From Blaseball Wiki

Hi! I'm Inumo, one of the wiki mods and a fan of the Jazz Hands. I will never call myself a "jand," and will not refer to any Hand as a "jand" if I can help it. This is the hill I die on. D:<

If you're having problems with policy compliance, community safety concerns, or other issues where you need a moderator involved, feel free to send me a message. Message me here; link to User:Inumo on a Talk page; or message me on Twitter, Mastodon, or Discord (see Help:Admins and Moderators for details), and I'll see it.

Developing the Contribution Guidelines

Below is a narrative description of the process I followed to develop the contribution guidelines for the Jazz Hands, which were established during early Discipline Era and abolished after the end of the Expansion Era. They are preserved below for posterity.

The (Now Nullified) Contribution Guidelines

The primary version of any Jazz Hands player is heavily discussed by the Jazz Hands community, mostly via the team's channel on the Blaseball Discord. As such, if you want to contribute to the primary text, you should first submit it to the player's Talk page, bring it up in the Discord, or send it to Historian Inumo via Twitter (DMs are closed; just @ them) or Mastodon so that the community has the opportunity to discuss the idea before it gets incorporated into the main text. The Historians of the team promise that any suggestions made this way will not be rejected out-of-hand and without explanation; the community just wants to ensure that the beloved players of the team are not accidentally whitewashed or problematized, as many character decisions were made to respect the diverse identities and voices within the Jazz Hands Band and Blaseball at large.

The Interdimensional Rumor Mill section on each player's page is a designated space for authors who don't want to go through the above community review process to write alternative interpretations for the player. While this section may not consistently use the Interdimensional Rumor Mill itself, you should feel free to add your own contributions if you have a complete idea that diverges from the primary version. Note that, per the wiki-wide Collaboration Guidelines and Procedures, these contributions should still be submitted to the Talk page for at least 24h before they are added to the main page; just label it as an alternative interpretation (e.g. by prefacing your pitch with "IRM:"), and know that the Jazz Hands will not block it unless there is a community safety concern. As entries to the IRM sections are more personally developed, authors manage potential new contributions to their entries independently. Thus, if you see a secondary interpretation that you want to contribute to, you should try to reach out to the original author to collaborate unless they have explicitly stated that it's not necessary. If you are the author of a secondary interpretation, you should provide contact information for prospective contributors to reach out with ideas (even if that's just your Wiki user page via a byline), or explicitly invite contributors to edit without review.

First Poll

On Aug 31, 2020, I presented the following survey to the #jazzhands channel on Discord:

Hey folks, a lore discussion for you. If you've been watching #fan-lore, you've likely heard of the Interdimensional Rumor Mill. For those unfamiliar, the idea is wiki pages for players that use the IRM have a list of community lore entries for that character, and display a random entry each time the page loads. See Valentine Games' page, for example. The intent behind the IRM is to prevent a tyranny of the majority when it comes to interpretations of players; some of the other teams have had instances where fans came to the team with a lot of investment into a particular interpretation of a player, only to feel shut down when the broader team community had an already-established and mutually exclusive interpretation. The IRM tries to skirt this issue by giving equal weight to every interpretation entered into its list.

I, personally, do not like the IRM. For one thing, I feel it does not promote the collaborative lore-building I've enjoyed with you all. Instead, IMO it encourages a diaspora of interpretations, with no community interaction. I worry that a well-meaning but privileged interpretation is given equal weight to our current more diverse interpretations. For another, I don't think the IRM actually supports minority voices, because the majority can simply submit multiple good-faith unified interpretations into the IRM, and thereby mitigate the visibility of any minority interpretation. I don't have a better solution, though.

The wiki team has no plans to make the IRM mandatory, but we should consider how we want to interact with it. If you believe we should make use of the IRM, react to this message with <emoji A>. If you believe we should NOT make use of the IRM, react to this message with <emoji B>. If you want a hybrid solution (some unified community lore & some IRM lore), react with <emoji C>. If you don't care one way or the other, react to this message with <emoji D>. Thanks for your attention.

