Archive for the ‘non-fandom’ category

WMF cannot fix the Wikipedia gender participation gap

March 18th, 2011

The above statement isn’t that mind blowing. It is something that I’ve been informed that many feminists who have wanted to work towards this goal have already determined. Wikimedia Foundation cannot fix the problem. Wikimedia Foundation is part of the problem, aggravates the gender gap and institutionalises the gender gap.

If you haven’t heard of gendergap, it is a mailing list run by the Wikimedia Foundation.  The purpose of the list, in an ideal world, is to work towards reducing the gender gap on Wikipedia by increasing female participations rates at a rate that is faster than the acquisition of new male contributors.  Sadly, the ideal world is where that purpose ends.  The list for increasing female participation is run by two men: There are no female administrators.  Women are urged to join the list, and then quickly find a hostile atmosphere towards their gender and then leave.  We’ve got men who make jokes about gender politics.  We’ve got men who take an issue brought up by women, gender neutralise it and turn the issue into their own issue.  We’ve got a lot of men who want to help women, but who when asked to actually do something can’t be bothered.  If you’re noticing a thread here, it should be this: Wikimedia Foundation has a list dedicated to increasing female participation rates on Wikipedia that is run by two men and zero women, and conversation on the list is completely dominated by men.

Men can be fantastic allies for helping women achieve equality.  Men are important to this goal.  Men are necessary.   They do valuable things.

The problem is that men cannot fix the gender participation gap alone.  Women are needed.  For this effort to be a success, to decrease the gap where more women contribute, you just need to have women involved.  And many women, when working towards women’s goals, don’t feel comfortable doing so in an area dominated by men.  Many women are culturally programmed to be deferential to men.  Many women do not want to upset men.  If women are worried about upsetting men, the focus of a community does not become improving things for women but becomes about not upsetting men.  See what I’m getting at here?  The purpose gets distorted.

And that’s what we have with Gendergap.  We have a lot of dominant men, men in position of power as employees of Wikimedia Foundation.  We have men with power on Wikipedia.  We have men who think they can help improve things for women.  We have men who are quick to respond to every e-mail made to a list about increasing female participation rates.

These are men with male privilege.  When the men were educated about the concerns that women have regarding participating on such a list, the men responded with privilege.  They responded with tired, stale, clichéd arguments that people have often made in order to justify their -isms and their discrimination.  You can’t argue with the tone argument.  (Your tone bothers me.  Why are you so negative? I won’t talk to some one who uses that tone!) You  can’t argue with them about how to behave.  (If women just acted like PEOPLE, we wouldn’t have these problems!)  You can’t argue that other people’s experiences aren’t valid.  (I have a female friend who disagrees with you!)  There is no win.

And at the end of the day, when women on a list intended for increasing female participation rates tell men that they are awesome but maybe the men could fork off and women could try to develop their own solutions get told the deputy director of the organisation, Erik Möller that:

IMO this list was started as an inclusive forum for discussion of
gender gap among equal participants. Discrimination by gender doesn’t
make sense to me. My vote goes to common sense rules, election of a
male and female moderator, and enforcement of those rules into actual
practice (without discrimination by gender). In other words,
egalitarianism and sensible moderation.

If people want to run female-only lists or groups, I think that can be
useful and good, but should be done separately.

What more can you say?  Erik Möller’s offer I’m sure seemed to be non-sexist to him.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to imply that if there was a problem on the list, that women were not comfortable with the level of sexism and male domination on the list, that they should leave.  I’m sure Erik Möller did not mean to imply here that WOMEN were interfering with Wikipedia’s goal of increasing female participation on Wikipedia.  I’m reasonably certain that Erik Möller didn’t intend to use an argument historically used to suppress minority opinions when he said he refused to engage because our tone was not correct.  I’m sure Erik Möller is a good guy.  That doesn’t mean that Erik Möller isn’t a sexist, because Erik Möller is being sexist.  He may be well meaning but that just makes him a well meaning sexist, who parrots wanting to help women while throwing up all sorts of new hurdles for increasing women’s participation on Wikipedia.

One of those hurdles on for increasing women’s representation on Wikipedia is Erik Möller, who put his own male ego before the greater good because Erik Möller couldn’t see his own male privilege and acknowledge it, learn from it, and then work towards improving the situation.  Another hurdle is the two male administrators on the list.  There is sexism on that list and the male administrators let it continue.  They don’t ban the most offensive sexists.  Erik Möller and the administrators have apparently come to a conclusion: They would rather that women leave the list than to hurt male feelings.

Wikipedia needs to be fixed.  It just needs to be fixed from the outside.  Projects like Women4Wikipedia are a good start.

answersocean.com and Twitter

July 25th, 2010

It is that time of year again… when the social media market heart gets all aflutter and decides to follow me so that I can be blessed with reading their content.  Yes, they may be a financial company targeting Americans living in the USA who need help with their 401K but that doesn’t stop them following people who don’t follow them.  Yes, it is the season where heterosexual marriage counselors in the USA start following gays and lesbians living abroad.  Their follow is indiscriminate because they aren’t interested in reading about gays and lesbians in Australia or Australians who don’t have to worry about American 401ks.  Yes, it is spam follow season… where the whole world is indiscriminately marketed at.

If you can’t tell, I really loathe this season.  I hate those e-mails from Twitter: Hi! Irrelevant company with 10,000,000 is following you! Congrats! This is just a crappy business practice than can have a negative impact on ROI and piss off casual users who aren’t looking to be indiscriminately marketed at.

Most of the time, I don’t follow people back.  (I’m currently getting about 1 to 3 follows a day from Bieber fans who like to Tweet about getting 10,000 followers fast.  Most have 100 followers.  I just ignore them.)  Sometimes, I like to @ reply thanking for the follow and asking why they followed me.  Sometimes, I DM them.  If I’m cranky or I think this is a business or social media guru who should know better, I like to add them to my spammer list.

Which brings us to today’s specialness…  I got an e-mail from Justin Dalton at answersocean.com.  (I don’t know his Twitter handle or his company’s handle.  It was never mentioned.)  He wanted off my spam list.  I e-mailed him back the following response:

If you were put on my spammer list, it was likely because of the following scenarios:

1) Followed me where I could not determine why I was followed (what are our shared interests?  what shared geography did we have?  what shared friends do we have?)
2) Followed me and did not interact with me to explain the above,
3) Posted using a method like API or Twitterfeed where it appeared likely that there was not a person behind the wheel and the tweets were automated,
4) Followed me and had 1,000+ followers where it appeared unlikely that you would ever read my content or interact with me as the chances of you seeing my content were infinitesimal,
5) Your follow looked like an attempt to improve your follow count total while not offering any value to the people you were following.

The act of unfollowing me is largely irrelevant as the initial follow behavior appeared spam like.

I’d be happy to remove you from my spammer list but I’d first have to hear about your current follow practices. How do you select who you follow?  What sort of value do you give to the people that you follow?

He sent back the following reply:

First thing first:

1) If you were being followed automatically, you wouldn’t have been engaged in this mail conversation.
2) It’s true that we had auto-followed people but that was just to test the system, and we have subsequently un-followed people since then.
3) It’s good that you are trying to be a ‘Twitter mentor’ or ‘Twitter agent’ but you are not what you are pretending. You are on twitter to ‘market your blog’, increase ‘reader count’ or to ‘get more traffic to your blog’ because you ‘think’ you are providing value through your blog. That’s what millions of companies/peoples doing on twitter.
4) Our initial request to you was polite but you didn’t reply back to us in that way and seemed ‘arrogant’ in the way you made us reply back to get us removed from your list.

5) We are neither twitting automatically nor spamming. We are here to provide value as well.

Finally, the act of un-following you is not ‘largely irrelevant’ as following seemed to ‘offend’ you and you were crazy to waste your time to take actions against us, so if you wish to remove us from the list, it would be nice and we would be thankful to you otherwise this is our last mail to you regardless of your further actions.

Thanks.
Justin Dalton

It’s special.  The ‘scare’ quotes and the calling me a liar.  This sort of thing is not how you sell your company.  I also have no idea, based on this e-mail, what his company is or what they do.  I don’t even know what the Twitter handle in question is.   Ooops.

Take aways from this:

1) Be selective in who you follow.  There are people like me who don’t want contact from random strangers where they can’t make clear connections as to why they were followed.

2) Don’t call people liars.  Your experiences are not universal and people use social media for a variety of reasons.  They won’t all be universal.

Edited to add: I had e-mailed an offer back to answersocean.com and offered to promote them if they could tell me what their company could do for me.  I got a nice one line generic bit that implied my blog was really well done.  There was no indication that they had even read my blog at http://ozziesport.com/ .  They didn’t comment on the topic of Australian sport.  This is massive fail. Don’t use generic terms that indicate you didn’t read it. They also said it looked very professional.  I use free Word Press themes.  I didn’t design the site.  It is another generic comment that says they didn’t read it.

answersocean.com never did tell me what their site can do for me.  I gave them a fair amount of material to work with to cater a personal response.  I included where I lived and my interests, both personal and professional.  I’ve still no idea what answersocean.com can do for me that  Yahoo!Answers can do for me.

