Posts Tagged ‘encyclopediadramatica’

AT&T Blocking 4Chan

July 27th, 2009

The following was originally posted by girlvinyl on her LiveJournal and is reposted here with her permission. She articulates her position for better than I feel I can on this issue…

I’m not normally one to make ‘statements’ on things in regard to internet drama. Even when that NYT article came out last year, I didn’t comment on it. Most things happen and I know that it’s wiser to sit quietly and let people fight things out amongst themselves. For a variety of reasons.

But today something happened that I feel I should comment on because it affects me and will eventually effect you too.

AT&T has started blocking 4chan for it’s customers. Right now there are just internet forums and posts with people chiming in and no real word of exactly what is happening and how widespread it is. It doesn’t appear to be all customers right now, but it does appear to be geographically diverse.

I do not use 4chan. I don’t understand it and I honestly find it sort of boring. I’m an obsessive gawker devotee, to give an idea of my browsing habits. I like faux news and lol news and some light politics. The content at 4chan is too much for me to handle in general. But 4chan and ED have a close and strange relationship. ED was not started to catalog 4chan, it was started to make fun of LJ, but a lot of 4chan users and ED users started to overlap, so the content began to overlap. 4chan’s founder became Time’s person of the year, 4chan has grown and grown and grown. ED has grown too. And a lot of that growth comes at times when 4chan is down. When 4chan experiences downtime, ED experiences significant increases in traffic. ED appears to be the second stop for 4chan users when their main site is unavailable.

It’s not my place to judge the merit of content on ED or 4chan, but I am an avid proponent of free speech. I understand that AT&T is a business and that that business has the right to shape it’s network traffic as it sees fit. And of course it’s customers have the right to choose another ISP [well, unless AT&T has a monopoly in that locality, in which case they have the right to file an anti-trust lolsuit, which is a dismal reality]. However, the FCC affords common carrier status to AT&T. This means that they have a responsibility to provide the service in a way that is conducive to the public good.

4chan is the cesspool of the internet. I think most people will agree on this. That’s why this battle has started with 4chan. It’s easy to justify to the general public that this censorship is “good” censorship and that 4chan shouldn’t be accessible to anyone, for any reason. Other websites will then be blocked by AT&T, ED being one of them. The smaller ISPs will follow suit, citing AT&T as precedent and eventually there will be blacklists of sites that all ISPs implement for the “public safety”. Thus we have internet censorship with no laws necessary. Even if there are laws against it, Obama has made it clear that he and the congress are happy to excuse this kind of behavior by internet companies and will protect them from any kind of law suit.

If you have AT&T, I highly suggest you switch to another ISP as soon as you can. If you switch to another provider, you can probably get a better deal with a 6 month promotion anyway.

Get a list of ISPs in your area

And here is the ED article which is being formulated currently. It includes a list of numbers to call to cancel your AT&T service.

Yes, Encyclopedia Dramatica is down

June 17th, 2009

It is down.  We know.  The folks who run Encyclopedia Dramatica is down.   They have been hard at work bringing it up.   Please be patient and give them time. :)   If you want updatesm you might want to check out their chat room on IRC.

While at it, yourwiki has been a bit slow as some one uploaded over 1,500 images this week.  They are hard at work too.

Check out WhatPort80

June 17th, 2009

This is another case of being a bit sloth like.   I promised to plug WhatPort80 and it has taken me a while to do that.  WhatPort80 is another wiki site.  On their about page, they describe themselves as:

WhatPort80 is a collection of internet information for your reading pleasure. All material submitted should be work safe. Any non-worksafe images or language will be deleted. If you’d like to contribute to a wiki that allows Non-worksafe content, Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Dramatica may be more to your liking.

They really push the limits of what is work safe and what is not because some images are highly suggestive using objects/fruit and flesh colored clothing.   Still, it is very damned cool and has a lot of great potential.  One article I really like is Lulz because I like the caption below the image.  The jokes feel accessible to me and where I am online.  Please check them out. :)

Fan History referrer patterns revisited

June 12th, 2009

I was looking through old blog entries and saw Fan History referrer patterns with data from 2008. Since then, we’ve done some work to increase our traffic. We’ve succeeded in increasing the number of visitors to the wiki. We’ve got some new referrers. So time for a compare and contrast. Where have we improved from September 2008 to May 2009? These numbers are based on daily average visits from that referrer.

