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This page is an archive of older threads from LexiconDiscussionPage

March 29, 2004: Twelve hours after my recruiting post, we already have seven or eight players. Woo (as they say) hoo!

Deadline for the first turn (covering the letters A-B) is this Thursday, April 1, at midnight your time. Industrious Screwz-U-BAD-3 has already posted not one but two entries. In fact players need only post one entry per turn, and it can begin with either of the two available letters. But the high quality of Screwz-U's work compelled me to throw caution into the windtunnel and include both his entries. Please follow the format in these entries when formatting your own.

Screwz-U also showed unusual industry in creating phantom entries. He remarks, "This being the beginning of the game, there will be far too many terms that are commonly used that will need to be defined. Personally, I suggest to open the flood-gate and allow people to make as many entries as they want, as this thing will blossom. By the end of the game, the dead links can be removed easily."

I don't know if the Lexicon design breaks in such circumstances, though it doesn't present any problems obvious to me. My inclination is to let players do whatever the hell they want.

If you have comments, leave them below this entry, and sign and date them.

-- Allen Varney

Hello, I just saw that I was added when I looked at pages wanted, only to see an entry for my own patented Commie_Catcher_[TM] system. The rules I read say that I do not get to define my own terms, but I am sure that someone can figure out how the system works, considering that PLC paperwork processing is down something like 99% after executing all those commies giving us unnecessary paperwork (the only required paperwork, obviously, is a termination form)

Anyhow, I tend to agree that we may want to define some of the simpler terms and phrases along with the more interesting ones, so that we cite, for example simple things like cold fun and hot fun, well-known people like Teela-O-MLY, and more... inventive... citations such as a clone credit voucher or the infamous commie wedgie salute or even an experimental thermonuclear sanitizer ...

-- Matt Venzke

With regards to the number of phantom entries, it is important to remember that the number of entries for any given day cannot exceed the number of players. If lots of phantom entries are defined up front, then that can severely constrain later writers. I would recommend following the guidelines. That said, I don't think it's an issue if people create Wiki pages for commonly used terms (like Commie_Mutant_Traitors, The Computer, Troubleshooters, etc.) as long as they aren't part of the Lexicon, since that provides definition without constraining others).

-- Paul Tevis

Perhaps before we get to many entries written, some consideration should be given to the entry format. Could each entry have its own page? Then the back-link search function would allow us to see what all has referenced a phantom citation, which could be very useful later on the process.

-- Paul Tevis [29 Mar 2004 15:50 PST]

That would be great -- I think. I couldn't figure out how to compose links in that fashion. (I wonder if real High Programmers would in fact be so tragically inept?)

Show us how it's done, Paul, and then (I recommend) all players should do it that way.

-- Allen Varney [29 Mar 2004 21:04 CST]

Ok, based on the syntax that this particular Wiki uses, I'd recommend that people use the free link syntax. To link to a page called "Foo Bar", you type ["Foo Bar"]. Spacing and capitalization matter. (Some Wikis support a construct that concatanates and CamelCases multi-word strings, but MoinMoin apparently does not.) If you want to use different capitalization or a different label, you have to use the long [url label] form. Take a look at the Algae page to see how I handled INFRARED_Citizens vs. INFRARED citizens. (Or I suppose you could look here.) The only downside of this is that it breaks compatability with traditional Wiki CamelCase syntax (so ThisPage and This_Page don't link to the same thing), but as long as we're consistent, we should be fine.

And if you want to see were a page is referenced, just click on the title link at the top of the page. This will come in very useful when filling out phantom citations. I recommend that people create pages for their phantom citations and tests the back-link search, just so we can be certain that everything links the way we're expecting.

--Paul Tevis [29 Mar 2003 22:12 CST]

How much formatting can we do? I went hog-wild with my first entry, the Arm_&_Hammer_Infiltration_Report, but so far I'm the only one. Should I re-adjust the entry to be more compatible with the flat entry style?

--Karl_Low [30 Mar 2004 03:15 CST]

Off to a flying start, but I have to note that I was able to add the entry on the Aural_Static_Taste_Enhancer without any kind of login or username (which is why the entry is attributed to edsiapl01 instead of PaulBaldowski). Not entirely sure that should be the way it works... should it?

Oh... and given the comment made earlier about phantom entries overloading the system - should I leave the references as phantom links only or actually do the phantom entries... I await the decision of a higher power!

--Paul Baldowski [30 Mar 2004 12:10 BST]

If we don't want the number of phantom entries to exceed the number of players on any given turn, yet we're all writing two phantom entries for each entry, what happens to the inevitable extra?

--Karl_Low [ 30 Mar 2004 12:33 MST]

You don't necessary create a new phantom reference each turn. You can make a forward reference to a phantom already created. In fact, you'll have to. Within a turn or so, this will sort itself out.

--PaulTevis [30 Mar 2004 11:46 PST]

Profuse and well-deserved commendations to Master Formatter PaulTevis for his valiant reallocation of entries to their own pages. High Programmers, follow his example!

Based on the salient objection that large numbers of phantom entries will excessively constrain future turns, I suggest everyone restrict himself to two phantoms per turn. Yes, by all means cite pre-existing phantoms when feasible! (And don't forget to comment on others' entries to redress their obvious innuendo and distortions.)

There is as yet no security on the pages. I thought about putting it in, but it's contrary to the Wiki way. For now let's keep it that way. If some persistent vandal makes everyone's life hard, we can easily institute password security.

-- Allen Varney [30 Mar 15:14 CST]

The irony here is that I was earlier editing things so as to fit your other format, with them all on their own page. Oh well, this probably is easier :] I wonder about all the A-B, C-D, etc. pages. I read something about macros... is there some way to make those pages autogenerate themselves? I don't look forward to having to keep those consistant, otherwise...

Speaking of which, someone want to edit my comments way up there above to go to their proper places? Some aren't now pointing to the proper entries, I fear, and I don't have time just now.

--Matt Venzke [30 Mar]

Matt, you and I have the same inclinations with regards to formatting. I'm also looking at the MoinMoin macros to see if we can get the list pages to autogenerate. I know how to do it with php Wiki, but every Wiki is a little different. I'll fix up those things above for you.

--PaulTevis [30 Mar 2004 16:07 PST]

I just put my entry up. I'd also like to ask if it's okay for me to call an entry ahead of schedule. No one's referenced it, but I'd really like to write an entry on fluoride. So, I went ahead and made a page for it with a note claiming it. If this isn't cool, just let me know and I'll figure out some legit way to pounce on the topic when the time comes.

--Rob Rodger [30 Mar]

After letting in a few laggards who may not yet have posted their bios, I have now closed the game. There are nearly two dozen players currently, which is too many, but I expect they'll weed themselves down after a few turns to a dozen or so, which is ideal.

