Difference between revisions of "UCP concerns"

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(Rephrased the sentence to make it more factual, added a reference.)
(Reworded a sentence to be a bit more accurate. Added category.)
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At this time, the [[Unified Community Platform]] (UCP) project is in full progress on Fandom. Gamepedia users, however, know too little about what awaits them after Gamepedia's migration to UCP, and they have voiced '''a number of concerns about Gamepedia's future in relation to the UCP project'''.
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At this time, the [[Unified Community Platform]] (UCP) project is in full progress on Fandom. [[Gamepedia]] users, however, know too little about what awaits them after Gamepedia's migration to UCP, and they have voiced '''a number of concerns about Gamepedia's future in relation to the UCP project'''.
   
 
== Origins ==
 
== Origins ==
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In late 2018, Gamepedia users did not hold Fandom in high regard. Fandom's outdated and very limited technology, the fixed-width Oasis skin, and heavily modified user experience made many Gamepedia users say they don't want to edit – and sometimes even ''read'' – on Fandom. Fandom's staff were thought of as focused on nothing but the company, often forcibly pushing their features such as videos without community input and using heavy-handed tactics to any interference with these features. (For the sake of fairness, Curse staff too ''did'' require some wikis to host, without changes, staff-approved videos on the subject.) These two issues led to some Fandom communities forking away to other platforms (sometimes with users being also blocked on all of Fandom in association to these forks). One of those platforms wikis ran to was Gamepedia.
 
In late 2018, Gamepedia users did not hold Fandom in high regard. Fandom's outdated and very limited technology, the fixed-width Oasis skin, and heavily modified user experience made many Gamepedia users say they don't want to edit – and sometimes even ''read'' – on Fandom. Fandom's staff were thought of as focused on nothing but the company, often forcibly pushing their features such as videos without community input and using heavy-handed tactics to any interference with these features. (For the sake of fairness, Curse staff too ''did'' require some wikis to host, without changes, staff-approved videos on the subject.) These two issues led to some Fandom communities forking away to other platforms (sometimes with users being also blocked on all of Fandom in association to these forks). One of those platforms wikis ran to was Gamepedia.
   
For these same reasons, the Gamepedia Slack announcement of acquisition by Fandom was viewed extremely poorly. People compared the announcement to an April Fools joke many months late. They criticised the copy-pasted staff responses that all looked like from a script written in advance by lawyers. They were afraid the acquisition was just an "[[wikipedia:embrace, extend, extinguish|embrace, extend, extinguish]]" move by Fandom to eliminate their largest competitor. Some communities were even considering to jump ship from Gamepedia and go somewhere else. Some actually did.
+
For these same reasons, the Gamepedia Slack announcement of acquisition by Fandom was viewed extremely poorly. People compared the announcement to an April Fools joke many months late. They criticized the copy-pasted staff responses that all looked like from a script written in advance by lawyers. They were afraid the acquisition was just an "[[wikipedia:embrace, extend, extinguish|embrace, extend, extinguish]]" move by Fandom to eliminate their largest competitor. Some communities were even considering to jump ship from Gamepedia and go somewhere else. Some actually did.
   
However, some people were actually willing to give Fandom a chance. And as it turned out later, the initial worst-case predictions would not hold. Fandom disbanded their original Product and Gaming teams, and Gamepedia staff were brought into leadership positions in the new structure.<ref name="discord-general-gamepedia">[https://discord.com/channels/563020189604773888/563021718537371659/681212193567539217 As described by Brandon Rhea]</ref> No mergers between same-subject communities between Fandom and Gamepedia were forced – [[Project Crossover]] ended up being voluntary, requiring consent from both sides. Fandom has taken some steps away from some of their past mistakes. And most importantly, they have announced that a new and modern platform – a much-wanted improvement to Fandom's old tech – would come to Fandom... and Gamepedia.
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However, some people were actually willing to give Fandom a chance. And as it turned out later, the initial worst-case predictions would not hold. Some Gamepedia staff were brought into leadership positions in the new structure and many of the previous Product and Community staff members are no longer at Fandom.<ref name="discord-general-gamepedia">[https://discord.com/channels/563020189604773888/563021718537371659/681212193567539217 As described by Brandon Rhea]</ref> No mergers between same-subject communities between Fandom and Gamepedia were forced – [[Project Crossover]] ended up being voluntary, requiring consent from both sides. Fandom has taken some steps away from some of their past mistakes. And most importantly, they have announced that a new and modern platform – a much-wanted improvement to Fandom's old tech – would come to Fandom... and Gamepedia.
   
