BattleTechWiki:Data Mining

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Essay Sub-Title: How To Tear Apart a Book For Fun and No Profit[edit]


This essay is crafted to assist members of Project: Unfinished Book and other editors in identifying facts to be 'pulled' (or 'data mined') from a book and turned into articles (or supporting material for articles). Per BattleTechWiki's Copyrights policy, we are "reformulat[ing] the concepts in [our] own words, and submit[ing them] to BattleTech Wiki." In order to accomplish this, we must be as creative as possible, so that we are not plagiarizing the original material. In the process, we must also remain as factual as possible and follow the site's standards regarding editing, with the intention of making articles easy & fun to read, with proper references. This essay should assist you in meeting these standards.

Note: the example article created for this essay has since been folded into numerous other articles and categories that can better express the information regarding different types of BattleMech chassis in a comparative format. However, the overall intentions for this essay remain clear and may be useful to editors seeking to inject the most value from any given fact into Sarna's BattleTechWiki.

Example Text[edit]

The following text is from Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 54, "LGB-12C Longbow"*:

Mass: 85 tons
Chassis: StarCorp 100
Power Plant: Strand-Martin 255 Extralight
Cruising Speed: 32 kph
Maximum Speed: 54 kph
Jump Jets: None
Jump Capacity: None
Armor: StarSlab/12.5 with CASE

2 Holly “Ballista-20” LRM-20 Missile Racks
2 Holly “Ballista-15” LRM-15 Missile Racks
3 Diverse Optics Extended Range Small Lasers

Manufacturer: StarCorp Industries
Primary Factories: Crofton, Emris IV, Loburg, St. Ives
Communications System: O/P 3950 COMSET M7
Targeting and Tracking System: Martin-Quarry Tarsys XLR 2.2 with Artemis IV FCS
Though considered old and outmoded by many of today’s battlefield commanders, the Longbow has long been the backbone of the Successor States’ mobile fire support companies. With the advent of ’Mechs like the Naginata and the Salamander, however, the Longbow’s position seemed in jeopardy, especially in light of the marketing disaster surrounding the debut of the LGB-7V. In attempting to give the ’Mech more close-in bite, they managed to do so only at the expense of preventing it from doing what it does best: raining missiles down upon an enemy from extreme ranges. Having debuted in the years immediately following the Clan Invasion, the LGB-7V gained such a bad reputation from its pilots —who attempted to fight toe-to-toe with their enemies, rarely surviving— that every major military that fielded it sold it in droves to mercenaries and other private concerns. StarCorp recognized this and, in an effort to boost lagging sales of this battlefield icon, introduced the LGB-12C in early 3061.
StarCorps’ designers had attempted to cater to a specific type of MechWarrior and battlefield commander with the LGB-7V and failed miserably. But instead of simply reworking the existing version to correct the problem, they redesigned the Longbow from the ground up, carefully considering everything some five centuries of experience had taught them about the ’Mech. The ability to make powerful ranged attacks was without a doubt the ’Mech’s greatest asset. Additionally, the Longbow’s targeting and tracking system allowed it to excel in an air defense role, a valuable capability even in today’s specialized environment.
The designers also paid attention to the gripes and concerns of generations of Longbow pilots, though. The Longbow’s signature barrelarms now each house thirty-five LRM tubes, all tied to an Artemis fire control system that in turn is slaved to the newly-designed Martin-Quarry targeting and tracking system.
Initial tests of the 12C’s weapon systems proved the ’Mech could simultaneously engage both fast-moving aircraft as well as slower ground-based targets with ease. In fact, actual battlefield reports indicate the system is even better than originally thought—with some believing the Martin-Quarry system is better than the highly-acclaimed Garret D2j and Spar 3c computers put together. At the very least, field reports regularly show MechWarriors successfully engaging targets well outside of typical combat ranges, a fact the 12C’s users are doing their best not to advertise.
The Longbow is protected by twelve and a half tons of conventional armor, with CASE in both side torsos to prevent complete destruction of the ’Mech in the event of a catastrophic ammunition explosion. The ’Mech also mounts enough heat sinks to maintain a continual missile fusillade with no adverse effects. Three extended-range small lasers round out the ’Mech’s armament, providing the MechWarrior with a small amount of close-in defense without encouraging a foolish—and likely suicidal—toe-to-toe charge with an enemy.
The LGB-12C has found places in the militaries of the Federated Suns, the Free Worlds League, the Lyran Alliance and even the Capellan Confederation, via the regiments of the former St. Ives Compact. The ’Mech figured heavily in the FedCom Civil War, where it served well in very visible assignments. AFFS Marshal Stephan Cooper made particular use of his Longbows in the fight for Addicks. There, he massed an entire reinforced battalion of the ’Mechs together, savaging Tai-sa Samual Noda’s Fifteenth Dieron Regulars outside of St. Randall while Noda met the bulk of the Davion Assault Guards head-on. Rumor has it that battalion remained together throughout the rest of the war and has since been assigned as a special operations unit under the direction of the AFFS High Command.