If a potential customer asks you what your product can do for them, the emphasis should be on them.  Personalize your sales message.  If you can’t personalize, you can’t target an audience to get those key influencers that can help you grow and people won’t use you.  Also, they’ll write you off as spammers or totally clueless.  (That’s answersocean.com: Sending out indiscriminate follows and not being able to connect with their customers.)

RecentChangesCamp 2010

June 7th, 2010

I haven’t mentioned as much as I have in the past because woe, I can’t afford the plane ticket to attend from Australia… but if you’re a wiki person in the United States or Canada and you want to learn about wikis, network with other wikis people, find help with your wiki project, learn about best projects, have some wiki topic you want to discuss, you should seriously consider attending RecentChangesCamp 2010. I’ve attended and helped organize RCC in the past and I can’t begin to explain what a fantastic experience it is.

I’ve pasted a copy of the invitation below.


You are invited to Recent Changes Camp 2010!

RCC 2009

June 25-27, 2010

1710, Beaudry, Montreal

Want to join? Just add your name to the list of attendees!

We’ll convene at the location on Thursday or Friday and wrap up on Sunday. Check back for the Agenda. There is no cost to participate other than transportation. We may even be able to help you find lodging.

What is Recent Changes Camp, anyway?

RCC 2009

RCC 2009

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Since 2006, participants from all over North America and the globe have gathered together for a common purpose: discussing the past, present, and future of the technology and collaborative method that is wiki. RCC is a chance for everyone in the wiki community, something we like to call Wiki Ohana, to meet and have a fun, productive conversation about our passion for wikis of all stripes.

Going far beyond technology, we’re interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we’ve enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.

This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything’s pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we’re going to get out of it by offering sessions each morning on whatever we want (and of course ad hoc sessions can form at any time). There’s no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you’re never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.

With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about our future together as well as inspiration and discovery.

At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don’t need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don’t forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let’s make it enlightening and fun.
Keywords: wiki, unconference, barcamp, open space, community, creativity, collaboration, technology, free culture, free/open source software

Qu’est-ce que les Rococo ?

Les RecentchangesCamp (Rococo en version française) sont nés à l’intersection des wikis et la Méthode du forum ouvert. Depuis 2006, les participants de l’Amérique du Nord et du globe ont réuni pour un but commun : discuter le passé, le présent et l’avenir des wikis mais de façon plus large, des méthodes et des processus collaboratifs et participatif.

Cette Rencontre sur la Collaboration, la Créativité et l’autOgestion est l’édition montréalaise du RecentChangesCamp de Portland. Ce BarCamp sera organisé selon la méthode du ForumOuvert qui suppose une mise en place collaborative de l’agenda. Les wikis resteront un objet technologique central à la rencontre, mais nous offrirons aussi une large place aux communautés sans fil et aux personnes qui, de façon générale, s’intéressent à la collaboration, à la créativité et à l’autogestion. Gardez en mémoire, que vous, chercheurs, artistes, programmeurs et praticiens, serez les principaux acteurs de cette rencontre sur les wikis, les technologies et médias participatifs et les pratiques collaboratives en général.

Sessions covering an array of interests

Time Schedule

  • Remember that the Agenda will be settled the first day only.

Previous years

RecentChangesCamp 2009, Portland, Oregon

RecentChangesCamp 2008, Palo Alto, California

RecentChangesCamp 2007, Montréal, Quebec (aka RoCoCo)

Video from RoCoCo :

RecentChangesCamp 2007, Portland, Oregon

RecentChangesCamp 2006, Portland, Oregon

Google security fail

April 6th, 2010

I use Google for e-mail and for analytics.  I also use other features but those are my two big ones.  For the past two days, I’ve had what I consider a pretty significant security issue and I’m not sure where it is originating from.  It is this:

What’s the major problem? I’m not epgeorge007@gmail.com. I have a different e-mail address I use. It doesn’t appear that epgeorge007@gmail.com and I are sharing a common Internet connection. I only log in to Google from my home Internet connection. When I googled to see who epgeorge007@gmail.com was, they weren’t located in the same state. I should not be logged in to their account. When I discovered this yesterday, I logged out. (And then I didn’t log in to another account. I didn’t need to use Google)

I should not be logged in to some one else’s account and I should not be able to view their Google Analytics information. Does anyone have any idea where this problem might be originating from?

Invitation: RecentChangesCamp (RoCoCo) 2010

April 5th, 2010

Recent Changes Camp 2010: Montréal will be held June 25-26-27, 2010 at the Comité Social Centre Sud (CSCS), located at 1710 Beaudry, in Montréal.

What is Recent Changes Camp, anyway?

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Since 2006, participants from all over North America and the globe have gathered together for a common purpose: discussing the past, present, and future of the technology and collaborative method that is wiki. RCC is a chance for everyone in the wiki community, something we like to call Wiki Ohana, to meet and have a fun, productive conversation about our passion for wikis of all stripes.

Going far beyond technology, we’re interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we’ve enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.

This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything’s pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we’re going to get out of it by offering sessions each morning on whatever we want (and of course ad hoc sessions can form at any time). There’s no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you’re never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.

With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about our future together as well as inspiration and discovery.

At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don’t need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don’t forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let’s make it enlightening and fun.

http://rococo2010.org/
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=114318455249901
http://twitter.com/rccamp
http://identi.ca/rccamp

All the cool kids are doing foursquare…

March 28th, 2010

… and I want to do it to.  I want to be the mayor of my local Target, which I visit 2 to 5 times a week.  I would also like to be the mayor of my local mall.  I either walk inside the mall for exercise or I walk to the mall for exercise.  I also have taken to walking to my local Starbucks for exercise.  (2.1 miles is better than 1.5 miles to the mall.)   The problem with trying to be the mayor of these places is that I need to SMS my location to these places.  Foursquare isn’t picking these places up and assigning an actual place to them, just counting them as a check in.  I don’t have a data plan.  I can’t afford a new cell phone at the moment and I can’t justify a data plan.  (In both cases, I’m hopefully moving soon and this would be problematic.)

So while all the cool kids with data plans get to check in all over the place, Foursquare makes it impossible for those of us using SMS to change  our grayed locations to actual places.  Foursquare also doesn’t have an iPod application.  Which, fine, whatever… except when I’m using the mobile version on my iPod, Foursquare suggests I download their iPhone application which isn’t compatible with my iPod.  Oh.  And lest I forget, I’m constantly being logged out on the mobile version and it took about four times for me to finally be able to check in.

If I am going some place in rural Illinois, I need to create the location/check to make sure it exists before I go.  I then need to change my location to where I will be in an hour.  I then need to hope that I can manage to get the mobile version to let me login and set my location to that.  I had problems with this when I tried to check in at the Belvidere Oasis.  I tried to check in about five times before I finally gave up.

So all the cool kids are doing foursquare and those of us with no dataplans who rely on wifi devices get the short end of the stick.  It sucks big time and feels like a play to a more affluent and tech savy market.

Enom gouges on domain name renewals?

January 4th, 2010

I’m not a happy enom customer.  I didn’t come to be an enom customer much by choice.  I was originally a RegisterFly user, who was pretty much left with only the choice of enom if I wanted to pull my domains out of that mess so I used enom.  I’ve since used them for all my domains, of which I have about 29.  I’ve paid around $10.49 to buy each domain and when I bought multiple years when registering, it always cost me $10.49 to buy.  Prior to October, when I’ve had those domains auto-renew, they have autorenewed for the original price I paid for them.

This changed, with out any notification by enom to me.  Renewals that cost the price I paid for the domains magically went up to $29.95 per domain.  When enom sent me notifications that if I do nothing, they will auto-renew, they conveniently left off how much they were planning to bill me.  I only found out when I got their second e-mail, telling me how much they charged me.  That’s special.  A bill that should have been $50 morphs into $150.

When I called about this, there is nothing enom can do for me once they made the charges and they list this little fact on your profile page.  By list on your profile page, they mean they have a pricing link on their footer, buried there next to Contact Us, News, Technical Support.  Yes, it is on your profile page but not in your profile area where you’d think this would be.  When you switch on or off autorenew, there is no notification that you get involving the costs of of renewing with them.  When I registered domains recently, during the billing process, there was no notification that in order to renew the domain it would cost $29.95. I’m annoyed.

This is pretty scammy and indicates why we need some sort of better controls over domain registration.  (Because I’m tired of being ripped off by domain sellers.)

Today’s spam follow loser is @LtGenPanda

December 30th, 2009

I’ve blogged about it before but I need to do it again. If you have more than 1,000 followers, do not follow me first unless you have a good reason and are willing to communicate with me. Otherwise, you are just a spam follower, trying to get me to follow you to help your numbers. You’re never going to read me and you offer me nothing back. You’re a Twitter follow spammer.

Who ever told you that your followers have value ($35,000 in sales for every 2,000 followers) needs to be beaten upside the head and then Twitter’s founders need to tell you to stop it because you’re going to turn them in to the next MySpace. Stop it. They are wrong.  Those Twitter followers only have value if people follow YOU first.

Today’s Twitter follow spammer is @LtGenPanda.  They have 25,000 followers and follow as many.  Yet, this particular Twitter follow spammer loser continues to follow others. He offers nothing in return (aside from his complaints about his Twitter client) and won’t ever communicate with me.  He appears to have no common interests to imply why he would follow.  (Except maybe we’re both in the Chicago area.)

