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andi06
September 23rd, 2015, 05:53 AM
The intention of the forum is to represent the views of the Trainz community as far as technical matters are concerned. Inevitably some members (myself included) will also promote their own interests from time to time but this should not detract from the overall aim.

We currently have no mechanism for the admission of additional members and various developments off forum make it desirable, in my view, to admit a new member, so I would like to propose a mechanism for doing so. Windwalkr has stated that N3V would prefer matters such as this to be managed by the group itself.

I propose that the following rules should be adopted in the event of no substantive objection within 48 hours of the date of this post, either by members or by N3V.

Proposed Rules for Admission



1. Admission of a new member will require a nomination via a forum post by an existing member. The nomination should include the username of the proposed member and a brief statement of their area of interest.




2. If, within 48 hours of the first post, the proposal is seconded by at least two additional members posting in favour and there is no post objecting to admission, the new member will be admitted forthwith.




3. If there are any objections to admission the process shall be extended by a further 48 hours and the matter decided by a simple majority of posts in favour and against.




4. In the event of a tied poll, N3V will be asked to decide the matter by way of a casting vote.


@Chris: To assist in this process would you please consider publishing a list of current Trainzdev members so that members of the group and of the community in general are aware of who is around to deal with these issues and who is making a useful contribution. Perhaps you could add it to one of the sticky posts.

Mike10
September 23rd, 2015, 04:45 PM
I think this will mean we will be getting a lot of new members, can't see too many people posting an objection on a publicly accessible forum myself and it shouldn't be too hard to get two current members to say yes.

Not that I have any better ideas.

clam1952
September 23rd, 2015, 05:42 PM
Sounds like a good plan to me.

JCitron
September 23rd, 2015, 06:05 PM
Sounds good to me too.

martinvk
September 23rd, 2015, 07:38 PM
Just to be clear, since this is supposed to be a technical forum, you say in point 1
... a brief statement of their area of interest. Is that interest as in what they like or interest as in what they know.


posting in favour and there is no post objecting
Is this ordinary message posts like this one or via a poll? Wouldn't want social pressure to influence the results either way.

WindWalkr
September 23rd, 2015, 07:51 PM
Hi Andi :)

I'm glad that somebody brought this up. There are a few thoughts that I would add to this:

* As stated when this forums was created, I would like to keep numbers to a manageable level. This doesn't need to be a strict "one person joins, one must leave" scenario, but I don't want to simply add unlimited numbers of individuals to this forum, nor do I want forum membership to be considered a "once you're in, you're staying in" thing. I'd like to see this addressed in whatever system you guys come up with, both in the sense of ensuring that we don't simply get hundreds of members, and also in the sense of having some way to politely suggest that it's time for somebody to drop out and free up space for another member. Nobody likes to feel unappreciated, so this is obviously going to be a touchy subject- I think that we need to get some solid rules in place that everybody can agree with, to avoid hurt feelings later.

* I agree that casting a public "no" vote is going to be hard. Requiring that we drop users to gain other users probably makes it easier in this regard.

* Is 48 hours long enough? I would think that some members don't check this forum every day.

* If it is a simple yes/no, then I'm not sure that a simple majority is a good idea. If you really have half of this group preferring that somebody doesn't join, then the disruption caused by them joining is likely to outweigh any benefits?

* One option which might help to avoid hurt feelings and keep things mixed up might be to introduce some amount of deliberate churn to the system. By this I mean have something which guarantees that we cycle through community members on a regular basis (whether by an open vote, stack ranking, temporary membership / trial periods, or something else.)

* Another option would be to vote in a chairman for a period, and have that person make the hard decisions. Allow any member to call for a re-vote at any time, to avoid the scenario where a chairman starts making decisions with no regard for the opinions of the other members.


The above are meant as food for thought, except the bit about keeping limited numbers- I don't care how that's achieved specifically, but I don't think that we can maintain the function of this forum if it has too many members.

chris

WindWalkr
September 23rd, 2015, 07:56 PM
My current membership list show as follows. This is kept separately from forum membership, so feel free to point out if you have forum access but aren't on this list. Moderators and N3V staff members also have forum access, of course, but aren't technically trainzdev members.

chris
-


andi06
Dinorius_Redundicus
martinvk
narrowgauge
pcas1986
TRam__
VinnyBarb
whitepass
Pencil42
BuilderBob
rumour3
RPearson
ianwoodmore
-Basti-
clam1952
norfolksouthern37
kevin16c
Dap
Mick_Berg
joosten
ryanstrains
n8phu
jointedrail
mike10
JCitron
geophil
itareus
pguy

Mike10
September 24th, 2015, 03:12 AM
Some of those members haven't released any content as far as I can see (not to the DLS anyway).
While I'm sure they could bring something to the party, if this forum is about creating content, surely we need content creators.

WindWalkr
September 24th, 2015, 03:23 AM
Some of those members haven't released any content as far as I can see (not to the DLS anyway).
While I'm sure they could bring something to the party, if this forum is about creating content, surely we need content creators.

This forum is about making sure that the needs of the Trainz community are being heard. Content creation is a big part of Trainz, but it is certainly not the whole of it. Not being a practicing content creator is only a problem if you don't understand a word of what is going on.

my 2c,

chris

andi06
September 24th, 2015, 06:28 AM
can't see too many people posting an objection on a publicly accessible forum
True enough, the obvious answer is a secret ballot, I'm not sure whether or not the forum has this facility. An alternative might be votes cast by PM to an administrator.


Is that interest as in what they like or interest as in what they know.
What I'm getting at is that there must be a good reason for the addition. 'My mate is already here and he's lonely' isn't good enough, 'he's deeply interested in controlling trains on PC using a TV remote control' might be.


