Forum:On Category:Old School-exclusive content
“The story so far: In the beginning the Category was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
In all seriousness, back in 2014, Spine made Category:Old School-exclusive content to highlight the small handful of stuff that was unique to OSRS. Now, 6+ years later, the category has over 4000 different pages in it, from events to locations to transcripts to guides. Given the scope of the category and how often it comes up in the Discord, I figure it's worth making this forum thread to talk about it.
Issues with the category
Before we talk about how to handle the category, I think it's important to talk about why we keep running into issues with it. In my eyes, the biggest problem is the category's maintainability, or lack thereof. Most categories on this wiki are not added manually, but are applied by the various templates used on a page. For example, Template:Infobox Item automatically adds Category:Tradeable items to every page where the "tradeable" param is set to "Yes". This saves us having to manually add that category to thousands of pages, and means we don't have to worry about an item being tradeable but somehow missing the category.
On the other hand, Category:Old School-exclusive content is not something we can easily add to pages en-masse, and the current implementation is a mish-mash of template transclusion and manual categorization that oftentimes misses things that are exclusive or miscategorizes things that aren't. As an example of this, the CoX navbox automatically adds the category to every page it's on, but this incorrectly categorizes the Dragon claws as exclusive content. It's also not hard to find pages that are missing the category, such as Elven dawn which just had the category added earlier today. The lack of an easy and consistent way to properly add the category to pages leaves the category both incomplete and inaccurate, and it will likely stay that way unless we change our approach.
Potential solutions to the problems
Here's a handful of suggestions that I've seen pop up whenever we talk about this in Discord. This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list of possibilities; treat it more like a set of jumping-off points that can be changed, rearranged, combined, or ignored however you see fit. Personally, I think the best solution is a mix of various different options, but I'm curious what everyone else thinks.
Delete the category - The easiest solution would be to just delete the category outright, and remove it from every page and template that uses it. While the category may have been useful back in 2014 to see what separated OSRS from RS3, in 2021 nobody is going to flip through the 4000 pages in the category to find what makes OSRS stand out.
Subcategorize - We already have Category:Old School-exclusive music, which covers all the new tunes we've got in OSRS. In theory, we could expand this approach to other pieces of content, with categories like "Old School-exclusive quests" or "Old School-exclusive bosses" for example.
Reduce in scope - One issue with the category is that it tries to include every tiny thing that separates OSRS from RS3, rather than just the major features. The category could be more useful if we set out some clear guidelines as to what is "important" enough to be in it.
Create a page - A category isn't the best way to display content, especially if we want it to highlight major game differences. It's possible that a page (or pages) could be a better way to talk about exclusive content in a way that's more readable and useful.
Status quo - One might even argue that the issue right now isn't with category but rather than implementation of it, and we could solve our problems by simply fixing up the few problem pages and templates that have the wrong categorization on them. We could even try to turn it into a community project or an OSWF task, though I'm not sure how we'd go about doing that exactly.
Hopefully I've done a decent job outlining some of the current issues with the category, as well as some potential ways we could fix it up. With any luck, we can have a nice discussion here that might finally put this topic to rest, rather than having it come up in the Discord every other week before being forgotten again. Please leave a comment down below with what you think, whether it's in support of one of the proposed solutions or something wildly different. If you think I've missed something important about the category or have extra info you want to add, I'd love to hear all of it. :)
Option 1 or Option 4 - I mentioned the last time that a page curated to this content would be one of the better approaches aside from deleting the category entirely. At the same time, like it was said, is over 6 years of content now that is very specific to OSRS in general. Music, Quests, and maybe mini-games that are released are really the only things I feel that could use said differentiation because of how minute they are. You could argue locations as well (Great Kourend, NMZ, etc) could be included in that minute difference category too. Jakesterwars (talk) 20:36, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Subcategorize - The idea of "this is a list of exclusive OSRS content" itself isn't bad at all, I'd be up for subcategories and then making the category just list the subcategories. I don't really think deletion or a page could serve the current purpose of the category though. 20:38, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Rename it - Could we change it to something along the lines of "post-fork content" (not necessarily exclusive), and then automate it via infobox release dates? Could then use DPL to generate lists of stuff, such as the "exclusive" music. -Towelcat (talk) 21:06, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
??? Profit Talking about one category in isolation avoids the big picture IMO. Categories aren't all that interesting by themselves, they only become interesting when you use them for something.
Converting the category into a static list pretty much destroys its usefulness. It is trivial to generate a list from a category and you can also create lists that are a combination of two categories, say OSRS exclusive + Monsters, for a list of OSRS only monsters.
