Now that it's been an incredible three years since we made our content dump of the Doom Wiki at its prior host, I thought I'd go over the situation in retrospect and see how clear it has become that the right decision was made and whether or not the project has been successful.
First and foremost I have to start off by talking about how the situation on Wikia has only deteriorated since we left, particularly since some of the debate at the time of the fork was over whether or not they should be given time to refine the then-so-called "Oasis" skin, which later just became "Wikia". I'll just list out some of the myriad ways in which it has not been improved, but rather made much worse since the split:
No questions here. Some of the things I've seen, on the old Doom wiki and on other Wikia sites, surpass even my wildest, darkest conjectures about how things were going to go four years ago.
- Image attributions, telling who uploaded a picture rather than who created it, along with a big bright "Add a photo" button on every page, encourage mass addition of media without regard to copyright status.
- Clicking on actual images no longer takes one to the image's data page but instead to an intermediate gallery. While attempting to cycle through such galleries, images will at random be replaced with ads (even if you have adblock, you get an empty ad page). You must then do a couple additional clicks to actually get to an image's File namespace article.
- User avatars, forums, and blogs, which don't fit a wiki's purpose or mission, and can't be seamlessly controlled by the moderators.
- Floating bar at the bottom pushes popup messages on every page hit and takes up more screen real estate that tries to guide the user away from the wiki they're browsing.
- Direct control. Wikia's answer to us moving was to assign several staff members to take over the old wiki.
- All external links hit a redirect page that makes sure to show you more ads (or waste-of-time blank space if you have a blocker).
- "Read more" section automatically generated for every article, can't be controlled, and usurps user-created categorizations and "see also" lists. Often links to things not related, makes arbitrary use of an image off each page that is chosen to represent that article, sometimes with humorous results.
- WYSIWYG editor which is now the default, lowers the bar of entry to monkey-banging-on-keyboard level. Still generates horrendously broken wiki code in many circumstances, and what you see is NOT always what you get, leading to terribly broken edits.
How are we doing on the new wiki? Edit rates are up, spam is well-controlled, article quality is generally increasing slowly but surely. SEO has had some dramatic ups and downs but it appears we are starting to win out for many types of queries on Google - a few I've done in the past week have *only* returned hits for doomwiki.org, meaning we have some unique, valuable content to offer, and that my own and others' directed efforts toward that end are paying off.
I feel like external recognition is still low, though. A lot of people who are only on the fringe of the community, or outside it entirely, that I've interacted with aren't aware of the new wiki and haven't heard any of the history about why it exists.
For the future I think there is still a lot of work for those of us actively involved to do, but I feel like it has overall been a great success.
Last edited by Quasar on Mar 15 2014 at 03:06