UOGuide vs UOStuff


Some people have been requesting a more detailed account of what happened. So I am creating this page to try and answer all the questions.

Short Version

A couple months ago I decided to do something about the lack of UO information out there. Most answers to UO questions are out there, but it is a pain in the neck to find it. So I set about creating the site www.uoguide.com. Shortly after creation, I contacted a couple sites asking if we could use their content. One site was UOStuff.com.

The administrator replied saying no. That he was upgrading UOStuff "soon", even though it was inactive for the past 6 months. About a week later there was an unfortunate accident with the database and all information was lost. It took 2 weeks to move to a new host. The very day UOGuide comes back online, UOStuff announces it's upgrade.

I decided there was no point in trying to compete with UOStuff, so I created a goodbye topic on Stratics U Hall explaining what happened. In that topic, the UOStuff administrator admitted that he saw UOGuide as a threat and was motivated to work on his site.

Long Version

A couple months ago I recieved a message from an old friend who had not played since about 2000. He wanted to know what website he could read to get him up to speed on all the changes. I didn't know what to tell him, there isn't really one single place with that kind of information. UO has becomes an entire new game since UO:Rennisance. So I decided it might be a good thing to create a website that was a complete guide to UO.

I started out by checking out all the current UO information websites. This included UO.com, uo.stratics.com, UOStuff.com, wikiuo.com, and others. No one site had all UO information, and most that tried to have it all were sorely out of date on many subjects. So I thought it would be a worthwhile venture to try and build a guide to UO site. I am not one to try and compete actively with someone on a project like this.

So I registered the domain UOGuide.com, bought the hosting, setup the MediaWiki software, and got started. I created a single page and then announced my intentions in a topic on Stratics. It got quite a few positive responses. Someone named Dred even began helping out by adding content to the site. It was a good start.

Some are asking why I didn't advertise more openly about the site. The answer to that is I wanted it to have some good content before having people come to the site. When someone goes to your site and sees it very empty, the chances of them returning are low. If there is a decent amount of content, they will be more likely to check up on the progress.

After a day, I got to thinking some other sites might be interested in helping out by supplying content. So I contacted a few such as UOStuff.com. It was difficult to track down the administrator because he has been so inactive for the past 8 months or so on the site. In general, UOStuff never got past a moderate amount of information about the UO Mondain's Legacy expansion. There was talk about expanding into other areas, but that dried up and the site stopped any major updates. Finally I send off an email to the Admin and get a reply. He basically said no.

Anyway, about a week into working on the site there is a database crash. Some tables files have gone missing. The host is extremely slow to respond to help requests, doesn't seem to have much technical knowledge, and in the end the data was lost. The backup system was also not functional, which was not a surprise considering what happened to the database. It took 2 weeks to get the hosting moved to a well known provider, Dreamhost. I was even going to make sure the backup system was functioning this time.

The very day UOGuide comes back online, UOStuff announces it's upgrade and intention to collect all UO information. The moment I see the announcement, I decide it is not worth pursing UOGuide while UOStuff is being actively worked on. So a couple days after the announcement, I make a post on Stratics U Hall how UOGuide was going inactive.

In that topic, the suddenly active administrator to UOStuff replied with the following:

UOStuff Admin Reply

Let me spell out the facts.

When Mondains Legacy was in beta I created a wiki to help compile the information about the massive upgrade. The concept took off almost immediately and the site had a lot of contributors. One major contributor, at that time suggested that the site be converted from OpenWiki to the more powerful MediaWiki. I attempted to make this happen at least three times.

For those that don’t know, OpenWiki natively runs on Active Server Pages (ASP) and a lot of different databases, which I did upgrade from Access to MySQL to support the growth. MediaWiki on the other hand requires PHP to be installed on the IIS server which was not done at that time. For whatever reason I just could not get the php code to talk to the MySQL database. It was frustrating because I new more and more content was being placed which would someday all need to be replaced.

A few other factors also came into play here, I am a traveling business owner, I have two kids (a three year old and a one year old), recently moved into a new house and I am not playing UO nearly as much as I used to.

I now have a technician working on some web certifications. He said he would be more than willing to see if he would be able to make a go of getting the MediaWiki up and running; which he successfully did.

So, was UOGuide.com a factor in getting UOStuff.com converted? In some ways yes, but mostly no.

In all fairness, I was approached by JC if he could reference UOStuff.com. He was quite aware of the plans to expand UOStuff.com PRIOR to moving the site from one server to another. I asked if we could come up with some way to collaborate but he was not interested.

JC: Hello. BBR told me that you are the administrator of UOStuff.com. I have begun a new site, UOGuide.com, which I plan to regularly update with UO information. I was wondering if it would be acceptable to use your site as a source of information for my new one. Thank you for your time.

My Response: Thank you JC about asking for permission before lifting content. A few weeks prior to UOGuide.com going live I spent quite a bit of time configuring MediaWiki to run on our new web server. Shortly I plan to convert the content from OpenWiki to MediaWiki and expand the site to be more than just Modains Legacy. A Popular wiki site has potential to generate a terrific amount of traffic and be the primary source of information, even over stratics. So, to answer your question, I do not give permission at this time to take content from UOStuff.com. At the same time I am not sure two separate wikis are necessary and I would be open to ideas you may have in regards to collaboration instead of competition. I have not generated trends on UOStuff.com in a long time, but early in the year UOStuff.com was receiving thousands of visitors a day. Is this something you would want to discuss?

JC’s Response: When I decided to create UOGuide.com, it was because there is no single source of UO information. While UOStuff is a good place for UOML information, it is not even complete in that regard. While a collaberation might be possible, I have other plans for the site once enough information has been posted on it. I cannot say what they are at this time, but it will become more then just a Wiki site. So best of luck to you at UOStuff.

I don’t want this to turn into a flame war and site insults. Let me make it very clear, JC while I don’t recall what content you were placing at UOGuide.com, I would love to have you contribute your content here and over time if you feel you need elevated privileges to do what you need to do that certainly is a possibility.


JC's Thoughts

Here are my thoughts on what the UOStuff Admin replied with:

  • First of all, it is reprehensible that he posted private emails without first consulting me. Clearly he felt a need to defend his actions.
  • Next, in his email replies, he talked about traffic and visitors. This is a tell-tale sign of someone who is keen on turning a website into a profit generator. This is something I was very concerned about. Companies such as IGE are always on the lookout for popular MMO websites, paying hundreds of thousands or even millions for them.
  • If you read between the lines, the UOStuff admin spells out how he felt threatened by the new UOGuide website. He might not even have known about UOGuide for a long time if I didn't send him an email. This was a huge error on my part.
  • His explinations on why the upgrade took so long are completely bogus. It is not that difficult to try and install PHP/MySQL on IIS. I have done it myself just by following the installation instructions provided. If there was an issue, the resolution is always a google search away. Also, since he is not using ASP anymore, why not switch to Apache?
  • He talks about how he doesn't have time to manage such a site. Well why the push all of a sudden if he is so busy? How long until he gets busy again and the site becomes defunct?
  • All the "new" content has basically been ripped from other sites, is a mostly blank page, or links to the guide on UO.com. That is exactly what I wanted to avoid with UOGuide.com.
  • There is a ton of critism at the new layout for finding information, yet the Admin isn't doing anything about it. Even my own guildmates comment on how they don't like it.

Lastly: I spent time, money, and resources trying to build a non-profit site to benefit UO players. This idea was basically crushed by the jealous actions of another person who admits they don't even have enough time to manage the site.