Is 48 hours long enough?
The actual period is up for grabs but too much longer than this and you would have to start doubting the member's commitment (holidays excepted)


If it is a simple yes/no, then I'm not sure that a simple majority is a good idea. If you really have half of this group preferring that somebody doesn't join, then the disruption caused by them joining is likely to outweigh any benefits?
I believe that citizens who fail to vote in Australian elections are automatically executed. For the rest of us an election is usually decided by a majority of votes cast (and the majority simply don't cast a vote) You would have to assume that members who objected strongly enough would vote (assuming that the vote is secret of course)


... introduce some amount of deliberate churn ...
There a very few irrelevant posts in this forum so the obvious metric is post count. However I make a lot of posts because by nature and training I'm a generalist and have my finger in lots of different pies. On the other hand people like Geophil and Bob Pearson are highly specialised and post far less frequently (which also means they take up relatively little space so to say) which makes it very difficult to establish just who we could do without, except that we could probably exclude now any members who haven't posted at all.

To try to move this forward without it getting too complicated how about:


1. Any member can propose a motion on any matter affecting the group, including but not limited to matters of membership. The proposal must include a statement giving reasons.

2. If the proposal is seconded by at least [2*] members within [48* hours] it shall be put to a vote. Votes can be cast by PM addressed to the group administrator and sent within [48*] hours of the original proposal. (perhaps the forum software includes a better option?)

3. The administrator will evaluate the election on a simple majority of votes cast and report the outcome to the group. The proposal and the seconders will be counted as votes in favour. The administrator may not reveal the identity of individual voters under any circumstances.

4. In the event of a tie N3V will be asked to submit a casting vote.

means pick any number.


If it helps to move things along I would be prepared to undertake the admin role. I wouldn't be prepared however to initiate the exclusion of members unless this involved some automatic method of identifying candidates for the chop.

geophil
September 24th, 2015, 08:56 AM
On the other hand people like Geophil and Bob Pearson are highly specialised and post far less frequentlyYes, my area of interest is rather special indeed. Nonetheless, I hope I post things here that are or could be relevant to others, just maybe from a slightly different perspective.

WindWalkr
September 24th, 2015, 09:08 AM
The actual period is up for grabs but too much longer than this and you would have to start doubting the member's commitment (holidays excepted)

Unless we're somehow avoiding votes when somebody might be on a short holiday, that could be problematic. I can understand that somebody going on an extended holiday without checking in could reasonably be overlooked for practical reasons, but if you just happen to take a weekend away at the very time an important-to-you vote occurs- yeah, you could easily miss a 48 hour window.

Anyway, that's just my thoughts. If you guys are all happy with 48 hours then it's your call.

Another common approach here is a quorum.




I believe that citizens who fail to vote in Australian elections are automatically executed.

Nah, you can talk your way out of it by sending $50 for their beer money.




For the rest of us an election is usually decided by a majority of votes cast (and the majority simply don't cast a vote) You would have to assume that members who objected strongly enough would vote

That's fair assuming that the majority don't vote. It might be problematic in two cases:

* If the majority do vote, but are very divided.
* If the majority don't vote because they're all passively happy with it, and a few do vote against. This won't happen with a public vote, but could easily happen with a private vote. Again, a quorum might help here.

Maybe it's not a big deal. I'm just thinking of what-ifs. If we really get that dysfunctional as a group then N3V will probably step in anyway.



There a very few irrelevant posts in this forum so the obvious metric is post count.

Metric for ranking? I would have assumed that it was just an internal (probably secret) popularity vote. Each person puts forward their preferred ordering from most to least wanted. That kind of thing.
Any artificial metric can be gamed and probably wasn't relevant to start with.



If it helps to move things along I would be prepared to undertake the admin role. I wouldn't be prepared however to initiate the exclusion of members unless this involved some automatic method of identifying candidates for the chop.

That seems fair, assuming you guys can agree on such an automatic method that is actually going to keep the numbers reasonable. (And assuming you don't have any contenders for the admin role.)

One point that I should make is that either N3V is going to have to handle the votes in some fashion, or the admin is going to have to be exempt from normal votes and a separate voting mechanism is available for people to call for an admin vote. Obviously the admin can't be processing votes which could involve a change of admin..

If you do go with a ranking system of some kind, then that fixes both problems- allowing a potential newcomer to rank higher than an existing member means that the new person comes in and the lowest ranking existing member goes out. But it's by no means the only solution.

I will stress again that we don't need to maintain exactly the current number of people; my only requirement is that we don't allow the group to grow substantially. Another 5-10 people isn't really a concern, but on the flipside I don't want to start processing invites until you guys have worked out how you will solve this problem, otherwise we're just delaying the issue for no benefit.

chris

clam1952
September 24th, 2015, 09:29 AM
If it makes life any easier, I'm quite prepared to stand down, I can't do much with the test builds as stuck on capped 3G internet, better to let someone have the space who can use it and be able to give some input regarding the test builds. I'm sure I can rely on the likes of Andi to raise any issues.
And I can still read what's going on.

While I'm still here I think a quorum is probably the most manageable, I can't see anyone on the list of members that I wouldn't trust to know who has expertise in various areas that could be beneficial.

JCitron
September 24th, 2015, 09:42 AM
How about make it simpler.

Instead of voting in secret quorums which can make members feel slighted, it might be simpler to have a round-robin type membership where people are members for a bit, let's say 6 months or 9 months for example. It could be sooner or later, longer or shorter. Then after this period of time, these members move on and new members can be part of the group. As these people roll off the list, the earlier members can come back in if they want, and so on.

The issue I see with this is if someone is working on an important topic, (Aren't they all important?) this might present a problem, unless their membership expires once the topic is closed. In the case of people who aren't as technically inclined to open up longstanding topics, we can roll along and come back in at another time a lot sooner.

What we will need though are core members who will manage this, and this is where we need to come up with a decision. Perhaps those that joined originally will remain as the core while the newer members after that date will be on the rolling, round robin type of schedule.

Just a couple of thoughts on this myself. If this doesn't work, well I understand. I'm not always the fastest thinker anymore...

John

whitepass
September 24th, 2015, 10:16 AM
The core members sounds good as there are not a lot of experienced content makes out there and I do not think someone just starting would be of help.

andi06
September 24th, 2015, 10:32 AM
Nah, you can talk your way out of it by sending $50 for their beer money.
Life was always cheap in the colonies :-)


Maybe it's not a big deal. I'm just thinking of what-ifs. If we really get that dysfunctional as a group then N3V will probably step in anyway.
N3V will have to step in to start with because there is no constitutional mechanism for the group to agree on its constitution.


