Writeups.org (“Worg”) is a community project, not a commercial venture.
As such it depends on people rolling up their sleeves and pitching in because they like it. No contributions means no community and no site.
There’s never enough contributors. Especially since we’ve been around for 25+ years, and work using a TTRPG that’s been out of print for years. During this time people have moved on to other games or hobbies, had kids, died, lost their gaming group, etc..
And thus, the weight of keeping the site active falls on fewer shoulders as time passes. As with most not-for-profit fan communities.
Small historical note
Writeups.org was created during the 1990s. At this point, “random people passionate about a given subject create shared, non-commercial resources” was still a common part of Internet culture. Particularly in niche, nerdy hobbies such as tabletop role-playing games.
By the mid-2000s, the age of the platforms began. These proposed low-effort, lower-friction, higher-serotonin ways to have random people create free content for *them*. And so the notion of having folks from many places just create an independent online work because they like it became increasingly unintuitive, if not outright uncool.
This was compounded by the hustle culture that emerged some years later. Where it is understood that everything you do is meant to have a financial payoff, even if it’s indirectly achieved by growing your following.
There are remnants of the collaborative Internet culture, of course. Communities modding video games, for instance. But modding as a way to build up your resume and get an industry job has always played an important role.
So yeah, collaborative projects such as writeups.org used to be a thing, but most folks were lured away and into more shareholders-friendly pursuits.
So, how to help. In rough order of commitment level :
1/ Low commitment
Shop on Amazon via Worg
If you click on an Amazon advert on writeups.org, almost anything you buy next generates a percentage for writeups.org, at no cost to yourself.
Think about that when you do your next big bit of online shopping. Yes, Amazon is awful but if you do use, might as well make them cough some money in our direction.
The mighty mighty donation page supports Paypal and Patreon, and one-off as well as monthly donations.
These are standard, reputable online payment tools with all the usual amenities, so it’s all done in a few clicks.
The donations are the only budget we have to fill the war chest to pay for improvements. It usually takes multiple years of donations to pay for a few days of a web developer’s time.
Join the community and lurk
The community that does Worg lives on Groups.io .
Though you need to “apply” (it’s solely to avoid spammers), you can then choose how much e-mail (if any) you receive. Most folks just lurkBeing part of an online community but never (or almost never) speaking.
Each online community is different (we go for “polite” and “grown-up”). So a bit of observation via lurking is always necessary anyway, IME. See if you can fit in or if it’s not your speed.
Do the social media fandango
We live in a platform-centric world. Increasingly, if a web site doesn’t get some level of buzz on Facebook or elsewhere, it might as well not exist.
So sharing on platforms is key, especially since the site has but a limited social media presence and zero marketing/PR presence.
Don’t use an adblocker on writeups.org
There’s a most four ads per lengthy article.
And we’ve made sure everything is clean in terms of ads, cookies, trackers and the like.
Comment and ask questions on Groups.io
Comments and questions remain essential, both to improve quality and for the morale of the writers.
For instance, our successful glossary article comes from community members speaking up. As they didn’t know obscure pieces of jargon that others took for granted.
And many of the more interesting bits on Worg come from people asking “why did you do things this way ?”, pointing out that we missed something during research, observing that a given bit is confusing to them and should be better explained, expounding about an alternative view of a character or rule that should be represented in a profile, etc.
Even politely pointing out typos is welcome. Typos are bad and make us feel bad.
Keep in mind that sometimes, nobody can meaningfully answer your question/comment. Because it’s a small, very busy crew. So any comment or question could bomb and get no reaction. Or only get an answer weeks later (that happens a lot). Sorry about that.
“WORG Patrol” is a tag used in messages when somebody notices a problem with an entry that has already been published.
Typos, missing words in sentences, otherwise hard-to-understand sentences, layout problems, stats that don’t feel right, suspicions that something was missed during research because an incident isn’t mentioned, additional comments/remarks, hyperlinks that do not go where they should…
There could also be suggested updates for Amazon recommendations. For instance because there’s finally a trade paperback for previously uncollected comic book issues, or because there’s a good action figure of the character and we missed that.
Homemade characters and sample characters
“Homemade characters” are made-up, original creations with DC Heroes RPG stats. They have their own category on writeups.org (about 400 entries as of this writing).