This comments page is already growing unwieldy. I supposed we'll have to set up some overall archive page that indexes subordinate date-specific pages. Does some existing Wiki macro do this automagically? Seems like it must be a well understood problem.

-- Allen Varney [30 Mar]

Hi everybody. I just put my first entry (Best_Good_Happy_Sector_Hour) up, and I'm glad to be here.

Now, I don't want to be the guy that shows up late and tells everybody how to run things, but let me just describe some of the formatting conventions that were adopted at the Nobilis lexicon for the alphabetical listing pages (AB, CD, etc.): When you create a new phantom entry, you create a WikiWord for it in your document, then go to the letter of the alphabet it belongs under and add that WikiWord there. But you don't create a new page for it. Then if someone else wants dibs on that entry (remember you can't write an entry you yourself first created as a phantom entry), they add a little note to it on the alphabetical listing page, but still don't create a new page for it until they've actually written the entry.

The advantage to this over creating those pages right away is that anyone can quickly glance at the alphabetical listing page and see how many phantom entries have been planted, which ones are spoken for, and which ones have been actually written - since they will be the only live links. This is more convenient than putting that info in each entry's own page since you don't need to explore a whole bunch of pages to see what's actually been done. Compare the information you get by looking at this page (at least until it gets filled in) with the information you get by looking at LexiconCD.

Note that it's not necessary to put a note with each phantom saying who created it, since when you start editing that page, you can always click on the title at the top to see every other page that references it. This is extremely handy later on in the game when you'll be writing some entries that lots of people have linked to.

OK, I've said enough. Thoughts?

-- Rob MacD [30 Mar]

I agree with Rob re: leaving phantom entries blank - I've filled mine in for now, just for consistency's sake, but I think it'd help to know what's defined and what isn't.

I'm OK going by a strict maximum-of-2-new-links limit, or not, as folks desire. I don't see any problem with doing as many (relevant) links to already-existing documents as one wants, though; it doesn't increase the number of entries any, and adds to the interconnectedness.

-- EricReuss [31 Mar]

I alo agree with Rob about the phantoms. I started filling in the pages at first because the default settings (after you've logged in) don't differentiate between links to created and uncreated pages. (Setting "Show question mark for non-existing pagelinks" makes it look right.) I also wanted to make sure things got linked up right, given the crazy free link syntax (I really much prefer the way phpWiki handles things with the double curly-brace syntax), but I think we've got it under control now.

--PaulTevis [31 Mar 22:35 PST]

Rather than keeping it to strictly 2 new links per entry, I would suggest putting something like 2-4, to allow some leeway. I assume the opening salvos will be filled with references, which we can quickly start hooking up later. In addition, there's the common ones like IntSec & TacNuke (which I have already made); we can just make little entries for those, something for the Paranoia illiterate.

In addition, what about phantom links to the current letters? I was unable to resist the urge to include "Boomstick" in the vocab.

-- Jeff G. [30 Mar]

I haven't looked at the math but I think if we do a bunch of entries each per turn, towards the end of the game we're going to either have to do multiple entries apiece during each turn (to cover all the existing entries) or we'll end up with undefined entries. Of course, that's not exactly a violation of the PARANOIA spirit... Also, the further we get into the alphabet, I guess, the more new entries are going to crowd into the latter part of the alphabet-- we're not creating new entries in letters we've already done and passed, right?

Also, I think if there's one thing that should NOT have an entry in the Lexicon, it should be "Toothpaste Disaster". :)

-- Dan J. [30 Mar]

It's simpler than that. We count up the number of players, and don't allow more phantoms per letter than the number of players. Then we run out of room for new phantoms at 'N', and spend the rest of the game filling in existing phantoms without creating new ones.

-- Eric M. 31 Mar

Eric is exactly right. As long as you keep the rule about not having more entries than players in mind, everything follows naturally.

--PaulTevis [31 Mar 22:35 PST]

So are we calling dibs or not. If we are, I've got the Commie_Catcher_[TM].

--Karl_Low [30 Mar 22:23 HNY]

How about identifying the Toothpaste_Disaster as an entry that is beyond even our security clearance. I think keeping it blank would be a wise move.

On the matter of dibs... I'm not 100% comfortable with this idea, because it's going to be a mad dash for things as they come up (and others sleep!). I think that when we reach each letter pairing, entries are written and posted as and when - and I'm not talking bookmarking entries with minute posts to make for yet another form of dibs. I think calling dibs suggests a traitorous lack of appreciation of the plentiful opportunities for creativity that have been offered up by Our Friend Computer and that we should all Share and Enjoy!

--PaulBaldowski [31 Mar 09:36 BST]

As opposed to a mad dash when the turn changes over?

--Karl_Low [31 Mar 04:01 CST]

Yeah... <rolls eyes>

--PaulBaldowski [31 Mar 11:41 BST]

I'm a bit of a straggler here. I created a few too many phantom reference, I think, in a fit of enthusiasm. If it looks like that is going to be a problem, it's an easy enough matter to trim a few out without really changing anything.

--JoshuaMoretto [31 Mar 08:07 EST]

Let me add my voice to the people urging we stick closely to the limits on creating new references and how many references are created. (There is no reason not to add a zillion links in each entry to pages that already exist.) There are two aspects of the rules that may not seem important on the first turn, but they are really what make the Lexicon fun: one is that you can never write an entry that you created the original reference to; the other is that there are a limited number of entries.

The effect of these two rules is to force all the players to interact with each other's ideas and entries, to take things and characters that people have already mentioned and twist them. These restrictions may seem arbitrary, but they are what make the Lexicon a game and not just a writing exercise. At the start of the alphabet we astound each other with our creativity in tossing out new ideas. At the middle of the alphabet we vex / delight each other by taking each other's ideas and mutating them. At the end of the alphabet we curse each other as we do contortions writing entries that somehow don't conflict with all the material that's gone before.

Going back to my earlier post about formatting, what if we put a note after each entry on the alphabetical list page that said "empty" or "not done yet" or some Alpha Complex-y equivalent? Then people could delete those tags when they wrote up an entry, and you could see by looking at the list which ones were done. (Dibs could also go there too.) What do people think?

I also think that "Toothpaste Disaster" should not be an entry in itself. We could just put a note in that page that says, "Sorry, you're not cleared for that information."

Boy, I talk a lot, don't I. Lest it seem that all I am sporting is attitude, let me just say that the entries everyone's putting up are all GREAT! Funny stuff here. I'm looking forward to this.

-- RobMacDougall

I went ahead and put in a "blank space" page for the Toothpaste_Disaster entry that I think reflects the spirit of PARANOIA. If folks like it we can keep it. Otherwise, Omega-U had previously put in a dibs request. Or we can fight for it with baseball bats the way Troubleshooters would. Or we can agree that the Toothpaste Disaster entry is the one entry where everyone is allowed to erase everything everyone else has said and say something totally new in its place... :)

-- Dan J

I was looking at some of the C and D phantoms to see what was coming up for options. When making them could people either link or at least reference where the cross reference came from so it's easier to track down? Thanks. --Rob R.

