The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Giving the EG a Bit of a Remodel
Going to make this thread sticky.
Wanting to add this since it's been bothering me for a while.

The [u]Propulsion Technology[/u] page could use some updating and adjusting.

It's descriptions of drives and gift tech and such doesn't really fit the current incarnation of the setting and overall I think it could do with some TLC.

For that matter, I'd like to make the entire propulsion technology section of the EG more user friendly and easier to navigate efficiently. Not sure what form that might take, but I'm open to suggestions.

Would like to add a lot more links to RL references and additional information to the Design Notes and Additional Information tabs in the EG. This to include links to PDF files, web pages, and You Tube videos as appropriate.

Would also like to consider expanding and re-organizing our Worldbuilding Resources pages with the goal of becoming a well known resource for worldbuilding resources. This to include links to calculators, resource pages about different aspects of worldbuilding, etc.

Here's some worldbuilding resources I use:

For making cultures-

Axial tilt and its processions-

List of Biomes-

Hypothetical types of biochemistry-

A crash course of ecology and biology-

If earth had rings like saturn-

A cool tool that allows you to create a realistic terrain-

Space travel calculator-

A priceless resource for sci-fi worldbuilding-

all I got for now
Ever make mistakes in life? Let's make them birds. Yeah, they're birds now.

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Consolidate the various gender and related articles into a single article. Probably expand it to include information on sex and sexuality in the setting or create a separate article focused on that.
For that consolidation of gender sex and sexuality articles we could look into previous forum threads: Gender in OA Let's Talk About...Sex Reproductive process in Y11K?
Okay, we have too many timelines. I just had to do some tweaks to remove contradictions of dates regarding the settlement of Luna. We have the entries for the scrollable timeline, the topic pages for the different eras which have their own timelines, and the articles Technology Timeline and Provolution Timeline. That's a lot to keep straight. All of these contradicted one another and the articles themselves.

I recommend we consolidate this. Perhaps the extensive timeline entries on the topic pages could be folded into the ones on the scrollable timeline, and then removed. Perhaps we could also prune and combine the Tech Timeline and Provolution Timeline articles, as gengineering leading to provolution is a type of tech anyway.
Agreed we need to do something about the timelines.

As a first step, we had discussed plugging all the timeline stuff into a spreadsheet to allow the Editors (and perhaps others down the line) get an overall view of how everything plugs together and possibly start fixing it. One of the nice things with a spreadsheet is that nearly everyone can use them and that we can use the filtering functionality to rapidly drill down to specific dates and items.

In a bored moment, I actually started this a few weeks ago in Google Sheets. I could readily make it a shareable link and make it available to the Editors so we could all work on loading it together, if folks want. I'm also open to making it available to general membership, although I'm also somewhat leery about that for the same reasons we don't set up the site as a true wiki that anyone can edit at will.

After thinking about it and my initial set up of the spreadsheet based timeline, I actually think something like it might be the best option for OA - assuming we could make it work as a webpage somehow (EDIT - a bit of googling turns up that if we create a spreadsheet in Excel, we can store it in OneDrive and export to HTML to embed on our website AND users can sort and filter - perhaps I should recreate this in Excel? Easy enough to do - I haven't loaded much actual content yet - and apparently Google Sheets will let you embed a spreadsheet, but won't let users manipulate it.). We are not just dealing with the linear history of a single place, or topic, or even a single world, but an interstellar civilization with multiple histories going on in multiple locations. Some additional dimensions seem called for.

We would need to set up a OneDrive account, but that is easily done and shared with the Editing team, I would think. I believe that there is a free online version of MS Office that folks who don't have it might use - although that might have more limited functionality to one degree or another. But we are also doing fairly basic stuff, mostly.

Hmm. Thinking about this further - if the embedding functionality works well (and we should play with it a bit before going whole hog), perhaps we should employ it for all of our tables on the site? I'd actually prefer to use Google for this if sorting and filtering can be done on it (although as of Mar of this year it apparently still can't), but it is what it is. I'm assuming it would be over complicating things to use Google for all static tables and Excel for interactive tables - although nearly everything we do with the exception of the timeline seems likely to remain static at this point. Which probably guarantees that 5 people are now going to post other ideas for stuff we could do with interactive tablesTongue

Note finally that all of this is assuming that:

a) Trond (our Webmaster) can't point us at something just as functional (or more) that is outside of both Excel and Google.

b) Trond doesn't point out some reason that we either can't - or really shouldn't - try to do this sort of thing.

Anyway - Thoughts?

I think we could think about embedding the timelines as a spreadsheet. Other tables I think can stay as is.

What do you think about pruning the timeline to simplify it? Stuff that doesn't impact society much, or refer to thr rest of the setting, could be dropped.
(06-22-2018, 08:57 AM)Crossroads Wrote: I think we could think about embedding the timelines as a spreadsheet. Other tables I think can stay as is.

Fair enough. I tend to find the CMS method of creating tables rather hard to wrap my head around - but that could just be meTongue

Another possible table that it might be good to build from a spreadsheet might be the Master Star List or a Table of All Inhabited Systems or something. We could potentially organize it via various indicators (e.g., Inner Sphere, Political Affiliation, etc.) and then use filtering to let users drill down to specifics very rapidly.

From what I can tell, it might be possible to set these up so that updates made to the master spreadsheet stored in OneDrive are reflected in real time to the embedded sheet. Which would be handy.

What do you think about pruning the timeline to simplify it? Stuff that doesn't impact society much, or refer to thr rest of the setting, could be dropped.

There's probably a fair bit of room for pruning. The timelines are peppered with various (usually short) bits that don't seem to have any connection to anything in particular. In some cases they may have been put in as filler to add verisimilitude. In others, perhaps they were intended to be the springboard or placeholder for some more extensive article that was never created.

I would suggest that we should have a discussion of just what we want the timeline(s) to actually do as part of the OA project, with an eye toward written guidelines around what sort of content should be retained and what should be removed, as well what should/should not be added to the timelines in the future after they are cleaned up. Also, to answer such questions as - where should timelines go? Should any individual world ever have a timeline? How many timelines should we have in the first place? Etc.


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