As we announced here two weeks ago, several members of the admin team have become quite frustrated with the actions, policies and attitudes of Fandom in recent years, prompting a lot internal discussions and planning. This has led us here: we do not think that it is a worthwhile endeavour to continue working on a wiki hosted by Fandom, which prompted us to seek a vote on whether we should migrate our community and its content to Halopedia. Below, we have outlined our proposed plans for this merger, and detailed what we believe to be the pros and cons of said plans.
Halopedia's vote on whether or not it would accept a merger with Halo Nation has recently concluded with a vast majority in favour of accepting us. As a result, we are now ready to offer the same choice to Halo Nation users. We encourage all users to read through this post, and then proceed to give their opinions on the voting thread itself.
As this topic might be contentious, we would like to remind everyone to not harass or attack people. This includes the staff of Fandom/Gamepedia and Halopedia. And to specify what harassment and attacking means, we mean no ad hominem attacks, spamming or otherwise disrespectful behaviour. Also, the defacing of wikis from any network will be considered an offense. Punishments for failing to adhere to any of this will be carried over to our new home too, should we choose to go.
What brought us to this point?
- Mass homogenization of wikis, causing us to lose choice in how we want our wiki to be presented.
- Admins have had little input over the implementation over things like discussions, blogs, and featured videos. Some of these things have been slowed or stalled through talks with Fandom, but they are often implemented anyways.
- Little is known about the upcoming Unification initiative, but its stated goal of making Fandom wikis more consistent with one another - as well as its name - have the Halo Nation administration concerned that it will continue this trend.
- The version of MediaWiki used by Fandom is horribly out of date due to them forking from Mediawiki and creating their own coding.(Fandom discusses MediaWiki)
- Ads often break the flow or formatting of pages on various Fandom platforms, and can turn users away from the wiki. (An example from the mobile version of the website)
- Fandom has recently changed the domain name of the wikis they host, including Halo Nation (which is now
halo.wikia.com). While admittedly the company hasn't been known as Wikia for a while, the "Wikia" name has been a prominent name in the wiki world and has been a contributor to our SEO. Changing the domain will have an initial negative impact that, which they have admitted themselves. (Fandom's announcement of the domain change)
- Several other wikis on the platform have already left, are leaving themselves or have attempted to leave, as a result of Fandom's decisions. (Nukapedia's vote and copy of Runescape Wiki's vote on their new wiki)
- Fandom has been communicating poorly with the wiki side of their business for some time.
- The shift in Fandom's business from wikis to more of a blog and general media site has us worried about our future.
- Featured videos. While the concept of wiki based videos aren't a problem, the quality, implementation and attitude of Fandom regarding them are. (Read our post about them from the time)
- The quality of their narration - which, in some instances, simply read our articles verbatim reading - leaves a lot to be desired.
- Fandom forcibly added them to a number of pages without our consent and without warning.
- The videos autoplay and will sit on your screen until you forcibly pause them or exit out of them.
- On mobile, these videos take up the entire screen.
- Fandom has dismissed the poll we held on our front page about the featured videos, in favour of their own collected data. (The poll)
- They are unwilling to negotiate beyond the confines of the deal they offered below, due to this data.
- Fandom did attempt to offer a deal in regards to, and only related to, the production of these videos. We have hesitated to do this for some time for the following reasons:
- The deal is only to look over the scripts and suggest what clips should be used. These suggestions and possible edits wouldn't have to be used either, they could just push forward with whatever they originally wrote and chose for clips.
- The whole deal could be voided by just using preexisting Youtube videos that talk about the subject of the page, like how Wookieepedia has videos from Star Wars Explained. (Example)
- It would signal to Fandom that we will simply roll over to whatever new thing they decide to bring to the table.
- Additionally, it was around this time that we began to consider leaving Fandom, and we didn't want to accept a deal only to then present this choice to our community months later.
- These issues in some form or another have been going on for years, and Fandom has shown little change in direction in that time. (An 8 year-old WoWpedia discussion on whether to leave Wikia, highlighting many of the same issues we still have with Fandom now)
- Statistics that would be helpful do not work. Specifically, Insights does not reliably give accurate data for the wiki.
