Friday Facts #233 - Wiki admin

Posted by Klonan & Bilka on 2018-03-09

Hello, it is another Friday already, and one step closer to the double-digit temperatures of spring.

T-shirt shop in full-swing

The T-shirt shop has been back up and running now for a few weeks. If you missed your chance to get a T-shirt before Christmas, now is the chance to place the order while stocks last. It is not quite the rush we had during the holiday season, but our inventory is slowly making its way into the hands of our fans.

Wiki admin visit

Long ago, we created the Official Factorio Wiki, and we mostly decided that the community will maintain it. After some time we looked upon the Wiki, and saw that it was not that great. So we created the guide. Time passed still, and soon the guide was out of date. It is tough being early access in this way, any work we do not may be out of date in several months.

Two people stepped up for us during this time, Gangsir and Bilka. From the mess it was, they salvaged and recovered the Wiki to some reasonable state. Soon the quality and usefulness of the Wiki exceeded that of the guide, and with their incredible work, the Wiki became the great resource it is now.

At this point Gangsir is no longer able to volunteer his time to administer the Wiki, so Bilka stepped up to take over all wiki administration. Over the last year Bilka has made many key improvements to the Wiki, as well as sorting out technical issues and laying a solid foundation for the rest of our Wiki contributors. Since the work and result has been so exceptional, and the ongoing maintenance of this community resource more important than ever, we have decided to hire Bilka to work remotely as our official Wiki admin.

To this end, we invited him to spend a few days with us in the office, to get to know us more closely, and to sort out the details of this cooperation. The following is a short write-up of his visit, and some more info on the work he has been doing.

Office visit & Wiki back end (Bilka)

I arrived in Prague on Sunday evening after an 8 hour train ride from my home town in Germany. While I enjoyed the changing landscapes, I used most of the time to sleep after a long night of playing Factorio. The week started off by Klonan giving me a small tour of the office and then showing me to the desk I'd be working from for the next few days. This was close to Rseding and Twinsen, whom I already knew from discord, so we had many interesting conversations during my visit. The atmosphere was always relaxed, even when we talked about the controversial subject of belts and bots. I also discovered that bugfixing can be a fascinating process to watch, even if it means staying up until 5am.

However, most of my time was spent working on the wiki. As a wiki admin I look after the 'back end', which includes tasks like organizing pages and files, guiding new users, and making sure that content is presented nicely. For example, on Tuesday I migrated all technology files to their in-game names using a script, finishing off the long-term effort of unifying file names on the wiki. Refactoring like this makes it easier for new editors to contribute, since they no longer have to tediously search for the right image. I also created some documentation, such as the style and translation guides, which ensures that contributors are up to speed on how things work, and new contributions end up in the right place.

One thing that helps with presenting the content is the template system. Templates are small bits of wikitext that can be included in a page to perform a common function, like displaying a button to copy a blueprint string:

Together with scripts, templates allow us to partially automate updating the wiki to the newest version, and alongside access to the game's source code, it is possible for me to update the wiki to a new version within a few minutes. This alone greatly improves the quality of the wiki, and makes it a much more useful resource than it was a year ago. But the wiki is the work of many people, contributing to a common goal. So if you have something you'd like to add, want to translate one of the pages into your first language, or you have some modding knowledge that can find its place on one of the prototype pages, you are invited to request an account and get going!

As always let us know what you think on our forum.