Archive for the ‘wikis’ category

Help EncyclopediaDramatica!

May 11th, 2009

There are a couple of wikis who have been extremely supportive of Fan History. They include Wikia, AboutUs, wikiHow and EncyclopediaDramatica.

I was informed that EncyclopediaDramatica had some big cash flow problems, and they need your monetary support.  Yeah, they can be pretty wanktastic, mean and probably deserve some of the reputation they have… but as a wiki community, they can be pretty awesome and supportive of other wikis out there.  If you’re a member of the wider wiki community, please consider helping out.

Fan fiction culture does not encourage wiki contributions

April 19th, 2009

A few days ago, I published a blog entry titled The problems FanLore faces are not unique: Learning from Fan History’s experience. In the course of editing it, we removed some bits that weren’t relevant to what we were responding to.  One bit I thought was still pretty interesting so, lo! The bit reappears here!

Fan History’s admins all been in fandom a long time, and sometimes this whole issue of doing crosstalk in an collaborative way that anyone can contribute can be intimidating.  In fandom, this just is not done.  With a piece of fan fiction, the process is solitary in creation and when the story is finished, there is no real questioning the process, questioning the organization, suggesting ways to improve the story.  It just isn’t something that is fundamental to our cultural practices.  People don’t ask “Why did you have Harry Potter doing that particular spell in that scene?  Could you use this spell instead?”  If they do that, it tends to be viewed as antagonstic, or questioning the author’s writing ability.  And on the off chance the author and their supporters do agree that something could have been done differently, most of the time the author doesn’t go back and change it.  And if they do?  The audience doesn’t generally go back and read it.  Our cultural practices from the fan community just don’t lend themselves to crosstalk as equals.

Help wikInvest win a Webby!

April 15th, 2009

We at Fan History love wikis. :D And we love seeing wikis do well.  So when wikInvest sent us an e-mail asking people to vote for them to win a Webby, I thought I would pass it along so you can support other great wiki projects. :D

wikinvest request

So go register and vote now!

The problems FanLore faces are not unique: Learning from Fan History’s experience

April 10th, 2009

At Fan History, we are always looking for ways to improve our content, increase contributions, and improve outreach to the greater community. As such, it is often useful to reflect inward on our own practices and to look outward, to look at other wikis, to see how they tackle these issues, as well as how they are perceived by the public.

Related to this continual practice of self-reflection and outward examination, Sidewinder recently brought a portion of this LiveJournal post regarding FanLore to our attention. It was instructive to go through and compare the problems that the two wikis have in common, and to enumerate the ways Fan History has been trying to deal with those problems ourselves. In some cases, the challenges are quite similar indeed, though our approaches to dealing with them differ. In other cases, the issues were ones we had confronted before and have worked hard in the past two years to improve upon.

To quote:

“On the one hand, Fanlore has a number of excellent, well-researched articles that are resources for discussions, fanworks, and historical projects. It is easy to edit, comes in multiple decent-looking skins, and has gardeners who are fantastically on the ball. On the other hand…

These are some of the things that FanLore has in common with Fan History. Both are excellent resources for the history of fandom, with some fandoms better represented than others on both. Fan History and FanLore have a number of different skins; Fan History has them available to registered members. Both wikis are easy to edit; Fan History’s templates are designed to give new editors a boost on organizing their materials. And both have “gardeners” or administrators who are involved and easy to contact.

My chief issue with Fanlore is that it is not, as it stands, a community project. There’s very little crosstalk,

Crosstalk takes effort and a commitment from those who are editing. It is why Fan History uses talk pages. It is why we ask people if they need help. It is why we create active talk pages to converse on how things are organized. These things need to be done openly, so that users can have input. We’ll admit that we aren’t always excellent at it… but we do try, and this is one area we have worked hard on improving. We know this is important to the success of a wiki.

