UDWiki:Open Discussion/New Dangermap

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The purpose of this page is gauge some opinions on what changes should be made to the Dangermap (currently located on Suburb and accessible from the sidebar of this wiki) to make it more relevant for current users of the wiki and the game. I'm hoping, for the purposes of this discussion, that we can all agree that something should be changed in the current system, be it large or small.

The reason for this is because, going by the statistics of the game, there are 66 people per suburb on average, and taking into account player density across Malton, most suburbs under the current system should be Ghost Towns. And that doesn't count the statuses which are grossly out of date and don't have an "unknown" status that exists for them.

We have a couple of options. We could change the numbers for each Danger status so the numbers scale closer to the numbers we have now, or rewrite the meanings altogether. This previous open discussion has some interesting ideas for rewriting the entire system, and my favourite solution, which I think would also be the easiest, would be replacing the Dangermap with the Danger Center, which I find much more helpful and accurate on the general wellbeing of a suburb.

What do you all think? Should we be fixing this up in a large or small way? I personally find it a great time to do something exciting and overhaul the entire system, or if you don't think we should change anything at all, please pipe up. A ZOMBIE ANT 08:07, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

When I saw the title of this page on RC, I thought you were referring to a proposal on the works from last year, but I was wondering when someone would raise this. I don't edit the Dangermap itself due to this -- majority of the city's suburbs are classified as "safe", following the historical (and current) definitions, even if break-ins happen at a daily basis/even with a very active zed horde.
This discrepancy/dissonance is also why I call buildings that have less than 10 survivors across the 'burb, while not having any zeds and/or ruined buildings as "reverse ghost towns" (since the "ghost town" tends to refer to something so broken by zeds that neither zeds nor survivors inhabit the place.) I also considered changing the numbers stipulated in the DangerReport Building Status indicators to reflect the current number of characters, especially since more people seem to edit those than the suburb danger statuses. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 13:50, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
That's an interesting page indeed, but for now I want to focus on the suburb danger levels. Like you said, I think the numbers are all wrong, though I think doing statuses (either for suburbs, or individual buildings) based on numbers is wrong- seeing as as long as the game's player count will change, the numbers will always end up being redundant eventually. That's where I personally think the building statuses generally have the right idea, they are based on the threat of the building to survivors, just not based on an arbitrary number of survivors vs zombies. For this reason I think UDWiki:Open Discussion/DangerMap Version 4 got it right by making it a ratio. However, that discussion was made before the DangerCenter existed and I'd love for that to somehow become the standard for people in future. A ZOMBIE ANT 14:24, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Now that would have been interesting. I kind of wonder why that wasn't the standard that ended up being used for the DangerMap. Using a ratio instead of an arbitrary number is more in keeping with NPOV. It's also a more sensible approach -- like you said, I think the DangerCenter was in the right direction. I see the numerical values in the current descriptions making sense in the past, but not now. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 15:32, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I think the honest truth is that the amount of different opinions overwhelm whoever proposed changing it and they end up abandoning the idea. People tend to think that everyone needs to be pleased before they change something, which I tend to disagree with. It's mostly why good improvements of the main page haven't been made since AHLG did it in 2009, and also why some other parts of the wiki have been so static. For example, I think a lot of people think DangerMap was a community consulted creation, but as far as I remember hearing it, Hagnat just up and "made it" one day and just plopped it on there and it became the arbitrary indicator of survivor safety in the game. Same for Main Page and Community Portal. They were very dated before AHLG just added changes. He did consult the community, but it takes someone to care enough to push it through eventually. A ZOMBIE ANT 11:42, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
not entirely true... there was already a system in place before i created the entire template-based scheme that we know today. It was just a simple table, and people would edit the cells corresponding to each burb. It was painful, it was terribly coded, it lead to several edit conflicts, which was the reasons i "plopped it" into existence. But the ratios and danger levels, not my creation. (read more in the suburb danger history page) --hagnat 21:53, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

My favorite iteration of the V4 discussion was EMR based danger map. It was the least subjective, most informative idea. The problem was displaying the info in a way that does not look like shit. I think there is a sandbox page in my userspace somewhere with all those icons and it looked as terrible as you might think it would. I had the idea of replacing the icons with smaller squares, but that's about when the discussion died I think. I've since accepted that the Danger Map has outlived its usefulness outside of just being a map (which is all most people probably use it for these days). Remember that suburb danger levels are user driven and will always be inacurate as long as people don't care enough to update. For that reason alone, perhaps an EMR based system would be best since one or two dedicated people could cover practically the entire city with minimal effort. ~Vsig.png 04:20, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

After reading through this entire page I also agree that we should replace the danger map entirely

--__/Storm\___ «^^^» 08:00, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Technical Issues

Just to point out the obvious, unless someone has a bot available that can make the changes for us, we can't make any changes that involve changing the name/number of different statuses, unless someone plans to go through all 10,000 blocks and modify those old names to match the new ones. We can rewrite their descriptions with numbers or ratios instead, but when it comes to the templates themselves, any changes to them will need to be done by bots, and I'm not aware of any current users having any to run. That kinda puts a limitation on the scope of the changes we can talk about.