There's no need to type up references; just use the FindPage search box at the bottom of every page. - Eric M.

Or just click on the title of the page, which does a search for that page. -- PaulTevis

And both Paul & Eric's methods are preferrable to leaving notes about where a reference came from because sometimes several entries will refer to the same page. (Once a phantom has been referenced to once, others don't need to count it as one of your alloted references - everyone should feel free to reference existing pages.) -- Rob M.

I went ahead and trimmed my phantoms down to the official two. My apologies to anyone who thought "decay preventatives", "hygiene-related activities", and "toothpasty supplement #6" were more interesting options than the notorious "Megadent" and the "Total Oral Cleansing". I took the liberty of changing the one or two references (made in someone else's comments) to TS#6, only altering them to no longer register as links, to avoid confusion. I am now in compliance with directives.

I'm all for some kind of marking of unwritten entries as such, and the similar marking of those with "dibs" calls. Do we have some kind of consensus on this? --Josh M.

So when can we start on C-D? I already have an entry for Denta-Bots written up, but I don't want to post it before I get the official go-ahead.

-- Eric M.

Yeah... I'm assuming Jared - Brush-U-TTH-32 - currently lives somewhere East of Singapore... because that Documentaries is a mite early...

-- PaulBaldowski

The early bird catches the worm, Citizen! Of course, I have no idea as to what "bird" or "worm" actually mean...

At any rate, hah! Eat it! Eat it you Commie Mutant Scum! *zapzapzapzap!!!*

-- Jared S.

The Toothpaste Disaster cannot be above the reader's security clearance, as this report is for Friend Computer ... We may have to let Allen write that entry if it will be a source of contention, or otherwise come up with some summary of the contents of this report after we finish to fill it in. Moreover, I believe that we are allowed to annotate each other's entries, no? I may have to let Friend Computer know about some of the suspicious activity going on... Speaking of which, if I don't hurry, I might be late to submit my entries, so toodles :]

-- MattVenzke

I like Dan J's existing Toothpaste_Disaster entry. I agree there should be no actual entry for the Disaster itself. However, any survivor at the end of the game (that is, any player who completes the game) is welcome to submit an Individual Non-Consensual Summary Overview of the great catastrophe as that player understands it. Then we'll figure out some way to present these contributions here, so that other survivors can quibble and correct.

Regarding dibs: If any player is uncomfortable about the practice, I think it should be avoided. There may be a constructive alternative: a players-only mailing list on Orkut or Yahoo Groups, where interested players can thrash out and agree in advance the material they want to see in particular topics. Or does that violate the Lexicon spirit of improvisation?

Thanks to Josh M. for correcting his profusion of stub entries in such gentlemanly fashion. Ah, ULTRAVIOLETS -- that's where you really see true class.

So far as I can tell, the collective panel's first flush of enthusiasm has already completed Turn 1, a full day in advance of the deadline. Ordinarily I would unleash the pack-hounds on Turn 2 (C-D) prematurely. This "dibs" issue makes that somewhat controversial. The only solution I see is that if you don't want to write any of the phantom entries in C or D, you could go ahead and write a new entry starting now. That wouldn't bug anyone, would it?

--Allen Varney [1 Apr 12:48 CST]

It wouldn't bother me at all, but one thing I notice is that we have 21 Ultraviolet citizens, and 23 A-B entries. We might want to set a definite limit for how many entries each future page has. I'd say limit it to 21.

--Karl_Low [1 Apr 00:11 MST]

Oops. My apologies. I was continuing to interpet the Lexicon rules as the default 1 entry/Letter, rather than 1/lettergroup. As a result, both Active_Waste_Management and Baseline_Dental_Health are mine. Should I forego my next turn, or just apologize profusely and not do it in the future?

--David Siegel [1 Apr 10:36 EST]

Make that 25.

...what? B3 & B4 looked so lonely by themselves.

Personally, I believe it'd be fine so long as extra entries made no new phantom links, unless the other Ultraviolets are disturbed by the obsessed fanatics.

--Jeff Groves [1 Apr 02:00 CEN]

Um... yep. Disturbed and concerned. I don't think we should be getting carried away here. While I'm used to working through myriad links in an article and finding more to add as a volunteer sub-editor on an online encyclopedia, I'm concerned that within a couple of weeks we're already going to have substantially more than 100 entries to reference back to. Given the treason slinging that will be building in the commentary all over the place, reading through all of these entries, plus the extra ones being added ad hoc style, will become very time consuming indeed - and I was kind of hoping to be able to keeping a real world life going around this Lexicon game. So - I'm all for keeping to the strict one reference per High Programmer guide we started with, else this is going to get real hard to keep on top of.

-- PaulBaldowski [01 Apr 09:44 BST]

I'd have to vote for one entry per Programmer as well. A bunch of Ultraviolets wouldn't find it necessary to define things like "Bouncy Bubble Beverage" on every report they fill out. Let's keep it to strictly those things we couldn't assume are matters of commonplace knowledge.

-- JoshuaMoretto [01 Apr 07:15 EST]

I agree with Josh re: not needing to define things like Bouncy Bubble Beverage - no need, and it obscures the more unique entries. (And yes, the existing ToothpasteDisaster entry is excellent.)

I'm fine with dibs, so long as folks don't go overboard. Don't call dibs on more than 1-3 entries over the course of the game, perhaps? (ie, save it for the ones you really, really want).

--EricReuss [01 Apr 9:42 EST]

That seems like a good "dibs" plan (don't do it unless you burn with desire for the entry). Also, see my apology above for doing both an A and B entry, misinterpeting this variant of the original Lexicon rules.

-- DavidSiegel [01 Apr 10:40 EST]

Well, the initial rules did say that if there was a phantom entry you wanted to write to reserve it, which I think is necessary to prevent a duplication of effort. I'm sorry if I confused things with flouride (which wasn't referenced in the A-B articles).

-- Rob R.

Whoops! I overlooked one player who has yet to contribute a Turn 1 entry or, in fact, even a bio. Therefore I ask the gentle panelists to forebear from stampeding onward to Turn 2 until the wayward High Programmer sorts out his schedule. If he doesn't post by midnight, we'll have him terminated.

Still need to resolve this unwieldy and ever-growing Discussion Page....

-- Allen Varney [1 April 11:44 AM CST]

You could start archiving older entries on a regular basis, and/or create multiple discussion pages to handle different threads of debate.

-- Eric M.

There's unfortunately no good way to do this automatically. Of course, refactoring is the WikiWay. So, I've moved all threads with no replies in the last two days to the LexiconDiscussionPageArchive. I'd encourage people to use horizontal rules to separate threads of discussion and to date their entries so we know when to refactor this page. Any objections?

