Uncovering Cicada Wiki


Adopting the wiki

BrotherBox January 10, 2014 User blog:BrotherBox

Hello community of uncovering-cicada,

I am writing this to help deciding the future of this wiki and I ask you for a few minutes of your time and your opinion. You may be wondering 'How could the future of this wiki be impacted by some guy writing to the community on his wikia account - and why should I care?'. This is a perfectly reasonable question which I will try to answer.

First of all a little, but necessary background. In fall of 2012, I got in contact with a guy who today goes by the nick of "Lurker69" or "NiceLurk". It was through him that I found my way into the community behind the Cicada mystery, which then consisted of a couple of IRC channels on Freenode. I got intrigued by Cicada and always had fun playing around with cryptography, steganography and puzzles in general. My involvement in the puzzles was quite a perfect match of specific interest with specific application.

The 2013 round took its way, and of course I decided to try my luck (and modest skill) on the puzzles. During that time, working on the puzzles was a grating experience. This is for multiple reasons. An IRC channel is a very flexible way for communicating online - you can just drop in, say hi, work on the puzzles, give a few words of appreciation and leave. No big deal. However, this flexible nature has a backside. The community around Cicada grew quite big at that time, and a lot of people came in to help. Most of them have not had the chance to work on the puzzles from the beginning, went asleep at some point and needed an update - or simply forgot some (possibly critical) piece of information. This is okay if you have 5 people asking questions about status updates every few hours. However, we worked with 100+ people at any given time. 

Archives of clues, ideas and hints that got discussed in the channels were put in pastebins and put in the topic of the IRC. This is a work-around to the limitations of our communication system, but it was soon found that this sort of information structure was very unflexible still - and very basic. Cicada started on an Imageboard, and naturally, they extensively incorporate images into their puzzles. Linking to this in a pastebin makes a coherent synopsis quite hard - you can only link to images, describe certain parts that look odd, important or interesting. Embedding pictures in a text-only medium is unrewarding. Also, a topic in an IRC channel only allows for a very limited amount of characters. With about 10 pastebins you are done, and I remember weighing the relevance of this cryptically named pastebin against this other one.

It eventually affected our output and progress; effective communication can be hard already, but in the face of constant redundancy, it just doesn't happen. After a while we got fed up with this, and it was decided that we need a better medium to organise our information. Suddenly, someone registered a wiki on and we started to categorize our information. This someone's name is "Cuboid3301", and being the founder, he got bureaucrat-rights. The only other person he gave administrative rights was me, or rather, my old account. I'll get to that in a bit. The wiki however made everything easier, it was easy to link people to specific resources, explain things in detail, make knowledge available in various forms with the option to edit existing and add new information to outsiders. This community participation already opened a door this round - but I digress.

Cuboid soon left the community, I don't know for what reason. His user log shows his last login on January 8 2013. We went on without him, and so did Cicada. To jump a little ahead, the public rounds of cicada ended in February 2013, and with one exception, Cicada gave no signs of life until the 2014 round started. Things got quiet, I myself did not join the channels anymore and began pursuing other things, but stayed in contact with Lurker69. I forgot about my account on the wiki and did not come back until the 2014 round started. The 2014 round, as you might know, has been anticipated with unseen press coverage, at least for any ARG I know of. I might be absolutely wrong there. It was only then that I discovered the situation regarding the wiki staff.

The administration has sort of a delicate status at the moment, and I take responsibility for this. The situation is as follows: we have two people with privileged accounts, one bureaucrat and one sysop. Looking at the Special:ListUsers page reveals that no more people have administrative rights on this space. However, this account of mine is not accessible to me. I have forgotten the password and set a 10 minute mail as the mail address. You don't need to solve the puzzles to know that within a year, a 10 minute email address is unlikely to be recovered. Since Cuboid is unreachable as well, and the situation demands attention for various practical reasons, I have decided to pick it up again and try to (re)gain control by whatever means I have.

Therefore I would like to have a discussion with you about how things should go in the future about the wiki. We do need staff in the foreseeable future, and this is the place to get your voice heard. If you think that somebody, who hopefully is especially apt or able to take these positions, please write it in the comments.

The information presented so far has been, in my mind, quite objective. The following part however is subjective and expresses my suggestions, rather than outlining how I remember things. As I have had privileges in the past, have pretty good english skill and am knowledgeable about the topic at hand, I would suggest that I take on the position as future bureaucrat in this wiki. However, we must not ignore the past, and we weren't in the situation if control was more widespread and decentralized than it is now. Therefore, I suggest adding Lurker69 to the list of bureaucrats. He is a long time member, a prolific figure of the community and probably unchallenged when it comes to the number of edits on the wiki.

This however is my suggestion. Whether you frenetically agree, vehemently disagree or are okay with whatever the majority decides, let your voice be heard in the comments. Your participation is very valuable to me. This is not a marketing person speaking, trying to bullshit you into feeling comfortable while taking surveys. It is genuine intent to make this wiki a better place.

Thanks for your participation


Edit: I was made aware that counterhash was suggested as an additional bureaucrate or staff member. I personally am okay with him, but you be the judge.

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