=- Andrew K. Bressen wrote on Fri  5.Jan'07 at  4:04:54 -0500 -=

> I'm saying "Old and easy to support site first, because we need
> something quickly and because I'm not sure we have resources to
> support a wiki."

I fail to see the need for speed here.
As said before: there have been boosts in the past, which haven't
been followed up/ supported by website campaigns. And still we're
here. Converting the old data to the new system won't take ages,
so we'll have the basic support covered (soon, to support any
current activitiy).

The reason why this discussion began is that a single point of
failure failed. With darcs you still need some kind of single
person to approve things: content-wise, not technically.
I guess there will be more wiki-editors besides me.
(based on observation on list and irc)

> > Attraction should be done by functionality of the code and
> > appeal of the product itself rather than the website. Having
> > some screenshots on any website system should cover that.
> The website is part of the product.
> Documentation and support is part of a product.

Aye, agree.

> A few screenshots is not enough;

Didn't mean to say this. They are supposed to be the eye-catchers,
the support and documentation comes through the content of the
website. Structure and layout (within a page and the whole site)
are of course important for that, but this is no argument against
wiki, this can be accomplished with a wiki, too.

> if the world worked like that, the magazine advertising industry
> would not exist and web design wouldn't be a career skill.

I could do very well without that waste. ;)

> We are in a sales and marketing competition for people's
> attention. You may not like that, but it is true. You could
> think of it as evolutionary competition if you like.

This is true.

> We're losing, badly, to the point where the game is a shadow of
> what it was seven years ago, even though the possible player
> population is probably ten times the size.

And this is for several reasons.

One being: we have a MUCH bigger competition now, since others
have noticed this market and try to squeeze the most money out of
it. It's not like players have a choice between netrek and xpilot
and we're losing to them (only), but there is a _myriad_ of other
games which can occupy people. We're just a small fish in the ocean.
We might want to get bigger, but how far can we get without the
budgets/ manpower of commercial companies for ad campaigns?

Another: the more choices exist, the more people will find "their"
game that meets exactly what they are looking for, and netrek is
_not_ the exact match for everyone, not even a significant number.

> In a world where a quarter-million copies of WoW sell in the
> first week, and the internet chess and Go servers are populated
> by world-class players, we probably don't have a thousand
> regular players, maybe not even three hundred.

We can't compare with those. Those are already lost for us. They
won't give up WoW for netrek no matter what we do. Same for the
Netrek is _not_ a mass market product.
There are many more-flashy things, and easier to get into
(learning curve), and less involving (quicky games 5-15min for
lunch breaks).

1st we'd have to define our target audience, and then adjust our
efforts to reach it. Not to forget look around us who are our
direct competitors: those who cover the same niche as netrek does.
Those we have to beat, not ego-shooters, WoW or MineSweeper/
MoorHuhn- quality.

> We need buzz/mindshare/awareness that we exist.
> We need friends to talk us up to potential players.

Yes. Many have said so in the past before you did now.

> Saying the game will survive on its on merits and doesn't need the
> best possible website to help provide outside-of-game support

I didn't say that! :)
I said that this doesn't exclude wiki as the system to do it.

> { getting laid when not showering for months }
> That might fly for a hot new first person shooter,

"hot new" != "having not showered or changed clothes for a month" ;)
When they come out fresh, they have some nice startup.
But then ... they suffer the same as we do now: lasting support.

> but for a middle-aged average-looking dude like netrek, we need
> to look presentable before someone is gonna follow us home for a
> drink and find out how cool we really are.

Agreed, but see above: not all hot chicks of age <25 like
middle-aged men, no matter how well they look.
Plus, we don't want them just for a night and leave once the clothes
are taken off, but to stay for ... ever. Clothes are just the
entrance. If we put too much weight on it, we'll attract many, but
not hold them. One-night-stands are not the way for netrek.

> I'm not suggesting armani suits here; I'm just saying something that
> looking like we just came off a construction site is not gonna cut it. 

You're too pessimistic about wiki success.

> > (hmm, maybe I should turn back on all the fancy/ flashy things to
> > see what you mean which I normally turn off to save my eyes ;)
> I have javascript and flash off (noscript extension to firefox). 
> My browser does obey style sheets, and will display animated gifs.

My normal mode in FF means no images either and no server-side
colors. If you know lynx text-browser, you know what I mean. :)

> I don't think we need grotesque plugin or script stuff to do it,
> though a movie or two as ancillary content might be ok.

There was netrek-cinema ...

> > Wikis with stylesheets support exist, images can be placed as
> > you like, what else does it need?
> To be there, and to be supported.

That's the reason why Dave came up with the idea of the wiki in
the 1st place: he hoped (and so do I) that this way we'll have no
complete "black out" of support for content again (single point of
failure, see above).

> Supported means backups, upgrades, passwords, people who know
> how to do attractive design for our particular wiki and have
> access to do so.

As said before: the technical background is covered by the hosts
sufficiently. The question is about content support.

Attractive design: I trust you on this, and that you could
implement this even with a wiki for others like me to use and
comply with your templates/ formats/ standards. :)

Access: nothing easier than wiki.

> > If the community can't sustain itself, then it need not be
> > kept alive artificially.
> Call me old-fashioned, but if I'm in critical condition, I'd
> rather be on a respirator for a few months than get kicked out
> into the street. The decisions we make right now may determine
> whether or not the community can support itself.

Heh, it's not your life at danger here, it's "just a game". ;)

Summing it up:
we (you and I, and probably everybody else on this list) want the
same goal /results, just we differ in this single, minor
_technical_ detail of which hosting system we use.
Let's start the wiki and see how it works. Should it fail, you
still can revert all back to darcs.

© Rado S. -- You must provide YOUR effort for your goal!
Even if it seems insignificant, in fact EVERY effort counts
for a shared task, at least to show your deserving attitude.