Community Central

FishTank FishTank 25 April 2020

Short and long pages on Fandom

Fandom is the most comprehensive source of information for fans of all varieties of what we love. Contributors from the most comprehensive chroniclers to devoted enthusiasts share every aspect of their fandom topics on wikis. This leads to a lot of material for readers to explore, and getting these readers to what they seek is the purpose of nearly every wiki.

Sometimes, though, such information is not as easily found because it is buried or scarce. Many wikis use tabs and tab panels (called "tabbers") to arrange their content. In this post, we're going to talk about how to organize some article content to make it more accessible to seekers.

There's a big difference between b…

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FishTank FishTank 13 March 2020

Infoboxes on Fandom

Infoboxes are a traditional part of wiki pages, usually providing a summary of basic facts about a page's topic. They're meant to inform and inspire readers to read the associated page. They can also overload a reader and drive them to frustration.

This seems like a simple question for many wiki readers and editors, but many wikis consider the answer differently. An infobox is an element on a wiki page that provides short data, information, and navigation about the main topic of the page. Whether on desktop or mobile devices, the first and most common component on a page is the primary infobox. Readers expect it to contain a bri…

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FishTank FishTank 23 November 2019

Templates and Scripting on Fandom

Part of the fun of wiki editing is the flexibility and interactivity that come from templates and scripting, by building internal and external layers (respectively) onto page content. The more involved into wiki community building editors go, many will get involved with creating layers deeper or atop the wiki page through those templates and scripts.

While the most important parts of a community are the people involved and the content inside, these additional layers have best practices recommendations, too. Like icing on and filling in a cake, a solid foundation of content deserves details to make things interesting.

JavaScript (sometimes abbreviated as "JS") can be a great way of adding some fun flair to communities. Because of how it is di…

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FishTank FishTank 2 November 2019

Showing Data on Fandom

There are several ways in which Fandom communities craft their articles. Some are focused on encyclopedic-like descriptions, while others are oriented towards fanon, role-play, or other discussion. The vast majority document a specific game, television show, animanga, or films. When presenting documentary articles, sometimes narrative text and images stand alongside data tables. Presenting data can be a challenge to avoid overloading a reader's attention while informing with the most clarity.

An important part of presenting data in articles also involves imagining if that data were not there, adding clarity to the text. Like images, data should enhance the article itself. If the article is not sufficient length without adding fact tables an…

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FishTank FishTank 8 October 2019

Articles on Fandom

We all know that wiki articles and other pages compose a wiki. The fundamental building blocks of a wiki, though, are its users and its content. Each community has its own tone and they commonly use guidelines and manuals of style to maintain a cohesive "voice". The traditional guiding principles of big wiki communities — such as Fandom, Gamepedia, and Wikipedia — have an open model where articles can be potentially edited by many people. Constructing articles must be a team effort, with no one "owner" and flexibility on what makes for an ideal article. Articles make up the bulk of what most communities supply on a day-to-day basis, more than blogs or images or video.

To attract an audience and more contributors, as a best practice, content…

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FishTank FishTank 21 September 2019

Organized spaces on Fandom

The word "wiki" comes from a Hawaiian word, meaning "quick". The original idea is that pages can be rapidly constructed and threaded together by links to grow organically. It should come as little surprise that they don't always begin with organized models, and can flow quickly from one article to the next without putting them into more carefully considered structures. This can contribute to the rapid growth of small wikis, but can make maintaining large wikis with many articles and contributors harder to manage.

Spaces like wikis can need a plan or blueprint to avoid the chaos. Well organized spaces come together either after there are pages, or when a wiki is first created. It helps to have a plan ready before multiple contributors start…

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FishTank FishTank 24 August 2019

Categories and Navigation on Fandom

Wikis are full of information, and organizing that information leads to a better experience for readers exploring your wiki. Categories are a part of our communities that add grouping and association to pages. They’re also a very wiki-centric concept; as such, there is less general research available under that term, and we rely on more of the data Fandom collects to determine the Best Practices. For research purposes in the non-wiki world, the Category is most akin to a web model called “topic clusters”, but categories also have elements typical of tags (aka labels) common in blog posts.

While there are many methods of moving between wiki pages, only a few show highly organized clusters of pages. The most common of those used for navigati…

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FishTank FishTank 9 August 2019

Main Pages for Fandom

Main Pages are the central points to focus on for many communities. They are often, but not always, popular landing pages where readers enter a community (and the greater Fandom network). They create the first impression for some visitors, and are the navigational crossroads for others. However, there is a lot of tradition around Main Pages that may not be ideal choices for today's wikis.

One thing that takes getting used to is that Main Pages are not nearly as "main" as many think they are. In fact, Main Pages might be the most popular pages on some communities but are very far down the list of others. With global search engines pointing to individual articles on a wiki, Main Pages are often not the primary "entrance" into a community's a…

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Mira Laime Mira Laime 26 July 2019

The best possible local navigation bar

Did you know that 99.95% of the people on Fandom are readers, not editors? Admins tend to focus almost exclusively on the needs of their fellow editors, since readers leave no visible trace. Yet while wikis can’t exist without editors, their content is useful and enjoyable to a far larger audience. Many more people rely on the content you create and appreciate your work than you might have thought. It’s crucial that you keep this in mind when organizing your wiki’s local navigation bar, to make it as useful to your audience as possible.

(Can’t be bothered to read all this? Jump to the bottom for a summary!)

Fandom’s User Experience Research team has looked into how users typically move around on a wiki and where they click (and where they don…

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FishTank FishTank 3 July 2019

Images that engage

Images, when they're available, should break up text on a page to make it more interesting. Thinking about how and why images are used is important, as all the imagery of your pages build reader impressions for your communities. Compelling images can also uniquely inspire and engage your readers to contribute useful information.

All pages have a purpose. Images should be applied carefully to support that purpose. Some pages are articles, but most that aren't should be for the purpose of linking or leading to articles.

  1. Identify and prioritize all the messages of the page. What is the intention of the page you're editing? Is the page primarily meant to navigate or describe your community? Or is the page meant as an informative article?
  2. Define ho…

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