NOTICE: This is a notification to all users of the Wizard101 Wiki of major changes being implemented by Wikia within the next month. The admins only received official notification of these changes on October 3.
Overview of Changes:
- The changes detailed below will have extreme effects upon our Wiki's function and appearance. We will basically lose our site's appearance without the option of restoring it, have very tiny article pages, lose a great deal of functionality on the site, be forced to allow unwanted external links, have more advertisements and ads on every page, have no more customization of the site, and some users will no longer be able to view or edit the site.
- This post's purpose is to inform users and start discussion, among the Wizard101 Wiki Community, about what you think of the changes and ideas over what to do about it. The admin are seriously considering options at this time to deal with the changes. We would like to hear from you first before we present some of the things we were thinking.
Please post your thoughts on this Forum! We want you to give your thoughts!
- More details are listed below, scroll to the bottom to read comments
- 1 Wikia Summary
- 2 How will this affect us?
- 3 How is it affecting other sites?
- 4 How do I see the new look for myself?
- 5 Comments
- 6 New Information and Reply
Wikia (our domain host) is implementing a new Skin to all pages on its sites. They are also changing their user agreement and policies regarding what a site is allowed to change and customize. These changes and their effects are mandatory for all sites regardless of whether the site users want them or not.
- October 6: Users can view what the new skin will look like from their preferences.
- October 20: All Wikis will by default have the new skin, logged-in users can temporarily turn it off.
- November 3: All sites will be on the new skin, options to work on previous skins will be removed.
How will this affect us?
Our Site's Appearance
Currently, our skin is customized specifically for our site, many of the settings are not default settings.
- All of the current colors, fonts, Wizard101-style graphics, and button style will be gone.
- We will be required to use one of several default appearances for the site. Basic colors and a background graphic can be used, but that is all the sites will be allowed to change about their appearance.
- Wikia has said that at some point in future (no dates given) a theme editor may/will be created to allow people minor control over their site's appearance.
- Basically, we will no longer have, nor will we be able to have in the future, our Wizard101-themed appearance.
- Page size will be dramatically reduced in width.
- While the main page will allow a width of 980 pixels, the article pages will be restricted to 660 pixels wide.
- Creature pages, for example, will be restricted to four spell cards wide, requiring you to scroll the page to even see all the spells a creature can cast.
- Location map images will not fit on the page, at 660 pixels, they are not very readable.
- Smaller pages, like pet snacks, will not be adversely affected.
- On the standard wider monitors you buy these days (running in 1440x900 pixels), you will have about 9 inches of space external to the articles, 3 inches of content we can't control, including advertisements, and 6 inches of blank space.
- The current sidebar for site navigation will be removed completely.
- The only method of site navigation will be a top bar with total room for 28 links (4 tabs, 7 links each)
- We currently have over 100 first and second order links on the sidebar with over 1400 links total, and even if you don't think they are all needed, that is a huge reduction in navigation.
- As well, we have been asked not to use all of those links for our own site, but to use some for links to Wikia instead.
- Links like "Random Page", "Wiki Activity", "New Pictures", and Forums, and Blog pages are being given precedence over Recent Changes in the Activity Feed, "Wanted Pages" and overall site Content.
- You will need to click to see the Activity Feed, and most people have pointed out they have to type in page names now to find them on converted sites.
- Accessing a page's history is now hidden and requires multiple clicks and going through an extra drop-down menu
- Seemingly random categories are added to a "read more" link which is not controllable.
- You can no longer access many features while editing (such as the search bar)
No More Customization
Nearly all of the options for customizing pages within the SourceWiki code will be removed for users and administrators. Some select options will be allowed but only at Wikia's discretion.
- We will lose a lot of our customization of the site that has been developed over the years.
- (Edits from the Rich Text Editor that we turned off were responsible for at least 200-400 weekly instances of page content deletion and really bad formatting of pages)
- Basically, we will not be allowed to implement any site-wide changes that Wikia doesn't like.
- For example, some sites have banned blogs because they don't want them (they took votes), Wikia will be disallowing that in the future.
Reduced Access to Users
- The new page will require HTML5 which is not supported by all browsers
Sadly, this seems to be the major motivation on Wikia's part for the changes. They want to replace our page content with ads and their content.
