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Chat: What's killing it?

Flamefang October 30, 2011 User blog:Flamefang

Wikia began testing its new chat function in early march both here and on muppets wiki. A few months later it was released on Camp Half-blood Roleplaying Wiki; the wiki I am considered by many to be "from". About a month after this, it was released wiki-wide. During the entirety of this period, and then for a few months post-release, chat functioned almost perfectly. It not only formed a stable core around which our community was built but it also allowed us to much more easily welcome new users and make them feel at home. In effect, chat served as the heart of our community and to refuse to enter chat was more or less to refuse active participation in the society we had built for ourselves. As the wiki grew and we became increasingly extroverted, chat formed the channel through which we were able to form bonds and ties with other communities exhibiting similar interests and goals. Chat became the web of interconnectivity that allowed us, all of us, to feel part of something greater; a common community and ultimately part of wikia itself.

Now, I've been on wikia for about four years and as such I've seen quite a few wikis of nearly all varieties. The majority of these tend to be extremely introverted and reclusive, interested in their specific site only. Even then, many of these go further still and form tiny exclusive communities who care only about their own actions and edits. In effect, we end up with a thousand small shelled communities sitting utterly inert throughout the structure that is wikia. These wikis are so inert, so introverted, that they often couldn't care less whether they were part of wikia or not. To them, nothing beyond the borders of their world/wiki matters. In my eyes, this is not only a sad sight for me as a wikia user, but I believe it should be equally sad in the eyes of the wikia staff. As wikia grows and prospers it is only natural that it should attempt to increase its levels of connectivity, and expand the sense of being a member of more than one specific wiki. Now, instead being a member of Wookieepedia, or Harry Potter wiki we become members of wikia itself; becoming part of a larger community, a larger cause, and a larger future. To me, chat was a promising catalyst capable of realizing this, and yet despite all the potential it held something happened somewhere along the way.

About a month ago, wiki chat began freezing, lagging significantly, and even more recently began "bouncing" users; preventing them from accessing chat at all for hours at a time. Now, I understand that for many wikis and communities this problem is negligible. A large percentage of wikis I've seen either don't have chat on, barely use it, or resort to off-site IRCs to communicate. Yet, we should probably ask ourselves a few questions. Why are these wikis resorting to other methods to chat? Why do so many wikis refuse to care? Perhaps because wikia chat has, in effect, been left to rot on the wayside while newer projects Wikia Inc has more interest in shoulder their way to the front. For all intents and purposes, wikia chat is the runt of the pack that was left to die without cause or care. Many here may disagree with me, but in my eyes chat held too much potential to be left to this fate and even if you do disagree with me, I think there is one fact that you cannot refute. Wikia chat in its current state sets an abhorrent example. Wikia prides itself in its sleek functionality, simplicity, and progressive attitude towards web development and yet here we have this chat, which was once its pride and joy, dragging along as if it were a dead and diseased limb loosely attached only by the skin. Any reasonable surgeon would advocate its removal, as would any individual with common sense. What we always desired from chat was functionality, and yet when chat makes itself utterly unusable day in and day out, this functionality might as well have never existed. Perhaps, instead of focusing its resources on new developments many despise like Message Wall, wikia should clean up its act and fix what is broken before moving on to build on top of it. A house without a stable foundation is doomed to fall, as is anything.

Thus, I pose two simple questions:

  1. What happened?
  1. What are you going to do about it?

Yes, I've seen the page entitled "Chat" and yet, amidst all the mentions of improvements not one mention of fixing the issues that make chat entirey unusable for hours at a time is visible. No, instead a list of potential additions is present; a list of bells and whistles and nice pretty lights for us to look at in awe. I'm sorry, but none of those are going to help until chat itsef is fixed. I wouldn't be posting this blog if I had heard mention of a fix or at least some attempt to make one. If people are fixing chat, where are they? If Wikia cares, where is it? I just get an overwhelming sense that Wikia couldn't care less anymore and simply saying "Oh, we have people on it" isn't really going to convince me. This has been happening for 4 to 6 weeks, some action would be appreciated.


Thank you for your time and consideration,

Flamefang 22:24, October 30, 2011 (UTC)

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