Data Mining[edit]

Data mining, when used here on BattleTechWiki, is defined by pulling information from every available source, even when the subject of the discussion is something else. For example, though the above source material is focused on the LGB-12C Longbow BattleMech, the following list shows the other subjects that have light shed upon them (in order of occurrence):

  • StarCorp 100 chassis
  • Strand-Martin 255 Extralight power plant
  • StarSlab/12.5 armor
  • CASE
  • Holly “Ballista-20” LRM-20 long range missile launcher
  • Holly “Ballista-15” LRM-15 long range missile launcher
  • Diverse Optics extended range small laser
  • StarCorp Industries
  • Crofton (planet)
  • Emris IV (planet)
  • Loburg (planet)
  • St. Ives (planet)
  • O/P 3950 COMSET M7 communications system
  • Martin-Quarry Tarsys XLR 2.2 targeting and tracking system
  • Artemis IV FCS
  • Mobile fire support company
  • Naginata BattleMech
  • Salamander BattleMech
  • Garret D2j targeting and tracking system
  • Spar 3c targeting and tracking system
  • Federated Suns
  • Free Worlds League
  • Lyran Alliance
  • Capellan Confederation
  • St. Ives Compact
  • FedCom Civil War
  • Stephan Cooper
  • Addicks (planet)
  • Samual Noda
  • Fifteenth Dieron Regulars
  • St. Randall
  • Davion Assault Guards
  • AFFS High Command

As can be seen from the list, many of these subjects may already have articles written about them here, but many will not. Because of information provided in this LongBow source material, material can be added or used to create articles on 32 other subjects! This shows how something as numerous as BattleMech source articles can be the mother lodes of information of subjects spanning technology, corporations, weaponry, military organizations, other BattleMechs, factions, people, planets and military commands. While the data pulled from this article may only add one sentence to each derivative article, that is information that is now spread across an incredible breadth of the BTW project, creating and demonstrating links between numerous aspects of the BattleTech universe.

The following sub-sections of this essay will track the particular revisions (or article creations) made, and discuss how they were handled.

StarCorp 100[edit]

At first glance, the only thing a reader knows about the StarCorp 100 chassis is that it is used on this model of the LongBow. Initial judgment might lead you to think that it isn't important enough to warrant mentioning anywhere outside the LongBow article, much less to find it deserving of its own article. However, keep in mind, by creating an article about it, you've identified what type of chassis it is (i.e., for BattleMechs), in what model it is used (LGB-12C LongBow) and who built it (StarCorp Industries). because every article should fall within a category, it is now linked to other similar articles. Sure, the source material only indicates it is used in one 'Mech, but because you've limited your data mining to one source, that's all you know right now; a later reader may come across this article and realize he knows that the same chassis is used elsewhere, and add it in. Now, the article has added value. in other words, even the creation of a stub article has potential value, as it serves more than as just a source of information regarding what you put in it, but also as a base for which other Editors to add to it.

Article Creation[edit]

Let's break down this article a bit more. Because no article had existed yet for the StarCorp 100, I had to create one. In cases where a name describes something very specific, there is no need to use the article title to describe the item itself. Simply name the article with the proper name of your target: StarCorp 100. In other words, I didn't name it "StarCorp 100 Chassis", because as soon as the reader opens the article, they'll see what "it" is, a chassis. An exception to this is for subjects that share names that don't immediately stand out because they share a name with some other subject. For example, "Elemental" may refer to the Clan warrior type or the model of battle armor some of them employed. In that case, creating an article titled "Elemental (warrior)" might be appropriate, so that someone instantly understands that the article name is meant to clear up any confusion. (In this case, the actual article on the warrior was labeled "Elemental" and an italicized statement directed those seeking information on the battle armor through the correct link).

