I’ve been meaning to write for a while to write some sort of “state of the wiki” thing. Given the changes in our relationship with Wikia (T/a Fandom) I think its important to give people a sense of whats going on, and where we’re headed.
Events today have meant I've had to accelerate that to today.
Our Relationship with our Hosts - Wikia
Wikia (T/a Fandom) has been the host of the Fallout Wiki Project since its move from Duck and Cover, until the Split (where the Vault branding followed the fork out to Curse/Gamepedia), and as Nukapedia following the split.
Our relationship has risen and fallen over the years, but we think its safe to say its either at, or near, an all time low. We no longer take it for granted that what is good for Wikia is good for us, and are alarmed about the direction they are taking in many areas.
We have been told today that Wikia intend to force featured video on us. This will take the form of official trailers on relevant pages. These have been added already except where noted.
We have made it abundantly clear in policy and numerous votes that this is an unwelcome intrusion.
It is now up to the community to decide what action to take, and we have an alternative.
The Alternative - Exodus
As you may recall, during the Featured Video drama we began to explore our alternatives to wikia. One of these was to create an alternative platform under our control, codenamed Exodus.
We’ll now give an overview of where we’re at on Exodus.
What is Exodus
Exodus basically our own server. For Wikis, its running Mediawiki 1.30, which is the latest stable version of mediawiki (for comparison, Wikia is running on 1.19). We’ve also a large range of plug ins and other technologies at our disposal to enhance the wiki experience futher.
We can also use the same server for other projects that aren’t mediawiki based.
The Exodus platform is owned by a company called Nukapedia Ltd. This is legally owned by Sakaratte and Agent C, but more held by them on behalf of the community.
Although there are a number of projects that we are working on as a part of Exodus, as a part of this address I’m going to talk about 4 of them.
Exodus Prime - the Core wiki
After much work, We’ve been able to get the Main Wiki more or less ported across. When I say We, I mostly mean Saka and Aya (with a little help from a few other people), and is version is kept synchronised to the Wikia wiki.
This wiki is ready to be used in the event a jump is required. In the event that we did choose to move there would be a few hours of work required to remove the final incompatibilities between them regarding infoboxes - these cannot be removed at the moment without breaking the synchronisation. There are a few features, like blogs, which aren’t immediately compatible with what has gone on before, but the business of the wiki would cotninue
We’ve been able to arrange things so people could keep their existing usernames as well.
You can experience it for yourself here.
SimTek - Interactive Features
SimTek is something we hope to release every soon that we can use as a supplement to the wiki on wikia to add features that wikia simply cannot do.
At the moment it is a standalone wiki but could be folded into the main wiki in the event of a move.
The main project on Simtek is the “Pip View” project which will allow a first person view of locations in Fallout 3/NV/4. The technical side is all done, and the project is now in the design implementation phase.
Pages for PipView are designed so that as much as possible they will generate themselves, making it easy to add new locations and new views.
You can see an example of what this will look like here: https://interactive.nukapedia.wiki/wiki/Model_Location/1
The Divinity Wiki is a live environment on Exodus for the Divinity series of games. The Divinity wiki has chosen to up sticks and move to Exodus instead. This gives us the opportunity to see and learn how a wiki works in the real world, and what challenges we may face should we choose to move
You can experience the Divinity wiki here.
Vanilla - The Discussions Solution
A key takeaway from the vault split is that community and social features cannot be ignored. As such, we don’t see these as “nice to have” but essential parts of the wiki who’s functionality must be replaced, somehow.
With Chat, the problem essentially solved itself. During the drama Discord took over as the primary chat medium for the wiki.
Discussions presented a larger problem. Discussions isn’t mediawiki based. Instead it seems to be a mashup of several other technologies not immediately replicatable. Rather than implement discussions, we had to look for an alternative that did the same sort of things that we would want discussions to do, and if it did it better that would be great too.
After searching and testing, we’ve settled on “Vanilla” as the software to run the discussions solution. Its mobile friendly, allows categorisation, as well as an all categories feed. It doesn’t have many of the limitations of discussions either.
To get a sense of how it looks in the real world, Vanilla’s own vanilla forum is [ https://open.vanillaforums.com here].
As we have more or less complete control over the hosting server for Exodus, we can also play around with other technology. We have installed an alternative “content management system” called “Grav” that we think would be a better home for News and Community Features than the current blogs which is live on https://falloutwiki.net . We have the capacity to host a radio server (although this may get costly in licensing), as well as look at hosting other non wiki projects (such as ‘restoration’ style mods). The list of what we can do with exodus literally is endless, and if you have any ideas for a project that might fit, get in touch.
Are we moving?
When we were planning this address, it was before we knew of the forced implementation of featured video. We have a number of other concerns - the lucy editor, GDPR, Wikia’s continued removal of features rather than addressing security and technical concerns… but these have fallen by the wayside.
The way forward is up to you.
Last time there was a split there was an urgent announcement in the middle of the proverbial night. We’re not going to repeat that.
Moving to an independent wiki would not be easy. Yes, we’ve solved a lot of the initial problems, and we hope to learn more about wiki hosting as time goes on. However, jumping would mean we’d likely have to fight a war on “Search Engine Optimisation” with wikia - they wouldn’t delete this wiki simply because we’d moved, and they’d likely be aggressive in trying to replace us. We don’t have the same sort of financial resources to fall back on.
However, it would give us total control of the wiki - both content and technical areas. If we want to play around with something we can. Fallout 76 gives us an opportunity to get a jump on the wikia wiki that would remain.
That leads us to one question:
Is Moving something the community wants to explore further, or is the community content with these videos being added?
Please post your thoughts below