- Fandom's focus on "Trending" articles has even affected normal article categories, with their newest category viewer prominently putting them in place of subcategories. And as mentioned before, with inaccurate stats it's quite difficult to tell if these articles actually are trending.
Why are there no other options besides Halopedia?
We had considered other options, namely Gamepedia and Nukapedia's "Exodus" platform. However, Fandom recently acquired Curse, the owner of Gamepedia, rendering it moot as an alternative host to Fandom. We did regard Exodus as a good and potentially viable option, but Halopedia offered most of the same benefits and more, was preferred by the admin team and we were also confident that the community would have favoured it too. Hence, we decided to streamline the vote to just feature Halopedia, which we considered to be the best remaining option and the one that would have been most likely to be favoured anyway.
What are the Pros/Cons of migrating?
- Halopedia's admin team will grow in size with people who are already knowledgeable in the Halo universe, franchise and community. (Halopedia's existing admins)
- A larger admin team will allow us to work on and create complex and far-reaching projects.
- This will also lead to better patrolling and more content being added.
- With over 2000 more articles than us, Halopedia has content we are missing desperately.
- Halopedia already has a big editor base.
- Halopedia already has a high SEO (search engine optimisation) that already rivals Halo Nation. This means that it frequently appears just as high in search results as our current wiki does.
- Halopedia already has a good social reach already in place.
- For the first time since the release of Halo: Reach, there would be one active wiki going into the release of a Halo game.
- There will be less confusion from new people to the franchise as we could direct them to Halopedia.
- Community efforts would be consolidated into one location.
- Halopedia operates on the latest version of MediaWiki, which is far more up-to-date than Wikia's.
- Any unique features present on Fandom could be replicated on Halopedia using extensions.
- We would have direct communication with the wiki owner and the rest of the network Halopedia is apart of.
- We would no longer have to cite Halopedia as a source of information.
- If you prefer Halo Nations policies, article styles, visual aesthetic, etc in its pure and current form, that would be changing as we blend, merge and reorganize every aspect of Halo Nation to fit with Halopedia's existing content.
- However, Dab1001 is working on two MediaWiki skins, named Onyx and Trevelyan, which aim to recreate Oasis (Fandom's desktop skin) and Mercury (Fandom's mobile skin). Though he cannot guarantee he will be able to complete them, if he does, they will be made available as an option on Halopedia to help ease users' transition to the platform.
- While bots can help with a few things here and there, a large share of the move will have to be done by human hands.
- With a separate temporary wiki space to host Halo Nation's content, we could prevent any disruption to Halopedia or the Fandom site while our newly combined staff and any editors who wished to help, would work on merging.
- Our existing social media accounts would likely be discontinued, with posts redirecting users to Halopedia's accounts.
Community support and Halopedia's vote
The community has shown overwhelming support with merging with Halopedia on Twitter with 194 likes at the time of posting. Additionally, many notable community members such as HiddenXperia, Halo Canon (Toa Freak), Covie Canon, Sins of the Prophets, Podtacular, Postums, a 343 Industries employee, GrimBrotherOne, another 343i employee, and many more. Halo Canon also discussed the proposed merger in a video, and Podtacular also spoke about it briefly in Episode 664 of their podcast. Halopedia's vote was also heavily in support, with 19 people out of the 23 who voted being in support of the idea. This demonstrates that, if we merged with Halopedia, we'd have a huge amount of support from Halopedia and the wider community.
What would happen to the Fandom wiki should we move?
It will remain physically present on Fandom and still be under their care, as per their policy on the matter. Prior to us actually migrating, we will be adding a temporary header across the site to let users know we are moving, the headers related to the featured videos will be removed, and we will rename and rebrand the wiki to make it distinguishable from Halo Nation. This way, the Fandom space will be able to grow back its community naturally, with its own, distinct identity.
