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Proposal to Fork from the FANDOM owned Wikia to a new YGOrganization Operated
Around 5 years ago, the idea to fork the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wiki was discussed on this very forum. The initial decision back then, was that the community were against it. This thread will be used to discuss those events and why this idea is a lot better now.
In the time since then, Wikia has rebranded itself as FANDOM, which is representative of the changes we've seen so far: ads taking over the entire screen, autoplaying videos, and mandatory Fandom junk at the bottom of every single page.
What are we proposing? The wiki should 'fork' over to different ownership at a different url, in order to shed itself of the current wiki design practices that the admins here have no final say on. A new wiki would be created, copying all of the content that currently exists on this wiki. For better or for worse, the wiki at yugioh.wikia.com would continue to exist alongside it, since Fandom refuses (virtually always) to close a wiki after it has conducted a 'wiki fork'. As a result, the Fandom's YGO wiki would retain a big advantage over us in many ways. Fandom's SEO would remain high for a long time, which would be difficult for the new wiki to override. We would also expect to have rather low numbers in terms of views compared to the current wiki, at least initially.
However, YGOrganization[Notes 1] would be in support of the new wiki, linking to it from their articles. The new wiki would continue its affiliation with The Organization and the use of their translations. I cannot speak as to what the existing wiki would do in regards to that.
I fully intend to work with the admins, and never mandate or force any decisions through on the platform. I recognize that no one person knows what's best for a community this size for a game this size, and that nobody is as passionate about this game and its anime as you guys. Our biggest goal is making the wiki not only a bearable experience on mobile, but as enjoyable an experience as the PC version of the site. The problem with mobile is that Fandom gives you guys absolutely no ability to customize it. No CSS, no JS, nothing. This would not be true on our proposed fork, Yugipedia.
The relationship between the Wiki and the Org has always been great. It’s also been rather one sided. Some stats from the week of December 15th to 22nd: Sent TO wikia via 623,473 views: 6975 Received FROM wikia via 5,557,400 views:983
Every week I receive complaints about the wiki in one way or another. They are not only common, they're diverse in their context. The admins of this wiki can attest to me being the only person in the admin channel of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia Discord server as a consult specifically for both the quality and quantity of the feedback and ideas I give to them on a regular basis.
As already implied, this fork is not going to happen without community support. Several administrators are currently in support of the fork, so they'll go ahead and discuss that for themselves in this thread. We're hoping to listen to and work with the members of this passionate community, so make your voices heard here. I will attempt to answer any questions as best I can myself as well.
- More control over ads; no video ads
- Other skins
- Full support of the Organization
- More control over back-end things
- Will be unaffected by any further changes Wikia/Fandom makes.
- Mobile experience both existent and useful
- A primary focus on content rather than revenue, prioritizing the user experience instead of income. Maximized effort to ensure something like this doesn’t happen
- Loss of viewership by virtue of Wikia's SEO
- Loss of any users who do not choose to contribute to the forked wiki
- No direct support from Wikia. We would have a team in place for such issues on the new wiki, but Wikia has a good track record of helping us here, make no mistake
I have been wanting this move since January of 2017, specifically when I saw this 1 Fandom/Wikia staff blog post. "High-impact direct ads, like banner ads with video, are the standard in the ad industry. They are also how we will be able to improve the overall ad experience on Fandom." No thank you. In the blog post, they admit that they know some ("SOME" >_> ) users will dislike it, but that since other websites are doing it, it's fine.
Since then, you may have seen "special" pop-up videos that appear for some articles, such as Mekk-Knight. Note the incorrect pronunciation ("LIGHT Physic monster") and the already-outdated term "Jack-Knights". This indicates that quality is not their primary concern here, just potential ad-revenue from the videos. If you are an editor, you may have ads disabled in your preferences, meaning you won't be able to see the long ads that appear in front of these videos for the many-more casual viewers who browse this wiki. Note that Wikia/Fandom literally stole a Youtuber's video content to accommodate the slow-paced, info-hollow dialogue that can already easily be read on the "Mekk-Knight" article page.
- This was also done for the Legendary Dragon page: note the incorrect pronunciations of "Walking the Dragons" (about 0:10), and "Creetias" (about 0:25). (Critias is not pronounced that way in the anime). The video content was stolen from here.
- I can also confirm that neither "Youtuber" was notified of, or asked permission for, the use of their video content for Wikia/Fandom's videos. There may be nothing inherently wrong with this, but it's certainly an aggressive "could-care-less" attitude. This has also been repeated on at least 1 other wiki.