--PaulTevis [1 April]

Given Allen's statement (and the seeming general consensus) about common Paranoia terms, I going to remove links to their entries from the Lexicon index pages. Their pages can certainly stick around, but they shouldn't count as entries. Or to put it another way, not everything on this Wiki is has to be part of the Lexicon.

--PaulTevis [1 April]

Just in case anyone read Allen's email the wrong way, I think we should be clear on how phantom entries work. If everyone creates two "new" entries ("new" in the sense that they have never been mentioned before), then we'll run out of space and not every entry will get filled in. Everyone should make two forward references in each entry. Those might be to new phantoms or to old phantoms. Just rememeber that the number of entries for each turn can't exceed the number of players (which I believe is twenty-two right now). Have a good daycycle!

--PaulTevis [1 April]

Hope everyone is having a dandy April Fools day. I just wanted to chime in with a quick comment:

I would advise against pre-writing entry's, even if you've claimed dibs on them, as entries may get added which contribute facts to a forward phantom entry, as I did to Erics Denta-Bots when I referenced the Denta-Bots entry in my Asimov_Circuit_Miniaturization post. Hopefully, I haven't hosed Eric's plans with my contribution.

--Ben E. [April 1]

Not at all! Just a minor change, really, and one which added spice to the entry. I'll send over a squad of Vulture Warriors to convey my personal thanks.

-- Eric M. [April 1]

Quick note here. Due to the derth of Tech Services, and the abundance of PLC, I bit the bullet and changed Watt-U's backstory. Those of you planning skulduggery based on Watt-U's association with the PLC will have to rethink. (Though it shouldn't be much of a change from whatever you had before.)

-- Karl_Low [April 2]

What is the local time zone for this wiki? At first I had assumed that "by midnight local time" had actually meant local time to me. Now I see I was incorrect.

-- Paul_Jacobs [April 2]

I intended midnight local time to mean each individual contributor's local midnight, just as you assumed. If someone has offered a reason why that doesn't work, I missed it, so please repeat.

-- Allen Varney [April 2 17:39 CST]

We're using some pretty heavy Paranoia vocab here. If we ARE going to use it as a Paranoia "ad", then we should at least include a glossary. We shouldn't put it on the main pages, though, so it won't clutter up the main thing. Therefore, I say that we:

Definitions like IntSec, TacNuke, and Asimov Circuits should go under it.

-- Jeff Groves

There's nothing wrong with the glossary idea, as long as it doesn't increase the effort required from players who just want to keep up with the core Lexicon discourse. The fewer reasons players can find to drop out of the game, the better.

I daresay any newbie who follows the Paranoia-Live link on the ParanoiaLexicon page will get up to speed well enough on the background, or it would help them at least as well as a glossary here would.

-- Allen Varney [April 2 17:40 CST]

Local midnight it is then. I guess I was wrong. I mean right. I had briefly thought otherwise because of the date and time references spread throughout this site. As for the glossary thing - I would agree with Allen that it's not necessary. Anyone who has played before or browsed a rulebook will be well aware of what a TacNuke or Slugthrower is. I would presume all us High Programmers are quite familiar with the trimmings of life in Alpha Complex. And anyone reading the upcoming rulebook that will be citing this tome will certainly have read a Paranoia rulebook before - at least part of one.

-- Paul_Jacobs [April 2 16:21 PST]

How about we wait until the game is over, and then all go back through the entries and create definitions for any jargon we've thrown in, as an out-of-character exercise in getting the results ready for prime-time.

(Actually, thinking about this a bit... a Paranoia jargon-file, if done well, could be both useful and very entertaining)

-- Ben Engelsberg [April 2 18:30 MST]

Good idea. Then we can take down these IntSec & TacNuke pages that are screwing with the auto-link feature, unless someone has a doozy of an entry ready for them.

And why are we even posting dates in our comments? It's not like the exact time matters as long as they're in order.

-- Jeff Groves

The ChemiLuminoOxygrin entry, though worthy of commendation points for the original researcher and all commentators, nonetheless caused me to blink at its assumption that INFRARED Clearance citizens can't ordinarily read. This contrasts with my understanding of the schooling given to all Junior Citizens; wouldn't they be taught how to read monitors, if nothing else? But I'm not a player here, and anyway such pedantry would obstruct the excellent comedy in that entry.

Still, my reaction prompted me to wonder how, or whether, we might implement a parallel out-of-game discussion of aspects of life in Alpha Complex as they pertain to these game entries. The Paranoia-Live.net forums would be the obvious place for interested parties to converge; of course, players who lack time or interest to follow these tangents would not need to participate. Would anyone here enjoy this or find it helpful? The danger is that raising questions about Alpha Complex trivia could stifle funny material aborning, which is the sin of sins. Opinions?

-- Allen Varney [April 3 01:40 CST]

In introducing InfoGlyphs (expanded into SIMP), I was actually working from existing Paranoia source material, which suggests that reading is not necessarily a given amongst Citizens beneath Green Clearance. Obviously there would be exceptions and some work areas may necessitate some additional basic eductation for Citizens of, say, Orange and Yellow Clearance working in places like PLC warehouses... but low level Citizens would, presumably, be taught their jobs by rote rather than being relied upon to learn of their own accord and react through understanding. Even a desk clerk in a warehouse could determine that a form was incorrectly completed by referencing InfoGlyphs (that might suggest it was the wrong form altogether) and noting that certain boxes has not been filled out. Historically the common folk may have spoken a language, but reading and writing were far less common skills. I was, in this instance, working from information in the DOA Sector travel guide.

-- PaulBaldowski

I, too, was working from existing information. The Computer was built to serve, first and foremost. Since this is a futuristic utopia... stop laughing :) ... I didn't want to base it too closely with "That Other Game" where they don't take reading and writing for granted. I foresee the day, when an Infrared has completed their basic education, and looks with pride on their ME card. And understands that this bit 'o plastic, is his/her great responsibility... you can kinda get where I'm going with this.

-- John Spann

Okay, thanks for pointing out the precedent. Just as a heads-up, I'm gonna change that in the new edition. Infrareds will be able to read and write. Otherwise those ambitious to advance (i.e., the PCs) couldn't be taking notes on each other.

Also, the Straight play style is set in an Alpha Complex that works terrifyingly well. I picture this as a defensible picture of a perfect state, assuming you don't care about details like crushing all human spirit, and that you're not one of those caught in endless bureaucratic nightmares trying to get something done.

-- Allen Varney [April 3 09:49 CST]

Hmm, concerning the formatting of our entries... should we perhaps make them more consistant? For one, it would be nice if there were some way to automagically add the A-B C-D, etc. links to the bottom of all entries. For another, it would be nice if we were more consistant about putting or not putting the title of the entry at the top of the page... I think I'm guilty of this, too. Lastly, I wonder if we should put all our references separately at the bottom, or just the forward, phantom references? (Oooh! I should make Phantom References into some kind of reference somewhere!)

