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Beyond the Encyclopedia - A Wiki for Everyone

What exactly is a wiki? I have to admit, when I first started on wikis a couple of years ago, I didn't quite get it. Anyone can edit, and they don't even have to sign up?


Collection of favicons
A sprinkling of the diversity found on Wikia

Once I wrapped my head around that concept, and began to contribute to a few wikis, I started to think, ok, is there a restriction to what wikis can be about or how they are written? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, but do all wikis have to be like that?


If you look around Wikia, you can see that wikis are on many topics, from Green to True Blood to WoW. And although some wikis may be encyclopedic, they can also function in many other ways. They can be a place for fiction, opinion, humor, as well as a place to play games, meet people with similar interests or ideas. Wikis can really be anything you want them to be. The key element is not "encyclopedia" but "community created". In the new look, our focus has been to emphasize and highlight that the community is at the center of each and every wiki, whether it's encyclopedic or not.


One of the oldest wikis, MeatballWiki (even older than Wikipedia) is all about discussing how to create and maintain online communities. Its focus is on social tools and social interactions in online spaces. The site is much more about discussion than creating documents (although there are many articles about the topic). We think of Wikipedia as the model for wikis, but it's important to remember it is just that, a model. An encyclopedia is right for many wikis, but it's not a requirement for all. It is a choice, not an obligation.


As Wikia has grown, we have seen the creation of many types of wiki communities here. From those that focus on creating a catalog of all events or a collection of resources, to wikis based purely on creating fan fiction. We have wikis written from different political viewpoints, and wikis that are meant to remain neutral. Everyday hundreds of new wikis are created on Wikia, each with unique goals and communities. As we continue to grow, we are committed to continuing to support wikis of all types, sizes and topics.

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