DSP Wiki:Plan/Item Pages

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If you have any interest in updating the Item pages, ItemInfo panels, etc., please read this article FIRST

To begin with: I (Rayanth - DSP Wiki Owner, Operator, SysAdmin) am writing this more as a 'letter to editors', rather than a wiki-quality informational article. This is written in response to a number of changes that have happened regarding the Item pages, ItemInfo cards, and related templates.

If you are the person who put the effort into changing all of these templates and cards over the past few days, then I am sorry to have to revert it all. While I can see that they were well-intentioned, I truly feel that wholesale changes that affect the vast majority of the wiki should be cleared with the admin team first. This is not a case where forgiveness is better than permission - by changing the core templates, you unknowingly broke several background processes, and delayed several projects that were nearing completion.

In an effort to prevent this from happening again, I am outlining here my actual plan, actions taken, and what goes on behind the scenes for these pages and templates.

Actions Taken

  • In response to the major changes to the templates that occurred, affecting a large majority of the wiki, I have locked down the Template namespace so that only a member with the EditInterface rights can edit them. Currently, that list has one member.
  • I have begun carefully rolling back many of the changes that were made to the Item pages, specifically regarding the ItemInfo cards, and other areas that are already in work by other processes. I am being extremely careful to not break any templates or lose any information in the process.
  • I have considered, but currently postponed, Protecting the ItemInfo pages. Some users appear to wish to update the grammar of the Description in them, and I can't blame them for that, so they will remain editable for now. If another user tries to make wholesale changes to the way these info cards work again, I will have no choice.

Planned Changes & Behind-the-Scenes

Item Info Cards

The original plan for these cards was to match exactly what the game showed in tooltips. I strived for that prior to game launch, and immediately after game launch began taking and considering suggestions for how to improve these cards. The plan for them is:

  • ALL information for an Item should be stored in the ItemInfo subpage. This makes there be only one place to go, to change anything about the item to match the game reality.
  • There is a maintenance script well under development that can maintain this page any time the data in the game changes. Having it in one place, in one solid format, simplifies the script's task.
  • There is an enabled extension called Cargo that will let the ItemInfo (and other Info) Cards be catalogued into the database as queryable database tables. Work to update the templates for Cargo usage is underway on the Test wiki.
  • Once the Cargo integration is complete, the information in the item info card can be queried with simple syntax similar to an SQL database query, from anywhere else on the wiki.
  • The Item Info cards will get more information added to them visually than is currently shown. Again the current look and shown info was meant to match what the game shows, but it is evident that adding more such as stack size, used-in etc are desirable. They will be added below the Recipes in the current view.

Summary Section

The purpose of this section is/was to provide a brief introduction to describe the item and its purpose in the game. Since this information is not available FROM the game, it was left blank in the initial population of the wiki. I will continue to monitor this section, but do not have any current intent to codify anything about its usage.

Required Technology Section

This section was intended to contain information regarding the tech that unlocks the item in question. However, it became evident that it was a bit of a waste to have an entire section dedicated to this, and it is now planned to be added in the ItemInfo card directly, as mentioned above.

Production Chain Section

I have yet to see anyone use this section for its intended purpose, which I thought was somewhat clear from its heading. The purpose of this section is to display the full production chain, from raw materials to finished product, for the item in question. This would be similar to the production flow graphic you see on the various Calculator tools for the game, but not for any particular rate, just for item quantities to produce the recipe one time.

  • The current information in this section, while finally somewhat prettied up, will be moving to the ItemInfo cards in the long run. For right now, it will stay how it is, but the source of the data will be moved back to the page, rather than a data template.
  • Actually creating the production chain graphic needs to wait until the Cargo extension work is complete, as querying that data will make this section much easier to accomplish. I then will need to write a LUA script to manage the calculations.

Used In Section

This section was not part of the original page plan. It is, however, extremely useful information, and I plan to keep it in some form or another. That said, the way it is currently done will not be easy to maintain, and once the Cargo extension work is completed, the Used In section can actually be automated with a reverse lookup in the database. This was, believe it or not, the actual reason that I decided to add Cargo to begin with.

  • The Used-In section will be integrated across all non-end-item pages and automated from Cargo data. It might become part of the ItemInfo template, but some items have a lot of Used-Ins and that may make the ItemInfo template too unwieldy. Decision on this is therefore not final.

Player Tips and Tricks Section

This section, so far, has seen use as-intended. This was for players to submit little bits of information that may help others when considering the item for whatever purpose. There is expected to be some bleed-over between this section and the Summary section -- what may seem like general/generic info to one, may seem like a very useful tip to someone else. It's fine for information to go in either one, or even to be duplicated between them.

Looking Forward

I hope that this clearly outlines the future vision for these pages. Similar changes will happen for the TechInfo and UpgradeInfo cards and their related pages, as well.

I do continue to work on this wiki every single day, though my edit history may not look like it because I'm mostly working on UI/UX stuff on the Testwiki so that I don't break this one. I apologize once again to the editor who decided to improve the wiki with their changes, that I have been reverting. I wish you had reached out to me first, to make sure I didn't already have plans. Hopefully the plans outlined above will explain why I had to do this.

Understand, also, that a wiki should not store its data in templates in the Template namespace. Data is malleable, and should therefore be in a readily-accessible place to all editors: on the main namespace articles. This is a big part of why the Info cards store their information in a subpage of the article they belong to.

I also would like to discourage the use of multiple nested templates. It was a struggle to let myself nest the Recipe templates inside the ItemInfo templates as it was. Every transclusion costs CPU time for building the page upon the request of a browser. Even a few tens of milliseconds here and there can add up quickly. Today's internet readers have an extremely short attention span, and if a page takes only a couple seconds to load, they may lose interest and go elsewhere. This is always first and foremost in my mind -- the fewer transclusions, the faster the page load, and the more readers stick around. There is also a nesting limit for template calls that will completely shut down a template if it is reached, and we definitely don't want to see that, so discouraging nested template calls is preferred.

Once again, please come join us on the DSP Wiki Discord (link on Main Page) if you have any questions, requests or ideas to help the wiki. We look forward to having you!

-- Sincerely, Rayanth (talk) 09:47, 16 February 2021 (UTC)