My name is Chen, I'm with the Community team at FANDOM.
Over the last year, we’ve been working on a brand new TV Community Builder. We’ve identified your Wiki as one of the best candidates to move to the new platform because it already has a great structure for characters, cast, seasons and episodes. We designed the TV Community Builder from the start with TV shows in mind to mirror that same structure.
While the new Builder is still early in its life, we would be thrilled to have you as a key test community to help us learn what works, what doesn’t, and what feedback we need to know moving forward! Would you be interested in giving some feedback and participating in helping figure out what features we should create for the TV Community Builder?
Here are some of the reasons we’re excited about the new experience:
Mobile capabilities: This new builder is designed to work across all devices - making it easy to create and view pages on desktops and phones with no extra work required from editors. Over the years, more and more people are switching to browsing the internet on their phones and FANDOM is no different. We are invested in making it a better experience and allow fans to edit as easily from their phones as their desktops.
Structured data: Structured data is a way of organizing all of the data on a website so you can present information in more powerful ways. Not only can you display content in ways that helps people find what pages they should read next, but it can even make editing easier - imagine if you could update a single character page, and that data would be added to all other relevant pages automatically. By removing the reliance on wikitext, editing becomes a simpler experience and content becomes easier to find.
You can see this new platform in action on Yellowstone wiki right now - please check it out!
If your wiki uses the new Community Builder, what we would do is migrate all of the articles here over to a new domain and temporarily maintain both while we go through and clean up some of the information. It won’t all be perfect so there will be some work to do to get everything set on the TV Community Builder before we switch over the domain. We are happy to help with a lot of the heavy lifting there.
We’d love to do this in the next week or two to make sure this wiki is ready for Season 3.
Thanks for approaching me concerning this new feature, and I'm glad I still have the option to view the layout as it currently is. I'd be open to taking a look at it in this new form, though I'm not sure if you need a definite "Yes" from me or not.
Personally, while I do like the easier accessibility and organization this could provide, I also fear it comes at the expense of customization (something I think has already been happening over time).
I feel I'd be much more welcome to this change if we had the same options we do in the wikis current form. I'm currently the only active admin here, though I'd be up for hearing what other users think (as well as users you've already contacted on other wikis regarding this).
Thanks for your response! The TV builder is still in its early stage and it will display your community in a clean and modern way for readers. We believe that it will be easier for them to navigate and contribute the content through the entire community, on both desktop and mobile, which the oasis layout (using mediawiki) may not be able to offer especially with too many customizations.
This is going to be a continually evolving project involved with many staff members from our Engineering, Product, and Community teams, and we would love to hear the first-hand feedback/suggestions from you directly and provide the best tools to your community to use. Our ComDev staff members will also come here to help to contribute more content, and of course, using the new TV Builder! We want to use this tool together with you and the rest of the users.
Back to your question, what specific customizations that you have implemented on this wiki do you want to have on TV builder? Can you list them in the order of the priority? I'm seeing you have RSS, social links, etc on the main page. I can bring the list to our product team and we will work on improving the TV builder based on the feedback we collect from our users and add more features in the future.
All in all, we are very excited to put effort to make this community more popular with this new platform, and if you would like to, we hope you can join us for this new experience to achieve this great product success together. Looking forward to your reply again!
I understand that this project is a work in progress, so I'm willing to try it out. I guess I'm just wondering how much influence my feedback would have going towards the final version, if that can be assessed at this point.
As far as customization options go, most of it is cosmetic, such as the wikis background wallpaper, a unique wordmark and icon, being able to use a variety of color schemes, the ability to choose different styles of templates, infoboxes, or galleries (or be able to construct your own). Essentially, all the options necessary to give the wiki its own personality.
I assume the sample wiki you've provided just happens to be using a specific layout, but it comes off as very plain looking (again, I understand, a work in progress). Would it be possible to provide other samples using different layouts for the sake of comparison?
All in all, I want to know if I would be able to make direct suggestions once the wiki has been copied over to the testing format? For example, I could go to a characters page and request the style of its infobox to be altered, or would I be stuck with a default layout?
We are always welcome your suggestions! Unfortunately, the layout is by default, and we want to use a standard format because it can show the content nicely both on mobile and desktop. No matter which wiki the users/readers go to, they can very easily understand how to edit or navigate the content, which customizations cannot offer. The current main page will evolve over time. The current version of the Infobox is very basic, and we will eventually unify it with the current Infobox design. At this point, we weren’t able to migrate any content that’s inside of a template, so some content will need to be manually copied over. Here is another example of the wiki we recently migrated to TV builder, and the visits have been increasing dramatically after the migration: http://ozark.wikia.com
If you think everything looks good and would like to start the migration, we will start the process shortly. Thank you!
Hey again, sorry I left you hanging there. I also apologize for the fact that my response won't be the one you were hoping to hear.
While I understand this project is in the best interest of compatibility between platforms, I can't help but feel I've wasted my time here putting in the work to help design this wiki (among others) only for most of it to be phased out in the new design. I'm not sure if I'll be able to give any more meaningful suggestions in testing beyond what I've already given, and I think I'd just be wasting your time at that point.
I apologize again if that came off as harsh. My frustrations aren't directed towards you personally, and I do thank you for reaching out, even if it was only as a formality.
(if you have anything else to say that you think could potentially change my mind, however, I'm still open to listening)