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Forum:Major change for PFWiki

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I just downloaded my PDF of the new Inner Sea World Guide and came across something very interesting that will have a MAJOR impact on the wiki. If you look at the entry for Korvosa in the section on Varisia, you will see that they have set the city back to before the beginning of the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP, with King Eodred II still alive. The default date for Golarion is still 4711 AR, but seems to be set to before any of the APs, as the entry on Xin-Shalast mention anything about Karzoug's reawakening, and the entry for Riddleport mentions nothing of the Blot. In terms of marketing for Paizo this makes a lot of sense, as it means that none of the APs have "happened" yet and are still viable. If they had decided that some of the APs had happened, they would for some people no longer seem as "relevant", I believe.

The reason that this is such a big deal, if you are new to the wiki, is that we have been incorporating the changes the APs bring about into the wiki. Just take a look at Ileosa Arabasti, wife of the above-mentioned King of Korvosa. Her entry incorporates some of the changes that she undergoes through the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP.

So where do we go from here? Do we go back and take out all the material from the APs? This would be a BIG job, but without doing so, we could no longer claim to be a true canon source. We could, of course, keep all the geographical and historical information incorporated in the APs, those which we assume would be unaffected by what happens in the APs. We just couldn't include much of the biographical or political information brought about by the APs.

I wish we had known about this earlier. Yoda, I know you are under a NDA, but this has seemingly invalidated lots of people's work.

I'm downloading it now. I think its strange to think that some of the facts about the history presented in the APs would be relevant, while others are not. I would vote for continuing the way that we are, as to do otherwise would be confusing to potential contributors, and create a lot of additional work. James has always said that the APs are designed to be run in any order, at any date. I'm thinking it may be just that the ladder of canon policy may need to be revisited.

This has been the official stance on whether APs or adventures are assumed to have happened since day 1. We had several long discussions about how to handle this in the wiki's earliest days back on the messageboards Alfred hosted. We basically decided to move time forward on the wiki as if all adventures do happen and that the PCs are successful. In retrospect, it might not have been the best decision, but it's the one we've been going off of for three years now.

How do we bring the wiki in line with the official timeline in terms of events within the books? I don't know. I also don't know if we really need to. There's something to be said for including everything as a comprehensive narrative of all possible canon events, even if the individual events play out differently or don't occur in an individual game. Let me talk to some folks here and see what they think, but in the end, what the wiki does isn't a decision for Paizo as a company to make. It should come from the wiki community.

Sorry, Yoda, if my post came off a little abrasive. I was just a little thrown by the revelation.

I know that it would be a lot of work to "move the clock back" on a number of the descriptions of people and places, but in some ways I think it would benefit the wiki. Firstly it would mean that the wiki would be inline with other Paizo publications. Secondly, it would "make available" a bunch of NPCs that otherwise would be "dead". We wouldn't have to turn the clock back all the way. All of the NPCs described in the APs might still exist, they would just exist in their pre-AP form, as if a snapshot had been taken just before the beginning of their first mention. To use the example of Ileosa Arabasti from Rise of the Runelords, she would still be Queen of Korvosa, and still have encountered the Fangs of Kazavon, and she would still be trying to kill her husband with poison, but he would still be alive, just as he was at the beginning of Edge of Anarchy. Xanesha would still be in her Magnimaran clocktower harvesting souls for good ol' Karzoug. Having these NPCs and creatures living and "available" would mean that people could use them in their adventures even if they didn't want to run the AP that they are associated with. PCs could find Xanesha while investigating the Skinsaw cults or following leads from various local murders. Aldern Foxglove could be discovered before he becomes undead (as he was in Burnt Offerings) and made to pay for murdering his wife.

Using this "pre-AP snapshot" would also mean that we could finally get rid of the ambiguity of how the NPCs and monsters that the PCs kill in the APs die, or if they die at all, and what the consequences of their deaths might be.

