This week, we explored the fantasy worlds of video game developer Square Enix by interviewing WikiProject Square Enix. The project began in September 2006 as a spin-off of WikiProject Final Fantasy, although WikiProject Square Enix eventually outgrew its parent and absorbed the project in 2009. In addition to Final Fantasy, WikiProject Square Enix covers Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, and a variety of other game series, with exceptions explained in the interview below. The project is home to 32 pieces of Featured material and 104 Good and A-class articles. The project's efforts to improve articles and cull inadequate stubs has resulted in the project attaining a strong relative WikiWork rating of 3.45. We interviewed Lucia Black, ProtoDrake, Judgesurreal777, and Axem Titanium.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Square Enix? What are your favorite games developed by the company?
Lucia Black: The articles were very well written when I joined Wikipedia and believed I could gain more experience joining. Also I was familiar with most of what the Wikiproject's scope covered. My favorite games would have to be Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX and X along with the first Parasite Eve game.
ProtoDrake: I came in on the project quite by accident when I was trying to improve the Fabula Nova Crystallis article. I had recently become very familiar with the games of Square Enix, and felt in duty bound to help get many of them up to the best quality possible. My favorite games have got to be Final Fantasy X, XII, XIII, XIII-2, as well as Vagrant Story.
Judgesurreal777: I joined Wikipedia in 2006, and I was not initially sure where I wanted to contribute, so I decided to edit anything and everything that interested me. I was initially consumed by reading about games I knew about, and learning how they were created, and games I never knew existed. And since I was a great fan of Final Fantasy and the Mana series, I threw myself into working with others on the games I grew up with and still enjoy. My all time favorite game is Final Fantasy IV since it was the first video game to make me cry, shout, and care in the same way a book or movie did.
Axem Titanium: I can't believe it's been more than a half-decade since I joined the project (back when it was WikiProject Final Fantasy). I was interested in improving Final Fantasy articles and looked up to the old guard of WP:FF including Deckiller and Ryu Kaze who did a lot of the heavy lifting before I arrived. I joined just as they were closing out a long-term drive to improve every main series game to FA. I had the privilege of helping on FFVII, FFVIII, and FFXII, which were the last few non-FAs at the time. My favorite games by the company include FFVI, FFXII, Kingdom Hearts, and The World Ends With You.
Have you contributed to any of the project's Featured or Good Articles? Are there any articles nearing FA or GA status that could use some help? What are the toughest challenges when writing about a video game developer and their products?
Lucia Black: Up until recently I didn't think I could make articles up to GA, however that changed when an editor pointed out that the article I was working on was very close to GA. Since then, I was able to help some editors with some nominations. So my contribution to GA articles has been very recent.
ProtoDrake: I always hoped I would be able to contribute to a Good or Featured Article. I had the honor of helping get XIII-2 up to both tiers, as well as generally maintaining other Good and Featured articles. So yes, I have contributed to both quite recently.
Judgesurreal777: I nominated the Mana (series) article for featured status in 2008, and have helped on most of our major article development drives since 2006. I am conducting one at the moment with a focus on pushing some very high quality B-class articles others have worked on to GA status. A challenge at the moment is that many of the articles that need to be improved from Start to C class are more obscure, and finding reliable sources to expand them can be difficult.
Axem Titanium: I was a major contributor to the FA drives for FFVII, FFVIII, and FFXII. On a parallel path, I collaborated with Guyinblack25 to bring all the major Kingdom Hearts articles at the time up to GA or FA, though this was before those articles were covered by WP:FF. The challenge with improving Square Enix articles is that there is a wealth of knowledge and material locked behind a Japanese language barrier. Often during the FAC process, reviewers ask for additional sources which are outside our capability of accessing them because few of us have studied Japanese language translation, sometimes leading to frustrating stalemates.
All of the project's articles are assessed, the project has no stubs, and the number of start-class articles is relatively small considering how many higher-quality articles are under the project's scope. How was this accomplished? Has the project's overall size made assessments easier or more difficult?
Lucia Black: I remember we made a drive, and usually "if it cant pass stub, then we'll have to axe them" type of drive doesn't sit well with other Wikiprojects, or Wikipedia for that matter. But considering we had a manageable amount of articles and well-experienced editors, it made the job easier and accepted by the project.
