Due to lack of use, and excess misuse, we are temporarily shutting down wikicredits.com until further notice.
After a steep learning curve, we feel WikiCredits.com is ready for a real launch.As I’ve mentioned earlier, the wiki runs with the same web application the operates Wikipedia, called MediaWiki. Well, for a newcomer to hosting websites, this was like having a Porsche as a first car. It’s a powerful tool.Several obstacles have been overcome, and some new features have been added. The changes are happening at a faster rate, now that some of the learning has been accomplished.Extensions — The biggest hurdle was adding extensions, which customize and add functions to the site. I could not figure out how to get any single one to work.Then there was the breakthrough. I got the PayPal button extension to work. Big smile. Chest thumping. Peacock strutting. Then back to work.The next step was to ad ads. Turns out the best way to get them on the right side — which I hope will be useful without being obnoxious — was to not use an extension at all. After all that work… I had to learn how to adapt the “skin.”The next step was WYSIWYG, pronounced “wiz-ee-wig”, which stands for “what you see is what you get” and is what most people are used to for editing text in a word processor. If someone is entering a new page, no longer do they have to know wiki-text. The rich text editor is running. I’d do the chest thumping, but everyone else in the house is sleeping right now. And, I feel quite silly afterwards.Houston, we are ready for launch.Dustin
I’m very excited about a very tiny change that took a huge amount of work. If you go to the home page — http://www.wikicredits.com — or any article page, you’ll notice that the web browser address bar, or URL, no longer has ugly code markings like a question mark or equal sign. It has a nice subdirectory called “wiki,” followed by the title of that page, or article.
What does this mean? Well…
That address is easier to write and use as a link. It’s just about easy enough to memorize. Particularly if it’s your own name. For example, my pal Mike Daley has a cool link to his page as: wikicredits.com/wiki/Michael_F._X._Daley.
It means users can navigate the site more directly, linking, bookmarking, or manually writing URLs.
And somehow, I think it makes it better for searching.
Last week, the very first person, or WikiCredits user, started their own page. His name is Ted Saunders. As of today, there are about ten people pages on WikiCredits.com. But Ted was the first to make his own page. Fortunately, he’s very fluent with technology and computers, and that interweb thang. But Ted had a damn good comment: “Why isn’t there a “New Page” button?”
Why isn’t there a “New Page” button? Because this is a wiki.
I’m going to use the Kathryn Bigelow example here, because she won the Oscar for Best Director last night for “The Hurt Locker.” If ten different people wanted to make a page for Kathryn Bigelow, and there was a “New Page” button, that would most likely be the first thing half those people would hit. So then there would be 5 Kathryn Bigelow pages. The other 5 would SEARCH for “Kathryn Bidelow.” The results page would show all likely existing pages (or “articles” as they are usually referred to in wiki land).
It would be a mess to merge 5 different Kathryn Bigelow pages. It would also be a mess to have 5 different results, and the user has to decide which one is the right one.
I sometimes think like a computer programmer, or developer. And I can just imagine several years ago, when some developers were writing up their wiki software (perhaps, in this case, MediaWiki, which runs WikiCredits.com). And they were arguing about whether or not to put a “New Page” button. Then the quiet dude who everyone thinks used to eat paste in grade school and got beat up in high school speaks up. And he says “No! No new page button. It’ll turn into chaos.” And everyone made sure he was paid on time, because they knew he was right, and if they crossed him, he’d kill their cockatoos.
So, even if you know that nobody has bothered yet to make YOUR WikiCreidts page (or “article”), start by SEARCHing for it. Be sure it’s not there. And when it’s not there, you will see “CREATE THIS PAGE” in red letters. That’s the wiki version of a “new page” button.
TIP: Be sure to spell your search correctly, because that will be the new the heading of the page if you then click “create this page.” If you goofed, start over, or you’ll have to “move” the page to the correct spelling. (It’s a “move” because the title of the page is how you find it, so it’s considered an address.)
The purpose of an encyclopedia is different than that of a database. An encyclopedia is basically the dummies guide to everything. It has specific presentation “language” – if you will – for articles to be objective, fact based, and informative. A database can store information in a useful and accessible way. The mother ship (Wikipedia) is an amazing marriage of the two. And the fact it’s a wiki — a website that lets people freely create, edit, and link a collection of articles — is what some would call the “killer app” of the internet.
