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Forums: Index > Wiki Discussion > Wikia's Video Program--info and call for volunteers

As you may have seen, Wikia (aka FANDOM, which is apparently their new name) has been working on a new program for the last several months which will see the implementation of fandom videos on all the wikis. They officially launched it back in October on the South Park wiki, and are now proceeding to implement it with a focus on the top 1000 active wikis. As of right now, we're ranked at 178 and as you can see on the War table article, they've begun their project here.

While they're promoting this as a way to better wikis, their basic goal in this is to reduce ads on wiki pages by using these new auto-play videos with advertisements in them. It remains to be seen how effective this is going to be, but it is eventually going to be mandatory on all wikis.

We have a few choices on how we want to handle this as a community. We can do nothing, and wikia will create videos for us by their staff members. The downside of this is that the people creating the videos may very well not be familiar with Dragon Age at all, and the video quality will likely suffer for it. If you look at the video on the war table article, it's got some grammar errors, and is basically just a wall of text already on that page disguised as a "video". I have no idea if whoever wrote that script actually played the game or if they just copied what they read on the article. Based on comments by other wikis, lots of videos being posted on their sites are subpar.

On the other hand, we can become actively involved in the program. This is where you guys come in. They are asking for volunteers to help with the creation of videos. You don't have to be knowledgeable about making videos to be able to volunteer. What they're looking for right now is people to review/edit scripts written by their staff, as well as people to think up and write new scripts that they'll then produce. Eventually they want to be able to let the communities create their own videos, and are forming some sort of partnership with youtube as well.

So! Let me know if this is something you're interested in doing. It'd definitely be in our best interest if people who actually edit/have edited this wiki get involved on some scale--at the very least to review the scripts they've written before they make the videos. Otherwise, I have a feeling we're going to end up with a bunch of junk videos. If you want to volunteer to either review scripts, or write scripts let me know here so I can get us set up with them.

A few helpful links:

And to reiterate: adding these videos to the wiki isn't something we have a say in. It's going to happen whether we are active in it or not; comments are welcome, but the main goal of this post is to see if anyone's interested in helping out. I'm not entirely sure if we get to choose which articles get to have videos, but I know they're at least going to be on several of the high-traffic articles.
Kelcat Talk 06:04, December 8, 2017 (UTC)

Update Edit

UPDATE: After further contact with wikia, they currently have 11 videos in the queue for the Dragon Age wiki. They have scripts for 10 of them that they can send to me (one is already in post-production). If there are people who want to review these scripts let me know and we can discuss the best way to do that. --Kelcat Talk 23:17, December 8, 2017 (UTC)

Have you been told for which pages these videos are for? I have a bad feeling about this... Viktoria Landers 20:48, December 9, 2017 (UTC)
No idea. And I'm not going to ask for the scripts if no one's willing to review them. I don't want to get stuck with the work, so if no one steps up then we'll just let wikia do their thing. --Kelcat Talk 04:25, December 10, 2017 (UTC)
I can help review scripts. Is it mostly about factual and grammar mistakes or does it also mean talking about what kind of content to include? --Evamitchelle (talk) 08:26, December 10, 2017 (UTC)
Great! As far as I know, it's just basic editing and lore-checking of completed scripts. I'll get in touch with wikia about getting the scripts (they'll be in google doc form), and I believe she said they'd be ready late this week. --Kelcat Talk 20:36, December 10, 2017 (UTC)

UPDATE: Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts got a video too, presumably the one in post-production Kelcat was talking about. Viktoria Landers 12:45, December 10, 2017 (UTC)

General comments Edit

That War Table video is hideous. DaBarkspawn (talk) 07:04, December 8, 2017 (UTC)

To be fair the War Table video isn't terrible but the whole concept goes against the encyclopaedic approach which we as a wiki try to achieve. It cheapens the content making it look like the IGN's Dragon Age Wiki than let's say, wikipedia.

While I am not interested in contributing in this project I think as a community we need to explore the possibility of speaking to Wikia and demanding to have a say on which articles they get this mandatory top-placed video. See also my response here about what other (bigger) wikis did for this matter.

For example many main characters are re-used in future installments and thus a mandatory video is very likely to present falsehoods and outdated information. Viktoria Landers 10:37, December 8, 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Victoria about approach and style. I also note that Adblock Plus works just fine on them. DaBarkspawn (talk) 16:47, December 8, 2017 (UTC)
@Viktoria: Users can report bad videos at any time using the contact support form. If a video outright contains wrong or outdated info, we should definitely report them.
As far as having any kind of say on what articles these go on, while we may be able to suggest articles that would benefit from videos I can almost guarantee that we will have no kind of veto power whatsoever. Their goal here is ad revenue; if they think they can make money off having a video on Solas' page, they're going to put a video on Solas' page, period. Wikia is not historically open to suggestions to remove features that they've decided to implement. I've banged my head against that wall more than enough times. And, our having any kind of leverage here is going to depend on how much we contribute. We can't really say we're not going to help, but then turn around and make demands of them. Like you, this isn't a project I personally can take on, but I do hope there are at least some people who would be interested. --Kelcat Talk 21:59, December 8, 2017 (UTC)

I absolutely hate these videos on the Rick and Morty wikia. They spoil everything. For example, Evil Morty is a minor season 1 character. But the video on the top of the page shows him becoming president in season 3. Which is a big twist ending. They better not have a video on Solas beginning with him being described as Fen'Harel. User signature henioo henioo (da talk page) 11:21, December 8, 2017 (UTC)