And I sure hope someone figures out something to do with this page, too. It's getting quite loooooooooooooonnnng! May just have to bite the laser barrel and cut & paste it over?

-- Matt Venzke [April 3]

Yay! The index pages are now using macros! Let me know if I need to exclude any pages that don't belong in the index (LET ME DO THIS! UNLESS YOU LIKE REGEXES AND UNDERSTAND THEM...). Note that you'll have to make a phantom page to get things to appear in the index, too! That shouldn't be hard--make a wiki link to it from anywhere (preferably the sandbox, or as dibs!) and then put any old thing there (dibs, this is a phantom entry, etc.) and it will show up on the index page! Yay!

-- Matt Venzke [April 3]

I've been thinking about the end: W-X and Y-Z, to be exact. They're at the end of the alphabet for a reason. Perhaps we should combine them? I can't see them having the same # of entries as the other letter pairs.

-- Jeff Groves

I think the macro Lexicon pages are a bad idea. They force us to rely on Matt (not that I'm not saying he's reliable.. but I have no idea about his schedule) should we need to get rid of a page. (For instance, the Commie_Mutant_Traitors entry is back in the C-D page, and I thought we already sort of decided it was too basic to bother with.) They also have other problems, for instance, if I were to add a GH phantom called "Help Assistance Hotline" or something like that, it wouldn't show up, as the macro is set to ditch any "Help" entries it comes across, and wouldn't show up until Matt or somebody who knew how the macro system worked came in and changed the macro.

Plus, it just bothers me to see wholesale changes going on like this without any discussion in the group, and things are starting to get messed up, as there are now a number of phantom entries which don't say who created them.

-- Karl_Low [April 3]

I can remove any page necessary from the index listings. I've removed quite a few already. I left in the CMT link because it was still listed as a phantom entry (I mean, we have other things like B3, and they can be made into useful entries...). If no one is actually going to write a good entry for the CMTs, I will gladly remove it. I can also change things back if need be, but these have value in that I have recovered various link which I am sure were meant to be there.

Lastly, I would like to point out that Allen can just remove the file for an entry manually (see the wiki stuff about deleting pages) and they will no longer appear in the index listings. He can do this whether I'm here or not. My regexes aren't *that* evil (as regexes go--and I should know!) either, and if you read them closely, all but one will probably be pretty clear to anyone at all familiar with them. They can be changed back, I guess, but I see less value in that. Oh, and we did mention/discuss these! It may be archived by now, but I did mention that I was looking into doing it, and I am able to exclude all unnecessary pages--look and see :]

-- MattVenzke [April 3]

I automatically tend to support anyone who can knowledgably use the phrase "negative lookahead regex assertions," but that is merely a kneejerk expression of my innate awe of coders. I'm still a bit vague on what these macros actually do, but if people are still uncomfortable with them after a turn or two, Matt should consider taking them out.

I note, Matt, that you created a phantom entry for DebateIsFutileResolutionForm, but this phantom begins with D, a letter currently being covered this turn. This is unproductive because it constrains some other player this very turn, as opposed to constraining them in future turns. Phantoms should be created beginning with letters that haven't yet been, or aren't currently being, covered.

Though entries are currently flowing in a heady rush, I expect by the time we get to W-X and Y-Z we will have fewer players, perhaps far fewer. We needn't worry yet about what to do when we reach the end.

I'm enormously pleased with the way things are shaping up in this Lexicon. Thanks to all, especially the coders.

-- Allen Varney [April 4 01:04 CST]

I'm already wondering how this is supposed to work. This is my first time dealing with a Wiki, and I picked up how to place links, create the entry pages, and so on, fairly quickly. I can do that. When writing my C-D entry last night, though, when I went to renew my edit lock after checking some of the sources I was referencing, I found an entry already edited under me saying something along the lines of "this is put here in case someone doesn't edit the page, and please use the macros next time." So, am I doing something wrong, or do I continue as I have?

-- Mark Kinney [April 5]

Speaking of the DebateIsFutileResolutionForm, I don't know if it was intended as such, but invoking it in comments seems to be a good way to say, "right, let's move on" when a comment-born snipe fest threatens to grow unwieldy. I'm loving all the little fights that are breaking out, it just seems handy to have this around as a method of keeping any one from dragging on in a single thread, given that we can't resort to the standard Troubleshooter methodology of simply opening fire. I don't know if we need a specific entry for it, but it's a nice trope to have available. Kudos to Matt for its conception.

-- Josh Moretto

Regexes are just patterns. Once you understand what they mean (and ways to get them to match what you do and do not want... :) they're not hard. A negative lookahead assertion is a fancy way of saying "okay, I match anything that starts with A or B, but I don't want to match this stupid wiki page... or this other typo, etc." so I simply rule in all the As and Bs, and rule out all the pages I don't want (say, anything starting with "Wiki" or "Eric" since we have two Erics and one has a typo'd page). You guys SHOULD tell me if a page doesn't show up after you make a phantom for it (that is, when you actually put something at the phantom linked page) -- it's quite unlikely, but I might have to adjust the regexes slightly. It should not be a problem, unless you like to name things starting with "Wiki" or you craft them to drive me nuts :] Actually, one typo already did that--one entry had a typo, where they left an s off the end, and I had to rule IN the page with the s and rule out the page without it. You can't use a negative lookahead assertion for that without ruling them both out, so I had to use alternation to rule in the page with the s specifically, and then so "or it can be this other stuff" in a side which ruled out both of them (the net effect being that it was allowed in, because of the special case--a page would be allowed if it matched either side of the alternation, and the page with the s was the only one that matched the special side).

Try not to do that any more, though, or my regexes are going to get pretty long :] Not that I cannot fix them, as required.

Concerning the DebateIsFutileResolutionForm I actually made that last round, I've just cross-referenced it a few other places. I think that I forgot to add the link to it, though, until it came out via the macro (that or I did it just the other day). In many of my entries, I have tried to reference things that already exist as well as those that do not, so as to help tie things together a bit more. You will note in particular that the CyberHack_Programming_Helmet has a number of cross-references, both to previously existing phantom entries and to previously written entries. I've tried to help keep track of any mentions of things I made on their phantom pages, as a service to whoever

Also, concerning merging the last two entries, that would not be a problem. I can rewrite the regexes in any way required. I'm probably one of the few people who has both read and understood the entire O'Reilly book on regexes, and I love them dearly, so I don't mind if I have to dereference someone's typo every so often (though I will note that Allen can delete pages physically... I read something about this in the Wiki). If Allen zaps the typos physically, they just won't show up any more. We might want to do this for some OrphanedPages ...

