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Why Wikia/Fandom?

User blog

In May 2018 I adopted this wiki after a hiatus by the original founder, who created it in 2010. My goal had long been to establish a wiki encyclopedia of D&D lore, and using this existing wiki seemed like a strong way to establish it.

At some point, future users may question the decision to build this wiki on the Fandom platform, formerly known as Wikia. While the platform has some noted disadvantages, I hope to explain in this article the advantages, and why I believe it is the best platform to grow the wiki going forward.

Disadvantages

In the past, several high-profile gaming wikis have left Wikia/Fandom over various disputes. In 2010, NetHackWiki and Dungeons and Dragons Wiki left over a new page layout.[1][2] The Nintendo Independent Wiki Alliance was established that year in opposition to Wikia.

In August 2017, Wikia began inserting video content at the top of articles on major wikis, the content of which was not under the control of the wiki's editors. This followed Facebook, Inc.'s publication of exaggerated video engagement figures in 2016, leading to an internet-wide "pivot to video". In 2018, the Runescape wiki cited this a reason when they left Wikia, as well as the platform's advertising and lack of technical feature updates.[3]

Advantages

In my experience, the biggest issue facing D&D wikis and sites is simply keeping the site online and functional. Technical, financial and personnel issues have taken down or severely impacted numerous community sites, including the Pen & Paper RPG database, the Grand OGL wiki, the Canonfire Greyhawk community and its Greyhawk wiki, the Planewalker Planescape encyclopedia, and several Living Greyhawk regional websites.

The Wikia/Fandom platform is a reasonable defense against this mode of failure. The operators of a wiki do not need to be technically skilled in web server administration. The admin can even disappear for several years, as happened to this wiki prior to my stewardship, and its content will remain available to readers in their absence. Editors can remain confident that their work will remain available to D&D players in future.

While Fandom does display advertising on wikis, many other independent wikis have the same issue—for example, Bulbapedia, the Pokémon wiki. The use of advertising, on Fandom as elsewhere, is a necessary evil to keep the site online.

Fandom wikis also tend to rank highly in Google results—for example, at time of writing, this wiki and the Forgotten Realms Wiki are the top results for Hand of Vecna. This poses challenges for sites which leave and have to complete with their former platform, but for those sites still here it lets more people find content. This also attracts more editors to improve the site, which is a primary need.

In 2019, following the merger with Gamepedia, Fandom announced the intent to transition their infrastructure from its outdated, customized version of the Mediawiki software to the up-to-date mainline software. This resolves a lot of concerns about the long-term v viability of the platform's codebase. In the meantime, this wiki's needs are met by its current features, including Mediawiki's templating system and Lua modules.

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