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Purpose

User blog

This wiki was established on February 28, 2010, as a general encyclopedia of Dungeons & Dragons canon, lore, and history. In the past year the number of articles has increased by 38%, and this week it reached 1,500 articles.

Why this wiki?

There are currently several larger English-language Dungeons & Dragons wikis online, but all have one of two limits that restrict its usefulness as a general D&D encyclopedia:

  • They are limited to a single campaign setting, or
  • They allow homebrew (fan-made game rules), and consist primarily of homebrew and other non-encyclopedic content, making accurate encyclopedic information difficult to find.

A short history of D&D wikis

Establishment

On November 23, 2005, dnd.wikia.com was founded by Sleepycjkun. Its original mission statement was to host fan-made content to supplement the SRD. On February 12, 2006, Green Dragon founded dandwiki.com with the similar goal of storing fan content.

On August 11, 2009, dungeons.wikia.com was founded by Surgo, apparently based on an earlier wiki. It also allowed fan-made game content, but distinguished itself from the other two by a policy of aggressive quality control. By August 27 it had had 5,932 articles, thanks in part to importing the SRD and earlier content from an earlier wiki.

On February 28, 2010, WonderWaffles founded this wiki as an encyclopedic D&D reference site. Wikipedia around this time was increasingly enforcing a policy of deleting or merging many D&D articles for lacking noteworthiness, making a dedicated D&D encyclopedia wiki more important.

Era of change

By May 2010, dungeons.wikia.com had accumulated 8,652 articles, about a 46% increase in only one year. At the same time, dnd.wikia.com had only 924 articles. The decision was made to merge the smaller wiki into the larger one, a move which took place on June 28, 2010.

Following the merge, a "Canon" subsection was established to isolate encyclopedic content imported from dnd.wikia.com. Of approximately 454 pages marked "TSRWotc" on the old wiki, only 57 would eventually be moved to the new section and 348 would remain in a default "DnDWiki" section, with the remaining 48 unaccounted for (including page merges or redirects).

On September 28, 2010, Wikia announced that all wikis would be forced to use a new theme. This decision was not well received community of dungeons.wikia.com, most of whom moved to a new site, dnd-wiki.org. The old wiki remained online.

The current situation

In November 2019, dungeons.fandom.com has 10,077 pages. 4,390 pages (43.56%) are in category "User", denoting unofficial fan-made game rules. 3,585 in category "SRD" and 333 in "Unearthed Arcana", total 3,918 (38.88%), both denoting verbatim copies of D&D 3rd edition official game rules. A further 308 are OGL (excluding SRD), verbatim third-party game rules. 182 are duplicates of SRD pages in the DnDwiki namespace, and 16 in the DnDWiki page are also fan content. The result is that at least 8,814 pages or 87.46% is non-encyclopedic game rule content.

The dungeons.fandom.com Canon namespace and remainder of the legacy DnDWiki namespace, excluding 67 legacy templates, and redirects which are not counted toward the total, amounts to 569 pages, or 5.64% of the site. A further 694 pages, 6.89%, are unaccounted for. Its current Canon menu consists entirely of the D&D 3.5 SRD, and the unlisted encyclopedic content consists primarily of abandoned and unsorted legacy pages.

Most of that site's userbase moved to dnd-wiki.org. That site now has 28,888 content pages in total. This includes 863 Canon, and 272 Publications (excluding OGL content), for 1,135 encyclopedic pages total.

The most popular, however, is dandwiki.com, which has 57,085 content pages. It has no canon section at all, and consists entirely of fan-made, SRD, and OGL material.

These three sites are successful as repositories of fan-made game content, but not as D&D encyclopedias.

Encyclopedia vs homebrew

Hosting both fan-content and canon content in the same wiki causes real practical problems.

Another problem is that readers may confuse canon and homebrew. They may mistake fan material for official, a current very real problem with the homebrew wikis. And readers searching the site for one will find their results cluttered with the other. Confusion happens even when players

It may also confuse site editors. New users are likely to add content without properly declaring it homebrew or canon. They might see homebrew and mistakenly assume posting copyrighted game rules is allowed; edit a canon page to add non-canon text or game rules; refrain from editing a canon for fear of stepping on another user's toes; mistakenly ask a homebrew page to provide citations; or consistently add content to the wrong category (e.g. fan-made spells vs official spells).

Both dungeons.fandom.com and dnd-wiki.org relegate their canon material to a separate "Canon:" namespace. This makes editing canon material more difficult. For example, take this sentence:

[[Thor]] is a [[deity]] in the [[Norse pantheon]].

In a homebrew-first wiki with a separate canon namespace, you would have to use awkward constructs like this:

[[Canon:Thor|Thor]] is a [[Canon:Deity|deity]] in the [[Canon:Norse pantheon|Norse pantheon]].

This can be avoided by creating a separate redirect in the main namespace for every single canon item, but this is cumbersome and awkward.

Another problem is that "Canon:" is applied even to meta-D&D things which are not in-world canon, such as writers, rules, and so on.

This site's purpose

This wiki's purpose, therefore, is to build the premier encyclopedic reference to Dungeons & Dragons official first-party canon and history, particularly lore elements which are not constrained to a single campaign setting (since those typically already have a separate wiki).

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.