First Sentence[edit]

The first sentence I wrote in the article was a quick, concise answer to the question of "what": "The StarCorp 100 was a BattleMech chassis built by StarCorp Industries." There is no need to create a long, run-on sentence describing every possible fact data mined from the Longbow article. In fact, as much as possible, you want to establish structure for the article, so that follow-on information provided by other Editors can be added in a clearly-understood manner. If a longer opening statement is deemed necessary, additional sentences can be added, but consider limiting them to 3 or 4 at most. The first mention of the subject of the article, in this case the StarCorps 100, is bolded (by using three single quotes (''') on each side of the subject term).


Also note the wikilinks I added to the first sentence. It is appropriate to wikilink each possible subject of another article, even if that article itself is not yet written (it indicates a need for an article to be written). Usually, the first mention within each article is the only time another subject is wikilinked, but sometimes -in especially long articles- the practice is repeated, to ease the search for a wikilink to an article of interest.

Article Sections[edit]

Completely by choice, and to help establish structure for later Editors, I added a section labeled "BattleMechs". To be honest, a better term could probably be used there to indicate the various products that utilize the StarCorps 100 chassis, but that term escaped me. A more imaginative Editor will be free to change it. But the important thing, for this initial article, is that the structure for further development has been established.


One of the most important criteria for a good article is references. References allows other Editors and readers to verify that the information they are receiving is correct, by finding the same information you used to provide the data. This is especially helpful when the information is doubted by the reader, for it helps protect the veracity of the article and BattleTechWiki, by extension. There is no reason for another editor to remove any statement in an article, if it is properly cited and verifiable.

Help:References is a great resource on BattleTechWiki on how to properly cite information. However optional for other Editor, for UBWP Section Recorders, it is critical that references and citations be used. There is no reason for us to go to the trouble of data mining one complete book if we're not willing to go the extra step and indicate from where are information comes. If follow-on Editors delete our uncited work, because it seems fantastic or is not backed up with official material, then we've wasted out time. Cite your work.


Last, for the StarCorps 100 article, is the category. It is the goal for every article on BattleTechWiki to have a relationship with some other similar article. Hopefully, as UBWP Section Recorders, you'll become familiar with the more common categories used here on the BTW project, but there will be times where you will need to create a category to start accumulating information on a particular area of interest. in this case, StarCorp 100 appears to to be the first chassis article on BattleTechWiki, so I created adding Category:Chassis at the bottom (two lines below the references section). I followed that up by clicking on the redlinked category and writing a quick sentence describing the intent of the category (as obvious as that may sound). I also added the category to another, in this case Category:Technology.

Strand-Martin 255 Extralight[edit]

This article is so similar to the StarCorps 100 one before it, that I'll freely admit I just copied and pasted the code from the previous into this one, and then changed the relevant data. Like the chassis article, there was only a smidgen of information to be gleaned from the LongBow source material, but the potential value is high. Do note two things. The first is that I left the Strand-Martin wikilink red. In reality, if we wanted to be extremely thorough, we'd add the fact that StarCorps Industries and Strand-Martin produced the StarCorp 100 and the 255 Extralight, respectively. However, it could easily become overwhelming for the UBWP to demand that level of detail from its Section recorders. Instead, you are free to expand the information exchange out to whatever level of detail you wish to provide, as long as the initial data gleaned from the source material is entered.

The second note was my use of "engine" vice "power plant" to both describe the S-M 255 XL and to categorize it. I mulled this over and decided that the only place these units are referred to as power plants is on the specific 'Mech TRO page. Generally, they are referred to as engines elsewhere and since they may very well be missed by someone using the search term "engines", I voted to go with that. However, similarly questionable decisions are open for debate, so feel free to ask for help in deciding, if/when you come across a similar issue.


Similar to the StarCorps 100 article above, the only thing really of note is how the article is named. The product (StarSlab/12.5) has a forward slash in its name, which causes the MediaWiki software to create a subpage called "12.5" for a non-existant page named "StarSlab". So, to resolve that problem, I removed the slash. Just in case someone does search for or link to it with the slash in its name, I've created a redirect to the actual article.

Fair Use Statement[edit]

*The above entry is a unique use of verbatim material from Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, intended to instruct BattleTechWiki editors in the proper use of article creation, adaption and updating without themselves copying material whole-cloth from official products. Further, the use of the material is intended to help protect the BattleTech intellectual property copyright through instruction-by-example, and not the provision of said material for anything other than fair use. This essay otherwise falls under the Sarna BattleTechWiki Copyrights policy.