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500px-Merge sign.svg

Merging communities is a lot like merging lanes on a highway: a smaller community joins the primary community, and they begin moving forward together.

Sometimes, when two user communities cover the same or related subject matter, they may wish to merge their communities. This can push their efforts forward in one direction and a combined community to be more successful.

Merger is in fact something Fandom staff recommend, as it avoids duplicate communities and results in much higher SEO value for the joined community — meaning that more people will read your work, and more editors will join your cause.

"Merging" is a misnomer

The term "merge" is misleading, as Fandom cannot push a button to make two communities suddenly become one community. This is because of the technical limitations of MediaWiki software, the unique way Fandom user tables are configured, and the fact that two communities may have pages with the same name but different content.

Therefore, the job of merging mostly falls upon users who armed with the tools of importing and exporting.

How to merge

Communication comes first

Both communities should discuss the merger thoroughly to form a consensus, making sure to advertise the discussions on both wikis. This means actually going to people's talk pages or message walls and personally inviting them to the discussion. It's generally not enough to put up a blog post and never point anyone in its direction. Remember: this is a big change, so you need to take extra care to invite everyone to the conversation.

In scoping out whom to invite, look at the last 30 days in Special:RecentChanges. Use Special:ListUsers to find the most recent editors and/or admins on the "donor" wiki.

On small communities, the founder will usually be the only one with both bureaucrat and administrator (sysop) rights. Go out of your way to contact the founder, using their Message Wall or talk page.

If there are active admins or editors, approach them politely about merging. Offer a friendly invitation to edit at the more active community, and let them know that it's possible to move articles and merge the projects so that everyone will have greater success. Always be diplomatic when discussing a community's work.

Telling people their project is inferior or pointless won't convince them to join you, but may drive them away from Fandom altogether.

Don't forget to start a similar discussion on the recipient wiki ("your" wiki), and make sure to personally invite your own active editors to the discussion — "active" meaning anyone who's edited constructively in the last six weeks or so..

Remember, both sides should be engaged in the process!

What happens after people agree

When there is a consensus that the merger should go through, admin can begin merging the content, as described at Help:importing and exporting pages. Don't be intimidated by this process. It's typically very fast and easy!

  • Use Special:Export on the "donor" wiki (i.e., the one that will be closed). Be sure to create your XML files such that they include full page histories, so that all editors get their due credit. This may mean that you'll have to break up your exports into several batches.
  • Use Special:Import on the "recipient" wiki to import those XML files. This part of the process requires admin rights.
  • After importing, make sure to fix any broken file links, templates, or redirects.Special:SpecialPages has a list of maintenance reports to check after a merger.

Contact Fandom

When you're done merging the contact, inform Fandom staff that a community can be shut down. You can do this by leaving a message, which should include the following information:

  • a request to merge
  • confirmation that there is community agreement for the merger, with links to any on-wiki discussions, or confirmation that there are no active editors and that you've tried to contact the founder
  • links to both the old and new community, making clear which is to be closed
  • confirmation that all of the content has been transferred from the smaller community into the one that is to stay open
  • statement of what you want your primary URL to be

A staff member can then close down the "donor" community and redirect its domain name to the "recipient" destination. The communities will now be under one sitename and URL.

Complications

Most mergers are really simple and straightforward. But sometimes there can be unexpected bumps in the road.

Files can't be moved

You should know that files generally can't be moved. You'll need to go through them and manually transfer them to the recipient wiki. Since you're merging, though, this is a useful exercise. It allows you the opportunity to weed out duplicates, which are highly likely.

When the merger is really big

For larger mergers of over about 1000 pages, always start by consulting a Wiki Manager (WM). Chances are that if either wiki is that big, they probably will have a WM. They can then speak with Fandom staff, as necessary.

If there is no WM assigned to either wiki for such a wiki, then go ahead and contact Fandom staff for technical assistance, early in the process. Please give Fandom as much hard data as you can as to the scope of the merger. You'll need to describe how much stuff needs to be moved.

Dead wikis

If no one responds to your messages on the "donor" wiki in about a month, you can feel free to start moving content.

Do not use the adoptions process for mergers

The adoptions process is for reviving abandoned wikis. The intent of the process is for the wiki to survive, not be cannibalised. Please do not attempt to adopt a wiki with the intent of merging it into your primary wiki. This subverts both the adoptions and merger process by turning both into a one-person show. If one person is making decisions for both wikis, there's no community any more.

See also

Further help and feedback

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