Forums: War Room Forking
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The wiki will not be forked.

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With the new amendment to COPPA, wikia is forced to shut down anons, as their IPs can not be shown in the net. However, if we fork, and move to, we can solve the problem. There are upsides, and downsides to this. No more do we have to deal with wikia, at the same time, we lose user blogs, message walls, and comments, with no replacements for the former and the latter, talk pages being there as a replacement. KFAJ brought up a good poitn on IRC, COPPA still applies outside of US, even if hosted elsewhere. However, the saving grace for us is this quote:

"COPPA expressly states that the law applies to commercial Web sites and online services and not to nonprofit entities that otherwise would be exempt from coverage under Section 5 of the FTC Act. "
— FAQ on about COPPA

By forking, we become non-profit, and then can allow even underaged users back on. Some people have raised concerns about building the website, is there for us to use the MediaWiki software from. Another concern is who will pay the $10/y, and many folks have volunteered to do so. With Special:Import and Special:Export, all of are pages would move. This will mean however, we will lose some users, but if it fails, we can come back to wikia. I will not be able to argue over this, as I won't have time to. I leave it to you guys to talk this out, as it is a very important thing we do so. Srijay KTechFilmer 11:48, June 21, 2013 (UTC)

I'm against this. That seems rather drastic just to keep anonymous editors and contributors - many of whom do nothing more than comment. Wikia in the past has kept out of the affairs on this wiki, and has generally been a great help. Lostris actually clarified with me that, as a bureaucrat, she has the power to remove the rights of all other admins, completely sabotage the wiki and destroy all the work. Not that I'm saying she will, the point I'm trying to make is that Wikia staff and VFST's (or whatever they are if I got that wrong) are able to stop her, or any admin that may decide to do as they please. Message walls and blogs are integral to the community spirit of the wiki, and by completely moving the site to accommodate anonymous users is too far. If they want to comment or edit, signing up isn't that difficult. All of us have done it. Frui (🌹🐝🐝🐝) 12:06, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Fruipit. Let's not overact. This is not the end of the world, nor the Avatar Wiki's, and the solution will certainly not be segregating an entire community. ― Thailog 12:17, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Jumping the gun is not going to get us anywhere, especially not by abandoning the wiki. KettleMeetPotwall 12:23, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
Per Fruipit. --AvatarRokus Ghost (Message meRead my fanon) Aang Cosmic Toph-DoBS-2 14:08, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
Definite disagreement with the proposal as well - and pretty much for the same reasons as Fruipit. A move to a website is far too over-reactionary for this situation. PSUAvatar14 Want to have a word? Katarasprite1Ty Lee KW 14:14, June 21, 2013 (UTC)

If you want to see what wiki-splits do to once great communities, look at WoWWiki / Wowpedia. When they were together, they had more active users on a bad day than Avatar Wiki had when the season finale was over. Now they have about 12 regular editors on a daily basis. This would do nothing but split the traffic up, thus leading both wikis to, in a sense, fail. The new policy change isn't serious enough to warrant forking. Zapeth (wallcontribs) 14:31, June 21, 2013 (UTC)

