OGC Wiki (merged)

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Rasyr

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philreed said:
I want to hear how this idea helps the game industry more than it hurts it.

As a publisher resource, I think that it would help the industry. As something freely available to the general public, it is more problematical, but I think that the cons outweigh the pros (as far as publishers are concerned). The only thing that I can see that might ease the mind of some (but not all) publishers is that with the wiki, all of their OGC will not be available in a single lump, but as many separate pages (one page per feat, one page per PrC, etc.).

However, I do think that the one post from the rpg.net thread had an interesting hypothesis/question which I have quoted below
Calithena said:
Everything Mearls has done makes sense from a self-interested point of view, Joe.

Making the OGC designation in Iron Heroes totally unclear on purpose helps protect Malhavoc against what he's now advocating. It helps keep that content quasi-proprietary even though some of it technically is not.

Advocating the Wiki now that he's working for WotC, who doesn't open anything they make any more, is a way to get a convenient reference for everything else others have done so that he can use it to design stuff, taking from the community while giving nothing new back - and also weaken all of WotC's competitors for the d20 market by encouraging them all to cannibalize each other.

Just something to think about.....
 

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philreed

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Rasyr said:
As a publisher resource, I think that it would help the industry.

If it was a private, subscription-based site with a price of $500 or so/year I could see it being a valuable publisher resource. As a wide-open free-for-all I see it as a disaster for a lot of publishers.
 

mythusmage

Banned
Banned
philreed said:
If it was a private, subscription-based site with a price of $500 or so/year I could see it being a valuable publisher resource. As a wide-open free-for-all I see it as a disaster for a lot of publishers.

Then make sure people can clearly distinguish between IP and OGC.

(Remember when publishers set OGC off in shaded boxes or sidebars?)
 

Rasyr

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mythusmage said:
Then make sure people can clearly distinguish between IP and OGC.

Except that that is exactly the reason some publishers are as obscure as possible (doesn't Malhavoc kinda have a reputation for this?), so that it IS extremely difficult to pull out and re-use thier OGC.

And if somebody screws up in extracting it, they get to tell you to pull the whole thing (i.e. what you got from their products).

I liked Joe's suggestion of Mearls leading off by submitting all of his OGC, starting with Iron Heroes and working backwards from there. As he is the one advocating this, if his OGC isn't the first entered, I do not see many other publishers going for it either.
 

philreed

Adventurer
Supporter
mythusmage said:
Then make sure people can clearly distinguish between IP and OGC.

What's not clear about:

"The entire contents of Spells & Magic is considered Open Content, except for the cover, artwork, and other graphic elements."

Bastion has been open with A LOT of their material. As have Green Ronin and myself. Would you rather see people start using confusing, restrictive designations?
 

JBowtie

First Post
Here's a sample policy for such a beast.

No anonymous edits. Problematic accounts can be banned, at the IP level if need be.

A six month embargo on content from new publications. Publishers can of course request the embargo be reduced/eliminated.

Use a wiki that allows locking of pages to enforce the embargo (such as the Wikipedia engine).

Moderation policy as follows:
- Content that does not link to a source page is deleted. That way all pages cite a source.
- Source pages include the OGC declaration, Section 15 information, and OGL version. Links to the publishers web page and to purchase the book are encouraged. Page can be locked when verified. Date of embargo also goes here.

- Public mailing list for all administrative issues. This gives publishers a forum to complain, talk about content embargos, etc. People who have been banned have a forum to find out why and can be educated to act properly. People can also have their moderation rights granted/revoked via this list.

- Pages containing embargoed content are wiped and locked with a note indicating when the embargo will be lifted.

- Pages containing IP; attempts should be made to fix this, otherwise the page should be wiped and explanatory text left in its stead.

If publishers choose to participate, they will of course be able to fix violations in regard to their own content and make sure source information is correct.
If publishers choose not to participate, they can email the admin list when violations come to their attention.
Since we require people to sign up for accounts, you can contact contributors who are violating policy, give them warnings and guidance.


If the community cannot police itself, then the resource goes away or becomes invitation only. I think the EN World forums make a good case that the community *can* police itself, especially if there are active moderators. Wikipedia is an example that has issues with copyrighted content all the time, but somehow the community manages to fix this.

To Phil - the main benefits to publishers I see are:
* People have no excuse for getting their Section 15s wrong; there will be a nice central place to check for those things.
* Older products will probably see a sales bump when people realize there's some cool content they hadn't come across before.
* Lots of content will be vetted, so people won't be accidentally violating your IP.
* Publishers will waste less time teasing apart open and closed content, making reuse more practical. You'll be sharing this load with the community.
* People cutting and pasting for adventures and campaign web sites and the like are less likely to infringe on your IP.
* The community will end up mor educated about the licenses and compliance issues.
* Compare and contrast across a larger cross-section of the industry, allowing you determine the best mechanics/fit from stuff you may not personally own.
* You'll have a much better handle on which content gets used and by whom, particularly in the PDF space. This means you might be able to better target future work.

The wiki format does cause a loss of information that publishers can exploit to provide a better experience.

* Wiki content is heavily fragmented and implicitly unordered. Relationships are easy to discover but not ideally presented.
* Wiki content will not have art, a consistent writing style, consistent quality, or consistent presentation.
* Wiki content is not a cohesive ruleset; it's many overlapping rulesets. Makes it more useful for people who already own content to use as a reference than for people trying to avoid paying for a product.
* Product identity is still a value-add.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
JBowtie said:
* People have no excuse for getting their Section 15s wrong; there will be a nice central place to check for those things.

We already have no excuse; it is already a trivial matter. Nevertheless, and more to our shame, mistakes happen, and I assure you it's not because we don't have a nice central place to look.