We as admins will also attempt to direct people to Halopedia whenever possible outside of Fandom. During this period of transition, we fully intend to work with Fandom (should they need our help or vice versa) in making sure the move goes smoothly for both parties. We do not intend to damage or sabotage the Fandom space or anything else related to Fandom, in any way. Following this, we plan to maintain some presence on the site to help Fandom fight vandals and plagiarisers, until such a time as a community forms around the existing wiki to whom we could pass the torch as admins.
Should the Fandom wiki regain as much prominence as Halo Nation currently enjoys, we would seek out a cordial relationship with the people who add to the site. They are fellow Halo fans and do not have anything to do with Fandom itself. To reinforce this point, should people decide to go and harass them, we would be prepared to punish them at our new home.
Migrating to Halopedia
Should the vote succeed here are several things we plan on doing. Quite a few of these things can be started and worked on simultaneously due to admin increase and editor increase.
- All Halo Nation administrators would be given Patroller rights on Halopedia, for a trial period of a month. After this period, they would be immediately eligible to apply for an admin position on Halopedia if they pleased, with the usual edit and contribution requirements waived. The former Halo Nation admin team would be treated as equal to the other Halopedia admins during this time.
- Halo Nation users who are not currently administrators would also have their contribution history from Halo Nation (before the merger) taken into account if applying for a rank on Halopedia in future.
- Our newly combined staff would copy all of Halo Nation's content to a separate, temporary wiki space, which would be setup to prevent disruption of Halopedia's main space and the Fandom site and give us a dedicated work area for the process. From there our combined staff and editor base would work to manually merge the two wikis' contents together, while pruning away unnecessary content such as duplicate images and templates.
- We would also be looking at policies, article styles and templates to see which ones work well with Halopedia's preexisting infrastructure.
- Due to the use of a separate, temporary wiki, it would be possible to do the merging work concurrent to normal wiki editing of Halopedia, allowing us to temporarily shift our focus to one or the other if necessary.
- Implement a new optional skin for Halopedia that would visually be similar to Halo Nation's aesthetic to help Halo Nation editors integrate a little easier.
- We would continue to add and edit articles and content related to Halo media.
- We would look at methods of expanding and solidifying Halopedia's position as the centre for english Halo canon by expanding the wiki's social reach and through other methods.
- We would look into doing a number of projects like:
- Halo 101: A monthly or bimonthly article talking about a very specific topic in the Halo universe to help educate for the uninitiated and to hopefully illuminate information for those who are more familiarised. (One of Many Previous 101s)
- Halopedia News/Community Team: A set of team(s) dedicated to Halo news and Halopedia's social media presence.
- Operation: Spartan Field Guide: An overhaul of the gameplay focused elements of the wiki
- We would work on complex special projects related to and expanding the reach of the Halo Wiki Alliance through cross wiki promotion and possible social media projects.
Currently, we do not intend for the proposed merger to have any significant effect on the Discords of the two wikis. Although Halo Nation's Discord would no longer be featured on and linked to by the Fandom wiki, it would otherwise be left completely unchanged in terms of function. Halopedia's existing Discord would be the official Discord of the merged wiki.
We would be open to any and all suggestions on how to handle the Halo Nation Discord in future, but there are no plans to delete or otherwise discontinue it.
How to Vote
All votes should be cast on the voting thread, here. Instructions on how to actually cast your vote are featured on the thread itself.
In order to vote, you must have registered for an account on Wikia at least two weeks before the vote began on 21/01/2019 (DD/MM/YYYY), and have made 50 contributions to Halo Nation, including at least 25 mainspace edits. Users caught using sockpuppet accounts to cast multiple votes will be banned, and their votes will be discarded.
Although only users meeting these requirements can cast votes, all users are encouraged to comment and discuss on the proceedings. Admins of both Halo Nation and Halopedia will monitor the thread throughout the vote, and would be happy to provide more information and clean up any misconceptions where we can.
The vote will last for a two week period. It will close on the 04/02/2019 (DD/MM/YYYY), at which point the votes will be tallied and if the majority of votes are in favour, then we will begin to set the plans outlined above into motion.
20:09, January 21, 2019 (UTC)