An acquaintance in #wikia (yes, I’m back hanging out there. I have a confusing relationship with the site) asked me to plug xbox.answers.wikia.com. It is a relatively new Wikia answers site for help you need. If you have questions about the X-Box, ask them there. If you can help answer questions, please help edit. The wiki is also recruiting new admins so if you have wiki adminning experience and are looking for a new project, it is also worth checking out.
Posts Tagged ‘wikia’
A recent article in The Register called US music publishers sue online lyrics sites. TechDirt also covered this in their article Music Publishers Now Suing Lyrics Sites And Their Execs. One of the sites included was LyricWiki. Basically this lawsuit would shove the site in with those who burn and sell music without a license.
The dream will live on – Yay! Wikia has arranged a licensing deal so that royalties can be paid to music publishers, which will avoid the nasty risk of the site being sued out of existence. It’s good to know that our years of hard work won’t be evaporating any time soon! This is a gigantic relief for me and I’m sure many of you as well.
It is unfortunate to hear such things have to happen to some sites. I am willing to bet it was more for the money to sue in these economic times, rather than to stick it to another for copyright infringement. With so many sites out there that involve lyrics.
No offense, but when I go to a lyrics site, I am usually thinking of a tune or maybe a friend asked and here I am searching to find the song. Not all artists print their lyrics within their albums. I know, I have quite a few CDs on my shelf to prove that. So – these lyrics sites are really useful. Some of these lyrics sites I have gone to for years have been open for over a decade. How is a .ORG site (which technically by definition means the site is not really for profit) actually profitting from this?
I’d really like to see them prove that. These sites aren’t profiting off the backs of songwriters, they’re helping more people find and understand the lyrics of songs they like. That gives fans a closer connection to the music and more reason to buy things which will actually bring songwriters money. It’s stunning how shortsighted and backwards the music publishers are being here.
Although it has been said years ago that it was indeed illegal to do such, these sites have been harmless. Anyway…
For me to LyricWiki, I guess it kind of was a forced move to go to Wikia. Myself, I probably would have done the same if faced with being sued and the licensing price alone was insanely expensive. Sorry to hear about it – may Wikia not kill your site.
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.
There is something that Wikia does pretty damned well and that’s Gaming wikis. If you were creating a wiki dedicated to gaming, they would be one of the hosts I would recommend. Why? Because Wikia has awesome connections in the Gaming community. They’ve developed relationships with game developers and other companies. This has a positive effect on those wikis in terms of helping generate content, getting contributors, etc. They get the companies and people involved with them to help out on some of their wikis. How cool is that?
A really good example of this? Jesse Heinig, one of the developers for Fallout has made a few edits on the Fallout wiki. And he’s chatting with contributors on #wikia-fallout on freenode on IRC. How damned cool is that?
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.
I was hanging out in #wikia on irc.freenode.net when some one came in to talk about their new Wikia wiki: Fan Fic Wikia. I went to look and… yeah. This wiki host for fan fiction doesn’t look very well thought out. I’ve thought about how to tweak MediaWiki to be a fan fiction archive. (It’s doable. It just is not very easy to do.) I don’t think they will ever get may contributors and if they do gain an active contributor base, they are going to run into a few problems quickly. And if they get anyone posting fan fiction that doesn’t belong to them, then they might be the subject of an angry mob.
These are a few questions I have for them:
- Can you license fan fiction under a GFDL license? Is that a legal copyright for works that might be viewed by the courts as derivative where the works really belong to the intellectual copyright holder and not the person posting them?
- If you are an author contributing, how do you delete your stories? (Blanking doesn’t equal deleting.) Most fan fiction authors I know have control issues regarding where their stories are allowed. If you cannot have control over your own work, then why should you participate?
- Doesn’t a GFDL license basically give any other site with a GFDL license the right to use your fan fiction? How do you reassure people that their material won’t be used that way? Wikia isn’t likely to allow a license change to allow that.
- What sort of plagiarism protections are you going to have? And if an author is found to have been plagarized, how are you going to handle it?
