MICROWIKIA (CS) | A recent discussion prompted by MicroWikia administrator Andrew of Sabovia challenged the community to reflect on its failings, though it is unclear what, if any, changes will follow in practice.
The “Where’s the Community Gone?” discussion began as a result of Andrew confronting the community about its haemorrhaging of contributors since 2012, when “hundreds of users [joined] a day.” He postulated that the loss of participants on MicroWikia started with the implementation of stricter rules, a strict enforcement of the administration’s policy against personal attacks, and a purge earlier this year by Joseph Kennedy which saw a number of contributors “unfairly blocked” from the wiki.
More than half-a-dozen other participants provided feedback, with several taking Andrew’s side that strict enforcement and rigid rules have had a negative impact. Said one participant, “I’ve seen people leave because of the ‘outrageous standards’ their micronation has to live to [in order to be allowed on MicroWikia].” “Some hostility is a good thing because it’s interesting to watch things like that,” mentioned another. Still another proposed that declarations of war be permitted to be made on the Wiki, given that it exists as the primary medium for interaction between its micronations.
Another aspect of the discussion focused on the desire of several contributors to see the ban on fantasy nations (i.e. Simulationist micronations) rescinded. “A micronation is a micronation, no matter how it is, fantasy, small or cyber-nation,” opined one participant, who was sharply rebuked by Andrew who dictated that “fantasy nations are not coming back … according to the community, fantasy nations and cyber nations are not micronations,” noting that a separate wiki existed for such endeavours on Wikia.
A number of contributors also noted that the administration of the community is unfriendly and difficult to work with, often closing discussions without any explanation to the membership. The administration proceeded to demonstrate some truth to the accusation during the discussion. Despite being approached by Andrew to share their opinions on how to revitalise the community, Andrew and fellow administrator “Deutschlandkaiser” proceeded to show a general unwillingness to actually effect any change based on the feedback provided by the membership.
Andrew quickly dismissed the proposal by several contributors to review the ban on Simulationist micronations. Said Andrew, “fantasy nations are not coming back … according to the community [in the past], fantasy nations and cyber nations are not micronations,” noting that a cyber nation wiki already existed on Wikia and that he had just created a fantasy nation wiki for those who want to start such endeavours to do so elsewhere.
Deutschlandkaiser was equally dismissive of considering the proposal to allow declarations of war to be posted. “Hello there. Thank you for your feedback, however declaring wars should be done somewhere else …. Good day,” he bluntly told the contributor. He also suggested that relaxing rules of decorum was a non-starter, noting he did not wish to see MicroWikia return to the days when “there were so many people making accounts and pages for [a laugh].” He went on to proclaim that “we [the administrators] here at MicroWiki wish to be a professional encyclopedia,” despite the evident popularity among the members throughout the discussion of a less rigid atmosphere being implemented.
“We can get MicroWiki better,” proclaimed one contributor at the start of the discussions; “Become a community again!” said another. By the enforced end of the discussion barely 24 hours later by the administrators, it seemed evident that “better” and “community” would be defined by them and not the membership. Nonetheless, the administrators “will be friendlier” noted Andrew in his closing remarks.