I agree with most of the folks here. Splitting up the wiki would do too much damage. GokuSSF2 (Contributions) 14:35, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
It seems unnecessary at this point, but my position remains the same from when past suggestions of this kind were made. Forking a wiki does so much damage to the viability of a community that a pretty high bar has to be set before we really need to consider it. For this example, I don't consider Wikia's attempt to comply with the new COPPA regulations to pass this test. I just don't think that not allowing anonymous users to edit is life-threatening. It definitely has a negative effect on how easy things are for us, but I think others are right when they say we shouldn't overreact. The 888th Avatar (talk) 16:11, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
As annoying as this whole COPPA bs is, this is kinda overkill. Making an entirely new site would just cause more problems. Shadow☆Star 19:32, June 21, 2013 (UTC)
Wait, how are we not already non-profit? Alright, I guess I'm going to play devil's advocate here. First of all, I'm doubtful about this damage that a "fork" would do. I don't know what happened to the WoW Wiki, but I guarantee that it wasn't under the same circumstances. It seems to me that most users would just naturally gravitate to the new Avatar Wiki because that's the one where everything is going down. Now, losing blogs & comments would be a shame, but talk pages are not a bad substitute. The FF Wiki has a very successful forum that functions on a Talk Page functionality, not a comment-based one. In fact, I've never even encountered comments before the Avatar Wiki, & I have to say, their only real benefit is being slightly more convenient. When you consider that, blogs are frankly not terribly important, as they can be easily replicated by making a section on a talk page, & then archiving it later. Some users already do something basically like this, see Fire Eater's Avatarverse Part Infinity things. Finally, consider the benefit vs. cost of staying with Wikia. The cost is that we lose anonymous contributors, which I imagine will cut edits, both social & informative, by a lot. Believe it or not, most Avatar fans are NOT registered here. The benefit is...I don't know. Someone mentioned that the staff could step in & prevent someone from screwing up the Wiki, but I find that very unlikely. I've talked to them about this before, & they've basically said that, as long as the admins aren't violating their terms of use, they can do whatever they want. Wikia does not guarantee that a given Wiki will have good information. It does not guarantee that it will be fair. It does not guarantee that anyone, within reason, will be able to edit it. Frankly, beyond providing & upkeeping the basic platform, I have no idea what it is that they do.Neo Bahamut (wallcontribs) 02:45, June 23, 2013 (UTC)
The site is for-profit since Wikia posts a bunch of ads everywhere so they can get money for hosting these wiki communities for free, more or less. And I thoroughly dispute the point that users would gravitate to any new Avatar website for a few reasons: one being that you underestimate the human dislike for change, especially when a fork will mean our more casual contributors will have to switch and acclimatize to UI/features that are already substandard to this wiki (we would be losing comments, blogs, message walls etc. which people do care about and are important) - a good portion of these will stay here, because in the end, giving up anonymous editing is far less than what would have to be given up in a fork, and people are generally just lazy when it comes to the Internet. Secondly, the userbase on the new site would not be sustainable - the rankings of the new site on search engines (the main way people would be finding us) would be poor at best as compared to AW, which actually means newcomers would gravitate more towards the old wiki than any new one we would ever be able to field. Any new site would be competing for legitimacy, and ultimately, it would lose. Thirdly, just to put some numbers into perspective, in the past week this wiki received 694,000 views, of which the 366 registered users and a few less nonies made combined edits of 7,713 - ergo, this wiki receives a lot more views weekly from people who don't care to anonymously edit/comment anyway (or edit/comment only sporadically) which means that they will not care or be much affected by any of these crackdowns to a minority nony editing base. They will not be moving. And when it comes down to it, this is probably the biggest loss, and why forking is generally a bad idea - in the case of both AW and WoWWiki - because without a dedicated viewer base, any site we manage to come up with is worthless and will not succeed. KettleMeetPotwall 03:59, June 23, 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)WoWWiki was, for a long time, Wikia's most active community. Their dispute with Wikia was about changes made to Wikia's site design. This eventually led to nearly all of the community leaving for a fork of the wiki, Wowpedia. This was incredibly damaging. It split traffic between the two wikis, making it more difficult for the community to attract new users and therefore guarantee long-term success. Last I checked, the new wiki still hadn't achieved the same kind of community penetration as the original, unforked one.
There are only three differences between a hypothetical Avatar Wiki fork and the WoWWiki example, and all of them make the idea even less palatable. The first is the actual reason for leaving, which I don't think changes the final result at all. Your worry isn't whether the present community stays united; your worry is how likely potential members know the "real" wiki is elsewhere and therefore how likely they are to join your community. The second is our heavy dependence on Wikia features. It's not enough to say "oh, but we can use talk pages instead". That's not a realistic replication of all that goes on around here. We did only use talk pages at one point, back when the original series was airing. And we did attempt an independent forum. Yet interaction is still stronger several years down the track despite fading mainstream interest. The third is that we're much smaller than WoWWiki. One could still argue that they could hypothetically take an immediate traffic hit and still be able to come back in the medium term. I don't think such an argument can even be attempted for this wiki.
Let's be realistic about this and not throw around suggestions of leaving Wikia whenever passions run hot. Without some earth-shattering damage to Avatar Wiki, forking is not rational. The 888th Avatar (talk) 04:19, June 23, 2013 (UTC)
I am being perfectly rational, I'm trying to look at the other side because, from my perspective, you're all dismissing this out of hand, over-exaggerating the negatives without even considering the positives. Seriously, do you really expect me to believe that comments & blogs are going to be the lynchpin on which this Wiki succeeds or fails? When I contribute to other highly successful Wikis that have never even used them?
Clearly, you're right, people don't like change. But change is going to happen, unless Wikia backs down. It's just a matter of choosing what to change. To that end, I think you're overgeneralizing. I am well aware of the phenomenon of "One Wiki Syndrome," but I am also aware of counterexamples. The KH Wiki also has The Keyhole. The Digimon Wiki also has Wikimon. To stress, when I say, "counterexample," I mean that BOTH Wikis appear near the top of the results when you search "Digimon Wiki" or "Kingdom Hearts Wiki." Also, do we know that the WoW Wiki wouldn't have taken a hit to its popularity if they hadn't moved? If nearly all of the members hated the changes, surely they were going to lose a large number of them anyway.
I don't know what WoW Wiki did wrong, but I know that many sites have successfully moved in this way. The viewers obviously wouldn't care about comment functionality, but why do you think they come to this Wiki? To learn new information. They're going to go to whichever one is still growing. Especially if we clearly point it out on the old Wiki. Now, I agree that people seem to care a lot about comments & blogs, but reject the notion that they are "important." You're basically telling me that people don't want to give them up because they're used to them, but no one's showing me why they're necessary, what we need them for that we couldn't do with a talk page. No, it's not going to be EXACTLY the same, but it seems to me to be like 90% as efficient.
Finally, both sides have said that we'll just come back here if the 2nd site dies out, but if the current site suffers due to the changes, we're not going to be able to regain what we lose months down the road if we decide that we should try this. And that's why we should be considering it. You're right, it's not a big deal right now, but do you want to wait until it IS before you even START talking about it? I'm not saying that we should just leave right this second, the changes haven't even gone into effect yet, & there's still time for Wikia to change their minds--in fact, they might, if they know that some sites are considering this.Neo Bahamut (wallcontribs) 04:42, June 23, 2013 (UTC)

