IF Tech Announcements - Proposal

Problem: The IF community has grown significantly and in many “directions” these last few years. Keeping track of all of the technology has become somewhat of a reporting problem. Some of us blog about new things, updated things, interesting things, and our own things.

But it’s a fairly random and subjective reporting process. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…I just think it might be time to approach it differently.

Proposal: We (I may volunteer) build a site that allows tech developers the ability to add their “stuff” (title, authors, description, status, last updated date, announcements) to an online (registration required) website. Anyone can go to said site and see the list of announcements, most recent first, and the status of any given IF technology. We also take that “report” and push it to a blog (who’s I’m not sure, maybe its own) once a month that’s associated with planet-if (and any other appropriate aggregators) so it gets a wider audience.

There might need to be oversight so we don’t have spam and vaporware (the thing, not the IF person) pollute the site, but otherwise it may be a new thing we need to do.

I took the liberty of throwing a quick report design together (this is just an example thrown at the white board!).

Added: Of course it might be that we only report additions and updates monthly, not the whole list!


Could this be an IFWiki page instead of an entirely new project?

So basically like the news feed on the front page of IFDB, except for tech instead of games?

Interesting idea. If there were one central place to check for updates, it would certainly make it easier to keep IFWiki up to date. And if updates were featured on Planet IF, developers might see it as being worth their time to make updates on the site, even if they don’t typically update the IFWiki pages for their projects.

Edit: typo.

I also like the idea of making this an IFWiki page.

I like the idea (I’m somewhat indifferent to whether IFWiki or a new site would be the better choice). Perhaps a category or type of tech could be included. Something so we could categorize interpreters, from compilers, to utilities like map builders and catalog type tools.

The Semantic MediaWiki extension might be helpful for something like this.

I’m still trying to decide if what is needed is some type of PR apparatus or full tech list manager. If the former, IFWiki is probably not the best place. If the latter, IFWiki may work.

There are varying announcement scenarios:

  • I’m planning to make something
  • I’m designing something
  • I’m building something
  • The thing I built is somewhat working
  • The thing I built is working pretty well
  • The thing I built is ready for usage and has a representative implementation
  • The thing I built has an update
  • The thing I built that I’ve abandoned
  • The thing someone else created
  • The discussion other people are having about something
  • The event I think people might be interested in

What about a new wing of IFDB? The Internet Fiction Technical Database. It provides editability, reviews, news articles, versioning, commenting, and linking from the IFArchive or Github.

Well, the IFDB is really focused on games. This tech announcements idea is more abstract and isn’t necessarily about games (although it could include game related announcements).

Nice idea.

As mentioned, the existing sites are not primarily about the tech, so a tech wing of “X” is not really the proposal, as i understand it.

Tech will involve code and resources. It should be more than just an announcement feed, but also a front end for github (or whatever).

It could also be a backend cloud service for hosting the tech or perhaps even for collaborators to host developments. Although that would be a lot more involved.

I could see bitbucket/github releases pushing messages to the feed. I don’t think I’d get into the actual hosting of tech. That can be done other places.

There’s just so much going on…that’s the “reason” I made the proposal. If we still had a small parser-only community, this would be entirely unnecessary. But IF is now extending its reach to the general gaming world, Twine, Choice of Games, Inkle, and more. It just seems it would be awesome to have announcements have its own feed.

The best case scenario would definitely be an IFWiki category (or better, semantic list). Without Semantic (i.e. right now), we could have several categories for stable tech, beta tech, alpha tech, pre-releases, abandoned etc.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think it’d be good for this to be incorporated with what’s already in place so it doesn’t become one more thing to keep updated with duplicate information (the way IFDB and IFWiki currently both need to be updated with info about new games or works.) Is there a way to set this up on IFWiki and then scrape the updates every so often to send to Planet IF?

Only for the admins: this extension makes RSS feeds one could put on Planet-IF.

The only issue with IFWiki is that my thought was that the list need not only be technology, but also games doing different and interesting things…and that the announcements not necessarily be by the author/creator.

I’m not sure I follow. Are you saying that the IFWiki extension does not allow people other than the author/creator to write announcements? Or that IFWiki announcements could not be about games?

No. I think IFWiki could host the announcements, but I think if it’s more transient things like game announcements, it probably would be out of date often. If the announcement system was its own thing, then it would always be current.

How so?

Given that two people (you and DW) are the only people that update IFWiki…

I was thinking the prospect of announcements going on Planet IF might entice more people to update IFWiki. Of course, whether that would actually happen, I can’t say.

If you did set up a completely separate announcement system, maybe there’d be some way to organize the information so it’d be easy to use it to update IFWiki. Maybe automatically output the markup that could be pasted into a new page? (e.g. if it were a new authoring system?) Or something along those lines. Even if it were displayed in html with the divs labeled (authoring system name, version number, etc.) it’d make it easier to scrape than a free-form text announcement. I don’t know exactly how helpful this would be. Just thinking out loud.