Anyhow, if need be, anyone can convert them back. I understand that there's some "rollback" feature somewhere, but it would probably be better just to cut & paste the entries, delete my macros and make sure you get all the links right. Then they could be hand-edited again. So no worries :]

-- MattVenzke [April 4]

Just a quick note: HighProgrammerBiographies is showing on the LexiconGH page...

-- DanCurtisJohnson [April 4]

I know about that one, but it seems IC to me, so I left it in at the time. What's the consensus on it? Shall I remove it or no? Either way is not a problem with me.

-- MattVenzke [April 4]

The reformatting of the alphabetical index pages with the "Dibs" entries separated by a line suggests a way to deal with the problem of distinguishing between finished entries and phantoms. Phantoms could be listed below the line and then moved above the line when completed.

-- RobMacDougall

That would be great. I'm having trouble telling which entries are written and which aren't.

-- Jeff G.

Heh, I had been considering doing something like that, too (in particular, putting some of the yet-to-be-written entries below the line for others to write). I try to do it later if someone hasn't done it already :] Fortunately, removing them shouldn't be hard, as we can just wipe them all out after the deadline...

-- MattVenzke

I've noticed these [TOP][BOTTOM] tags popping up a lot now. In addition to being very annoying, they don't work.

-- Jeff G.

I add my vote of nonplussed-ness re: the Top/Bottom tags.

-- Rob M.

I tried to remove those myself. They appear to be built-in?

-- MattVenzke

Just so Topi knows, I hadn't seen that there was a dibs on the Flossbot MkII until after I'd submitted said entry (indeed, I may have put it there before the dibs was posted, from the timings on the Recent Changes page). Should I find a new entry to write, or is it okay if mine stands?

-- Mark Kinney [April 6]

It's fine by me. Seems like we hit the page at about the same time. I'll pick another entry. Besides, the current entry is eerily similar to my planned one.

-- Topi Makkonen

OK, so can somebody macro-savvy explain again what we are and are not supposed to do when creating phantom entries? Do we a) just mention them in the entry we're writing and leave them as empty links; b) leave them as empty links but also go to the respective alphabetical list pages and create matching empty links there; c) create a page for the new phantoms; d) both b and c.

I'm not sure I understand what virtues the macro has added over doing things manually, but I appreciate the work Matt has done, and it does seem entirely appropriate for the Paranoia Lexicon to be, um, over-automated with code that flummoxes many of its High Programmers.

-- Rob M.

When you create a new phantom link, please create a page there using the PhantomTemplate (click the little PhantomTemplate link when you create the page). This will cause the entry to show up in the index (as it does not index pages that have links, but no content yet). If you need to make a totally new page, give yourself a 'dibs' entry, then write it up by clicking on that entry.

Alternatively, you can just go directly to any page and create it, after which it will show up in the index. If you can't figure out how to go to pages manually (and I don't suggest you do this for any entry with spaces, etc. in it), please use this little goto box:

We may want to start listing all non-written entries for the current somewhere, perhaps in the dibs section with a note that they're still unclaimed, but I leave it to everyone else to decide this.

Lastly, I should mention that I had intended for the "referenced by" link only to be on phantom pages, due to it listing many OOC pages, including stuff no one should touch, like our editor backup pages. I meant it primarily as a service to those who filled in phantom entries, so that they could see everything which had been said about their entry, thus helping to keep their facts straight. If people feel that it is still useful after a page is written, we can change them all back.

Also, I may be able to make a macro that is useful for the entries after they're written--I should be able to list all the "children" of a given page (e.g. automate filling in the "refs" section). Of course, it would list all references, both new and old, so I'm not quite sure yet. I'd rather hear from other players whether or not they like that. I'll try and make an example using that format so we can all decide if we like it.

-- MattVenzke

Got it - thanks!

-- Rob M.

Apologies for stretching "established fact" about the DebateIsFutileResolutionForm - I wanted to make it a useful metatool for ending comment-threads, if desired, and that meant eliminating a few loopholes. Though truth be told, as soon as anyone starts hauling the thing out (properly or no), I think that's a sign. ;-)


A reminder: Please don't create a phantom entry that begins with a letter currently being covered this very turn. This unacceptably constrains other players.

-- AllenVarney

Not sure why this seemed germane to the game, but I felt compelled to share it with you all, so here it is...


I noticed that the indexing macro seems to have found the page for Hygiene-related Activities and linked to it on the LexiconGH page. That heading was one of my early and mistaken overabundance of phantoms. Unless somebody really wants it, it should probably be removed, as should (I now notice) Tootpasty Supplement #6 (which is now linking on the LexiconST page. I guess the actual pages need to be deleted.

-- Josh M.

All right...maybe I just missed something somewhere, but is there anything I can do to prevent my player page from showing up in the indexes, as it does now?

-- Josh M.

I'm a little out of touch on some "approved" terminology. Could someone refresh me as to what the official time periods are? I know daycycles, but what are the Alpha Complex versions of months and years?

-- Rob R.

Alpha Complex still uses months (or, as pedantic bureaucrats say, "monthcycles") and years (no "cycle" suffix there, though). The new edition of PARANOIA is set in Year 214 of The Computer. Months are numbered 1 to 12. Date format is up to the GM, but as an American I will be writing the new edition's dates in month.day.year format, e.g., 4.7.214.

There is no established format for Old Reckoning dates, inasmuch as these are unimportant to right-thinking citizens. Except, presumably, ULTRAVIOLETs. Hmm...

-- AllenVarney [April 7 11:45 CST]

Just a note: I did a quick check of how many phantom links we've got. The S-T letters are tipping the scale at a whopping 17 entries. I'd suggest avoiding new S-T entries like the plague, before we make more links than there are High Programmers. The other letters need loving, too.

-- Jeff Groves

Well, three of those entries - Toothpasty Supplement #6, TacNuke and Toothpaste Disaster - are not really up for entries. The first one is extra - I believe - and needs to be removed; the second is probably an accident, cause the Wiki thinks it's a link entry; and, the final one is not an entry for completion before the end of the game. So, only 14 entries... still a lot.

-- PaulBaldowski

Is there any way to keep those Full Search macros from returning the current page & non-Lexicon pages? I've noticed a lot of false hits among the listings.

-- Jeff Groves

You need me to remove the player page entries :] I think that I've got them all now, but leave me a message at MattVenzke if I miss any. Basically, I have to modify the regexes to exclude them. If you like, anything starting with "Wiki" will not be indexed (unless I have to make an exception to that case for someone--I can if it's really necessary to have it there). On the other hand, Mr. Lemmer seems to have managed to correctly modify a regex in at least one case, so I may not be the only one who can fix these; of course, it's not that hard if you understand how the regexes work :]

Let me know of any pages that need to be excluded at the MattVenzke page, and be sure to remove the links to said page when you do (so they aren't accidentally recreated if I find phantoms that seem to need to be made when I have forgotten why we removed it)

And yeah, we may have to avoid making too many phantoms in any one letter group. Try for some Qs and Zs, folks!

