Well, first of all, what can we offer from a setting-heavy, non-crunch perspective? My main idea for a Player's Portal is that it would be a kind of one-stop-shopping for Golarion-specific information helpful during character creation. My first thought is that we need to make sure all the PC races and classes (including all the human and demihuman cultures) are fully described. I think that we shouldn't duplicate ourselves too much. We already have pages about all the major PC races and classes (although quite a few are super-old and need serious updating). The Player's Portal might give a brief 2-3 sentence introduction on each, and then simply link to the full article. It might be beneficial for these short intros to not be written from an "IC" perspecitve, and refer to actual peoples or cultures for easy reference. After all, why spend a paragraph describing the Ulfen culture, when you can simply say that they are viking-like?
Another topic that would need to be covered, would be a character's national origin. Yes, this is very close to the culture topic, but would detail the general national personas that people think of. For example, what is someone from Cheliax like? How does a druid from Taldor differ from one the Lands of the Linnorm Kings?
Next, religions seem an obvious choice. Yes, we already have the Religion Portal, but how could it be structured to be an easy reference for players looking to find an appropriate deity for their PC? Do we list which gods are popular with individual races, classes, and cultures? Do we offer an alignment breakdown?
Are there other topics useful in character creation that don't involve serious amounts of crunch that we could include? Equipment and weapons are obviously pretty crunch-heavy, although there could be a short paragraph in each of the articles on classes/cultures/races that detail what weapons are most-frequently used by them. Feats, traits, and skills are also too crunchy, and something we don't cover anyway. Spells that are unique to Golarion might be useful, but since we don't actually provide the crunch for these either, including them might not be terribly practical. Campaign-specific information for each of the APs? That's already covered more than adequately in the various published Companion titles. Any others that I am forgetting?So this forum topic is just a question to all of you. Do you think a Player's Portal would be useful? Does it fit within the basic mission of the PathfinderWiki, or would this start to get too meta? Do you have any ideas for additional topics that could be included?
It may be that this need could be served by a page like "Introduction to the World of Golarion", a sort of editor's introduction to major cultures and basic themes of the world for people who have the Core Rulebook and just want a touch of Golarion fluff. Golarion-specific races, equipment, spells, and magic items, all stuff not in the Core Rulebook, seem like they would overwhelm players/neophytes.The most important things to overview would be races (briefly, how the Core Rulebook races fit into Golarion, where they're from), the major deities (the ones listed in the Core Rulebook), and nations. And the list of nations probably shouldn't be comprehensive: just easily recognizable cultures such as the Linnorm Kings, racial homelands like the Five Kings Mountains, and nations that figure prominently in Pathfinder products, like the PFS factions and nations that are settings for Adventure Paths. And perhaps very brief, one-sentence introductions to very exotic places like Vudra, Alkentstar, Nex, and Numeria.
I think the overview should use the same format we currently use for portals, with a box listing nations, races, classes, deities, a historical overview of the world (ie. Earthfall, Aroden's founding of Absalom, the Whispering Tyrant, Taldan expansion and subsequent breaking apart of empire, Aroden's death), and perhaps world organizations. Each one could have a simple paragraph overview an then link to the main portal on that subject. So we probably wouldn't directly link to Molthune or Hermea on the beginner's portal, but would mention iconic/influential nations like Osirion, Andoran, Mwangi Expanse, Varisia, and Cheliax.
I also feel that calling it something other than "Player's Portal" will help to acclimate newbies who come to the setting through the novels without isolating them from the gamers.
Yoda, it sounds like you're talking about a page with two or three boxes full of text, somewhat similar to how the Portal pages are organized now, with sub-sections full of text instead of links. One thing that's a possibility is to expand the section of the main page that links to the portals, the section that begins "There are several ways to navigate this wiki...", to add more text. It might also be a place to add in some "Introduction to PathfinderWiki" to make the canon policy and no-crunch policy more prominent, as discussed in Forum:Links to other websites. I dunno. A lot of the Portals are really neat and well-organized. It seems like it'd be hard to do an overview of the history of Golarion as a block of text in a way that's less overwhelming than Portal:History. It may be that Portal:History &c. just need some TLC.Perhaps we should add to each Portal a block of text that overviews major elements. For example, Portal:Geography could include Portal:Geography/Overview that contains brief summaries of major nations, much in the way that Portal:Geography/Other Continents is organized. We could do the same for Portal:Religion, adding text summaries of the traits of the major Core Rulebook deities to Portal:Religion/Overview. Maybe portals or portal overviews for other elements of player/reader interest, like races and classes. And then create Portal:Overview, which includes elements from Portal:Geography/Overview, Portal:Religion/Overview, etc. Just brainstorming, of course!
No matter what we do to the existing portals, though, I think we definitely need a one-stop primer page to give people the overview of the world, including the things I mentioned above (perhaps a more concise history section, but still one that explains Earthfall and the death of Aroden, which are arguably the most important two events in world history).