I and several members of the Admin team will be attending a video call with the CEO on July 6 in order to resolve the Featured Video Crisis.
To this end, I need you, the community to tell me what we should be discussing and what we're looking to get out of this.
Topic 1 - What do we want our future relationship with Fandom to be?
I think this is something that we do need to clear up first before moving forward. Is Fandom's future direction and our wants and needs mutually exclusive, or is it possible to build an understanding of where we both fit that we can both live with?
Traditionally the line between us has been clear. We're a fan project, we do this as fans - volunteers - and as such have full control over the content of our wiki. Wikia/Fandom has operated the back end and run advertising to cover these costs. Our relationship was that of a tennant and an absent landlord.
A few years ago this changed somewhat, with Fandom taking more of an active interest in content. When this was promoting the site in general through the Wikia Gaining initiative, we participated in this (and I got some screen time with MCA), but our wiki and its content was our own.
This has now changed, where a specific feature is being forced upon us, and we only have influence in its content - not ultimate control. Additionally this feature after showing Fallout content shows non Fallout content after this. Clearly the line has moved, and has changed a positive relationship to an adversarial one.
What is the community's desire going forward? Do we wish to return the days of the absent landlord, do we want to participate in cross network initiatives on our terms, or are we satisfied with this reduction in control? Do we want an active relationship, or a passive one? Agent c (talk) 18:00, June 20, 2018 (UTC)
If we are going to discuss forced additions, there are myriad of other things you should bring up, too:
- For a couple of months, horizontal ads could be seen on the majority of our articles, right next to where the infobox is placed, disrupting text and breaking the general flow of the article design.
- For around 4-5 months, certain keywords on articles became links to other prime wikis. As far as I can tell, this was never once discussed by Wikia, and they've never publicly admitted to it, but enough users were confirming that the same thing was happening to them to warrant suspicion.
- On our main-page, without ever discussing anything with us, a nav-menu was added linking to other prime wikis. We apparently cannot remove this without consequence.
- Removing our freedom to customize our top-nav, Wikia/FANDOM added their own, which, of course, links to other prime wikis.
I have a blog over a few of these incidents that I wrote a few years back, if you'd like to use it as reference material in the upcoming meeting. 寧靜 18:48, June 20, 2018 (UTC)
First and foremost, I think we want Fandom to be transparent to us. When they decided to add the videos, they didn't explain why they did and it's actually still not clear to me. Did they add video's because they need the ad revenue (which I doubt, because I haven't seen ads), was it because someone thought it would be a cool feature and didn't think about whether everyone would like it, or was it yet something else? We could ask similar questions about the other features Janaschi mentioned. We're just completely left in the dark when it comes to changes that affect us, and it could very well be that they have changed things that we haven't noticed. For this reason, I suggest that we talk about transparency as a main topic, and that we require that they publicly announce and explain their design changes when these affect us so that we understand why they do what they do.
Second, I think we want Fandom to keep communicating with us. It looks like our threats to leave Fandom have worked, but what kind of relationship do you have when someone doesn't listen to you until you threaten them? We shouldn't have to wait for weeks or months before they reply to our concerns, and they should treat our concerns seriously.
Personally, I would prefer it if Fandom maintained a hands-off approach and did not try force all kinds of content-related changes upon us, and instead focussed on providing the service. If they want to change something content-wise, they should communicate such changes with us because we will be affected. I can understand it if they want to add new features that will increase their revenue for the upkeep of their service. In these cases I think it is most appropriate for them to engage in a discussion with us on the best approach to this feature, because we probably know best what kind of content to present and how to do so, while they may know more about the technical abilities of their platform. These kinds of changes should be made in cooperation rather than in disagreement.
Plan an exit strategy and be ready to execute it. You only have to visit the front page of fandom.com to see that wikis are pretty much the least important thing to the company. Sticking around here isn't much better than a battered wife expecting things to get better if she just does exactly as she's told. Felice Enellen (talk) 19:30, June 30, 2018 (UTC)
Keep Exodus going as much as possible, and do everything possible to ensure that if we have to move to Exodus, it will be ready for us. If we move to Gamepedia, ensure that we still have Exodus running as a primary source of secondary materials. And at the talks with Fandom, make sure they know that we are primed to fire. And don't forget to mention Gamepedia as a side option - don't be too blunt about it, but make them consider the idea that we might give our business to a competitor depending on what happens.
