Declaration of Independence
The following is a statement from the two founders of AWA.
There comes a time where the individuals contributing to the development of an online encyclopedia may forget what it means for a site to hold the title of a wiki. And when such a moment comes, it becomes necessary for the definition to be rediscovered and the principles of such a site restated so that people will once again remember the basic ideas and principles that make a wiki a wiki.
The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian word for fast, wiki (pronounced "witi"). The accepted definition of a wiki states that it is a digital repository of information that can be accessed and edited by the masses of the Internet. A wiki acts as a source for information, and the information each wiki can contain can vary without any limitations. But for a wiki to present information easily to its users, it must have various requirements.
One of the most vital requirements is that a wiki's true goal is to act as a repository for knowledge. While a wiki may contain various features unrelated to the storage and organizing of that knowledge, its ultimate purpose is still to act as an online encyclopedia or data-center of some form. A wiki must also appear appealing to the individuals that absorb and add new information, and the layout of the wiki must not drive away anyone due to difficulty of navigation and/or an unattractive outlook. This is not to say that an unattractive outlook is worse than a featureless one, but it is very unappealing to all users. Furthermore, a wiki must be properly moderated so that any vandalism of sites can be dealt with swiftly, and any problems on the wiki are quickly reported.
These are the principles that define a wiki, and while the majority of us editors have remembered the true purpose of a wiki, the managers of the site known as Wikia have shown forgetfulness of these principles and thus driven Wikia away from the true goals that an online editable encyclopedia aims for. 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, ultra-modernistic skin that is bland and flavorless, does absolutely no benefit towards the Wikia community other than drive away the editors and contributors that have made the wikis of Wikia rich and informative.
Wikia has acted in several ways that the Anti-Wikia Alliance has deemed unacceptable; often not with regard to the skin itself, but the way the Wikia Staff has been handling its publicity and "improvement". These offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Advertising schemes
- Content space that is too small
- Creating a Popular Blog Posts section
- Inserting a photo gallery on every page
- Enabling article comments
- Replacing "MyHome" with a downgrade called the "Wiki Activity" page
- Wikia-wide navigation at top of page
- Seeing wikis as blog sites, and forcing blog site-like features upon them (i.e., forums, message walls, avatars, etc.)
- Failing to listen to their community
- Not giving administrators the freedom in customization that Monobook and Monaco allowed
In every stage of the Staff's abuse, personalities from the communities have bounded together for justice. They have expressed their morbid anger and frustration in the form of art. They have written it in the form of poetry. They have put out their complaints in elegant prose, and also in words easily understandable to the average person. Have these not been the users suffering from the design of Wikia's "Oasis" skin? Have these users not been polite in their initial complaints, complaints that were ignored by the Staff? Are not all editors created equal, be they Staff, IP editors, or registered users? Do we not have a right to bond together, seeing as we are the ones who create the wikis? Due to the continued refusal of Wikia to stop these previously listed offences, we, the editors, in the name of wikis everywhere, solemnly declare that all wikis should have the freedom to stick up for themselves. That it is their right and their duty to build their skin in whatever format they would like, be it Monobook, Monaco, Oasis, or a deviant skin never seen before, these are what should be allowed by Wikia, whose tyranny in forcing Oasis on all users is both blatant and wrong.
This is why the Anti-Wikia Alliance is helping users and wiki communities to move out of Wikia's hosting service, into new and better futures, on new and better wiki farms, and even to seek the assistance of wikis that have become completely independent. These include, but are not limited to:
- Techessentials (Tech Wikis only)
- NIWA (Nintendo Independent Wiki Alliance - Nintendo-only, but will help all wikis seeking independence.)
In response to the intolerable changes the managers of Wikia plan to enact, the members of the Anti-Wikia Alliance (from here on it will be written as AWA) will indubitably leave in order to protect the principles that our wikis are built for -- to act as libraries of knowledge and not as blog sites riddled with advertisements. We will leave, users and communities as a whole, unless Wikia cancels its planned change to the Wikia skin and refrains from making any other negative changes that would ruin the Wikia community and the goals that wikis strive for.
The AWA has also been pondering ideas to create its own wiki farm. We hope to create a safer home for the communities, or at least to help them find better places to thrive. For a list of these wikis, see "Anti-Wikia Alliance". To all who read this, we thank you.