Poll results: 4 in favor of using the IRM, 24 in favor of not using the IRM, 13 in favor of a hybrid decision, 6 ambivalent results. The plan was to collect feedback for a future discussion by talking to members of each voting population in turn, starting with the pro-IRMers.

Pro-IRM Survey

I pinged the 4 pro-IRM voters in #jazzhands and posed them the following questions:

  • What does widespread use of the IRM look like, to you?
  • What does the IRM do that neither the hybrid nor non-IRM approach can't?
  • If we were to go with a hybrid non-IRM/IRM solution, what would you need to see happen to be comfortable with it? "I can't be comfortable with it" is an acceptable answer if that's your truth.
  • If we were to go with a non-IRM-only solution, what would you need to see happen to be comfortable with it? "I can't be comfortable with it" is an acceptable answer if that's your truth.

The people who responded didn't answer these questions directly, but did convey the following reasons for choosing to be pro-IRM:

  • Argument A: Single interpretations makes it hard for people to feel like they have license to add on.
  • Argument B: The IRM is novel, and therefore appealing
  • Argument C: With the IRM, lore can be generated both through community sources and through solo effort.

That said, all pro-IRM users were also OK with using a non-IRM or hybrid solution, without any particular concerns. This was where this first attempt died off, as IRL work and other aspects of the game suddenly required much more attention from me.

Second Poll

On Sept 17, 2020, I was incidentally reminded that I never actually got around to resolving this matter. Since it had been over two weeks, and the community had definitely shifted in that time, I began a new survey, this time focused more on "is the current solution we've been using OK:"

So, for those unaware, the Interdimensional Rumor Mill (IRM) is a tool the wiki team developed to permit multiple interpretations of a character to be surfaced at random on the wiki, thereby facilitating the "there is no one true canon" mandate set down by The Game Band. You can see a version of it active on Stephens Lightner's wiki page, though it was intended to be an entire Community Lore section instead of this half-and-half solution we came up with. When last I checked, some folks here liked the IRM because it helps facilitate new people adding lore, is an exciting new tool, and permits solo lore generation. That last point is personally the primary reason why I -don't- like the IRM, but I respect that not everyone feels comfortable working in such a fast-paced collaborative environment. Our current lore solution has been to primarily stick to single community interpretations, building off past teams' work, with no IRM use except when an already-IRM'd player is added to the team and in select circumstances (like Stephens Lightner's Notable Stephens). I would like a consensus vote agreeing on this policy before I consider it concrete, though. If you would like to continue this mostly no-IRM solution, react with <thumbs up>. If you would like to have a different solution, react with <thumbs down>. If you don't care that much, react with <splayed hand>.

Poll results: 25 in favor of keeping things as they are, 3 against (plus one non-voting dissenter), 23 abstaining. Next step, talking to dissenters to figure out how to compromise.

  • Non-voting dissenter: the "no true canon" mandate shouldn't be circumvented entirely; add an "alternative interpretations" section, and explicitly invite people to use the IRM in that space (recognizing that it should only be used w/ 2+ entries), while directing people to the Talk page to contribute to the primary interpretation section.
  • Voting dissenter A: the wiki is a lot to swallow at once, especially for newbies & RPers who feel obliged to follow "canon;" try to use the above "alternative interpretations" section also as a signal for less canon-centric RPers to write & document their own versions of a character.
  • Voting dissenter B: singular lore might make people feel like their perspectives don't count, so they don't share; alternative interpretations space should be an OK compromise.
  • Voting dissenter C: new fans should be able to contribute even if they're not around for working on a new player; directions for contributions to main lore and a section available for IRM'ing is useful to let new fans get involved.

So, TL;DR I added a section for alternative interpretations to our current player pages, along with directions for how to contribute lore: Talk pages for the community interpretation, and the IRM for solo/secondary interpretations.

