FAQ – Exploring writeups.org
WORG is fairly large.
It’s not *ginormous*. But if you decide to read one entry a day, well, see you in 25 years or so. Since new entries will get published as you proceed.
As it happens, there are a number of tools to help you discover stuff. Discovering stuff is good.
1/ Text search engine
That’s when you go on the search page and type a keyword or two.
That’s the classic to explore a website. Though with smartphones it’s not as prevalent as it was in Ye Olden Dayes.
If you have a distinctive search term, it’s a powerful means of exploration. Searching for “Thing” isn’t going to be *that* helpful. Whereas searching for “Darkforce” isn’t a bad way to find all characters with Darkforce powers.
As of 2022, the text search function is okay-ish, but not as smart as planned. Due to a compromise that had to be done on database size. The vast majority of people won’t notice, but we nevertheless plan to fix that one day.
2/ Random entries button
The button with the dice in the header, that says “random entries” when you hover on it.
It’s not meant to be hit over and again until you see something you like and recognise. It’s meant for readers to check the first thing that seems vaguely interesting. Rather than reproduce the DJ’s curse.
(The DJ’s curse is that a crowd always wants to hear the tunes they already like. Rather than discover things.)
If you’re really bored, or tired, or migrainous, or hung over or whatever it’s also the lowest-effort way to read stuff on WORG.
3/ Categories & facets
It’s now all on the search page, with a nice dynamic interface. If you’re unfamiliar with this type of tool, there’s a help page on the search page.
The point is to make thematic lists of stuff. The simplest way to do that is to tick one category or subcategory, such as Movies → Older Movies.
Or you can cross two themes, for instance to make a list of Marvel heroes. Or a list of very high-powered movie characters.
This system is mostly intended to help gamemasters looking to populate a TTRPG scenario.
But it’s also fine for curious and/or bored readers. C’mon, nobody’s actually going to read the bullshit report you’re supposed to write. Just procrastinate on WORG.
The tags are listed and explained on this page. Odds are some of them are of interest for you.
You can built lists of entries that have a given tag on the search page, with the field autocompleting. But it makes more sense to have some idea of what exists, rather than try to type random words.
The tags are a mix of utilitarian (“I need a brick type for this scenario”) and general interest (“I want to read about French characters”).
One advantage of tags is to bring up stuff you might not have thought about otherwise.
5/ Team profiles
These are categorised as Role: Organisation Or Team.
These profiles are like base camps. You read ’em before you set out to read the profiles for the members. They provide :
- Lists of members, since most readers don’t know every roster by heart.
- A recap of shared history and concepts, so it doesn’t get repeated in every member’s entry.
So you can pick a team, read the team profile, and then trek through the members’ profiles.
As with… most everything on WORG, we add team entries when the occasion arises. There isn’t yet a systematic coverage of major teams, such as the Avengers, because we have no sense of priorities.
6/ Related entries on writeups.org
It’s a section in most profiles, near the end and just above the game stats. This article has one too.
These are generated by a free, external algorithm.
When we started using this, it did semantic analysis and the recommendations could be surprisingly on-target. There still are a few germane picks, but by 2022 it had largely degenerated into picking recent entries from the same categories.
It’s disappointing but not surprising. Genuine analysis is hard and faillible, and search and recommendation engines have largely shifted to just herding broad categories of visitors toward the same 2-3 already successful, well-marketed things. It’s way easier, far more lucrative, and most people feel more comfortable consuming already popular things.
However, the “related entries” box remains useful for occasional visitors, which is the majority of readers. Since they don’t follow the site on the regular, seeing recent entries in the same categories is reasonably relevant for them.
So it’s okay, I guess.
7/ Homepage and entry footers
The homepage goes from the most recent to the least recent entry, and it’s paginated at the bottom. So you can leaf through the entire site this way. I can see some people preferring this approach.
The same order is used in the links at the very bottom of each entry. I doubt most readers use these with any regularity. They’re more to help search engines map the site. But heh, if you did read an entry from soup to nuts and have no special idea what to do next…
8/ Social networks