HellWiki is the most complete universally-accessible repository of general knowledge on the HellMOO game. The wiki's development is similar to the development of the game itself; its articles are written collaboratively by various HellMOO players, and though many contributors have come and gone, their collective efforts have built this website up over time.
Unlike most wikis, HellWiki accounts cannot be acquired by open sign-ups, and must be manually granted by an admin of the game. Admins have issued no statement on what the requirements for a wiki account are (if there are any at all), but getting hold of one can be difficult. Users with wiki accounts are not required to contribute to the wiki, or to edit anything useful. There used to be a "wikimin" position that was assigned to help with wiki administration, but there have been no active wikimins for several years.
HellWiki's very first article was first created on Christmas Day, 2008. At this time, it was a handbook for the game's developers as much as it was a guide for players; some pages, such as ProgMovement, were and are useless to regular players, while other pages like PlayerFeedback and Player Interests (Design) offer insight into how HellMOO was constructed. Whether admins still use these materials for reference is neither known nor important; over time, the wiki has evolved in the direction of helping players more than admins.
HellWiki is generally referred to as "the wiki" by players, but it is not the only HellMOO wiki in existence; other wikis and resources have been created. An independent, parallel wiki was created, now hosted on fandom.com, but this wiki is much less complete and has not been significantly updated in years. A "HellGewns" wiki was also made, which focuses on providing metagame strategies and spoilers to a select group of players; admission to viewing the HellGewns pages requires an account, which can only be granted by a small circle of existing members. As exciting as this sounds, the HellGewns wiki itself is actually quite tepid, with much of its information being out of date or incorrect. For all intents and purposes, this website is the "official" HellMOO wiki; the game itself offers links to it in character creation.
Other scattered resources on HellMOO exist, some of them pre-dating this wiki. Some players have hosted independent guides on their own websites (many of which are now lost to the mists of the internet), and many have written information on the game in pastebins, which are still commonly accessed today. Historically, lots of content has been hosted in these alternative areas owing to the wiki's restrictions on content, the fact that wiki editing does not generally give contributors any direct credit, and the difficulty of acquiring a wiki account.
Contributors and Contributions
Historically, HellWiki's contributions have come and gone; being a contributor imposes no duty on a player, but being an active contributor also gives very little credit, making wiki editing an unhurried job that players have tended to perform whenever they feel like it. As such, wiki pages vary dramatically in style, quality, completeness and consistency. This has caused problems in the past, with players who have poor practical knowledge of the game, but cite the wiki as though it is absolutely correct, despite their cited page being 5+ years out of date and erroneous in several areas. Even today, some HellMOO players will automatically insist that "the wiki is bad", or "everything on the wiki is wrong".
With time, this has improved. Aside from the slow build-up of numerous edits from varied users, two notable surges have occurred in wiki activity. The first was in 2012, when Dibolcrif (a wikimin), Uriel and Tenren (now an admin), alongside several other players, contributed a large amount of new content and guides to the wiki. The second was spread across 2016 and 2017, when two key contributors, Sobek and Nyll, created several new guides and made a great cleanup effort on the wiki. Other notable contributions have been recorded on the Scribe page, which lists achievements that have merited the reward of the same name. Today, the wiki is still far from comprehensive, but it is much more accurate and informative than it used to be.
In late 2018, HellMOO's server was moved, and the wiki with it. Since this migration, the wiki has suffered occasional outages and bouts of slowness, as well as a page name issue. Any page with an apostrophe in its title has been rendered inaccessible by normal means; wiki contributors have attempted to circumvent this by manually copying the old pages to new versions with the apostrophe cut from their titles, with limited success.
HellWiki strives to be as complete as possible, and provides information on a wide variety of game topics, but it is nowhere near comprehensive. A lot of HellMOO's content is very obscure and hardly played; only a small percentage of players ever happen upon oddities like the Ruined Arcade zone. In addition, the line between admin-only content and playable content is very blurry in HellMOO; special events and technical mishaps sometimes lead to players encountering things that are not normally playable, like the Moon zone and the Snow globe. Since only a tiny percentage of players ever happen to be in the right place at the right time to witness these oddities, and only a small percentage of those have wiki accounts and the will to edit pages on these topics, information on them is sparse.
In addition, HellWiki has a "no spoilers" rule, which disallows certain content from being covered in any detail on the wiki. HellWiki generally describes these as places and things that "do not exist", or are "swamp gas and weather balloons"; information on these topics is left intentionally sparse so as to avoid spoiling the game. Examples of this include pages like Labyrinth and Necropolis Floodplain. There is no concrete guidance on what does and doesn't constitute a spoiler, but as a rule of thumb, if it's part of an optional quest or in a somewhat hidden area, then it's a spoiler.
The Wiki and Admins
Historically, admin interaction with the wiki has been rare. In 2011, the wiki suffered an influx of spam, which led to Jed and some newly appointed wikimins intensively cleansing it of these problems. Any admin of the game also has full access to the wiki, and admins occasionally use this privilege to remove more recent spam.