- You’re located on Wikia so I assume that means zero adult content? And no shota of any kind? How will that be handled? It could be a real selling point so I’d stick that on the main page. And then on subpages with a note that you’re going to be banned if you include it because it violates the ToS of your host.
There are probably a bunch of other issues I have with using MediaWiki and Wikia as a host for fan fiction using a non-modified version but those are the immediate ones that come to mind.
Taking notes as a presentation by Evan on wikis as business because I am not facilitating this session. Some random thoughts from this:
Introducing money into the equation can change the dynamics of a wiki community.
There is a fear that the wiki maintainer will profit off other people’s work. Wiki maintainers and owners need to really work on it so that they treat their contributors with respect, help with administration and provide services to the community. Communities need to own the project. The company owns the website.
One wiki model that has worked is doing wiki farms but it isn’t really a software business in an interesting way because it doesn’t have the content issue and the community issues in that way.
This may pose a question regarding a business model that is viable. How can you make it a successful business if you can’t generate revenue just through advertising?
Ways to do that? Let the community pay for the platform… That may work well in some places but people are like “Why should I pay for the privilege of working for you?”
Google Advertising can remove value because the value ends up only being in the words. Possible way is to go directly to the advertiser. It helps improve your return on advertising.
Display Revenue takes a lot more organizational work than Google Revenue.
For a site like vinismo, direct advertising may work really well because the content is very focused in its content and mission.
WikiTravel declared that the far right column is for advertising. The ads didn’t appear in the wiki content.
WikiTravel also generates revenue through being able to print up physical version in a condensed version for people to use in another medium where they sell that printed version.
Most of the editors for the print version come from the WikiTravel community. They get hired for the print version. Being hired for wikitravel from with in the community helps maintain the community.
Books cost between $12.95 and $25 and you get the most up to date version.
Other mediums are about brand extension.
Yellow Wikis got shut down because of trademark but they were similar to the yellow pages. Their business model was that businesses could pay to protect their page. It was partially succesful. It might have moved to Wikia.
There is a question of if paying for ownership of a topic can be done in an ethical.
AboutUs pays for the article to be written, the article to be featured, etc. Companies get follow links when they pay. (But everyone who does constructive edits gets their links turned on to follow. That is manually being done. That policy is still in the air.) The main page rank has a lot of good page rank so that they have good reason to pay in some reasons.
There was a business that did a pay for improving articles on Wikipedia. The business that did that kind of got shut down because while they had the know how to write good edits on Wikipedia, the business didn’t interact well with the Wikipedia community.
Some people still do paid article writing on Wikipedia. They just aren’t as obvious as about it, are good communities, etc.
If you can show value to the community, that you aren’t taking anything away from the community, then it makes sense to do some monetization.
Three basic components to monetize: 1) Software, 2) Content & Advertising services, 3) People side and how to wiki. (Steven Walling.)
Dream Fish does a collaboration and co-working consulting business that is about establishing a collaboration culture. It is about practicing together. There is a paid content fee for some types of content. They help them find the appropriate wiki software to help them serve their goal. They help them figure out how they want to network and use collaborative tools. They also help people identify key people to help them implement their solution.
Steward Meyner does wiki consulting.
Microsoft has tried to put out white papers on how they use wikis.
Portland created a wiki and later didn’t realize what they wanted to do with their wiki. They ended up backtracking because of that as a result.
There is a need for a wiki for wiki consultants where you can get reputation, years of experience and involvement with types of software.
Wiki is great for content based websites. It can be more cost effective with users generating content.
GoogleAds wasn’t something that AboutUs originally feel was going to pan out but now they have changed their view because it now works and their Google Ads and they make money. It helps because they have really broad ads which works pulls them up which Google Ads helps serves up. They are also helped because they get a lot of traffic. They tried content categories for niche sales but for AboutUs it really hasn’t worked well so far. AboutUs thinks that Google Ads works well for random content where they can’t really target. It can be hard to sell specific ads for sections because it takes time and effort and people to sell ads across those categories.
wikiHow has a very similar model to AboutUs. That works really well for wikiHow.