I know it's a lot of work, but IMO I think we should put the wiki through the Wayback Machine.

this is one point I will disagree with you on BrOp. Without the AP happening, would Verik be convinced to start all the world's meats? Would Vencarlo Orisini's love triangle end so well for Grau Soldato? All of these write-ups would have printed history that would be invalid to the wiki, confusing wiki readers in the future. What events talked about in the history part of the AP would be possible? the ship sunk in Korvosa's harbor would be a random ship floating somewhere, so no article on it...... Plague doctors wouldn't exist, so we couldn't have articles about them.... Yes, the stag lord would be there, and so would the sootscale kobolds, but the world at large wouldn't know about them, if we're writing this as an encyclopedia from a in world view, if the world doesn't know about them, there's no entry

Also, it would hurt the reputation of being a go to reference of all data printed for specific topics, as we would have to limit many facts printed as part of the AP.
Why, I humbly ask, would we have to limit the facts? As far as I know, we've always said that our perspective was that of an omniscient observer. That's why we include information on things that nobody could arguably know, but which, for instance, are included as background material in the various publications. Just because we don't talk about plague doctors infiltrating Korovsa and causing an epidemic there, doesn't mean they don't exist. After all, they exist before the beginning of the Adventure Path.
What about things that are only worth an entry in the context of the AP? Such as the ship I mentioned above, or the child who first contracted the disease - without the events from the AP, she is just a child from the city and doesn't really fit the unspoken three sentence length for articles rule? I agree that the characters the the PCs are supposed to fight may escape or be captured, so a death date is not necessary for them in my mind (sorry, CotCT is the only one I really read all the way through, so thats the one I'm using for my suggestions)
And the pyramids from J1 wouldn't be discovered, because they become discovered as you start the adventure, and half the history section of Falcon's Hollow wouldn't have happened, including two rare diseases
If we stick with our current mode of doing things, how do we explain the many discrepancies between what is written in the wiki, and what is written in the the Inner Sea World Guide? Can we really call ourselves a canon source if some of our information is radically different from the most up-do-date tome of published Golarion lore?

Maybe we could we create a badge or some other kind of identifying mark to somehow set aside the information arising as a direct result of any of the APs, modules, PFS scenarios having happened? Is this waaay too much work and would this make the wiki too messy? I'm just trying to figure out a way around this tricky issue.
I brought this up to people at the office tonight, and their almost unanimous take on it was this: Articles should still be written from an in-world POV, third-person omnicient, and events or changes to specific elements should be noted in a section of the article. The example Erik gave was "Eodred's article should act as though he's still alive, but have a Curse of the Crimson Throne header, below which would be updates to the basic information if you've run that campaign." I personally think this breaks the POV and voice of the articles.

The official Paizo stance on whether adventures are canon or not makes a product like ours tricky. Eodred's death is canon, in the sense that it's published in an official Paizo product how he dies and what the consequences of this are. When that happens is up to individual GMs however, which is why they're all assumed not to have happened for Campaign Setting products. But Jade Regent will have to assume that Ameiko Kaijitsu survived Rise of the Runelords, and when that AP ends, it will assume that she's not even in Sandpoint anymore. How do we make an Ameiko Kaijitsu article that doesn't mention the actual canon events that take place between her and her brother? How can the wiki be a usable resource for people running Jade Regent, when the information on her and other Sandpoint natives only goes up to 4707 AR? Is someone using the wiki to support Shalelu Andosana in The Armageddon Echo when it doesn't mention developments in her character from The Hook Mountain Massacre?

My feeling on this, as a fan and longtime wiki contributor, is that the wiki should assume everything does happen and note it in one way or another, as if it's a massive campaign journal of us running everything right when it comes out exactly as written. Then again, that might be me trying to force the world to be more "living" than it actually is. We don't have to worry about obsoleting our product like Paizo does, so we don't have to take the same stance. That's why it's a fan project and not something official in-house.