I'm also not fond of the Fandom-sponsored content that you see at the bottom of any page, since their article titles reek of clickbait, but at least it seems that they only load if you scroll to the bottom of the page. I'd rather not associate with that though.
My final point can be seen by way of Fandom's employee reviews on glassdoor.com. If you look at them by "Popular" (the default order), you'll see that the 4 most recent 4 reviews are positive overall, but 3 of them note that there are problems with upper management. If you look at the older reviews following them, you'll see that they elaborate on them, insinuating that they generally ignore complaints/advice from staff who have a more intimate understanding of Wikia/Fandom's needs (by working with it on a user's level). It's an interesting read if you decide to continue to page 2 or 3.
In conclusion, I'll note that we had a previous forking discussion 5 years ago. In it, one anonymous editor left an interesting comment:
- This whole discussion boils down to the fact that certain people feel they're entitled to have total control over the look, feel and policy of this site. Guess what: If you wanted that you should've hosted this site yourself. Of course that wouldn't be possible for a project of this size, which is why you have to accept the policies, ads, skins, and everything else which Wikia has the right to change on the fly and of course as corporation has the right to sustain itself with and make money from. The free hosting is what you bought into, and therefore Wikia's decisions are what you're stuck with if you're interested in being a part of a site that won't be essentially dead within 6 months.
My main point here is that I do not want to wait until Wikia/Fandom's upper management drives their product into the ground in pursuit of profits over quality. YGOrganization is an entity that serves as the primary source of OCG info for the English audience, and as a result, has vast community outreach. While converting viewers from the Fandom-owned Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia will be a long endeavor, YGOrganization's influence makes this fork proposal a lot more feasible than the previous forking attempt.
P.S. In response to the last link in Becasita's post, I encourage you to read this heavy-handed approach to any opposition to PIs. Why would you need Fandom staff to continually patrol the wiki? Such a response can only be indicative of being aware that this is an extremely unpopular decision, or really being scared of a few users willing to ban-evade to revert these changes (of which there have been no signs of). --UltimateKuriboh (talk • contribs) 17:26, January 1, 2018 (UTC)
My name is Dan, and I’m the owner and operating manager of YGOrganization.com where I’m in charge of advertising, analytics, audio, billing, community management, customer support, digital distribution, HR, recruitment, marketing, monetization, PR, QA, and User Acquisition.
It’s likely most of you have never heard of me, and therefore have no reason to believe my intentions for running this fork are founded in anything, so I’d like to offer again that thread from the start of this year that more clearly illustrates what started a lot of this. My reply to one of fandoms proposals, as well as their reply to my input.
I work regularly with members from Konami and 4K Media as well. They have already directly supported my endeavours, and even the current wiki, through me. I’ve passionately played this game for 17 years, since I was only ten years old, and continue my commitment to bettering it wherever possible, and the wiki is one such place where that is extremely possible.
We have seen some pretty dramatic policies and ideas from Fandom, and an even more dramatic implementation of them. Things like portable infoboxes not only being near-unanimously voted against on this site, but enforceable if only one member of the administrative staff greenlights it (and one such member did). For more than 5 years now Wikia/Fandom have demonstrated that they are not a company that are even possible to work with let alone easily or functionally.
To quote this wiki’s founder: “Wikia has made is plainly clear that they are not interested in the userbase of the Wikis; the New Wikia skin was introduced (which dramatically reduces available article sizes) was rolled out, despite objections across the Wikis…. ...Wikia [is] a very untrustworthy hosting partner.”.
Even if these statements were no longer true, they’re an example of a consistent and ever worsening behavior from a company that has been forcing more and more changes on its largest community. They have demonstrated time and time again that you are not their priority.
All Wikia efforts are focused on earning more revenue. This makes sense, and I don’t blame them for that. The issue taken is that that priority is put before their communities or the experience of reading/editing their wikis. The largest difference between our two camps will be that they’d rather have an audience of 1000 that makes 3 grand, instead of an audience of 3000 that makes 2500. They’re running a forked version of MediaWiki 1.19 released in 2012 that has no official support since 2015. They backported some new features from more recent versions of MediaWiki, but still lack many of them. There’s also been hints suggesting Wikia want to leave MediaWiki entirely, too.