Sometimes, crosstalk can be hindered on a wiki. We’ve found this to be a problem at times as some members of the fan community have had limited exposure to wikis. They don’t understand how wikis work. They might not understand the purpose – or even the existence – of a talk page. They might be used to a certain wiki or another project which doesn’t have the same idea of constantly sharing, constantly asking questions, constantly editing, constantly revising. There is a learning curve. As wiki administrators, we need remove those barriers to create crosstalk, to make the users aware of crosstalk. On Fan History, we’re still working on that.  Both FanLore and Fan History need to improve by using methods such as welcoming members, following up with one time contributors, and even changing the text on our talk tab – easy, since we’re using MediaWiki.

no central LJ comm,

We don’t have an LiveJournal community, either. We do have one on InsaneJournal that we use mostly for information sharing. The content, though, tends to be mirrored from our blog. Our recent changes are shown on our Twitter and accounts. Our admins are also found on Twitter and they sometimes discuss organizational efforts with a wider community there. But neither our microblogging presence, nor our InsaneJournal presence are in any way really comparable to an off-wiki version of wikiHow’s New Article Boost.

We also have this blog on a subdomain of our wiki. You don’t have to be a member to read it. If you want to comment, you can, just by filling out the form with your name and website address. You can carry over your disqus presence when you comment. It’s our way of bringing our work to a greater fandom audience than the one found on LiveJournal.

We feel it is important that major news, discussions and policy matters are discussed on Fan History itself instead of on an off-site community such as LiveJournal. We try to keep those conversations on the wiki, announcing discussions and events on our main page, and then posting about them on the blog to make finding the conversation easier. Wikis need fewer barriers to help fans get involved.

Other wikis have different means of discussing their organizational and content objectives. wikiHow does their organizing with the wikiHow Herald . On it, they talk about projects they are working on. They highlight featured contributors. They encourage the general community through that and through wikiHow’s forums . A few other wikis on Wikia also have forums where they discuss policy issues, plan article and category improvements, and build a community for their wiki. AboutUs doesn’t really have forums, but they have a GetSatisfaction account where you can ask about policy issues, for article help, and find out how you can get involved in an off-wiki manner.

the chat has been empty every time I’ve gone in,

Fan History recently changed its chat server to in #fanhistory. Unfortunately, it seems that the chat at Fan History is nearly empty, too. But chat can really help with community development. AboutUs, Wikia, wikiHow and EncyclopediaDramatica use it extensively. ED has their own server where people occasionally break out of the main room to work on side projects. wikiHow folks use their chatroom on to coordinate patrolling Recent Changes, for writing parts of the Herald, and for discussing improving projects like wikiArt. AboutUs has staff members and community members in their chatroom, ready to help people out who have questions or who are looking for information on how to contribute. It just takes a few dedicated regulars to make it workable.

and the Issues page is a masterpiece of passive-aggressive “well you
may be correct but I feel that possibly your face is stupid.”

Fortunately for Fan History, we seem to have fewer of those issues. We have certainly had articles and sections of the site which have been subject to edit wars and bias concerns, but we have tried to work with the parties involved to create as unbiased a history as possible in these cases. And when a administrator feels personally too close to a subject, that administrator will ask that others with a more neutral stance get involved.

Among other things, this means that there’s no clear outline of what needs work;

Well, they are wikis. If you understand wikis, you can’t really outline what needs to be done as this constantly evolves as a wiki grows. You can begin to outline what needs to be done on talk pages, or on how to lists, etc. The trick is less outline, more “How do you communicate with contributors outside the core to understand what their goals and intentions are for contributing to the project? How do you foster them and work them into your existing wiki work?” If someone comes in and makes an edit, you welcome them and ask how you can help them. Or say something like “Hi! Thanks for your edit on Lord of the Rings. We’ve been wanting to see it improved for a while. If you’re planning on sticking around for a while, we’d love for you to help the category structure there. It could benefit from some one who knows the fandom really well making it more fandom specific. [How does your fandom organize ships and what are the standard ship names? We've not touched those articles because we're not sure.]“

there’s no reward system for putting up a good page,

This is hard. Most bigger wikis like Wikipedia and wikiHow do BarnStars. But when there are just a few regular contributors, doing that becomes difficult. Depending on who is doing the editing, BarnStars can end up looking like a lot of self-congratulatory work.