This ^^^ . Henio0 has it right on the nose. DaBarkspawn (talk) 17:47, December 8, 2017 (UTC)
After some contemplation, I've come to a few realizations. The first is that I still don't like these videos as intrusive and ugly. The second is that the way in which Wikia went about this pisses me off as much as the videos themselves: we have a non-choice to either be subverted into the process or have crap shoved down our throats. I've also realized that these videos violate Dragon Age Wiki:Videos. I am therefore making a choice and an edit. The choice is that I am going to have nothing to with this process, will not volunteer to review scripts and will continue to use Adblock to remove this idiocy from my viewing of the wiki. The edit is on the videos policy page and moves "articles" from "no" to "yes". DaBarkspawn (talk) 16:32, December 10, 2017 (UTC)
I completely understand. I hate this new feature, too, and have been resisting it for awhile now. We were contacted months ago to be test subjects during their beta phase and I turned them down. If it was something we could change, I would, but I can't. And I don't blame you for not wanting to be involved. I'll take a look at the video policy page; we should probably add something about how Featured Videos are the exception to the rule. --Kelcat Talk 20:36, December 10, 2017 (UTC)
I understand your concern as well, but I would like to point out that refusal to engage is not only going to fail to improve the situation, it may well make it worse. FANDOM are going to be doing this no matter if a thousand editors quit, because the revenue from the videos is worth more than the contributions those editors produce. On the other hand, by engaging with FANDOM, by working to review the scripts, you can potentially mitigate the damage by at least ensuring factual accuracy. Not doing that could allow FANDOM to drop to their usual levels of quality, which going by Rick & Morty (a Wikia in which I was personally involved in the process of creating accompanying mobile code for Featured Videos on several pages) is quite poor. That should be avoided at all costs, for the good of this Wikia.
UrsuulTalkGDMDate2:52 PM Thursday, December 14, 2017 (UTC)
Or, I/we could teach all of our readers how to use Adblock and then the quality (or lack thereof) of the videos becomes a non-issue. Wikia will be writing where nobody reads. I've also suggested moving the wiki. There are migration tools. DaBarkspawn (talk) 15:24, December 14, 2017 (UTC)
According to Quantcast data, in the past month alone, this Wikia has received over 8 million views & nearly six hundred thousand unique visitors. Teaching all of your readers to use Adblock is not feasible, & while forking (i.e. copying the content to a Wiki outside FANDOM) is definitely possible, Google & other search engines are very hard on duplicate content. Chances are high that whatever branch was made would be swamped by this Wikia, & never see hardly any viewers at all due to search engine suppression. The end result would be a highly visible Wikia that has thousands of pages but almost no editors, free & open to vandalism, and another non-FANDOM Wiki that is all but invisible. There are only a very, very small handful of successful forks, most of them made years ago that had to claw their way to where they are now (not to mention the potential loss of Net Neutrality could spell the death of those few that did survive, since they don’t have the money FANDOM does to compete for proper bandwidth).
UrsuulTalkGDMDate4:06 PM Thursday, December 14, 2017 (UTC)
"free and open to vandalism" is exactly the right solution to the problem. Eventually, it will become useless and people will go elsewhere, regardless of search engine results or Net Neutrality fears. Speaking as a software engineer for a high bandwidth product company (virtual reality), the Net Neutrality issues just aren't going to affect things like which wiki people go to, but more likely to affect how much bandwidth the site transmits over the ISP's network. Ironically, by adding streaming videos to the sites, Wikia makes itself more of a Net Neutrality target than before this nonsense. DaBarkspawn (talk) 16:18, December 14, 2017 (UTC)
Be that as it may, the simple fact is that the vast majority of forks fail. The loss of Net Neutrality slowing off-site Wikis to a crawl are not going to be good for competition regardless of SEO, & there’s more than small chance that the large viewership for this Wikia could simply attract a replacement community before a fork could even attempt to flourish, so the “solution” (seeing content I worked toward on any Wikia destroyed would not be what I view as a solution & I don’t think others would see it that way as well) may not even come. Bottom line, as long as the Wikia remains here, quitting the field is only going to exacerbate the problem & attempting to teach a constantly changing mass of 600,000 casual readers to get adblock for a single website is not a solution today & never will be, to say nothing of the fact that FANDOM would protect their interests & block any such attempt.
UrsuulTalkGDMDate4:27 PM Thursday, December 14, 2017 (UTC)
I would like to share some very simplistic JavaScript with everyone here that can be used to hide the videos from view without the need for adblocker:
$(".featured-video__wrapper").remove();
Inserting that inside Special:Mypage/common.js (just for this Wikia) or inside w:Special:Mypage/global.js (for all Wikias) will totally remove Featured Videos from the desktop skin, although it only works for individual users. FANDOM will reject this code if an attempt is made to employ it for all users across the site, for obvious reasons.
UrsuulTalkGDMDate2:52 PM Thursday, December 14, 2017 (UTC)
Just so I am certain I understand this correctly, can we re-arrange how the videos are displayed in any way? Or are we compelled to put them up at the top as a header?

-Seekers of Truth heraldryHD3 (Talk) 10:58, December 23, 2017 (UTC)

Administrators are not permitted to interfere with the display of these videos in any way, because that would violate the Customization Policy and Terms of Use. That said, in personal CSS/JS you can go wild, so if you had something specific in mind I might be able to draw up some CSS for you.
UrsuulTalkGDMDate5:10 PM Saturday, December 23, 2017 (UTC)

Volunteers Edit

Note: If you're interested in volunteering, add your name here and whether you'd like to review scripts or write scripts.
  1. Evamitchelle - review scripts --Evamitchelle (talk) 08:26, December 10, 2017 (UTC)
  2. Ursuul - review scripts
    UrsuulTalkGDMDate2:52 PM Thursday, December 14, 2017 (UTC)