Wikia (Fandom) was created as a general free wiki hosting, and with the time it has been evolving its model in a more aggressive manner to make it more commercial and earn more money with ads, making decisions with often has caused a lot of dissatisfaction in a portion of their users, because of changes that cause a negative impact in how we manage our wikis. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a new step of what is an intromission in the day to day of people —like me— that maintain (for free) our wikis plenty of rich content and knowledge of topics that share interest with many people, either improving content or maintaining it clean and organized.
A quick summary: Now, Wikia (Fandom) is going to control the content and how the information it's being presented in our wikis. Even if the community does not agree. Until now, this was happening with the skin (the design around the content) of the site, but now they're interfering with the contents of each wiki. This is done by the Wikia staff, which has zero involvement with the community and the people which leverages the wiki each day.
Those that are here for quite some time, know that Wikia (Fandom) is developing new functionalities, sometimes with more or less success, but also neglects other functionalities until the point they're abandoned (literally, they end full of errors that difficult their usage) which get killed eventually. It's difficult to know if a functionality created by Wikia will last forever or will end abandoned eventually because of errors and "maintability". In either case, and luckily, some of those functionalities can be disabled at will, and those that can't be disabled users and communities can choose to use them or not. A hosting service should give the option to use those functionalities, not forcing them. About ads, this is something not negotiable for obvious reasons, and that's correct.
In the case of "Portable Infoboxes", it's a Wikia initiative to adapt the content of the templates to mobile devices. They've created a whole new syntax to make templates. As it's been in other situations, it would make sense to think that —even if the usage of Portable Infoboxes is recommended— it's up for the communities to use them or not. However, being Wikia a wiki hosting service, decided to force the use of Portable Infoboxes in some communities, being WikiDex one of them.
Firstly, a forum was posted to try to convince us to adapt our templates to use the Portable Infoboxes system, but we declined that. A couple of months later, a staff member warned us directly that they've already migrated our templates, and they would be implemented after one week (no matter what we agree or not). Because there was a strong oppose and nobody agreed, and the riddiculous short time we had for this, the implementation was postponed. We even gave alternatives about it's use, but Wikia didn't give us any other choice, and decided to implement this even without any support on the community.
On WikiDex we're reasonable and don't deny the use of it without reasons:
- Portable Infoboxes are a patch for something that's broken in a more general scope, which is the representation of our pages in mobile devices, which are often complex in the content they need to show.
- Portable Infoboxes use a Wikia's propietary syntax, subject to their rules about personalization and control, which limits our ability to personalize our templates to a set of styles and functionalities provided by this new system, and also subject to their bugs and eventual degradation and abandon of the system.
This is all about how the mobile skin deletes all the styles of the site —even inline styles used on templates— to make the content more lightweight, which doesn't give any chance to customize them. To solve this, they created this system, but it works only on templates and has the problems described before.
We came with a proposal for the Staff to enable a new system of CSS classes to use in any part of the page, to have a minimal structural control in the mobile skin to better accommodate the contents on mobile devices. We proposed that Wikia provides a set of "standard" CSS classes available for all wikis, to control some aspects of the display in mobile devices, like hiding certain elements, organize some elements in a vertical-flow instead of horizontal, etc, giving a greater control to the communities and without being subject to the restrictions of this new system.
The Wikia (fandom) Staff didn't even consider our effort to propose this system, and keep saying this was the only option. And they've implemented it despite the strong opposition of our community (in which there was no user supporting it).
They've implemented it even if the new templates look bad, and have serious display issues on pages (several images are missing, texts and images have a weird alignment, images with odd sizes...). They have not bothered to fix their own mess and transfer us all the responsibility and work to fix this.
I'm writing this message to let you know what new challenges we're going to have with Wikia and the new wiki modernization. They're forcing us to use this new system of Portable Infoboxes, and they're forcing us to use the new video ad system. Wikia is going to take control of the contents of our wikis more and more, and soon they're going to decide what content need to stay or needs to go.
You probably know me for being critical with Wikia, but I don't blindly criticize everything Wikia does, only those aspects that harms us. For those of us that think it's better to move along, I'll leave a quote of Martin Niemöller:
«First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.»
- ↑ Not everything is negative, of course, but only negative ones cause this dissatisfaction