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Change To Deal + Terms (07/19/2007)
What A Long, Strange, Trip It's Been
So. Quite a week we've had, eh? Having been called many names and threatened with all sorts of stuff, I can tell you it's not been fun for me, and probably not for most of you. Today, I want to try to fix that as much as I can.
When we announced the Wikia merger, I figured there would be some (okay, a lot of) push-back. Any time a community this big has a change like this, there are going to be heated discussions, feelings hurt, and balls picked up and taken home. As I said, this is expected. What was not expected, however, was just how strongly many of you felt about this, especially those of you whose opinions have done the most to shape and grow this community. The people I'm talking about know who they are, and so does pretty much everyone reading this. All communities are bigger than one person, and in the end, all of the content in the world means nothing without the goodwill that has sustained this site from it's inception.
In truth, after a lot of thinking, it only seems fair that all of you, who grew the site, and kept it well all this time, should be cut in. I've reworked my deal with Wikia, and they have agreed to set aside the majority of the cash portion from our original contract aside, for you, the community, to spread around as you see fit (this is in addition to my promise to personally refund all donations, which is ongoing). I think you'll find this solution unique in the history of community websites on the internet. The money is yours to do with what you decide, when you decide it. Gil from Wikia will be weighing in on the specifics of how much, etc, shortly. It should be in the neighbourhood of about $62,000 USD. Let the discussion commence.
GameWikis came from the humblest of beginnings, and in the end, doing the right thing is... well, the right thing to do. Money cannot buyback the bad vibes that have been spread this week, and this gesture is not intended to do that. What it is intended to do is to perhaps make people think twice about the hate, step back, and realize that we're all people. Things were mishandled from the get-go, and that is largely my fault. I know this, and I think what has happened here, though no fun for anyone involved, has given us all a lot of insight for which to be thankful. This is truer for noone than myself. Gravewit 13:03, 19 September 2007 (CDT)
The Long And Short Of It
I have been hosting GameWikis (on various hosting space) for a couple years, now. There's been some downs, but a lot more ups, then I could've possibly imagined when Michael (Nunix) and I started this thing as a way for us to keep track of where things were in Guildwars without having to dig through endless forum posts. It's been nothing short of incredible, unexpected, and humbling to have so many people dedicate so much of their time to something we put together on a whim. There's (famously) been some server moves in there, ad we're on the verge of another big change. In short: GameWikis is now a part of Wikia.
I have been talking with their CEO Gil Penchina for some time now, and, basically came to the realization that Wikia's gaming section is what I wanted GameWikis to be, but with the resources and people to make it happen much more efficiently than I ever could. The hosting bills (mainly due to bandwidth, which ain't cheap) have continued going up, and with my full-time day job taking up my days, worrying about ad revenue at night just isn't any fun.
Seriously, Though, Why?
As you might know, Wikia's been eyeing us for awhile, now. In the past month or so, I've been talking more with Gil and their people, and seen our hits (and hosting bills) continue to climb, especially in the run up and launch of Eye of the North. Basically, they've got the money, infrastructure, and a growing track record for doing the right thing with communities: letting them be themselves. Wikia will be able to keep these sites running better than I could have. They've got people constantly working on the code, full time, to boot, and as we move forward, I don't think GameWikis staying power would be nearly what theirs is going to be.
First Things First: Are You Getting Paid For This?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Wikia gave me some cash and company stock in exchange for all of the related GameWikis URLs, a data dump of all of our content, and the discontinuation of my hosting of the sites. As you're probably aware, GameWikis has had suitors before. This is truly not about the money.
Does Wikia Own User Contributions Now?
Not any more than I do. The licensing of the site and your content will not change against your will. If you want to delete your account, stop contributing, or call me names in public forums, you are as free to do this as you were before the move. As part of the deal, Wikia has also agreed to make public data dumps of all the openly licensed content available on a regular basis, which is something we've always wanted to do, but never quite got off the ground.
Will I Still Be A Sysop/Bureaucrat After The Move?
Yes. The community as it is will stay more or less completely the same. To you, the users, this should feel like nothing more than another server move. You will still be free to do all of the things you were before, and editorial control continue to rest in the same hands it does now. These hands are probably directly in front of you, even as you read this. I believe you will find that they are your own.
Will There Be More Gold Ads, Now?
Wikia has a deal with Google to block gold ads automatically. Their set up should be much more effecient than ours, currently.
When Is This Happening?
It is, in fact, going on right now. This week, I am working with Wikia to get a copy of our sites working on their servers. Once everything is set up, we'll be setting the sites all read-only and making a new up-to-date DB dump to import onto the new server. The switch time will be noted on the main page of all the sites. Once that is done things will continue on like they always have. With some luck, there will be almost no interruption of service. The downtime should only be as long as it takes for the DNS to resolve to our new server with Wikia.