Many of you know that there are many articles on how to build and promote a community but, to my knowledge, there are very few that actually tell people the best way to run a wiki.
I am no proffesional but have run a few short lived wikis. I have had to deal with vandalism, spam and people just being rude so I hope that the lessons I learnt from my mistakes will help others.
This is the first of the weekly blogs I hope to put on Community Central to help others in all aspects of wikia life!
When running a wiki you need to know that even though you have admin rights doesn't make you 'The Boss'. You can deal with problems, guide and create major things for the community but you need to remember it is a community. While at first you need to take charge and others probally don't have much of a say if the wiki starts to grow people want to have some input in what happens.
A key example is one of the first wiki's I made. I had a decent main page about 25 pages and 6 contributors (including me). I was proud thaat the wiki was finally starting to pick up. Soon people started questioning the rules I had put in place and asked if they were really necessary. At this I got angered and lashed out, which is not a good idea, I told the people that it was my wiki and I had control over what happened.
After that the wiki activity started to die and soon the wiki itself followed the same fate.
When starting a wiki the obvious thing to do is create a page. I suggest creating the community guidlines or, in other words, the rules. Try to keep them simple as they will more than likely change if the wiki picks up.
Once that is covered continue to create more pages. I cannot stretch it enough when I say keep creating pages. The biggest mistake I made on my first wiki, which was about fanfiction, was when I created the rules, edited the main page and started the first story. After that I went straight to promoting, and trust me, it's not a good idea.
First I made a two sentence blog post on Community Central telling people about my wiki. Because of the subject I was using, I got very little attention and that was because of the lack of content. I found this out by using the Community Central Chat. I talked for a bit and then I asked people to check out my wiki. Most said that I needed to add more stuff if I ever wanted to get anywhere.
After using that advice and creating a few more pages I was introduced to the Admin Dashboard! All I can say is that I wished I had found it sooner (to access the Admin Dashboard using your toolbar (black bar at the bottom of your screen. May need to hit a small button on bottom right corner to show it.) hit the 'admin' button). The dashboard has features such as the theme designer, community rights and my favourite feature, the Wiki Tasks.
The Wiki Tasks are tasks that can be completed to help get your wiki kick started. I suggest getting the bar to 100% before doing anything major.
The Main Page
The Main Page is probally one of the most important parts of your wiki because it is the part that attracts other people. Without a good main page people will forget about the wiki.
In one of my first wiki's a major problem I had was the main page. I had made it how I wanted with a nice theme and layout when I was asked by an admin if I wanted them to make the page look neater. Not knowing any CSS code I agreed.
Now it didn't end how you might think where the whole page was vandalised. It actually turned out great. Then I wanted to change the colour theme and realised that the text had been made using code, which at the time I knew nothing about. I tried to change it myself but it didn't work so I ended up having hot pink text, dark green links and a grey background.
It was a mess! With the admin away on holiday for a while I had no way of fixing it so I decided to egnore that and continue to promote. Once again using the chat I soon realised that people weren't using my wiki because of the look.
What I learnt from that is that people do judge a book by it's cover, or, in this case, a wiki by its main page.
Continue to Edit
Continue to edit and get as many pages as possible. The more you have the more likely your wiki is to appear in search engines.
Once you have cleared the last few steps your probally ready to start promoting. The best way to start is by creating a blog post. For information on how to create a great blog post check out Promoting Your Wiki on Community Central's Blogs . And once your wiki reaches 200 pages an admin can apply for a Fandom Spotlight.
You can do alot of things when promoting but try not to be to pushy as it will make others avoid you.
How to Respond to Vandalism and Spam
Vandalism and Spam is not fun to deal with. Vandalism and spam can cause major problems on a wiki by changing pages, creating random pages and, if not protected, changing th main page.
Different people respond in different ways. Some clean up the mess and forget about, others try start a mob. All I can say is that how you respond is different for every situation.
At first I didn't know how to protect the main page (hit the drop down menu under edit on the main page and hit protect) so it was left for anyone to change. One day I logged on to find everything different and the word 'PizzaCake' plastered everywhere. Angered that someone could be so cruel I found the culprit and ranted on what they should and shouldn't do.
After a while they responded and apologised. Being the person I am I forgave them and they some became part of the community. I continued with my usual business only to find that the same thing had happened, by the same person! I once again told the person off and they once again apologised. This cycle happened about two more times as I so lenient on the 'banning'. Finally it got to the point where I had to ban the user forever.
The lesson: even if someone apologises, you can forgive them, but they must still be punished.
"Just because a man apologies for murder doesn't mean he doesn't serve his time." - ThePhoenixGhirl 2017 "Yes, I did that!"
For more information on vandalism and spam check out How vandalism and spam affects wiki editors
Admins are editors on a community with special rights that allow them to edit, rename and delete.
When choosing admins you must be very careful as to not make bad choices as some will vandalise. Another thing you need to be careful of is how you choose your admins.
My first wiki was starting off when I leant about admins. I thought it would be a good idea to make a blog post telling others that I was giving an admin out to anyone who added 2 pages and make 10 edits. The uproar that it caused...
Whether I was being told off or others were just looking out for me I don't really know but I was told that instead of bribing people into joining I should build up my community and choose from there instead as people look for stuff like that so they can spam and vandalise.
As I said earlier I am no expert and have made lots of mistakes, as you can see above, but I do want to help. If you find any of this useful tell me as I would love to know!
And just remember that there is no guarantee your wiki will pick up. You could spend hours editing and designing but nothing will happen. And that's what happened to most my wiki's. Just whatever you do, don't give up because you could be so close.
I hope this article helped,. If you have any as for next weeks blog leave ideas down below.