What Fan History tries to do is to thank really great contributors on our main page and on the blog. We’ve also considered doing an extended featured article on the main page as a reward for the editors who do a lot of work on their own People article. There are other ways of giving those who create good articles and make good edits the feedback that keeps them coming back and continuing.

especially since (as yet) no one is using it as a resource;

This is a battle Fan History faces all the time: demonstrating our relevance. Something like wikiHow, AboutUs, Wikipedia, PoliceWiki even wikiFur and EncyclopediaDramatica have built-in audiences. Or the wikis have done a great job of demonstrating their relevance. wikiFur pretty much made themselves into THE furry portal through content selection and organization. They’ve worked with the community and created standards for writing articles about members. This has made it easier for the the wiki to serve their community peacefully. AboutUs has developed relationships with sites that provide domain information – to the point where you almost can’t get whois information without stumbling across them. PoliceWiki has done a lot of outreach to photographers and musicians to get permission to use their images and content on the site. Through the years, they have also worked to get those directly involved with the band to contribute material themselves as a way of presenting the most accurate resource for the fandom possible–and building good professional relationships. Getting a wiki recognized as a good resource takes concentrated effort, time and marketing. People need to know you’re there before anything else!

policy remains unclear in a number of important areas,

Making policy clear, and changing it when it becomes necessary is important in a collaborative effort such as a wiki. Fan History has been willing to do this, and has opened up policy changes for public discussion on talk pages, linking those pages to the main portal. It is vital to have clear policy on many issues in a wiki, such as privacy, deletion of articles, content relevancy guidelines, overall organization, and these things are best resolved then made clear to the public sooner rather than later.

such as cross-platform work with Fancyclopedia and the Fandom Wank wiki

In the past, we’ve cited the Fandom Wank wiki, but that in itself caused a lot of wank, so we’ve discontinued using it as a main source for information on new and existing articles. On a plus side, Fan History is “working” with FanLore by ?]" href="">linking to their articles and citing them as a source in more articles. We have relationships with a few fandom specific wikis such as PoliceWiki and RangersWiki to “mirror” articles relevant to both sites, helping to build cross-community work and traffic to both wikis as a result. We also allow some mirroring of articles with AboutUs. We talk extensively to others in the wiki community, developing positive and beneficial relationships so where we know we can turn for help when needed. This includes having open communications with people who run AboutUs, EncyclopediaDramatica, wikiHow, wikiindex, Richmond Wiki, Wagn, wikiTravel, Kaplak Wiki, Wikimedia Foundation and Wikia. They’ve provided us with assistance on things such as advertising issues, content development, policy creation and letting us use extensions they’ve developed. A lot of this is about becoming a good wiki neighbor, finding areas where projects compliment each other but don’t compete. It fosters the whole idea of the wiki Ohana that is a favorite subject at RecentChangesCamp.

– and, to my deepest dismay, it is not currently a wiki for all of fandom.

This may be an unrealistic goal for any overall wiki on “fandom”–at least if fandom is being defined as covering all aspects and types of fandoms, from sports to television to music to video games. Fan History currently has over 4,000 fandoms represented on our 595,000 plus articles. We don’t even begin touch all of fandom. Truthfully, we don’t think that it’s possible to reach and represent every little corner, every tiny fandom. But we’re trying, oh, we’re trying, and trying to make it easier for people to add those fandoms that aren’t there yet. We’re doing a lot of aggressive outreach, building a lot of stub content and getting people invested. The outreach part is critical but frequently, for many good projects outreach doesn’t get done. It takes a huge amount of time away from content development, and from working on the core goals of the wiki. It can be loads of no fun and requires the kind of commitment that people invested in only a small subcomponent of the wiki might not want to do.

