User:GreenReaper/Wikia Brand Survey

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This page is a personal article, and may not conform to WikiFur's standards for tone or neutral writing. As a courtesy, please contact the author, GreenReaper, if you wish to make major changes.

These were my responses to questions on the brand audit survey conducted by Wikia in July 2006. They remain largely accurate, although for various reasons WikiFur is no longer hosted there.


Specifically, Wikia is a host for wikis, mostly ones which Wikimedia can't or won't host (too small a topic, too fan/community-based). Generally, it is a place for (mostly existing) communities to build community databases of lore and networks of understanding for other (current and prospective) members of those specific communities.

Wikia provides a space to store cultural information. It is a collective memory. It is the one-stop-shop for fandom info. You go there to look up words and people and places and events that have meaning for your community, and find out more about them, and maybe get lost in the process.

As far as competitors go, free is not at all a bad price (reduced width screens for ads is annoying, but tolerable). Features are competitive, though it would be nice to have more access to add and tinker with things ourselves (probably not relaistic unless we all got our own virtual servers). Lack of perceived ultimate control vs. other offerings, in part due to community basis, but also because the technology for greater community-based control just hasn't been written yet (there's no admin-revertible big red button that stops all edits, for example).

Wikia has staff who really understand Wiki, care about it, and are part of the general community - heck, you can't do much better than founding and helping to run the biggest wiki in the world. It has significant server resources, and a proven track record. It is big and so can code specific features in to better support community needs.

However, it's not easy to get a community together to edit a wiki, and yet a community is exactly what is required. Wikia claims to support this but it is really very hard to do that as some domain knowledge is required and there are not enough staff to devote a month to getting to know a topic well enough to start a wiki. As Wikia is not charging for wikis (no virtual land value tax) there is no incentive for prospective founders get started immediately. Often the founder never gets around to doing anything at all. Without them, no community will ever form, and so Wikia has lots of dead/stillborn wikis. This isn't specifically a Wikia problem vs. other wiki hosts but it is serious in general.

There are several communities that I write for:

  • Creatures: about 50%/50% male/female pre-pubescent children through students to young adults; (probably) mostly caucasian, but some of all races; mostly low/no income students but a few with high disposable income due to computing careers; USA (1,005), United Kingdom (418), Canada (90), Australia (66), Germany (59), New Zealand (52). Sweden (28), France (28), Poland (27);single;christian if anything
  • Furry fandom: est. 75%/25% male/female (perhaps 50% bisexual or gay/lebian) mid-teenage (~14 up) to 40+, mean approx. 22 years;mostly but not entirely caucasian, on average fairly liberal; income highly variable but slightly above average for age - those with money tend to have significant disposable income for fan-related items; United States (10,371), Canada (1,145), United Kingdom (1,016), Germany (600), Australia (356), Poland (146), Finland (141), Sweden (136), France (125); mix of single, open, casual, close and mated relationships; mostly nominally christian and some genuinely are, significant mix of pagan (totemistic/naturalistic) and atheist
  • Galactic Civilizations players: est. 95%/5% male/female mid-teenage to middle aged; caucasian?; must have some income to buy game and have computer to run it; United States (1,320), Canada (234), United Kingdom (210), Germany (167), Australia (94), Russian Federation (60), Netherlands (44), France (43), Finland (38); mostly single, older may be married; unknown religion (but again, probably nominally christian)

A description of the communities that I am in:

  • Creatures: Childlike, want cool stuff, want to create it, hope for a new version of the game, want new breeds, new game addons, (particularly) older people worry that the community is going to die out (main reason I made it my mission to develop the site)
  • Furry fandom: Liberal, verging on hippy at times; free-loving (often literally); diverse in interests and tastes; many are highly creative/artistic and appreciative of such works; worry about media attention, acceptance; searching for identity; energetic and dynamic; Manifest Destiny syndrome, almost evangelical (furries will take over the world!)
  • GalCiv: Strategy gamers. Interested in the details, the nitty-gritty, and in discussing the same to great length. Worry that game will be ruined and write up extensive bug lists. Hope for expansions, new material, and modifications; piles glory on those that create same.