As for accuracy, I doubt it's possible to have accurate categories if they are automatically set. Either set the categories manually or don't bother with the category at all. Inaccurate categories are completely useless. --The scribe 22:47, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
- Support for article with only the most important content. As for whether the category should exist, either make it accurate or delete it. --The scribe 00:33, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Collect underpants - Tbh I think the process of "I played this game 13 years ago, I want to play it again, but IDK what's changed" is a really common experience, and probably one that's gonna get even more common with the upcoming steam release. We should have something useful for those people.
Is that going to be a giant category with 4000+ entries in it? Probably not really – I can't imagine that anyone in that position wants to see every single item and entity in alphabetical order.
I suspect that roughly 99.5% of all things with a release date after 2007 could be considered Old School-exclusive in every sense of the word, and it's fairly easy to make that list with SMW or something else (a bot, or maybe even Module:Infobox if we're so inclined). My quick estimate is that there are about 7,000 such pages. The weird cases are twofold:
- For things with a switch infobox (like Vanstrom Klause), some of the switches might be pre-2007 and the others post-2007. What would we do here?
- There's maybe two dozen pages (dragon claws, GWD stuff) where the thing was released after OSRS launch, but it's basically an exact copy of something that came in late 2007 or 2008 in RuneScape (or later, if you include Prifddinas). I think there's some ambiguity in our group about whether those would be considered exclusive to OSRS.
Are these extremely important cases such that it's worth keeping around the manual-add category in its current form, rather than doing something automated (or ignoring it entirely)? I'm not super convinced either way. It probably doesn't matter a ton.
What I DO think would be really useful is a curated article with ~50ish small sections in chrono order, explaining the main content from 2013 onwards. That would be very useful to a subset of the readers and makes an "every entity" category look kinda foolish in comparison. ʞooɔ 23:35, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
Just delete it - As the creator of the category, my take is to just delete it. Like Diesel says, I made it initially to easily distinguish exclusive content in an era where you could count the number of exclusive content on your fingers, and at the time I made it, I was not expecting OSRS to last as long as it did. Now it’s gotten way out of hand and I find it hard to reasonably maintain it (hence me seldomly adding pages to the category).
Though, if something was to be done, perhaps an article similar and form to this page that I occasionally maintain on /r/2007scape. Not the best thing, but it explains main content additions from 2013 onwards -- SpineTalk 23:40, 2 February 2021 (UTC)
- This is the first time I've seen that page on reddit, and I think it looks pretty cool. When we make a similar page for the wiki, do you think we should go with brief, bullet-point descriptions like you have there, or expand it out a bit more? On one hand I like the idea of having a nice, descriptive timeline of major OSRS updates (with pictures and such included), but I'm not sure how much writing each update really needs. I'm a bit concerned that if we copy it over and have tables on the wiki page like on the reddit page, it would fairly straightforward to follow, but not not particularly engaging on interesting to look at, so I'm curious what people envision this wiki page looking like. BigDiesel2m (talk) 09:26, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
Delete the category or subcategorize - I think it might indeed be useful to have some of the subcategories still in place, such as the OSRS-exclusive music tracks. I think subcategories for OSRS exclusive items, monsters, NPCs and quests, for example, might actually be things people could potentially be interested in looking up. I think a date-based category would be just fine, if there is some sort of 'opt-out' for each individual page.
Ideally, if we're going to run this as an OSWF task, I'd think just labelling pages whether or not it's OSRS-exclusive content, would be unnecessary double work. I think another, 'two birds with one stone' approach would be to make Template:External store a true/false
#var:external_rswiki variable if there is an external link to a certain wiki. Then each respective infobox module could read that variable and if the release year is after 2008 and no rs3 link exists (i.e. the variable is undefined for the rs3 interwiki), add the page to Category:Old School Exclusive <infobox type> automatically. Instead of OSWF'ing the addition of just this category, that way we'd OSWF interwiki links and this category in a single task.
Aside from that I'm strongly in favour of a kind of page like that reddit wiki Spine linked actually existing here. Reddit having a wiki page about something game-related which we don't have on this wiki is unacceptable of course ;) Joeytje50 (talk) 00:31, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
- PS: An alternative to using this variable and making the addition of
|external=parameter to the infoboxes and integrate the interwiki links into that. Not sure which way would be the best approach. Joeytje50 (talk) 00:56, 3 February 2021 (UTC) an OSWF task, would be to integrate an
- Comment Had a look at Towelcat and Joey's suggestion. For using categories for anything serious you have to be able to rely on the category being accurate. If you're making a list of, what 3-400?, music tracks and 4 of them is wrong, wouldn't you say that is an unacceptable level of error? Similar concerns pop up if you try to make use of categories to filter results in the bestiary or slot tables and such. This is why accuracy is such a big deal, and why you can't half-ass it.
