Wicked wiki

Published October 25, 2010

That’s wicked in a bad sense.

A while back, we had some issues with our Sidepodcast wiki. It was hosted on Wetpaint, and… well, it basically didn’t work for a lot of people. There were intrusive ads that could be removed for a reasonable (!) $20 a month, and there were a lot of virus warnings floating around as well.

It was time to move, and Wikia seemed like the best bet. A very popular wiki-host, with a look and feel that was very much like what you would expect from a wiki. There were some limitations, but equally plenty of benefits, and I decided to take the plunge, and put in a lot of hours moving everything across.

After many, many man-hours, I was starting to get the wiki as I liked it, and was particularly proud of the Dictionary page, and how it was presented. Yesterday, we realised that Wikia had changed pretty much everything about the design of the site, with no warning.

Sidepodcast Wiki

Big fat text, lots of whitespace, all change.

Sidepodcast Wiki

My biggest problem is the navigation though. The picture on the left is the menu on the wiki before Wikia started fiddling around. I spent quite a long time first learning how to manipulate the menu, and then implementing the different categories. There are also handy links to the special pages which was enormously useful.

I can’t find special pages on the new wiki at all, and for some reason the sidebar has completely disappeared. The menu is now at the top, with random drop-downs that don’t work in every browser and have a lot of fun mingling with the flash ad that I have cut out of the screenshot above.

I can’t figure out why the Character Cup has suddenly become a top-level menu item, when it is supposed to feature as a sub-menu of the On the Blog section. It’s not first alphabetically, it’s not anything, it’s completely random.

It is, in fact, completely ruined.

The first I heard of it is when Mr C exclaimed: “The wiki has changed,” in reaction to some of our commenters picking up on it. I had a look and was absolutely distraught. How could this happen without any warning? Without the option for it not to happen?

Ever the gracious host, Wikia have allowed individuals to change the look back to the original, until the first few days of November. Thanks!

I know, I know, if you use a hosted service, they have the right to change it as and when they please, but it shows a great lack of respect to us. It’s not just me who has put in some hard work, plenty of time and effort to make the wiki fun and useable. And we can’t be the only ones to have been surprised by this sudden, and completely useless, change.

Now I am faced with having to find a new wiki provider. Even if I could find a way to make this new system work - why would I, in the knowledge they will likely go ahead and secretly tweak it beyond recognition in a couple of years anyway?

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