* Older products will probably see a sales bump when people realize there's some cool content they hadn't come across before.

Unless folks just use the Wiki for all their new content.

* Lots of content will be vetted, so people won't be accidentally violating your IP.

Which people?

* Publishers will waste less time teasing apart open and closed content, making reuse more practical. You'll be sharing this load with the community.

I can't imagine any publisher is currently spending any time on this. Any publisher inclined to use OGC is likely to have no trouble at all extracting OGC; it's just not worth it to run the risk of 'upsetting' the publishers who are guilty of deliberately obfuscating their content.

* People cutting and pasting for adventures and campaign web sites and the like are less likely to infringe on your IP.

I don't think there are a lot of publishers losing sleep over campaign web sites; nor do I think that the majority of campaign websites are all that concerned over OGL issues.

* The community will end up mor educated about the licenses and compliance issues.

What community is that? The community of publishers, the community of gamers, or both? I'm annoyed when fans don't understand the licenses, yes, but I'd hardly say it's a business concern.

* Compare and contrast across a larger cross-section of the industry, allowing you determine the best mechanics/fit from stuff you may not personally own.

I could use something like this. I'm not sure it's worth the loss of revenue.

I basically have two options as a designer. I can look for Open Content that fits my needs, or I can design it myself. Ego considerations notwithstanding, it's often easier to design it myself.

* You'll have a much better handle on which content gets used and by whom, particularly in the PDF space. This means you might be able to better target future work.

Are you saying that by perusing all of the free content out there, I can avoid duplication of effort, so that I can focus all my design efforts on producing new, original Open Content?

Which will then be given away for free shortly after publication?
 

Denaes

First Post
JBowtie said:
The wiki format does cause a loss of information that publishers can exploit to provide a better experience.

* Wiki content is heavily fragmented and implicitly unordered. Relationships are easy to discover but not ideally presented.
* Wiki content will not have art, a consistent writing style, consistent quality, or consistent presentation.
* Wiki content is not a cohesive ruleset; it's many overlapping rulesets. Makes it more useful for people who already own content to use as a reference than for people trying to avoid paying for a product.
* Product identity is still a value-add.

You seem to imply that you chop up rules peacemeal. That would render the Wiki relatively useless.

For example, a few feats from Spycraft 2.0 arn't very balanced. You really need them all or you have a lopsided Feat array. Now most the feats won't make sense as they apply to rules specific to Spycraft 2.0 such as Lifestyle, Appearance, Final Attacks, Gear, Action Dice, etc. They play off of the classes and the classes in turn play off the feats.

Even with visually compatable rules (they don't obviously look out of place) you face the fact that three rules would look totally stupid seperate, but make sense together.
 

JBowtie

First Post
Denaes said:
You seem to imply that you chop up rules peacemeal. That would render the Wiki relatively useless.
It doesn't make it useless, but it makes it harder to use as anything other than a reference.

Denaes said:
For example, a few feats from Spycraft 2.0 arn't very balanced. You really need them all or you have a lopsided Feat array. Now most the feats won't make sense as they apply to rules specific to Spycraft 2.0 such as Lifestyle, Appearance, Final Attacks, Gear, Action Dice, etc. They play off of the classes and the classes in turn play off the feats.

Even with visually compatable rules (they don't obviously look out of place) you face the fact that three rules would look totally stupid seperate, but make sense together.

As a user, you could annotate the rules to indicate that they require or work well with certain other rules. You could create a subsystem page that links disparate rules that need each other. Regardless of how you do it, the sheer volume of material means it will never be the same as picking up a book that rules designed to work together in the first place.

I've used such a wiki for my personal campaign setting, and I can tell you that a wiki is not as convenient as picking up a book. What gives it power and makes it useful is that I can, for instance, cross-reference rules from multiple materials. I can categorize feats from different sources and realize that I have six that do the same thing and should therefore cull some.

The power of the wiki is that I can figure out which books to bring to the table for given session. I can search for common terms and organize the rules for my usage patterns. My players can fix issues and incorporate errata and generally comment about the suitability and playability of everything I want to use.

I have over 300 books in my personal library, several dozen PDFs, and a ton of original material. Only the wiki allows me to actually leverage all that material and use it effectively. Sharing that power (and work) with the gaming community would multiply that effect. I'm not going to ever open that wiki as is because it's too far from the original source material (I've pushed and pulled and twisted the material over time to integrate it deeper into my setting), but setting up a pale shadow seeded with the SRD would be trivial.

I mean, seriously, a wiki is going to be even less threat than piracy for a publisher. With the wiki, someone will need to cut and paste and organize all the content into a single document to get hold of your work; if they want it that bad it's a lot less work to get the PDF off any file sharing hub. On top of which cutting and pasting doesn't get them the art, closed content, or feel of the original.

Go over to d20srd.org sometime; imagine cutting and pasting all of that to get the Player's Handbook. But see how useful it is when you just need to look something up or when researching the impact of a rules change. A wiki is going to do that on a huge scale (and cut things up even finer because of its nature) for hundreds of books.
 

mythusmage

Banned
Banned
Rasyr said:
Except that that is exactly the reason some publishers are as obscure as possible (doesn't Malhavoc kinda have a reputation for this?), so that it IS extremely difficult to pull out and re-use thier OGC.

And if somebody screws up in extracting it, they get to tell you to pull the whole thing (i.e. what you got from their products).

I liked Joe's suggestion of Mearls leading off by submitting all of his OGC, starting with Iron Heroes and working backwards from there. As he is the one advocating this, if his OGC isn't the first entered, I do not see many other publishers going for it either.

If such a case ever got to court I can see a judge deciding, "If you can't be bothered to make a clear distinction, why should anybody else make that distinction?"
 

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