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  • Introduction / Beta Testing Guide

     Created: by Dreadknux
     Edited: by Dreadknux

    beta-intro.jpg

    Welcome to the Beta flight of the Sonic Database, brought to you by the Sonic Stadium!

    We aim to be a thriving, energetic and fun encyclopaedia for everything ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, with community-driven research and information sharing that we hope will benefit the entire online Sonic community.

    During this Beta flight, the ability to add and edit content in the Sonic Database is limited to Sonic Stadium members who are assigned a special ‘Database Curator’ usergroup. This will change over time as we evolve the Database and establish community guidelines.

    If you wish to contribute to the Sonic Database, please get in touch with @Dreadknux. Your Sonic Stadium account must be in good standing, have good written English skills and have a commitment and drive to build on this community project.

    What The Sonic Database Is and Isn't

    Before we get started, a quick one-two on what the Sonic Database is and isn't:

    • It is not, technically or structurally speaking, a Wiki. Because this is running off of a different platform to wikis, it is not compatible with most/any wiki code or its hierarchal rules. Therefore, what contributors might be used to on collaborative wikis are likely to be different here (which is no bad thing, it's just going to require some getting used to and additional collaboration)
       
    • Despite the above, it absolutely is, in conceptual terms, a collaborative system which multiple users can connect, contribute and edit records together in order to build an archive of interesting and factually accurate data.

    We will need to rely on each other to be respectful, collaborative and resourceful in making sure we can make the Sonic Database the premier destination for Sonic the Hedgehog franchise information and media. A lot of the social, structural and editorial rules will need to be written and adapted over time collectively - as a result, communication is key.

    BETA Status

    The Sonic Database is currently in a Beta state. That means that a lot of structural and design elements are in a work-in-progress phase, so please be mindful of this and patient with the development process. It's likely that things will be redesigned, reworked or added/cut entirely over the course of time - a lot of this will be as a result of ongoing feedback from Database contributors.

    What we'd like to see from Database contributors:

    • Browse the Sonic Database, explore everything
    • Stress-test the editing functions of each category
    • Feed back to @Dreadknux on functionality, ease of use, user experience, ideas
    • Help populate the database
    • Help define the editing/writing guidance for Sonic Database, for fellow users/collaborators to follow and ensure consistent quality control of content

    You are free to view, read, edit, and populate content as you wish. Please try everything at this stage - however, we will want to make sure that any content we add/create is good enough for public viewing. So please don't post spam or create garbage database entries just to test something out. We should be testing things in situ.

    Each page has a 'Talk' section (this is the comments area of a record shunted into its own tab) where discussion on a page's development can be had. It is not for any other discussion or communication purposes - the Sonic Stadium has Forums and Clubs for general discussion and interaction.

    A lot of the content that has been added already comes from the VERY VERY OLD Sonic Stadium information pages from, like, 2007. Some of it is even lifted from Wayback Machine. It is very much due a rewrite and overhaul! So please do not be precious about what is already there, feel free to modify or rework things as you like.

    The Databases Behind the Database

    There are currently two individual databases that we will establish and use in tandem to offer a complete experience:

    • Sonic Database: This is the main one we will be road-testing for now. It aims to be the informational portal of the site, and will invite community input and contributions in one way or another.
       
    • Media Gallery: This is a secondary database that aims to be linked with the Sonic Database in order to facilitate gallery pages for various Database entries (where it makes sense to do so). This has a different setup/design and has different access rights - you can read more about it here.

    The focus for now is Sonic Database, but you might want to explore Media Gallery to get a sense of how we're thinking about the structure for all of this, and you can of course provide feedback if you think things could be structured better.

    Current Limitations / Setup

    The coding platform which powers the Sonic Database is a powerful one, with opportunities for complex setups. In that sense, each category within even a single database can end up looking and feeling very different, with different text/entry fields and functions (i.e. we can make the design of entries within the Games category of the Sonic Database look entirely different to those in the Merchandise category).

    Custom Fields

    A lot of what powers these database entries relies on custom database fields. We can create new custom database fields over time that can help build dynamic records that can cross-reference and 'talk' to one another. But for the time being, a lot of the meta information for a Database record can be manually input using a custom 'STATS Box' field, while cross-linking can be accomplished using another custom field titled 'Related Database Entries'. More details on how these custom fields work can be found in our Page Structure & Elements page.

    Other elements of a Sonic Database record - such as the inclusion of a Sonic Stadium review score, if a review exists - come from custom fields that are applied to other databases outside of the Sonic Database. For example, we have a separate 'Media Gallery' database that has a custom field allowing editors to connect an image gallery to a record in the Sonic Database (this one), resulting in dynamic embedding of galleries on one page.

    Tabbed Areas

    Each database record includes a tabbed content area - these tabs are designed to be dynamic, in that if certain content is input by a user, certain tabs will appear or disappear. One example of this is the 'Media' tab, which appears if any 'Media Gallery' record entries are connected to the Database record the user is visiting. Another is 'Reviews', which is a toggle option available to Admins only.

    Database Guidance

    Dreadknux is slowly working on a selection of guideline documents specifically for editing the Sonic Database. You can find the category here: https://board.sonicstadium.org/database/guidance/

    Please give the existing pages a quick read, and if anything's missing just confirm with @Dreadknux. As stated above, you can also help shape the guidance that ends up being published in this section. 

    How to Feed Back

    Dreadknux will set up a channel on the Sonic Stadium Discord server, which is likely going to be the best method for feedback (as it will be in a group scenario, your chat can be shared with the beta test group so we can all bounce ideas around). You also have the option to send feedback via DM on SSMB, but responses may not be guaranteed.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

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