Fanlore is, as it stands, a chronicle of the fannish experience of an extremely small subset of media fans. Have you seen the current incarnation of the Who page? The Harry Potter page? Compare that to the Due South page or the Sentinel page. Though the fandom sizes of Doctor Who and Harry Potter remain enormous, no one is working on them.

Fan History faced much of the same criticism early on, and still does. Some of our fandom pages and categories are great, and have received a tremendous amount of work–often from one or two very dedicated people. But our own Doctor Who and Harry Potter articles could use some work, too. Still, they are a nice representation of what is possible. It is also why we have “Move; don’t remove” as our mantra because as you develop a history, you learn that things must be placed into context, especially when you have large amounts of data.

Some of our administrators and regular contributors spend time building up stub articles and categories in fandoms that we know are popular, to try to make it easier for new users to add their knowledge and experience. But it all takes time and effort and only so much can be done in each day.

And I think that is self-perpetuating. I’ve stubbed out a number
of pages in large fandoms, including the Who version I linked
you to above, but it is not rewarding to do some work on a
collaborative project and receive no … collaboration.

Fan History, wikiHow, RichmondWiki and AboutUs all have a structure that makes it easy for people to come in and figure out how to add content. We try to have a structure on Fan History where people can easily slot things in with out having to worry about writing and editing large tracks of prose. As a result, creating article stubs that can be filled in more fully later isn’t as big of a problem as it could be.

As for collaboration, it’s definitely something that smaller wikis have problems with, but when it happens, it can be fantastic to see. We loved watching this happen with articles such as the Rescue Rangers article, the Shota article, the Draco/Hermione article, the Race Fail article and others. And if one or two people are creating content, they end up learning a lot about fandoms outside their own, which is always a plus. Because in the case of Fan History? A lot of what we are about is sharing knowledge with others.

I am not castigating the other editors for this — that would be somewhat absurd — but I do wonder why I have not seen Fanlore more widely linked to other communities, outside of the one that the founders of the OTW are members of.

This is not hard to figure out. People will link to an article organically if they see a need to or think contributing will benefit themselves. Fan History’s Draco/Hermione gets a lot of views because it has become a resource for finding old and influential fics. People also link to articles about themselves because they’re excited to see themselves mentioned in a wiki. It is another way that they can promote themselves and their work. One of the published authors on our wiki has seen twenty visits a month on the article about herself, which is an incentive to keep it updated and to contribute to our community. Other people contribute in order to control how outsiders view them. That can be seen on Fan History most clearly with the case of AdultFanFiction.Net and Rescue Rangers. Still others contribute to Fan History in order to promote conventions they are involved with, to try to up the standing of those authors and artists they love, or just for the LULZ. That latter one, we think, ends up indicating a certain amount of success if they think that Fan History is worth trying to get LULZ from.

We’ve also developed a large amount of links by linking them ourselves. AboutUs?  bebo? Chickipedia? Delicious? Facebook? FanPop? InsaneJournal? LinkedIn? LiveJournal? MySpace? Orkut? Plurk? Twitter?  Wikia? wikiidex? All of these are linked at Fan History. We also developed content that people would want to link to. Articles about the ordinary fan and fleshed out content on topics or relevant content that can’t be found elsewhere. And it is why our desire to get a few interns (are you interested in interning with us? Contact Laura!) is less for the wiki itself than the community outreach because we know doing that will lead to edits.

Fanlore should have extensive entries on “slan” and “Victoria Bitter,”
not just Laura and Bodie from
The Professionals.

