I want to clarify the Geography category tree (and eventually properly categorize all 'location' pages). Here's my findings so far, starting from the top:
There are fairly good definitions (hard lines) of the differences between Political Geography (anything with borders) vs Physical Geography (natural features) vs Humanoid Geography (anything built). While accepting Landmarks as Political Geography is somewhat logical, I still find some grey areas, eg. regarding Instances and Interiors - they have "borders" but they are not really Political borders (maybe they should be Humanoid?)
However more importantly it seems there is a reluctance to categorize a location across multiple subcategories. This DOES make sense in a fair amount of cases. Let's take the example of Goblin-town. It is very much a Cave (Physical), an Interior (Political), and definitely an Enemy Holding (Humanoid).
I believe users do search on each of these categories: "Where was that cave with all the goblins?"; "I need an interior map of Goblin-town to find Bilbo's Buttons"; "Where can I find goblins for deeding in Misty Mountains?" My conclusion is that It's OK to have multiple geography categories (across the 3 main subcategories) for a location.
Second Level - Physical Geography
These are quite self explanatory, at this point I don't see any need to change.
Second Level - Political Geography
The hierarchy of Land --> Region --> Area makes a lot of sense on the surface (why are they not 'hierarchically' structured like that?). I understand there has been lots of discussion about this in the past (Ravanel mentioned this in irc): if someone can point me to previous discussions I would appreciate it. 'Land' is fine - hard definition, consistent. However there are discrepancies on pages such as Help:Categorization and Region and Middle-earth as to how many Regions a Land has, and whether they are mutually exclusive of Areas!
There are 2 mutually exclusive options as I see it:
- A Region is never a (in-game) map under a map.Looking back through the history of edits I have concluded that the philosophy originally intended was that a Region is only a Region if in-game zoom-out (right click) of the map goes directly to the Land map. If there are no other info is provided, I am going to go with this.
- Areas and Regions can overlap, and a location may be both. This may cause difficulty in both categorization and user searchability, and sow confusion among editors.
As it stands, I cannot find consistency in the current categorization of pages, or map pages (specifically regarding regions and areas). Then you also get situations like Nan Curunir, where it is a 'Region' of Eriador by the original definition (large font on map), clickable from Eriador (goes to unflooded) and also clickable from Western Rohan (a region, thus Nan Curunir is an 'Area') (goes to flooded map). Another example is both Old Anórien and Minas Tirith look like Regions on the Gondor map, but zooming out from MT goes to Pelennor (not even mentioned on Gondor map) before Gondor. I've also seen mention of what Turbine considers a Region - sowing more confusion.
Second Level - Humanoid Geography
More reading and exploring has revealed that Cities, Towns, Villages should always be labelled as Settlements. I was struggling with the current definitions of Settlement, City, Town, Village, Outpost, Camp - and even Fortress. Actually the definitions are fairly good it's just where do the sets overlap. Is Settlement supposed to be a super-Category of City, Town, Village, and sometimes Fortress, and sometimes Camp, and the Categorization Tree should reflect that? Not quite sure what to do with Outposts and Camps, because they are not always a Landmark. Settlements do not necessarily follow the in-game map identifier of "Settlement" (blue icon on the map), since Tom Bombadil's House is marked as such on the map but is clearly not a wiki-Settlement. Also, most maps of Gondor don't even have the "Settlement" selection available in the drop-down Filter Map Notes! A simple clarification might be to label every 'Settlement' that has its own map as a City (Bree, Pelargir, Stangard, etc.) - but I'm getting ahead of myself, that's the next tier of Categorization. Question: how are the Region Navigation Templates affected if pages are categorized to a finer detail and exclude 'Settlement'? It seems that the logic is that all locations are either a Landmark (Political) or a Settlement (Humanoid), and sometimes both. (and maybe Places). Can anyone confirm?
Whole Other Tree outside of Geography - Lore/Places
Just exploring this now and trying to determine the rules / logic.
Caveat: If this has all been hashed and rehashed in the past, I have absolutely no issues with following what 'rules' have been set - but I have to know the rules, and they are unfortunately not that well documented, despite Zimoon's herculean efforts (I've now read through his pages and am in awe)
- There have been multiple efforts in the past to "document" the WIKI -- but it is truly a Herculean task and one tends to "burn-out" easily on it.
- Similarly, the task of "standardizing" references and especially categorizations is a monumental task!
- I think that Geography may be one of those Categories that was thought of originally, but has not really been used by anything other than the automatic article creation processes.
- "Land --> Region --> Area" was the original Turbine structure of LOTRO. They mapped directly to the units of the game-world as they were released.
- As personal at Turbine have changed, so has the use of those terms. While "Land" is pretty consistent, the use of Region and Area are frequently (like many other things) swapped by Turbine. As I recall, this has become acute since release of "The Great River" where the WIKI and Turbine terminology are swapped in many situations -- then there was Wildermore; and now we have Gondor. "Tec*hn*ically," (anti-spam filter spelling) or maybe I should say "consistently" there are only three Regions -- Eriador/Rhovanion/Gondor -- but Turbine now calls all new content a "region."
- One of the biggest issues/questions with the WIKI has always been -- "How does one get here?" and "Now that you are here, how do you navigate around the WIKI?" Generally speaking, most folks seem to arrive here via a Search engine and land on a specific page -- not landing on the home page and "working ones way down from there." The nature of a WIKI, with its internal links kind of makes Categories superfluous for anybody but us Editors! :) -- AND anybody who thinks in a linear, some might say logical, fashion! [AND who actually knows enough about a WKIK to know how to use the Categories in the first place!]
- The closest to "rules" (guidelines) is the information under the Help topic: Categorization - especially: Help:Categorization#Geography (Location)
- Help:Categorization#Geography (Location)
- Create new location -- contains links to the many boilerplates and templates which should be used to create new location pages
- Category: Landmarks
- The main point here is that there are lot of "inter-relationships" which are not completely obvious.
- One last thought -- the nature of the Players of LOTRO and hence the users of the WIKI has most definitely changed dramatically in recent years. The original players (and creators of the WIKI) were all "lore-monkeys" i.e. they knew the books of the trilogy and wanted to support the game based on those books. Players today, if you take the commentaries in the Forums at Face Value, are now dominantly PvP folks -- who are only interested in how fast they can get to level-cap and how much of a "grind" it is to accomplish deeds. That is to say, the number of "searchers" who want to know where the most number of YYY are in xxx to complete their deed as easily and quickly as possible dominate, by a large margin, those who are looking for help with a particular quest or finding a set of locations to complete an Explorer deed.
- All of that said, HAVE FUN!!! you have set your teeth into a rather large and wiggly mass!