Great debate and I'll wade in with my first thoughts having not digested any of the new book yet at all.
  • Do events change in Golarion? In a book for 4711 replacing the previous one c.4708, I'd expect some heads of state to have changed - has this happened? Is there a living time line in Golarion outside the APs or is it a static world frozen in 4708ish? I obviously am hoping the world has moved on a few years noticeably. So how do we cope with that level of change, ignoring APs for now - that will give us a pointer to dealing with AP/mod change?
  • If something like the death of a monarch is not recorded on the wiki then I'd say the wiki was less useful. It seems we have to find a way to record events in APs and mods yet keeping the vanilla time line pure as well for those who have yet to start the APs.
  • You did have (insert smiley) a subsection of articles for recording 'Appearances' in fiction and sourcebooks. This could be resurrected to include data re the entity in APs, mods and other sources underneath a main vanilla article. Yoda8myhead is correct that this is a breaking of the point of view to which the wiki aspires.
  • There is a precedent in the Paizo books to have a separate section which has spoilers / secret information in addition to well known bits. However, I think this got dropped when the Pathfinder Companion line for players was started meaning all data in the Chronicles books could be for GMs. That never has to contend with the complete disparity between an NPC being alive and being dead in the same article though as it seems we might - tricky.
  • Can we consider a similar programme for incorporating the Inner Sea World Guide as you did for the Campaign Setting, which would help get the data in consistently and possibly faster?

In essence, I vote for having all info, vanilla and data from adventures, but am unsure how this could be best presented.

First thoughts, as I said.

As far as I can see, the world has not changed, although I have only skimmed it so far. The time has merely been moved up to 4711 AR, but all the rulers at least still seem to be the same.
Boy, this is going to be tricky. An additional issue that hasn't been addressed so far is how the Kingmaker AP fits into all of this. After all, it potentially takes years or even decades to play out. Including the changes from that storyline would be very problematic, IMO.

Perhaps a compromise could be reached in terms of whether to include the AP material or not. This may be a bad idea, but what if we include material from the AP in collapsible wikitables at the end of an article? Yes, this is not particularly elegant, but it separates the AP material so that people who want it can find it, but it can also be easily ignored.

Another thought I had is, how much of our wiki does this really affect?
I really don't like that for a number of reasons, the two main ones:

1)it discourages new users. Many new users are turned away just by the need to use citation templates... forcing them to learn how to code collapsible tables will turn more away, and we need all the users we can get.

2)it breaks the point of view of the wiki's scope

I think this would effect a good 20% of the articles (85% of the articles that have any citation from an adventure path - pretty much everything but the monsters that don't appear in the AP module and some of the deity things - a bot could do the math) As many of the articles in the AP are written to coincide with the events in the AP. (Edit: While not all of these would have to be changed, they would all have to be reviewed for changes)

To be honest, I think the easiest thing and most in line with keeping with the scope of the project would be to just not put dates on events that happen in the APs so King Eodred II's article still says that he was killed, but doesn't have a date specified. It doesn't force people to format AP things differently, and means Admins would have to police less, and be able to write more than the other options
Wow, I saw the first post of this just before I went to bed last night and told myself I'd read and comment in the morning. Now there are a dozen or so posts with lots to consider. My first reaction is to continue to include everything. I am an inclusionist... probably always will be. The idea of a badge or something for articles that include AP material might be worth looking into. I'm going to think about this some more, re-read everything here and give a more considered opinion later tonight (you'll all be waiting with bated breath I'm sure...).
OK, so from what I can tell, the only thing that has really changed in the Inner Sea World Guide (ISWG) is that the date has been moved up. Other than that we're pretty much where we were a couple of days ago. It's always been Paizo's position that no adventures (APs, modules or PFS) have taken place, and that hasn't changed. It's always been our position to assume that all adventures have taken place in the year that they were published (Kingmaker being somewhat problematic as previously mentioned). APs are Paizo's flagship products. They are the most closely scrutinized for continuity, and the main vehicle for world-building (I believe these have been stated by James Jacobs). That's why we've treated APs as top-level canon along with the CS. I don't think we should change how we do things. The ISWG is a baseline, but that's all. It's a starting point that everybody's home campaigns can build off of. In many/most cases this building will happen in a forward motion along the timeline, but there is nothing to prevent what is essentially retconning (kind of a loaded term, but it describes the situation pretty well). To me, we can either present the baseline, or be inclusive (it really is black or white to me, otherwise we have to start making judgment calls about where to draw the line... something we've avoided this far), and I vote inclusive. We just state somewhere that the ISWG is the baseline that maybe over-ridden by APs (and modules and PFS? still haven't worked those details out in my head).

Question: For PFS (or anything else for that matter) is the ISWG considered the bible? Are events assumed to not have happened? How is this handed (very carefully I assume)?

tl;dr: We stay the course we've been on. We retcon older variable material in as necessary.