Also, before I discuss any of this further, a disclaimer: I'm biased against changing the way the infrastructure for it works, for the simple reason that I suspect I'm the one who will get stuck implementing any changes, given how the system works. Aichon 14:40, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing out that limitation! I overlooked this because the descriptions/instructions other aspects of User:DangerReport utilize templates, but I failed to consider that any change that would require changing the names of the statuses would require a bulk edit. In that event, the old status templates would probably need to be retained for the sake of posterity/archival purpose, until updates with the newer status indicators will deprecate the older ones. (We know that isn't happening, though - I've edited some building danger statuses that have not been edited ever since the creation of their entries on the then-new, now-current User:DangerReport.)
I do have a concern about changing the entire system - I only started with 'contributing' to the wiki in 2010, by editing Danger Report statuses. It was easy for me to 'return' to the wiki after not caring about it for a long while, because the familiar syntax for updating building danger reports. Just modifying the descriptions of the currently available statuses, with no additions/deletions, seems to be the option of less hassle. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 15:32, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Sure, keeping the old names is the most sensible, rather than a complete reworking. I prefer to base the definition of the danger levels on ruin/unruined/lit, since it is practical (it can be determined "on the ground"). Although it also makes sense to consider or incorporate survivor and zombie populations. (Depends on what we want out of a suburb map that is updated to reflect an ingame reality. If we're keeping the suburb danger idea, it makes sense to include survivors/zombies since they'll affect how hard/easy it is to stay alive or not-dead.) --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 20:29, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Having the danger levels' descriptions revised (albeit probably with the same names) based on barricade levels would make my life (and those of a few others) much easier, oh GOSH YES. I'm usually bad at explaining what I suggest with words; I once wanted the danger reports to be revised to be based solely on barricade levels, but no survivor/zombie counts, but you have a good point.
Assuming a revision based on barricade levels,
Safe: VSB(0) to EHB(+~), with 0 ~ 1 zombies across the block.
Under Attack: Loosely barricaded to QSB+2, with 2 or more zombies across the block. (This criteria seems closer to "Vulnerable", but we don't have that status, so...)
Under Siege: Loosely barricaded to (EHB? idek,) with 5 or more zombies across the block.
The other building statuses seem to be fine at this point, though. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 22:00, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
It surely would suck if you had to do it all yourself, though I doubt that will happen so don't worry. However, I don't think the task will ever need to be that mammoth. Firstly, I was hoping the discussion would be focussed on Dangermap, not the building danger statuses, since I believe it's arbitrary and irrelevant numbering system is contributing to its low use. And secondly, if we were to do a rework of the danger statuses, there wouldn't be 10,000 templates to edit since there aren't 10,000 buildings in UD. Also, surely a transition could be made? You keep the old templates, make new ones, change the guide under the building danger status templates to only include the new ones and wait for the new ones to get adopted first. You'd have to give them different names, but surely that would work. A ZOMBIE ANT 01:35, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
In fact, don't template inclusions work through redirects? You could redirect 'safe' 'under siege' etc to their equivalent statuses through the transition period. Phase it out, and only do it manually when the old template inclusion rate gets low enough for a human to be bothered doing it. A ZOMBIE ANT 01:37, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Honestly, I don't know if it'd work or not. I can't recall how inclusion limits work, so it's possible a change like that may very well push the Danger Center over the limit just by adding that extra redirect. We were having to do stuff like make templates with names just one letter long since two letters was causing things to break, so without testing, I won't know whether we can do something like that. I suspect it'll work, but I'm not certain.
Regarding the Danger Map, those were the changes I was talking about not looking forward to if I had to do them myself. The problem isn't that there are a lot of changes (just a few hundred, probably); the problem is that any changes to it will be complicated. Rooster made that system, as I recall, and though it works great, the stuff ties together in ways that aren't easy to notice until you break them. A lot of templates get used, but don't have any links going to them since the transclusions are dynamically created. That sort of stuff is difficult to sort out.
Regardless, I'd be okay with replacing the Danger Level for a suburb with the Danger Center template for that suburb in most places where the suburb's Danger Level is currently being used (e.g. on the suburb pages themselves). And I can already imagine one way to determine the overall repair/ruin status of a whole suburb in order to do something like, say, produce a box that provides a color representing the overall state of the suburb (i.e. something akin to the current suburb Danger Level), but it'd be an incredibly heavy set of templates, so I'm not sure that it's something we can actually do in practice. Aichon 02:13, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
That sounds awful, I hope it isn't the case. A ZOMBIE ANT 02:52, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