LeadGen is a model about selling the ability to do surveys where the company does polls that they then sell that polling information to marketing companies. Leads can be worth $30 to $40. AboutUs learned about it from All Star Directory. That site has a lot of information about colleges and universities. People fill out forms with the expectation of being contacted about that information. It is online research, offline purchase. It can remove some of those issues involving community as your community isn’t going to get ad information they don’t ask for.
Wagn is a company that gets paid to host and doing consulting services related to the wiki they are hosting. Wagn doesn’t have wiki competitor because of what they are doing.
Mahalo has a micropayment service to reward for contributors where they can monetize it off. This might not work for everyone as people can be corrupted by reward. Alfie Cone did some research where kids were paid to play games and some were not. The kids who got paid stopped playing with toys when they told they were done. People get different things out of an altruistic activity. You need to consider some of that when you try things like that.
Evan doesn’t see wiki software business as much different than other software selling businesses. The only thing that might be different is the admin type function.
Wikia pays people to do some of that community maintenance. But that feels like doing it just to help generate community. Wikia also pays for wikis. They use a selling point of helping with community moderation to help prevent fights.
Wagn has a possible selling point of maintaining things so that people wn’t have to worry about becoming them next magnolia. The person can have back ups easier than other places. Wagn can also sell on having structured data and yet behind collaborative. They can also show that they need to sell that the content can’t be behind a firewall because their software is so great. They also help people to help them wagneering/wikibuilding which helps those users get greater ownership in house.
Ward Cunningham was told with in a week that he should patent the wiki idea. He didn’t necessarily see a way to patent it with out a wiki community being active. He didn’t see a business model off the first wikis. A few years later, he talked to entrepreneurs who paid him to do consulting and customer support where he found that it could make money in that way in terms of live organizational support and structuring. But the amount of support wasn’t necessarily right as it required almost a job to do that he wasn’t interested in. He now gives wikis to people for free. Ward calls his software The Wiki or more properly, Wiki Version 4. His big wiki is currently on Wiki Version 1. Wiki Version 4 is more modular. Ward did explore potential when was at its peak to sell the wiki. He talked to some people, went through some friends and some people might have been interested but the people interested would only have paid for the code based on how much it would have cost for the company to create the software themselves. The potential buyers were not interested in the community built on the site. Ward has made some money off Amazon Associated from the sale of books. He also makes money off the business card. He has never gotten any consulting work off of his wiki work… which is wow as he invented wikis. That might have been because he highballed the price. He was competing against Lotus Notes. The competitor might have looked at it as Lotus Notes vs. lone consultant and the end users doing the asking because they wanted to avoid Lotus Notes. The higher ups weren’t as interested in the user experience.
Are we hard wired to get personal gratification for being altruistic? Can that be used to make wikis better? Maybe wikis can be used to help prevent donor fatigue.
Some people may be hard wired to give and people might be emotionally hurt if they don’t give.
How would be work differently if that isn’t hard wired but cultural? Maybe it wouldn’t make a difference at all.
People might be financially rewarded for what they are passionate about. Though that might actually be hard to monetize.
Ward Cunningham didn’t worry about money as much when perusing his passion. He might not have been positioned as well connection wise in order to make money.
Wiki might not have been positioned correctly to get patented because when done it might have been viewed as something like herding chickens.
The idea for patents is to encourage innovation but it might not do that because it encourages people to work in isolation. Rather, all it does is encourage people to make a business model around an idea.
It isn’t necessarily fair to compare these periods as they aren’t the same but I did it anyway.
Getting less daily traffic on average off JournalFen, TVTropes, DeviantArt, Wikia, FanPop, FanFiction.Net, StumbleUpon, TechCrunch. JournalFen can be explained with less wank. The rest are generally not our links and we’re not actively promoting over there to generate traffic.
Up up a lot for LiveJournal we’ve been promoting heavily on LiveJournal, Chickipedia because we added links there, and Twitter because we added more followers on our recentchanges account.
It will be interesting to see if these patterns hold for the rest of the month.
