This isn’t unfortunately a particularly well-researched article - just a few observations. I may need to come back to this topic later.
Wikia is a famous host of wikis, and particularly a pretty prominent host of game wikis. Personally, I’m about 75% happy with what Wikia does: they still have commitment to open content (formerly GFDL and now Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike), and seem to care about open source tech. Compared to purely open-content projects such as the Wikimedia projects, there is, however, a whiff of corporate bullshit smell hanging in the air. It’s run by a for-profit company and they obviously want to make profit, too, and easy way to do it is to establish itself as the #2 wiki website right below Wikimedia sites.
So obviously, a lot of people haven’t been happy about the corporate moves to improve Wikia’s visibility.
In the initial enthusiasm, a lot of independent video game wikis joined Wikia, or established new wiki communities there. And once people got fed up with Wikia, they packed their things and left. People frequently cite the changes to the skins as a reason: Wikia sites enforce the use of Wikia skins and Wikia’s advertising integration.
Wikia has been surprisingly cool about wiki communities splitting up, mostly because the folks who run it love open content and love open-content licences, which establish that the “right to fork” is a fundamental right. However, corporate politicking has meant that from Wikia’s point of view, original community “packing up and leaving” means “establishing a forked wiki in Wikia’s end”. Even if this results in two websites and potentially more confusion. Even if Wikia’s administration hates publicising this stuff, and won’t tolerate people actually mentioning these forks on the Wikia end.
One wiki which did this pretty well was Halopedia. They formerly existed as a separate independent wiki, then joined Wikia and became available at
http://halo.wikia.com/. Later on, Halopedia split up as an independent website again - and Wikia’s fork changed its name to Halo Nation. While a large part of Halopedia regulars moved to the new independent wiki, people assumed that Halo Nation would descend into spammy oblivion, but it appears that by cursory glance, Halo Nation is thriving. A couple of hundred articles less, but thriving nevertheless.
Here’s the problem: “Nukapedia” at Wikia is using the same licence as the rest of the Wikia wikis - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike. I discovered that Curse Gamepedia wikis are Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike. CC BY-SA is a free-content licence. CC BY-NC-SA isn’t. The licences are completely incompatible and copyright holders (that is, individual contributors) should have approved this.
The rest of the wikis migrated from Wikia seem to get this - Halopedia is still CC BY-SA, for example.
If I had contributed anything significant to Fallout Wiki, I’d be crying bloody murder right now. As it is, I have no idea what I should do. Should I just let this one slide, personally? Was this ever discussed? I don’t know - like I said, I didn’t actually research this further.
This sort of transfers are clearly not in line with free-content right-to-fork. Someone missed the “share-alike” part of the licence here big time. I don’t really know what the official response to this is from Curse’s part - perhaps they should just use CC BY-NC-SA for wikis originated in Curse and use CC BY-SA for migrated wikis who previously used that licence - but they shouldn’t just make blanket changes like this. I really don’t think this shows any competence on Curse’s part and I don’t feel comfortable contributing to the newly transferred Fallout wiki if they can trample copyrights this badly.
I am, however, still comfortable contributing to Gamepedia wikis that have always been CC BY-NC-SA (Minecraft Wiki springs in mind). Question is, however - with wikis migrating from one host to another, how can I tell?
Like I said, I’m not really familiar with the gritty specifics of Fallout Wiki’s Wikia⇒Curse transition and I haven’t researched this issue much. If there are clarifications or any indications that a significant majority of users approved of a license change, I’ll amend this post. Until that, rueful headshakes.