Dueling Ars Magica Wikis

Which Ars Magica Wiki site is the best model for our main community page?


You may have noticed that I haven't updated Project: Redcap in several
months. There are two reasons for that; first, I haven't received any
mail announcing new pages. Second, I, Pitt Murmann, Yair, and a couple
of others have been working for several months on a successor to
Project: Redcap that is a Wiki.

Very recently Yair pointed out that Atlas Games posted on their Web site
a link to a totally unrelated Ars Magica Wiki. I didn't know about that
project and it seems like a major duplication of effort.

My belief is that Ars Magica does need a fan-driven Wiki, but that it
doesn't need several. We should merge the contents of the sites and
retire one of them.

The site we've been working on is hermesweb.ekkaia.org. Probably
we should have gone public with this a while ago but I've been having
trouble finding time to work on it steadily due to work and personal

I'm going on a much-needed vacation later today but when I return in
about a week, I'd like to be able to read back over this thread and see
what people like and don't like about each of the two projects and what
we should do.

Eventually my plan is that the www.redcap.org domain should become a
Wiki (with all the current, static HTML content migrated into it). It is not hard to move a Wiki to a new address, but combining the contents of two or more Wikis is a painstaking manual process and ought to be done sooner rather than later.


-Andrew Gronosky

Link to the other wiki:

Is it practical to merge the "spells wiki" into Andrew's new one? It seems like it has the most actual content.

It is slightly problematic legally-wise, as I didn't have the foresight to say that posters agree to migrating their contributions to another site. Foolish me.

There is one kinda-justification for keeping the Spells-Wiki as a holder of all fan-created stuff, and the main wiki as holder of all-canonic stuff. But the seperation is sometimes artificial, and I think a template marking a page as non-canonic would be better still. So a single unified wiki would work best.

I'm not sure if the spells wiki has the most content, though. I know the Ekkaia one has over 400 pages of content, probably significantly more; most articles are fairly brief, shorter than most spells, but some are rather large, but some are larger than any spell (e.g. Hermetic Society). If the spells wiki is larger, I don't think it is by that much. (I have no idea how large the Wikia wiki is, but it says 194 articles exist in it; this means it's probably smaller.)

Personally, I really like the uniformity with other wikis that the Media-Wiki environment of the wikia wiki provides. I don't know whether its owners will even agree to merge with the Ekkaia wiki and become the new Redcap wiki, however. Or whether Atlas will want Wikia to host such a wiki. And the Ekkaia wiki has the advantage of having the software-developer involved in the project, so new features relevant to the project are more likely to be available.

Merging the two wikis is gonna be problematic, either way.


In terms of the site's organization, I vote for hermesweb.ekkaia.org as the model. The idea is to have a gateway page linking to various main gateway pages (Internet Site Index, Ars Magica For Newbies, Ars Magica Encyclopedia, and so on). Each in turn links to various main pages within the topic, and so on. Perhaps the implementation needs a bit of playing with, but I think this basic strategy is good.

In terms of underlying software, I vote for Media Wiki - simply for the uniformity with other wikis out there. (Sorry, Pitt -size does matter.)

In terms of the site's address, I vote for redcap.org. A clear, easily remembered address that isn't affiliated with any third party (like Wikia).

What is precisely the question in the poll?

I like hermesweb for the look, arsmagica.wikia for the option to jump by realm, and really, I'd rather see redcap.org remain the gateway.


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I agree with Ben. :slight_smile:

The hermesweb model looks the way to go but I like the Realm division also and I think redcap.org is a great domain name as a basis.



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What can I say?

I am partial to the site I contribute to, SHR! :wink:

Good choice, Angus. You can come again... :slight_smile:

I guess the question here is what each site is seeking to achieve, and not all sites are seeking to achieve the same thing:

The Atlas Forum is, well, a forum. While some people post resources for the game there for commentary, these ultimately get buried over time.

Project Redcap is AFAIK primarily intended as a link site enabling easy connectivity between various Ars sites.

Durenmar (which seems to be inactive these days) and SHR are primarily sites hosting resources: on-line, ever-evolving fanzines if you will. At SHR we try to provide some degree of peer-review before articles are posted, though we're pretty relaxed about it.