I haven’t looked at our traffic sources for the main wiki in a while so I thought I would do that today. The following are traffic sources for Fan History on wikis, on social networking and bookmarking sites and other links where the links were added most likely by Fan History admins. (I attempted to remove some of the organic linking.) It doesn’t include all sources. (DMOZ, Yahoo!Groups, etc. were left off but didn’t give much traffic.)
LiveJournal continues to be a major traffic driver for us. I chatted with another wiki maintainer about this. We’re both LiveJournal users and have been for years. We tend to get trapped into the idea that LiveJournal is the be all, end all of getting traffic. It is a nasty little problem. I think we’re both trying to break it. Still, if you’re on LiveJournal, it isn’t a bad way to generate traffic and improve your SEO.
AnimeNewsNetwork is our next biggest traffic source. We have a lot of anime and manga related material so this makes sense for us. This source has converted visits to edits a couple of times so happy about that.
Wikipedia is great if you can get links added. Just don’t get yourself banned for linkspam.
Wikia has a lot of specific topic wikis which can be a great way to get traffic if your content relates to those wikis. I’ve found if you ask, that can help get those folks to be involved with adding links to your site on those wiki.
FanPop is great but the traffic that we get from them? It involves about 400 links on their site and it doesn’t necessarily help with SEO. It can be great for you if you’re trying to generate traffic but at the same time, it feels like a lot of work for very little reward.
FanFiction.Net links are not our additions. Fan History is working on becoming a sort of phone book/directory of everyone in fandom. Given that, people will link to the articles about themselves. I’ve found this to happen the most on LiveJournal, smaller fandom specific message boards and on FanFiction.Net. So if you can get links like those, fantastic.
Twitter links frequently come about from links on our twitter accounts, and on my primary Twitter account. We get the occasional visit from others who link on twitter but not that often. I tend to think that is because we have some content issues. Our content isn’t as comprehensive as it could be… which is a major problem for wikis.
Yahoo!Answers can be great. It doesn’t take much time and the hits are good. This source, outside of Fan History and Google, tends to be the biggest source of traffic for FanworksFinder. The exposure here tends to be better than FanPop, even though you get fewer hits from it because the potential audience feels a lot bigger.
IMDB feels like FanPop at times. We have probably 30 links over on IMDB but they don’t get us much traffic. Still, great site to be linked on considering their credibility and the SEO value.
StumbleUpon is just not something that I’ve ever figured out how to do well. Woe. So we’re just not getting much traffic from it.
We’re still trying to figure things out in terms of generating traffic with a limited budget and limited time. It is really educational and there are things which I know we could do better. (Get more twitter followers, working on improving our interactions on services like LiveJournal, MySpace, FaceBook by being more interactive. Following up on comments, etc.)
I’ll close this little summary of our traffic with the following:
Despite its opponents’ claims that people used the software to post lewd or libelous comments, Third Voice didn’t go down in a lawsuit. The company’s conundrum was much more banal: Third Voice couldn’t generate enough advertising revenue to raise consumers’ awareness of its free service, and it couldn’t generate enough consumer awareness to raise the advertising revenue it needed to stay in business. Third Voice Trails Off…
I was poking around various fan fiction archives last night, looking for archives to contact about FanworksFinder. One of these archives was encouraging its members to click on Google Ads as a way of helping to cover costs. This had worked. When they stopped encouraging people, their Google Ads revenue dropped a lot. In the end, they were busted for click fraud as a result. (Because Google accused them of clicking on their own ads to make money.)
If you’re a fansite and you want to cover your costs, Google ads are one way to go. If they aren’t working on their own to raise revenue, DO NOT ENCOURAGE USERS TO CLICK ON ADS! DO NOT CLICK ON ADS YOURSELF! THAT IS CLICK FRAUD! You get caught at it and you all the revenue you’ve earned goes poof! You won’t get that check. I’ve seen a number of fansites get busted for click fraud where they encouraged their users to click on ads to cover costs. I’ve heard of several fan people who got busted for click fraud because they were accused of clicking on ads themselves. No check. And if you’re announcing the “Click to pay our bills!” effort on your site? Then anyone with a grudge against you can report you to Google Ads for click ad. You’re opening yourself up to lots of trouble. Don’t engage in click fraud!
