So you've probably heard that Bioniclepedia and Custom Bionicle Wiki are considering seceding from Wikia and striking out on our own, so to speak, moving to a domain name that Seth of CBW will be paying for. When I first heard this, my first natural reaction was "No!" Then I considered it, and it changed to "Why?" And then I found out why, and now I completely support it. Sure, there are reasons to oppose it, but there are, in my opinion, more reasons to support it. I'll try to encompass all of those reasons in this entry and leave it open for you to form an opinion. In each section below, I have a list of reasons, and to play devil's advocate to myself, a counterargument to each one. Some of the counterarguments, obviously, will be weaker than others, but judge for yourself. ;)
- We'll be independent of Wikia - we control everything about the wiki for once. You may not know about this if you're not an admin or at least involved with the affairs of the admins, but I'll try and explain it briefly: as it is, we can edit MediaWiki pages - how the wiki looks, but we can't edit the actual coding of the wiki. We can't, by ourselves, add or remove blogs and widgets and skins and the like. We also can't do IP checks or demote administrators. All these things are powers that only the highest on the Wikia hierarchy have, and if we become independent, we'll have those powers.
- Counterargument: As Daiku said, how much do we need those things?
- We'll be rid of the ads on the main page (and the ads on every page, for users who aren't logged in - I'm sure not everyone logs in all the time and they're subject to those ads). If you'll remember, they can be very inappropriate. I won't say in what ways, but PL and Hammerise and I have seen some things that are reeeeally not appropriate for a wiki that 8-year-old kids will presumably use. Also, the Wikia Spotlight ads have become ridiculous lately - 90% of them are attempts to seduce people into coming to the Pro Wrestling Wiki with underdressed female pro wrestlers. On some wikis, you'll see an ad for a South Park Wiki, which depicts a cartoon character lying in a pool of blood with the words written "Oh my God, they killed Kenny! You *******!" (But the banner does not censor the word, of course. You can fill in the blank yourself.)
- Counterargument: Logged in users don't see the ads except on the main page, where they usually aren't as bad. I have no counterargument for the Wikia Spotlight though, that's just horrendous.
- We'll be able to have custom features. For example, Seth has already told me that he plans to implement a feature where you'll receive a warning if you and another user are editing the same page, so as to avoid edit conflicts. And that's just the start. Seth is amazing with anything MediaWiki, so you can expect some great new features.
- Counterargument: Is that worth what we'd be losing by leaving Wikia? See the reasons against below.
- It will improve the relations between the Custom Bionicle Wiki and Bioniclepedia, since we'd be moving together. All the admins there would become admins here and vice versa, and we would stand together as one staff instead of two separate bodies of admins.
- Counterargument: Again, is that worth what we're leaving behind? We've been fine apart.
- The biggest thing I've seen against the move is that we'll lose "Wikia publicity". It seems that a good deal of our members have probably come here because we're part of the vast Wikia network with many other wikis. People who are active on some wikis and vaguely interested in Bionicle will come here. If we leave Wikia, we may see a significant drop in traffic.
- Counterargument: "Wikia publicity" is as bad as it is good. With those new members come cross-wiki vandals. And the Wikia environment is not the best place for Bionicle's target audience - 8-year-old boys - to be hanging out. There are wikis here that contain some stuff I would be uncomfortable with showing to an 8-year-old. And they are far from the minority here - family-friendly wikis like this are in the minority on Wikia.
- People who are active on Wikia wikis (most notably MG, who I believe is an admin on like 10 other wikis here) may become too wrapped up in the new domain of Bpedia or their other Wikia wikis and lose interest or become inactive in one. Surely this is not good for anyone.
- Counterargument: This is easily circumvented. You already have to jump from wiki-to-wiki and that hasn't managed to make you inactive yet. If you have Bpedia's new URL bookmarked, the only extra step really is having to log in again. It's not really that bad, right? Not bad compared to all that we're gaining (and escaping) from this?
- We'll lose blogs and widgets and the Monaco skin.
- Counterargument: It's only temporary. I'm confident in Seth's abilities to bring back something similar to these things on the new domain before long. And honestly, it's not that much of a loss.
- New site costs money. I had an enlightening chat with some BS01 staff last night and they explained that it's possible that this could cost a lot of money, depending on the server, who's hosting the site, and how big the site's going to be. (I'm not really too knowledgeable about all this so if I just made myself sound like an idiot, which I am, I apologize. xD)
- Counterargument: That's all on Seth - not really our problem. He said it would be pretty cheap and that he could pay it. And as PL mentioned in his entry on the subject, Seth will have donate buttons and I myself will be sure to donate some money.
- Wikia will not get rid of the old Bioniclepedia - it will still be here and be put up for adoption. Someone else will have access to all our articles so if they try to compete with us, they'll have a huge headstart, and worse: Wikia will not let us link to the new Bioniclepedia, so a lot of inactive users who decide to become active again will not know where we are.
- Counterargument: This is basically the biggest thing against the move. Now, Swert of BS01 offered an interesting solution to this, but until I have confirmation from PL that A) I can talk about it, and B) he'd be willing to go through with it, I won't go into detail. Just know that if Swert did this, this problem would be almost completely circumvented. I personally like this solution because it's good for us and good for Swert, but I'll wait to see for sure what PL thinks of it first.
Alright, so that's basically the situation from all sides, all things considered (that I could think of). From this, I decided that the positives of the move outweigh the negatives (especially the whole Wikia Spotlight thing - that's downright appalling to me). If you'll notice, most of the arguments to derail the reasons "for" seem to me to be weak: "why do we need this?" or "is it worth it?" as opposed to a concrete reason why that would be bad. The reasons countering the "against" reasons are stronger, even if there are slightly more reasons against. But I'll leave it open for you to decide.
If you disagree or have anything to add, please do so in the comments below.