- But the idea of using an automatic category and manually mark articles to exclude, can be made to be accurate I think. And it will mean a whole lot less articles to mark. Hopefully templates will suffice to generate the resulting OSRS only category. --The scribe 17:17, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Support Deleting Category & Creating a Page - I don't think the category has the need that it once did. It's more of a burden than a benefit. However, if we want to better document some of the important changes to the game that set it apart from it's original/ongoing sister game, then we should have a page for that. It does not need to include these 4000+ items as entries, but we should include some of the noteworthy things that have been mentioned before. Things such as Inferno, CoX, Nightmare, etc. would be good. I think Spine's Reddit post is a great starting point which should be implemented. --Legaia2Pla ᴛ · ʟ · ᴄ 00:48, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Delete and create page - This category is fairly useless in its current state. Not only could you argue that any content post oldschool launch is oldschool-exclusive due to the implementation being different, but it's also tough to decide where to draw the line given updates that have changed content since release. "Old School-exclusive content" is not a well defined term, and I think that trying to make it one is not a good use of time. Some examples of this issue are
- Prifddinas - the city itself might be in both games, but almost all of the content in and around Prifddinas is unique to oldschool
- Rat Pits - aren't accessible in RS3, does that make the minigame exclusive to oldschool?
Cook also pointed out some examples of weird cases. The continued creation of object pages will make this category much worse.
I think the purpose of the category, to point out the unique content in oldschool, is good, but the implementation is poor. As other people have said, a page that is curated and only contains the highlights of added content (not necessarily "exclusive") would be much more helpful for returning players. While the list might be a bit arbitrary, I think that this is a case where it would actually be a positive. This would allow for things like Soul Wars to still make it on the page despite maybe not (depending on your definition) being exclusive content. Obviously, Zeah would be included.
While I think subcategories for small groups like bosses or minigames still suffer the problem of ambiguity, I think they're probably small enough to still be helpful. I don't have a strong opinion either way on those. If automatically pulling things is a problem, I would think that we could make something to look compare based on dates or look for a lack of externs, as those are the only objective parameters I can see that will help. Andmcadams (talk) 03:21, 3 February 2021 (UTC)
Delete/Automate - I think at this point it is a standalone enough game, I would like to see it automated through Template:External — I do not see it as particularly important to do. Externals are already included or not included on content that is unique or not so theoretically it could be easy to do. Manual curation is never going to be easy or totally reliable as I am sure even today some pages are missing tons of stuff/fixes (outside of update history). Choppetalk 01:13, 15 February 2021 (UTC)
Delete, Create Page - I don't think there's an easy solution in terms of automating the category, and I agree that a page would probably better serve to highlight major updates and additions to OSRS since its launch. With regards to Category:Old School-exclusive music, do we see any benefit to keeping it around either? It's small enough of a category to actually be used on a case-by-case basis, but it's unclear if it's actually necessary when you can just as easily check List of music release dates for any tracks released since 2013 (though there is some funkiness with ported songs like Bloodbath). Anyways, getting back to the idea of the page, what sort of format do people think would be best? Just a bullet-point or tabled list like on the aforementioned reddit page, or something a bit more substansial for each update? In theory we could expect a lot of traffic to this page if we advertise it towards new or returning players, so I think we want to give a good first impression of the game and all the features that have been added in the last eight years! BigDiesel2m (talk) 09:26, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
Do not simply delete the category - Personally, I wouldn't want to get rid off the general functionality of easily distinguishing content unique to OSRS from content shared by OSRS and RS3. There's value in providing an easily accessible list of things that are unique to OSRS, after all. But I do agree that a degree of distinction of different types of content would be beneficial, as over 4,000 pages in one category can get overwhelming: thus, splitting the category down to individual categories for NPCs, Monsters, Areas, Items, et cetera, would make things a lot easier to navigate. But I also agree with the sentiment that it is difficult to maintain the current category, since one has to manually include the category in every page. Perhaps a variable could be added to infobox templates that discloses whether a piece of content is unique to OSRS? AquaMage2459 (talk) 15:47, 20 February 2021 (UTC)
Reduce in scope (heavily), create page - I think it's useful for people to know what is and isn't exclusive to OSRS. People in discord have come into RS3 channels and asked where certain OSRS-exclusive content is, so this is info that people want. I think it's best to reduce it in scope to very general content (like Great Kourend, Woodcutting Guild, and X Marks the Spot would be in it, but not every item that can be found in those updates. Not something like Soul Wars either, because that exists in some form in RS3 so it's not really exclusive) and make a curated page. Best of both worlds. ɳex undique 17:47, 28 February 2021 (UTC)
Closure - The category should remain on general content (like what Nex says) and may remain on navboxes if appropriate; a page detailing major exclusive content (and content different from its RS counterpart like Soul Wars and Shooting Stars, if appropriate), can be made by whoever is willing. -- SpineTalk 01:26, 15 March 2021 (UTC)