What would you all think of the super simple proposal of replacing the Dangermap with the DangerCenter on Suburb? A ZOMBIE ANT 11:32, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

A quick story: I thought I was okay with your proposal, since no objections came to mind, but I wanted to do a quick double-check on some stuff, so I went to the DangerCenter to look it over again. I noticed a block that had a weird color and wanted to see what was up at that block. I clicked on the block, but all I got was mouseover text with the name of the suburb. So, I clicked on City Map on the nav bar to the side, clicked on the name of the suburb in the Dangermap, and then went "oh crap, the main use I have for the dangermap has nothing to do with danger levels, and everything to do with how quickly it lets me jump to a suburb!". There may be ways to address that issue, such as layering an invisible set of divs over the DangerCenter that adds links to each suburb, but we'd have to do that on Suburb, since I doubt we could add that much code to the DangerCenter template itself. Long story short, the dangermap serves more purposes than merely displaying the danger, and we need to consider those as well, since I'd argue that they may actually be more important than the danger levels. Aichon 16:51, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
You're certainly right, I had thought of that tradeoff at one point and I was thinking perhaps it might be worth having both a Danger-related map on the suburb page, and also further down, one that has clickable suburbs on it (if we can't have both in one), or the other way around. Might be a bit cluttered, but it would at least serve both purposes? A ZOMBIE ANT 01:13, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe we'd be able to tansclude the Danger Center on the Suburb page because of template call limits. If memory serves, Danger Center is already at the very limits of what is allowed. Transcluding it might be too much. Also, there are server strain concerns with Danger Center. I remember after it was completed, the wiki ran very slow for a while. Assuming it could be transcluded, it might be potemtially wiki-breaking to try transcluding it on the most widely viewed page on the wiki. At the minumum, some tests should be ran before even continuing with this particular idea. ~Vsig.png 04:20, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Really good point, I also remember when the wiki almost died as a result of the newly completed DangerCenter. Like you said, a test would be absolutely necessary. For example, perhaps putting it on the suburb page, with a notice explaining that it's a test and if any adverse experiences are felt, to note them on the talk page, etc. A ZOMBIE ANT 05:38, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I suspect they'd be pretty obvious. ;) Aichon 15:01, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, there are a few ways to approach the problem. I think the moral of the story is simply that I'm okay with eliminating Danger Levels, which we represent in the Danger Map, and replacing that functionality with the Danger Center instead. We'll simply need to add something that allows for easy navigation to suburbs. It just occurred to me that it might be possible to add it as a mouseover in the nav bar: mouse over some link, out pops a minimap that shows you suburb names on hover, and you can click the one you want to jump to it. Although, it'd only work if we could get everyone using an updated CSS, which was the technical hurdle we hit with the main page update. Aichon 15:01, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
The wiki always lags for me when I (or maybe someone else also) accesses the Danger Center. Are we sure about this? --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 21:11, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
The Danger Center also gives me massive wiki lag. User:DangerReport, not so much. I wouldn't mind using it MAYBE if it didn't make pages take 3 minutes to load. I can imagine it has a lot of templates called. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 21:57, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't aware lag occurred still from the Danger Center. If that's the case I think, sadly, it might not be worth doing. It'll always be a dream... A ZOMBIE ANT 01:00, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
And dreams (may) come true. There were some changes from last year that reduced the lag, but it's still an issue for me sometimes. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 03:47, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps I never experienced it because I usually go on at the times when the wiki is at its slowest. A ZOMBIE ANT 07:59, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
It's slowest after someone updates a building's status and then someone loads the Danger Center, since it needs to redo all of those templates. Aichon 16:42, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Just a thought, and I am not sure if it would be actually possible or help. But what if each burb was an image uploaded/updated once daily? This would require a bot that could upload stuff to the wiki and it would be required to store the information on someones actual computer in order to the render images and such. In that fashion loading the page would only require calling 100 small images instead of however many templates, I can't actually even load the edit tab to see whats under the hood. Might not be possible or worthwhile to do but I figured it was an idea to take some of the stress off the wiki so might as well mention it.        18:49, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I briefly considered that idea, since I agree that it'd fix pretty much everything. The problem is getting someone around here to build and run the bot on a consistent basis. Aichon 19:02, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I like that this hits more than two birds with a single stone. Will it reduce the strain to encode the images as base 64 strings (that can be converted into .png format if the user so prefers?) I'm very rusty when it comes to this thing, so sorry if it's a stupid suggestion. I'm just not sure someone can run the bot that often. Perhaps twice/thrice a week? --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 01:21, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't bother with the base 64 string stuff. The reasons why that was/is done with images in web pages don't apply particularly well here. The image will only be a few dozen KB at most, so it's really no concern at all since the Recruitment page would be many times larger, and the bot could be rigged to simply upload it as a fresh image each day, all of which would be trivial for any sort of bot that knows how to work with wikis. And a cron job could automate the running of the wiki so that it automatically happens each day. The only tricky part is getting someone who's faithful in doing it and is interested in putting together such a bot. That person isn't me. Aichon 02:07, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Rooster once made a bot to visualise the suburb dangermap colours into animated gif images to show the dangermap over time (similar to my old 200 Days in Urban Dead video from 2008). But as long as we have no one with bot experience we might want to shelf the idea of solving with this bots, sadly. A ZOMBIE ANT 05:56, 24 June 2014 (UTC)