- There will be larger advertisements on the site's pages than before taking advantage of the extra space.
- There are advertisements on every page, which is far more than we currently have (2 on the main page).
Every Image will have a large label with the name of the last person who edited it, creating a large degree of clutter on the pages, but also giving credit to people who may not deserve it. (Imagine seeing names under every spell card and every symbol)
How is it affecting other sites?
- Overall, after a secret, private beta test, a poorly advertised public beta test, and thousands upon thousands of comments, the overall option was overwhelmingly negative in every case.
- Wikia has not responded to ANY of the negative criticisms regarding this change.
- MANY Wiki's are considering leaving Wikia and a number of them have left
Here are some links where you can see for yourself:
- The Anti-Wikia Alliance Page
- A Wikia Staff Blog on the Change, look through the nearly 4000 posted comments which are over 99% negative
- WoW Wiki, the largest (or close with nearly 90,000 pages) gaming Wiki on Wikia is considering leaving, they have a great list of problems with the new "look"
How do I see the new look for myself?
- Go to the MORE button in the upper right corner of your screen, select Preferences
- Select "Skin" from the Tab Menu
- Choose "New Wikia Look" and hit Save
- Choose "Monoco Preview" and hit Save to change it back!
- IMPORTANT, don't get lost, you will want to change it back
Ugh. I viewed maybe half a dozen pages to see how different things would be affected. I was SO getting claustrophobic. Half my screen will be wasted, the rest will be crammed together for what? So every screen will show the same standard? If we all wanted to see the same standard view, we would all buy the same computer. :P And the colors? Dark, horrid, muddy choices. The whole experience rather reminded me of sardines and poo.
If Wikia wants to add advertisements to a free-hosted page, it's their site, they have every right in the world. But the other changes make no sense at all, I can't imagine any of them were requested by anyone. They do not improve readability, functionality, appearance, anything. It's not broken, what are they fixing? Implementing negative changes with no clear purpose is business suicide. They're attracting so many users right now. If they alienate the majority of them just to put more ads on each page, they can't really believe more ad views will result when most of those users leave or lose interest.
I've learned a ton here (and tried to contribute just as much) but I was getting along well enough before I discovered the Wiki, I'd live without it. I'm cool with jumping ship if it comes to that. My two cents.
PunkyMax 07:05, October 8, 2010 (UTC)Max Daydreamer
The colors are so ugly! Is this some kind of joke? Ew! I agree with what PunkyMax said. Katherine Deathpants 15:17, October 8, 2010 (UTC)
These are awful changes and I cannot imagine what Wikia is thinking. The skin is almost outright offensive, and the crunched content area is horrible. Not to mention, with a lot of the adverts lately, I've noticed there's likely to be a lot of overlapping. I checked out the conversations over on WoWWiki and it's looking like they are really going to find an alternative. (And that they make up about 10% of Wikia's global page views, wow!) What would be the alternatives available for hosting a wiki style site like this? Jenna.elf 07:14, October 8, 2010 (UTC)
I found a place called ShoutWiki. http://www.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page I don't know how good it is, but that's an option. I would probably go wherever WoWWiki is going, since that's the best and biggest gaming wiki. Katherine Deathpants 16:02, October 8, 2010 (UTC)
I just took a look at what this will soon be looking like, and all I could say was wow. It's terrible! The dull black look is not a pleasure to look at, rather it was irritating and I had to switch it back right away. Please tell me there's SOMEthing we can do to keep it the way it is! -Yunggrillz
Its boring and it has nothing to do with wizard101. It's more like night time with red and colors like that --Tyler225544 20:19, October 8, 2010 (UTC)
Omg, i seriously hope something changes. And just when I was getting used to this wikia format! But actually, I dont think it's all that bad, I 100% would hope that it stays the way it is right now BUT if it were to change into the new format, I'm sure i'd be able to learn it. The rich text formatting problem is sort of more of a problem for me but now, thanks to EnlightendShadow, I've learnt a little bit more about the normal code formatting. Like with templates and stuff like that. Just writing normal text in the code formatting, i learnt many years ago due to updating Wikipedia, lol. Anyway, i hope it doesn't get changed though and that Wikia will somehow listen to our pleads.