One point that I should make is that either N3V is going to have to handle the votes in some fashion, or the admin is going to have to be exempt from normal votes and a separate voting mechanism is available for people to call for an admin vote. Obviously the admin can't be processing votes which could involve a change of admin.
If I were admin I would almost certainly vote yes to any motion suggesting the replacement of the admin. But an additional rule might work:

5. Motions affecting the position of administrator, or at admin / N3V discretion, other matters deemed unsuitable for this process to be decided by N3V.

This makes you understand how George Washington must have felt - perhaps he should have just paid the tax.

andi06
September 24th, 2015, 10:48 AM
Quorum
Yes, but it shouldn't be at too high a level, some of these matters could be fairly trivial and unlikely to wake us all up.


Rotation
Be careful what you wish for and remember that membership gives access to Dev builds. If Geophil is rotated there is no one to look after the interests of DEM and if I'm rotated then AssetX will be out in the cold.

And, as Whitepass notes, you don't need too many hands to count the number of really experienced content creators.

JCitron
September 24th, 2015, 11:11 AM
Yes, but it shouldn't be at too high a level, some of these matters could be fairly trivial and unlikely to wake us all up.


Be careful what you wish for and remember that membership gives access to Dev builds. If Geophil is rotated there is no one to look after the interests of DEM and if I'm rotated then AssetX will be out in the cold.

And, as Whitepass notes, you don't need too many hands to count the number of really experienced content creators.

True, and this is why we need a core group, perhaps the most experienced members here, or have specialties which are called upon intermittently, while others can be rotated in and out as we see fit. We need to think this out more and these were thoughts I had in the shower this morning on this... What else do you think about when retired? :)

John

pcas1986
September 24th, 2015, 11:42 AM
Currently the membership list is 28. I suggest a cap of 35 or 40 because I can think of a couple that can contribute. Not all members will be able to contribute continuously so the number of effective members at any one time will be less.

The current list contains most of the folk for whom I have high regard so I further suggest the current membership is pretty good - not sure about myself. :o

We probably need a mechanism for members to step down or suspend their membership for a while. I hate to be kicked out without an option to return.

Personally, I'd detest any membership allocation on the basis of numbers of assets uploaded to the DLS. It should be based on what you can offer to improving the quality and efficiency of assets. In this regard it Is not acceptable to be just critical but also offer alternatives/suggestions.

My 2c

WindWalkr
September 25th, 2015, 09:41 AM
Life was always cheap in the colonies :-)

Indubitably. Witness Mad Max.



N3V will have to step in to start with because there is no constitutional mechanism for the group to agree on its constitution.

I'll be glad to step in when the time comes, but I think you guys are having a pretty good chat here and raising some good points, so how about we keep that going a little longer?

chris

VinnyBarb
September 25th, 2015, 06:03 PM
My goodness, is this going to be now a "secret society" forum thingy here? As Mike10 posts above:

"Some of those members haven't released any content as far as I can see (not to the DLS anyway).
While I'm sure they could bring something to the party, if this forum is about creating content, surely we need content creators".

Ask yourself the question, WHY haven't some of us and some of "them" released any new content lately? I will tell you why and why this affects me as a Content Creator too:

For TANE:

Still waiting to get the head numberboard issue re autonumbering to work proper
Still waiting to get the "constant " nightmode tag to work as it does in TS12
Still waiting to get very simple and basic animation to work proper like a 360 degree fan rotation going back and forth in TANE but rotates as it should in TS12
There are still problems with normal mapping showing "quirky effects" when transferring TS12 content into TANE
Env.bump mapping still not working quite as it should
Using alpha textures (like names) made exactly the same way as the alpha numbers are created and used for autonumbering
Normal mapping effects not showing in shadows (understandable as no lighting is falling on these but looking like other games treat this, it IS achievable)
At night when using reflecting, say, on windows which light up almost like a Christmas tree
or anything "specular" or such doing similar

and more of which I am waiting on and waiting on and waiting on to get fixed. These are THE important featuresfor me, some of the above might be already addressed in the last betas, which I am not testing, I am creating in that time and wait and wait to hear otherwise. All the above works FLAWLESS on my for TS12 created content but as said not now in TANE. I reported several of these issues over the past months, they were either glossed over or we were told, "not so important" at the time and will be addressed later (whenever that might be).

Hence some of us are not UPLOADING NEW CONTENT and others which haven't uploaded anything yet could be waiting too but might do so soon once these issues are fixed, as I surely do not want to reconfigure and re upload some new content, not knowing, is this now final in TANE's code or will this be changed and chopped again and again?

Some of you Creators are very Tech savvy, not like me, I just create meshes, look up the DevWiki how to configure these at current rules and standards but for me being here is to hear and see how issues affecting me creating wise are getting dealt with. By not often joining any discussion here is obvious, sometimes I do not quite understand "Chunks", "Polygons", (now having to be Triangles), recursive asset dependency issues, mesh libraries, Superelevation etc. just as a few examples, mean, as long it works and looks good and how to get this into Trainz by me is important for me.

I guess, different people have different reasons to be here but their aim, as mine in general is, to help Trainz along content creating wise and isn't this we all want to see and achieve?

Have a good day

VinnyBarb

narrowgauge
September 25th, 2015, 08:46 PM
Whatever is decided concerning entry, I suggest we have a two tier structure, the original group 'Active' who have posting access to the thread and 'Watchers' with read-only privilege. This will hopefully obviate the 'secret society' label being applied.

New watchers would be silently proposed, seconded and elected by a majority, if selected they would be invited to join. Effectively, the Watcher group would be the reservoir of new talent from which new or replacement Active members can be drawn.

Watchers can ask for a subject to be raised or ask questions of an active member by a PM. All replies are posted in the thread, or perhaps in a parallel read-only "We were asked about this' thread. The open membership would be able to see what was going on in this open thread.

Peter

WindWalkr
September 25th, 2015, 09:01 PM
Whatever is decided concerning entry, I suggest we have a two tier structure, the original group 'Active' who have posting access to the thread and 'Watchers' with read-only privilege.