I don't care what you do with it, fuck you guys, hate you guys, but whatever's done--get the shit rid of the whole "safe" and "dangerous" spectrum since it's clearly one-sided. Survivor-held, zombie-held, and shades in between, should really be how things are described. Though personally I'd use "fortified" as the strongest survivor-friendly setting, "barhah" as the strongest zombie-friendly one, "embattled" in the middle, "survivable" as the survivor middle-ground and "barggrh" as the zombie side of middle-ground. I also still think that the zamgrh name of a burb should be displayed if (big if nowadays) the burb is in zombie hands; here is a list of what those are. Fuck you guys. Hate you guys. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new 03:17, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Haha, thanks. NPOV is definitely an issue, but one I'd like to prioritise the numbers for each status before changing their names etc. I have a fear that if we try and change everything at once, the project will become overwhelming and will just get shelved like previous ones. A ZOMBIE ANT 04:26, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. Don't get bogged down by names just yet. Get a system worked out first. And from what it sounds like, most of us want to ditch the current system entirely, if not for the technical issues. Aichon 05:02, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm for baby steps. However, I'll say now I'm not of the particular opinion that the dangermap is inherently biased- just the names (safe, dangerous) etc. I do like the colours, the levels and I even think the ratio of survivors to zombies isn't... terrible. However, the numbers associated with those ratios are obviously out of date and the names should be changed in future. A ZOMBIE ANT 06:41, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
Mis lives! :O Re: changing the names stat, my opinion on it is as DDR and Aichon.
I personally prefer the idea of going for a classification that is more barricade-level dependent (i.e. fortified -> barricaded -> secured -> vulnerable/breached/unprotected -> ruined,) albeit retaining the old colours/levels. Perhaps the "safe"/"under attack"/"under siege" qualifiers can just be modified to scale to barricade levels, instead. Ratio-based isn't bad, either. I've been hesitant/confused as to how I should do DangerReport updates with the current system, especially since there's a lot of things that the current system doesn't account for if you're going for NPOV (like unbarricaded buildings that have neither ruinage nor zeds -- I usually still list these as "safe", with a comment on the barricade level.)
Gradual changes may be more welcome than a rapid shift - i.e. solidify and polish what new system will be made, or gradually make a transition from the old, to the new. Somewhere up this page, there was a suggestion to keep the old templates (as grandfathered cases), but only have the documentation for the new ones, so that the transition can be done in a smoother manner. It was easy for me to return to updating danger reports because the system didn't change since the time I took a wiki hiatus in 2010 - I see the occasional person spring back up from activity, and changing the entire system without a guided transition can confuse/alienate someone from making the edit. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 12:48, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

We really need to do a better job of clarifying what we're talking about, since we're mixing topics.

  • Danger Map is what we're talking about with this whole discussion. It's the system that labels suburbs as safe, moderately dangerous, dangerous, very dangerous, and ghost town. We're talking about how to deal with it since it uses numbers that are no longer valid, meaning that everything pretty much gets marked as safe or ghost town, even sometimes when hordes are going through.
  • DangerReports are how we label individual blocks. They're generally NOT what this whole discussion is about, and it's a tangential issue with a load of gotchas and other problems.
  • DangerCenter is a system for combining every single DangerReport onto one page. We're discussing the possibility of outright replacing the Danger Map with the DangerCenter, that way we get around the issues with the current Danger Map, but there are technical issues in doing so.

