Contention to remain over MicroWiki name usage


MICRONATION.ORG – The contentious use of the “MicroWiki” name by two distinct communities is set to remain following overwhelming opposition to a proposal to recognize its shared usage.

The dispute over which community is the real “MicroWiki” began in November 2010 when a large number of disaffected micronationalists at the former Wikia-based MicroWiki undertook a mass exodus to a private server (presently located at micronation.org) citing differences with Wikia’s administrators. While these emigrants brought with them to the new server the “MicroWiki” brand, a core group of micronationalists remained with the Wikia-based service, founded in 2005, and have since maintained their own claim to the brand. In the micronation.org case, the usage of the brand is based on a perceived belief that the “MicroWiki” brand collectively belonged to the community members who emigrated, while the Wikia-based micronationalists claim a historic right to the brand as it was the first to use it.

The dual-usage of the brand has caused contention between the two communities. The Wikia-based community administration, in particular, has in the past voiced displeasure over the micronation.org’s labelling of them as “MicroWikia.” This labelling is seen by that community as inaccurate, given that they were the first “MicroWiki.” It has also been considered by that administration in the past to be a propaganda mechanism of supporters of micronation.org’s entitlement to the brand that seeks to “depopularise” the Wikia-based community. ((As noted by Andrew of Sabovia in voicing displeasure at this news service’s usage of the term in a past article))

This week, Emperor Jonathan I of Austenasia, the owner of micronation.org, raised the matter with that community’s membership. Specifically, he proposed that local references to “MicroWikia” on the micronation.org wiki be replaced with “MicroWiki (Wikia farm),” in a tacit acknowledgment of that community’s shared-right to the brand.

Jonathan himself, while voicing opposition to his own proposal, nonetheless called for a discussion and vote on the matter amongst the micronation.org membership. There was little interest in discussing the merits or drawbacks of the proposal evidently, as no further comments were posted by members and the matter moved quickly to a vote. In that vote, which as of press time has seven ballots cast, the proposal has been unanimously rejected, meaning that the use of the contentious “MicroWikia” will continue for the foreseeable future.

Contention to remain over MicroWiki name usage

6 thoughts on “Contention to remain over MicroWiki name usage

  1. Augustus says:

    There was no “core group of micronationalists [that] remained with the Wikia-based service”. The entire community (except one individual who was appointed admin by Wikia then left a few months later) moved to the new site. The current community on the Wikia site can trace their history back no further than April 2012, when Harshvardhan of Aryavart and a few others revived the site.

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  2. monsterfurby says:

    Seriously folks, your energy would be better invested in working on the respective sites, not squabbling over the name. Both the Wikia (Wikicities when it was founded) and the Org have their own distinct profile.

    @Augustus: “appointed admin” is a weird way of putting that I was admin based on the fact that I clicked “create new wiki”. That wasn’t a grand political act, just me setting up a wiki that I never expected anyone outside of my particular social circle to be interested in. I’m happy that I was wrong, and I’m happy there’s such a large (well, pair of) communities – but let’s not try to treat everything like an act of state. That’s really what create all this silliness between the two Wikis.

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    1. Augustus says:

      @monsterfurby: Sorry, I think you misunderstood me – I was referring to the time of the move in November 2010; the individual in question was Kyng Fyrst, not you.

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  3. Augustus:

    I disagree. When the split occurred in November 2010, the move to the new server, while overwhelmingly popular in nature, was nonethelss not unanimous. Holdouts (like King Fyrst, Singh Rathore, Billy Neil, André Sammut – just list some of the names of opposition mentioned in the history archives on the matter), regardless of their moral entitlement to continue the Wikia-based service at the time, nonetheless formed a core group that rejected the popular will (the “98% majority” to quote Philip Fish at the time). If not for their holding out at the time, the Wikia site likely would not have endured long-enough to be handed down to a new generation, regardless of any perceived or demonstrated ulterior motive of the Wikia company itself on the matter.

    The current Wikia membership can only trace back to April 2012, as you say, but that is simply a result of the turnover associated with micronational populations long-term. After all, the current micronation.org membership can only trace their historical use of “MicroWiki” back to essentially 2008, as prior to that period, it was more-or-less Tallini’s personal playground for years. If we want to use this logic to justify original entitlement to the name, the Micras community had the first “MicroWiki” – founded almost a full year before the Wikia service, in 2004. Since a large number of Micran micronationalists remain from that period, their historical use of “MicroWiki” predates everyone – if they cared to make that argument (they no longer use the term on any of their Wikis, which are more encyclopaedic in nature).

    Moral usage aside, at the end of the day, it’s the Internet and as neither camp trademarked the usage of the name (and neither camp has the financial resources to enforce a trademark), legally, anyone and everyone can make use of it, regardless of when they adopted its use.

    I think your proposal, Jonathan, was wise in that it provided an official acknowledgement of that legal fact and I think any encyclopaedic entries should use the official name regardless of personal perceptions.

    Would I personally continue to use “MicroWikia” as a reference? Certainly. Not only do I agree that the micronation.org community is the legitimate heir of the two from a moral and practical standpoint (it was a convincing majority move after all), the use of “MicroWikia” is a convenient and “natural sounding” means to distinguish the two camps, I think. I’d use it simply for convenience in distinguishing the two communities (as I have in past articles).

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    1. Augustus says:

      Billy Neil and André Sammut may have voted against the move, but soon followed everyone else – Billy even became an admin on the new site. I can’t remember who Singh Rathore was, but I believe that may have been a pseudonym of Harshvardhan, who also moved to the new site with the rest of us.
      I’m not arguing against the concept of a “holdout community” in an attempt to invalidate any continuity that may imply, but because it’s just not correct from a historical point of view; ask anyone else who was there, micronations.wikia.com was effectively abandoned, and even if one or two users continued to update their articles there, they spent most of their time on the new site. There was no split in the community up until 2012.

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  4. monsterfurby says:

    @Jon: Oh, I guess I did – doesn’t really matter though since I’m not arguing against you at all. Totally on your side here 🙂

    So, this is just out-of-the-loop me as a more or less biased observer (as in: I do care about this community/these communities in that I’d love to see the discourse be productive, no matter if there are two, or ten, or fifty thousand communities) I’m not sure I understand what this obsession is with some sort of community lineage and all. To me it sounds a bit too much like trying to apply the ideas and image of a nation to a wiki. What matters is where people are and where content is right now, and as far as that is concerned, I’m sure both the org and the wikia site have valid plans and ideas.

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