With Gamepedia’s new Editor of the Month program well under way, we’re proud to present our first ever winner of the title – Taohinton! To learn more about Taohinton’s wiki experience, editing skills, and why he was chosen to win, check out our Editor Interview below. If you’re interested in becoming Editor of the Month on Gamepedia or if you’d like to nominate someone, you can learn more about the program here.
How long have you been a gamer?
All my life, pretty much. I grew up with early Atari STs, with games like Dungeon Master, Xenon, Wizball, Nebulus, Speedball and Uninvited. My first consoles came with the SNES and Mega Drive (Genesis in the US) at the age of 6 or 7, and Sonic, Mario, Zelda and a host of Disney platformers burst into my life. PCs didn’t come until 10, bringing with them the original Warcraft and its sequel (and Sopwith, of course).
How long have you been editing wikis?
My Wowpedia contributions list tells me my first edit was January 2011, fixing a typo in the ‘Huntard’ article, lol!
My first edits were fixing typos and grammar, and trying unsuccessfully to correct errors in table formatting (10 mistaken edits in a row before I discovered the ‘Preview’ button); over time I moved on to adding missing information and expanding content. I remember my first major edit updating an ability tooltip – I left a very apologetic message on the talk page, scared I was stepping on someone’s toes by editing it!
Over time I got into writing articles and eventually front-lining content for some major parts of the site. When the Hearthstone beta started I naturally wanted to write about that. I got my teeth into the then fledgling Hearthstone Wiki and started building the site up. I’ve spent the last two years developing, expanding and maintaining (a bigger job than you’d think) that wiki, and am very proud for it to have become the extensive and up to date resource that it is today.
What got you into wiki editing?
I’ve always had a desire to fix things, to help, to do work where it’s needed; and I’ve always been a writer. I enjoy the management of information, too, building a resource that can provide a service to millions of readers, and hopefully becoming part of the legacy, and the legend 😉
How did you learn to edit wikis?
Editing wikis is in all senses very much something you learn on the job. You learn by example; but most of all you learn by doing. Editing a wiki is both a job and a training. You mine away at the coalface with a blunted pick, knowing that what you’re doing is probably really stupid and backward, but knowing that the only way to learn a better way of doing it is… to do it anyway – and along the way glean some golden chunks of knowledge, and maybe a little wiki-wisdom. I hear programmers talking about “battling their younger selves” … you get a fair bit of that with wiki-ing too. But, there’s only one way to grow up 😉
Beginner’s tip: Be bold! You really can’t say this enough. In most cases, waiting (or sometimes even asking) for permission to do something will simply result in that thing never getting done. Don’t let the talk pages fool you – wikis are fundamentally pro-action. Jump in, make something better, make a difference, and you’ll get somewhere.
What wikis do you mostly spend your time on now?
Running Hearthstone Wiki takes up too much of my time as it is! I’m not the type to sit back and let things go to seed; if there’s something that needs doing chances are I’m there doing it – even if that means staying up well past dawn. I still find time to update pieces on Wowpedia every so often, dabble in Wikipedia, and would love to have the chance to get stuck into the Heroes of the Storm wiki too, but tanking Hearthstone is pretty much a full time wiki job.
What do you love most about wiki editing?
Working on wikis has brought a huge amount of learning to my life. It’s probably hard for non-editors to understand how something so basic could do this, but it has; the range of challenges on every level continue to provide opportunities for self-development on pretty much a daily basis. A wiki is a microcosm, an inkblot, a mirror that as you polish it inevitably takes on and reflect characteristics of who you are – and challenges you to decide just who exactly that is.
This might all sound pretentious, but it’s true – different personalities will take different approaches to an edit, an article, a wiki, and as you build and adjust this vast city of knowledge, you can’t help but shape the architecture to reflect your own way of thinking. Do you emphasise structure and order, with every page following a set standard, or are you happy for different pages to find their own approaches? Do you value legacy and preserve historic information, or prune it back to highlight the core content? Do you painstakingly polish every article to be the absolute best, or take a more pragmatic approach to effort and reward? Every edit you make helps build the wiki as you know it today, the words, the style, the culture. And before you know it other editors are building upon those values – or trying to tear them down, of course.
Managing a wiki brings even greater challenges, and even greater rewards. The higher you get the more you realise there are no rules – only those you make for yourself. You have to invent for yourself the kind of admin you should be – or have someone else’s ideas pressed upon you. Do you prescribe and coordinate, only get involved when you need to, handle everything personally? A blank canvas can be the scariest assignment of all, but it’s often also the most rewarding.
Wiki work is also volunteering, and a chance to be part of something bigger than yourself, to build something that may just outlast you – even if that only means being read some day by 23rd century retro game geeks. It’s a great feeling to pour your time into something worthwhile, refining and improving something you can be proud of, even if the rest of the world never knows your name.
What games are you playing right now?
I’m pretty Blizzard-bound these days. I’ve played World of Warcraft on and off since 2008, Hearthstone regularly since closed beta, and Heroes of the Storm increasingly since technical alpha. I enjoy smaller games that take me back to Atari days of game design (I love Super Hexagon), but I find single-player games engage me a lot less now; I’ve gotten used to the social interconnection of MMOs, and the thrill of PvP.
Haha, never really had one 😉 Honestly Sonic was probably closer to a superhero for me – especially reading the great British fiction “spin-off” books (pun intended).
Any last thoughts for your fellow wiki editors?
Wiki editing is an emerging field, a new type of work with its own unique skillset, combining writing, tech skills, information management, time management, people skills, and a lot of self-knowledge. Knowing your limits, finding a balance between work, play and volunteering time on a wiki… that’s a life lesson in itself. Learning how much to push and when to give in, when to overhaul the page and when to let it sit, when it’s better to bite the bullet and when it’s better to dodge the issue; these are real life skills, which can and will aid an editor in every area of their life.
Working on a wiki is something anybody should be proud to put on their CV or resumé. Time spent editing wikis is time spent developing vital communication skills, resource management skills, people skills; and also getting to know yourself. Just as volunteer work is finally gaining recognition and respect as part of a strong CV, so should wiki work be respected as the craft, profession and sometimes full time job that it is.
I view my work on the wikis as a second career. I may not get paid for it, but the skills and confidence I’ve gained from it have helped me hugely in my paid work, and in real life. Wiki work is kung fu for the information age. And I am very proud to be training in that art.
Know someone who should be our August Editor of the Month? Submit your nominations here.