I’m excited to be back on the staff blog today to announce a big change to how we’re going to be working with our communities in 2021. We’re re-organizing our community teams—previously set up in verticalized teams like Anime, Gaming, and Movies/TV—to bring a much more strategic focus to our support for editors and wikis.
Some of you may also know that those teams were previously part of what we called the Growth org. We’re officially changing our name back to Community org, to better reflect the core function that we serve within Fandom.
Let’s go through some of the high level details about what that means.
There’s a few key reasons why we wanted to change our name from Growth to Community. The first is that the name “Growth” being applied to community teams is a misnomer. Growth is usually a marketing function—”Growth Marketing” is a growing part of the tech industry and often focuses on things like overall customer acquisition and retention. Personally, having been the head of the “Growth” team since June 2020, I often found myself talking to new colleagues or other people in the industry and saying, “I’m head of Growth, but what I really mean is community, not marketing.” It was confusing terminology, so we wanted to fix that.
The second big reason is that we wanted to clearly state who we are and what we represent within Fandom. We have a lot of other teams within Fandom: Product, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and so on. It’s all very clear what their functions are, whereas ours was murky. By calling ourselves Community, we’re clearly stating not only who we are and what we do, but who we represent: and that’s you. The focus of Community is ensuring that you have a great experience on Fandom, that we listen to and represent your feedback, and that that feedback is incorporated into Fandom’s decision-making whenever possible.
The good news? This change has been incredibly well-received within the company. We haven’t spoken a lot about this, but internally we’ve essentially built an all-new Fandom over the last two years—particularly the last year, with entirely new members of teams like Product and Marketing joining the company. There’s a hunger for feedback from editors so everyone can make sure that your perspective is represented in what we do. A name change alone doesn’t accomplish that, but the overall changes we’re making within Community will align us better with the rest of the company and put us into a position where we’ll be able to represent your ideas, desires, and feedback better than ever before.
We have five Community teams, with a mix of historically Fandom and historically Gamepedia staff members, all focused on a different part of supporting communities. If you’ve been on Fandom (even Wikia) or Gamepedia for a while, you’ll see familiar elements to all of this. There’s some similarities to previous Fandom set ups, but with a more strategic focus on the key parts of your experience as an editor. You’ll also see that within those teams, there are specialized focuses around anime, gaming, and movies/TV. We thought it was important to ensure we’re retaining specialization and expertise, without those specializations being the overall focus of individual teams.
Our teams are:
- Community Experience. The Community Experience team is primarily responsible for providing proactive support to you as editors. We do that in several ways. First and foremost, we have proactive wiki management where team members will work directly with top communities to ensure that they are getting the support that they need. This is through a combination of Community Managers on our staff team, as well as Wiki Representatives—previously known as Wiki Managers, a change we’ll review in more detail at a later date. We’re also going to be creating a slew of new programming initiatives that editors can attend, like more frequent AMAs, live-streams where you can hear from us about the latest developments at Fandom to stay informed, and the recently announced virtual Community Connect in March. You’ll also hear from our team members about new features we’ll be building now that everyone is on the Unified Community Platform, and we’ll have a focus on frontline usability testing so our expert team members can make sure new features work as well as they can.
- Customer Support. Have you ever sent an email ticket into our Zendesk support queue? The person who responded to you is from Customer Support! Whereas Community Experience is our more proactive team that reaches out directly to you, Customer Support is our team of dedicated support reps who are there to react whenever you need to turn to them for help with something on your wiki. They support not only our Fandom wikis, but also our Tabletop properties like Dungeons & Dragons Beyond and our new Cortex RPG products.
- Community Development. Whereas Community Experience and Customer Support largely focus on your editing experience, Community Development is primarily responsible for working with you on the content experience. You’ll see three main functions within Community Development. One is something that should be familiar to a lot of you who follow the staff blog, which is Best Practices. This is an initiative that will let editors know what the best advice is from the industry, from an SEO point of view, and from our own experiences about how content can be best positioned for discovery on search engines. It doesn’t mean they’re the only practices, but we’re going to advocate for what we see as our expertise in this area. Through that we’ll also be working on content optimization, and making sure that if there’s content that isn’t succeeding as well as it could be, we work directly with the community to try to find a solution. Core Web Vitals is a big part of that. Finally, we’ll also continue to seed some new communities around new shows, games, and movies where we think we have the best chance to grow a wiki. Our team of Wiki Specialists, formerly known as Content Team Members, will play a big part in that.
- Community Activations. Our Community Activations team takes community development work to the next level. Sometimes, a TV studio or a game publisher will say “hey, we want to sponsor an entire wiki about our show or game.” Our Community Activations team will make sure that those wikis, often newer ones where a community hasn’t been built up yet, looks incredible and is the best version of a wiki it possibly could be. In the case of a wiki with an existing community, our team will work directly with admins and editors to take that wiki to the next level by dedicating some of our team’s resources to helping build out more content, giving it a facelift, and more. Community Activations also works on our Official Wiki program.
Unlike when we launched the Growth org, we’re not going to give a full list of everyone who is on our Community teams—either here, or on the staff page, which will be updated soon. What we’ve found is that having a full roster of our Community staff provides more confusion than clarity. Staff members who don’t work directly on wiki support often receive messages about needing help on a wiki, or changing a wiki’s name, or other requests better handled by a specific set of staff members. I myself often receive those on my Message Wall here, but I unfortunately don’t have the time in the day to be able to help with that. So we’re going to convert the staff page to be more of a “points of contact” page so people know who they can turn to when they need assistance.
In the interest of transparency, I do want to tell you who is leading up these new teams. Tim Quievryn (formerly Director of our Exploration & Innovation team) is the interim head of our Community Experience team. AmbyRO continues to lead our Customer Support team. Furusato (formerly Director of Anime) is going to be heading up Community Development. Brian Linder will be head of Community Activations. TimQ is also formally the head of our Community Safety team. As a special bonus round: Sannse is also part of our Community Safety team! You’ll also continue to see MisterWoodhouse here leading up our staff blog communications.
We’re incredibly excited to be launching these teams. We’re still in the process of building them, but you’ll hear more from each of them soon about what they’ll be working on and how you can be part of it. In particular, be on the lookout for some upcoming announcements from our Community Experience team about some of the programming initiatives they’ll be working on. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!