Interesting that FanLore’s most edited article, the last time one of our admins bothered to check, was about Fan History and/or its owner. Here are our top ten most edited articles that didn’t have bot contributions:

  1. Harry Potter

  2. Draco/Hermione

  3. Bandfic

  4. Beauty and the Beast

  5. Supernatural

  6. Digimon

  7. CSI

  8. Rescue Rangers

  9. Doctor Who

  10. X-Files

We’ve been working to make certain our most edited articles are not our personal loves or the people we dislike. Why? It’s not conducive to building a community. We’ve learned this the hard way, admittedly, so it is not surprising to see that another wiki may be encountering the same issues. That said, being seen as a personal “grudge” site with too narrow a focus is not good for building positive public relations. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to rebuild trust after working the bias out of your more problematic articles.

I know the only answer to this is “edit it yourself,” but I feel that a stronger sense of community among Fanlore editors would make new editors more comfortable and allow a broader range of articles to arise.”

That’s a problem every wiki faces. But you have to learn from both your own mistakes and the mistakes of others. Learn what makes other wikis successful and adapt them for your own purpose.

We wish FanLore nothing but the best of luck in their endeavor. It is a long a bumpy road but one that be filled with tremendous personal satisfaction in creating a great tool for the greater fan community.

Largest fandoms by total number of wikis on Wikia

November 29th, 1999

We recently created a collection of articles about fandom related wikis on Wikia. The list isn’t complete as Wikia has over 24,000 wikis listed on their own internal list. Six to eight hours of data crunching left us exhausted and so we have about 8,000 or so wikis we haven’t looked at, couldn’t figure out how to handle the problem of ten wikis from the same fandom and language having the same name. That said, we can still give you an idea of some of the most popular fandoms to create wikis about. They are:

  1. Star Wars – 161+ wikis
  2. Pokemon – 135+ wikis
  3. Music wikis (not fandom specific) – 102+ wikis
  4. Movie wikis (not fandom specific) – 100+ wikis
  5. Runsescape – 91+ wikis
  6. Naruto – 88+ wikis
  7. Warcraft – 84+ wikis
  8. Nintendo (non fandom specific) – 75+ wikis
  9. Anime (non fandom specific) – 70+ wikis
  10. Halo – 66+ wikis
  11. Club Penguin – 62+ wikis
  12. Yu-Gi-Oh – 59+ wikis
  13. Dragon Ball – 48+ wikis
  14. Fan fiction (non fandom specific) – 46+ wikis
  15. LEGO (non fandom specific) – 45+ wikis
  16. Comics (non fandom specific) – 44+ wikis

Mahalo aggressively goes after Wikia

November 29th, 1999

Yes, Jason is trying to get people to leave wikia. (He has never approached us!) Given the licenses of most wikis on Wikia, he doesn’t really need to approach anyone: He can just copy the whole thing on to Mahalo, find some one willing to curate and be done with it. If he is only offering half the money to one person, large wikis aren’t going to move. If he doesn’t have the domain, there isn’t going to be a lot of money unless he can squeeze Wikia and beat them on SEO for the same content.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Edited to add: Linked to Jason’s twitter account and the leavewikia account on #wikia on to mostly complain about Jason’s lack of understanding of wiki communities and fan communities. The result: [14:42] -ChanServ- You have been devoiced on #wikia by Dantman (Nadir_Seen_Fire) .

Fan History organizational tree: Harry Potter

November 29th, 1999

During the past few days, we’ve been working on trying to visualize our organizational patterns on Fan History in order to understand our own patterns, how we conceptualize fandom, to check for organizational consistency, create tools to help users understand our organizational patterns, to identify areas where we lack stub content. This is our second post in this series. This one is about Harry Potter.

Click on the image to view it full size.

There are things about the top level category that drive me nuts. Namely, the category seems to have way too many categories for specific sites: LiveJournal, GreatestJournal, EZBoard, InvisionFree, JournalFen, Yahoo!Groups. I’m not certain how this can be fixed with out a major category restructure. The major hesitation about doing that is it would disturb our existing patterns, would make the tree a lot deeper and harder to navigate.