So, long story short, let's not get hung up on DangerReport changes, since that's another topic entirely (and one I'm guilty of bringing up), and separate from this discussion. Stick to Danger Map and DangerCenter stuff. Aichon 18:56, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Yep. All of them could do with updates if we wanted to be pedantic, but as far as I'm concerned Dangermap is the only broken one, by virtue of it being grossly out of date at any one time. A ZOMBIE ANT 07:22, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

"Unknown" suburb status

Anyone have any thoughts on this? My opinion is that it is surely needed. Maybe do a timeframe of one month or so? A ZOMBIE ANT 06:49, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

I like this. I wonder if the colour for ghost 'burbs would have to be changed, or if "unknown" statuses will require a new colour delegation, though. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 12:38, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
You're right, either the colour would need to be changed or Unknown would need something (perhaps even more dimmed-out greys). I hope there's a strong consensus to have it in place, however. A ZOMBIE ANT 07:24, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
A more dimmed-out grey could work for "unknown", if the colours of the danger reports were to be kept (and if people prefer for it to match the building status reports, that is.) --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 16:17, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm for an "unknown" suburb status as well, and tbh, 1 month is a good enough lapse period. Not too short, not too long, in the context of the current playerbase. --Si vis pacem, para bellum. (stalk · KT · FoD · UT) 12:29, 6 July 2014 (UTC)


So, we've kind of discussed and there are some overriding themes:

  • Bots are an option, if we had someone who could do it (I wouldn't want an entire wiki dangemap to rely on one person's bot anyway)
  • Replacing Dangermap with Dangercenter is preferred but probably not an option
  • If we keep Dangermap, we would need to:
    • Scale down the numbers, preferrably in some sort of survivor:zombie ratio that will stay current regardless of game numbers
    • Add an "Unknown" status to Dangermap
    • (Eventually) fix POV status names, although unless people get too upset, I'd prefer to leave that for another day

Does that sound right to you? What are your thoughts on that summary? In terms of ease of implementing, would you agree we could fix the Dangermap's issues as a first priority? My thoughts are currently that, despite some arguments (and in the past) that Dangermap needs a total overhaul, my biggest concern is that it isn't being used, so going through the dreary process would likely be a waste of time. However, some changes could be done quickly- namely the above, and may contribute to DM being more relevant in future, and after that it may enjoy a better upkeep. Does anyone agree/disagree? A ZOMBIE ANT 06:08, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Sounds right to me. I'd focus on revising the definitions for each level without revising their names, first. I'd honestly leave off the Unknown one, since most of the time they don't get updated, it's because they're the same as they were before. Later on, we can swing through and revise the names to be oriented around the status of the suburb's buildings. Gennies use "intact", "dented", "battered", "damaged", and "badly damaged", so we may want to borrow some of those terms and go with "intact", "damaged", "badly damaged", and "ruined", perhaps, but again, that's a change for another day. Aichon 14:27, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Sounds right to me too. We should start with an update of the numbers/definition of the danger levels. That shouldn't be too difficult, and if (later) we want to do more, we can always do that (or whatever turns out to be doable). --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 22:46, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the input, what do you two think about adding a small "edit" link under the suburb, or somewhere on the map, maybe similar to Template:DangerMapUF except less intrusive? Or do you think that's a bit much? I'd personally love for more ease of access to updating it, but I understand clutter is something to avoid. A ZOMBIE ANT 12:54, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Also, I'd like to make a case for Unknown statuses. I think the benefit of them is that they do create a realistic idea of what the city truly is like; sure, some suburbs have remained safe in this time, but others have half the buildings ruined as per Building Statuses but haven't been updated, others haven't been updated since October 2013. Simply acknowledging that the information may be out of date is not only accurate, it paints a more realistic vision of the city where information isn't flowing as well as it used to. And, if, in the case where a suburb is still safe, all it will take is for someone to notice and care and update it and it won't be a problem at all. I actually think one of the advantages of DangerCenter is it does accurately visualise what suburbs have dropped off the information grid, so to speak, and I think it actually makes the city a more interesting place. I'd love to be able to incorporate that into the suburb map and stop misleading players at the same time. A ZOMBIE ANT 13:02, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not strongly opposed to Unknown. I just don't want to end up in a situation where half the map is marked as Unknown and people are complaining about having to constantly update their recruitment ads their home suburb when nothing has changed. We can give it a try and see how it goes. And I'm okay with adding a little "(edit)" link. Aichon 14:40, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Damn. I mean, it's like once a month, or once every two months. If they care that much they can take the 15 seconds every two months it takes to confirm their suburb is the same? A ZOMBIE ANT 01:19, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Doesn't stop folks from grousing about recruitment ads. ;) Anyway, like I said, we can give it a try and see how it goes. Worst case scenario, we roll it back. It's an easy change. Aichon 15:23, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Sounds good. Obviously I'll have no qualms about rolling it back if it doesn't appear to make any difference. A ZOMBIE ANT 06:47, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Just a heads up that I'm still planning on putting up some draft numbers/ratios that the new suburb colours would abide by. Thanks for all the above help, friends. Check back soon, hopefully. A ZOMBIE ANT 14:09, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

From doing some extensive on-ground scouting of suburbs, and comparing what I've seen to the EMR, I think one thing that we REALLY need, with population this low in the game, is a way to indicate an infrastructure-intact ghost town vs. an infrastructure-destroyed ghost town.

