Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Nerd42 on moving away from Wikia

We appear to be moving towards the very very end of our association with Wikia Inc due to the fact that they are moving to a "new style" while the rest of the world isn't. This is my (Nerd42's) first post on IllogiBlog, but some of you may know that I was one of the founders of the site and I was the one who spoke out strongly in favor of our going with Wikia and negotiated with Wikia staff to get us on there. At that time I was against independent hosting for the following reasons:
  1. Independent hosting would mean we have less "centrality" thus we get fewer Google hits / a lesser PageRank.
  2. Independent hosting means we would have to pay money ... forever ... in order to keep the site running. People would be hesitant to take the time to register and contribute because they would doubt that we would be able to sustain ourselves.
  3. Independent hosting could mean that we would be responsible for installing updates to MediaWiki and any other software or plugins we use ourselves, rather than having someone else who is paid to do it (a Wikia staffer) do it for us. We would have to figure technical things out for ourselves. (Or self if one person is going to be responsible for that)
Those were the factors that influenced my thinking on that at that time. Wikia is 1. popular, 2. free and 3. reliable. But also I liked the way the interface looked exactly like Wikipedia because it used the Monobook skin. With the Monobook skin we could make fun of Wikipedia in a nonsensical way, as Uncyclopedia does in a more (or more recently in my personal opinion, in a less) humorous way.

But now, I want to make it clear that my position has changed. Those advantages would still be advantages if we stayed at Wikia but now the disadvantages of Wikia being able to tell us what to do, what our site address is going to be and what our site is going to look like far outweigh the benefits I listed. Therefore, as of now, I support the move.

But I realize that this move is going to come with all the disadvantages of independent hosting. We are going to be obscure, have technical problems and if our piggy banks get too empty, we may have trouble keeping the site online. We may want to start a non-profit foundation or somesuch just to cover hosting costs, or we may need to be funded by ads. I'm not sure but these are options we can explore in the future.

But as one of the few Americans on the ?pedia crew, I've always been more of a John Adams than a John Dickenson so let me just add my voice: I'm for declaring independence!

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