-- MattVenzke

Maintainance Report

-More discussions moved to the archives.

-Missing links scoured from the Lexicon. There are a few notable ones that I skipped:

  • Jan-U-ARY-31: Just in case she gets a page up later.

  • Kaleidoscope_Conspiracy: Phantom link needed here.

  • OmniPipeTechServ: It was mentioned so much in the Bile_Suppressant commentary that I suggest giving it an honorary phantom link. Or at least making one to it in an upcoming entry.

  • TacNuke: This & IntSec are the most common accidental links. However, while I'm all for deleting the IntSec links, I see great potential in explaining exactly how you make a tactical nuke. What sort of compression technology did R&D use on it? How did the minimum blast radius shrink from 3 miles to 200 yards? If no one else wants it, I will make it myself as a Bonus Page.

Finally, remember you can keep Wiki from making automatic links out multi-capital words (like IntSec and TacNuke) by giving it a ! prefix.

Example: !IntSec

-- Jeff Groves

I made a point of putting in the code to stop IntSec being a link whenever I saw it. Not sure I got all of them though!

-- PaulBaldowski

You didn't. I still see plenty of them. I'll wait until Varney deletes the IntSec page; then I can find all the empty IntSec links and remove them.

BTW, WantedPages contains all links heading to empty pages. That's how I got involved with this in the first place.

-- Jeff Groves

Okay, I've deleted everything named IntSec I could find in the system. Go to it.

-- AllenVarney 2004-04-09 06:55:09

Keeping Track of Threads

With so many details being contributed to the project, I'm worried that we might lose track of the big picture in our ramblings. We should have a page where we track all of the threads going on and figure out how to eventually combine them. High Programmers can then modify it and comment about as they see fit, suggesting which ones to link and which ones to let go.

I call it TangledWeb. If the rest of you are in favor of such a page, I'll start work on it.

-- Jeff Groves [Apr 8]

I'm worried that we might lose track of the big picture in our ramblings

I expect that's more or less the point!

-- DanCurtisJohnson [Apr 8]

Best to name it something like WikiTangledWeb, so that I don't have to edit it out of the regexes, later ;] But yes, I've thought about ways to give us better discussion. The best I have come up with is to give ourselves a real forum somewhere; Wiki just wasn't meant for such things...

-- MattVenzke

I'm with Dan on this. The point of what makes it a game is following all those threads back and having to work around the various inconsistencies etc. By the time we get to W-X, not only is figuring out what kind of phantom entry to put in going to be difficult, but so will be actually writing any of them. Hence I feel many people will likely drop out at the end, thus becoming instant suspects for the entire thing.

-- KarlLow

I believe that'll be hard enough, even WITH a summary. There's such a thing as too much sadism, even in Paranoia.

-- Jeff

I agree with Dan and Karl. I could see doing a WikiTangledWeb page for a Lexicon that was more of a pure collaboration project - but this instance of Lexicon is also supposed to be a game, and the puzzle-nature of it all is really what makes it so. (A very challenging one, given the number of participants writing entries.)

If the sheer quantity of information is a problem, I'd rather see people encouraged to write slightly shorter entries (keeping them to about a screen's worth or so).

-- EricReuss 2004-04-09 17:07:41

Of course, "a screen's worth" is vastly subjective, depending on resolution, font-size, window-size, etc.. I run at 1600x1200 with small fonts; what fills a page for me would run several at a lower res. I don't really see the "game" aspect of this as being "who can actually keep track of a growing maze of info". The "game" here is in the role-playing of the personalities making these entries, and the arguing, jabbering, and general chaos of the commentary, not to mention the fun of building this thing a piece at a time. I'd rather see a "known info" summary page than have people constrain their output. This is a blast, and people are writing some very funny material. I'd hate to see that cramped in an attempt to keep down the amount of info we have to follow.

-- JoshMoretto

I see this as actually doing a pretty good job of demonstrating why it is that even the ULTRAVIOLETs, when it comes down to it, aren't really in control of their own fates in Alpha Complex. When you're RED Clearance, you have to keep an eye on an ever-more-random and capricious group of people armed with guns; at the opposite end of the scale, it's an ever-more-random and capricious body of data that will ultimately get you...

-- DanCurtisJohnson 2004-04-09 18:11:09

True, but that's part of how the ref'd by macros help. True, they only give you mentions of that particular entry, but I find that that's generally enough to get me through writing my entry... :] I suspect that, in the end, we will have a number of conspiracies all of which operated during the same timeframe. Then we can argue over which were diversions, what the actual goals were, and who should be blamed for it... I mean, I'm still wondering what nefarious ends my CyberHack_Programming_Helmet are being used for... :]

-- MattVenzke 2004-04-09 18:22:28

While it is daunting to keep track of all the information contained in the entries and the discussion threads spinning off of each of them, I agree with Dan that the information overload makes this a better than expected simulation of life as a High Programmer.

One thing that we could do to keep information manageable is to try to keep the bulk of commenting in the entries for the active and recently active letters, so the comments move along through the alphabet just a little behind the new entries. Would this stifle discussion too much?

ps My apologies for missing last turn. I will try to stay on track as we continue. Some very funny entries and comments have been written. My compliments to all!

-- RobMacDougall 2004-04-10 19:09:46

Don't know why I never realized it until now, but the deadline for Turn 5 is technically this Thursday, April 15th. This unfortunately coincides with the deadline for Americans to file their tax returns with the dreaded Internal Revenue Service -- a little taste of Alpha Complex life here in our time. So I am unilaterally granting Americans a one-day extension for their I-J turn entries to Friday, April 16.

If any turn deadlines conflict with tax filing deadlines for our international players, let me know and we'll work something out.

-- AllenVarney 2004-04-13 09:45:29

Thanks for the extra day. I strongly agree with the commenting restrictions Rob suggests. How about if we say active commenting should only happen on the turn before the current one, but occasionally you can add to older ones, if you feel there is a good reason and keep it to a minimum (say, 3 or 4 pre-previous-turn comments per game from here on out). What do people think?

-- Paul_Jacobs 2004-04-13 10:27:49

That sounds about like my own thoughts (GET OUT OF MY HEAD! YOU'RE IN MY HEAD! YOU'RE...) -- the "real action" should be around the current turn and the just-finished turn, and much older entries should only get touched on if there's a really good "plot" reason for it. One thing we should definitely try to avoid is engaging in debates and accusations in much-older entries; fighting our battles on two fronts will be quite enough without having to continue arguments that are a week old. Fortunately, I think we've had very little of this to date. And this of course doesn't mean we can't continue to argue about these older items-- far from it! Just manufacture an excuse to shoehorn references to the old entry in a current entry, and then slug away!

-- DanCurtisJohnson 2004-04-13 17:49:28

After the amount of replies disagreeing with my request for a summary page, I should explain the reasons I want one.