@LtGenPanda, stop the Twitter follow spam.  If you really are interested in people, add them to lists… you know, so you can actually read those people you find interesting and not burden those of us who don’t want to have some sort of implied relationship back with you.

Our history on Fan History in 2009

December 21st, 2009

We’ve covered a lot of history happening in 2009 and made a fair amount of history for ourselves. This is a year end summary of some our own history for the year. We’ve done a fair amount and are excited about the possibilities for the new year.

January 2009
During the early part of January, Fan History’s staff was busy creating an awareness campaign for our project on LiveJournal and InsaneJournal. We were also trying to get people involved in editing the wiki, to help improve the quality of articles related to their fandom. This was a continuation of an effort started at the end of 2008.

February 2009
In early February, we were happy to announce that January 2009 was, to date, our highest monthly traffic and all of it was wank free. This was important to us as we had been criticized in the past for trying to use wank for traffic. We felt this validated that we could successfully get traffic and did get traffic wank free.

Organizational issues have always been an issue on Fan History. Periodically, our staff creates flow charts to explain how we organize things. We created one using Superman fandom as an example. This chart was created to address the problems of fandoms of the same name having multiple canonical sources in several mediums.

On February 10, Fan History posted a listing for internship opportunities with the wiki.

In late February, Fan History’s admins and community discussed changing the article deletion policy.

March 2009
During the early part of March, Fan History’s contributors were actively working on improving a link list related to Race Fail 2009. The activity around these articles petered out around March 15, when things during that situation quieted down. We were really pleased with the reception that the articles related to Race!Fail recieved as our goal was to provide an unbiased and thorough reporting of the events that took place.

On March 17, FanworksFinder was effectively closed down. The underlying software was pligg and was extremely vulnerable to spam. The quantities that were coming in, and the number of spam registrations, made it a hassle to hand currate that problem away. Rather than take the site down, the registration and link submission pages were disabled. Despite looking, we could not find a developer to help fix this problem.

During mid-March, Fan History’s admins discussed our real name deletion policy. Comments were invited from the community. These changes made it easier for everyone involved in removing people’s real names from the wiki.

Fan History tweaked our article deletion policy in mid-March. This was done to clarify some issues.

On March 18, Fan History changed the network that the IRC based channel was hosted on. The switch was made to irc.freenode.net because of freenode’s dedication to open source projects and because other important wiki chats are located there. That includes AboutUs, wikihow, Wikipedia, Wikia, RecentChangesCamp, Mediawiki and YourWiki.

Fan History’s admins had been nervous and repeatedly saving small changes because of losing edits. At RecentChangesCamp, they became aware of a drafts extension that wikiHow had developed. wikiHow provided us with a copy and emufarmers tweaked and installed it.

April 2009
Around April 8, the Race!Fail situation blew up a bit again and Fan History’s contributors were once again editing related articles.

On April 21, after private information was accidentally re-included in an article, drafts were disabled on the wiki.

In mid-April, the announcement was made that Geocities was closing down. In response, we created the Fan History Geocities Preservation Project. The goal was to document the etymologies of terminology using definitions found on Geocities, screencap fansites on Geocities, create a list of stories archived on Geocities, and get lists of fanzines that could only be found on Geocities.

Privacy guidelines on Fan History were tweaked on April 21. This was in response to the situation involving Russet Noon.

In late April, Fan History added around 13,000 stub articles about movies and movie fandoms. This attracted a number of contributions from one or two of our regular contributors.

On April 29, Fan History added over 1,500 articles about fanzines. Areas that saw an increase in articles included the following fandoms: soccer/football, rugby, basketball, Rat Patrol, due South, Sentinel, Star Wars, furry fandom, Punk, music, and Indiana Jones. This meant that Fan History now had one of the most comprehensive listings of fanzines on the Internet.

May 2009
Around May 4, mammoth!fail, involving Patricia Wrede, kicked off and Fan History’s contributors and admins were once again busy editing Race Fail related articles.

Part of LiveJournal media fandom were very interested in Dreamwidth Studios. The blogging service opened to the public in May and Fan History was busy getting stats on total number of active members for most of the month. This manual stat gathering continued into June.

On May 15, after re-evaluating admin editing practices, drafts was re-enabled.

Between May 23 and May 26, a bot created by Lewis Collard for Fan History Wiki created a number of articles about episodes of television shows. The purpose of these articles was to help people define activity in a television fandom that took place in response to an episode. This information could then be integrated into articles about a show’s fandom. It was also viewed as another tool to help contributors promote their own works as an incentive to contribute to the wiki.

On May 27, Nile Flores joined Fan History’s admin staff. For a while, she was doing most of our tweets on our Twitter stream.

For a while at the end of May, Fan History was the the largest non-Wikipedia, non-modified MediaWiki install wiki that was not a Wikimedia Foundation project. Or at least according to the list kept on s23.org. Fan History would later be displaced when a few other wikis were added and other wikis grew.

In late May, Fan History saw increased interest in Michael Jackson in response to his comeback tour in London. We also saw an increase in interest in our AdultFanFiction.Net article.

June 2009
During June, some people involved with Race!Fail came in to update their own links and clarify their own involvement during the situation. This included Kathryn Cramer, Will Shetterly and Greg London. The edits that these contributors made were neutral accountants of their own involvement and we were happy to see them contributing.

In early June, interest in Naruto related articles spiked. Some of this was connected to the Naruto related articles we added.

On June 14, Fan History changed the procedure for how administrators handle deletion requests.

During mid-June, Fan History’s founder ran for LiveJournal’s User Advisory Board. She cited her experience with Fan History as a good reason to support her nomination. She didn’t get the 100 votes to make the ballot.

On June 25, Fan History created a Facebook fan page. It was subsequently mostly forgotten after that.

Michael Jackson died on June 25 and Fan History saw a huge spike in our Michael Jackson related content as a result. Traffic for Michael Jackson fan fiction related search terms would remain consistent at about 10 to 20 visits a day for the rest of the year.

At the end of June, Fan History’s founder lost her job. This was stressful as this employment helped cover Fan History’s cost out of pocket.

July 2009
On July 7, Fan History was the feature site of the day on AboutUs.Org. AboutUs is one of the biggest and most influential wiki sites on the Internet. Advice from their founder and employees have been influential in helping Fan History formulate its own policies. This recognition from them was awesome.

In mid-July, two of Fan History’s stat bots died. They kept track of daily posting levels on fan fiction archives and various LiveJournal communities.

During July, Fan History experienced record traffic. This was the result of several factors including Michael Jackson passing away, being featured on AboutUs, having been mentioned on Mashable, and continuing traffic to our Race!Fail related articles.

In late July, there were a few really high traffic days to Fan History’s Cassandra Clare article and The Police article.

August 2009
August continued with the pattern started in July: A major increase in traffic. After August 8, traffic slowly began to wane but still continued at levels higher than earlier in the year.

In mid August, there was a huge increase in interest in Fan History’s article about Draco/Hermione.

In late August, we saw an increase in traffic to our Jon and Kate Gosselin related articles. Much of this can be attributed to increased interest in the couple because of their divorce announcement.

September 2009
In late August, SurveyFail kicked off on a large scale. We started covering it on September 2. It was linked to extensively.

Fan History makes a point not to tell people that we link to them when covering emerging fandom kerfluffles. This is because we believe that doing so has the possibility of derailing conversations. On September 4, we blogged about this.

On September 8, we created an official Dreamwidth community. This was to complement our InsaneJournal asylum. We just were never very good at updating it. That same day, we also blogged about developing communities on smaller wikis.

During early and mid-September, Fan History’s admins discussed notability as it pertains to the wiki’s deletion policies. Input was sought from the community to help make the policy as compliant with the multiple and often time conflicting views of fandom. This was in response to an article deletion request from a participant in Race!Fail.

On September 20, we blogged about why we would not be joining Wikia. The gist of it is that Wikia promised us they would host us, demanded that we turn over our domains, would create a situation where would could not back out… oh and wouldn’t pay us for any of that. We’re not running Fan History with the idea of getting rich. (The site costs us more money than we’ve ever made off of it.) But if we’re going to give Fan History to some one, we want something in return.

On September 22, Dandizette published an with Fan History’s founder regarding Geocities preservation efforts.

On September 25, Fan History published its first of three white papers that would be published this year. This paper was titled “Fan Fiction’s Predictive Value for Nielsen Ratings” (appendix) In it, we used data that had been gathered on Fan History to show that fan fiction posting levels is predictive in terms of Nielsen Ratings. This white paper was mentioned on Y!Pulse.

October 2009
LambdaFail took place during September and Fan History covered it. linkspam, an anti-oppresion community on Dreamwidth Studios, had also been covering it. elfwreck, one of the communities admins, had been accused of oppresion by taking the side of heterosexuals. This accusation sent the community in to hiatus. In response to this situation, our admin staff offered to step in and help provide links to oppression related kerfluffles. We got turned down because we were too unbiased. linkspam never found anyone else willing to take it over who was biased in the right way.

On Ocotber 5, we started another experiment with ads on Fan History. We were using Project Wonderful again and a skin given to us by Transformer Wiki. The skin caused some problems but as the founder had some money issues, this was viewed as an okay tradeoff in the short term.

