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Should we change hosts?

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Revision as of 01:18, May 12, 2012 by Archduk3 (Talk | contribs)

Forum icon  ForumsTen Forward → Should we change hosts? (replywatch)

First and foremost, this is not yet a discussion about changing hosts, but rather a discussion to empower members of the community to represent/negotiate with other hosting providers so we can get all the options on the table. After that's done, a discussion can be held on if we should, though that first step implies that we are willing to change hosts if we decide that we have a better option. There are a few things that should be mentioned up front though:

  • Wikia owns the URL until 2013, any move requires us to use another URL. Some have already been acquired, just in case, and others are available.
  • Wikia can NOT keep a copy of MA online if the community decides to leave. We hold the copyright for the content, and it's CC-BY-NC, which means a for-profit organization can not use the content. We leave, the content leaves.
  • This includes the other languages as well, or at least the ones we want to take, since some of them appare to be dead with only a handful of pages compared to the larger ones. I ask that similar discussions be held on those Memory Alphas as well, since this isn't just an English only issue.

That said, I'm for seeing the options on the table, since I firmly believe MA's and wikia's goals are no longer compatible. I personally have some ideas about hosting, including MA hosting itself, that I would like to, or have another, explore, depending on if we're willing to explore the idea. - Archduk3 12:49, October 14, 2011 (UTC)

Wikia will most likely be able to keep this wiki alive. While it is true that every single user keeps the copyright for his own content, it is also true that he has granted others to use it in a specific way. If "random-IP-user", five years ago, took an article that I wrote, changed it and published it here again, the copyright for the resulting derivative article is as much his as it is mine - and I could not force anyone to take down the article revision that he uploaded. Even if we found a legal loophole for that (and it is highly unlikely that we will), all it would take for the content to reappear here is a new "random-IP-user", taking whatever derivative article we've put elsewhere, change a bit and reupload it here.
That doesn't mean that we (or some subgroup of "us") can't talk about leaving, anyway - it should just be perfectly clear to everyone involved that this means something along the lines of WOWWiki vs. Wowpedia (see: [1]) more than a simple hosting move. -- Cid Highwind 13:04, October 14, 2011 (UTC)

Actually no, not really, since the NC part of the copyright kicks in then. WOWWiki is CC-BY-SA, we are not. The content there can be used by anyone, ours can't. Wikia hosting is already an exception, or a violation, and is an uncontested one at that. It would be up to them to find the legal "loophole", not us, should it come that. Also, one version has to be considered the "Memory Alpha", since the copyright requires any content used to have a conspicuous link back to the source. - Archduk3 13:35, October 14, 2011 (UTC)

If anything, that NC clause just prevents Wikia (the company) itself from grabbing our content and publishing it unchanged with the explicit intent to make money. As long as they plausibly just stay the host, and not interfere with content (as would be the case if someone that can't be traced back to Wikia *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* uploads everything), they should be fine. Also, even if they were in violation of some copyright clause, it would still be up to the copyright owners to "wage war" against Wikia, and not the other way around - individually, and not as some anonymous group representing "the whole community". As with WOWWiki, what will happen if this comes to fruition is that current admins will be removed from power (officially because they no longer are "part of the community", but inofficially to prevent them from doing stuff that takes time&work to revert), and some puppet regime be installed instead. Many users won't even notice that, and continue to read and/or contribute on this wiki. People advertising the other place will eventually be blocked for "causing trouble with the existing community". This is the situation that a new wiki realistically would have to deal with. -- Cid Highwind 13:59, October 14, 2011 (UTC)

Well, let's just say I don't think it would come to that, but I've prepared either way. All of that is rather far afield of intent right now, which is simply to see if the community is willing to look at other options. The pro and cons can be weighed later after finding out what the options really are. - Archduk3 15:40, October 14, 2011 (UTC)

