October 03, 2010

Mass Escape of the Digital Sharecroppers - "The Anti-Wikia Alliance"

I've written about various communities, such as Transformers and "WikiFur" which "escape from being digital sharecroppers on the electronic plantation, err, wikifarm company Wikia, Inc. Remember, that's the company co-founded by Jimmy Wales to, in the words of one article (they said it, not me!), "take the success -- and, indeed, the underlying philosophy -- of Wikipedia," and "commercialize the hell out of it"."

Evidently more remaining unpaid content-generators are planning a break for freedom, having formed the "Anti-Wikia Alliance. The main grievance seems to be yet another extensive graphic redesign that apparently favors the company over the creators:

While change to a website is necessary when a time comes, change must be beneficial to the development of a domain and not detrimental to the well-being of a community of Wikis that has thrived for years. Wikia's latest decision to apply a new ultramodernistic skin that is so bland and flavorless does absolutely no benefit the Wikia community other than drive away editors and contributors that have made Wikis of this site rich and informative.

There are many practical issues here. One key aspect is what Google will do to any new site. That is, whether it will bury the escapee with a "duplicate content" penalty. I'm actually a bit less pessimistic about that these days. I just checked today, and not only had the independent Transformers community site survived, it was beating the Transformers Wikia site on Google, ranking #18 vs #20, for the word "Transformers". Granted, they're a relatively small community, but it's heartening.

Now if only there were some sort of nonprofit organization which had grants to host wiki software ...

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikia | on October 03, 2010 11:59 PM | (Infothought permalink) | Comments (5)