In October, Fan History talked to a major wiki site about the possibility of being acquired by them. Fan History chose this particularly wiki because the staff felt that they shared Fan History’s values in terms of community and content. While it did not happen, the staff felt they learned a lot and it reaffirmed the direction that Fan History was going.

In mid-October, LiveJournal media fandom did fail again with the science fiction community. Fan History covered this on the with with The War on Science Fiction and on the blog.

On October 14, we published our second white paper, MLB Game Attendance and Alternative Social Network Group Engagement. The data and information gathered from this white paper was integrated into the wiki in our baseball category.

On October 26, Geocities closed. It formally brought to a close Fan History’s preservation efforts. During the last few days, Fan History’s admin and volunteer team were busy trying to screen cap sites, and encourage people to use a Firefox extension to help easily update articles about Geocities fansites. Lewis Collard provided us with a list of Geocities fansite from the Open Directory Project. This list was then converted in to wiki articles. All told some 10,000 articles were created. Creating the category structure for these articles went on well in to December 2009. Fan History owes a huge debt of gratitude to Lewis Collard and Illyism from wikiHow for their help.

In late October, we added over 2,500 stub articles about wikis hosted on Wikia.

November 2009
During early November, Fan History saw a spike in interest in Russet Noon. Our admins looked into the situation, updated the article about the novel and blogged about it. If you’re curious, it looks like Lady Sybilla has deleted much of her online presence.

On November 10, we revisited organizational patterns on Fan History. This time, we looked at it on the blog. Two areas we looked at was fan fiction archive category structure and blogs. This identified some problem areas and inconsistent categorization problems. These have been

In the second week of November, we discovered that back around September, a Fanlore contributor had uploaded several images licensed only to Fan History to that wiki. They had also lifted, unattributed, several articles about fanzines from Fan History. This was both annoying and extremely flattering. The flattering part was because members of the Organization for Transformative Works had been extremely critical of our work on Fan History and had questioned the credibility of the wiki. That they were now taking our work and using it word for word, even if uncited and in violation of our copyright, it was still extremely flattering. It meant that we made it.

In mid-November, Fan History’s domain was unblacklisted from Wikipedia.org. This was done on the promise that Fan History’s admin staff would not link spam Wikipedia again. We made this promise, had a Wikimedia Foundation contributor and staff member vouch for us and it was done. This had been a bit of a sore point when it came up durin the Russet Noon drama. Still, as we had wrongly link spammed, we understood why it had been done.

On November 18, Fan History started the formal proposal of trying to get acquired by the Wikimedia Foundation to address our back end issues, front end issues, credibility issues and monetary issues. Fan History been in contact with people at the Foundation before this to discuss this possibility. The expectations were none, as Wikimedia Foundation had never acquired a project before. The thought was to offer ourselves more as a case study for how they could handle this in the future.

In mid-November 2009, Fan History ended its experiment with Project Wonderful ads on wiki. In the two months the ads had been on site, the wiki ended up earning $22.00. The only place that Project Wonderful ads remain on Fan History is on the blog. There, they currently earn about $0.02 to $0.04 a day.

LiveJournal statistics were gathered on November 17 and November 30th. The data was written up in meta posts on Fan History’s blog on posts like What does the OTW look like? and lion_lamb: A sneak peak into the composition of the Twilight fandom. Charts and graphs from this data also slowly worked its way in to the wiki.

In late November, we were sad to see emufarmers go. We brought on ShakataGaNai who did a fresh install of Mediawiki, fixed some problems that had existed for a while like our missing RSS, our skin, inability to login in to the blog, integrating ads into our skin, etc. This was pretty exciting for Fan History as backend issues were causing considerable stress.

Twitter became more important to Fan History as efforts were made to tweet news and interact more starting in late November. Most of this work was being done on @fanhistory and @fanhistorywiki.

December 2009
In early December, Fan History switched to Amazon Associates in another experiment at trying to make the wiki more self funding and less of a finacial strain on the founder. A few days later, Fan History added a donation button so people could support the wiki via paypal. After that, search links for Amazon were placed in the right hand corner of articles.

On December 8, Fan History published a case study with recommendations for how the Wikimedia Foundation should handle their procedure for requests to be required in the future. This was published on Fan History’s blog and on the Strategy Wiki.

By mid-December, the images and articles with problematic copyright issues from Fan History had been removed from Fanlore Wiki. This was gratifying as trying to figure out how to lodge a copyright complaint on their wiki was confusing.

On December 12, Fan History changed its copyright to CC-BY-SA. This was done in response to advice on the Wikimedia Foundation mailing list and after some mentions about the possibility and discussion on Fan History’s blog. The switch made us fandom friendlier.

On December 14, Fan History added Bugzilla. This made the reporting of errors on the wiki much easier and also heralded in a new era of addressing some of back end problems.

On December 17, Fan History’s admins launched a LiveJournal/InsaneJournal/Dreamwidth Studios based Fandom Newsletter. The purpose was to try to aggregate some of the meta discussion and news events happening in fandom to a wider audience than the one currently found on the wiki. A lot of this type of link collection was already being done on the wiki itself on fandom specific pages so it felt like a natural fit for our admin team. At the same time, some of the prominent communities on those services doing that had stopped updating regularly or were limiting their content. This included metafandom and linkspam.

On December 18, Fan History finished adding roughly 77,000 articles about sports teams around the world. This continued a larger project the wiki had launched to expand our scope beyond fan fiction and LiveJournal based fan communities.

During mid-December, Fan History Wiki became the second largest non-modified Mediawiki install that was not a Wikimedia Foundation project or Wikia wiki according to s23.org.

By the end of December, Fan History Wiki had over 30 active contributors for that two week period. This was the time period with the most contributors all year.

Today’s Twitter Follow Spammer is @StreetKingEnt

December 18th, 2009

In my continuing saga of pointing out Twitter follow spammers, today’s follow spammer is @StreetKingEnt. Like our previous Twitter follow spammers, this one has thousands of followers: 47839 followers to be exact. He follows 48054 people, or did when he followed one of the three Fan History accounts he followed.

Street King is now spamming you!

Unsurprising: He didn’t add any of the accounts he followed to lists.  He’s never going to read any of these accounts because two haven’t tweeted in at least six months.  The other one he followed has been busy tweeting about the problems of Twitter follow spammers.  He’s not selective.  He’s just gaming the system for autofollows to improve his follow count.  He’s never RTed fanhistory, never mentioned us, is never going to interact with us, isn’t offering content that we’re going to read, etc.  All he needs is those two dead accounts to have autofollow on and he wins.

Twitter needs to take action to stop this follow spam.  If you have over 2,000 followers, Twitter needs to ban you from following people first. 

@rudezen joins the list of Twitter follow spammers

December 17th, 2009

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m growing annoyed and tired with the slew of Twitter follow spammers. It is killing the service. I’ve decided to chronically vent.

Previously, I brought to you Peter Cutler, @studio525, is obsessed with the wrong metrics. He is and he might some advantage out of it, like e-mail spammers who get one response in 10,000 and thus their work pays off.   The ROI might excellent for the follow spammers but the rest of us have to put up with their unwanted follows where we get nothing back in return.

Today’s candidate for spam follow is @rudezen who, having already 9,000 followers, continues to add more followers.  I don’t know Rudezen.  He’s never replied to my tweets.  He is unlikely to ever reply to my tweets as he’ll never see them on his list.  He isn’t interested in wikis.  He followed two of my accounts.  Neither of these accounts have balances that suggest they follow everyone.  (Both follow much fewer than follow us.)  He appears to be solely interested in getting more followers.  That makes him a Twitter follow spammer.

If you have more than 3,000 followers, there is almost NEVER a good reason for you to being following other people first.  If you have that many people you’re interested in following, that’s what lists are for: To identify people by category that you think are interesting.  Adding people to a list does not force on that person a decision to return the unwanted follow or not.  It doesn’t imply any sort of relationship or personal interests.  Adding people to lists still accomplishes the goal of watching interesting people.  Following implies more of a relationship and demands something back.  That in turn makes a person a Twitter spammer.  Stop with the spam follows people.

Fan History Wiki copyright switch: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (“CC 3.0″)

December 12th, 2009

We’ve been doing a lot of backend improvements on Fan History. In the course of fixing things up, we’ve been looking at other fundamental issues to our going forward and excelling at our mission. One of the things that we realized was that we needed to make a switch in our copyright policy. We’ve chosen to go with Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (“CC 3.0″).   We feel that this will help us in several areas:

  • Be able to use text contributions from other CC 2.0+ licensed projects. This includes Wikipedia, Wikia, and many, many more.
  • Have a more secure legal position. The enforceability and legality of our current copyright is a big potential issue. This would solve that problem by using a recognized, legal copyright.
  • Become future compatible. CC 3.0 will automatically upgrade to the latest version.
  • Help attract new contributors from other projects. People expect a certain license type if they want to be involved. Our current one is discouraging to some people in the wiki community.

If you have any questions about what this switch will mean, please read the rational for this.  If you made any contributions and object to this change, please comment on the page with refuse and we’ll work with you to reach some sort of resolution.  If you have yet still  more questions, comment here or on the talk page for the license upgrade switch.

