As the decade draws to a close and we all turn our focus to time with friends and family over the holidays, we wanted to take a moment to look back at all the amazing highlights and accomplishments from our work together in 2019. As a company and as a community, 2019 has been really exciting.
In a lot of ways, it’s a brand new Fandom. One of the things that we said earlier in the year was that while Wikia rebranded to Fandom in 2016, it was really an incomplete transition. It moved our business forward, but it didn’t move the editor experience forward in any meaningful ways. The backend was still Wikia, and that came with it a lot of history and issues to resolve. 2019 has been a year of re-focusing on the core of Fandom—you and your communities—and bringing a renewed focus to the editor experience.
This year also saw the introduction of a new set of company values, which we’re excited to share with you in greater detail in the new year. That said, here’s a preview, beginning with our very first value, which is simple but important: Act Community First. That value recognizes that we are a company built by fans, for fans. Our mission is in service to you and all fans. This is expressed in our work to provide a great foundation for a world-class wiki experience. That’s what makes Fandom work. Our remaining values are:
- Take Ownership: We are accountable for our actions to our communities, employees and partners.
- We Not I: We view collaboration as essential to our decision making and we trust teams to make good decisions.
- Be Curious & Courageous: We believe growth stems from exploration and challenging our own assumptions.
- Embrace Diversity: We create an inclusive workplace and welcome everyone’s authentic selves
As you read through the remainder of this post, keep this focus on these values in mind: We strive to act with them in mind every day, and we hope that the changes you’ve seen over the last year are a positive reflection of that.
Joining Forces with Curse Media
January started off with a bang as Fandom and Curse Media joined forces. This brought Gamepedia and consumer products like D&D Beyond, Futhead, Muthead, and Strawpoll into the Fandom family. In forming this union we branched out beyond a single wiki platform and original content organization to multiple media sites and two wiki platforms. It also brought two teams together who have shared what has and hasn’t worked for each platform; this combined team is now hard at work building the Unified Community Platform .
The Creation of the Growth Organization
In the weeks and months following the acquisition of Curse, we worked to figure out how the two companies could best come together. This led to the creation of the Growth Organization, with the mission of serving the direct needs of the wiki editors.
In tandem with the formation of the Growth Organization came the creation of the Wiki Verticals - Games, TV/Movies, and Anime - to provide special resources for the biggest categories of wikis. Each team has a Director, dedicated Community staff, and Wiki Managers. A fourth group, Editor Experience, was also created to focus on improving the overall editor experience. This group has been working on ways to grow the overall number of editors on the site, encourage editors to expand their talents, and help very active editors transition into wiki admins.
Wiki Managers and Content Teams
Early in the year, we began building out new Wiki Manager and Content Teams to provide more “boots on the ground” support for editors and admins. Adapted from the Gamepedia Wiki Manager program, these teams have made it easier for thousands of wikis across the Wiki Verticals to contact staff.
Piloted in late Spring and launched over the Summer, our Editor Rewards program has one aim: make you feel recognized for the incredible contributions you make to the platform. To date, hundreds of editor rewards have been sent out, from movie tickets to video games, toys to sweatshirts, mugs to t-shirts.
The response to the program has been fantastic. Awesome editors on movie wikis have been able to see new releases during launch weeks to avoid spoilers. Gaming wiki editors have been able to try out games they’re interested in to better edit those wikis. We even sent some folks to an anime festival!
As part of Editor Rewards, we brought the Editor of the Month program to Fandom with one for each vertical and Emerging Interests (the wikis not classified by a specific vertical). To see the winners, check out the This Month at Fandom blogs!
Official Wiki Partnerships
Another Gamepedia program we brought over to Fandom was the Official Wiki program. While Fandom had some Official Wikis before this, we formalized the program and dramatically increased the number of relationships with IP rights holders.
Big partnerships in 2019 include Dark Crystal, Dying Light, Trine 4, World War Z, Castle Crashers, Atomicrops, Tropico, The Sinking City, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble, John Wick, The Bachelor, Grey’s Anatomy, Stumptown, Hinamatsuri, and Dancing with the Stars.
The Editor Experience team ran a number of experiments on Fandom this year to help different editor populations. These experiments focused on things like user education on page features, accessing help resources during editing, and new user onboarding. Several of these experiments were very successful and are under consideration for full feature status in 2020.
In a rather different sort of experiment, we published Undermine, our first video game, in August! Developed by Thorium Entertainment, a small dev team we met at PAX East this Spring, UnderMine was well-received at launch into early access on Steam, climbing into the top 20 releases for the month.
UnderMine presented a unique opportunity to explore how we can leverage our knowledge of the gaming industry - and specifically this type of game - into a new business opportunity. We learned a lot from the experience and we think the game is fantastic.
Since hitting early access, UnderMine has received several content updates and is heading to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in 2020. Naturally, we have the Official Wiki for the game.
Additionally, we are currently experimenting with new content and discoverability features to gather critical data to properly replace Featured Video.
We have begun the critical work to upgrade to the modern version of MediaWiki. Fandom currently runs on a 7-year-old version of the software that has been heavily customized to our needs. By building a new codebase on a modern MediaWiki, however, we can leverage years of MediaWiki core improvements, gain better compatibility with extensions, and establish a better foundation for new features. Crucial to this development is ensuring that all current wikis port over to the new platform.
Gamepedia just completed an upgrade to MediaWiki version 1.33 last week. Project Crossover continues to go very well. The biggest win here was that Nukapedia (Fandom) and The Vault (Gamepedia) came together to reunify as a single Fallout franchise wiki. This was community-organized with almost no staff help and they did a phenomenal job. Kudos to all the editors from both wikis!
We also released the Admin Analytics Dashboard on Fandom earlier this year, giving wiki admins better data on their pages so that they can more efficiently direct editing efforts.
Fandom Original video
In case you missed it, Honest Trailers got nominated for their 4th consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. It is the only series to be nominated in this category every year, since the Emmys started recognizing digital work in 2016.
We also launched the Fandom Uncovered series of documentaries, with the first two entries covering Dungeons & Dragons and how the Twilight fandom saved the real town that Twilight is set in.
One of the most exciting things this year is that we made a feature length documentary called Never Surrender, which covers the cultural importance of Galaxy Quest, arguably one of the best parody films of all time. The documentary features interviews with most of the cast as well as influential celebrities. It premiered nationwide in theaters on November 26th for one night only and is now available for digital consumption on your platform of choice!
It has been a very busy year at Fandom and there are definitely things we missed in this post. We have another exciting and busy year ahead of us in 2020 as work continues on the Unified Community Platform and we get set to host our first Community Connect in years. 2020 is going to be a huge year for our wikis, our communities, our teams, and, most importantly, you!
The offices will be closed for the holidays starting at the end of the week, but limited staff will be available to help with some critical requests during that time.
From all of us here at Fandom, Happy Holidays!
Will "MisterWoodhouse" Kavanagh Fandom Staff
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