“Original samples“ are fleshed-out Player CharacterRPG characters played by a player, rather than the gamemaster or the computer. in video game. They serve as a window into the setting, the plot, the possible Player Character powers and skills… Examples include Mandala Shepard (Mass Effect), Jolene Hassan (Fallout) or Alamen Tabris (Dragon Age: Origins).
Since it’s largely stuff you made up — fan fiction of a sort — there can be little research involved, and less possibility of being factually wrong. So it’s a low-involvement way of doing a character writeup. Essentially you’re requesting that writeups.org host your prose (and stats).
Just talk to us beforehand, even if it’s just for logistical matters (such as using the thrice-blessed template).
When doing profiles, we often enjoy discussing related materials. For instance bits of historical context to facilitate understanding and add verisimilitude, likely sources of inspiration in then-contemporary movies, discussion of how an important aspect of the character (such as peerage) actually works, etc..
It adds heft to a profile, adds narrative hooks, makes it easier to use in a new story.
This is often a result of teamwork, so even people who don’t know much about a given characters may have relevant knowledge (or the willingness to acquire it) to reinforce the profile.
Digital reissues and digital releases are now our standard for comics. They provide a *much* crisper, higher-quality image than even a good scan of a recent high-quality paper printing.
However, redoing most of the art on Worg to this standard (well more than 30,000 pictures) is impossible with the existing resources.
So we’re quite interested in people who know a thing or two about Photoshop™ and are willing to re-do some of our older images to our new standards. We’ll just need to discuss processes and formats first.
Similar considerations apply about redoing screen captures of movies and TV series from genuinely HD footage (Blu-Ray, mostly), and screenshots for our oldest video game articles.
Preparing illustrations is a pleasant, creative activity. The problem is time…
Redoing History sections
Early on (we talking turn of the century) it was still accepted practice to copy content from other sites and fully credit it.
It was in no small part because these sites were expected to disappear (most were “homepages” at some university, to be abandoned upon graduation). Most of the content we thus copied *has* vanished.
However, the Internet has changed. Which means in turns we have a set of very old profiles that are missing their History section. Because we have long since removed copied material from those sites who did survive the 1990s and early 2000s – a backup wasn’t needed after all.
Writing such sections is much less demanding that writing a full profile. In fact, reading various secondary sources and doing an original summary could be sufficient in most cases.
Do the social media fandango
Yes, again, but this one is more about active promotion and evangelisation.
Most of our social networks presence is at best amateur hour, the rest is perfunctory.
Having somebody who actually understands how to work this field advising and pitching in from time to time would help quite a lot. Or even just somebody agreeing to run our Tumblr page, setting up an Instagram page, regularly mentioning our work on a busy forum where they post a lot, etc..
This tends to be major work. It’s a full-time hobby that takes a long time to master.
Many writeups are a huge amount of labour. Though it is possible to control the damage by picking characters with a reasonable amount of material (say, movie characters or video game monsters). And who have straightforward abilities that resemble those of well-documented characters.
A writeup has a lot of moving parts and we try our best to help new contributors, including parts one might be self-conscious about (for instance, if English is your second or third language). “Try” because as mentioned, we tend to be real busy.
Just talk to us before starting working. So we can chat about logistics, likely workload, similar characters that are already written up and can serve as benchmarks, writing style, statting conventions, image formats, booby traps, etc. etc. etc.
Of particular interest are those works where we didn’t do a full sweep.
For instance :
- A video game where only some of the companions are written up.
- A Limited Series or a short comic book run where we only wrote a few characters.
- A movie where only the lead character got written up.
The point is that a lot of the heavy lifting and benchmarking has been done. You therefore have highly germane profiles to guide yours. So it’s a good opportunity to contribute without committing to getting more work down than you can chew.
Character stats for other systems
Traditionally we have been DC Heroes-centric, with DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds 3rd being added once it became clear there’d never be a new DCH edition.
Adding stats for a third system is entirely feasible and relevant. However, it should be clear that it’s going to be a lot of work, and lot of complicated logistics and format issues, and peer review stuff… So, high commitment. We do have standards of quality to maintain.