I'm not expert on the way that wikis work, but it seems to me that resources get posted there in a less-formal fashion, with commentary coming only after the resources are up. As such, they operate in a different fashion from SHR.

So we seem to have various sites serving various different roles, some of which overlap. Thus to a degree what maybe is under consideration is what a "main community page" for the game should be expected to constitute...

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I'm one of the folks working on the Wikia project, and there are a couple of things I would like to point out.

First of all, our project is only about two months old; we have three active contributors (two of whom are in the same group,) and we're adding material at what is, I think, a pretty good rate. We're really still just getting started, and I'm not going to pretend that our 'mission' is cystal-clear even to us at this early stage.

Our general objective, however, has been to create a resource to help alleviate the large amount of upfront work that we tend to put into a new Ars Magica saga. To this end, we intend to have lots "pick up and plug in" resources like spells, vis sources, characters, enchanted items and so forth, as well as some basic historical information to help groups find interesting periods to set stories in.

It's obviously not our intention to step on anybody's toes, and of course we admire the great work done over at Project Redcap, but it was news to us that a wiki version of that site is being worked on. At no point did it occur to us that we might be a "main community site" or any such thing. To be honest, had there been a general-purpose Ars Magica wiki when we went live with our site, it's likely that we would have chosen to start contributing to it rather than starting our own (the smaller amount of work would have been appealing!)

Also, while all of the sites listed here accept user submissions, some of them are long-neglected; durenmar.de, a great resource used heavily by us when we started running Ars Magica as our bread-and-butter RPG during the 4th edition era, is going on four years of no updates. The only wiki among them (until the revelation of the Redcap wiki) is the spells wiki, which is excellent but narrow in focus. We felt a need for a broader resource to help people get started.

At this point, while I'm inclined to agree that multiple Ars Magica wikis are probably not needed, I'm also inclined to believe that the two extant wikis are different enough to warrant a separate existence. I exclude the Redcap wiki only becuase I'm unclear on exactly what it's intended to accomplish besides replacing the current Redcap site, and while it's accessible it doesn't appear to be 'launched' in a formal sense.

I hope this help explain our intentions a little better. Of course, we welcome any contributions or feedback that anyone would like to make.

The purpose of HermesWeb is to serve as a wiki for the Ars Magica community, allowing three main functions:

  1. Replacing the hand-managed Redcap site with a flexible index, to which anyone could easily add sagas and relevant pages.
  2. Creating a semi-official Encyclopedia and Index of Ars Magica canon, to help players (especially new players) figure out what a certain concept is and where to find out more about it in canon. In this capacity it also serves to highlight synergies and combine information, point out common house rules, and present overviews of topics to aid beginning players.
  3. Serving as a repository for fan-created materials, where anyone can easily upload his gaming material to the benefit of other players. This includes articles on how to start an ArM game, variants of official canon or house rules, NPCs, and so on.

At least, that's how I saw it, as a contributer.

Perhaps there is room for several wikis, each pursuing a seperate vision? As I see it, there are several functions being served here:

  1. The Internet Site Index, the current function of Project Redcap, needs to be wikified. This will make maintainance easier, and hopefully will make it more comprehensive and updated.

  2. A semi-official Encyclopedia of Ars Magica Canon is currently provided (partially) by HermesWeb. I

  3. A collection of fan-created apocryphal material, focused primarily on providing resources (and advice) for starting and supporting a saga. This is provided by both SHR and the new Wikia project, in two different publishing formats. The Spells Wiki does this too, but is limited in scope.

I still think a single wiki will probably serve all these needs best, allowing for easy cross-referencing and so on. I am not sure this will happen, however; it increasingly looks to me like there will be several wiki projects. Perhaps this ain't too bad - variety is the spice of life, after all.

I think the fan material is better suited to a site like SHR. A wiki does a good job of linking information, but is it really the best way to provide a variety of resources like the offerings at SHR?


I think a wiki makes it extremely easy to upload/create new information, so it is very well suited to providing a variety of information. It is not at all well suited to providing quality information, however; for that, SHR's peer-review and controlled-distribution model is far superior.