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When I first started editing the My Little Pony Wiki, I was thrilled to earn my first achievement badge! Day after day I would edit on MLP a little here and a little there. Each day, I'd scan the list of top contributors on the leaderboard (Special:Leaderboard) to see my name slowly start to rise. It was thrilling and exciting. I felt like I was helping the community to a better place by adding categories and editing articles. Some people pride themselves on edit counts which is great, but I try to focus on specific goals -- that's why I love achievements.
Achievements are a great way to customize your wiki while also encouraging editors to contribute more. Each achievement is awarded based on of a variety of things. And each achievement can be customized to fit the need of your wiki.
Perhaps the coolest thing about achievements is the ability to change the default image. This helps keep it in theme with your wiki.
As an admin, you can choose to customize your achievements through Special:AchievementsCustomize. On the MLP Wiki, all of the achievements are related to running gags or quotes from the show. A discussion was held on our forums in order to figure out what theme would work best with each track and which pictures to use. The end result grew from the combined efforts of various community members, both admins and regular editors. It was a great team effort.
Uploading PhotosEditWhen editing achievements, it's important to first have an image in mind. The automatic re-sizing of the images can be a bit finicky sometimes, so it's best to start with a larger image and try to have it scale down from there. Ultimately the achievements will scale down to around 128px, so if you have an idea of how you want each one to look, then it's best to play around with those specifications.
In order to upload a photo simply click the button that says "Choose File" and select which image you'd like displayed for that particular achievement. The system will then automatically re-size the image to fit the border. You then have the option to re-name that achievement.
On MLP Wiki we renamed the achievement to write 1 blog post to "Dear Princess Celestia". This goes with the theme of MLP because every episode ends with the main protagonist writing a letter to her mentor. So it was a perfect compliment as an achievment!
TracksEditMost achievements have "tracks" that follow various paths. Common tracks involve making edits to certain pages and uploading pictures. The edit track begins with awarding an achievement for making 1 edit to page, the next is awarded for making 5 edits, then 10, 25, 50, 100 etc... Once again, the theme is up to you and your wiki to decide! For example, on the Avatar Wiki the edit track is themed with various foods from the show.
Something really cool thing about achievements is that you may create and customize your own unique track based on existing categories.Unsure of what categories your wiki has so far? Navigate on over to Special:Categories. To create a new "Edit in category" track, type the name of the category in the field to the right on the Special:AchievementsCustomize page. Don't worry about losing the regular Edit track. It will still exist as will your new separate track that you can customize separately.
Once the track is created, the new default badges will appear in the list on the left, under the regular edit track. Be sure to customize the names and images for the new track, so that users can see the difference! After you've finished the customization click the "enabled" checkbox to turn on the new track, and then click "Save changes". You can also disable the track later, if you decide you don't want to highlight that category anymore. Users who have earned badges in that track will always keep their badges, even if the track is disabled.
Fallout Wiki has used this system to their advantage and has created various customized achievement tracks based on what pages you edit (characters, games, etc...). Creating a new track is easy and is an effective way to encourage edits on pages that may not normally get as much love or editing attention.
Q: My wiki currently doesn't have achievements, but I want them turned on!
A: Achievements can be turned on and off through Special:WikiFeatures. Hold a discussion on the forums! Gather opinions from your community members and discuss if achievements are good addition to your community. Remember, not every wiki has them turned on.
Q: Someone on my wiki has been cheating to get achievements! Can I remove his achievements from him?
A: Unfortunately at this time we cannot remove one select user's achievements. I would talk to that user and explain that cheating ruins the fun for other users that are trying to legitimately earn achievements. It's like when you're playing Monopoly and someone steals money from the bank. Everyone knows that they're doing it and it's not fun for anyone who's playing the game. :(
Q: Help! My badges keep getting cropped!
A: Uploading and re-sizing photos can be a bit frustrating sometimes, as the image tends to auto crop strangely from time to time. Unfortunately they get re-sized and cropped automatically depending on how large the photo was that you chose to upload. If you want an achievement to look a certain way, try cropping the picture in an image editor.
Q: I've contributed to my wiki every day for the past 30 days and I still haven't received the badge for it. Is this a bug, what gives?
A: Unfortunately, the way our system is currently set up, the edit needs to be made within the day according to UTC. As frustrating as it may be, the best way is to make sure you edit at the same time every day in order to not have it reset.
Q: If the Achievement Badges are turned off and back on, will that reset the badges each person has earned, allowing everyone to start over?
A: No worries, disabling achievements won't reset anything. You can turn them off and then back on and everything will still be there. :)
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