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Toughpigs

aka Danny

  • I live in Oakland, CA
  • I was born on January 6
  • My occupation is Product Manager at Wikipedia

Ice Hockey WikiEdit

It was really slow here at first... I guess it is a really a matter of letting people know you exist. There are sports fanatics everywhere. As I research current events, I go on a lot of message boards... I also make sure when I am at one that I link my profile to here. Also, when I want to know things, I state that I am researching it for the Ice Hockey Wiki... I provide a link... and people start checking it out.

It also helps that we have a very broad topic base here... you could come on here and talk about the Leafs... or the Ukrainian National Team... or the Hanover Barons Jr. C team... we don't mind... so because of that, we sometimes draw people who are intimidated by the rigid standard put forth on Wikipedia. I also have a healthy relationship with the Ice Hockey project on WP... and whenever someone wants to do something too in depth for WP, they send them our way. DMighton 01:42, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, IHW has taken much advantage of Wikipedia's rigid stance on what kind of article is acceptable and not over there. Their limits are understandable, as it is a generalist encyclopedia, but for the die hard hockey lovers that we are, those standards are very bothering. It's a combination of many factors, of course, but to me, Wikipedia may be a major reason behind the success of IHW and the failure of other sports wikis.
To demonstrate my point, let's take the football (soccer) wiki, that merely has had a hundred articles in three years of existence. For a sport raising immense passions worldwide, this is a strikingly weak number, but if you look at the association football project on Wikipedia, they're at over 66,000 articles and still growing fast, and that number covers the sport from the huge teams and players like Arsenal and David Beckham to perfect strangers like Mongolian striker Ganbaataryn Tögsbayar. The baseball project is also very respectable, at nearly 24,000 articles large.
With such a depth level permitted, there may be much less of a need for a specialized wiki. Ice hockey on the other hand, is more of a niche sport. It's top of the charts in Canada, Finland and Sweden, huge in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Latvia and Switzerland, one of the four major sports in the US, and enjoys a decent level of popularity in some other places like Germany, but past that, it becomes a sport among many others, overshadowed by the likes of soccer - yet, hockey has nearly 70 registered nations within its governing body, plus several unregistered that are beginning to play. Undoubtedly, it is extremely interesting to cover those places and "put them on the map" as info is usually hard to gather, but Wikipedia won't let it be done, per its standards - even legitimate links to, say, Japanese 1998 Olympic Team members would often be questioned (on the French Wikipedia at least) - and yet all of those players were Olympians and professionals in Japan!! That got me fed up with it. Same goes for junior or senior amateur hockey, for instance. Wikipedia won't let it be covered as thoroughly as it should be.
In fact, pretty much everyone here is here because his work to a certain extent transcends Wikipedia's standards. Our community is very small, but works in the same direction with the same passion for the game and the same dedication to this wiki. All of us have spent countless hours of our time editing and building this wiki out of pure love for hockey and its specific aspects we all specialize in. That's why we're only 4,000 articles shy of Wikipedia's ice hockey project's 15,000, while being waaaay fewer participants and being in existence for a shorter time. The same passion and dedication exists in fans of other sports, but they probably just stick to Wikipedia, where the scope is broad enough for them. Likewise, gaming and cartoon wikis are misfits on Wikipedia; they're therefore bound to be hits on Wikia. --Yannzgob 02:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I hadn't really thought to look at how well a sport is covered on Wikipedia -- but now that you say that, I can see that that's a huge factor. Thank you -- that's a really great insight, and the examples you gave are really helpful.
So let me run another idea past you... I've been thinking about the difference between TV show wikis and sports wikis, and one thing that occurs to me is that the experience of watching Lost (for example) and the experience of reading/contributing to a Lost wiki are very similar. You see a character on the show... you wonder who he is... so you go to the Lost wiki and look him up. It's all part of the same experience. But the experience of watching a hockey game or a football game doesn't necessarily lead you to go look up information on a wiki.
So what inspires you guys to come and work on a wiki? Do you think the impulse you guys feel to go and document the hockey teams is common? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:06, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... for me it is the fact that I feel that unless it is NHL history... that hockey history seems to be left forgotten... for me it is preserving what was once thought lost. I have an obvious passion for the game, and I feel like it is a part of my roots as a multi-generational Canadian... so vicariously I feel like I am getting to my own roots. I feel the need to find this stuff out, so in the future others have a place they can look when they have similar questions to what I had before I started this. ...It is common... but only a select few actually take the effort to do it. Much like the lacrosse community... the hockey community tends to be rather old fashioned... the internet is very new to them. I actually got the idea to start this wiki based on this lacrosse website: http://www.bible-of-lacrosse.com/ . DMighton 21:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Hey Danny. While the Ice Hockey Wiki has done really well in volume of articles, that volume is thanks to the very hard work of a pretty small number of contributors. Large and important areas of modern hockey (such as the majority of teams in the American Hockey League) are still vast seas of redlinks (although that's probably, at least in part, because Wikipedia does cover those areas well). Also, while we've got some great dedicated contributors, the community interaction is relatively low; consistency in formatting among articles, for example, is achieved primarily because only one person is creating those articles for a given area of hockey.
I'm not mentioning this to be negative. I just wanted to point out that the number of articles is not the only measure of a wiki's success. In many ways, we do suffer from the same problems as other sports wikis, though the fantastic work being done by DMighton, Yannz, and Fanofpucks goes a long way toward mitigating the more obvious effects. =) If you learn anything from other wikis about how to attract more contributors, there's a lot more work to be done around here. =) Powers 20:01, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi I thought that I would weigh in here as well. It's true that there doesn't seem to be much interaction, but that is in part due to our conecntrating on different areas. LtPowers does a great job on American college hockey, an area that I for example have very little knowledge of. DMighton and I are colloborating on a lot of things, like post 1970 Junior A. And in the lst litt;e while I have been trying to fill in some red links.

