By Joe Beaudoin Jr. | Posted on January 27, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
Posted in Category: Drifiting Thoughts

I was recently approached by Angela Beesey of Wikia with an offer to buy out my ownership of Battlestar Wiki. Of course, this is not the first time we have been offered “free hosting” in return for some fancy tools and gizmos. Gil Pechina, CEO of Wikia, had approached me more than a year ago and wanted us to move to Wikia.

In talking with Battlestar Wiki’s core group of people, we declined then.

The new deal (sounds like an FDR thing) I was offered as incentive to surrender my ownership of Battlestar Wiki included two options: $2,500 up front payment or 30% in advertising revenues.

Of course, after discussing this with my core group, I politely declined. I have yet to receive a response from my e-mail, which I sent out three days ago.

So I want to share my insight into why we have rejected Wikia’s offers over the years. It stems from four things:

  1. The community has done well for itself independent of a large, bureaucratic group. While the Wiki has grown tremendously since its inception in February 2005, it has remained smaller than larger wikis, such as Memory Alpha, and we’ve been able to keep the quality of our offerings extremely high. Actually, the quality of our wiki has increased over the years, which is something I’m very pleased at. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have various reputable news outlets agree, including AOL and the New York Times.
  2. I find it completely unethical to “profit” from the Battlestar Wiki. The buy-out I was offered incensed me, even as I relayed the e-mail to my core group. The various vulgarisms I used in the private communication to my group were unbecoming of me, but sometimes… vulgarisms are necessary, if only for cathartic reasons. Now, to the reasons such an offer incensed me:
    1. If I am to “profit” from the Battlestar Wiki, the people who contributed to its development should as well. $2500 is hardly enough to disperse to several people who’ve developed the site over the years. Additionally, there are many, many people who put their free time into the project when they can be doing other things; they don’t contribute to the Wiki for money. Neither do I.
    2. Relating to the aforementioned reason: I began the wiki as a means of giving back to the fan community. It has succeeded beyond even my humblest expectations, due to not only myself, but due to thousands of people. I do not want to see it “absorbed” by a for-profit company who would rather profit from the hard work of others financially and not re-imburse the people who created the site in the first place.
  3. My core group decided against it. Simply put, the core group of people spoke up against it. They spoke up against it before, and they have done so again.
  4. Given the various issues that have faced Wikia in the past, it is not in our best interests to mire ourselves in that felgercarb, particularly in light of the fiasco with GuildWiki and, less recently, the lack of accountability in an organization who hires on someone who lies about their credentials and repeats said lies to reputable news outlets. (Yes, I do pay attention to these things. No pulling wool over these eyes, motherfrakkers!)

Now that I’ve probably pissed some people off, I imagine that people will want to react. So, if there are any questions or concerns that you want to address, feel free to talk about them here on the blog, [[BW:CN|on the Wiki]] or on the Battlestar Forum.

So say we all! Keep the faith!

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 27th, 2008 at 12:11 pm and is filed under Drifiting Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://www.Wikia.com Gil Penchina

    Hi Joe,

    As always, I just appreciate the fact that you’re willing to listen and have a dialog with us – as it’s not our intention to ever be viewed as a frakker. :-) (yes, I own the BSG DVD)

    Like you, we try to support communities and have over 5,000 communities who develop many fan sites for movies, TV and games, including http://tardis.wikia.com for the Dr Who fans on the blog. Like any person doing something new, we make mistakes (frequently) and when we do, we apologize, try to fix them and work not to repeat the mistake. One of our new rules is that we require a founder like you to talk to their community before coming to Wikia (a mistake the guildwiki founder clearly taught us) to make sure it is good for the group, not just for the founder.

    As you mentioned, we’ve been an admirer of you and what your community has built for quite a while. If our offer was insulting, I apologize. If there’s a different way to work with or support your community, we’re happy to engage and discuss what we could do. If your desire to go-it-alone is absolute, we’re happy to cheer you on from afar.

    We love what the community on battlestarwiki is doing and you should view our missives as nothing more than admiration and respect for what your admins and contributors have built, from people who really understand how hard it is.

    Best wishes

    Gil

  • http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/ Joe Beaudoin Jr.

    Hi Gil,

    Thank you for the response. :D

    My comments shouldn’t be taken in a personal light, but in a professional one.

    I know that neither Angela nor yourself intended offense. The reason I was offended is because I feel very strongly over the fact that if there’s monetary profit involved (or profit of any sort, really), such wealth should be shared with all the members of the community. The deal I was presented did not include any mention of wealth sharing.

    I’m happy that Wikia and its employees learn from mistakes. Everyone makes them — hell, I’ve made ‘em in the past too. It counts if you really learn from them and change how you approach things based off such incidents. So I’m happy that you’re looking to make sure the leader confers with their community. However, I must note that this point wasn’t communicated in the offer I received, when it truly should have been, particularly in light of the GameWiki/GuildWiki issue.

    Regarding your offer, it’s really in our best interests to say independent and go-it-alone. We do appreciate the interest and are happy to have fans in such places.

    Regards,

    Joe

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