This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was Enable the Wikia Discussions footer. Toprawa and Ralltiir (talk) 21:49, August 21, 2016 (UTC)
This past week, Toprawa and Ralltiir and I represented the site at Wikia's Community Connect event. We spoke with some members of the company's Product and Community teams about some of Wikia's upcoming features. One of the main ones is a display tool that would increase visibility for the Discussions section of the site. This tool, called a "footer," lists the top five trending Discussions on the bottom of each mainspace page. Other wiki communities have already had Wikia enable it for them, so you can see an example here on the Marvel Wiki. It appears as "Top Discussions," toward the bottom of the page. Make sure you're viewing the page in the Wikia skin.
Based on our conversations with Wikia staff, I believe that this would be a great tool for us. Our Discussions section is already getting a lot of traffic, so this would only help (and not hinder) overall web traffic for our wiki articles. The footer also only appears in the Wikia skin, so old-school Monobook users won't be affected by it.
The footer only displays in the Wikia skin, not in Monobook. Thus, for Monobook users, it won't interfere with your experience.
The footer only appears on mainspace pages.
The footer displays the same "Top Discussions" on each mainspace page, so its content is independent of the current mainspace article.
As a side note, our Discussions userbase has begun to grow into a community that's separate from our wiki community, so this would be a much-needed step toward bridging that gap between us. CC7567(talk) 07:10, August 14, 2016 (UTC)
My inclination is to vote against this, but I'm willing to give someone the chance to persuade me that this somehow helps, rather than distracts from, our core mission of providing a quality Star Wars encyclopedia. Asithol (talk) 04:29, August 15, 2016 (UTC)
By its very nature, the Wikia skin discards the idea of Wookieepedia just being an encyclopedia, with its links to fanfiction contest, votes, etc. It connects it the the wider Wikia community, and this only helps streamline that without effecting us who are more dedicated to the idea of a building a comprehensive Star Wars encyclopedia, who mostly use the MonoBook skin anyways. - AV-6R7Crew Pit 04:37, August 15, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the response, AV. Maybe I'm not understanding the exact change being proposed: when you say "this only helps streamline that," do you mean the new Discussions links will replace some of the annoying clamor of the current Wikia skin? If not, can you clarify what you mean by "streamlining" it? Because if the new links are just adding to it, I don't see how that's a win. Asithol (talk) 08:47, August 15, 2016 (UTC)
By streamline, I meant it will be easier to connect to Discussions, which, as by my experience, has been a pain if you don't have it bookmarked. I haven't seen what this would look like fully implemented, so I don't know how it would mesh with that the random stuff that shows up in the Wikia skin. I guess what I'm saying is that this will streamline the social experience of Wikia users by making Discussions more easily accessible. - AV-6R7Crew Pit 08:57, August 15, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for elaborating. Whether making Discussions more easily accessible is a boon to Wookieepedia is debatable, and a question I'd like to see someone address. CC7567's proposal ends by calling it "a much-needed step toward bridging that gap," but never explains why this bridge is so much needed. To me, the two communities serve such different purposes that anything more than a simple, unobtrusive link between them is unwarranted.