Once I start looking at the structure regarding communities in depth, it appears that we have started to move that content into its own separate structure. It just was never fully implemented. Or quite possibly, it was implemented and then people went in and changed it not realizing that we had attempted a restructure. This is a wiki and anything is possible.

Our character and pairing structure was taken apart at one point, with articles removed from them. There is the whole question of if we should restore that and put the articles back into the subcategories and restore that. Some like Draco/Hermione have a lot of content that could go in them including stories around the ship, etc. Having that structure existing just makes it easier to navigate and conceptualize in my opinion. If you specifically find that Snape/Harry LiveJournal community, than it helps to have that sorted if we don’t have an article list of Snape/Harry LiveJournal communities.  

The Harry Potter fandom also seems to be structured around pairings, characters and houses.  The community doesn’t necessarily have the emphasis on a coherent community identity.  Thus, it seems logical to me to structure the fandom more around these articles and rebuild them that way as a history of the fandom would be much more accurate if told from that perspective.

There is also the issue of how to organize fan fiction. We have fan fiction archives, fan fiction, stories, slash, saffic… and all of these deal with fan fiction. Should those sub categories be moved into Category:Harry Potter fan fiction? And looking at that category now, it really looks like everything in it should be moved to Category:Harry Potter stories. Oye.  If we combined communities and organized that way, it feels like it would be logical to combine this one too.  Things just seem really scattered like this; would it make it easier for article contributors to link various parts of the history they tell if the category structure made those connections more obvious?

If you have any feedback on this tree, any questions about how it developed, we would love your feedback. Do the organic patterns we’ve developed make sense? Is this construction too artificial? Is it not logical? Does it make sense in relation to the fandom this structure represents? And if you’re really motivated, we’ve really like that feedback on the relevant talk pages for those categories.

One person cannot do it all… What we should have done differently…

November 29th, 1999

When looking at large scale preservation projects, a lesson I have learned from the Geocities situation, is that one person cannot do it all.  Two people cannot do it all.   Three people cannot do it all.  Four people cannot do it all, even if they are dedicated, well meaning, have certain skills and are willing to put the time into saving and preserving the history of an online community.  I’m ecstatic about what we accomplished but I’m also disappointed.  I feel like we could have done more, if there was more than a core team of a few of us at Fan History. 

In doing a preservation project, one person trying to save things means that things will be missed.  The process can be greatly aided by institutional help in determining the size and scope of what needs to be saved, and in developing a list of resources that need to be saved.  The following of institutional structures that would have been useful for us to have had relationships with:

  • Yahoo/Geocities.  ArchiveTeam tried to reach out to them and were rebuffed.
  • Open Directory Project.  We didn’t really need them because they helpfully provide a list of all the sites listed on DMOZ.  We were able to utilize this.  For that, we are happy.
  • WebRing.  Lots of Geocities sites hosted there.  Couldn’t scrape them easily to try to easily pull a url list.  Didn’t respond to our contact requests.  Couldn’t find anyone associated with them on Twitter to help us get that.  We probably should have called and called and nagged. :/
  • ArchiveTeam.  We used one of the lists they provided to get urls to scrape but most of what they provided publicly wasn’t that useful for our needs.  I did a comment on their blog.   We should have reached out more to them.  They had the technical knowledge to do things, had the computers, had the dedication to do this.  We have the structure to provide a historical framework for some of what they were doing.
  • The Internet Archive. They archive old copies of pages across the Internet.  
  • Organization for Transformative Works.   They are dedicated to preserving fandom history.  Repeatedly reached out to them on Twitter, on LiveJournal, via e-mail and elsewhere.  Never responded.  EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING. They have manpower and a shared purpose that would have been helpful.

We should have gotten institutional support.  They could have provided us with three things: 1] A (structured) list of fandom related urls, 2] Technical assistance, 3] Community support and manpower.  Some of that we got because these institutions provide some of this as part of their own efforts and mission.