WikiCredits has a different purpose than an encyclopedia, I believe. On WikiCredits, I don’t think the purpose of a project page is to thoroughly and objectively describe a movie, tv show, or similar project. If you just woke up from a ten year hibernation, you could go to Wikipedia to have it explain what “American Idol” is. You could go to WikiCredits to see everyone who worked on it. And link to the other projects those people worked on. And see everything any one person has worked on. And which companies. And when.
Some information will overlap. Some people are “big” enough, or established enough in their career to have a page in Wikipedia. That same person can have a companion page on WikiCredits. Wikipedia will describe who the person is. WikiCredits will list their complete credits (see NOTE ONE below).
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia operated as a wiki (a website that lets people freely create, edit, and link a collection of articles), with the purpose of objective knowledge on any subject.
WikiCredits is a database operated as a wiki (a website that lets people freely create, edit, and link a collection of articles), with the purpose of comprehensive credits for any person, project, or company.
I hope people find it useful.
NOTE ONE: WikiCredits will only have the information that people put in. Any person can start their own page… or have their assistant do it… or their 12 year old kid… or their grandmother… If Kathryn Bigelow wants a page, she can do so. Or maybe someone kind enough will start it for her. Or if it’s already started, can update it for her… say… with her new Oscar for Best Directing of “The Hurt Locker.”
I was asked today if WikiCreidts.com is connected or affiliated with the mother ship, Wikipedia.com. No. Although I slept with her daughter.
And by that I mean, I use their offspring. Technical translation, I use the software they made to run their site. Here’s the catch… it’s free. So, in complete fairness, I do need to thank the folks behind the mother ship, the Wikimedia project, and the developers of the software: mediawiki. They are generous to allow others to use it at will. So before you offer to donate to wikicredits.com, which, isn’t really possible yet, consider tossing some cash at them. There’s a stripper joke there somewhere, but I’ll use some judgment on that.
I know, there’s a lot of seemingly random use of the phrases “wiki” “media” and so on. I promise you, this post was not typed by a monkey. The term “wiki” was coined long before wikipedia, and means “quick.” In present-day usage, it means a collaborative database. And that’s what I made for credits. Thus: wikicredits.com
I think that’s an appropriate title for the first WikiCredits blog post. Straight and to the point.
“What’s this one about?”
“Well it’s about the first WikiCredits blog post.”
“Could you elaborate?”
This is a catalog of useful information about the online wiki called WikiCredits at www.wikicredits.com.
WikiCredits.com went live on February 12th at noon. It’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type endeavor. I’m new to hosting anything on the web. I’ve never had a personal blog, was on myspace for 2 days, and never joined twitter.
But this comes from a need. Or a problem. In the entertainment industry, your credits represent you. It’s more than a list of the projects you’ve worked on. It’s your history. It’s your experience. It’s your contacts. It’s a version of YOU. So I thought, why should somebody besides YOU get to post your credits on the internet? A person shouldn’t have to request a correction, they should get to open the page and edit it.
Based on the same software that runs Wikipedia, WikiCredits is built to grow. And by that, I mean BIG. The idea is that WikiCredits is not just for below-the-line people who can’t even get their credits on other websites. But everyone. Because we’re all connected. Companies can have pages. Projects — a film, a TV series, a music video, etc. — have pages. Hell, even job descriptions can have pages (what’s the difference between a Script Coordinator and a Script Supervisor?… A LOT). But most importantly, the people have pages.
Using the Web 2.0 philosophy, I believe WikiCredits will become a grass-roots resource for everyone, because everyone can participate.
So go on over and click on Random Page. Maybe you’ll find a Production Assistant, or a Writer, or someone in a job you didn’t even know existed.
As the host, or administrator, or “SysOp” or WikiCredits, I hope and intend to continually add and revise features. On my current to do list: * Find a WYSIWYG editor?, * Template?, * Input boxes?, * a better looking design, * a better looking logo… and so on.
Check back occasionally for explanations to recent additions, or request features, open discussions, or to generally track where this website evolves into a suitable place of usefulness in the world. Although, I should point out, that the wiki itself has a very useful discussion page for each and every existing page on the site, so consider whether to put comments here or there.
Note to self – go make pages for job descriptions Script Coordinator and Script Supervisor. Or maybe someone reading this will get to doing it before I do.
Signing off the first blog entry. Dustin Paddock