This is already a publicly-visible forum. We don't need to appoint "watchers".

chris

Mike10
September 26th, 2015, 06:36 AM
My goodness, is this going to be now a "secret society" forum thingy here? As Mike10 posts above:

"Some of those members haven't released any content as far as I can see (not to the DLS anyway).
While I'm sure they could bring something to the party, if this forum is about creating content, surely we need content creators".

Ask yourself the question, WHY haven't some of us and some of "them" released any new content lately? I will tell you why and why this affects me as a Content Creator too:

I didn't say anything about secrecy, it is a publicly viewable forum after all.
My point was that if we are discussing moving forward content creation, then those with the most to add are probably those content creators who are pushing the envelope.
I'd also like to clarify that it was not about having not released any content lately, it is not having released ANY content.

andi06
September 26th, 2015, 12:27 PM
Zec should be on the membership list I believe, he may have access via an Auran account but he posts here in a private capacity.

Quorums / Quora?
Personally I think that we should allow a motion to go through un-opposed if there are no votes against. But in the event of opposition four votes would be required to overturn giving an effective quorum of 7. That represents about 25% of us and since most of these motions are likely to be uncontroversial (we can't really propose a firing squad for N3V staff no matter how popular it might be) I would have thought that would be enough. If not then just increase the number in increments of 2.

Removal from the Group
The first prerequisite here is going to be that N3V reach the conclusion that the group has become unwieldy. If and when that occurs I would suggest that we first call for volunteers, and if that fails each member has the right to nominate a small number of candidates for the chop. The candidate(s) attracting the highest number of votes is/are politely asked to leave.

pcas1986
September 26th, 2015, 12:43 PM
I was surprised Zec wasn't present either as his N3V ID or his S301 account. In any case I think he would bring a lot of value should he choose to join.

I propose we just run with Andi's proposals and see how it pans out.
Secondly I propose Andi be the lead or coordinator. If he starts being too dictatorial we can always stage a minor coup. :hehe:

clam1952
September 26th, 2015, 12:52 PM
I'm agreeing with Paul, stick to Andi's proposal, no need to start complicated procedures if they are as I suspect probably not needed.

JCitron
September 26th, 2015, 04:52 PM
I like Andi's proposal as well. KISS is the name of the game here. We're not rewriting Trainz again. :)

John

WindWalkr
September 26th, 2015, 07:35 PM
The first prerequisite here is going to be that N3V reach the conclusion that the group has become unwieldy.

Let's call it a hard maximum 40 members. That gives us a bit of room to grow without getting too much larger than the current size. Whether you want to stay at exactly that cap, or keep a little bit lower so that you can add people quickly when required, that's up to you.

Since adding and removing people is a fairly manual process, I'm going to ask that we don't keep changing the roster on a daily basis. I don't expect that this will happen anyway, but I should mention this up front. We're not going to be able to have a "temporary member for a few days" or anything like that. If you need input from someone forsuch a small timeframe, just have them forward you whatever info you need and post it here yourself.

chris

narrowgauge
September 26th, 2015, 09:45 PM
I am happy with Andi's proposal.

Peter

andi06
September 27th, 2015, 04:50 AM
To pick up various comments and to tidy things up, we have:



1. Membership of this group shall be limited to 40 persons or to such other number as may be agreed between the group and N3V.




2. The group shall appoint a member to administer the processes set out in this document.




3. Admission of a new member will require a nomination by way of a forum post by any existing member. The nomination should include the username of the proposed member and a brief statement of their area of interest.




4. If, within 48 hours of the first post, the proposal is seconded by at least two additional members posting in favour and there is no post objecting to admission, the new member will be admitted subject to the limit on group membership.




5. If there are any objections to admission the process shall be extended by a further 48 hours and the matter decided by a simple majority of votes in favour and against. Votes should be cast by way of a private forum message addressed to the administrator.




6. If the admission of a new member would result in membership exceeding the agreed maximum, voluntary retirement of existing members will be invited or, if necessary, members will be invited to nominate existing members for retirement.




7. Any other matter within the remit of the group, including changes to these rules, may be decided by a similar process.




8. Motions affecting the position of administrator or, at the discretion of the administrator and N3V, any other matters deemed unsuitable for this process will be administered or decided by N3V.




9. In the event of a tied poll, N3V will be asked to decide the matter by way of a casting vote.




10. None of the above rules shall take precedence over the general rules of the forum.

martinvk
September 27th, 2015, 09:00 AM
To pick up various comments and to tidy things up, we have:
...

4. If, within 48 hours of the first post, the proposal is seconded by at least two additional members posting in favour and there is no post objecting to admission, the new member will be admitted subject to the limit on group membership.
Still feel that 48hrs is too short a time span. Whereas some may almost live here, others have lives involving things besides Trainz. A weekend can easily go by without so much as a look see. What's the rush? I'm sure a week could elapse without affecting the efficacy of the group.



...

6. If the admission of a new member would result in membership exceeding the agreed maximum, voluntary retirement of existing members will be invited or, if necessary, members will be invited to nominate existing members for retirement.
This, I feel, will be fraught with peril. This is not some TV entertainment show where contestants are voted off by the cast. Members should be mature enough to realize if they can't contribute in a meaningful way. If not, this is where N3V themselves need to step up to the plate and do the winnowing.

No real objection to the other points except to say that this should be a simple as possible. I'm here for the betterment of Trainz, not bureaucratic minutia.

andi06
September 27th, 2015, 10:18 AM
I'm here for the betterment of Trainz, not bureaucratic minutia.
The whole reason for keeping it short is to minimise bureaucracy. To start with at least anything here is likely to be relatively non controversial. An admin thread can be a sticky to which you can subscribe for email reminders and, in my view at least, if you only pop in once in a blue moon you won't be making a meaningful contribution to a current topic. In this case you might as well just be reading the threads.

That having been said, let's change 48 to 72 hours, rule 5 means that anything requiring a vote will then be a 6 day process. Its always possible to apply discretion over decision periods if any topic generates any heat.


