Many of you have asked if Message Wall can be optional. My quick and short answer is that we don’t know yet. But, we are taking an important interim step.

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The next stop for Message Wall is Wikia Labs. Putting Message Wall in Labs will give you the chance to try the feature out for a while and see how it works for your community. It also gives you a place to share insights about testing the product with other users and Wikia staff.

During the Labs phase, we’ll be tracking usage and your feedback; we'll also be working on any bugs present. We’ll be asking and answering the following types of questions:

  • Are communities that are using Message Wall talking more?
  • Are those communities seeing an increase in edits?
  • Are communities seeing a growth in new visitors and editors?
  • What’s the sentiment like on (new) Message Wall posts as they relate to the product?

The above tracking will occur as we continue to iterate, bug fix, and evaluate the overall launch plan for Message Wall. Overall, our goal with Message Wall is to create a product that works so well and is so compelling that communities will want to use it over Talk Pages.

So, when will this happen? Well, before we put Message Wall in Labs, we want to make sure it’s close to feature complete and has few low-level bugs. It’s not there yet. But, the dev and product teams working on Message Wall are laser focused — we’ll keep you all posted.

In the meantime, register for the Wikia New Product Webinar which will be held on November 1, 2011 at 11AM PDT. We'll be talking about both Message Wall and the Expanded Wiki Navigation (currently in Labs).

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