I'm all for leaving wikia. As I've said before, they're akin to a dictatorship. --Defiant 17:33, October 14, 2011 (UTC)
Ditto to Defiant's comments and as per this previous discussion. --| TrekFan Open a channel 17:55, October 14, 2011 (UTC)
I was willing to just let this drop off the radar after my concerns have been brushed aside instead of getting answered two times in a row. If we're now advertising this thread as if there was some bigger consensus behind it already, though, let me say the following: most important for me is that the work that has been put into this encyclopedia for the better part of a decade now is not lost to some petty quibbles. It is most unfortunate if Wikia thinks they should constantly kick us in the face by adding crazy stuff we don't need or want - but if the alternative is that we basically just give up this encyclopedia (because we're "moving" while this site stays open), being kicked in the face may actually be the lesser evil. The same is true in case we manage to remove all of our content from here, but then find out that we actually can't deal with the amount of traffic (or upkeep costs, or one of a many other things to consider).
The bottom line is: I don't want to give up this encyclopedia - so if you want me to support a move, you better convince me of your plan. If you don't (and at the moment I'm deeply unconvinced of everything surrounding this plan), I will just stay here and will consider this wiki to be the "true MA". I'm sure the same is true for other contributors - meaning that the points I brought up earlier are a valid problem and not just something that should be brushed aside. Some hand-waving ("let's just say I've prepared either way...") is simply not enough. -- Cid Highwind 09:06, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
I will second what Cid said.--31dot 09:43, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

Please don't go off topic with hypotheticals and "ask" for the "plan" when the whole point of this forum is to look at the options to formulate one. It says as much right there at the top. My statements are based on several legal opinions, and I've answered you Cid, not brushed you off. If you're completely unwilling to even look at other options because wikia has you so scared, or is paying you, then just say so, and be done with it. Also, and not for the first time, asking for community input doesn't imply any of the things you seem to "read" into those messages, it says exactly what's written there in plain English. - Archduk3 10:56, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

That, especially suggesting that I'm "being paid by Wikia", is low even for your standards. Look at all the options you like - but, if that's what you're asking permission for, do not do it by suggesting that you are in any way or form an "official representative" for this whole community - because you are not. As far as I am concerned, I am not going to "empower" you to do anything like that. -- Cid Highwind 11:04, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

Low even for "my" standards? Check yourself first Cid. I'm not the one here claiming to speak for the silent majority. The whole point of this is that I won't make that claim, and I don't want anyone else making it either. I'm also not the one accusing the other of trying to pull a fast one by asking for more input even though the consensus was in my favor. I'm even on the record as saying the bureaucrats should speak for the community when it comes to the host. I just rightfully assumed that neither you or sulfur have the time or are even that interested in doing this, so someone else should, assuming that we decided to. If you don't want me doing it, fine, I'll be, and always was, more then happy to offer my ideas to anyone the community appoints. This isn't about me Cid, and it's not about you either, it's about whats best for the community and the readers of this site. If you don't like people trying to figure out why you won't give a straight answer to a simple question, I suggest giving a simple answer up front next time, instead of making the claim that this is all "petty" and somehow beneath discussion. - Archduk3 11:41, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

If the question is wrong, a "simple answer" will not help anyone, though - if an architect asks you: "I'm going to build a house, and I'm constructing the roof first - should I use red or black roof tiles?", the proper answer is not a color, but "Start with the fraking cellar!".
The same happened here, your question was wrong. In fact, it was not an explicit question at all, but rather a "request for comments" - which I replied to in a rather productive way, namely by pointing out the erroneous assumptions hidden in that request (something that all participants in this discussion need to be aware of). The point still is that there is no "community" when it comes to copyrights - each one of us holds the copyrights to his individual edits, and "the community" owns nothing. That leads from A, to B, to C (see above, won't repeat all of that) to a point where we will have to admit that "we" as "the community" can't decide that we no longer want Wikia to host stuff that other people hold a copyright to, and which those other people put under a license that allows derivative works.
So, by all means, if your explicit question now is "Should I [or anyone] work out possible ways for a hosting away from Wikia?", try to get support for that and find people that want to go with you - but in the end, it will still be a split and not a complete move. -- Cid Highwind 12:17, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