This, I feel, will be fraught with peril. This is not some TV entertainment show where contestants are voted off by the cast. Members should be mature enough to realize if they can't contribute in a meaningful way. If not, this is where N3V themselves need to step up to the plate and do the winnowing.
N3V have made it clear that they want us to manage the process, they host the forum so this is their prerogative. Its also clear that neither N3V nor anyone else are prepared to nominate candidates for exclusion publicly. If you have a better idea within those parameters then let us hear it.

andi06
September 28th, 2015, 04:25 AM
My point was that if we are discussing moving forward content creation, then those with the most to add are probably those content creators who are pushing the envelope.
Suppose someone existed with the time, experience and inclination to manage the wiki, keep it up to date, rename the pages so they don't all start with 'How to', persuade those with relevant knowledge to write up pages, generally make the information consistent and easier to find etc.

Would that person not be an invaluable member of this group?

Would we disbar them because they hadn't uploaded as much as a signpost?

Mike10
September 28th, 2015, 03:42 PM
Would that person not be an invaluable member of this group?
I imagine they would, yes. Especially if they could translate some of the Wiki entries into plain English.

Would we disbar them because they hadn't uploaded as much as a signpost?
Nope, but then I did say "My point was that if we are discussing moving forward content creation, then those with the most to add are probably those content creators who are pushing the envelope." I deliberately hedged my bet a little there.
Since we're speaking hypothetically, would this mythical person actually require the ability to post to the forum though? ;)

andi06
September 28th, 2015, 05:16 PM
Since we're speaking hypothetically, would this mythical person actually require the ability to post to the forum though? ;)
As far as I know this is the only place in which N3V are to some extent committed to answering questions, and I would have thought that improving documentation would be right in line with the objectives of the group.

There are other skills that are, or might be, appropriate here too, mathematics, scripting, design, mapping, railway practice, public relations ...... just as long as there aren't any lawyers :-)

itareus
September 28th, 2015, 06:06 PM
... just as long as there aren't any lawyers :-) ...

Or architects :p :o :) ?

andi06
September 28th, 2015, 06:08 PM
Touché. :)

itareus
September 28th, 2015, 06:14 PM
:) or people with Rapiers :) ?

:wave: C.

JCitron
September 28th, 2015, 06:42 PM
I imagine they would, yes. Especially if they could translate some of the Wiki entries into plain English.

Nope, but then I did say "My point was that if we are discussing moving forward content creation, then those with the most to add are probably those content creators who are pushing the envelope." I deliberately hedged my bet a little there.
Since we're speaking hypothetically, would this mythical person actually require the ability to post to the forum though? ;)


I know of someone who has extensive Wiki experience, but he and management don't quite see eye-to-eye.

He's not a lawyer, banker, or architect :)

John

martinvk
September 28th, 2015, 08:09 PM
Since there is no real linkage between a particular skill and personality, except for exceedingly rare cases, a business just moves on and gets someone else for the job. Now depending on how serious N3V is about having a top notch Wiki, they hire someone on a short term contract to straighten things out or stay with the current volunteers and hope for the best.

Back in the day when we had an official content creators guide, the creation of content was relatively easier. Today, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore so perhaps the lack of a current CCG is more a symptom of the changes in the state of the art of creation rather than in the willingness to provide continuing support on a general level. If that is the case, volunteer wikis might be the best we can hope for.

WindWalkr
September 28th, 2015, 08:58 PM
Back in the day when we had an official content creators guide, the creation of content was relatively easier.

Agreed, content creation really was a lot easier. When we started out, you built a mesh and texture, you accepted that it wasn't going to look perfect in the polygon budget that you were allowed, and you slapped a few numbers in a config file. (Okay, sure, this is ignoring the required talent and effort, but it's roughly correct.) There were few attachment points other than the bogeys, couplers and perhaps an interior point. There was no LOD other than what the game supplied (which looked terrible in many cases.) There was no normal mapping. There were no scripts. There were no component meshes, or aliasing, or libraries. In many cases, there wasn't even animation.

There was really only one way to build any given object, so we could write down a one-page description and you could copy that template and fill in the blanks. The effort went into the actual modelling and texturing, which the CCG never really covered.

These days, there's actually a lot more information available on the wiki than the CCG ever delivered. The problem is that the complexity of content creation is also way up there. It doesn't have to be- you can still make the same basic content as you ever did- but the community as a whole has moved on from that. Beyond basic scenery, a lot of our content is now a multidisciplinary effort. There are trade-offs involved which take experience and planning to manage, and this kind of experience can't easily be imparted in written form.

That's not to say that we can't continually improve the documentation, and the wiki is a great format for that- the CCGs needed to be restarted from scratch every few years whereas the wiki can just be updated as required.

my 2c,

chris

VinnyBarb
September 29th, 2015, 01:43 AM
Agreed, content creation really was a lot easier. When we started out, you built a mesh and texture, you accepted that it wasn't going to look perfect in the polygon budget that you were allowed, and you slapped a few numbers in a config file. (Okay, sure, this is ignoring the required talent and effort, but it's roughly correct.) There were few attachment points other than the bogeys, couplers and perhaps an interior point. There was no LOD other than what the game supplied (which looked terrible in many cases.) There was no normal mapping. There were no scripts. There were no component meshes, or aliasing, or libraries. In many cases, there wasn't even animation.

There was really only one way to build any given object, so we could write down a one-page description and you could copy that template and fill in the blanks. The effort went into the actual modelling and texturing, which the CCG never really covered.


Yeah, these were the TRS04 up to TC days in some respects where one did not need to wade through endless meaningless search results to find what one was looking for. These early CC Guides more or less covered everything one needed to know in these days and once printed out and placed into a folder, a handy reference book to have.



These days, there's actually a lot more information available on the wiki than the CCG ever delivered. The problem is that the complexity of content creation is also way up there.

Which is often difficult to find or not even available, this is the problem with the TrainzWiki and most CCs do not want/like to update this for various reasons, be they not handy in writing tutorials, having no time, which is better spend creating content, etc.