Sorry to all for my Chicken Little impersonation at the beginning of this thread. Now that I've had a little time to think about it (and read everyone else's comments), I've come to realize that I too think we should keep going much as we have been. I guess I never had thought about our wiki being different from what Paizo was doing, but now that I see that they are, our differences don't seem to be that major. Mind you, I still think we should talk about this some more, only to iron out all the issues that people have raised here. Sorry for the early freak-out.
I think deciding to maintain an inclusive, encyclopaedic approach is the way to go, and will be the most useful to the wiki's users. I also like the idea of badges or tags to help readily identify the sources of material, especially APs.
In some way we already have badges for this, namely our {{spoiler}} templates. Do we need to be more explicit than that?
Re: {{spoiler}} tags, I don't think we need to do more than that. To use the Korvosan monarchy example, if someone's playing in CotCT and wants to look up background on the queen, they'll see that the page features spoilers for the AP they're playing in and will either stop reading, or know that the information presented therein assumes the events of CotCT have occurred. Perhaps we want to revise the Spoiler template to be less a spoiler warning, but more of a timeline explanation, to make it clear that this article assumes the events of Product X have occurred and do not reflect the baseline, pre-AP world.
I think this kind of clarification would be very useful, Yoda, as people could start to be confused when they start with the Inner Sea World Guide and come to the wiki for more information about any given subject.
A spoiler tag marks spoilers - I'd leave it to do that job. The queen article would also show the vanilla information as well as the AP so we still need a way, within an article, of explaining facts showing 2 independent time lines: the AP one and the vanilla one. That will need explaining explicitly. The last 2 posts seem to assume we'll only have AP time line data on the wiki - that I thought was against the consensus so far.
The problem with incorporating two time lines, is that it goes further down the path of messing with our Point of View Policy. Yes, that is already compromised by the infoboxes and the fact that we have intext citations of real world publications, but listing two separate time lines would only further this divide.

New idea as a suggestion: As some of you may have worked out I am currently enjoying reading Plague of Shadows and it has given me an idea to help our current situation - a Shadow Wiki. Bear with me this is not fully thought through but there may be some ideas here that get over some of the hurdles. The main idea is simple too.

Using the example above, King Eodred II gets two wiki pages: a wiki page and a 'shadow wiki' page. The wiki page contains the 'vanilla' information from the Inner Sea World Guide (ISWG); the 'shadow wiki' page gets any amendments to the King's life from information in AP, modules, etc.

That's the idea. To some details I have also considered:

  1. The 'shadow wiki' could get a different background colour and 'look and feel' so people know they are in a 'shadow wiki' page rather than the brown we currently enjoy.
  2. The 'shadow wiki' page would simply have an appendage to the title to distinguish it. This is in a similar way to the current use of (person) or (city) but one that is used consistently used for all shadow wiki pages so anyone can clearly see that it is such a page. This would be useful not only as a method of generating a separate page but would also to clearly show shadow pages in, say, a category listing. I have no strong feelings but something simple like (AA) might work standing for 'Adventure Amended'.
  3. Another advantage of this way forward is it preserves the Point of View within a page, as the author is writing as a Pathfinder Chronicler in one of two clearly defined universes: one in which the AP has occurred and one in which it hasn't. This avoids any confusion / compromise within the page.
  4. If an entity has not been amended by an AP, it just gets a single standard wiki page - it only would need an (AA) page if the entity got caught up in an AP or mod
  5. All wiki and shadow wiki pages should get automatically mutually linked
  6. Taking the above point further, I think two templates would be necessary to get consistency of message throughout the wiki and to keep things simple for the author. The templates would be for a 'vanilla' page and for a 'shadow wiki' page. They could, amongst other things:
  • set the page colour;
  • add the appropriate mutual links;
  • state clearly what the difference is between a wiki and a shadow wiki page. This element could have a link to a page explaining in more detail why we have two separate pages for one entity;
  • add spoiler information for the appropriate adventures.


Separate point: based on Paizo's stance there is nothing stopping them taking a character from the ISWG, using them and amending their history in, say, AP 3 and then setting up an entirely different history by using them again in, say, AP 6. Unless Paizo can say this will never happen (and why should they limit themselves thus), we should include this consideration in our discussions now to avoid going through this debate at a later time. Maybe it's already happened but am unsure.