In terms of our immediate relation with Fandom, however, were we to stay, Fandom would need to make provisions lining up with their original proposals - that we were to be jnvolved in all steps of video. Plus another one: the option to say "no"? As Leea noted, an absentee landlord would be nice.... |\| () |\/| /\ |) | Talk | Discord | NMC 12:19, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
It's probably for the best to at least let them give the control over videos. Posting them at the top is too much to handle. I'm all about innovation, but it has to be done properly.16:05, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
First and foremost, I believe that whatever topics are discussed, Fandom must show that they are not only wanting Nuka’ to stay in the wikia family but that they are willing to communicate in a timely fashion going forward. One way that I would expect for them to demonstrate this intent is to be forthcoming with meaningful answers during your conference. If the most specific anyone from their side of the table gets is ambiguously corporate nonsense and vague “we’ll considerate” with no mentions of dates, plans, or actual information, then I would consider the entire conference to be a farce. There has to be a significant amount of input on their part, if they appear to just be placating us with an appearance I would feel more inspired to go forward with Exodus.
I am not against cross promotion from within the various Fandom wiki’s, but I want to know to what degree they intend to force content and links between wiki’s. In short, are the first burst of videos we have seen enough for their goals on our wiki and enough to fulfill Fallout exposure on other wikis. I doubt it will be, so if they intend to add to the number of videos on site here, I want to know what types of pages they would intend to add videos to (characters, weapons, etc); if they would source the videos from the community; or if they will be adding in videos in haphazardly or without Nuka’ consent. Given the amount of time they have had to prepare a response, even before this meetings set date, I would consider anything less than a direct answer to be an insult. Either they will know and happily tell us, or they will know, but fear telling us due to our response.
Like I said on Agent c’s the May 30 Wikia Forces Featured Video blog, I am not altogether opposed to the idea of videos making an appearance, especially if they are official videos or even videos of any level of quality. If I remember right, the blast of videos that originally caused the outrage appeared at random on various pages and mostly random snippets of someone’s game, littered with buzzfeed-esk text. If that format is ever their intended end goal, let’s draw a great big line in the sand in front of it. If however, they express interest in making videos that actually have useful information pertinent to the page and appear in a uniform manner across pages of similar importance, then I believe they could be useful.
Been busy since about the time this was announced, so I have not had as much time as usually to post around. I’ll try to have a few more questions and comments to add before time’s up. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 05:11, July 4, 2018 (UTC)
- Videos may have been the catalyst for this entire debacle, but while we have Fandom in the conference, we may as well ask about some of the other issues that have been cropped up. I’m less familiar with these issues, but I know several people have mentioned the issues with Fandom’s adherence to the outdated wiki software. I would be interested in knowing if they have any insight into what they plan to do moving forward, or if they are planning on maintaining the status quo, and simply eliminating features that crop up, as the Exodus FAQ suggest. I know even less about Lucy, but it can’t hurt to ask since it was another issue worth mentioning on the FAQ as an issue that would have eventually brought Nuka to the point of Exodus if enforced. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 04:40, July 5, 2018 (UTC)
Topic 2 - What is our red line on video?
- Is it no video at all?
- Should we accept this incursion, but no further?
- Are we satisfied with Wikia's proposal to have "Influence" over the script but no control?
- Would we be satisfied with video if we had a complete veto on any video they choose to add?
- If we are going to draw a line, should there be automatic consequences in the event of that line being breached?
I don't think that videos are a bad idea. I think that trailer videos can be kind of neat and perhaps even useful on pages. In the case of the Fallout 76 trailer, I think that a video at the top is more appropriate than one at the bottom, where it currently is. But I think they need to be more user-friendly and that Fandom should be clearer about why they want videos.
For user-friendliness, the videos should have sound turned off by default (because it's considered bad practice), users should be able to disable the feature, and personally I dislike the fact that it sticks to your screen if you scroll.
For controllability, they could give us the option to select videos ourselves. Give us the ability to attach a video that has been uploaded to the wiki to a page (and maybe lock this ability to content moderator+). This will give us full control over when to show which videos and will allow us to enforce our content policy.
- If Fandom added videos because they thought it was what users wanted, I do not see why they would disagree with this solution.
- If Fandom added videos for ad revenue, then I do not see why they would not be able to still get revenue if we select the videos ourselves.
- If Fandom added videos to promote some Fandom-related things by autoplaying a Fandom video after the default video, then I don't see why they couldn't just make the next video visible but not auto-playing. Just display some interesting links or thumbnails after the video is done playing, just like YouTube does.
In short, Fandom should start by explaining why they even want videos, and once they've done that we can try to find a solution that makes the least of us unhappy.