Sep-08    May-09    Increase
Google                   852          1,427.6    575.6
Yahoo                     144          187.7        43.7
LiveJournal             54            42.8        -11.2
NarutoFic.Org        16            0.0          -16.0
Wikipedia               14           9.2           -4.8
Ask                         11            5.2          -5.8
AnimeNewsNetwork    8        33.0         25.0
Wikia                       8              6.3         -1.7
AOL                          7            13.6          6.6
FanFiction.Net 6             9.1          3.1
MSN                       4               10.8        6.8
FanPop                   3              5.7           2.7
DeviantArt              3             0.6          -2.4
TVTropes                2             6.1            4.1
EncyclopediaDramatica    2    0.7          -1.3
Altavista                   2             1.5        -0.5
FaceBook                  1            2.4         1.4
hogwartsnet.ru    1               2.0            1.0
Total Daily               1,138    1,764.3    626.3

We’ve really increased our Google traffic. This was done by increasing our overall link diversity.  It is why we can take a hit with LiveJournal traffic, EncyclopediaDramatica traffic, DeviantART traffic and Wikipedia traffic and see an increase in our overall traffic.  What you aren’t seeing is our increase in traffic from places like Chickipedia, Twitter, answers.yahoo.com, wiki.fandomwank.com, ident.ca and jumptags.

Same advice as I had in October:If you’re running your own fansite or you have no money to promote your site, our suggestion is to spread yourself out some and focus on all aspects: Link building, quality content creation, quantity content creation, back end SEO optimization.

Top referrers for the first week of June: Fan History Wiki

June 8th, 2009

It’s been a while since we looked at our referrers so here is a list of our top referrers for the period between June 1, 2009 and June 6, 2009. There are a few more referrers not on this list that provided less traffic. These are just our major ones.

Referrer Visits
livejournal.com

302

animenewsnetwork.com

213

chickipedia.com

211

bing

125

journalfen

121

twitter

73

fanfiction.net

67

tvtropes.org

54

deviantart

51

wikipedia

45

fanpop

38

wikia

30

inuyasha-fanfiction.com

28

jumptags.com

25

answers.yahoo.com

18

boards.endoftheinter.net

16

hogwartsnet.ru

15

imdb.com

11

therethere.net

10

wiki.fandomwank.com

10

dearauthor.com

9

savekp.proboards.com

9

cassandraclaire.com

8

encyclopediadramatica.com

8

i-newswire.com

8

identi.ca

8

russet-noon.com

7

wishluv.blogspot.com

7

insanejournal

2

answers.com

1

cwanswers.com

1

There are sites that don’t appear there where we’ve done a fair amount of link building including Mahalo. If you’re looking at them for link building and getting referrers? It probably isn’t worth the time. orkut, bebo, Quizilla, MySpace, Facebook aren’t on there.  We haven’t really done any link building on those sites.  We do have a fair amount of links on FriendFeed but as we are not actively engaged on there, we just don’t get traffic as a result.  Our Yahoo!Answers traffic are from past questions we’ve answered: We’re still getting traffic from them months later.  DeviantART links are all organic and weren’t us engaged in link building activities.

Help EncyclopediaDramatica!

May 11th, 2009

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

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

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

April 10th, 2009

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

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

http://nextian.livejournal.com/263577.html?format=light

To quote:

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

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

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

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

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

no central LJ comm,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

policy remains unclear in a number of important areas,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Harry Potter

  2. Draco/Hermione

  3. Bandfic

  4. Beauty and the Beast

  5. Supernatural

  6. Digimon

  7. CSI

  8. Rescue Rangers

  9. Doctor Who

  10. X-Files

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

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

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

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

#rcc09 Moving on

February 22nd, 2009

Session notes:

Wikis can fail quickly. One or two people do work and then they abandon it. If a wiki doesn’t work, they get abandoned. It can be a social problem because of the software.

People can also leave because the rules or social climate change and that is a distinctly non-wiki thinking.

Wikis are often talked about in terms of organic things like wiki gardening. We call inactive wikis dead wikis.

Some times people do less wiki work as they move on. Sometimes with open source, things die because the creator refuses to turn things over to others in order to keep the project on.

Some people move on and have emotional issues with that regarding backing off.

People need to have a way to deal with possible absence of key staff members for a wiki.

Often you have a small group of people who run the show and get emotional over criticism because they understand everything going on on the inside. And then you have people on the outside criticising. They dont necessarily know. How do you bring that group in to the leadership?

There is a power curve of where there is often a group of one leader for seven people.

People understand the fact that people get tired and move on in the wiki community. It can help change certain dynamics because people know they are willing to do things.

RecentChangesCamp has had a lot of turn over with who ran the event. There is only one real volunteer who helped so lots of support and that was Mark Dilley. It kind of shows that wiki philosophy of allowing people to come forward.