I like being able to ask someone and get things done - it's still a small company. The trouble is having to ask someone, not as much direct control (or even community control) over the wikis as would be nice to have - and sometimes it takes quite a while to get the result, due to busy employees (the downside of it being a small company).

Wikia is a sprawling metropolis with explorers uncovering new information, some areas filled with bursts of activity while others lie dormant . . . for now. I view it like this picture.

Wikia is like Wikipedia, or other sites where people contribute content/links to help others.


Wikia can be the place for people to write "originally" about things that excite them. It should be the place where people go for information on their community - whatever that community is about. Are you learning a sport? The wiki has all the statistics. Want to know how to make a Vulcan's ear, or a fursuit? Go to Wikia's site for it. Chances are you were directed there by Google already.

Ideally, Wikia's content will live on forever, as will the communities it strengthened and helped develop. The mecca of fan activity, it was where communities went to store their collective knowledge.

Wikia will make it easier for people to be a part of whatever it is they are interested in, and to learn everything there is to learn about it.

It is great to see people saying "Yeah, I stumbled across the site and I found out everything I wanted to know, and I found a convention nearby and got up the courage to go along to it and had a great time with other people who shared my interests". Also, getting together to do great things collaboratively, like redesigning the front page, is very fun.

One bad part is the dead wikis. Some way of linking them up with the communities that could populate them is what is needed. However, this does require skilled wiki leaders with relevant topic information to be the people to evangelize and get the wiki off to a good start. I would suggest that raiding Wikipedia for editors looking for opportunities to expand their writing about their topics of interest might be an good (if evil) idea.


Wikia should guarantee that it:

Keeps the data entrusted to it safe (backups!), keeps it accessible and editable, but also helps defend it from vandals, enable it to find a wider audience. Doesn't do silly things that will scare communities away.

Wikia has these traits:

Friendly, welcoming. Helpful, but lets you be once you're going. Enthusiastic. Too busy, sometimes! :-)

In short, Wikia is:

Communities, separate but equal (of course, some end up being more equal than others, but they all get the same opportunity)

Wikia would like to be like:

Google (in terms of "this is the place to find it"), MySpace (this is the place for [your community] to be), Flickr (share your stuff [here, topic-based knowledge] with others who enjoy/are interested in the same topic)

Wikia is (or should be?):

A fleet of buses (or minivans) heading to a [topic X] convention, each going in different directions but often with similar people on them
Competitive essay-writing with breaks for erasing graffiti written on the library walls
An orangutan, or something in a highly defensible/resilient position like an anteater, something that lives a long time and learns things (Contributors are the wikipedes!)
Research librarian/team historian.
Light (pale grass) green or light/dark blue
Spaghetti with meatballs, stone soup
Comfortable to wear, easy to wash.
She (definitely she) would have won fame as a consensus builder and organizer of people.
The Encyclopedia of Everything That Isn't All That Important But Which People Care About Anyway
Something that provided new places to bring people together.
Lively classical music
A plane where everyone would have to flap their wings to keep going, and people would be arguing about a stoppover in Minneapolis

Personal information[edit]

I am 23, and work in software research and development. I have been at Wikia 1 year, 8 months (since December 2004).

I'm probably into several thousands started by now (15000+ article edits total), mostly spread over Creatures, Furry fandom and Galactic Civilizations.

I don't write for Wikia. There is not really a "Wikia" that people belong to, and I think attempts to make one will fail, as each wiki is inevitably based around its own community before any other. I write for my communities because I enjoy being a part of them, and I like to think I can do something to improve them (and, yes, get some respect for doing so - most contributors have some ego involvement in their contributions) - and for the joy of writing and organization of information.

I was introduced to Wiki like this: "<Sgeo> Hey, I requested a wiki for Creatures . . ."

Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry; Plymouth, Michigan, USA
greenreaper at hotmail _DOT_ com, contact if phone required.


Wikimania's a big chance to get some people involved . . . but it won't get you the people who don't know about wikis. If you want to have a wiki on X, the best way is to go where X is and ask people to give it a go. Wiki editing can be learned, but it's not easy to really contribute well on something you're not passionate about.--GreenReaper(talk) 09:42, 20 July 2006 (UTC)