If you need to look up a video game factoid, you’re probably going to end up on a site owned by Fandom, which provides a free-to-use online encyclopedia framework called Wikia. Starting last year, these video game wikis started having problems with the company that hosts them.
The Fallout wiki, Nukapedia, was up in arms over Fandom putting autoplaying videos above the articles on its pages, and community members have been discussing whether or not to leave the site entirely since June.
As that conversation went on, the wiki for Runescape decided to pull the plug.
The Runescape wiki’s conversation about leaving Fandom began internally in October of last year, a month after Fandom also added videos to the Runescape wiki Jayden, one of the administrators for the wiki, told Kotaku over email. Jagex, Runescape’s developers, helped them get those videos removed.
Later that month the wiki admins decided to meet with Jagex about the other problems they had with Fandom and how to proceed from there.
“We decided the best course of action would be to have a discussion with Jagex at their office, which we did, and we concluded that leaving the platform would be the best way to go,” Jayden said. “There are plenty of issues before this that have made us want to leave, but this was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
In a statement about the move from the Runescape wiki, admins cite “horrendous” advertisements, security issues, and out of date wiki software, along with the intrusive videos, as a reason to leave Fandom. While the new wikis are currently live, Jayden says they will launch properly on October 2.
The Runescape wiki will be hosted by the current administrators, and Jagex will give them some monetary and community support, and have also agreed to let the new wiki use their trademark. Jayden said that Jagex has been fully in support of the Runescape community and has helped them build new infrastructures over the past year.
“We’ve signed an agreement with Jagex, allowing us to use their trademarks properly and form a partnership with them to host the wikis,” they wrote in their statement. “We all, including Jagex, want to be transparent with the community about what this partnership entails.”
Fandom doesn’t seem fazed by this decision. “We’re sorry to see the RuneScape Wiki leave Fandom, but understand the unique opportunity they have with Jagex,” a representative from Fandom told Kotaku. “We continue to be committed to creating the best experience possible for fans, inclusive of non-disruptive ads and content that helps them connect even more with the entertainment that they love.”
The Runescape wiki isn’t the only one making the decision to leave. The wiki for Yu-Gi-Oh! left Fandom eight months ago, and the Warframe wiki is also considering leaving. Both communities cited Fandom’s featured videos as a top issue, though the Warframe community also cited intrusive ads as among their problems.
Two months ago members of the Warframe community bought a domain and began migrating articles to a new site, but that move is currently on hiatus. Now, with the details the Runescape wiki has provided about how they facilitated their move, Warframe wiki admins are thinking about trying again. “If they can do it, so can we,” one community member wrote in a Reddit thread on the topic, which currently sits at nearly one thousand upvotes.
“Honestly, I think Wikia are past their due date,” Jayden told Kotaku. “It’s clear that they want to shift away from the wiki focus that they have, and that’s definitely rubbing people up the wrong way. Injecting a lot of advertising into their pages feels like a last ditch move to get the revenue they can before people move along like we are.”
Time will tell if other communities follow Runescape’s lead.