Projects can be really slow for years and then massively scale in a short period of time. It can create really problems. It can be a reason why you need transparency in your actions to allow people to come in and fit in, get tasks to do, etc.

Things happen because some one days let’s go there. You can’t do that unless some one is willing to step forward to go through the door and take that first step.

Make sure that you systematically pair up with people to run a project. Question of should you pick a person to take over OR have that person rise up in to a leadership position?

What keeps people involved? Is it passion or skills? Is it desire or skill?

You need that one person in a group to help you keep something from falling apart.

It is okay to fail. You learn from failure. You learn from the process of failing. It isn’t always a reflection on you.

Maybe we need a wiki camp to preserve and revive dead wikis so the knowledge is preserved.

There is some one on a wiki who is ultimately responsible. There is a curve and you can’t get away from it with wikis.

EncyclopediaDramatica is an interesting case where moderators probably don’t burn out as much because of the nature of it.

Wikis are better at knowledge systems than a lot of other systems because they have the social problems being really visible. With Drupal, you can hide certain social problems where they don’t have to be addressed right away because you can get filters, etc.

Wikis seem like a step up in terms of the evolution of human interaction.

Platforms are really changing right now. It is a great time to be living in.

Things that are changing right now in open source and wikis is that it is okay to take it seriously. Technology makes things more serious and adds legitimacy for things in ways that they didn’t do it before. You can treat topics more seriously in a wiki than you could otherwise.

We’re at a stage where people can put time and energy in a way that they might not have done before because of that. They can turn it into a career and it isn’t viewed as unacceptable as they are moving up.

The guy from meatball wiki is a case of a guy who left wikis to go to accounting and we lost a great resource in the wiki community. It might be viewed as a waste because we lost knowledge. It could also be a good thing showing that we can move on and do it successfully, translate those skills.

SocialText founder has sort of moved beyond wikis but the philosophy of wikis still underlines his projects and life. He is involved but not as visible.

Wiki burnout happens because wiki work is now done. You can always work on it and nagging feeling that you’re not doing that.

As a leader, you have to decide what you will and won’t do that. You also need to give space for other people to do that.

For Fan History, this is done with Tikatu monitoring Recent Changes and handling policy regarding how to handle changes because that it NOT my job.

#rcc09 : Welcoming on wikis and edits

February 21st, 2009

I missed the presentation by wikiHow that talked about welcoming on wikis but I heard about it later when a small group from wikiHow and a few tag alongs like myself went to dinner.   If you’re not aware of it, welcoming on wikis is when people are welcomed to the wiki after they make their first contribution or register for an account.   Some of the wiki people I know do this because they think it helps to build community which in turn translates into additional edits to the wiki.  As wikis need edits to improve their content, this is really important.  Wikis should always be looking for ways to convert edits.

At the session, wikiHow apparently talked about the effect of welcoming and their conversion rate in terms of helping to get more edits.  They did a student on the topic in fact.  They found that welcoming people to a wiki did not have a relationship to people’s edit totals or likelihood to edit more.  (I wasn’t there so I am probably missing more of it.)

That’s kind of interesting as I know of a number of wikis that try that including AboutUs, EncyclopediaDramatica, wikiHow and some wikis on Wikia.  We’ve never really done it on Fan History because we couldn’t figure out how to automate the process and most people seemed to come in, edit their article and that was it.  Why waste the energy on it?  But at the same time, all these other wikis were doing it.   It seemed ingrained in wiki culture.  Why not do it?  Are we just being lazy?  It feels kind of nice o be redeemed and know it doesn’t necessarily help in terms of community development.

I would be kind of interested to learn why it doesn’t convert to additional edits though.  Is the lack of conversion a result of how people view wikis?  Possibly not as a community?  Is it because people who want to edit will edit no matter what and some people just edit here and there because of subject matter expertise?  Lots of reasons probably and I want to learn more. :)

Generating traffic for your fansite? Use a method that generates positive metrics!

December 22nd, 2008

Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time learning the ins and outs of generating traffic for websites. A lot of this learning happened because I have some great friends on Twitter, some awesome friends in the wiki community, and met people at two Chicago area barcamps. They’ve given me advice directly, and linked to blogs and sites that give advice. This advice has been one of the major reasons that Fan History has changed the way that we do some of our promotions.

When you’re generating traffic for a fansite, you should have three goals:

  • Increase repeat visits to your site;
  • Increase the time spent on your site; and
  • Increase the number of pages visited per visit.