Case Study: Fan History’s Proposal For Being Acquired by the WMF

December 8th, 2009

In November 2009, Fan History Wiki approached the Wikimedia Foundation about possibly being acquired by them.  The motivations for this on the part of Fan History Wiki were to help the project continue with and grow its mission.    The choice to approach the Wikimedia Foundation was based on relationships developed by Fan History’s founder at events like RecentChangesCamp and through interaction in #wiki on irc.freenode.net.

Fan History approached people connected to the Foundation, put forth a proposal, posted the proposal to the Foundation mailing list and to Strategy wiki.  The process broke down because of some problems.  This included lack of an established procedure for the acquisition process, communication problems and expectation issues.

There are several recommendations that Fan History Wiki would make to the Foundation on how to fix this process.  The first is to decide if the Foundation is actually interested in new projects or acquiring existing projects.  The second is defining the roles of Meta-Wiki and Strategy wiki. The third is to create a list of staff members who would handle acquisition related requests.  The fourth is to create a clearly established procedure for how to handle this process.

A copy of the complete case study can be found at http://www.fanhistory.com/FHproposal.pdf.

Comment threading on Mediawiki

November 26th, 2009

This came up in a discussion on #wiki on irc.freenode.net and as one of the developers is actively looking for feedback, I thought I would cross post the details here so you can learn more about it and if interested, find out where it is installed and how to beta test it:

Testing LiquidThreads

Try using Talk:LiquidThreads testing. Note that you can sign in with your regular Wikipedia account here.

Basic tasks:

  • Post a discussion
  • Respond to somebody else’s posts.
  • Edit somebody else’s comment.
  • Move the discussion to a new page.
  • Split discussions into pieces.
  • Stitch them back together again.
  • Summarize threads.
  • Watch threads, and wait for notifications on the replies.

Other testing:

  • Try it in weird browsers and report display and functionality issues (with screenshots) on bugzilla.

Feedback

Leave comments on Feedback, or submit bugs to bugzilla (mentioned there).

Miscellaneous

About LiquidThreads

LiquidThreads replaces discussion pages with actual forums, giving the following benefits:

  • A clear, simplified post/reply workflow so new users can jump right into the discussion.
  • Simple management of threads, including automation of archival, refactoring, and other tasks currently undertaken by bots and humans.
  • A powerful, flexible notification system, allowing users to keep abreast of developments in areas in which they are interested, ranging from entire discussion pages to discussion fragments.
  • Support for following discussion pages with RSS feeds.
  • Flexible post ordering, allowing users to keep track of which threads on a talk page are dead, and which threads are active.
  • A modern, AJAX-based interface, that allows users to quickly post and reply to other posts, without clumsy page loading.

Fan History’s relationship in the wiki community

November 22nd, 2009

We talk a lot about the wiki community on our blog and elsewhere because we really feel part of it.  We wanted to give you an idea of where we feel like we belong in this community.  This isn’t a complete chart of wiki relationships, or even our own relationships.  The version below leaves out Tikatu, who has been involved with TVTropes, Girl Genius Wiki and Wikipedia as a contributor.

Lots of connected parts. AboutUs, wikiHow, Wikipedia, EncyclopediaDramatica, Wikia all have play an important role in shaping our policies, our concept of content organization and adding content.  We talk to founders, contributors, assist on many of the wikis on this. 

Revisiting Fan History’s copyright policy

November 19th, 2009

Our admin staff loves the wiki community.  They are a helpful bunch, both in terms of content, back end issues, information structuring, etc.  Which gets to our point: We floated our proposal to merge with the on the foundation mailing list.  One of the issues that came up was our copyright policy.  At the time that we implemented it, we had talked to several people in the wiki community, wanted some sort of copyright protection from automated scrapers, etc.  We were leery of creative commons licenses because we didn’t necessarily think that they would offer us the protection that we might want.

But the discussion on the mailing list… has a point.  Even if we don’t make the move to WMF (which both sides need to want, where we both feel like compromises can be made to help each of our missions), we still need to address our copyright policy.  When I last had a serious conversation with Wikia about being acquired, Angela indicated that this would be pretty simple to change: Just do it.  (We would have had to change our policy to match the copyrights used by Wikia.)  This mostly seemed to entail: Announce the change, give time for people to comment or disagree, address edits made by those who don’t consent to the change, then just make the change.

Is it that simple?  And if we do change, what sort of copyright policy should we adopt?  We just don’t want to make such a change without really thinking it through because we don’t want a repeat of the problems that Transformers Wiki went through.  Have other wikis made copyright changes?  How did they handle it?  What are problems that wikis have faced using different licenses?

Proposal: Fan History and WMF

November 18th, 2009

Fan History feels like it is at this point where, in order to further our mission, we need to expand our contributor base a bit. We’ve talked amongst our admin team about methods to do that. One solution that we’ve been considering is to find a for-profit company or a non-profit that would help us with our mission. Rejection from one for profit wiki related company. Now we’re talking to WMF. Before we did that, we contacted a few people inside the organization who gave us the same feedback: Most projects of this type come from inside of existing WMF projects. Most of them were not aware of projects outside WMF that had been brought into the fold.

If we were serious about this, we would need to float it on the mailing list.  We did and our proposal can be found at here. If you want to join the list, details are here.  The initial feedback is interesting and has given us a lot of food for thought.  If you have any feedback that you want to give us, please drop a comment here.

Wikia and Mahalo are not competing for the same audience…

November 12th, 2009

Apologizes for writing quality.  This is stream of consciousness.

I love Wikia and I love Mahalo.  Both do interesting things in the wiki community, are fascinating to watch and offer important lessons to people running their own wikis.  Jason from Mahalo would really like to recruit Wikia contributors for Mahalo.  He’s offering a financial incentive to switch. 

It isn’t necessarily the right approach.  First, most Wikia wikis are not about individuals but rather groups.  He should be focused on pulling the whole admin team over to Wikia.  Second, he’s talking about contributors to his wiki earning revenue on a page by page basis.  Wikia wikis are complex and have a huge number of pages, or at the least the ones Jason should be trying to recruit. He’s only offering a single page solution, not a multipage solution. He’s also not offering an option to port the content from Wikia to their own user controlled subdomain. 

If I’m mad at Wikia and my community on my wiki is also mad at Wikia and we want to leave, Jason can’t get us because there is no option to port from Wikia to Mahalo.  (I’m also not certain that Mahalo could do this if they wanted to.  The licenses between the two may not be compatible.)  If there is no porting, I’m pretty much stuck on Wikia.  (Why leave Wikia?)  If I do want to leave and my community wants to leave, we might be able to do it easily if we’re talking a limited subset of pages.  (Less than 500 is easy enough to copy and paste over.  [Wiki farms like yourwiki.net can help you move things over easily too.])   Mahalo is not even going to be a consideration because you get even less control community wise and content wise on Mahalo than you do with Wikia. 

Porting over from Wikia to Mahalo is even more problematic.  I might have my wiki about Twilight that has 20 pages.  I might be tired of Wikia because the ads are annoying and I like the idea of making money off content.  Wikia isn’t ever going to do that.  Can I move it to Mahalo?  Probably not.  On Wikia, I could create my special Twilight wiki because Wikia allows duplicate wikis around the same topic.  Mahalo is a bit like Wikipedia and it doesn’t seem designed that way.  The pages that will do best for that subject are going to be the obvious ones.  In the case of Twilight, that will be the Twilight page.  100 people can’t profit off Twilight and can’t curate it.  Communicating with the community editing it, another major plus for Wikia, is difficult.  The nature of Mahalo thus locks  out those power mad Wikia users who create small specific wikis around subject areas where there is already a bigger wiki on Wikia.

The money aspect is going to turn off a number of potential Wikia users.  If I’m a huge Twihard, I’m going to obsessively create content about Twilight because I LOVE TWILIGHT! ZOMG! THE SPARKLY VAMPIRES! I LOVE THEM!  My motivation is going to be based less on monetary return and more on my obsessive love and expressing it.  I’m going to look for like minded people.  Wikia is a turn on because it is a venue where I can create a clear product of my obsession and meet other like minded fans.  (Go Team Edward!)  Mahalo has limited interaction and money just cheapens my love.  Twihards and other obsessive fans are ones Jason should be courting because they produce loads of content for free because they are so obsessed.  In a number of cases, highly motivated fans who love the source create high quality content.  (See Wikipedia.)  Those folks are needed as fans as the pages they create will become great resources for people to cite.  Fans who create for money often think differently or misunderstand their audience, creating less desirable content.

If Jason wants to effectively market to unhappy Wikia users, he’s got to find a better solution.  His current methods are just off the mark.  Money needs to be de-emphasized, community more emphasized and he needs to demonstrate to the community he is courting that he is trust worthy and that users will have community control and content control, that he’ll support leaders in those community while putting monetization as a secondary goal.  I just don’t know if doing that is something that would be compatible with Mahalo’s goals as the two appear to be catering to different audiences.

Reflections on #wikimedia-strategy discussions

November 11th, 2009

I love wikis.  I love wikis in the way that people go “Lulz! You treat wikis like too much serious buziness!”  When there are conversations about wikis that I can participate in and watch, I like to do that. I can learn a lot about what makes other wikis successful, how that can be applied to our own wiki work on Fan History, see  if our experiences on Fan History can help other wikis be more successful.  With that in mind, I’ve been trying to attend some of the organized chats in #wikimedia-strategy, which are for trying to help create a long term strategic plan for the Foundation.  These are some of my thoughts having been involved with two of those.