Naturally, I wouldn’t expect any of you to blindly go with this if we couldn’t put our money where our mouths were. That’s why I started this back in January but am only now bringing it up. I’ve paid for a server with absolutely no revenue consistently for 1 year as a pledge of commitment and intent. I’ve bought the domain name, and we’ve prepared a demo wiki for you guys to look over at Yugipedia which I encourage you to check out.
You’ll notice giant glaring bars where the ads will be. I make no effort to hide the fact that this new wiki will indeed need to generate income to stay open forever, especially if it increases in userbase, but I also make no effort to hide where the ads will be or how the rest of the wiki will look despite even the most distracting possible rectangles I could stuff into the spaces. Feel free to look around and see for yourself the full extent of the ad placements. I want to be completely open about this process and commit to never mis-using those spaces or misrepresenting my intentions. DanParkerYugioh (talk • contribs) 17:01, January 1, 2018 (UTC)
Becasita here; admin of this wiki.
I wholeheartedly support this fork. I've been supporting this project since I first heard about it, in January 2017.
Wikia/FANDOM has been great, but lately I've been annoyed by some of their policies. The annoying ads, the videos, which are very poorly done, given you can clearly see that people who made them have 0 knowledge on what they're doing and they don't even try to contact the wikis to find someone from there, who has knowledge on the wiki's matters, to make them. Which brings me to the next point: I've been hating how Wikia/FANDOM has been preventing more and more customization. I get it; they're a company, they want to have a standard layout, standard standards, let's say. But one good thing is that users could customize their wiki, give it an identity. It used to feel like a more familiar company. Now, it seems we're reaching the pure business company. That's bad, in my opinion.
I understand ads are a must. We will have them too in the fork. We need them to keep the site running for you to read it and edit it. But we will try to place them in proper place, without cutting the user experience. The best part is: if we're doing something you don't like, we will try to adapt. We want to listen to our user base, to try and come up with the best experience for all that we can. Which brings me to the point: Wikia doesn't do this. They are a company, I get it. Like I said it seems they more and more go to the pure business way (profit over whatever). It's fair, I guess. Not my approach of choice, though. I think listening to the users will make a project/company more able to grab their users and provide a more pleasant, happier environment. There were several issues with Wikia/FANDOM about this; about the fact the users complain but they say "we have statistics saying [stuff that contradicts what every experienced user says]", but they never show them... So yeah.
With this, I don't want to paint Wikia/FANDOM as evil, I don't. But, heck, I'm unsatisfied. I am. Having a staff member coming to our Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia and start implementing PI just because they want, even if the majority of the community (at least of the admin's team) does not consent, with the excuse "one admin said yes and he is the founder" (talking about TwoTailedFox), it's rubbish, if I may say. Here's a link as an example.
Ok, there's probably more, but I don't want to leave a huge wall of text that will push people to not read it. Any more stuff, I'll add later.
Too long don't read version:
I've been unsatisfied with several Wikia/FANDOM's policies and enforcements. We will have full control over the fork. I support this fork!
I support the proposal. I have been on this wiki for 5 years, and the recently-enforced changes truly made it worse. I hated the look of the Portable Infoboxes ever since I first saw them (and soon realized at times they were functionally flawed), and I agree that the autoplay videos at the top of some articles are truly horrendous and meaningless.
I admitely use mobile very rarely, but this wiki does look pretty bad in that regard for a site that was allegedly being all about winning mobile traffic in the recent months. And those ads between every paragraph truly ruin everything.
I am frankly one of the most active and dedicated contributors this wiki ever had, but this new project still inspires more than this old, declining place. --XBrain130™「
Much of what I wish to say has already been stated above (especially in regards to FANDOM's annoying videos), so I'll keep it short: I am supporting the fork. Lightning Laxus (talk • contribs) 18:51, January 1, 2018 (UTC)
I am in support of the fork, though it pains me. I have been a member of Wikia’s Community Council for years (a group of users that have access to/can test new features before others), I have visited Wikia’s HQ in San Francisco twice, flying in from across the country on their dime. I have several staff members I consider to be friends. Despite all this, I cannot condone the video ads or the ads that will end up in Infoboxes. Ultimately, Wikia/Fandom is a company and they must do what they can to be successful. I have believed for years they do have the best interests of the end user in mind, but somewhere along the way, they have lost sight of that. So yes, I am support in of this community forking away from the company. This community is like a home to me and I can unfortunately can no longer negotiate with the landlords. I can continue making minor edits to other wikis without protest, but I cannot let this stand on my home wiki any longer. Cheesedude (talk • contribs) 19:36, January 1, 2018 (UTC)