Admittedly, I have not kept up with these goings-on as much as I should have. Personally, I'm all for leaving to a place where we can have control of the content posted and all have a say in what stays or goes. I joined this wiki because at the beginning, it was something I was proud of. I have actually had gamer friends nearby who talked about the wiki and what a great help (insert page name) was. It gave me a great sense of pride to be able to say "Yeah, I actually wrote that." or "Yeah, I know the dude that wrote those tips." and I don't want our style and way of doing things raped by some overseers who are in it for the buck instead of the content quality. I understand the need for money to keep things running, but you cannot and must not sacrifice quality for quantity. Ever. History has proven time and again that's how businesses go bankrupt. Lose quality---> lose customers---> lose revenue---> lose your ass. It's a fact of life. We must keep that level of quality control in-house, for ourselves.
That said, the most I would be willing to compromise as far as them posting video would be:
- To allow them to post the official game trailers on the main game and DLC pages without our consent.
- Anything else would have to be approved by us as a community, or at least by a committee of no less than five account holding editors that are known and trusted.
- Video should be limited to one per main game page with a link to other videos in the event that a game has more than one trailer.
- I think etiquette dictates video go at the top, but not in such a way as to take away from the content or main idea of the page.
- Any video certainly should not auto-play. This is both unnecessary and serves as a potentially unwanted distraction. Speaking from user logic and my own personal point of view, people visiting our wiki aren't gonna want a bunch of in your face video playing when they're trying to look for something specific. If they are interested and want to see said video, they are perfectly capable of clicking the "play" button themselves.
As Dekker said, if they want their own ads, take a lesson from YouTube. Make a non auto-playing link, or embed a short 5 second ad at the beginning or end of the main video. This seems a fair compromise to me, and if they won't accept it, I say we go. StormRider71 (talk) 20:44, June 26, 2018 (UTC)
Personally, I don't see why they can't be happy with the videos that we already have. We already have videos and trailers on the bottom of the page. If someone wants to watch one, they can just watch them there, not need or want a big-ass auto-play video on the top of the page that they might see a replica on the bottom of the page, as well.Leea (talk) 11:35, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
My red line is forced video. If by any means a video is forced upon the wiki, a line has been crossed. Veto power is the red line. And yes, automatic consequences - if Fandom crosses the line again, out the door we go. |\| () |\/| /\ |) | Talk | Discord | NMC 12:24, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
I don't believe they would turn down the videos. As for the auto-play, well, we do have the policy about no auto-play audio files, so it may as well be applied here, too. Besides, it's plain annoying that the video is actually following the screen when you scroll down.16:05, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
I certainly don't agree with having anything forced upon us, but if we were to set it as our red line, I really wouldn't have a problem with the trailers staying up. I don't even see why we have the apology below them right now. Mind you, nothing more than the trailers. The frustration with the "so-bad-you-can't-even-laugh-at-it" videos we had last year was entirely justified, but as long as the videos stick to strictly official content from Bethesda, I'm fine with it.
Now, are Fandom going to want to put more videos up on more pages so that more people see it so that they get more revenue? It's likely. I get the need for it, but like Storm said, terrible content leads to terrible results. Not to mention the fact that, above all else, this is a wiki. We're striving for the most accurate and most comprehensive content out there. A jab at Trump in a video about a Fallout 4 character and especially childish jokes about asses should not be tolerated under any circumstances.
If there is any kind of expansion outside of trailers, that's where I cross the line. When it comes to trailers, we already have those uploaded, so I don't see the harm in moving them to the top of the page - as long as they don't autoplay, but that's another topic entirely, and I've rambled for far too long as it is. I guess what I'm getting at here is trailers and trailers only. We have no need for meaningless videos that don't sum up the page at all and have failed attempts at comedy in them. If we can come to an agreement we're satisfied with, great, moving really should only be our last resort. I doubt anyone wants this community to split again, but if Fandom oversteps the boundaries, it'll be necessary. AllYourFavorites (talk) 16:49, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
- the thing is immediately after the trailer it picks another video at random from Wikia’s jukebox. You’re as likely to get a video on Hello Kitty as you are another trailer. So it isn’t limited just to the trailers, by design. Agent c (talk) 17:30, July 3, 2018 (UTC)
I'm only partially in on everything that has happened, but here's what I'm looking at.
- Wikia has, according to both some of my own experiences and confirmed hearsay, made changes without communicating them and in one case never admitted to having made them;
- As described above, Wikia/FANDOM has become more active in its relationship, hopefully for the benefit of its users, even if we see some signs that could suggest the opposite (for the sake of ad revenue);
- There are voices saying we ought to move and/or merge with other communities;
Right now, the videos are at least somewhat relevant and related to the pages they're displayed on. I doubt this'll change in the future, but if it does, and the videos become no more than revenue generation, I wouldn't consider it acceptable given the lack of communication about the feature.
I'd say moving comes after discussion with Wikia. I'm sure they're willing to at least listen to our concerns as part of a professional attitude. I too am curious about the reason behind this change, and I agree that we should find out why it is that FANDOM has decided to implement this feature, especially when the majority of the users here are informed enough to know how and where they can find the videos that have currently been placed.