That's not to say that we can't continually improve the documentation, and the wiki is a great format for that- the CCGs needed to be restarted from scratch every few years whereas the wiki can just be updated as required.

Right on but who is going to do this, if relied and waiting for volunteers to do this, it will be a "Never Ending Story" and we CCs will still not know what you, the developers knows. Although N3V is a small firm, it is imperative to get good documentation right and correct as you are the people who know how things work in Trainz, it should be IMHO N3V to do the heavy lifting at the very least with documentation, say, new tags, new features, new configurations, whatever and if other CCs are then inclined to flesh these out with tutorials, pictures, examples etc., that is how a Wiki should be.

Other game devlopers (yeah I know, no budget for small N3V, yada...) give modders and content creators tools, much help and more inside info, the general game user does not get. After all, we CCs create content for you for free (not that I ever will ask a single cent for my creations, I just love creating for creating's sake, like so many others here), which helps you tremendously to promote and enrich the game with good looking content you as developer do not need to create in the first place. Which you do not have to pay for and other Content Creators you do not need to employ. I know, payware content gets split half and half or whatever, you still do not need to fund this from your own resources, you get these extra funds via payware sales.

However, now are still too many TBD or whatever it says of none documented stuff but current in the Wiki or very hard to find references there and the Wiki surely needs a complete redo with indexes etc. to find easy, whatever one wants to find and indexed to an index list and not just the search function only, which everyone knows, is next to useless.

My humble opinion

VinnyBarb

andi06
September 29th, 2015, 04:34 AM
I don't think that the Wiki search facility is as bad as everyone makes out, its certainly far more useful than the forum search for instance. The main problem with search facilities is that you do need to have some idea of words that describe what you are looking for - that isn't always the case.

Paul Cass and I set up a wiki link facility for AssetX, which takes you to the corresponding wiki entry for a tag if you right click on a link in the config editor. For instance a right-click on category-class will take you here (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/KIND_TrainzBaseSpec#category-class), and that paragraph has cross referenced links which you can follow to find a complete listing of options. This took a little while to set up but its more or less self maintaining provided new pages follow a consistent format.

This sort of indexing could be extended. For instance the error messages in CM could include links to pages giving a detailed explanation of the errors, why they are generated and how to avoid or fix them. For this specific case if N3V set this up I would be prepared to write the documentation.

In a general sense indexing a wiki relies on providing meaningful page names, filling in the category codes and so on. If every page starts 'How To .......' then an alphabetical listing of pages isn't going to be terribly helpful. This isn't a criticism of anyone in particular, being an indexer is a skill in itself and it is this sort of skill that would be useful. A lot of the information is present but badly filed.

There are also trainz tutorials and help pages scattered all over the internet, written with the best of intentions. It would be useful for many of these to be centralised onto the wiki and this would be easier if there were a more structured framework.

However the wiki was just an example of why we shouldn't consider this group as being entirely content centred and we have drifted a long way off topic, so I'm now asking Chris to rubber stamp the decisions reached in this thread.

WindWalkr
September 29th, 2015, 09:35 AM
Yeah, these were the TRS04 up to TC days

I was thinking up to about UTC actually. Thinks starting getting more complex in TRS2005 and that has only continued since. I'm not claiming that we should give up the wonderful new features, just noting that it does make everybody's job harder on the creation side of things. I think we DO need to manage this complexity when possible- sometimes it's possible to step back and realise that a certain complexity is unnecessary and can be reduced by rethinking an established approach. A number of the docs in the trainzdev google documents folder come from exactly this line of thought.



Right on but who is going to do this, if relied and waiting for volunteers to do this, it will be a "Never Ending Story" and we CCs will still not know what you, the developers knows. Although N3V is a small firm, it is imperative to get good documentation right and correct as you are the people who know how things work in Trainz, it should be IMHO N3V to do the heavy lifting at the very least with documentation, say, new tags, new features, new configurations, whatever and if other CCs are then inclined to flesh these out with tutorials, pictures, examples etc., that is how a Wiki should be.

That's pretty much how we've been handling things. We usually populate the wiki with details on new features as they come available, but I completely agree that there's a difference between technical documentation and easy-to-follow tutorials. The former is something that really only we can provide; the latter is where the community is able to help out.



I know, payware content gets split half and half or whatever, you still do not need to fund this from your own resources, you get these extra funds via payware sales.

I know it's a cliche, but we're a small company and while Trainz has been a steady seller for us over the years, it would be a mistake for you to think that we can simply bring extra people on board every time we identify something that could be improved. Believe me, if I could offload some of this work onto a professional community liaison, I'd very gladly go back to sitting in my corner. :) As the boss likes to say, the key is to work smarter- so finding a way to improve the effectiveness of our documentation with the people we have is definitely something to talk about.



However, now are still too many TBD

If there's something specific that you think is missing or incomplete in the docs, feel free to bring it up in its own trainzdev post, just like anything else.



..indexes etc. to find easy, whatever one wants to find and indexed to an index list..

I'm not sure what you're after here exactly, but let me know and I'm sure we can set something up. The wiki software is pretty good about self-managing this kind of thing.



.. and not just the search function only, which everyone knows, is next to useless.

As Andi says, the search function isn't bad. I'll go one step further and say that Google's search function is even better. It's very rare that I can't find something on the wiki that way, although for some of the obscure things it might take more than just looking at the first result.

cheers,

chris

WindWalkr
September 29th, 2015, 09:46 AM
.. the error messages in CM could include links to pages giving a detailed explanation of the errors, why they are generated and how to avoid or fix them. For this specific case if N3V set this up I would be prepared to write the documentation.

We've actually been talking about this kind of thing for a while. I'm sure we can put in a quick contextual-menu lookup command in without too much effort. The main thing for us is to filter out any variable terms. Doing that properly is a long-term thing, but we can probably hack a few things in for the short term.




If every page starts 'How To .......' then an alphabetical listing of pages isn't going to be terribly helpful.

Mediawiki supports subpages (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Subpages), so this is actually correct usage and should work fine. Whether that feature is configured correctly is something else entirely, but if it's not then the correct fix would be to configure it, not to rename the pages.