After institutional support, we needed technical assistance.  We were lucky in that we got some assistance from Lewis Collard and illyism.   We just didn’t think to ask some people until too late, about two weeks before Geocities closed.  Asking two individuals for all our technical assistance and implementation of technical solutions isn’t fair, won’t result in a timely solution.  It doesn’t allow enough time for integration with institutional support.  Lewis scraped about 5,000 pages and screencapped them.  He downloaded about 2,000 files.  In doing all this, he blew through his monthly bandwidth allotment. Illyism developed a Firefox plugin.   There are several resources we could have, probably should have tapped in our own community, the wiki community and the fandom community.  They include:

  • #mediawiki, #wiki, #yourwiki, #recentchangescamp, #wikia, #pywikipediabot, #wikihow on  These chat rooms have awesome people in them.  They do a lot of open source projects. 
  • Organization for Transformative Works.  They are training female programmers for their projects. 
  • ArchiveTeam and Internet Archive.  They already have technical people. 
  • Idealist.Org.  Listing requests for volunteers might have gotten some assistance.
  • Wikimedia related mailing lists.
  • Tech and programming people we met at RecentChangesCamp.
  • Relevant LinkedIn communities.
  • weget developer community.
  •  They have a lot of developers on the site who use it instead of Twitter.  It is smaller and more intimate.  It has a lot of open source advocates who like doing things for the greater good.

There are probably a few more places where we could have asked for help.  We could have used help creating a list or urls, screencapping sites, creating tools to automatically input the attained data into a usable format, and tools to make it easier for non-tech people to contribute.

The last component in the we cannot do it by ourselves and succeed is community support.  In our case, that community involves fandom.  We needed the community to help edit relevant articles to do deeper documentation on stub articles created by our core team and created with assistance from our tech team.  Sometimes in fandom, it is easy to get locked into a box of thinking of your corner as representative of everyone.  The more people we had, the smaller that box would have been.  We should have been more aggressive with our outreach to that community and to internet news and mainstream news sites that would have covered our project and helped us get greater exposure with our core audience.  Places we should have been more aggressive include:

  • wikiFur, Transformers Wiki, Futurama Wiki, Battlestar Galactica Wiki, Wikia, other fandom related wikis.  The content we created on Fan History that preserved the history of those fandoms could have been shared with them so everyone could have won.  If we had reached out.
  • Twitter.  We should have been tweeting damned near every fan person who mentioned Geocities on Twitter to beg for assistance.
  • Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo!Groups, Ning.  We didn’t reach out there at all.  Large fan communities exist on them and are ones that probably used Geocities.
  • Fanac Fan History Project and other science fiction historical projects.  They stood/stand to lose a lot of their own history too.  This includes convention reports, early histories of scifi fandom on Geocities, pictures, etc.
  • Fansites.  Lots of domain level fansites will plug meaningful projects.  They could have helped us get the word out, helped us to recruit people with this project.

We mostly tried to mobile through LiveJournal, through blogging outreach, on IRC, through contacts on the wiki community (Thank you ProjectOregon and AboutUs!) and our own personal network of acquaintances.  This wasn’t as successful as a method as it could have been.

Repeating: One person (or a small team) cannot do it all.  For this type of project to be successful, you need three things: Institutional support, technical support and community support.  If we hear that other sites are at risk in the future, we now know what needs to be done and better understand the consequences of failing.  We’ve learned an important lesson.

In the meantime, we’ve still got a lot of data that needs to be processed into the wiki into a usable format.  We could use some technical and community assistance in accomplishing that.  How do we get 3 gigs of screencaps uploaded?  What is the best way to upload 1,000 text files to a wiki?  Is there a way to scan those text files to make sure that they are what we think they are?  As a community member, can you help us improve articles we did create?  Can you help by improving descriptions on the screencaps we do have uploaded? We still need help.

Now, I’m going [maybe] to take a bit of a wiki break, data mining break, data processing break because I’ve pretty much been doing that straight through for the past week.

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