    When you’re link building, you want to spend more time on links which will bring in a higher quality visit. Pure visitors are great but they aren’t the most useful metric around. Would you rather get 10,000 visitors who spend 10 seconds on your site and view one page? Or 1,000 visitors who spend 10 minutes on your site and visit 20 pages? The second one is the type of visit that builds value for your fansite. It means people are more likely to come back, more likely to register, more likely to contribute to your site, and more likely to refer people to your site.

    Ever heard of digg? A lot of fandom people I know aren’t that familiar with it but it is a hugely popular site. If you can get your site on the front page of digg, you can probably get in the neighborhood of 10,000 to 40,000 unique visitors. Ever heard of StumbleUpon? More of my fandom friends have. StumbleUpon, if your site is stumbled right, can get you a few hundred visits a day. A lot of fansites would kill for that. (If the increased traffic didn’t kill their sites.) Those stats make it seem like it would be a no brainer: use both to try to increase your traffic! Lots of visitors!

    Another way to generate traffic is by wanking. Make fandom_wank or sf_drama and you can probably see another 1,000 to 3,000 visitors. If you’re linked through metafandom for being controversial, you can expect between 500 and 2,000 visitors depending on how many posts you’re linked on, how controversial you are and what day of the week it is. But like digg and Stumbleupon, these are cheap visits. Most of the visitors you get through wanking are wank navel gazers. They come in, view one page, spend between 10 seconds to 1 minute on your site, then go. They generally don’t repeat. In fact, because of the tie-ins to wank, they are less likely to be repeat visitors than if you had been linked through Digg. This is because your reputation ends up getting smacked around and you become known as a wanker. And once the wank winds down, your traffic levels off to prewank levels. The high in increased visitors doesn’t hold. You’ll get a massive drop off. So using wank to generate traffic, unless you’re specifically running a wank-type site like fandom_wank or EncyclopediaDramatica, isn’t a good idea. It doesn’t help build value by increasing the visits to your site, increasing time spend on the site, or increasing the number of page views per visit. (It is why Fan History mods don’t intentionally go around wanking; it doesn’t help our more important and valuable metrics. Quality over quantity of visits. And when we have wanked, our traffic tends to fall off a cliff about two days after the wank dies down. We’ve known this for over a year now when we first got the numbers to demonstrate it.)

    Want some real numbers for that? Fan History’s numbers:

    Average digg visitor to Fan History views 1.76 pages and spends 35 seconds on the site. Stumblers view an average 2.27 pages per visit and spend 1 minute 25 seconds on the site. It is harder to separate the wank traffic but the metrics are pretty similar because wank happens all over. But we were mentioned on ranty-rie‘s LiveJournal recently. The average visitor viewed one page, spent less than 10 seconds on the site and didn’t come back.

    If you’re trying to build valuable traffic, what are valuable ways to link build to get visitors who come back, spend time on your site and view multiple pages? Personal e-mail. We have a couple of people on hotmail that we’ve e-mailed who ended up spending over an hour on the site and viewed more than 20 pages in their visit. On gmail? The average visitor views 21.77 pages and spends 21 minutes on the site. Positive mentions with attached discussion. Sidewinder blogs about Fan History on her LiveJournal pretty regularly. Our referrers through her? They view 21.5 pages and spend 11 minutes and 52 seconds per visit on average. (And most of them come back and view the site again.) Another good way to get traffic is to link to sites where the sites are small enough to watch and view every referrer. Fan History does that and people who come in with a referrer of a stat counter, they spend nearly 27 minutes on the site and view an average of 20 pages in their visit. Plugs on message boards also work really well if the message is about the site and the comment invites other comments or discussion about the site. We got mentioned on fannation.shades-of-moonlight.com and the average visitor spent 7 minutes on the site and viewed 13 pages.

    What does that mean? You want to build high quality links where you invite people to participate and be involved. You want a link where the discussion, overall, will have a positive tone. Doing that increases the time spent on the site, increases the number of pages viewed per visit and increases the amount of times a visitor visits your site.

    Don’t go for a cheap route of wanking or using services like digg. They don’t help your increase the value in your metrics.

    For information on Fan History’s metrics in general, see Quantcast, Alexa and Compete.

  • Congratulations to Encyclopedia Dramatica!

    December 17th, 2008

    In the Open Web Awards, I spent a lot of time voting for WikiHow and EncyclopediaDramatica. I was really happy to see that EncyclopediaDramatica won. My friends and Fan History’s tech guy really enjoy the site… at least in terms of content. There are also a lot of interesting articles over there, including one about Fan History. So yeah. Congrats to ED. Congrats to WikiHow too. You guys also rock!

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