C's note - I have had to guess the email for the CEO of Wikia, as they've changed who it is since I've last communicated with their CEO. I've posted this in on Community central and sending it to their contact us in an attempt to maximise our chances, as well as tweeted and direct messaged it at them.
Dear Mr Doyle
I write asking you to intervene in the dispute between the community I speak for (Nukapedia: The Fallout Wiki) and Fandom. I previously communicated with your predecessor on this matter.
We have again seen “Featured Video” added onto our wiki. Despite the community’s repeated insistence that this feature was not wanted and is seen as a breach of our editorial independence and control, it seems that Fandom will not accept that no means no.
This arrived without warning - and whilst I understand the commercial need to act quickly in light of an unexpected announcement, the damage and drama it has caused to the community when we should be doing the hard work to prepare the content your platform needs to drive eyeballs and ads is most unwelcome.
You may be aware that part of our community has been preparing an option to move the community to an independent wiki status. Saying that this situation has put the community, and the wiki it supports, at serious risk is no idle comment… The infrastructure and skills are in place to make this happen, if this is the path the community chooses to go.
But even those of us who are most “bullish” about independence as an option know that this option comes with such risks that it should only be pursued as a last resort. Although it does present us with many great opportunities, we acknowledge the strength that Fandom has behind it. Even those who are the least negative on the feature fear the damage to the community if there is yet another split - we never truly regained the skills lost in the previous split.
We're reaching a stalemate and some movement is needed on both sides to steer things down a better road.
The community’s greatest desire is that we go back to exactly where we were 12 months ago, where there was no forced video, where we had a positive relationship with Fandom and its staff. It is my belief that we can get back there, if Fandom makes that choice.
Will you help us resolve this situation?
Please note, I consider this this is an open letter, and unless directed otherwise reserve the right to post any replies. The public version of this letter can be found on our forum here:
We have the support of another Fandom Community - Halo Nation - in this request to you. They too regret Fandom’s deteriorating relationship with the wikis it hosts and feel their community is at risk by Fandoms continued insistence on adding this feature, and hope to see a change in relationship going forward. We will be sharing this letter and your responses with them
Agent c / Chad H.
Jun 19, 7:50 PM UTC: Hi Chad,
I spoke with Andy yesterday and he'd like to have a video call with you regarding Featured Video on the wiki. I am currently waiting to hear back from his assistant regarding available times. I know you're in the UK - are there some times in the next week or so that work for you?
Jen Burton VP, Community FANDOM
Jun 19, 9:00 PM UTC: Hi,
I’m currently working two jobs, so nailing me down for a call is tough. The only time I’m likely to be available is on a friday night for me, after 10:30pm my time, which I think is mid afternoon. This coming one is no good, but next week is looking okay _c
Jun 19, 9:38 PM UTC: Hi Chad -
I just heard back from Andy's assistant regarding your availability on the 29th at 10:30 UK time and, unfortunately, Andy will be on a flight at that time. Are there any times the following week (first week of August) that work for you?
Jen Burton VP, Community FANDOM
Jun 19, 9:39 PM UTC: Do you mean July? Easy to get those mixed up
Again the Friday evening/mid to late afternoon should be okay _c
Jun 19, 10:19 PM UTC: Oops - yes. I've been doing that all day.
Jen Burton VP, Community FANDOM
Jun 20, 3:52 PM UTC: Hi Chad,
We're on for July 6 at 10:30pm your time. As we get closer to the date I'll send you info on how to join our video conference system.
Attendees are currently myself, Andy Doyle and Dorth Raphaely (our Chief Content Officer). If you'd like to invite any other members of the Fallout admin team, please do.
Jen Burton VP, Community FANDOM --- Jun 20, 17:48 PM UTC:
I’ll let you know who’ll be attending from our side as I discuss it with people.
Just as I know some similar calls have been held… Our interest here is in talking to the ultimate decision maker who can make decisions without having to worry about some policy or procedure they don’t have authorisation to change. To that end, I really want to stress that we’re participating in this because we want to talk to Andy. Wikia/Fandon is welcome to have any other attendees they choose, but if he’s not available we will be expecting the call to be rescheduled to when he is.
Comments and discussion
The way I see it is we have three options if we don't start to get some engagement from Wikia/Fandom:
- We can simply accept it. Roll over and play dead.
- We can go, and show it wasn't a bluff.
- We can set some sort of unilateral red line, warning them if they cross it we'll start the process of moving.
What are people's thoughts? Is there a 4th option I'm not seeing?
I'm hoping people see option 3 as a good compromise. We can set something like "If you (Fandom) add a video that isn't made by/endorsed by Beth/Zenimax, we'll give you 14 days to fix it, else we go" Obviously the community would need to decide the exact form. Agent c (talk) 13:41, June 17, 2018 (UTC)
- I want to be in favor of compromise or of drawing a line in the sand; however, if Fandom have any inclination of making this a battle of attrition rather than a speedy skirmish, I believe Nukapedia has the most to lose. Exodus’ viability is not indefinite, at least not with any level of practicality. Given Fandom’s history of non-communication and slow replies, whether intentional or not, the window of Exodus being proper leverage in any discussion, let alone its viability as a standalone site if needed, will expire as 76 gets closer to launch.
- If this dialogue outlasts the initial blast of new information and searches for details on 76, that will effectively eliminate an Independent Nuka’ having a chance to ride the wave of frequent searches. It also means that in the interim, any new articles, edits, and BST poured into 76 on the Fandom site will have only benefited the giant mega Wiki that already has priority on search results.
- The longer the decision to split is postponed, the higher the likelihood Nuka’ will be creating pages under the Fandom banner that will be directly competing for search results if we split. That’s far less of an issue for games that are 5, 10, or 20 something years old, but it matters more than perhaps any other aspect of the move if Nuka’ plans to continue being a wiki and not just a community site. New pages, unique to an Independent Nuka’, will be its lifeblood. While no one is advocating directly damaging the Fandom Fallout, a direct result of Nuka leaving would be a major loss of the core editors and administrators: i.e. damage. Exodus will slow down the speed, accuracy, and ability for Fandom to create pages that will compete with Nuka, and with that temporary window, I believe Nuka at least has a chance to gain some notoriety in searches.
- As best I can tell, there will be two obvious spikes of new information. 76 will launch in Nov, we can mark that on a calendar and make all the plans in the world, but the timeline we cannot predict is the BETA. Sometime between now and Nov, there’s going to be a significant amount of new information for the game released in that BETA, and every player trying to work out the new and returning features is going to be googling away. Depending on the scope and duration of the BETA, there’s a potential for a staggering number of pages to be created, and those could either be damning competition or valuable assets in Exodus.
- All Fandom have to do is nothing, and they can still win outright. Bethesda has already shown their roadmap; after 76, Star Field and TES VI are on the horizon but far enough out there was no release date or gameplay shown. A new Fallout installment is likely to be even further down the line, so 76 is presenting an opportunity that may not be possible again for years. I do not know if the Exodus team have a consensus for when the move would be most opportune, but we can only sit on the fence so long before it breaks. My two cents, the decision to stay or leave must be made sooner rather than later. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 21:16, June 18, 2018 (UTC)