Judgesurreal777: It was a hard fought process of many years, with tremendous hard work by editors past and present, and involved a lot of tough discussions. It has been difficult to come to grips with what is notable and what isn't, especially in the 2006 to 2008 period when many editors, including myself, were not clear on how to present works of fiction in an encyclopedic style. The creation of page listing all the articles in our scope, with each article labeled with its class rating really helped provide a path forward, and may have encouraged the Stub elimination drive pioneered by User:PresN over a year ago. I think Wikiprojects like ours need big goals in order to inspire editors to go farther than they think is possible.
Axem Titanium: The stub elimination drive was galvanized by PresN in early 2011. I think it was a fantastic idea for a relatively "mature" WikiProject like ours where the lion's share of top-level improvement work is done. The project has always had a reputation for excellence and bringing up the quality on the lower end is just as important as increasing quality at the top. The smaller scope of the project was definitely beneficial to making the task manageable.
Lucia Black: We had to make a huge discussion about what to include in our scope. We agreed that games published but not developed by these companies wasnt included, which was difficult due to Enix being solely a publishing company, so we allowed the exception to those that were most associated with the Square Enix brand. Taito and Eidos are not included, however Eidos is currently being associated more and more to the Square Enix brand so we may include them very soon.
Axem Titanium: To expand on Lucia's answer, the line for inclusion and exclusion is actually rather fluid and the discussion concluded with the open-ended suggestion to discuss on the project's talk page about specifics as they arise.
Do Square Enix articles attract the vandalism, in-universe writing, fancruft, or speculation that beleaguers other WikiProjects dedicated to video games and entertainment? Is there any overlap in editors or resources between Wikipedia and the Square Enix Wiki?
Lucia Black: As much as any other Wikiproject, but we dont usually get very persistent vandals. A quick revert, and its usually over with. We often do get alot of in-universe once a game has recently been released but that's often manageable. I sometimes see some overlap in the smaller articles between Final fantasy wikia or square enix wikia.
ProtoDrake: Yes, but not as much as with Halo or Assassin's Creed, thank goodness (I had to apply for semi-protection for them on that account). The biggest thing I have had to overcome is vandalism with XIII and XIII-2 (which were controversial in a way) but nothing major most of the time.
Judgesurreal777: The articles are in general very well patrolled, and the higher the article class rating, the more vigorous editors are of removing any fancruft, though speculation has been an issue as the number of video game news websites has increased in recent years and their reliability is not always clear.
Does WikiProject Square Enix collaborate with any other WikiProjects? Are there any initiatives or contests that could be hosted by multiple video game projects?
Lucia Black: I don't think we ever collaborated with another wikiproject. The same goes for initiatives and competition by multiple video game projects.
ProtoDrake: Never in my experience, unfortunately. Things might well go quicker and smoother if that happened.
Judgesurreal777: Most of our issues come from or go to Wikiproject Video Games, so we usually interface with them if there is any particularly controversial issue. Wikiproject Video Games currently has three big goals, similar to our projects article drives, and that seems to be a focus at the moment, though it would be cool if they gave prizes to big contributors.
What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Lucia Black: In my own opinion, I believe what we need more urgently are resources for the older articles that fall into our scope.
ProtoDrake: I fell we need more people on our side, experienced editors with expert knowledge in this area can be brought to bear both on out-of-date articles and newly created ones or ones for newly-released games that are subject to frequent change and slightly more open to vandalism and in-universe fancruft stuff.
Judgesurreal777: Our project especially would benefit from editor retention efforts, since we have had many very experienced editors burn out over time due to the intense debates we have had, or the amount of work we have had to do to improve the articles. New editors could help on upcoming game articles where we need people who have played the games and know the plot and characters, and can help with basic article expansion.
Axem Titanium: The project has suffered from a slow process of calcification over the past few years as dedicated and prolific editors have retired or their interests have moved on. The greatest current threat is the natural degeneration process that occurs in Wikipedia articles that aren't actively being improved, which is the case for most of the major articles. A new editor would most likely find the greatest returns by engaging a passion for one of the less popular series and running an improvement drive with interested collaborators. The same could be done for one of the newer titles which may not have had an initial improvement phase yet.
Next week's article is for believers and nonbelievers alike. Until then, find your faith in the archive.