Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Adventure/ProjectPlan

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  • Platform independent
  • Browser based
  • Simple English
  • Uses the actual Vector interface
  • Real tasks that would be encountered during the first 2 weeks or 100 edits of new users
  • Mock-ups of realistic articles
  • Use of actual policy text and help documentation
  • Increasing inter-relation and density of real tasks
  • Choice-based, limited open world environment, increasing in openness as the game progresses


  • Users should become comfortable navigating back to their userpage as a home base, their usertalk as a personal meeting place, and around the interface generally
  • Encourage realization that help pages and helpful people exist
  • Introduce best practices of editing as such
  • Ideally, the game should be modular and expandable to include scenarios for advanced users or admins
  • Environment should not be game-able or defaceable
  • Present an encouraging but not unrealistic amount of editor interaction and praise
  • Offer a preparatory but not discouraging or BEANSy amount of editor disruption and incivility
  • The game should be useful, simple, realistic, and function as a teaching tool.


  • Talk page options should be pre-selected (multiple choice).
  • Center the game around improving/creating an actual (fake) article
  • Bring an article up to FA status?
  • Help desk or IRC provides hints
  • Fake 'other editors' provide realistic positive and negative contributions
  • Create advanced modules for experienced editors or even admins
  • In addition to missions, intersperse brief exercises or quizzes, for topics like the CC/GNU license, or the founding principles
  • Provide help and policy links or help documentation in the game itself
  • Integrate tutorials, tutorial videos, videos from editors and WMF staff
  • Ability to replay lessons once they start editing for real, as an alternative/supplement/integration of help documentation
  • Ability for other editors/groups to adapt this model to create their own modules for specific tasks
  • Build the game on a shareable platform which could be used to create realistic, interactive non-game help tutorials
  • Allow free-text editing in limited fields but run a badwords regex filter over it to prompt a warning note

Real-world overlap possibilities[edit]

  • Actual in-game account registration
  • Actual barnstars for level/skill completion
  • Real 'I completed The Wikipedia Game' userboxes
  • Autoconfirmation upon completion of the game
  • WikiProject sign-up and userpage boxes



  • Should it be more tutorial-like or more game-like? Or mixed? What's the game:learning vibe like?
  • How open should the game get? How dynamic should the paths to completion be?
  • Should skills repeat for practice, or should length be minimized, or should it sequentially fuse old skills with new ones?
  • Should the game guide/narrator be informative but one-dimensional or have its own quirks and personality? Give it a name?
  • Should the trouble scenarios be compound-scripted for realistic frustration i.e. after vandalism you're falsely accused of it, or just piecemeal
  • How to build realistic missions that are dynamic enough to be interesting but not too complicated for children or technological natives?


  • Can the game be lightweight enough to run quickly and error free without coding an entire gaming plaform?
  • Can we use a real(istic) Wikipedia interface? Built on Firefox and Mediawiki?
  • Can the browser itself be part of the game (i.e. back buttons, mock google search, address bar, multiple pages/windows/tabs)
  • Will the browser too be simulated 'inside the browser', with the wikipedia interface simulated inside that?


  • How to present the game while making clear Wikipedia is not a game but an encyclopedia with real people and real impact?
  • Real-encyclopedia overlap? (actually registering an account, actually getting barnstars, etc)
  • How to get people to play it? (Trial with new accounts, offer autoconfirmation on completion)
  • How can users keep the game experience as a reference when they start editing (I forget how I did that..., build a supporting help page with links to the levels/skills/links/steps)
  • How to prevent participants from confusing real wiki pages with the game pages.



Single player with mock interactions from others.

  • Welcome messages
  • Pre-programmed talk page messages
  • Collaborative edits
  • Populated search pages (Wikipedia and Google)

'Real-time' components[edit]

Iterative, step-based events that happen as users make changes and progress through a scenario.

  • Welcome message
  • Talk page messages, integrated in the narrative (maybe some peripheral, not essential to missions)
  • Help page hints
  • Watchlists
  • Other user edits
  • Other user vandalism

Vandals and frustrated users[edit]

Present realistic encounters with unconstructive or unhelpful editors. Not so vile, disruptive or angry as to be discouraging. The balance should be 10:1 positive.

  • Vandal
  • Accusatory editor
  • Editor who doesn't know the answer to a question
  • Section deleting editor
  • Preemptive consensus claims
  • Wiki-lawyer


  • Welcome note as a new user
  • Friendly note (thank you?) from another editor
  • Receive a barnstar
  • Receive a note on a mock article that someone appreciates the recent improvements
  • Receive a cookie
  • Interview in the Signpost
  • Interview by the New York Times
  • Receive an FA sticker
  • Note from Jimbo!
  • Receive a REAL userbox or barnstar for completing the course


  • Users may be informed in the game but not mock-warned or mock-blocked. The Goal is to remind them of policy and practices, not give much room for trying out vandalism or poor editing, or seeing themselves in that role. Show 5-10% of the dark side, and give clear explanations about policy and purposes for avoiding the negative aspects.

Limited open environment[edit]

  • Use actual pages, or realistic mock-pages.
  • Prevent second-degree linking from these pages; they can be landed on but not traveled through.
  • Realistic interface
  • Text on each page
  • Some links blocked or leading to a message about the limited environment
  • Highlighted or arrow-designated links, especially for newer situations
  • Going to the help desk can highlight necessary links or give tips
  • Userpage
  • Usertalk page
  • 3-5 other user's pages
  • 3-5 articles with talk pages and histories
  • help desk
  • irc?
  • watchlist
  • about Wikipedia page
  • main page
  • signpost
  • community portal
  • Jimbo's page



will ask once first draft is complete

Online resources


  • Flesh out this draft page
  • Recruit some wicked smart editors, helpers, and coders
  • Clarify the best educational model
  • Choose a coding approach
  • Build the necessary site/code platform
  • Write levels
  • Mock-up levels
  • Build levels
  • Test levels
  • Get feedback from Village Pump, Outreach, and WMF
  • Present version alpha/beta of the game

Coding and specs[edit]

  • Browser based
  • IE, FF compatible (6-9, 3-4 respectively), Safari if possible
  • PHP for a Mediawiki extension, Mediawiki API for parsing, Javascript for interactive elements (or AJAX/HTML5)
  • Or Images with Flash

Name ideas[edit]

  • The Wikipedia Game
  • Be Bold!
  • Neutral Point of View

See also[edit]

Wikipedia help
Commons help
Outreach help