If you need the money that badly to pay for costs for your fansite, there are ways that are much less risky than click fraud. There are three ways I recommend to help raise funds. First, ask your users to donate money to help cover costs. If your site is that important to them, they’ll contribute. Second, consider an advertising network like ProjectWonderful which pays out at $10 and is paid based on the amount of views to your site. Also fantastic about ProjectWonderful? You can encourage your users to buy ads for their sites and projects on your site. It isn’t just begging for donations then. Third, find a better hosting solution. You can move to a free host. (Transfer your wiki to say Wikia.) You can move to a cheaper host. (Fan History went from SiteGround to SliceHost and saved about $100 a month.) This could make your hosting more affordable for you. If you need more ideas, contact me on AIM at h2oequalswater or some other way. I’m more than willing to help you.
Just don’t engage in click fraud with Google Ads. You’ll get caught. It will cost you legit funds you earned. It is unethical. Just don’t do it! Find another solution!
Writing WoWWiki: Online Collaborative Composition in a Fan Community is a dissertation written by University of Wisconsin, Madison students that looks at what the title suggests it looks at. If you’re interested in wikis and fan communities, this might be worth giving a read.
When you’re running a fansite, LiveJournal community, mailing list, ficathon, convention or anything else in fandom where you’re effectively in charge, there are all sorts of communication issues that have to be dealt with. As the person who is running whatever fandom project you’re running, the weight of whatever decision is made falls on you. Whatever risk, be it legal, financial or social, there is with the project is yours to bear. You’re on a different level with the users because you don’t necessarily have the same purposes for being involved. These different levels can cause communication problems.
Did I mention problems? Companies operating in fandom can attest to the communication problems that arise. Wikia, LiveJournal, Quizilla, Lucasfilms Ltd., TokyoPop have all had to deal with the backlash of members of fandom not being happy with the decisions made by those corporations. Fan run groups also have had similar problems in communication with fandom regarding the purpose of their projects, the rules they have, etc and have had to deal with backlashes. Organization for Transformative Works, SkyHawke, FicWad, SugarQuill, Fiction Alley, ficathons or communities that have not allowed slash or gen, mailing lists over policies regarding concrit, the list could go on and on.
So how do you communicate with the community which you’re creating or operating in? There is no simple answer. Over on InsaneJournal and LiveJournal, I’ve discussed this with a few people who have operated fansites and other fan communities. Even amongst my peers, we can’t reach a consensus.
While there are no simple answers, there are questions that can help you determine how you should communicate with them and what about.
- Should you tell users all about the financial situation in regards to your project?
This is a common communication problem for fan projects because they take money to run. Fans can sometimes have entitlement issues which can make those who run projects queasy about because those fans can wank a money situation hard core. Couple that with your own need for money to help fund your site, well… huge problems can develop.
Before communicating with your users or others involved with your project, determine your comfort level and your potential monetary needs. If you’re not willing to be in the spotlight, then consider not talking about money. Deal with everything behind the scenes;try to keep the project scalable so you don’t need to create waves with users by begging for donations or adding advertisements. By making changes and being public about those changes and the monetary reasons behind it, you’re likely to become fandom unpopular and end up on fandom wank. If discussing money in fandom is something you’re not comfortable with, don’t discuss it period and don’t create situations where you might need to. If you need money to run the site, then be honest about it from the get go. Be as specific as you’re comfortable with and provide as much information to users as you think they need in order for you to meet your finacial obligations for the project.
- Should you discuss policy decisions with your users?
Fan fiction archives, mailing lists, LiveJournal communities, wikis, forums have rules. (Or don’t. But most do.) At some point, some one is going to object to those rules existing or run afoul of them. You’ll ban some one for plagiarism. Some one will question why your m/m slash community doesn’t allow f/f slash. People will get upset because you needed to throttle bandwidth and turned off the feature that they cannot live with out. People will demand, absolutely DEMAND an explanation from you in some of these cases.
