Introducing Wiklifield - the Cubs Online Encyclopedia
In case Cubs history isn't your thing, there's a prospect post below this as well for today.
I've hinted at it enough over the last few months, but I suppose I'm ready to now to unleash it upon the world. Wiklifield (thanks to Cubnut for the name) has been my main project and passion this offseason and the goal is simple, if not ambitious - a community project to capture the entire history, culture and atmosphere of the Chicago Cubs. And I truly mean entire...
Players, coaches, songs, books, movies, Wrigleyville bars, rooftops, blogs, TCR memes, brain-cell killing articles, minor leagues, major leagues, you
name it, I would love to have it in there eventually. It's going to take years to accomplish and hopefully a lot of help from Cubs fans across the Internet, but I think it could be something special for Cubs fans to lose themselves in a few hours at a time. A few examples of similar projects include the Ultimate Mets Database, Sons of Sam Horn Wiki and the Baseball Reference Bullpen.
To achieve this massive goal, it's obvious that I couldn't do it myself,
nor the writers of TCR, so hence the open wiki interface that allows
anyone to contribute.
Now as you start looking through the site, you may start asking where's
this bit of info or why hasn't this been included. Well first, let me say back off...I've been doing it mostly by myself. Second, that's the
beauty of a wiki, if you don't see something just go ahead and add it. Of course that can also be its downfall as
the information can easily be corrupted, but more on that later.
Before I get to the nuts and bolts on how you can contribute, let me demonstrate a few examples of what I'm hoping to capture. Let's start with the entry for the Cleveland Indians. My idea for these major league franchise pages is to include every way that the teams have interacted with the Cubs. The main sections as you'll see are head-to-head record, all transactions between the two franchises (including any rumors), and finally thanks to Baseball Reference and their multi-franchise player finder, players that have played for both teams. I've started pages for the current 30 franchises and some have been done already. I also needed to give a big shout out to reader homerzzz, who has volunteered a tremendous amount of his own time helping me take the retrosheet transaction files and converting them into something we can use on Wiklifield.
Next up, we have our Cubs player section and while it would be nice to have everyone who ever played for the Cubs have their own page, I'm not particularly concerned with that at the moment. Plus there's probably not enough unique information on many players that you can't find at Baseball Reference or similar site. What is missing on the Internet is concise information on our minor league players. Let's use Aaron Shafer for example. Why Aaron Shafer you ask? Well, much like every page I've started so far, I just happened to have stumbled across some articles and I thought there was enough there to create a page. In Shafer's case there were some articles at Inside the Ivy about his pitching repertoire and injury history and I think it would be nice to have this kind of info on all the players currently in our system in an easy to find place. So ultimately I'd like a page for each player in our system with information like how they were acquired, any newsworthy events from season to season, any prospect lists they may have showed up on, injury history and either a basic scouting report or their pitching repertoire. So far I've just had time to do one for James Adduci, James Russell and Richie Robnett along with Shafer.
The final example I'll mention is what I call the list pages, although they fall into various different categories. But essentially just lists of information all compiled into one place. And honestly, this is what gave me the idea to start the project. Instead of having to search 10 different articles and sites, I wanted to aggregate as much information as possible on page. So whenever I stumble across something I start trying to fill in the historic gaps. You'll see a few examples such as Type A Free agents, players that have been converted to pitchers, players to be named later, Arizona Fall League Rosters, Prospect Rankings over the years, Minor League All-Stars, minor league organizational records, Cubs minor league affiliates throughout the years, Cubs to lead the NL in various stat categories, Cubs to win NL Awards and so forth...
Now if you just want to absorb the information, well then
bookmark the site and visit back often. You'll also see a link in the upper menu bar on this site. I did want to thank homerzzz again for helping with some of the site set-up and all the work he's still doing with the retrosheet transaction information. Also reader WISCGRAD who put up most of the award and league leader pages together.
But if you're interested in helping out besides just browsing, read on. Besides just contributing articles I'm also looking for
as many volunteers that would be willing to verify information, clean
up pages and ban the rif-raf and spam bots that ultimately try to
attack these wiki's.
Here's the basic outline to contribute pages to Wiklfield.
- Register (you'll see a link in the upper right). I want to keep track of people's contributions and you avoid having to do a math problem. You can contribute anonymously, but you have to do a simpe math problem to verify that you're not a spam bot and it's easy to miss it and think your work was saved. You'll also notice a "Top Contributor" section on the front page.
- Read the Help page. The wiki language is pretty much standard HTML, but there's plenty of tips and tricks and most importantly it explains how we want to structure the site. If you ever do get stuck, there's plenth of help available on the web as well.
- Think carefully about the category and particularly the page title. Consider them like search terms, if someone was looking for all the
Cubs pitchers to ever win the Cy Young, what would they type into a
google search? (Answer: probably "Cubs Cy Young Winners").
- This is an encyclopedia, not a forum for you to trash each other tell us how much you hate Dusty Baker. Do your best to cite your sources and present factual information. Even if it's a TCR or Internet meme, give the link back to where it started. And there's a difference between writing - "Dusty Baker was a terrible in-game manager with lousy ideas for lineup construction" versus "Dusty Baker was often criticized for his in-game decisions and lineup construction." I'll assume I don't have to explain which one is preferred for Wiklifield.
- You're welcome to write on anything, but if you don't know where to start, check out the Most Wanted Pages, which you can also find on the sidebar and on the front page. Also, if you're putting together a page and feel like a term should be included that isn't, use the Mediawiki write-up for an internal link - [[Dallas Green]] for example - and it'll will show up as a red link on that page. Red links indicate pages that still need to be created versus blue links which are pages that have already been started, but could be still be incomplete.
- While I hope to keep Wiklifield as an open-source project that is constantly being updated and improved, I understand these wiki projects are ripe for vandalism and misinformation. So I'll probably be protecting pages more than Wikipedia does and if you do write something you're particularly proud of and can convince me that you can maintain it and/or there's little else to add, I'll happily protect it. On the flip side, if you notice a protected page and feel you can add something, just drop me a note that you want to add something and a brief description of what. I do want to add that if you're afraid of your work being vandalised by someone, the software being used can roll back to any previous changes, so past work is never lost and we can ban the vandals in a number of different ways.
- Finally, I need help on this one, lots of help. Not only with writing articles but also maintaining and improving the site. Here's your chance to get on the ground floor and become a keeper of Chicago Cubs history. Your chance to be the next Ed Hartig. Right now it would be on a volunteer basis, but there might be opportunities in the future to make money off of it, although I wouldn't count on that. I'll accept as many volunteers as there are willing to volunteer. The type of help I'm looking for is to review new submissions and changes, help keep the site organized, try to keep certain pages formatted properly, keep the front page fresh with content . And for those with some web skills, help with the layout, suggest or add any extensions and gadgets that would improve the site and help automate anything that can be automated. We're also truly interested in someone or some people who can join up with us
and help it grow. The self-starter types that see the potential in the
project and are never at a loss for ideas. Of course, I'm also
interested in anyone with a couple hours to spare here and there to
either contribute articles or review new submissions and help maintain
So there's my sales pitch and if you want to contribute, the opportunity is there. Otherwise I hope it becomes a regular reference source for your Cubs information.