But this proposal goes far beyond providing such a link; it's designed to actively hype Discussions, adding lures to it—using a not insubstantial amount of screen real estate, to judge by the linked-to Marvel example—to the bedlam of baubles already competing for attention on the Wikia skin. I just don't see how this serves Wookieepedia. Asithol (talk) 23:25, August 16, 2016 (UTC)
While it's true that the wiki-based community and the Discussions community serve different purposes, I don't see a reason to actively keep them separate. Visitors are coming to our site for both our wiki articles and a more social-oriented experience on Discussions, so the footer provides them easy access to both. If you're not a fan of Discussions, that's fine, and I'm not trying to convince you otherwise. I simply feel that because our wiki and Discussions are both part of Wookieepedia, and because both are here to stay for the foreseeable future, it's worth adding this footer. CC7567(talk) 01:25, August 17, 2016 (UTC)
Just wanted to chime in here. I'm not trying to "convince" anyone to buy into this, and I may be repeating some of what has already been said, but I just wanted to lay down where I'm coming from with this whole thing and why I'm supporting it (apologies for tl;dr). Discussions, while it definitely started out rocky and still isn't perfect, is a solid idea with untapped potential. Brandon or someone else can show us actual statistics, but one of the things I came away with from Community Connect is an appreciation for the fact that the demand is there for a message-board system. People are using Discussions in huge numbers, so why not take advantage of that where we can? We've always been adamant with enforcing the site principle that "Wookieepedia is not a message board," but we've never really given these people an outlet to channel that enthusiasm. Not everyone is a Wikia editor; most people just want to browse articles and sit around and gush about their fandom, and Discussions offers an opportunity for this segment of our site traffic to be more engaged with Wookieepedia. If someone reads the Kylo Ren article and wants to talk about him with other fans, they can now find Discussions at the bottom of the page and satisfy that need. If that experience is positive for them, they're more likely to return to Wookieepedia as their go-to place for their fandom. To me, this is about offering our readers a more diverse, multi-dimensional platform for wanting to use Wookieepedia. I also see other future opportunities for Discussions, such as bringing in Star Wars VIPs to engage with our audience in an AMA-style format, for example. Another issue, which I think most of us probably don't realize is even happening, is that there is a whole new community independently taking shape on Discussions. These are people who mostly or exclusively use Wookieepedia Discussions for talking with other fans while never editing the wiki itself. I can only speak for myself, but it bothers me that a certain divide exists between two groups of people who both claim identity with Wookieepedia (albeit in different formats: wiki and Discussions). If adding this footer to our articles helps to bridge that gap, it can only strengthen our community. And if that turns even one of these Discussions users into an editor, I think it was worth it. 02:47, August 18, 2016 (UTC)
Hey, figured I would chime in here since Tope mentioned the possibility of me providing stats. Since the launch of Wookieepedia Discussions on December 3, 2015, there has been have been over 38,200 posts contributed to Discussions. That's an average of nearly 150 posts per day. That's a lot! It shows an obvious demand to talk about Star Wars. Since Discussions launched, we've also seen over 89,000 (no, that's not a typo) new accounts created in the app. Now, as it is on any website or platform, most people who create an account won't use it, but account creation shows interest. And the higher the number of account creations, the more people there are who will actually contribute to the community in some way, even if it's just on Discussions. As we continue to optimize Discussion, more people who create accounts will stick around.
Last year, before we launched Discussions on Wookieepedia, Wikia ran a survey of Wookieepedia readers to see what interest there would be in actually using Wookieepedia as a platform to talk about Star Wars, as opposed to just writing factual information about it. 65% of respondents said they were interested (40% said very interested, and 25% said somewhat interested). Among the things they were most interested in discussing were the movies (new and old), the TV shows, and news and rumors. That's a lot of people saying they want to talk about Star Wars here, as evidenced by the amount of Discussions activity we've seen so far.
One of the key benefits of Discussions on Wookieepedia is that it keeps enthusiasm going in periods where there's less Star Wars. Of course there are always comics and even older stories to talk about, but what keeps most people interested and invested in Star Wars is on-screen content, particularly the movies. The movies are only once per year, and right now we're in the off-season for the TV show. There's less to contribute in those periods. We don't have a lot we can factually write about Rebels Season Three or Rogue One, but there's a lot we can discuss, analyze, and speculate on. That's not well-suited on a wiki, but it is well-suited for Discussions. That's why it's important to see Discussions as a way of broadening what it means to be part of the Wookieepedia community, and why it's important to close the current gap, as Tope called it, between the wiki users and the Discussions users.
Even if that gap doesn’t see a whole lot of editors joining in on Discussions or a whole lot of Discussions users becoming editors, it still bridges the identity of the wiki and Discussions as one community. And as the Wikia network continues to expand with Fandom, and more Wookieepedians continue to become Fan Contributors (like CC7567 and Cavalier One are now), what it means to contribute as a member of the overall Wookieepedia community will also continue to broaden. The wiki will always be at the core of that, but Wookieepedia as a whole is in a place now where it's comfortable in saying that there's more than one way to contribute to the evolving Wookieepedia community. Enabling this module more-clearly affords people that opportunity. - Brandon Rhea(talk) 21:13, August 18, 2016 (UTC)