees on, but they shouldn't go directly against what the wiki stands for. Magic-icon.pngStelercusIlluminated Book of Balance.png 19:55, January 17, 2011 (UTC)
Then what is the criterion for allowing essays into project space? "Pretty much aligns with policy anyway"? (wszx) 20:01, January 17, 2011 (UTC)

Comment - As we would be nowhere as a civilization without people who challenge the status-quo, I believe that users who use official channels to challenge our policies should be encouraged. Should a user submit a poorly written and inadequately supported text-wall of personal opinion, I wonder if it would be acceptable to inform him of the essay's poor quality and ask for a re-write. Should a user submit a poorly written, well-suported argument, someone else may see the potential and improve it. Should a user submit a well-written, well-supported argument, I see no reason why it should be denied hosting, so long as it involves a relevant topic. Leftiness 23:32, January 17, 2011 (UTC)

Support - Per above - [Pharos] iPhone Edit 11:54, January 16, 2011 (UTC)

Question - Can someone clarify "Create a featured images style process for community essays in the RuneScape namespace."? Kthx. Matt (t) 03:03, January 23, 2011 (UTC)

If you want to make an essay, you have to let it run a nomination in the same style as Featured Images. JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 13:14, January 23, 2011 (UTC)

Closed - The page will be implemented and can be found at RuneScape:Essays. --LiquidTalk 02:50, January 29, 2011 (UTC)