I know people have traditionally used "a ghost town" to refer only to deserted AND ruined suburbs, but that's not actually what the current definition actually says. (To wit: "At least 2/3rds of the suburb's buildings either Empty of Survivors OR Ransacked/Ruined") Maybe at one point a suburb HAD to be ruined in order to be 2/3 deserted, which may be why "deserted and ruined" became the traditional use of the status. But with lower population they no longer arrive hand in hand. And at this point in the game it seems almost as important to let visitors to the wiki know "hey, here are suburbs that have a notable number of survivors in them!" as it is to let them know "hey, here are suburbs with a notable amount of zombies in them!" So, for lack of a better option at this point, I've been calling any suburb 2/3 uninhabited by survivors a ghost town, per the technically correct definition , and have been reserving "safe" for intact and inhabited suburbs. (I'm still testing and comparing EMRs to on-ground scouts to see which EMR combinations tend to indicate inhabited vs. non-inhabited vs. moderately dangerous).

If I had to suggest a way to revamp the danger map to reflect the safe vs. intact ghost vs. ruined ghost distinct, I'd suggest making a slightly darker shade of grey, in addition to the current light shade of grey. Call the light shade of grey "survivor ghost town" and the dark shade "zombie ghost town." (Or "intact ghost town" and "ruined ghost town.") This strikes me as the best way to visually cue the difference; people associate grey with "ghost town" already, and have for years, and it's a very intuitive association to boot. I'd be very hesitant to add another color to the mix, when all we're really doing is just letting them know which particular variant deserted suburb it is.

Given the ease with which basic suburb danger level CAN be gathered and updated from the EMR, I actually think this would be a more helpful/useful use of a dark grey color than using it for "unknown." -- Jen T | SFHNAS | PK 15:56, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Ghost towns were implemented that way because they were voted in as a wiki policy (if you think that doing so was a horrible idea, I'm right there with you). As such, any changes we want to make to them will require getting a new policy passed that either overturns or amends the original policy. Aichon 16:11, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
So, does that means that any discussion we've been having here, about all these updates to the dangermap system, will have to be passed as a new wiki policy to be implemented? Or will they have to be implemented that way only if the proposed changes include any changes to ghost towns? (Are the rest of the definitions exempt from that kind of requirement, based on not having been passed as wiki policies?) -- Jen T | SFHNAS | PK 16:48, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Only changes that would involve changing the current Ghost Town status in some way would require policy changes. Adding, removing, or editing the other statuses would not require a policy change. And, honestly, that policy never should have existed in the first place. I think I may just go ahead and see if I can get it abolished. Aichon 18:25, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

I just posted a policy to overturn the policy that is preventing us from making changes to the Ghost Town status. More or less, it's just trying to get the hurdles out of the way so that we can finally make some of these changes. Weigh in on the talk page for that policy. Aichon 19:37, 20 August 2014 (UTC)