One discussion involved how wikiNews had issues.  The project isn’t viewed as credible enough for use by Wikipedia users.  WikiNews finds it hard to get quality articles and attract a lot of good editors because the project’s rules were created almost fully formed; these guidelines can be confusing, intimidating in terms of attracting new contributors, aren’t always clear and involve a lot of tedious hierarchy for news to point where it seems pointless to try.  To get around those issues, a lot of people just put the news on Wikipedia… because Wikipedia gets a lot of praise for how well they cover issues such as that.  This situation makes the one on wikiNews even worse.  The news on Wikipedia in many cases has a limited shelf life, where old news related articles like Balloon Boy will get deleted.  From my perspective, this is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed.

Another discussion involved why people weren’t editing Wikipedia.  One of my arguments was because some people had problems with other contributors, who they felt were rude and actively discouraging new people from contributing.  I’ve heard this from several people, saw it mentioned on my LiveJournal friends list, and it is one of my own issues.  Some one in the chat challenged this as not true.  There was a side discussion involving that, which devolved.  My understanding though is that there has not been a study to determine why people are not contributing to Wikipedia.

There was another discussion about the need for a WYSIWYG editor to be included in Mediawiki.  The consensus amongst developers appears to be that you cannot do that  with Mediawiki.  The other problem is that Mediawiki cannot do real time editing.  (Though people are trying to create extensions plugging in Google Wave to allow for real time collaborative editing on MediaWiki.)  Some people thought that Mediawiki’s software had pushed as many limits as it could; was it now time to scrap the software and create new software that could meet changing needs like real time editing and a WYSIWYG editor?  Developers seemed inclined to lean this way.

A separate discussion involved the question of: Is real time editing something that Wikipedia projects really need?  For high volume articles and Wikinews where timeliness is important, the answer appeared to be yes.  The people in the chat who appeared to be most loudly advocating a position that it is needed for a wider variety of articles were power contributors.  They did acknowledge that for the vast majority of articles, there won’t ever be two people editing an article to make it an issue.

A question was raised on the role of the Foundation supporting wiki related conferences.  The Foundation plans to continue this as a form of outreach.   There is not consensus of if they should be doing more support for conferences or if they should be working with other organizations for fund those conferences.

One issue that was some what contentious was that some people felt that most of the suggestions on the strategy wiki were dumb, stupid and never going to happen.  At least one individual felt that these suggestions should be deleted.  The representative from the foundation suggested instead that volunteers should use the reader feedback section to discuss  why those things won’t happen.  This didn’t really make some people happy as they felt it made it difficult to have  a real plan with all that junk there.  I tried to point out that in terms of a strategic plan that different people have different things they want/need to get out of Wikipedia so some of the things they desire may be a matter of perspective and slamming people’s good faith efforts wasn’t the best way to get quality feedback.

Some other things were mentioned that I will try to blog about at a later date.

Fan History organizational tree: Fan fiction archives

November 10th, 2009

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 fan fiction archives.

Thus, we’re creating mindmaps like the one below that do that. The purpose isn’t to get a complete tree. (Some of the categories have 10, 50, 200 different sub categories. It isn’t timely.) It is to get enough of one to do the above. The one below is one of these mind maps. It looks at how we conceptualize blogs. Click on it for the link to the full size.

The structure isn’t complete for a lot of fandom specific categories.  That’s because for some things, there are over fifty categories.  Some of these were chosen as a representative sample.  I tried to put at least eight subcategories in those cases. 

What strikes me as obvious is the lack of FanFiction.Net appearing in more places.  If there is a category for it, which I’m almost certain there is, it wasn’t linked here.  That needs to be addressed.  Sugar Quill for Harry Potter also deserves its own subcategories.  We need subcategories for archives where we have user lists.  We’re also short on archives for sports and theater and actors.  The actor related archives might have been hidden or minimized because for a while, we didn’t really know how to organize them.  We also didn’t get many actor fan fiction related archives when we did our geocities preservation work. 

The Adult Fan Fiction archives section isn’t built really well and really lends itself to other questions, like should we be separating out archives with adult content into their own separate hierarchy?  And if we should, should we also be labeling articles that the sites, pages, concepts in question may deal with adult concepts?  Added to that, AdultFanFiction.Net isn’t included in that category at all so if the category should be there, AdultFanFiction.Net needs to be included.  (Unrelated, I would really love to do something like we did for Inuyasha-fiction.net and FanFiction.Net and YuleTide in terms of stories and people articles.)

There are a lot of multifandom fan fiction archives covering different genres and mediums.  This includes FanLib, AdultFanFiction.Net, MediaMiner.Org, and FanNation.  They are listed in multiple places like Comics fan fiction archives, Movie fan fiction archives, Television fan fiction archives.  The problem is that they are listed along side categories like Batman fan fiction archives, Harry Potter fan fiction archives, Charlie’s Angels fan fiction archives, Wonder Woman archives.  This, to me, doesn’t feel intuitive but I’m not sure how else to categorize these large massive multifandom sites and make them findable for people looking for fandom specific archives that they represent.  Maybe that’s more of an issue for articles, where we include these archives on the article pages?  It needs more thinking and some one to implement.

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? And if you’re really motivated, we’ve really like that feedback on the relevant talk pages for those categories.

Fan History organizational tree: Blogs

November 10th, 2009

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. 

Thus, we’re creating mindmaps like the one below that do that.  The purpose isn’t to get a complete tree.  (Some of the categories have 10, 50, 200 different sub categories.  It isn’t timely.)  It is to get enough of one to do the above.  The one below is one of these mind maps.  It looks at how we conceptualize blogs.    Click on it for the link to the full size

 

For blogs, we tend to organize by fandom type (music, sports, actors), by social networking site, by blogging site, by bloggers.  The inclusion of American bloggers on the top level probably isn’t the best place for it and later, some one should probably move that down into Bloggers -> Bloggers by country -> American bloggers.  LiveJournal is actually much deeper than you’re seeing here.  As we post others part of our tree, that might become a bit more obvious.

A lot of the blogs that we have are generally listed around a topic.  We have few fandom specific categories for blogs like that.  It would be nice to see that expanded, to have blogs listed beyond the ones present on social networking sites.

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?  And if you’re really motivated, we’ve really like that feedback on the relevant talk pages for those categories.

Do you think was ever touched by a real person? And how many will ever be seen by a single person?

November 8th, 2009

I read McNiche: On the perils of scaling down a mass model a day or two ago and it has been bothering me ever since.

There was an observation or two about WikiCity that made me really think about Fan History and some of our automated content creation:

How many of those millions of “Web site pages” do you think was ever touched by a real person? And how many will ever be seen by a single person?

About 700,000 of Fan History’s 808,000 articles were created using automated methods that didn’t have a Fan History admin manually curating information.  We did this for FanFiction.Net people articles, for episode articles, for musician/band related articles.  I’d guess that of those 700,000 articles created by bots, roughly 50,000 have been touched by human hands.

Last month, there were 37,272 pages were viewed a total of 176,272 times.   That 37,272 works out to roughly 4% of our pages being accessed in October 2009.  Year to date, 183,755 pages were viewed a total of 1,786,830 times.  This works out to 22% of all our articles being accessed this year.  (Which basically supposes that only articles on the main name space were accessed.)  That doesn’t feel all that impressive.  We’d really, really like to improve on that.  It is one of our goals.  That and to get more people to edit pages that were created through automation.

The article talks about how scaling down these projects might be the best option because of all those dead pages that aren’t touched by human hands.  I’m just not sure for some large scale wiki projects that rely on automation like Fan History or AboutUs would benefit from this sort of thinking.  One of the things we’ve found on Fan History is that by having a large number of consistently formatted articles about certain topics is that we’ve been able to increase our number of contributors and have been able to get people to edit those articles.  It also helps with modeling; new contributors are able to look at those articles and create ones of their own.  We see this happen on a daily basis on Fan History: People discover articles about themselves or groups they are involved with and improve an article.  The article gets curated.  After that happens, the person doing it frequently links to it, tells others about it and then their friends go and create articles about their interests OR edit existing articles.  With out that automation, that wouldn’t happen.  If we were better at self promoting, our particular situation would improve and we’d have more people editing and curating and reporting and documenting.  The problem isn’t the automation; the problem is our ability to get others involved.

In LiveJournal media fandom, we are taught…

November 2nd, 2009

… admit no mistake, do not make yourself vulnerable to others, always be on the offensive, don’t admit to character flaws or weakness. We are taught that if you do, you will suffer the consequences for years. We are taught, through example, that if you admit mistakes and are vulnerable, others will exploit these weakness for their own fannish benefit.

I’m writing this entry mostly in response to a series of tweets by Ben Parr, a writer for Mashable. Our perspectives differ because of our place online and our own experiences. I’d love to believe “@BenParr @purplepopple My philosophy has always been “let the haters come,” because I believe in what I do and prove it with my actions.” I believe in what I’m doing. I believe in it a lot. I’m committed to what I’m doing and am always looking for ways to improve. I just do not like to publicly own my faults because I just have moments when I can’t because I’ve seen what fandom haters are capable of. I don’t just don’t have the energy to deal with the ramifications of the shit that could come down the pike if some hater took issue with me.