Joshweiser22 (Joshua - LVL. 48 Ice Wizard) 20:59, October 8, 2010 (UTC)
A note that the colors would be somewhat controllable, just not the style, font, graphics, or anything else regarding the appearance.
We did manage to get the Rich Text Editor provided by Wikia turned off on the Wiki, which has been one of the greatest things ever and along with the templates has seemed to have led to a huge surge in edits and contributors on the wiki. Our understanding is that this will no longer be allowed with the new format, and the administrators will again have to hound every new contributor to turn off their Rich Text Editors.
To date, Wikia has given every sign that they aren't listening to anyone, constructive or otherwise (I cite the above links - they are reading comments, just not providing any constructive information, feedback, or indications of concern).
An additional link is the page which describes the secret, initial beta test and the public (unadvertised) betas: Wikia Beta Information Page. According to many of the private beta testers, the summary is very one-sided and excludes all negative feedback and only discusses positive feedback they received. This is very disconcerting.
Warning! Do not visit the Twilight Wiki on the page! It will auto-subscribe you and start sending you messages/emails!
ErinEmeraldflame 21:43, October 8, 2010 (UTC)
I think the new look is absolutely horrible. If wikia does not change their minds and ends up forcing all their wiki's to this new style, I would highly recommend moving, preferably to a site like http://wikispot.org/About_Wiki_Spot
From what I've read on wikispot, it's completely free for non-commercial wiki's like this one. Unlimited everything. You have complete control over the format and look of the pages. It doesn't look like it's going anywhere or changing anytime soon, which is a good thing. There are no adds; it runs completely on donations and it looks like they're doing quite well.
~ElectrodeXS.net 04:39, October 9, 2010 (UTC)
Wow. It's just... horrible. I swear i think my eyes are bleeding from looking at it. Very inartistic color, very poorly designed interface, too many limitations, and incredibly glitchy.
I could add so many more things that are horrible about it but whats the point if it's being forced on everyone? This is just as bad as youtube became when google took over the site and changed the once easy to use, clean, simple style of Youtube to a wasteland full of lag, ads, unnecessary special looking video players, and overall cluttered video and channel designs.
What are we to do..? I don't blame the wiki users that already quit. it seems reasonable, but this site, we have done so much on it! we can't let it all go to waste!
re11ding 17:08, October 9, 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like they have to start turning a profit or something like that. My guess is that this is too much. if Wow wiki leaves than i'd say their future is grim, and staying is not a real option. Thy will fail to turn a profit, and then shutter the site. Just my opinion based on what you have shared.--Mishatola 05:49, October 10, 2010 (UTC)
I know I am not active any more but it will be sad to see all the hard work Meritico & I put in when we took over go to waste. Most of the original custom theme was gathered and edited via photoshop to give the site a nice and cohesive feel - which has obviously been appreciated as well as the foundation of the - yes rather complex- navigation system - however it makes content a breeze to find. While I am extremely biased I would say that aesthetic appeal, easy to find content make this one of the better wiki's around - and the population and page growth has supports my humble opinion. Being an admin and having the opportunity to contribute to a site that has continued to grow and evolve is something I am very proud of. Therefore I would suggest that if anyone has the space to grab a copy of as many files as possible and if the wiki transfers to another site you could possibly get it back up and almost the way it is in a fairly reasonable time. I think the changes that Wikia proposes are too much. Jaycee27 10:41, October 10, 2010 (UTC)
- One thing - while I initially had the same idea as you, I found that saving copies of the pages on this wiki would be unneeded. If we move we would be able to just transfer all the content over to the new site. Katherine Deathpants 13:39, October 10, 2010 (UTC)
UGH NOT FAIR --Tdeathgem 19:45, October 10, 2010 (UTC)Thomas Deathgem
I am not amused D:< SinisterCookie 19:28, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
- Not sure if this is how I post here* Why not just get hosting for the Wiki, and then host it yourself? Please mail me if this is a possibility as I can help.Kinjiro 19:28, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
Considering that hosting is cheap and wiki software is open source, why not think about getting a domain (I dunno, wizard101wiki.com?) and moving the content to your own site? Then you wouldn't have to worry about Wikia's changes or rules or ads.