(edit conflict) And also, the most obvious thing ever that hasn't really been addressed: let's not forget the "nonprofit loophole" (which as I'm not well-versed in US law, I can't say for sure is applicable to us) is not exactly an easy one to exploit. There are only two ways for this site to be "non-profit": either be hosted by a non-profit or create a non-profit organisation "Avatar Wiki" and host it on our own infrastructure. Neither is realistic. There are no non-profit wiki organisations except Wikimedia, and they don't host wikis outside their central projects. Outside the wiki world, I haven't heard of a non-profit host, much less one that can host a site on this scale. As for the other option, it requires jumping through legal hoops and will cost quite a bit of money and human labour, more than can be recovered through advertising revenue. It's out of the question. So really guys, let's move on. The 888th Avatar (talk) 04:43, June 23, 2013 (UTC)

Well, the non-profit thing would have been nice, but I don't think it's really central to the case. I am still unconvinced that Wikia needs to nix anonymous contributors in order to comply with the law.Neo Bahamut (wallcontribs) 04:48, June 23, 2013 (UTC)
I don't make assumptions about something this serious. I've been doing this stuff for nearly five years now; I've seen plenty of examples of wikis moving/forking. My argument isn't that a fork always results in some kind of wiki acopalypse where communities inevitably become barren wastelands (although I do think for a community our size, we do make things difficult for ourselves). My underlying context is based on a comparison between where a forked/duplicate wiki is, and where they could be were they one wiki. Your standard that such examples exist where both communities aren't dead or are "growing" is much too low a standard. The standard needs to be what will result in largest, most vibrant community possible for an Avatar Wiki, and I have explained why I think we unnecessarily compromise that. It does need to be a big deal, a very big one, before I personally will even consider a fork.
Also, your last point is completely off. Being non-profit is central to this proposal. There would be zero point in forking the wiki if we went to another commerical wiki host, because the same laws are applicable and the chances are too high that sooner or later, they will do exactly the same thing, something similarly restrictive to be compliant, or be hit with a lawsuit. What would we do then? Fork the wiki again? Only being hosted by a non-profit may put us outside COPPA's reach, and I just pointed out that it's not realistic. So talking about leaving as though it can actually happen really is a waste of time. The 888th Avatar (talk) 04:56, June 23, 2013 (UTC)
What~ev~er. But there's one thing you're saying that still doesn't make sense to me. If a move would be so impossible now, how would it ever work under the apocalyptic scenario that must occur in order for you to consider it?Neo Bahamut (wallcontribs) 05:13, June 23, 2013 (UTC)
The same harms would still exist, and the same damage would be done. It's just that under that scenario, staying would be even more damaging. So it's about harm minimisation. The 888th Avatar (talk) 11:09, June 23, 2013 (UTC)