 
Yet even with all those things showing the acquisition won't be a total catastrophe for Gamepedia, its community members are still quite skeptical about what awaits them in the future. Right now, the [[UCP]] project is a most major source of such concerns. Another is an almost total absence of any assertive statements of the form "this thing bad for the community will not happen".
 
Yet even with all those things showing the acquisition won't be a total catastrophe for Gamepedia, its community members are still quite skeptical about what awaits them in the future. Right now, the [[UCP]] project is a most major source of such concerns. Another is an almost total absence of any assertive statements of the form "this thing bad for the community will not happen".
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== References ==
 
== References ==
 
<references />
 
<references />
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[[Category:Gamepedia]]

Revision as of 23:28, 1 July 2020

At this time, the Unified Community Platform (UCP) project is in full progress on Fandom. Gamepedia users, however, know too little about what awaits them after Gamepedia's migration to UCP, and they have voiced a number of concerns about Gamepedia's future in relation to the UCP project.

Origins

As for why these concerns even arise, it's important to know some details on the context of UCP and its rollout process.

Fandom's background

In late 2018, Gamepedia users did not hold Fandom in high regard. Fandom's outdated and very limited technology, the fixed-width Oasis skin, and heavily modified user experience made many Gamepedia users say they don't want to edit – and sometimes even read – on Fandom. Fandom's staff were thought of as focused on nothing but the company, often forcibly pushing their features such as videos without community input and using heavy-handed tactics to any interference with these features. (For the sake of fairness, Curse staff too did require some wikis to host, without changes, staff-approved videos on the subject.) These two issues led to some Fandom communities forking away to other platforms (sometimes with users being also blocked on all of Fandom in association to these forks). One of those platforms wikis ran to was Gamepedia.

For these same reasons, the Gamepedia Slack announcement of acquisition by Fandom was viewed extremely poorly. People compared the announcement to an April Fools joke many months late. They criticized the copy-pasted staff responses that all looked like from a script written in advance by lawyers. They were afraid the acquisition was just an "embrace, extend, extinguish" move by Fandom to eliminate their largest competitor. Some communities were even considering to jump ship from Gamepedia and go somewhere else. Some actually did.

However, some people were actually willing to give Fandom a chance. And as it turned out later, the initial worst-case predictions would not hold. Some Gamepedia staff were brought into leadership positions in the new structure and many of the previous Product and Community staff members are no longer at Fandom.[1] No mergers between same-subject communities between Fandom and Gamepedia were forced – Project Crossover ended up being voluntary, requiring consent from both sides. Fandom has taken some steps away from some of their past mistakes. And most importantly, they have announced that a new and modern platform – a much-wanted improvement to Fandom's old tech – would come to Fandom... and Gamepedia.

Yet even with all those things showing the acquisition won't be a total catastrophe for Gamepedia, its community members are still quite skeptical about what awaits them in the future. Right now, the UCP project is a most major source of such concerns. Another is an almost total absence of any assertive statements of the form "this thing bad for the community will not happen".

Differences in trust

One of the largest differences between Fandom and Gamepedia was who could create a wiki, or become an admin. On Fandom, anyone could create a wiki at any moment and be given bureaucrat and administrator permissions. On Gamepedia, all wiki creations would have to be approved by staff, and administrators ("wiki guardians") were also appointed only by staff – with the exception of a small number of established communities, often those coming from outside Gamepedia, that had the more typical system of bureaucrats and administrators.