All the same, the result of the upcoming conference could be that no compromise can be found between their video addition and our opinion of said videos, in which case we do have a relatively well-prepared option to bail.
14:27, July 4, 2018 (UTC)
- I'm merging my comment. I'm not that opposed to the videos. When you look at it, they're just on a few game pages. Not even on the overview pages. And you see it all around you, more and longer videos on news sites etc., everywhere, to generate revenue. Quality has now improved to standard good quality, and gone are the somewhat amateurish voice overs from Wikia. Scroll down a bit and they're gone to the side. Wikia must have thought out this strategy plan and I suppose it works, from what Jen tells us. I also have my doubts we can set up a video quality team ourselves to be honest. They've now forced the videos on us and that could have gone better communicating. Speaking personally, my view on Wikia hasn't changed much, still feels home to me. Can't be really bothered by the videos, certainly not making me think of wanting to move. Just like the last time. It's good place with many visitors, and that's part of my drive. I don't consider an Exodus or merge with the Vault, far from it. You'd lose the viewers and we'd have a third Fallout wiki. The Vault hasn't really have community features. Not sure if I'll be on the video call, but here's my view. How do you attend it? Jspoel 18:26, July 4, 2018 (UTC)
- I don't think what Jen said proves it works at all.
- She claimed an 80% or so approval rating. This is 80% of people who watched it to the end, paid enough attention to notice the rating, and then chose to rate it.
- On that basis, anything short of 100% is actually terrible.
- Think about it this way... If we were selling hamburgers, and we asked only the people who fully completed the burger if they liked it, what would you expect them to say?
- I'd expect 100% of them to say yes - they finished the burger! If they hated it they would have spat it out and thrown the rest away. Its the number who didn't finish your burger you need to know!
- Notice how she didn't respond when challenged on questions like "How many viewed it to the end, how many closed it, how many didn't respond to the survey" - no answers given at all. This is the information needed... and they're not talking about it.
- The way I see it, either this is a fan project, or its not.
- If its a fan project, that means we the fans should have editorial control. We decide what goes on the wiki and where. If we decide we want to have video, then we'll have it where we want... and what we have - not Wikia's jukebox.
- If they want editorial control, then its not a fan project. That makes me an unpaid copywriter and designer. I have a problem with that.
- Jen hasn't yet said anything about the logistics. I can only hope this isn't another email she's "lost". Agent c (talk) 21:43, July 4, 2018 (UTC)
- I'm not trying to be offensive by any stretch of the imagination, but polls and statistics are completely useless depending on what the question is and to whom it's asked. If a statistic says that 90% of gay people say they are mistreated in America, dig a little deeper and you'll probably find out that 90% of those people were polled in deep south Alabama or another area where sexual preferences are not as widely tolerated. A poll says that 100% of people love high tea, and I betcha they were all asked in the upscale areas of London. Statistics and polls said Hillary Clinton was a lock for president and Donald Trump would never win. I put absolutely zero faith in polls and you guys that are meeting with the bigwigs probably shouldn't either. I rest my case. StormRider71 (talk) 00:29, July 5, 2018 (UTC)
Whatever line is drawn will very much be in the sand; its use as leverage is fleeting. I believe Exodus is only going to be practical at a self-sustaining level so long as 76 looming out in front of us. Once 76 launches, perhaps even once the BETA launches, the window for Nuka to be able to capitalize on the flood of new information (and disorganization in the wake of a departure from Fandom) will have closed. I do not want to repeat myself too much, especially not if I’m already writing lengthy posts, so feel free to visit : Agent c’s Featured Video - Email to Wikia CEO for my full argument on why whatever decision is made, must be made quickly. This may sound cynical, but I believe that all Fandom has to do is wait, and whatever “promises” they make will have an expiration date shortly after our alternatives run out. To that end, I think it is important to hear what Fandom has to say, but I believe that there can truly be no red line...that line will only serve to delay the inevitable: a vote to leave or stay regardless of the Fandom policies.
However shoddy the quality of the videos implemented early on was, and however poorly the Fandom PR response thus far has been, I would not underestimate Fandom. All they have to do is appease our complaints until Nov 14, and they will have delayed long enough to leave Exodus in poor health. And while I believe that the Vault is an excellent alternative for a few select users, I do not believe it would be a positive alternative for the Nuka community as a whole. I feel that regardless of what is said at the conference, a vote should be made. Disseminate whatever information is learned Friday, give everyone a decent amount of time to make their case either way, and open up the vote. The sooner everyone can commit to leaving or making the most of staying, the better. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 04:40, July 5, 2018 (UTC)