We do need some more contributors, but that will come. In the meantime hopefully we will start attracting some attention. Already, through this wiki, I have been contacted by a very resepcted researcher. He, at least has noticed us.

It's also sort of intimidating for some people to write in the wiki (or the Wikipedia). I was meaning to for a long time. I put in two contributions to Wikipedia articles. One got me accused of sabotage. The other was a Dmighton article. The rest is history.

We've got a good wiki here. Let's keep it up and see where it goes. Fanofpucks 21:02, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, absolutely! The reason why I'm asking these questions is because Ice Hockey Wiki is amazing -- it has a stronger community of contributors than almost any other sports wiki. So I'm trying to learn more about you guys -- what motivates you, what keeps you here -- so that other wikis can learn from what you're doing here.
Basically, you guys seem kind of magical to me -- a group of people who have been working on a sports wiki for years, consistently and happily. The NASCAR wiki is basically one very devoted guy... Pro Wrestling is a few people, who don't seem to like each other much... The baseball, football and basketball wikis don't really have communities, just people drifting in and out.
So there's something special here, and I'm trying to learn more about what that is. I think it's partly that you guys happen to be good at running a wiki, partly that Wikipedia doesn't want to cover hockey very well, and partly... because you're Canadians? :) -- Danny@fandom (talk) 21:30, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
It's all about the passion for the game and the specific aspects we especially love. Personnally, I've been fascinated by the international aspect of the game since I watched as a kid the 92 Olympics and discovered a whole bunch of players I had never ever heard about. I already loved hockey and was already fascinated by foreign countries, so all the ingredients were there for a visceral passion to be born at an older age when I gained access to internet and began researching the matter. Since the international game is played in countries with languages I don't necessarily understand, I thought that having a place where I could make information readily available for like-minded people would rock. I found Wikipedia, became disillusioned with it for reasons I already mentioned before and have been redirected to this newborn place when I emailed the wikia staff to request a wiki for ice hockey.
To answer another question you previously asked Danny, I think that the drive to document hockey exists in a fair number of other hockey fans; the only difference is that they will keep it at a personal or local level. There are loads of blogs and fansites about specific teams and players. That's a form of documenting, though very informal and not so serious. Then there's Wikipedia. Then there are the more egoistic collectors: I've seen on discussion boards people with massive personal collections of yearbooks, standings and statistics of leagues worldwide, collections they tend to keep for themselves or for a "membership elite" only. I prefer to share what I discover at a broader scale with whoever is interested, and a wiki is the best thing for this. What can be done so that the aforementioned people consider and adopt the wiki option too? That, I have no idea at this point. --Yannzgob 17:23, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I've seen the same thing. My first wiki was Muppet Wiki, and there are some people in the online Muppet fan world who would be great on that wiki, but they don't contribute. They like having their own space, and they don't like to share. I think the only thing to do is keep making a great wiki, and make it the kind of resource that those folks want to use. Over time, I've seen people on message boards using Muppet Wiki as an information source, which helps to spread the word. Do you see that happening with Ice Hockey? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 18:12, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, more and more often am I seeing people using IHW as a resource. A few months ago, it was used on the Allan Cup message board.... it helps that a lot of our article can be found in google searches. DMighton 21:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
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