Video Game Wikis Abandon Their Platform After Year Of Problems

Screenshot: Runescape, Jagex

After a year of issues, the Runescape wiki is leaving the Fandom platform, and more may follow suit.

If you need to look up a video game factoid, you’re probably going to end up on a site owned by Fandom, which provides a free-to-use online encyclopedia framework called Wikia. Starting last year, these video game wikis started having problems with the company that hosts them.

The Fallout wiki, Nukapedia, was up in arms over Fandom putting autoplaying videos above the articles on its pages, and community members have been discussing whether or not to leave the site entirely since June.

As that conversation went on, the wiki for Runescape decided to pull the plug.

The Runescape wiki’s conversation about leaving Fandom began internally in October of last year, a month after Fandom also added videos to the Runescape wiki Jayden, one of the administrators for the wiki, told Kotaku over email. Jagex, Runescape’s developers, helped them get those videos removed.

Later that month the wiki admins decided to meet with Jagex about the other problems they had with Fandom and how to proceed from there.

“We decided the best course of action would be to have a discussion with Jagex at their office, which we did, and we concluded that leaving the platform would be the best way to go,” Jayden said. “There are plenty of issues before this that have made us want to leave, but this was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

In a statement about the move from the Runescape wiki, admins cite “horrendous” advertisements, security issues, and out of date wiki software, along with the intrusive videos, as a reason to leave Fandom. While the new wikis are currently live, Jayden says they will launch properly on October 2.

The Runescape wiki will be hosted by the current administrators, and Jagex will give them some monetary and community support, and have also agreed to let the new wiki use their trademark. Jayden said that Jagex has been fully in support of the Runescape community and has helped them build new infrastructures over the past year.

“We’ve signed an agreement with Jagex, allowing us to use their trademarks properly and form a partnership with them to host the wikis,” they wrote in their statement. “We all, including Jagex, want to be transparent with the community about what this partnership entails.”

Fandom doesn’t seem fazed by this decision. “We’re sorry to see the RuneScape Wiki leave Fandom, but understand the unique opportunity they have with Jagex,” a representative from Fandom told Kotaku. “We continue to be committed to creating the best experience possible for fans, inclusive of non-disruptive ads and content that helps them connect even more with the entertainment that they love.”

The Runescape wiki isn’t the only one making the decision to leave. The wiki for Yu-Gi-Oh! left Fandom eight months ago, and the Warframe wiki is also considering leaving. Both communities cited Fandom’s featured videos as a top issue, though the Warframe community also cited intrusive ads as among their problems.

Two months ago members of the Warframe community bought a domain and began migrating articles to a new site, but that move is currently on hiatus. Now, with the details the Runescape wiki has provided about how they facilitated their move, Warframe wiki admins are thinking about trying again. “If they can do it, so can we,” one community member wrote in a Reddit thread on the topic, which currently sits at nearly one thousand upvotes.

“Honestly, I think Wikia are past their due date,” Jayden told Kotaku. “It’s clear that they want to shift away from the wiki focus that they have, and that’s definitely rubbing people up the wrong way. Injecting a lot of advertising into their pages feels like a last ditch move to get the revenue they can before people move along like we are.”

Time will tell if other communities follow Runescape’s lead.


Comments

    Good on these guys. Wikia used to be great but all this 'fandom' stuff is really annoying and the autoplay videos are horrible when your internet is garbage and you can't load past the stupid things. Even worse, the wikis aren't even making the videos - they're made by Fandom and stuck onto the page without asking - so they're almost always out of date information.

    WikiDex, the largest Spanish wiki about the Pokémon franchise, also forked a year ago, when wikia staff forced the use of a new template system aiming to improve mobile view, ruining lots of pages and demoting administrators that were against this. Everyone agreed this was the best decision. The site now runs smoothly and has a better experience on mobile than wikia! It has joined Bulbapedia as the Spanish member

    Wikia is gruesome, this is nothing new. Don't Starve's wiki moved to Gamepedia over a year ago because wikia (Fandom) was just too painful to use.

      Talk about irony. Gamepedia is the f*cking worst! They make the Fandom pages look like the Encyclopedia Britannica.

        Yeah, there's less usability and it's quite plain, but at least you don't get to see your broadband and RAM get painfully choked trying to load 20 video ads and 50 image ads at the same time

    I remember the Halo wikia was having similar problems. On their biggest articles, underneath the obligatory Fandom autoplay video was a wiki style message box "sorry about the video! We can't do anything about it and we don't like it either". Paraphrasing, of course.
    Not a surprise that it's come, to this.

    Good. Hopefully something fill's the gap. Wikia/Fandom is certainly prolific. Auto-playing video is the least of the platform's issues - the usability on mobile is beyond fucked. Auto-redirecting ad pages that hijack your browswer with malware pop-ups are routine, regardless of the specific wiki.

    The fact that the platform doesn't see anything wrong with this, and that their response to complaints is a fucking shrug, means they are well-deserving of going broke.

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