Time to change your bookmarks, people. Wowpedia may not be the first database of WarCraft lore out there, but in due time, it might be the only one worth visiting. Wikia Gaming, longtime host of WoWWiki, finally forced the hand of several administrators and thousands of contributors with their dominant policies — specifically in the form of a new site skin that essentially broke many of the site’s features including layouts and those ubiquitous tooltips.
On IRC we’ve been bouncing around the idea (for awhile) of leaving Wikia, checking out options, etc… Wikia plans to move us to a new skin in October (phasing out the old Monaco skin) and has already enacted rules limiting customization. Sadly, this leaves little control in the hands of WoWWiki users and admins to make the wiki look like WoWWiki always has and to maintain it in a way that reflect’s WoWWiki’s own interests. WoWWiki (and myself personally) have nothing against progress or change, but sadly the “new” look is not conducive to the wiki experience (you can see examples if you would like on other Wikia wikis) – the focus is on getting traffic to other Wikia wikis.
Multiply those basic problems by some 87,000+ pages and you’ve got a right catastrophe on your hands! The decision to abandon Wikia was debated for several weeks, ultimately resulting in a partnership with Curse Gaming and a necessary name change since the WoWWiki moniker still belongs to the old boss. To date, Wowpedia more or less mirrors the entire library of content from the previous site, but is likely to be the better-maintained of the two since the bulk of the muscle has transferred over in the process.
Some unknown number of contributors have presumably remained at WoWWiki and I seriously doubt Wikia is simply going to rest on the laurels and let the site die a slow and agonizing death. World of Warcraft is too big a game, and WoWWiki, at least in name at this point, is one of the most-recognized sources of information for it — in terms of both lore and game strategy. But with few, if any administrators left, the quality of future content is understandably in question (which means that it’s time to go make up some facts when the hall monitors aren’t looking!).
There’s always the possibility of promoting some community members or installing some sort of “puppet regime” to run the site, but having already breached the wiki community’s trust, any kind of recovery is going to be a slow burn, if it happens at all.
For the time being, Wowpedia has sent out a call to arms, urging its contributors to differentiate the website from its newfound competitor by bringing all of the woefully archaic information in the database up to date.
The new site is live. There are now two wikis, each competing to be the de facto wiki for WoW information. In the end, we don’t know which site will survive. But one thing’s for sure: if this site wants to survive, it needs to distinguish itself from the old one. People need a reason to come here. People need a reason to stay here.
This is no easy task, but it can be done, and I believe we have a golden opportunity to do so. A major patch was just released, and we’re on the eve of an expansion. There is a sickening amount of outdated information on the wiki. The pages for most class abilities, talents, glyphs, and items are flat out wrong right now. Some of this information dates from the BC and vanilla eras.
If Wowpedia wants to distinguish itself, it needs to be known as the place for the most up-to-date and reliable information on World of Warcraft.
So, this is a call to update Wowpedia now. Many players are wondering what’s up with their class right now, and if Wowpedia can provide that information, it will have the edge over the competition. Pick a subject you know about and go through all its related pages, making sure they’re up to date. Pick a random item or ability and update its tooltip. Do something. Shrivelup (talk) 12:46, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
According to the administrators, Curse is taking a primarily hands-off approach to Wowpedia, even going so far as to remove ads from the site for its first two months (and promising that, when they come back, they will be as unobtrusive as possible).
One wonders how far this feud might go. Perhaps it’s already over, before even having a real chance to begin. Then again, extensive wiki wars have been held over a lot less and for much, much longer. For what it’s worth, I’m throwing my chips in with Wowpedia, thought there is always the threat that the community has simply handed the keys from one domineering mega-site to another.
Speaking of which, I think I need to go work on my plan for Lore Hound’s eventual multi-million dollar takeover….