Wednesday 19 November 2008

Wikia sucks... or does it? The Final Word... maybe.

Warning: this post is longer than the Brazilian national anthem sung by Mariah Carey on Mogadon.
"Wikia is capitalism dressed up as socialism" -- Andrew Keen
The dust has yet to fully settle on the Illogicopedia independence movement but for all the comments made in anger recently, I thought it was about time I gave my honest opinion on they that are known as Wikia. Most of this stuff I have already stated at some point or another in the last month, and you may well disagree with a lot of it but I've been involved indirectly with Wikia for a long, long while and this is my opinion on the matter.

You probably know my position on the 'keep a dead wiki open for as long as possible' situation. At the time of writing, this has yet to happen to Illogic, but the precedent is there (and benefit of the doubt can only last for so long) - the Transformers wiki now has two versions, one at Wikia, one independent.

Common courtesy says delete the old wiki and/or create a hard redirect to the new one in respect of the departing community. But since when was big business about common courtesy? Wikia is a for-profit organisation and naturally needs the cash to survive and flourish, so it is in their own interest to keep their wiki open: and let's face it, they are well within their rights. The cynical might say the reason for their actions is to run in direct competition to the independent wiki, hogging Google rank and milking the content for every penny it's worth.

Now, New Monaco might have been forgiveable if it weren't for the perceived selfishness of the aforementioned. Don't get me wrong, Wikia are committed to creating new wikis and thus expanding their knowledge bases for specialist subjects. A noble quest indeed, but again the whole situation comes down to money. In this sense I feel sorry for Wikia and those who created the project - their primary goal is being hugely clouded by their need to constantly please the advertisers.

Hence New Monaco. Hence keeping dead wikis open. Hence moving the Uncyclopedia domain name to Wikia servers. The community at large disagree with these decisions but remember: money + money = money. Money!

Personally, I am glad we jumped ship at the point we did. The Wikia service has, on the whole, been top-notch: downtime has been rare. I could live with New Monaco. I could live with the stupid advertisements (and we did for nineteen months) and the feeling of patronism involved with being 'babysat'.

What changed my mind was the community's increasing disgruntledness and disillusionment with our Great Overlords. One of our most respected editors refused to contribute any longer until we ditched Wikia, and yet others threatened to leave Illogicopedia forever. I know the situation is very similar at Uncyclopedia, too.

The co-founders have slightly differing opinions on the matter. Nerd thinks that, whilst on balance Wikia have been a good server, the time has come to move on. Sepp reckons Wikia never wanted us in the first place, evidenced by their reluctance to accept Illogicopedia into their community.

I agree in part with both but I suppose business will be business - harsh, cruel and relentlessly capitalist in its nature. This doesn't really mix with Illogicopedia's laid back ethics, so the time was right. For dancing in the streets. Which I shall now go and do, even though it's chucking it down and there's a strange man in a mackintosh.

Phew, a politics post. I need a lie down after that... don't worry, the light relief will return sooner rather than potater.

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