Curiosity about IFWiki auto-generation

So, most stub pages I’ve found on IFWiki contain this disclaimer:
Note: This page was originally auto-generated. Please check for errors.
This usually comes after a list of what’s missing. This is helpful. For instance, Fine-Tuned was created with a listing of awards, release dates, and various links to reviews and ratings. I assume it got this from IFDB. I’ve even seen pages from the late 2010s also using this auto-generation.

I’ve created one game page as of now – Wry – but found much of the process to be copy-pasting information such as the release date and awards over from IFDB, since these are concrete facts you do not have to write from scratch. I’m aware that the Works category says, “Please try not to merely duplicate the information found at IFDB. Consider adding information about the works that cannot be found at that website.” But many IFWiki pages are about games that also have IFDB pages, and cutting those out would leave us with very little, considering how broad IFDB’s coverage can be.

Maybe there’s something I’m missing, but a lot of pages for more modern competitions are just full of red links. Would it be possible to auto-create the skeletons for those and then leave things like the How It Begins, Notable Features, and Trivia for human editors to fill in later? Right now, there’s some tedium of needing to spend ten minutes moving information over from another site before you can get to the unique content you want to write.


It’s definitely possible to auto-generate pages using a script. I believe most of them were generated by David Welbourn using a script of his own.

The big question that is still up in the air (and has been for a while now) is how exactly IFWiki should approach game pages: should IFWiki keep adding game pages going forward? If so, for which games, and what information should be included on them, and should that information be added automatically or manually?

My understanding is that IFWiki did not originally include game pages at all, but when people complained about that, David Welbourn started adding game pages. But adding those pages (and keeping them up to date) is a ton of work, and the question sometimes gets asked, “Why just duplicate information that can readily be found at IFDB?” On the other hand, if we don’t want to keep adding wiki pages for every game, what do we do with the red links? Do we link to IFDB instead? And it’s more effort to add a link to IFDB than to add an internal wiki link.

Since it’s not clear how IFWiki is going to handle game pages going forward, I imagine people are even less motivated than usual to add new game pages right now.

(This isn’t meant as a complaint, by the way. How to handle game pages on IFWiki is a difficult question. I think Jonathan has some ideas in mind, though.)


Yeah, shortly after posting this I found a thread by Autumn Chen addressing that IFWiki is heavily outdated. It’s leaning much towards the “classic” side, with modern game jams covered out of tradition more than anything. Only a little over 20 games from after 2020 have pages: 2023’s entirely represented by Hand Me Down, Reencuentro, and Repeat the Ending. It’s gotten to the point that even sites like TV Tropes have more to say on a game like Cragne Manor.

It’s not that the IF community is out of people who want to write about games. It’s just that there’s better outlets that let you put your name on it and have your own style shine through, such as a postmortem or a Rosebush column. There’s also the jam review threads that pop up every once in a while. In contrast, adding a fact to IFWiki just feels like throwing something out that nobody will notice – pages can stagnate for years without attention, and most do.

Personally, the main appeal of IFWiki to me is the trivia and connections that sites like IFDB can’t host. Admittedly, these aren’t that common, and I’ve only found these for a select few much older games – but where else would they go? I’ve read a few reviews that cover games’ legacies and initial visions, such as OtisTDog’s wonderful retrospective of Plundered Hearts, but I don’t know how well a review just listing some general Easter eggs or fun facts would hold up.


I think we need to ask ourselves the question: what is the function of IFWiki?

The reason why IFWiki can seem rather outdated- indeed, more recent events lack sufficient content and representation. The reason why so few games after 2020 have representation on IFWiki is simply because people would rather go onto IFDB to search for the games, to find out what they’re about and of course to play them. Which is exactly what IFDB was made for.

Of course! There are people who want to write about games. My IFComp and Seedcomp reviews are on this very forum. Other people do review stuff on IFDB as well. The authors themselves- they tend to do postmortems, but anything outside of reviews just falls by the wayside, since most of us head for the forum or IFDB, but as for IFWiki? Except to check out events, which ironically can be shown on IFDB as well, it’s not often used.

So what can IFWiki do that IFDB can’t?

IF history and various software, as Andrew Plotkin has said in another thread?

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You are right that it is currently very time consuming to add game pages to the wiki.

It will be possible to make it as easy to add game pages as it is now to add event or software pages. It will be possible to convert existing game pages to that new database/form structure. It will be possible automatically to display some information from IFDB. Hopefully all later this year.

I don’t think IFWiki needs to replicate IFDB. Though I also don’t think there needs to be a strict rule that only one website can do any one specific thing. In my eyes, the main purpose of game pages on IFWiki is to make it easy to discuss them elsewhere on the wiki, whether on competition pages or in articles. When we have a database structure, the game pages will be key in automatically linking wiki pages together – articles, people pages, competition pages, authoring system and interpreter pages, etc. Also, a wiki game page could become a detailed article about a game (a bit like at CASA).


That would be SOOOOO helpful ! :green_heart: