Community Central


Wikia, what are you trying to do?

WikiPim March 4, 2012 User blog:WikiPim

Recently, Wikia's been changing it's Terms of Use.

With the new set of rules, persons impersonating other people, users, entities or whatever even if they are fictional are in direct violation of these ToU. There are some who currently already violate it (example) but it seems to be ignored by staff. Not for the first time tough, it seems that rules only apply when staff needs them.

Another thing which is striking is the update to meet requirements of SOPA/ ACTA (anti copyright theft laws which have not yet been put in place, but have been heavily discussed in many countries worldwide) in laying blame with users and sort of criminalizing them for things they not always are aware of.

I am talking about the new quite extended way of saying that an user should not upload copyrighted content. While Wikia Jen Burton might be doing the right thing for the company, to make it far clearer that users are to be blamed for them hosting copyrighted material (about 95% of the material uploaded on Community Central today is not complying with the regulations for instance, of which quite an amount is a direct copyright violation).

While this expressed ToU is very clear that users are to blame, it will not be enough for some copyright policing entities. They rather shut down the site rather then go for the individual user (see for instance MegaUpload, The Pirate Bay, and quite a number of other examples).

But with that said, Wikia Jen Burton seems to be steering away from the real issues with this change. Very poorly designed upload screen (not even possible to adress the copyright status nor source at some of the upload screens, and you are not forced to get that attached either, even Wikia Staff quite a number of times does not adress it like they should (and yes, i have told them several times, as well as many requests have been made in the past to adress this issue).

Also i feel this issue is quite a shiny example again on how to not communicate with important issues like a ToU change. It is a big change. It is not publicly announced well before being implemented (which is required, Google has done so with there more and more big brotherish privacy statement). Nobody is forced to read through it and accept it either. It's not the first time Wikia does a bad job on the communications part. Is that with a specific goal in mind? Are you trying to lure your users into some kind of legal trap, not only blaming them more explicitly but now also not announcing that you do?

I am wondering if there is something behind it. Feel free to throw your thoughts about it on the comment panels.


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