Changes to actual wiki content from admins are extremely rare, and admins appear to pay very little attention to this website. The only extant examples of direct admin involvement in content are:
- A few edits removing content that is not supposed to be player-accessible, like the drill-guitar.
- The Chromemouth page, created and edited by the eponymous mutation's creator.
- Most of the first pages ever on the wiki, created by an anonymous admin before accounts were properly made on the wiki.
- A couple instances of serious spoilers being cut by admin edits.
As such, 99% of the wiki's content is entirely player-made, and readers of the wiki generally need not worry about admin interference in what they are reading.
Contributing to the Wiki
Some guidelines on contributing are listed below:
- Don't sign edits/self-insert. Adding your signature to edits is very poor form; contributors are already credited in the page's History tab. Referring to oneself as a player ("I found this out") or otherwise is also discouraged; the wiki is about information, not the people who write about that information.
- Maintain good style. In general, contributors have attempted to maintain a neutral tone and clinical style in their edits. Avoid outlandish formatting. Memes are all over the place, but try to keep them from interfering with the accuracy and readability of a page's content.
- Summarize your edits. This makes pages much easier to maintain. Don't be bitchy in edit summaries.
- Marking as minor is something of a HellWiki meme; some contributors make a point of marking all their edits as minor, regardless of their scope. This is confusing to maintain, so please refrain. The minor tag is ambiguous, but a good rule of thumb is that if it changes the actual content of the page, it's not minor. Changing "im gay" to "I'm gay" is minor, but changing "im gay" to "im straight" is not.
None of these rules apply to personal guides. A personal guide is one created and edited by one specific user, and meddling in another contributor's guide is frowned upon. These guides are generally credited to one person, such as Uriel's Guide to Hellmoo, as opposed to widely edited guides that aren't tied to any one contributor, like Teachers.
Protected Pages and Restrictions
Wiki contributors are not granted full wiki permissions, and the few wikimins who were appointed are long since inactive. This causes some unavoidable problems for wiki contributors:
- Some pages are "protected", which blocks any editing of these pages by contributors, regardless of how much they require updating. Persuade is an example of this.
- Contributors cannot delete pages. This has led to many entirely useless pages which cannot be cut.
- Contributors cannot upload images, which prevents most visual demonstrations, guides and maps.
As a workaround to the protected page problem, duplicate versions of certain pages have been created of these pages which can be edited by any contributor. The old versions are deliberately isolated and should never be linked to; be sure to link to the correct one. These special cases are:
- Persuade (Skill) is the editable and current version of Persuade
- Plant Whisperer (Mutation) is the editable and current version of Plant Whisperer
- Jammer (Mutation) is the editable and current version of Jammer
Since the server migration, the wiki has become unable to properly access pages with apostrophes in their title, as with Pegleg Pete's. This link will lead to a page that redirects indefinitely due to the apostrophe in the name. This can be bypassed with some MediaWiki voodoo involving external links and styles, which is neatly handled by the RedirectBypass template. Any time you are linking to a page with an apostrophe in its title, the RedirectBypass template is the easiest means of doing it. Read about its usage here. The other method of bypassing redirects is to point to another redirect that redirects to the page with infinite redirects; both solutions work fine, and redirect pages are harmless, but RedirectBypass requires less effort.
Feedback and Questions
At any one time, there's usually no more than two or three active wiki contributors. On most wikis, it's standard practice to offer questions or suggestions to other editors on their talk page, but this is not feasible on a wiki that does not openly allow user registration. Some wiki contributors have in-game contact details listed on their user pages and can be contacted in-game (via paging or mail). Otherwise, the only realistic method is word of mouth; with only a few active editors, those who are contributing are generally known in the game's community, so ask around until you find one and page them or mail them.
Please do not page wiki contributors about adding images to the wiki. They are unable to make use of any images, no matter how hilarious or fitting the memes may be, because image upload permissions are restricted.
Using the wiki for general questions on gameplay is a good idea. Try putting a relevant key phrase (like "adamantium cock sock") in the wiki's search bar before asking about topics on chatnet. It is always good to double-check wiki info because of its occasional reliability issues, but cross-reference carefully; there are players who will swear blind that treemen do primarily slash damage, when the maintained and peer-reviewed wiki article on the topic will correctly state that they do not. Unfortunately, the wiki's lack of templates means that several navigability features, like navboxes, are missing, so navigating the wiki can sometimes be difficult. The player-written guides page and the searchbar are good places to start.
HellWiki runs on MediaWiki, an open-source program licensed under GPLv2+, and lacks many of the HTML templates found in more recent wikis. Most of the extant templates have been contributed by players who added the HTML themselves; see the list of templates available on the wiki. Information on how the wiki is hosted is scarce, but it seems to be hosted on the same server as the game itself.