The only "erroneous hidden assumption" I see is in your explanation of how the copyright is shared. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's technically accurate to a point, in so much as you writing an entire article and me adding a space at the end makes it just as much mine as yours. You know as well as I that if your article was suddenly a copyright violation, the whole article would be removed, even though there has been a minor change since it was written. If enough copyright holders no longer wished for their NC content to be "hosted" by wikia, then yes, the community will have decided to switch hosts. That's only one of the "options" that doesn't leave this site up, so I find the assertion that "nothing can be done" to leave wikia erroneous as well, especially considering the way wikia became the host. Suffice it to say that none of this was the point of this forum though, so as productive as you may think this detour today as been, the only thing that was really asked is what you've answered by making a distinction between yourself and anyone who wants to leave, which is "do you support looking at and then discussing other hosting options?" A simple "no and wikia may still be able to keep some copy of MA online" would have sufficed. - Archduk3 13:04, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

You're still missing the point of CC licenses, it seems... content here does not spontaneously become a "copyright violation" that needs to be removed from this site just because the "owner" wants - he already allowed others to use "his" content, and that permit cannot be revoked. If you don't believe me, perhaps you believe the guys who actually wrote the license we're talking about: "You can stop offering your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not affect the rights associated with any copies of your work already in circulation under a Creative Commons license." [2]. Also, even if that wasn't applicable here, and users were able to remove their contributions to this site, it would only affect their contributions, and not those of other (possibly anonymous) users, even if those user's work is based on the work of those who want to remove stuff from here. Even in this hypothetical case, we'd have to check all "last revisions" of articles for stuff that is actually "removable", and then work backwards from there. Once we hit an article revision that is not "removable", tough luck. -- Cid Highwind 13:24, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

I'm not going to continue to debate hypotheticals with you Cid, beyond saying that you might want to take a closer look at what the NC part of the copyright actually entails, since you've already made your opinion clear, and none of that is the point of this forum. I'll welcome this at the appropriate time, but right now all it's doing is distracting from the topic at hand. - Archduk3 13:38, October 31, 2011 (UTC)

I do know what that NC part says, and I still think that what currently happens on this site is compatible with that part of the license. Did you notice what the license has to say about "collective works"? -- Cid Highwind 13:49, October 31, 2011 (UTC)
Although this conversation has appeared to have gone cold long ago, it's still the top-most link in your MediaWiki:Community-corner, so I'll leave a few thoughts.
I think the opening post of this thread is inherently flawed for several reasons. Most notably, however, the position that a thread entitled "Should we change hosts?" is "not yet a discussion about whether we should change hosts" is, well, baffling. Archduk3, it seems to me, is being disingenuous when he chastises Cid for directly answering the question the thread is most assuredly asking.
And so I will join with Cid and directly answer the question. No, we shouldn't change hosts. There's no point even contemplating a change of hosts if there's a strong possibility that a (near) copy of the site will simply persist at Wikia. So, we shouldn't move unless:
  1. There's a party of legal standing who's willing, and financially able, to defend the frankly ambiguous difference between CC-BY-NC 2.5 and CC-BY-SA 3.0
  2. It's a singular party — because if it would take the legal fight of every single contributor to MA, you're obviously sunk.
  3. That party can actually prove that they didn't think at the time they contributed that they were giving their work to a commercial entity. Not sure how that would be proved, since the current Wikia and its Wikicities forerunner both had URLs ending in .com. You might have a leg to stand on because, technically, this site is memory-alpha.org, but you still have to get around the fact that it is a prominently Wikia-branded site.
Frankly, I don't think you can satisfy any of those requirements. I don't think you can even muster the first point, which is the obvious precondition to the other two.
There's no way that Wikia are just going to give up any claim they can possibly make on this site. It's routinely listed as the number 1 wiki in their Entertainment division. They will take the content and simply say, "See ya in court".
Or, more likely, they will simply de-sysop the current regime, install new admin, and get their people to hold a community vote to change the license to CC-BY-SA 3.0. And that will be enough to blunt the legal challenge from whomever could possibly muster a legal case against Wikia. After all, the TOU would seem to give them precisely this power when it says:
"The Company may terminate your account, delete your profile and any content or information that you have posted on the Service and/or prohibit you from using or accessing the Service for any reason, or no reason, at any time in its sole discretion, with or without notice."
Forgetting the legal side of things, though, it would never work because your user base isn't with you. If we learn any lesson from the move of w:c:thevault, it's that many users actually like Wikia. The Vault's move is particularly relevant to MA, because it's of a similar size, had a similar core of admin who really knew their coding, and was the number 1 site in its division when it left Wikia. What I take away from their experience is:
  1. These Wikia changes that bug admin and site coders really don't bother the majority of users. The number of people who have enough knowledge of CSS/JS/Wikicode to get pissed off when Wikia change something are a tiny proportion of your user base. And the number of people who get annoyed and stay annoyed at a particular change are even fewer.
  2. A move does mean a regime change — and lot of users like a regime change. After all, if you've been working on the site for a year or two and have never made it to admin status, who are Wikia likely going to let "adopt" the wiki when the axe falls on the old guard?
  3. The move could easily end in admin being permabanned from Wikia. The Vault's founder was Wikiabanned. And ya know what? Even though he was a popular guy, a lot of the people responding to the announcement of his removal were on Wikia's side. And that guy got actual press in his favor! I mean there were legitimate news articles about his outster that came down firmly on his side. But his user base didn't. He didn't get a lot of people saying that they would sympathetically walk away from Wikia in protest. He mostly got people saying it was sad, but that they were going to continue contributing to the Wikia version of The Vault.
Changing hosts is an awful lot of work for comparatively little return. It's best to try to understand what Wikia are up to with their new features, and to adapt to them. Yes, they're infuriating if you have to clean up after their code changes. Yes, their definition of a "TOU violation" is frustratingly, even situationally, malleable. But the one good thing about them is that they are trying to improve their product. They aren't actually trying to destroy it. It's a better use of time to try to integrate their changes into your own design — or at least find workarounds that old-schoolers can install into their personal js/css — than to literally waste time on changing hosts.