There are also trainz tutorials and help pages scattered all over the internet, written with the best of intentions. It would be useful for many of these to be centralised onto the wiki and this would be easier if there were a more structured framework.

I would love to do that, however there are obvious copyright concerns (much like the non-DLS content issues, which would also be a great discussion to have at some point.) Short of rewriting them all, the only real option here is to contact the tutorial creators individually (unless the tutorial creator has explicitly placed the tutorial into the public domain, or under some workable license, of course.)



However the wiki was just an example of why we shouldn't consider this group as being entirely content centred and we have drifted a long way off topic, so I'm now asking Chris to rubber stamp the decisions reached in this thread.

You're right. There are a lot of discussion points here and we've probably lost a few people. Please start a new thread, post the finalised form, and put it to a vote. This one can be public, since it's not dealing with any controversial issues, and I'm happy to ratify the result if it meets with the group's approval.

chris

pcas1986
September 29th, 2015, 02:32 PM
We're a bit off track here but, since we're talking about the WiKi, I'm happy to take on WiKi work. All I need are some facts and I can put them them into prose. Requests are welcome but I'm a long way from home right now...

I don't mind the current structure of technically detailed pages and HowTos but anything that clarifies is always useful. Right now I think a road map of how to implement LOD effectively might be handy. There is an awful lot of good info on LOD in this forum just begging to be collated, clarified and rewritten into plain speak.

andi06
September 29th, 2015, 03:32 PM
Please start a new thread, post the finalised form, and put it to a vote. This one can be public, since it's not dealing with any controversial issues, and I'm happy to ratify the result if it meets with the group's approval.
chris

Link to voting thread. (http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?123239-Trainzdev-Forum-Rules-Vote)

andi06
September 30th, 2015, 03:14 AM
We've actually been talking about this kind of thing for a while. I'm sure we can put in a quick contextual-menu lookup command in without too much effort. The main thing for us is to filter out any variable terms. Doing that properly is a long-term thing, but we can probably hack a few things in for the short term.
Presumably every error has a number for coding purposes so why not just provide a link to wiki://Error Code 123 together with a corresponding page. If you can provide a list of errors and a template for naming pages I can document one or two as samples. I think Paul Cass might also join in here.


Mediawiki supports subpages (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Subpages), so this is actually correct usage and should work fine. Whether that feature is configured correctly is something else entirely, but if it's not then the correct fix would be to configure it, not to rename the pages.
Then I would suggest that something is configured. The self-indexing 'Categories' pages need to be more useful than this. (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Category:How-to_guides)


I would love to do that, however there are obvious copyright concerns (much like the non-DLS content issues, which would also be a great discussion to have at some point.) Short of rewriting them all, the only real option here is to contact the tutorial creators individually (unless the tutorial creator has explicitly placed the tutorial into the public domain, or under some workable license, of course.)
Noted. Slightly less useful but we could perhaps include tables of links to these items.

WindWalkr
September 30th, 2015, 04:29 AM
Presumably every error has a number for coding purposes..

I'm not sure where you get that idea from, but it's definitely not the case.




..so why not just provide a link to wiki://Error Code 123 together with a corresponding page.

Yeah, we'll do something along these lines.




Then I would suggest that something is configured.

Yep. I've spoken to the admin about this.

chris

andi06
September 30th, 2015, 04:45 AM
Since our nascent democracy has no rule against 'campaigning' while a vote is in progress I'm going to do so.

At first sight I would entirely agree that the proposed 'constitution' is over the top. The whole thing arose because I emailed Chris asking for an additional member to be admitted. He responded by raising no objection to the suggestion, but pointing out that Auran wanted the group to be self managing and suggesting that this matter was sorted out first. Hence this thread, which has attracted considerably more interest and debate than I expected.

Forums, as talking shops, aren't very good vehicles for reaching decisions, this sets up a formal mechanism which allows us to do so. Who knows how useful that might be in the future?

andi06
September 30th, 2015, 04:46 AM
I'm not sure where you get that idea from
Because that's how I would have set it up :-)

pcas1986
September 30th, 2015, 05:04 AM
... I think Paul Cass might also join in here.....

Yes. I did start a page with that kind of idea in mind.

VinnyBarb
September 30th, 2015, 06:00 PM
In answer by chris to a post of mine above:

"However, now are still too many TBD or whatever it says of none documented stuff but current in the Wiki or very hard to find references there and the Wiki surely needs a complete redo with indexes etc. to find easy, whatever one wants to find and indexed to an index list and not just the search function only, which everyone knows, is next to useless."


I'm not sure what you're after here exactly, but let me know and I'm sure we can set something up. The wiki software is pretty good about self-managing this kind of thing.

What I meant was, looking at some books, like say, the 3DS Max Bible or like many others, which have a reference index in their back over several pages, listing topics, key words, paragraphs etc. with page numbers, where these can be found in the book. Like say as examples:

Animation 2, 12, 45
Bogies 2, 50
Coronas 70, 71

and so on now with links to these relevant PDF pages or Wiki pages for a Constructor's Guide for easier finding of particular subjects or particular items. This should be relatively easy to implement. If some people are willing to undertake such task, this should help anyone searching for what one wants to search for a specific topic or item linked to relevant page number(s) and directly finding these pages (PDF or WIKI). Without getting 10, 20 or more answers, many which are not really or directly related to the specific topic/item one would like to look up.

In the above example for instance with "bogies", where one would find "bogey" information under "animation" on page 2 and/or all relevant bogey information on page 50 with a link to page 2 in it, where "animation" is mentioned including "how to do.." with a further link there to the tutorial page (if such exists).

Re Chris mentioning of andy06, that searching in the current Wiki is now easier, as I understand, andy06 was talking about AssetX in conjunction with the Wiki. As good as AssetX might be, not everyone has AssetX installed nor wants to use it, all I want and I guess others too is to look up a Content Constructors Guide, be it in a PDF or Wiki format to find what I would like to find.

Regards to PDF as a Content Constructors Guide, it would be easy with "Adobe Acrobat" to take out old information etc. from its preceding CCG version, update this with newest information including new entries like new tags, new config.txt entries etc. and add new pages as required and just rename it to the current XXX Content Constructors Guide. Sounds easy to me.