I agree with Dan that the information overload makes this a better than expected simulation of life as a High Programmer.

I also agree that an info overload is something we were aiming for. However, we also have a responsibility to provide a satisfying climax to the Toothpaste Disaster. My view is that the Toothpaste Disaster was a dozen+ minor incidents snowballing into a few major catastrophes, around 2-4 of them. We've already established a lot of the minor incidents; it's the major catastrophes that are up in the air.

From here, we could go 1 of 2 ways:

  • All of the barely-related minor incidents eventually gel into major catastrophes naturally, resulting in a climax worthy of YCBBB or Alpha Complexities.
  • We continue to make minor incidents throughout the turns and end up with a dozen separate threads, all of which sputter out by the end, never reaching a satisfying climax.

If we take the latter path, all of the info overload in the world won't help. We will have gotten so caught up in the atmosphere that we didn't make a satisfactory plot.

I believe that by providing a summary page, we can easily see which threads are building up nicely (and thus deserve to be major threads) and which threads aren't well built up and should attempt to be connected to major threads. We could also discuss the direction the Toothpaste Disaster plot is taking, since the Lexicon Discussion page is aimed more towards technical issues. We need some place we can discuss the overall picture, since the articles themselves only cover the specifics.

Since it was my idea, I will leave it up to someone else to second my notion by actually creating the page itself. I suggest the name WikiTangledWeb.

-- MikeLemmer 2004-04-13 22:02:21

Why do we need a big climax?

I mean, this is a panel inquiry. Very few of those end in a big climax, and more than a few end in a need to continue the inquiry and, oh by the way, this will require more funding.

Besides, if we work it into one big climax, it kind of negates the idea of each high programmer doing their own summary report to submit to the computer at the end.

-- KarlLow 2004-04-13 23:15:31

Dammit Jim, this is a encyclopedic plot, not a study in bureaucracy! Would any of us truly be satisfied with leaving the thing half-finished? We need to be heading somewhere with it, even if none of us truly agree on what the somewhere is.

-- MikeLemmer 2004-04-13 23:44:06

I've gotta say, at this juncture my take on the Toothpaste Disaster is that, surrounded by horrific instances of destruction, death, deprivation and lawlessness, a (to non-Paranoid eyes) minor incident, such as UV washrooms only featuring bouillon flavored toothpaste, is the actual core of the disaster.

--Ben Engelsberg

Well, I already know where I'm going! :-)

More to the point: The original Lexicon RPG description specifically cites, as its inspiration, Milorad Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars, which is entirely based around an historical question which it then goes out of its way to never conclusively answer (or rather, it convincingly answers it three mutually-exclusive ways). There is no climax; there is no plot; the mystery is never solved. There are dozens of weirdly-connected sub-plots about individuals and places which weave back and forth through each other, often mirroring each other just slightly differently, in many cases explicitly contradicting each other. In the end, the "truth" is a function of you, the reader, and which authorial point of view you trust. It turns out to have very little to do with facts. Most well-written fiction gives the reader some sort of mirror to see themselves in, but few books do so as openly and explicitly as Pavic's Dictionary.

Even more to the point: We're going to disagree on what The Somewhere is. Who gets to decide that? Allen? I'm quite certain Allen doesn't want that job, even if he thinks it might result in a "better" Lexicon. (And really, it's not like he and Greg C. and the Mongoose crowd can't go back and create exactly the climax they want the Toothpaste Inquisition to have, in the game manual!) The very fact that none of us gets to have the ending we personally want should, IMHO, be the appealing aspect of the Game. There are several big pieces on the board. Some of them are "big" because they appear all over the place, such as the Defective Batch; maybe, The Big Reveal is nothing more than "Defective Batch got everywhere and made everything break". Some of them are "big" because they imply Alpha-shattering concepts, such as the possibility of GAMMA Clearance; is there someone more powerful than all of us put together, on whose strings even The Computer dances like a puppet?

Ultimately, the only tool you have to assert the ending you want is your own ability to push facts into the Lexicon and relate them to other entries. Be ruthless in your exercise of that single tool!

-- DanCurtisJohnson 2004-04-14 00:42:04

And, on a technical note, please pay attention to existing, active lock warnings.

-- DanCurtisJohnson 2004-04-14 00:43:16

Nicely put, Dan. I don't think there's any harm in Mike or somebody trying to parse out all of the threads on a separate page, but I wonder if they'll be able to create anything that's much less complicated than the whole Lexicon itself.

It would be nice if some undercommented entries got woven into the main stream of things a bit more. On the other hand, you can't predict what people are going to get excited about, and that's part of the game. (I personally think we've probably had as many dental hygiene related entries as we need, but others may disagree. :) )

On the subject of building to a big climax or grand resolution: I'll just say as a point of information that both of the Nobilis Lexicons I know of (the one I followed and the one I took part in did end up having a kind of "arc" to them with a definite beginning, middle, and end. This is not to say they added up to one single linear story, or that every loose end was resolved. Far from it. More that the posts "felt" different once you got to the end. I don't know if you can tell that by reading them after the fact, but when we played we definitely had that "ah, so that's what it all adds up to" feeling. A lot of the final XYZ posts were grand summaries of many things that had gone before. This Lexicon is much bigger and consequently harder to get your head around, but it's not impossible that the same thing will happen.

Oh, and check this out: somebody made a graph of how all the Lexicon of the Lost 500 Years entries fit together. I shudder to think what the Toothpaste Disaster Lexicon will look like. :)

-- RobMacDougall 2004-04-14 02:25:26

I must admit, I've been concentrating on using existing phantom references in my own entries rather than creating parts of new ones, in part to help direct things towards a "conclusion" of some sort. The other part, of course, is continued uneasiness about the macros, but I'll see if I can handle that, maybe next turn.

-- Mark Kinney (April 13, 11:32pm ET)

That graph is a trip, Rob! It suggests a possible personal "victory condition" of sorts individual players may wish to aim for: getting more entries linking to yours than anyone else does. (I do NOT advocate or recommend this goal; I merely observe it is one way to play the game.)

Dan is right: I have no intention of trying to shape the Toothpaste Disaster. I do enjoy seeing the efforts to shape it, and if it does end up "shaped," I'll be delighted. (LOVE the idea that the Disaster itself turns out to be trivial.) If some of you would enjoy participating in a WikiTangledWeb page to track these efforts out-of-character, by all means create it here. However, don't require or expect uninterested players to follow it; everyone should be clear that participation on that page is voluntary and not part of the rules.

-- AllenVarney 2004-04-14 04:52:32

Ah, wow, that graph is great. That's the sort of thing that should get dumped into one of those springy-elastic nodes-and-strands Java applets, like http://www.visualthesaurus.com uses.

-- DanCurtisJohnson 2004-04-14 06:15:37

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