Why we left
This article is unfinished, and you should help in completing it.
Why we left, and why you should too
We, the undersigned ex-Wikians, would like to explain to those who remained why we left, and more importantly why you should too.
Why we left
On the forums announcing this new skin, the vast majority of editors expressed their opposition to this new skin. Several petitions were created, such as Forum:Keeping the Monaco Skin - Mass Effect Wiki - Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, walkthroughs and more. The staff ignored these concerns, making small token changes but usually ignoring these concerns all together.
WoWWiki, the largest site on Wikia, decided to leave. Realizing their largest income-generator was leaving, in desperation the staff attempted to give WoWWiki certain exclusive exemptions from the skin, including a larger edit screen. World of Warcraft left anyway. Other smaller Wikias asked for the same exceptions, in formal letters to the staff, and messages on staff's talk pages, and these pleas were all ignored.
The great exodus: vote with your feet
The crown jewel of Wikia, the WoWWiki, left them. Veteran editors who have been on Wikia for years, who have hundreds of thousands of edits, and intimately know the way Wikia treats its editors left. Based on their collective experiences, they could see that Wikia will never respect their rights and their hard work.
Other huge wikis have left also, including Halo and The Simpsons. Dozens of wikis have left (to see a list of them, go to "Moved wikis").
Wikia's staff reaction for these communities' years of hard work is to ban and take away these editors rights. Showing contempt for its most prolific editors, the staff has begun purging Wikias whose members left the site, taking away dozens of admin and bureaucrats' rights, and have blocked editors for telling others about the move. (Learn more on "Retaliation").
Are the leaders of your Wikia paid by Wikia?
- Main article: Buy outs
Why you should leave too
Critics have argued that this is just about a new skin. It isn't: it's about your site collectively spending tens of thousands of hours working hard to build a project, and having no voice in the future of Wikia.
Wikia was not the last skin: Wikia comes out with new disruptive skins, including the most recent redesign (circa 2016-17), every 2 to 6 years. What does that mean for you? You will have just gotten used to a new Wikia skin and spent dozens of hours as a site transferring from the previous skin. Then, Wikia will then create a new skin, forcing your community to adapt it; and you will have no say in those changes. Once again, Wikia staff will ignore its most valuable asset: its editors.
In the years following up to the future skin, Wikia will not leave your community alone. Wikia will continue to make changes against your Wikia's best interest as they have in the past. Previous examples include changing the gallery formatting and moving then protecting hundreds of help pages, despite protests.
If you are not a large wikia like Uncyclopedia (which got an exemption from all redesigns until they killed Monobook in May 2018 - only to be thrown under the bus in 2019), you have no voice in the future changes on Wikia, and even the large Wikias will only be given token changes in the next skin.
To use Mr. Wales' words, the Wikia staff have not kept the "relationship honest". The Wikia staff's actions show again and again: they simply don't care about you.
Since mid-2016, Wikia released a system called discussions, that's outside of the main part of the wiki, and the plan is to replace their own forum system with this new discussion system, despite people against this change because of the different functionality provided. There's a petition (archive) to not replace forums with discussions, which is not preventing the replacement from happening. Despite this feature being enabled by sending explicitly a request through their contact form, some "important" wikis had this feature enabled since day 0 at the sole discretion of Wikia. Request by admins about this feature to be deactivated until it loses the "beta status" were denied.
Wikia has developed a new template system called Portable Infoboxes to make them look better in mobile devices. The migration of existing infobox templates to this new system is mandatory. Wikia staff and selected users (called Vanguard group) help wikis to migrate their templates making them the changes, but communities can't oppose to this change. On a Spanish wiki, for example, the community raised several concerns and even staff tried to push for a vote on whether this system would be implemented or not. However, after dismissing the possibility to implement those changes a new move was done to push this new system and providing exactly one week to perform the migration of the templates to the new system. A user was blocked by staff for trying to revert and delete the forked templates (reason of the block: interfering with official operations of Fandom). Portable Infoboxes were finally forced, without a single user supporting them. And resulted in a big fiasco where they weren't working in a lot of pages. User:Ciencia_Al_Poder reverted the templates, and for this reason he was demoted. 1 week later he was globally blocked, being accused of "vandalizing" (reverting with bots to the old templates on various articles). See also this forum post.
Other communities have also faced this imposition: like Encyclopedia SpongeBobia.
There have been situations where some communities had their subdomain name changed without any community discussion (even a simple notification to admins!), just for SEO purposes. Not only the change from wikia.com to fandom.com domain name.
Another feature rolled out on December 2019 was to redirect all file pages for anons to a page where the image was being used. This was done for SEO purposes, and removing the ability for anons to see metadata of the file and where it's being used.
Embrace, extend and extinguish
Ciencia Al Poder described Wikia as using an "embrace, extend, and extinguish" strategy to prevent or make it more difficult to take the content of Wikia to another wiki farm, giving the example of the gallery changes on Wikia.
"Embrace, extend, and extinguish" - also known as "embrace, extend and exterminate" - is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product fields which had widely used and open programming, advancing the programming but applying copyright, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.
On Wikia, programming changes force editors to remain on Wikia if they want to keep all features that their community has grown accustomed to.
- Wikia made changes to image galleries, a core MediaWiki feature, which allows editors to not supply the File: namespace when adding images to the galleries, which is required in any standard MediaWiki installation (and there's no configuration option to enable/disable it). Wikia doesn't require to put the "px" unit in the widths parameter of galleries. Wikia makes an extension to allow editors to easily add and modify the contents of galleries, which changes the gallery content stripping out the File: namespace and the "px" unit in the widths parameter, intentionally breaking compatibility with the galleries outside of Wikia.
- Unlike most MediaWiki extensions and skins, Wikia skins and extensions are specifically designed for Wikia. A lot of the coding is specific only to Wikia.
Alternatives to Wikia
- ShoutWiki (pros: more skins and extensions; cons: limit on wiki creation)
- Referata (pros: Semantic MediaWiki installed by default; cons: no central login, slow since a hacker attack in late 2019)
- Miraheze (pros: nearly same extensions installed as on the Wikimedia sites, bureaucrats can change LocalSettings from a special page; cons: you have to request that wikis be created instead of creating one yourself)
- EditThis (pros: isn't Wikia; cons: outdated MediaWiki version and staff hasn't touched it for years)
- GuildWars Wikia:Wikia Move - GuildWars Fanfic Wikia, an unofficial Guild Wars Fan Fiction wiki
- The wiki world, according to founder Jimmy Wales | Toronto Star
- With Wikia, a Wikipedia founder looks to strike it rich. - March 1, 2007
- Forum:How was wikia able to get rid of the file and image requirement in the gallery tag - Wikia Community Central