Post-Grand Siesta Temperature Check

After an influx of new Jazz Hands Band members over the Grand Siesta, I wanted to confirm that the contribution guidelines were still acceptable. The following post was made in #the-groove, the lore channel on the Official Blaseball Discord for the Jazz Hands, on Mar 12, 2021:

Now that we've hit the weekend, a question for folks! For those unaware, the Blaseball Wiki has a technology called the Interdimensional Rumor Mill (IRM). The IRM lets contributors build a pool of content, then one is selected to be presented at random each time a player loads a player's page. This content can take up a whole page (eg Finn James), or can be used on a subsection of a player's page (eg Stephens Lightner). The IRM was developed to help enforce the so-called Dev Mandate: "All interpretations of a character are valid."

Back in September, I conducted a survey here to develop the Jazz Hands Wiki Contribution Guidelines: #The (Now Nullified) Contribution Guidelines In short, our player pages are structured to center a single, static interpretation of a player that we expect collaboration on, with a section at the bottom of the page dedicated to alternative versions that we don't expect collaboration on (which would become an IRM if necessary). The intent is to prioritize the version of a character that we tend to talk about the most & is most popular within this community, while still allowing for Dev Mandate compliance & providing space for other headcanons.

Now that we've had some community turnover since September, I want to get a temperature check. How do you feel about this method of engaging with lore on the wiki?

  1. I do not like this method, and actively want to change it.
    No votes
  2. I do not like this method, but I don't care enough to change it.
    1 vote
  3. I don't really care one way or the other, but I will participate in future lore generation.
    9 votes
  4. I like this method, but would be okay with considering changing it.
    24 votes
  5. I like this method, and would be upset if we changed it.
    2 votes
  • I won't engage with lore generation enough to participate in most polls.
    8 votes

Since the vast majority of votes favored maintaining the current policies, I didn't start planning policy alternatives. However, I did reach out to the one person who responded 2 and asked what problems they saw with the current policies. They couldn't remember at time of asking, but I will update this page if that changes. It's worth noting that, as of Mar 16, 2021, the Jazz Hands had 1,087 members according to Discord roles, meaning the survey had a response rate of ~4.05% (44/1087).

IRM Standardization Follow-up

With the standardization of the IRM, the previously established norms for Jazz Hands lore were no longer possible. Additionally, the stresses of the Expansion Era had already fairly dramatically shifted team culture. Thus, on Dec. 21, 2021, the following post was made:

Hi hello before I forget: something needs to be done about our lore handling methods on the wiki. Historically we set our pages up w/ a deliberate consensus-forward organization, using a dedicated secondary-interp section below to signpost that alternative interps were welcome. While this worked for the IRM wild west, the recent ("recent") Standardized IRM doesn't really allow for that system anymore. Namely, the secondary IRM sections were supposed to be what we'd now call a Filebox (free jazz anything goes), but current wiki policy is that Filebox IRMs should only be paired with static content if length limits are explicitly established (which goes against the point of our secondary IRM sections, that anything & everything non-consensus should go there). With this in mind, we need to figure out new plans.

For those unfamiliar with our unofficial Contribution Guidelines: #The (Now Nullified) Contribution Guidelines For those unfamiliar with the history of our unofficial Contribution Guidelines' development: <this page> Please read this before you go "well this is Bad And Dumb," there's history here from when we were the chill isolated team pre-EE.

I don't really have any exact solutions in mind. As you've probably noticed I haven't really been engaged with the team all that much recently, so I'm mostly interested in where y'all wanna take this. Whatever happens, I'm prolly gonna take the JHLore banners (the things saying "first bit is consensus, here's our guidelines") off the few pages that use them & remove any fake IRM sections until/unless a new community plan is decided that would still use those tools. I'll be checking in periodically to keep track of discussion. If you have questions about wiki history, feel free to ask.

The immediate action to remove the banner template where it existed & to remove the fake IRMs was generally well-supported. Some expressed their distaste for the IRM, while others merely pointed out that the Jazz Hands simply... don't really need to use those tools to signpost our preference for consensus lore. Nobody was really using the fake IRMs, other teams that do consensus lore never bothered to develop guidelines & signposting, and we weren't even keeping up with our signposting as we gained new players. The conversation didn't progress beyond that as of Jan. 13, 2022. As such, the decision seems to be "just don't bother, the effort isn't necessary nor worth it."