Re: The wiki move
Thanks for your concerns, Ajs, and for raising them even after we've split from wikia. I'll address of a few of your points here, but this discussion may warrant a new thread in the forums, depending how thoroughly you'd like the conversation to be.
- Why does your wiki exist? Is it just an ephemeral reference? Do you want there to be a community around your topic? Are you looking to make the pages into permanent records of the topic?
I think our mission is fairly clearly stated in our About page. A community already exists around the topic at the Paizo.com messageboards and around game tables the worldover. We moved knowing that we'd be losing some of the more "social-networking"-like elements of Wikia and we're ok with that. As for whether they're permanent records, we'd like them to exist as long as possible, since we're putting in so much work and because so many people use the site, but the original Golarion sources exist in perpetuity, so I don't think we feel that unless we preserve it here it will go away.
- What happens when the person who owns the domain name dies / gets hit by a bus / decides to go on a walking tour of China for 3 years? Can anyone else take over paying for the domain? Will the registrar even talk to anyone else or will the domain lapse and be scooped up by someone who wants the click count?
Anything can happen, but thus far Alfred's had the domain for over 3 years and renewed it even when we were on wikia. If it became an issue the community would come together to purchase the domain from him and cooperate on paying for it, the same we are with the host we now use. Who knows, in ten years, maybe Paizo will want to make the wiki official and buy the domain themselves.
- Is there a hosting provider involved? What happens when they go out of business? Can you back up your data outside of their service? Who owns the account with the provider (see concerns, above for domain)
Yep, and if they go out of business we move the wiki somewhere else. As long as we own the domain, we can put the data wherever we want. We learned back in June 2008 how important making database dumps for backup are and do so regularly, so if we lost the host, we could put a recent backup of the site live somewhere else in short order. Losing hosting wasn't something we precluded by being on Wikia; in fact, their recent push to ensure everyone sees ads (and goes to main pages of different projects where they'll see more ads) was an ever-present reminder that Wikia is a company that needed revenue. If they went under because people stopped clicking their ads, what would have happened to the site then?
- Have you considered what kind of traffic this could generate? What would the costs become if your topic became the subject of a major motion picture? What if the next U.S. presidential debate featured the question, "would you be bothered if your child was interested in ..." relating to your topic? If costs went sharply up, how would you mobilize the community to pay for it?
As an employee of Paizo, I certainly hope the topic of Pathfinder becomes very, very popular. ;-) Regarding the wiki, however, we'd do what we had to do. The Paizo community has been great at supporting us thus far and have financially supported other fan projects through the sale of ads (see Wayfinder) and donations and I'm confident that if we ever needed financial or technical support, we'd get it.
- Conversely, what happens in 10 years if the topic becomes obsolete (the next big thing eclipses it)? Will a very small number of interested people still be able to pay for it?
A small number of people are paying for it now, and honestly, if people stop playing or reading Pathfinder, who cares if there's a wiki for it? I think the dozen or so active contributors to the site would continue doing it as long as we remained interested, but if the project never grows then perhaps it wouldn't be worth our time to continue it. Why build a house no one's going to live in?
- What happens in 50 years? Does the site just go away?
See above. In 50 years, if whether there's a wiki of a half-century-old campaign setting for a game that may not even exist is a larger question than whether the world hasn't evolved past needing mediawiki's framework, or if we're still using computers and not communicating telepathically, then I think we have little to worry about.
In the end, the site is here to support the game. As the game grows its fanbase, we're prepared to evolve with it, using the resources of said fanbase to support it. That's what wikis are about: community collaboration. We're a site by the people, for the people (not a wikifarm with it's own priorities separate from supporting Pathfinder), and I think it only natural that we move somewhere that we control from top to bottom instead of somewhere that someone else can't unilaterally determine what's best for our site. — Yoda8myhead 18:01, 10 November 2010 (UTC)