We also might want to address the danger status for buildings and malls criteria first. It's easier to tackle. --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 18:36, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Having recently realized how stupid the mall zombie levels are, I support this. --K 20:57, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Sure. Suggestions? Aichon 21:20, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
How about:
  • safe - barricaded and empty of zombies
  • under attack - under repetitive attack by zombie, survivors with advantage (or continued PKer campaign)
  • under siege - under repetitive attack by zombie, zombies with advantage (up to and including ransacked)
  • ruined - building is ruined and may or may not contain zombies
  • in zombie hands - building is ruined and has 1 or more zombies inside
  • rebuilding - building is recently reclaimed, needs assistance but should be considered dangerous for sleeping
  • pinata - yay, pinatas
  • unknown - should include a link to aichon's talk page, actually include the link in all statuses
It uses the current system, just new descriptions. Just tweak for malls. --K 23:49, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Sure. At the very least we could halve the numbers and change "structure" in the mall danger levels to "block". --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 15:05, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Random thought (inspired by Kirsty's one above): how about instead of trying to strictly define what the levels are, we try to give a sense of what that level looks and feels like, but leave some room for interpretation in between the levels? After all, it's not scientific anyway, and any definition, no matter how well-written, will always have hairs to split. So, riffing off of Kirsty's general ideas a bit:
  • Safe - Intact, barricaded, and with no noticeable zombie presence. The barricades may need repairs occasionally, but survivors are in no immediate danger.
  • Under Attack - A few survivors are dying because of minor zombie breaches or random PKings, but there is no imminent threat that the building will fall into ruin.
  • Under Siege - Survivors are dying frequently due to a large presence of—or coordinated attacks by—zombies or PKers. The building is in immediate danger of falling into ruin.
  • Ruined - The building has been ransacked or ruined and requires repairs before it can be re-barricaded.
  • Pinata - The building is ruined but is also barricaded to the point that it cannot be entered.
  • Unknown - No recent information is available. We've forgotten how it was, almost like we have amnesia.
I've left the names alone for now, but I'd probably want to rename "Safe" to something more like "Intact". I've also removed Rebuilding and In Zombie Hands. In thinking about it a bit, it seems to me that neither of them matter unless we're talking about large structures (and we can keep them around for those). Outside of large structures, Rebuilding would really just mean Safe in 99% of cases, and if it doesn't, then the appropriate status should be used. Likewise, outside of large structures, it's almost always just 1 zombie or less holding a ruin, so it really doesn't matter. Aichon 17:03, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
A looser definition probably aligns more closely to how people interpret the danger levels anyway. I know that I don't count the zombies when declaring a building under attack or under siege. --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 17:41, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I really like this simplification. Officially including PKing as part of the threat level is a change that perhaps deserves more dicussion, but it makes a lot of sense given the way game balance and gameplay seem to have changed over the past couple years, and I'm for it. Would you keep "rot revive" as a status option for NT buildings? --Jen 19:02, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I was shooting for the idea of "based on what feels right". I don't think we need specific numbers (10 coordinated zombies will do more damage than 20 ferals), plus the old system ignores survivor numbers (again 10 zombies vs. 5 survivors is not the same as 10 zombies vs. 20 survivors). Aichon is on the exact same page as me regarding attack vs. siege (one means annoying and you might die, one means you are probably going to die). As for ruined, I was looking at it more in terms of freerunning than barricading. I'm good with dropping in zombie hands, since it isn't needed. The two things I would want to discuss further is whether PKers should be able to cause a building to be under siege (which I take to mean it is close to being lost) and why aichon didn't include a link to his talk page for each status. --K 20:07, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I very much agree with you on those distinctions. In terms of freerunning vs. barricading for ruins, I could go either way. I guess I lean a bit towards barricading, since most of these descriptions seem to be based from the perspective of a player who is at that location, and barricade levels pertain a bit more to that than freerunning, in my mind.
As for PKers, again, I could go either way. As the game's population has been dropping, it's seemed to me like PKers are rising to more prominence in the game. And I know that some of them engage in campaigns that I would definitely classify as a siege (quick example: the Philosophe Knights engaged in a campaign against BAR last year, where we pinatad the place dozens of times over the course of several weeks and killed everyone inside it whenever we saw them there). The building may not get ruined (though in some cases it does), but it's definitely under siege, ya know? Maybe the text needs some more tweaking and we need to decide if the status is more about people being killed constantly or more about the building being about to be ruined.
As for the links, instead of my talk page, I upgraded the link and only included it in Unknown. Aichon 21:27, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
After about a week up updating and messing with danger levels/EMR stuff:
  • Aichon's definitions are great. I prefer slightly prefer Kirsty's definitions of "under attack" and "under siege," but either are awesome and better than what we have now, and should be implemented as soon as possible. Just do it.
  • Yes, yes, yes, get rid of in zombie hands and rebuilding. I've found that ignoring them when doing status updates makes perfect sense, and simplifies the update process enormously. I like being able to confidently change a status from "unknown"/"safe" to "ruined" without worrying that I'm possibly getting the exact zombie numbers wrong. And "rebuilding" just means "safe" or "still under attack," and either of those gives the appropriately relevant information.