Akylax 15:30, October 16, 2010 (UTC)
New Information and Reply
Well, it seems like the overwhelmingly dominant position is to move the Wiki, and the admins (Potroast42, EnlightenedShadow, Nebrie, and myself ErinEmeraldflame) are all in favor of that as well, especially given what is happening here on Wikia.
We have been offered by a large Wizard101 Community to join forces. We will not have to worry about money or stability as this site has been around a long time and is very stable. We think this site is the best option because we know its stability, its dedication to Wizard101, and we will retain control over the customization, structure, and coding of the site. The Admins are in favor of joining this community and we've already started madly preparing to move the site. We are holding the name back right now in favor of a formal public announcement in the future.
Compared to the other options?
- Honestly, the process of moving the site to other hosts like ShoutWiki or to another site has the same benefits and challenges.
- The only minor concern about sites like ShoutWiki is that they haven't been around for as long and are still growing into getting features we would like. (Or that most of the other sites don't host Wikis as large as ours)
- We would have full control and customization over every aspect of the MediaWiki code.
What will this mean for the Wiki?
- We will be able to create the wiki as its own section of the site where it will be part of the site, but independent at the same time.
- We will be using the same MediaWiki freeware software and code as we are now, the basics of editing will be unchanged and the pages are directly transferable.
- Unfortunately, we can't easily export the skin directly anywhere, because the Wikia-based skin has an overabundance of Wikia-specific code.
- However, using a newer, freeware MediaWiki skin (Vector), we can program our own to do anything we want. We can recreate the skin to make it as close as possible to (or better than) the current skin. EnlightenedShadow has been working on learning all the coding for this.
- We can upgrade all the pages to have their own namespaces, e.g. Creature:Oakheart and NPC:Oakheart which will reduce almost all of the confusion between similarly-named pages.
- This would take getting used to, but we would anticipate an increase in users so this would make consistent editing better and make moderation easier for any admins because the site would be better organized.
- Lastly, namespaces will permit creation of forms to easily make pages.
- We need to finish converting most of the pages to templates facilitate any move.
- Having the pages in templates will make setting everything up on the new site SO much faster, making it worth the conversion time.
- We don't think we could have a new skin ready by the time Wikia implements their change, BUT we hope to have a functional, not-ugly, normal page width site with the same navigation system set up relatively soon.
- In the near future, we will begin to transfer over content. When this occurs we will let you know because it will probably span a couple weeks or so and new contributions may not be kept if made during that time.
(Posted by ErinEmeraldflame 17:25, October 10, 2010 (UTC))
Score. If functionality and templates are retained, perfect. I can live with a little ugliness if it gets the job done well. PunkyMax 13:33, October 11, 2010 (UTC)Max Daydreamer
Glad you guys are moving to a better host :). Give me a holler if you need help.
~ElectrodeXS.net 20:39, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
Ok, i am very glad to here this. Also, enlightendshadow, i might need your help to figure out how to move my Kodamon wikia site (if it needs moving). Please help me with any information about this wiki.
WOOT! I hated the new "options" we were getting. It made me kinda mad. :D I am glad that we are moving, and whereever we end up going shouldn't be to different it seems. Glad you found a solution. --Jeffrey Icehunter 06:15, October 12, 2010 (UTC)Jeffrey Icehunter
Well, Good luck with the move.
I did wish to add that not all of the changes seem to be that bad. Not that I'm supporting them or anything.
Mainly on limiting the monitor width. True a lot of people have wider monitors, myself included. HOWEVER, I find that limiting my display width to around 8-900 pixels gives me a more pleasing reading width and viewing experience.
You may also consider that this site suffers from some poor organization. We should not have to go through more than 3 layers deep to find what we are looking for. Yes the game is large and has many items, but sometimes making the categories too small hurts instead of helps.
We have more root categories than would be currently allowed on the new style's navigation bar. If people didn't already know the exact name (spelling and capitalization included) to type directly in as a url, this would force people to navigate category pages with hundreds of pages on them to find it. And remember the page requirement isn't 800-900, its 660, which is smaller than hundreds of images on the site (you wouldn't be able to read any of the location maps anymore). The small categories aren't a problem, in fact we have already eliminated hundreds of them and the final template conversions will eliminate hundreds more, its the inability to navigate to all the root categories.