This situation is difficult. My advice is make a short statement and do not engage outside that. If you must engage, do so privately. By actively and publicly engaging your users over say why you banned a particular author for plagiarism, you’re inviting them into dialog. That dialog is probably one that you cannot control. If the dialog is going on on your community or site and you shut it down after you’ve participated, people are going to come after you with all sorts of lovely accusations of stopping freedom of speech, breaking your own rules and being a hypocrit. It is a situation you cannot win because you probably won’t be able to scream as loud as those complaining as their numbers are probably larger than yours. Just wait it out, be willing to risk losing participants and friends. Don’t capiluate unless you have to because by capitulating, you’re giving people permission to pull that similar stunts. Eventually, those situations will pass.
Before you get there, make sure your ass is covered. About page, Terms of Service pages, contact information, rules pages, help pages on how to use your project, a history of your project, all of those are communication tools. If you want, include an article about why your policies are the way they are… but have it up before you launch. If you don’t accept chan because you are in Australia and that’s child porn, then communicate that with your users so they know who to blame. (The Australian government, not you the fan fiction archivist.) Make sure they are linked in your header, footer or sidebar so people don’t have an excuse for not seeing them. That can head off some of the worst that may come at you.
- Should I communicate with people participating with my project?
This is a question I’ve seen from a few tech oriented people in fandom. They do not see the inherent need to communicate with the users on the sites they run. Or they think that they can get away with just communicating with their administrative help people. I’ve also seen members of fandom lament over the lack of contact they’ve had with administrators at the sites they use. This happens with big sites like FanFiction.Net and smaller groups like mailing lists or LiveJournal communities.
The decision to communicate with people involved with your project comes down to a couple of things. Do you need to continue to promote your project? If yes, then you need to communicate with participants until such a time that marketing begins to take care of itself. If no, then you might be able to get away with it. Do you plan to use the project as an example of your coding skills and is that your primary motivation for building the project? If yes, then you can probably get away with out communicating with participants for your project because the project isn’t about the participants and the community but about the underlying value being the coding. Is your project central to your identity in fandom? If yes, then you probably want to help keep and maintain that identity by protecting your project by communicating with your project’s participants. Can you get some one else to communicate for you? If yes, then the pressure is off you and you can use that other person to handle any problems. Can you afford to lose people because you’re not answering questions? If yes, then you probably don’t need to communicate that often with people.
- What platform should I use to keep in touch with people?
There are so many tools out there for people to communicate with participants in their projects. They include blogs, message boards, IRC, instant messenger programs, report abuse forms, contact forms, services like getsatisfaction.com, social networking services, e-mail, mailing lists, the main page of your site, private messaging through various sites, microblogging services, flyers, the phone, snail mail mailings, etc. Before you start your project, determine how you’re going to do that. Consistency for you and participants related to your project is important. (I know. I’ve learned the hard way and I still make this mistake.) Find a method of communicating that you’re comfortable with. If you can’t stand twitter but your users are all on twitter, then don’t use it as your primary communication tool because you’re less likely to be as responsive as you should be to people’s concerns. Use the tools that you’re most comfortable with to communicate with people. And then advertise what tools people can use to get in touch with you using and under what conditions they should contact you.
How you communicate, what you communicate about and when you communicate are personal decisions and/or business like decisions. No solution is one size fits all. Determine your needs, your objectives and your comfort levels and you should be able to find a solution that works for communicating regarding your project in the fan community.
That sounds interesting but at the same time, this comment gives me pause and I wonder about the long term funding and growth. It seems like they have a good team, a good plan but so many things happen in fandom.
I’m also watching the Wikia situation closely. It does really demonstrate that classic web paradox: You need a lot of money to launch. You probably can’t monetize right way. Monetization comes after you have the user base. The user base creates the content for which you’re able to monetize. In exchange, unless you’re doing a service like LinkedIn which is reliant upon contribution, the user gets “free” web hosting and related services. The site has to answer to both parties. Sometimes, the users will get what they see as the short end of the stick in order for the other parts of this system to get what they need. Sometimes, the investors/advertisers will have to do what they don’t want to do in order to maintain the balance. The company, maintainer, website, fan is in the middle, having to figure out how they can please both, or who they can afford to offend in order to meet their own goals and objectives.