  • It's possible you could even consolidate "under attack" and "under siege" together, but that's something I've not thought through completely thoroughly, and I'd be fine keeping both statuses. Generally those would be updated by people actually taking part in the activity, and so it wouldn't be too hard or complicated to actually get accurate data. (Vs. the ruined/in zombie hands distinction. Updating buildings from safe to ruined (or vice versa) is often done by quick scouts through an area or the EMR, and in those cases it IS a huge bother to feel like one has to specify exact numbers inside a building).
  • Get rid of "in zombie hands" for large buildings, too. Keep "ransacked" to indicate partial ruining, and use just use plain "ruined" to indicate full ruining. It's simpler, consistent with understanding of ruin (especially under the new definitions), and more intuitive to update.
  • Keep the "rot revive" status option for NT buildings. They can't fall under the proposed definition of "safe" when in working order, because they don't have barricades, and it seems helpful to have a status that flags "survivors are deliberately keeping this building lit and unbarricaded, and are currently being successful at that task."
  • I vote for including PKers as part of the threat, including "under seige," but it's not a hill I'm going to die on if it's going to hold up the implementation of the new status descriptions. Just update them, already, so it actually gets DONE.
And golly, do the suburb danger levels ever need to be updated. At the very least, there needs to be some status that can flag "yes, technically, most buildings here are repaired, but survivor numbers really low." I've been ruthlessly calling them ghost towns, as they technically meet the definition (2/3 empty of survivors), and because it seems more accurate to the current state of the game to call them that rather than "safe." But having a way to flag an infrastructure-intact ghost town vs. a demolished ghost town would be handy and helpful and relevant. (And a lot of the demolished ghost towns may also technically meet the current definition of "dangerous"...zombies inside many resource buildings. It's just impossible to tell without an AP-intensive on-ground scout, and the EMR is useless for determining how many zombies are actually in a suburb and in buildings. On the other hand, I've found that the EMR's "a few buildings have lights on" and "many buildings have lights on" is actually a pretty good indication of where a suburb falls on the "2/3 empty of survivors" line). -- Jen T | SFHNAS | PK
Upon further consideration, I'm leaning more toward Aichon's definitions of "under attack" and "under siege." Zombie numbers DID provide an a specific, concrete, objective benchmark by which to measure danger level, and to prevent a lot of drama, we should probably have something that's a pretty concrete to replace it (just concrete in a different way). I've trying to been trying to think of how one would classify St. Ferreol's Hospital (Kempsterbank) under the new definition...I'd love to call it "under attack," of course, and the attacks are certainly repetitive. But there's usually only 3 standing zombies outside, and they usually only succeed in smashing down cades and entering the building. Most NTs in overall safe suburbs probably fall under the similar heading of "repeated attacks, but really no success." Under the current definition such buildings would usually be classified as "safe"; under Aichon's they would probably still be "safe," with the side wanting to call it "under attack" being able to provide concrete proof of a death (or at least consistent breaches and entrances to the building?) if challenged. (Can we include repeated successful GKing as putting a building under attack?) Under Kirsty's I'm just foreseeing possible drama-filled edit wars until more concrete definitions of "survivor advantaged" and "repeated attacks" are agreed upon by the groups doing the editing. Am sad I won't get to paint St. F's yellow, though...and probably still won't be able to now, even if we reach 4 standing zombies. :(
If we use Aichon's definitions, though, I'd change the PKer language - depending on the proportional numbers of the groups involved, and the length of time that such an assault on a building takes place, it would often be more accurate to call a building targeted by organized PKing as simply "under attack." I think "siege" probably should still have the sense of "ruin is likely to happen," and if associated with PKing, it should probably be reserved for very long and committed campaigns. - Jen T | SFHNAS | PK 08:01, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
After more updating, am back to liking Kirsty's definitions slightly better. I really like how short and sweet they are. -- Jen T | SFHNAS | PK 15:10, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Honest suggestion: why don't you write your own? Take what you see as the best of both of ours and put them together. I know mine need some fixing, and having a third POV on it would be welcome. Aichon 16:32, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh dear, you're probably right. :) I may need a couple more days of changing my mind back and forth before I can settle on something, but I'll try to hash something out by the end of this week. -- Jen T | SFHNAS | PK 18:04, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm planning on starting changes around next weekend. I'll hold off until you've got your version and some time has passed to discuss. I kicked my version out quickly, just to given an example, so I certainly think another view would be good. --K 20:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm pleased people are chatting about this again- it's not dead to me, I am just very busy and can't dedicate the time to understanding suburb templates, in order to prepare a prototype. Feel free to talk about building statuses, since I'm not especially concerned with those just yet. A ZOMBIE ANT 00:35, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

Per Jen's above comment, what needs to be done to get this moving (building status, not suburb)? I think we are all basically in agreement, and I suspect any interested bystanders will chime in once it's closer to implementation. --K 23:23, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Probably the way to get things moving would be to make a change to building / mall danger levels and see who complains, and then go from there. --  AHLGTG THE END IS NIGH! 23:45, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd still wait maybe a week, but other than that, absolutely. Wikizens have had plenty of time to visit this page and chime in, so I'd like to think it's not going to be as contentious and polarising as it used to be. A ZOMBIE ANT 05:19, 14 August 2014 (UTC)