Check out some of the shit that Cassandra Clare, Supernatural fans, Smallville fans, Blake’s 7 fans, X-Files fans and science fiction fans are capable of. Contacting employers, contacting family, threatening to kill people and talking about how they deserve to be sexually assaulted, cracking passwords, contacting webhosts to report them for alleged Terms of Service Violations, contacting a show’s producers and actors to blast them for another set of fans’s actions. Most of the most egregious behavior doesn’t get documented out of fear of both sides going after the document-er for getting the story wrong.

I want to characterize these actions as fail fandom but it isn’t. Fail fandom is generally about some one taking offensive at something some one did or said or implied. Sure, yeah, the subtext of fail fandom is often about a power play in fandom but at the onset, it generally doesn’t look that way.

A lot of this is really banal stuff. Do you ship Clark/Chloe? Well fuck you. I hate your ship with a fiery passion. You’re in my space. Let me find some ways to cause you pain. Hey! You wrote Supernatural incest fic? I hate that crap! I know what to do! You made the mistake of linking your real name and your fannish name so I’ll contact your family and let them know what you are up to online! Oh hey! You challenged my status in the Harry Potter fandom and I need my status to be higher so I can be closer to JK Rowling. Let me teach you a lesson, because I know you work in school, by letting them know what sort of material you read. It doesn’t matter that I read it too because I don’t work with kids. You like Doggett from X-Files? That’s unforgivable because MSR is the only good thing from X-Files and because you’re too stupid to get that, I’ll just do a DDoS on your network connection. I want the freedom to write sexually graphic rape because of artistic freedom. You don’t like that and hey you’re a rape victim? Awesome! Because you know how you tried to repress my artistic expression? I’m going to intentionally trigger you! Those examples are all variations of real incidents.

And then we come back to the first part of this post: Media fandom on LiveJournal (and its clones like Dreamwidth Studios)teaches us not to be vulnerable, to self criticize, to admit to our weaknesses. In some places, in some communities, you want to admit and own your weakness, your vulnerabilities and where you can improve. I’ve found that in the wiki community outside Wikipedia, this generally is the norm. On Twitter and in social media communities filled with social media professionals, it is also good to be able articulate those. Fandom differs to a degree though. In a wiki, we should all be working towards a greater good. In social media, you want to be honest with your clients, to be continually learning and you’re aware of the professional repercussions for being an asshole, and a moron that engages in personal attacks on people outside of the scope of the content. Fandom doesn’t have those considerations of greater good or professional gain.

Fandom has other considerations because, for most of us, fandom is a hobby. People have goals for fandom: Having fun, getting feedback on their stories, enjoying the porn, being fawned over for their most awesome fanvids and fanart, writing extensive meta analysis because they love to do that, to fantasize about Eli Roth getting off on your nudie pics, trying to get a professional publishing career, using their fanac as a vehicle to meet actors and producers, trying to influence the writers and directors and actors to write the book or show like they want it to be written. Some of these inherently set fans into conflict with each other. If you are in a fandom to get close to the powers that be, well only so many people can. If you are in a fandom because of a character, actor or ship, there is only so much time that those can be given; people with different preferences are going to be in conflict as they try to persuade producers to focus on their desires. For fan fiction writers and readers and vid watchers, there is only so much time in a day, only so much feedback that can be given; conflict happens in the struggle to maximize the feedback and to support our favorite artists. The greater good in fandom only seems to happen when there is something that threatens the institution around which the fandom is based like a show ending.

Because of fandom existing as a state of conflict, because LiveJournal fandom is dominated by women, people bring in the personal and unrelated. The attacker looks for vulnerabilities. They look for places where they can exploit your weakness in order to push you out of fandom, to get you to stop being in conflict with them and to further their own agenda.

That’s my takeaway from fandom. Those are the lessons I have learned. So while I think it is good to be able to articulate your weakness in social media, as a journalist, as a historian, as an entrepreneur, I have trouble with that because I cannot unlearn overnight what I spent over ten years learning and having reinforced on a daily basis. (Thanks White Collar fandom and Smallville fandom for this week’s lesson.)

The wikiHow conference call

October 30th, 2009

This week I did a conference call with wikiHow. All users were invited to attend and the call was advertised on wikiHow’s forums and in their chat room. I like these things a lot. (I just felt a bit uncomfortable “attending” as I am not an active contributor. I mostly hang out on chat and edit when asked. I’m there for great wiki community support and because I believe in their project.) It is interesting to hear part of their call and to get insight into their thought process for implementing features and design. I don’t get to do as much of that with Fan History because we lack the technical skills. The parts that I participated in talked about things like placement of how to contribute on their main page, how to offer live support, if their current chat room is an effective option, how to advertise that. There was also some mention of the new skin. If you’re a contributor to wikiHow, or want to see how a large wiki works, try to get in on another one of their calls.

Want to hire a Mediawiki Administrator? James Mitchell doesn’t!

October 17th, 2009

Before I go further with this post, I want to publicly apologize to Fan History’s awesome tech guy, emufarmers. Through my own actions, I dragged him into this little drama. I wish I hadn’t as I respect him more than that.

James Mitchell and Juris Informatica is looking to hire a Mediawiki Administrator. I found out about this when Elizabeth Peterson contacted me on LinkedIn about this position, asked me if I might be interested in the position, and if I could e-mail answers to those questions to them. Parts of the section above those questions set off alarm bells, like being paid on commission but this type of job is not a paid on commission one. Because I wanted that sort of professional experience, I applied. I got called back with in about 10 minutes, before I even got an e-mail.

Weird. But whatever. I’ve had that sort of contact for a job interview before.

The guy who called me was not Elizabeth Peterson. It was James Mitchell. He wanted some one who had a bit more tech side. I’d thought, based on my resume, my LinkedIn profile, that it was pretty obvious that I didn’t have that and that from the personal LinkedIn solicitation, they would have known this already. Nope. Not true.

Whatever though. He wanted to know who I worked with at Fan History to do our tech stuff. I told him who. It was indicated to me that he would only work with me if my tech guy was on board to do work, so I gave him that information so he could contact my most awesome tech guy. (Rude on my part. Sorry emufarmers.)

I then got in touch with my awesome tech guy and a few professional acquaintances. One of them pointed out that WOW! Mr. James Mitchell, the guy who runs a legal website, asked an illegal hiring question: Am I married? Do I have children?

Another pointed out that the guy talked about working on commission based on getting leads for lawyers where they win a settlement. (Read: Work for free for a long time on some one’s site, where the pay out might not be for two years if the case goes quickly. Get zilch in the mean time because your time isn’t realy worth anything.) And he wants you to be independent finacially… while he’s busy not paying you:

Entrepreneurial Mindset. Obviously anyone who joins us has to be somewhat entrepreneurial, in that they receive a cut of revenues. We look for people that realize that even when you sell your time for $75 or $150 an hour, you are still a slave to the clock and you are never going to make serious money. We want people who are financially ambitious, who are looking to retire five years from now, and realize that by obtaining equity in highly profitable Web sites, one can reasonably soon end the tyranny of working for clients.

Financial Resources. They can afford an entrepreneurial work situation, both financially and psychologically — i.e. they can afford to work without a salary and instead receive a percentage of the profits of the Web sites they participate in. Our partners need to have some level of financial stability in their lives. Our approach involves some level of delayed gratification in exchange of extraordinary wealth down the road. (Note — Our partners do not invest any money, as the Firm pays all expenses. They do invest their time.)

If this was a sales job, cool! But the indication was that this was for content development. (Which is in itself a form of sales, but a different type of sales. And most sites I know that sell based on traffic you generate for them don’t pay off 1, 2, 5 or even 10 years down the road.)

All flags but I talked with Fan History’s tech guy and the working professionals I knew. I figured I could stomach the illegal hiring question issue, the reads like an arrogant ass… if he would be flexible enough to pay me a base salary based on time instead of that. If he is so sure that this is going to make millions, if he really needs my expertise, then it would be doable.

Except when he called me back, the first thing he did was insult my team member. Sorry. No. “I want you to do business with me. I want you to work for me. So you know what? I’m going to insult the people you do business with, and put them down.” Because that is how professionals work and how they get business.

He went through his spiel while I patiently listened. He’s going to scrape Wikipedia. He can do this legally he informed me. No one is really going to notice that he did that. They’ll just go ga ga over his content and because they are non-college educated people (because they are the ones with the biggest legal problems who are going to use the Internet and too stupid to realize that his content is Wikipedia duplicate content), they will be more likely to go with one of his lawyer leads as a result.

Which ignores the fact that Google doesn’t like duplicate content, punishes some scrapes like that, etc. It also engenders ill will from the wider wiki community. It slaps at your own credibility because you can’t create that type of content.

The conversation went on about how easy it was to automatically create content like that. Awesomeness. Then he told me how he happened to contact me: He or some one he hired built a bot to scrape all the members of the groups that mentioned Mediawiki on LinkedIn. Then an account was set up to automatically contact all those people to let them know about the job, using personalization to make it seem as if a person contacted them. It sounded like he was saying thatElizabeth Peterson didn’t actually exist. Special. That sort of usage of LinkedIn activity sounds kind of unethical and black hat. I like my SEO and other online activities to be white hat.