As a footnote, where are these recent important cloud documents listed in the Wiki?

VinnyBarb

WindWalkr
September 30th, 2015, 06:57 PM
What I meant was, looking at some books, like say, the 3DS Max Bible or like many others, which have a reference index in their back over several pages, listing topics, key words, paragraphs etc. with page numbers, where these can be found in the book.

http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:AllPages
http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:Categories

Like that?



As a footnote, where are these recent important cloud documents listed in the Wiki?

They're not, and won't be until we feel that they're ready for public consumption.

chris

VinnyBarb
October 1st, 2015, 12:17 AM
http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/i...ecial:AllPages (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:AllPages)
http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/i...ial:Categories (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:Categories)


Sort of yes, an excellent start and its page listing too. Unless I am missing something, these 2 links should be prominently displayed in the Wiki's index page here (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Main_Page), frankly, I did not know these 2 pages even existed and had I known these 2 pages, search for me would have been so much easier. I have a guess, others might not have known these pages either.

The "All pages link" (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:AllPages) and "The Categories pages" (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:Categories)are buried in the "Special pages link (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Special:SpecialPages)", these 2 important pages should be IMHO displayed prominent with the other links there, either in the "Content" menu or the "Toolbox" menu or both of these menus to search from. As these 2 pages will get one directly to the relevant topic wanting to be searched.

VinnyBarb

andi06
October 1st, 2015, 05:03 AM
Re Chris mentioning of andy06, that searching in the current Wiki is now easier, as I understand, andy06 was talking about AssetX in conjunction with the Wiki.
Not really, AssetX implements a specific external index on tag and container names, this is very different to a general wiki search.

Taking one of your examples of an equivalent to a book index which returns 'bogies 2,50, A general wiki search on 'bogies' returns the list below (first few items only are shown). I would argue that this is considerably more useful than a hard copy index because, as well as a page reference, it gives you a brief context of the linked article.





"Bogeys" container (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/%22Bogeys%22_container)
a.bog0 and a.bog1 are used for the two end bogies, and will locate the vehicle on the track. But the bogie attached at a.bog2 This is a loco with central power bogies, and outer bogies to help traverse curves. The PRR GG1 (wheel pattern 2-co-co-2) is of this t
6 KB (898 words) - 06:00, 11 February 2014
Class Bogey (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Class_Bogey)
*A list of bogies attached to a vehicle can be obtained by calling [[Class Vehicle#GetBogeyLi
600 B (68 words) - 16:19, 9 February 2010
Class Vehicle (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/Class_Vehicle)
Bogey[] bogies = GetBogeyList(); *Bogies are indexed in the same numerical order as they are listed in ''config.txt'
39 KB (5,089 words) - 05:25, 13 April 2015
KIND Bogey (http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/KIND_Bogey)
:Desc: Distance traveled in metres by the bogies in 1 second (30 frames) of animation. In other words, multiply the wheel di ...ton and physics system. This tag is for steam locomotive animated driving bogies only. If this tag is not included the piston and steam sounds will not work
4 KB (473 words) - 05:16, 12 February 2014



Now that books are available in electronic format rather than just as hard copy, its becoming much less likely that they contain a traditional index, since even a simple word search is just as useful and doesn't take any time to produce.

WindWalkr
October 1st, 2015, 06:23 AM
I've added a Index page to the sidebar which links these pages. Feel free to expand on it if you think you've got something useful to add, although it will probably be locked eventually to avoid accidental vandalism.

chris

pcas1986
October 1st, 2015, 10:35 AM
I've added a Index page to the sidebar which links these pages. Feel free to expand on it if you think you've got something useful to add, although it will probably be locked eventually to avoid accidental vandalism.

chrisI found the SiteIndex page, but there are no pages linked to it. Perhaps you could provide a link to the SiteIndex page in either the standard Navigation or Toolbox panels.

As a general comment, I keep bookmarks to the "Kind" and "Container" pages because they tend to lead to the technical detail I often need.

I'm amazed that some experienced CCs don't use AssetX. It's not just for fixing old assets and be used as a asset project management tool. Maybe I'm just used to software development tools that integrate multiple specialised tools. AssetX does that very well for Trainz asset development.

clam1952
October 1st, 2015, 12:05 PM
I'm amazed that some experienced CCs don't use AssetX. It's not just for fixing old assets and be used as a asset project management tool. Maybe I'm just used to software development tools that integrate multiple specialised tools. AssetX does that very well for Trainz asset development.

Not using it is a bit like programming without an IDE.

Pencil42
October 1st, 2015, 12:23 PM
A general wiki search on 'bogies' returns the list below (first few items only are shown). I would argue that this is considerably more useful than a hard copy index because, as well as a page reference, it gives you a brief context of the linked article.

Agreed - just doing a wiki search has worked well for me when looking for specific information.

VinnyBarb
October 1st, 2015, 05:36 PM
Snip....
I'm amazed that some experienced CCs don't use AssetX. It's not just for fixing old assets and be used as a asset project management tool. Maybe I'm just used to software development tools that integrate multiple specialised tools. AssetX does that very well for Trainz asset development.

I can only talk of myself, I construct and create for specific versions only and usually have the Trainz version included in the name of the asset, so people d/loading these do know for what these assets are for. If some assets of mine do not work in higher versions of Trainz, I sometimes might upgrade these by rebuilding them and adding better or extra features. like I will do soon (tm) for my created Ghan and Indian Pacific coaches with new Kuid numbers. Where I will add passengers enabled, opening doors, normal mapping, better textures, new bogies etc. when I get around to do these upgrades which are already partly done. Hence no need for me ever to get near AssetX, however good this might be. I am a Content Constructor and not a builder or driver or fixer and so far, I did not see any use for AssetX for me.

I don't need any Asset Project Management Tools, when the asset is finished, it will be finished, whenever :hehe:.

However, if you or anyone else finds AssetX useful, as I am sure as many do, go for it :).

Thank you Chris, to move the Wiki Index Page to the side bar :wave:.

VinnyBarb