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Why You Shouldn't Use Wikia: a public service announcement

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Always use secure-HTTP / Secure HTTP / Permanent Link

There are a number of different things which prompted the Touhou Wiki's move from the old Wikia site to its new location. They have also prompted me to add a wordfilter which replaces the old site's URL in the site-comments with en.touhouwiki.net. Now, I'm not going to personally hunt down and stab everyone who just uses Wikia — this is Wikia itself, not particlar Wiki sites — but here's why I don't recommend using it if you're starting something new:

  • The new theme-format. It made things bloated, it broke peoples' custom themes, it doesn't look nice, and it was forced on everyone without negotiation. You can only change on your end it if you register a user-account at Wikia.
  • You aren't allowed to leave Wikia. There's a clause in Wikia's TOS stating that if the owner of a wiki wants to be closed, they can still keep it open "if the topic is of general public interest." In practice, they are doing this with any Wikia site which wants to close. If you protest, your comments get deleted and you might get banned. The Touhou Wikia site, for instance, is being updated in bad faith by simply ripping off the Touhouwiki.net site (and yet still managing to remain bad and out-of-date).
  • You aren't allowed to link to non-Wikia wikis other than Wikipedia. If you decide to just shrug and leave the old site behind, they'll remove links to the new site. And not just from the old site: I let my article on the MSPAFA wiki slip a bit, and when I went to update it, it said that "touhouwiki.net" is blocked by the spamfilter. Is it because of trolls running rampant and trying to make a mess of the old Wikia site? No, "don't use off-site links" is the actual reason for doing this, and the guy promptly went and changed all the links to the Wikia site. Classy.
  • You really aren't allowed to leave Wikia. As MWChase points out below, they sockpuppet admin accounts. Actually, see also the Complaint Wiki and the "Controversy" section of the Wikipedia page1 in general.

So, yeah. If you've already got a site on Wikia, well, I won't hold that against you, but watch yourself. If you're thinking of making a new wiki and putting it somewhere, ask yourself: are these really the kind of people you want to do business with?

1Someone on a message board pointed out that Jim Wales is the board of directors of both Wikipedia and Wikia, and that therefore, "what's said there could have been far worse."

15 Comments (auto-closed) (rss feed)

Spirit Tsunami

Well-stated as always. Yeah, I'm still having to remember which one is the correct one to go to.

Rage-Nakasa

I got a friend who links me touhou wika stuff and I look at wikia info on game characters such as blazblue and Touhou. but I don't have a site there.

Yuriko

This. Having once hosted a Wikia wiki aimed at a limited audience, I can say that it took far to much effort to get them to delete it when it was decided to move it to a private host due to their other issues. As it, repeated emails to the wikia admin from several individuals, and veiled accusations of plagerism if they didn't, due to the original creative nature of the content.

This was two years ago, so I can only imagine things would be worse today.

Formica Archonis

Broke people's custom themes? It broke my whole damn browser! My main browser chokes on the format ever since the redesign and spits up pretty much every page as black-on-black with images vomited onto the page randomly. So either I start one of the more mainstream browsers I have installed or I go somewhere else. If there's a non-Wikia alternative, I take it.

Though if I was going to try screw Wikia over, I wouldn't do anything like linking. I'd subvert the wiki. Make helpful edits, like spell/grammar checking, mixed in with a few tweakings of facts. Except the spell checks are right while the facts are all are wrong. Do it enough and you can introduce major errors as long as no one in power knows the topic enough to notice.

Wolf

Um... yeah it's more along the line of Wikia claiming anything that was posted on thier site. In any case it just sounds like they are just doing it to make thier e-peens biggger it sounds. In any case if they left the view of the site alone and dropped those annoying loud ads it wouldn't have been all that bad mind you.

Also, it kind of explains why the main page on the Wika site gets haxed every now and then even more-so though.

KamuiK

As a member of the Paradox community, we had our fan site formerly hosted on Wikia, but then this blatantly idioitc decision came up to force the new skin that's supposedly "so much better" (hurhur, yeah sure) on everyone without chance to keep Monaco. A week later we switched the fan site to wikkii and the main wiki had it's own hoster already anyway. I don't know if anyone still uses Wikia but I sure will not. Not with that amount of dickery going on over there.
In short: What the fork Wikia, why'd you do this?

GreatLimmick

I haven't had any problems viewing Wikia, but I've never tried to host anything there either, and it sounds like they make it too much of a pain to bother.

Rather than simply closing your wiki, I wonder what would happen if you redacted all the information on the content pages, redirected them to your main page, and then, rather than linking to your new location, put something like "en(dot)touhouwiki(dot)net". Yes, a lot of work, but if it gets your content off a site you don't want hosting it and directs new users to your new location, maybe that's worth it.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Doubt it'd work — they have actual people "in charge" of the Wikia site now.

MWchase

I did this preemptively when one of the other places I hang out at decided to set up a wiki to host their... idiosyncratic fanon for a particular webcomic. This post, by the way, leaves out some of the especially "classy" things that Wikia has been doing, like sockpuppeting as the admins of wikis to give new vict users the impression that all is well and there are no problems, no dissent.

(As an aside: GreatLimmick, I think I remember seeing you elsewhere, years back. Were you on the old UJ forums? I'd check the archives, but nobody can check the archives right now.)

Dizzy H. Muffin

Added it to the article, thanks for the heads-up.

GreatLimmick

That's pretty crazy, Wikia sockpuppetting admins to send welcome messages to spambots.

(And yeah, I was on the UJ forums for a while. I haven't really had much reason to go there since Pastel Defender Heliotrope ended.)

JonB

What really gets me is that I've seen sites on the-Wiki-that-shall-not-be-named that simply copy/pasted their content from a certain (Board Game) corporate websites, including internal links (which promtly got wikified, resulting in ugly) ignoring the formal letters of protest from said company. I wholeheartedly applaud the move to en.touhouwiki.net, and already updated my bookmarks to match.

Thank you for the PSA!

MWchase

I just had another thought (I should be sleeping, but it turns out double-strength black tea makes that somewhat difficult). Wikia has a statement about how they'd like to keep inactive wikis around, because they don't care about the hosting costs and it doesn't affect the Wikia community.

However. Wikia basically acts as a giant link farm, with a pagerank that takes them near the top when Wikipedia declares a topic fancruft. By keeping inactive wikis online, Wikia gets a foothold in search results relating to those topics. While it's true that there's no direct negative affect on Wikia's users, the affect on search results for the internet at large is akin to pollution, except it's pollution that generates profits by inconveniencing people, and... man, how did Captain Planet do this?

Anyway, that might be a bit overboard as analysis goes, and gets further into externalities than the other topics. Point is, Wikia will try to get to you no matter what, even if, like me, you don't have an account there, and don't plan to make one.

A chicken passeth by

MWChase: touhouwiki noticed that already, and you are right. The only pages that Wikia do let go and delete (without attempting to force it to become a zombie) were pages that had little rank in the search results. Otherwise they'll fight, and I mean fight, to keep the wiki running, at the expense of the SEO results of the one that moved.

Even today, there's still a wikia link when you search for TFwiki. It'll take some time before Google's bots recognize touhouwiki.en site as the legitimate one, and not the old one.

AJC

you can also add they have malware

i just got done spending most of the night cleaning up the (minor) damage some malware did i got while browsing wikia apparently they also have issues with eather someone injecting malware into wikis there (which is compounded by fact their zombiefiy practices for unused wiki's means that assholes have a chance to do so with ease) or them being in there adverts.

so yeah don't use wikia folks.