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Guide to Data Entry
The categorizing of Role-Playing Games into a database hierarchy is complicated. RPGs change publishers. Go out of print and come back. Get revised into new rulesets. You name the complication and the RPG world has an example to cover it. No structure we impose will be perfect - but we must have order. And so we have decided upon a fairly simple structure - with a few interesting ways to handle the corner cases.
The goal of RPGGeek is to create a database hierarchy that is flexible enough to handle a wide variety of collector needs but refrain from being overly complex so that it is navigable to the average role-play gamer. The idea is to be able to track things down to the print edition (if desired) while still allowing for higher-level discussion and review of any game, core book, sourcebook, supplement or adventure. We welcome collectors, players and anyone interested in the hobby of Role-Playing for any reason!
The Great Analogy
Picture a box. Could be a small box. Might be a large box. This box is our basic container on RPGG. We call this box an [rpg] and on the outside we label the contents. Inside the box we place various things that belong together - rulebooks, supplements, maps, dice, etc. We call these tangible things [items] or [rpgitems] specifically.
A classic example of a box would be "Dungeons & Dragons (v3.5)". It's a large box as it contains the three core rulebooks along with hundreds of supplements and sourceboooks that came out during its lifetime. We have another box labeled "Dungeon & Dragons (4th Edition)" to store the fourth edition books - they are separate because we don't want the older edition books feeling jealous of the new ones. But clearly these two boxes are related - they are both Dungeons and Dragons and so we will put them on the same closet shelf. This shelf is what we call a [family] and it keeps related boxes near each other.
Now within a box there may need to be some additional structure. Within the "Dungeons & Dragons (v3.5)" box we have books that are part of an ongoing series (such as "The Complete XXXXX" books) or are part of a campaign setting (Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, etc). We use [series] and [setting] to group these books within the box - think of [series] and [setting] as a rubber band that can be used to bind books loosely together within the box.
Now... onto more technical details.
The 98.3% Rule
Throughout this guide you will see references to a rather magical number: 98.3%. We use this as a totally arbitrary (yet ridiculously precise!) number to determine if things should be grouped in the same box. For example, the 2nd - 6th editions of Call of Cthulhu are close enough compatibility-wise that you can take any sourcebook, supplement or character from one edition and use it any of the other editions of the rules - they are that close. For the purposes of discussion (forums, reviews, etc) we want these grouped in the same box. Whenever you see the 98.3% rule, don't get hung up over whether something is 1.5% different vs. 2.5% different - instead take it in the spirit it was intended: compatible enough that two RPGs or two Items can be considered the same for purposes of grouping together for discussion, tracking, reviewing, etc. When in doubt, ask for advice from the community!
An Example Entry
Here is an example of a well-formed item entered into the Geek. It demonstrates much of what you will read below:
The Basic Structure
If you only know one thing about all this, it's that we a general hierarchy of:[family]
The [family] and [rpg] entries are not tangible items. An [item] is a tangible item. [item] entries are something you can buy, touch, smell, burn or sell - or, in the case of electronic versions, files you can acquire legally. In terms of the [rpg] Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, an [item] might be the Player's Handbook or the Monster Manual or some adventure module or boxed set. The [rpg] is the basic way you group these items together - these are products that are designed for use together. An [rpg] entry is not tangible, but it is crucial. So, the [rpg] that owns those aforementioned items might be "Dungeons and Dragons (4th Edition)". We add the edition in (parens) so that you know what edition of the rpg you are playing as the Player's Handbooks and Monster Manuals have come out for numerous flavors of D&D. A [family] is an even higher level but looser grouping. It is optional but works well when you have a number of [rpg] entries that are related (such as the various editions of Dungeons and Dragons released over the years).
Because [items] such as books are released in hardcover, softcover, other languages, special bindings (leather, etc) we also have a concept of a [version]. Each [version] entry represents the same item - it might be a 2nd printing with errata included, a PDF version of the book or a foreign language edition of the book. All of these get listed as [versions] for the [item].
Below you will find a diagram that we've been using to showcase how it all fits together. You'll see in this diagram the [family] of "Dungeons and Dragons", two [rpg] entries to cover 2 editions of Dungeons and Dragons and a number of sample [item] entries under each. This is nowhere near exhaustive of the Dungeons and Dragons product line. ;)
We REQUIRE an [rpg] entry for every [item] entered into the system. So, even if you had a single RPG core book product that had no other supplements, you would still have an [rpg] entry for that and a single [item] entry that represents the actual rulebook. We hate seeing orphaned [item] entries that have no [rpg] attached. I've heard it told that every time an [item] is submitted to the RPG-Geek database without an [rpg] attached a Woodland Gnome dies. Not sure if it's true, but let's not test it.
If you know all of the above, you'll be fine.
For a more formal overview of the hierarchies and types of database entries on the geek domains, see Database structure.
Checking Pending Submissions
Naming Conventions (this section needs some work)
Please avoid duplicate names: In case the name/title of the thing you want to enter is already used for the SAME level thing (e.g. another RPG with the same name, another person with the same name), then add a piece of distinguishing information to the name. Also, add a note to Admin that there is a duplicate name (preferibly with a link to the duplicate), so that Admin can add an equivalent piece of information to the existing entry.Specific situations:
Here are examples of some of the more common families with proper naming conventions:
If you have an RPG that has seen two or more editions, these should be different [rpg] entries (and, subsequently, the rpgs need to be linked together by a family). If two editions have rulesets that are nearly compatible (the threshold is set arbitrarily at 98.3% compatible) such that any sourcebook, supplement or character could be used nearly seamlessly amongst them, then it is acceptable to list a single [rpg] entry and keep all items under them. Think hard before you combine multiple editions into a single [rpg] and remember that even with editions split out, a single item can can be linked to as many [rpg] entries as it is compatible with. Before you combine into a single [rpg] really think out how close the editions are! When in doubt, ask.Convention:
Here are examples of some of the more common rpgs with proper naming conventions:
Here are examples of some of the more common items with proper naming conventions:For the "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition)" game entry:
Remember... the names of these [item] entries will always be shown with the associated [rpg] and [system] (if any) to avoid any confusion about what this product is.
A [setting] should be the name of the setting, not the rpg/book that covers it. For example, The Hunt: Rise of Evil contains a fantasy/horror setting from Mystic Eye Games set in Gothos, a world where dreams and nightmares come to life. The [setting] in this case is "Gothos", not "The Hunt: Rise of Evil".
[version] entries must have nicknames associated with them. The naming here is not as strict as it would be for the item title but it should include some distinguishing characteristic of the version being entered. Some examples of names include (but are not limited to):
If you are entering an item but aren't sure of the printing you can simply use a nickname of:
We aren't being too strict here - look at the existing version nicknames on an item to see what makes sense. For versions which are in another language, we ask that you use the nickname field to put in the title as it would appear in that language.
What is the RPG Geek Consortium?
The RPG Geek Consortium is a group of 35 members who discuss the thorny areas of the guidelines and continue to improve and evolve the Guide to Data Entry you are reading now. This group consists of members of the RPG Geek who are RPG collectors, administrators, site developers, publishers and RPG authors. The idea is to have a reasonable cross section of RPG enthusiasts to help make reasonably informed decisions on what gets included here in the guide. This guide was created by wavemotion and continues to be maintained by Purple (using input from the Consortium).
Thanks to all the users of the RPG Geek who have contributed and volunteered their time to ensure that this is one hell of a resource! As always, do what is most appropriate for your interests/passion. Without passion for this, you'll burn out.
-The Dungeon Master
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