Did I mention that somewhere along the line he asked me about my personal life? My living situation? If I was married or if I was involved with some one? He repeatedly the illegal question that appeared on the application. He wants to make sure that you don’t have them so that when you’re taking a shower, his example, you will be thinking about your work and how you are going to make him and yourself a lot of money.

James Mitchell really wanted me to do content creation for him to generate leads. I’m passionate about many things but making money and generating content with that as the soul focus is not my passion. (And most of the books about start ups I’ve read talk about how successful ones are where people are passionate about what they do, not passionate about making money for the sake of making money.) I expressed to him that I was concerned that he would, you know, rip me off with payments. I would only work for salary. He assured me that he wouldn’t rip me off. I could trust him. Why? Because he needs me to make him money so he has no incentive to rip me off. (If I’m going to make you millions, why can’t you salary me? It is a sure thing for you and you can underpay me the value of those leads.)

Wrong answer dude. So let’s review the lessons on how to not hire a Mediawiki Administrator:

  • Ask hiring questions that are illegal;
  • Insult team members of the person you are hiring, persons that the person you are hiring thinks highly of;
  • Ask the person to do work for you with the promise they will be paid for the leads they generate that could be, by your own admission, years down the line because of how the legal system works;
  • Admit to ethically dubious behavior as part of your business plan;
  • Tell some one that you have no incentive to rip you off because you need them to make you money.

The take away? Do not interview with James Mitchell.

People gaming for autofollowers on Twitter

October 15th, 2009

I feel like it is that time again.  It is time to blog about Twitter.  If you don’t know, I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter.  I had as many as 325 people I followed before I culled it down to around 276.  I like to follow people on Twitter who share a common interest, share common geography, that I have met personally, that offer news I chose to opt in to, that I want to network with.  With the exception of a few news related accounts, I don’t follow people who aren’t likely to interact back with me.

I don’t mind following people who follow me.  I like a balance of follows to followers.  Too many follows and too few followers means likely spam bot is one reason.  I  also like people with fewer followers.  My general assumption is if you have too many followers, you’re just gaming for autofollowers, people to market your company or personal brand at, where you have zero interest in me personally.  My litmus test for following back people with 1,000+ followers is thus sending DMs to those folks and thanking them for the following and asking for an @ reply with why the followed me.  (And if they  don;t want to do that, it is easy enough to find out how to contact me.)  If you can’t do that, it is a clear sign of some one gaming for autofollowers.  The following is a list of people who failed to respond and thus are gaming for autofollowers:

Fanfox: The plugin to make Geocities history saving easier

October 13th, 2009

We’re still looking for help with our Geocities preservation project as it heads into its final days. One new tool we have to make it easier for you to contribute is Fanfox. It is a Firefox extension that loads as a sidebar tool. It has a list of urls, and the page title for that url. You click on the url in the upper left hand corner of the sidebar. In the main page space, the url loads. Look at the page, fill out the form in the sidebar and click submit! There. You’ve helped preserve the history of a page located on Geocities.

If you’re really interested, let us know and we’ll add a lot more urls. We just haven’t so far as we haven’t wanted to take time away from our other Geocities work.

Why Fan History won’t be moving to Wikia any time soon

September 20th, 2009

Why Fan History won’t be moving to Wikia any time soon

I’ve written several variations of this post with varying tones and purposes. Some of these drafts have gone in to several pages. I’m posting this rather simply because in the end, it really is simple.

I’d like to preface this with I have nothing but respect for Wikia. They have done some fantastic things for the wider wiki community. They’ve released several extensions that have been useful to the Mediawiki community. Wikia has sponsored several wiki conferences. Their community is helpful in terms of learning how to handle different situations in the wiki community. They host a lot of unique content that cannot be found elsewhere. They’ve helped expand the definition of what wikis are capable of doing.

But Fan History will not be moving to Wikia any time soon because Wikia wants to own Fan History. We would have to change our license, remove our business plan, give up control of the community, could not leave, would have to give Wikia our domains, etc. When Wikia has approached Fan History LLC about acquiring it, Wikia has generally used the approach of treating the acquiring of Fan History like it should be a hosting decision for Fan History LLC and downplayed the ownership issues. While we love Wikia and some of the things that Wikia has done for the wider wiki community, we do not appreciate their approach in this regard.

Fan History is a business. We are incorporated as a single entity LLC. We have a business plan. We have an intern and are currently looking for more. We have been seeking funding to grow the wiki, improve our back end, integrate and improve FanworksFinder, create related products. We have hired developers to do work for us. We attend professional networking events. We try to keep our actions on the wiki professional and businesslike, rather than purely fannish and hobby like.

If Wikia were to acquire Fan History, it would be great for their business. Fan History Wiki would take Wikia from about 3.2 million pages to 4 million pages. Fan History has the potential to create an organizational structure for Wikia’s entertainment and sports wikis. Fan History is set up to easily promote Wikia’s other content inside of our own. We have a large amount of content that could have its SEO optimized quickly, with the right team, that would significantly improve its current traffic. Fan History has a number of articles in content areas that advertisers would be happy to have ads placed on. Many of these content pages are for areas where Fan History LLC has little competition in terms of potential audience. Long and short, Fan History has a lot going for it that would really, really help Wikia on several levels. We would be cheap to host, cheap to maintain, would require little staff involvement as there is an active and dedicated admin staff. We’re aware of out potential monetary and PR value to Wikia. All of this could help Wikia’s bottom line.

Fan History is a business. We identify as a business. We are registered with the state of Illinois as a business. We do not feel that Wikia has approached us, in their talks about hosting (acquiring) us, as a business acquisition. Their representatives have minimized our real business concerns as not important, or that they are irrelevant to Wikia acquiring us. (Even as these things are central to our business plan, and to our identity in the community which we operate.) They want to us to utilize their free hosting, putting us in a situation where we can help their bottom line. They want us to hand over our business to them, for free. If they want to acquire us, they need to treat us as a business and make a serious acquisition offer. Any other approach is an insult.

Write wiki articles and books will be sent to Africa

September 11th, 2009

You know, I spend a lot of time hanging out in #wikihow on Freenode and they’ve been talking about this for almost two weeks now… I haven’t thought to mention it so I feel kind of guilty. wikiHow has a charity drive going on during September 2009. wikiHow will sponsor a book for a child in Africa every time a registered user writes a new article. It’s pretty simple and there are lots of how-to articles that need to be written on the site: How to write Harry Potter fan fiction, how to ask some one if you can include their original character in your work, how to cope when your fan fiction has been plagiarized, how to post fan fiction on Quizilla, how to be a Chicago Red Stars fan, how to make a Twilight fanvid… all just a few I can think of off the top of my head. Below are a few more details from their site which can be found at http://www.wikihow.com/wikiHow:Books-For-Africa:

wikiHow has an educational mission. We are creating the world’s how-to manual to provide a practical education to millions of people around the world. Every time you write an article, patrol an edit, add a photo, you are helping to provide a practical education to someone else. wikiHow is also a “hybrid organization,” unlike many for-profit corporations, we are always looking for innovative ways to serve the social good in accordance with our mission. With that in mind, we’ve decided to experiment with a one-month program that more directly extends our educational mission to children in need whom we aren’t reaching via our website.

So here is the experiment: For the month of September, wikiHow will sponsor a book for a child in Africa every time a registered user writes a new article. In addition, we will sponsor extra books for the author and new article booster if a new article receives a rising star.

Why children in Africa? Africa is experiencing a book famine — school kids lack basic supplies and they are in need of textbooks and reference works. It is not uncommon for ten kids to share one textbook, or for children to practice their lessons in the sand since they do not have pencils and paper (here is a more explanatory article from CNN talking about the book famine in Africa).

Wikia is doing something awesome for fandom and wiki contributors

September 11th, 2009

While Fan History isn’t hosted on Wikia, we still love what they do. They are home to some of the best fandom wikis on the Internet for small fandoms and large fandoms. They have Wookipedia, Halopedia, The Muppet Wiki, Chuck Wiki, Creatures Wiki, Darthipedia, Hellboy Wiki, Lostpedia, Saturday Night Live Wiki, Stargate FanProd, and Yu-Gi-Oh Card Maker Wiki to just name a few.  If you don’t have the expertise to do your own Mediawiki install, aren’t as familiar with wikis as you could be so want something that is easy to use from the onset?  They are a great option.

And they are doing something pretty damned cool. …  That I need to actually go out about setting up myself later.  Wikia has an answers site.  It’s pretty good but like a lot of answer sites, it doesn’t always feel like it has the niche audience for certain questions I might want answered.  (Ever tried looking for help finding a specific Twilight story on Yahoo!Answers?  It can be an impossible endeavor.)  What Wikia is doing is allowing people to create niche specific answer sites using the framework they developed for WikiaAnswers.  The part that excites me more is that for the person maintaining the answer site, they are giving half the revenue the wiki earns through Google Ads.  It is a way of giving back to the community that does the work in providing answers and to encourage you to help build up  your answers site to make it more useful for the community.  Often, the people in fandom who build awesome fandom resources don’t get the recognition they deserve.  More often than not, they don’t get compensation for their work and go in to large amounts of debt running their sites.  What they are doing means that fans can potentially get something for what they are doing and, for those who are cash strapped, can justify their fanac a bit more.

So yeah.  If that interests you, get in touch with them to find out more.

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