czechout@Wikia    12:35: Tue 08 May 2012 
One error in your comments. A community cannot change a license. Only the contributor can. That was held up in court a few years ago when a dev project tried to change from GPL to CC without one of the contributors agreeing. -- sulfur 12:50, May 8, 2012 (UTC)

You know what I find "disingenuous", necroposting on a topic that ended months ago where you start by making assumptions of the intent of those that actually took part in the discussion. While the ultimate question would have been the title of this forum post, how is finding out what options there really are before having that conversation "disingenuous"? Maybe you would like to explain that one to me, because I think deliberately blocking that discussion is far more "disingenuous", if not down right nefarious.

Oh, and saying wikia isn't "actually trying to destroy" themselves depends entirely on what you think of the company. I think catering the editing UI and tools to the type of user that only sticks around for a week at most is self-destructive, and actively trying to create a class of users who don't know how to use the tools built in to the software is flat out retarded, especially at the cost of the "active content maintainers". Creating more options on how to edit would "trying to improve their product", removing options is just a big "fuck you" to those of us who actually create the product, for free, that they're selling. It's not their product at all, it's ours. - Archduk3 17:16, May 8, 2012 (UTC)

I apologise for choosing a word that clearly rubbed you the wrong way. I wasn't trying to make anyone angry. I was just trying to point out what I thought to be illogical. And if the topic isn't meant to be open to new comment, maybe it shouldn't be in your community-corner. To my view, putting something in community-corner is a way of highlighting something. Especially when the text in that c-c invites comment.
czechout@Wikia    16:16: Fri 11 May 2012 

This has been in the community corner since Oct of last year, and was never removed since doing so "informs" everyone that there's something new there even though there isn't, not to mention that no one here uses the cc unless something needs to be said to everyone, because it's a horrible "feature" and wikia has left us no other choice. It's been removed now, and while comments can still be added before this is archived, adding something six months later that starts the way you did probably wasn't the best call, especially if there "isn't a point even contemplating" this. That said, I didn't take any personal offense at what you said, but it wasn't just me that though this was worth looking into. - Archduk3 01:18, May 12, 2012 (UTC)

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