Additionally, Gamepedia communities were more closely watched by wiki managers than Fandom communities were by staff. Gamepedia wiki managers were there to help, teach, and otherwise be available – including to overturn inappropriate use of administration tools, something Fandom staff would only do if such use violated their Terms of Service.

As a result of the above, Gamepedia admins could have a level of trust Fandom admins could not possibly have. Most notably, the ability to globally block any user across all of Gamepedia is well beyond what regular admins on Fandom (meaning, anyone willing to create a wiki) could have in their toolbox. The AbuseFilter extension was default on all Gamepedia wikis, while on Fandom it had to be requested – inappropriate use of the extension by admins could itself be abuse, and Fandom admins were not as thoroughly approved or monitored as their Gamepedia counterparts. Other moderation and customization tools were also available on Gamepedia that Fandom could not have due to excessive potential for abuse.[note 1]

However, a unified platform would mean either a system of two levels of trust (which by itself could be the most beneficial solution to many communities, but would involve massive technical and social challenges), or an environment where any of Gamepedia's extra features that can't be granted to every admin will have to be granted to no admins. As a result, Gamepedia power users are concerned that their workflow will be in part disrupted by loss of some functionality.

Specific concerns

If you think something should be listed here, you can be bold and add it, however, please explain why it would be a concern, preferably with evidence to avoid sounding like it's pure speculation. You can add your own notes on listed issues. If in doubt about something, such as whether a concern is valid, please use the talk page to ask questions.

Please keep all concerns written as more-or-less neutral reports.

Non-English communities and custom system messages

UCP will involve custom code written specifically for Fandom. Some of that code will implement user-facing features that use custom text messages visible to users. Fandom and Gamepedia both have many non-English communities, but the messages will be written in English first and translated to other languages later.

On Gamepedia, there was no staff effort to localize system messages. All translation had to be performed by users, who had to use the rather inconvenient method of editing localization JSONs directly and submitting merge requests on GitLab[2]. This has led to issues such as an error in the translated JSON crashing Gamepedia's staging environment if that language was chosen.[3] For these reasons, as well as probably some others, it was considered to switch to some other translation setup,[4], however, this ended up outmoded by UCP.[5]

At the moment, UCP actually includes translations for some officially supported languages, apparently pre-written by staff-approved parties. Should, however, users take issue with one of the translations, they need to write an issue report to staff using a very complex procedure. Additionally, support is provided only for a small number of languages[6] (which, admittedly, take the majority of Fandom and Gamepedia's non-English communities)[7]

The concerns raised from the Gamepedia side[8] involved that there will be far less input from community members regarding translations, that there will be no global translations for languages staff do not support, that support for a language may be dropped, and that there will be no public repositories where code (including localization files) would be shown. According to the staff response,[9] a proposal has been made, but not yet discussed, to address the issues, and a solution is supposed to be implemented before UCP is fully released. Without this proposal, languages outside the Top 10 may remain without translation overwrites.[10] (As for the code repositories, staff have announced their intent to make them public.[11])

It is unlikely Crowdin will become accessible to editors. Not only inviting them will be a very difficult procedure, there is no way to separate NDA strings from non-NDA strings in the Crowdin setup.[12] This has prompted concerns that errors may become no longer fixable easily if at all.[13]

As an additional concern, some messages are added to the page using a less usual mechanism, cannot be linked to system messages[14] and/or override the user's language preference by forcing the wiki language.[15]

Notes

  1. A cynical view on the topic is that simply not enough admin-hours were invested into Gamepedia to create the precedents of abuse that would have led to all Gamepedia admins losing some of the permissions. This is somewhat corroborated by that manual adjustment of WikiPoints was revoked from everyone after one case of an admin assigning 2 billion points to themself. And an admin vandalising a staff member's profile resulted in two tickets on GitLab asking for that feature to be restricted to global groups.

References