A Confic Safari Into The Backrooms
by Harmony B
There exists a confederacy of confic communities inspired by the ideas of the backrooms. Supernatural and unknown phenomenon existing in liminal interior spaces. There are four such sites that stand above the others. Three of them are based on WikiDot, that being the Backrooms Wiki, Liminal Archives, and Timeless Places. One exists on Fandom, also known as the Backrooms Wiki, and informally known as Backrooms Fandom. That’s a lot of backrooms content, perhaps an overwhelming amount. In the interest of providing a starting point for those interested in the backrooms, but who aren’t sure where to start, this overview will provide the basic first impression one would get from visiting each site.
Our first stop is the Backrooms WikiDot community. Their front page is slick, clearly inspired by both the SCP Wiki and the Wanderers Library. They give credit to the SCP Wiki, acknowledging their confic influence on the front page. In multiple series lists of different categories, the Levels are the most filled-out, and the other series have progressively fewer entries. So the Levels are clearly the draw, but other categories aren’t completely lacking for attention.
They have a Tale hub page which shares the airlock problems of the existing tales page on the SCP Wiki, showing again the influence not only of the content on the SCP Wiki but also the design. The Persons of Interest page has a unique way of having the text pop in, but ultimately is lacking in terms of doing anything significantly different... other than having text pop in from the side, which is at least novel enough to elevate it above a non-dynamic text box series.
A Groups page showcases a collection of unique organizations and the personality of the universe established by the Backrooms Wiki. A Canons page is almost identical to that of the SCP Wiki, with slightly different and more boxy presentation. The Joke category is not significantly developed, and there don’t appear to have been any figures like Salman Corbette or daveyoufool who have come along and made things interesting by driving the site’s comedic sensibilities.
Forums are active with recent postings in every category, the oldest post outside the meta category being less than a month old (and even the one in the meta category was only sixty days old at the time of writing). They have a tumblr and a Twitter but don’t seem to have the same focus on brand-building through social media that the SCP Wiki internet outreach team has undertaken, which it could be argued is a virtue.
Not a tremendous number of authors’ pages are present; it seems there are a few core community members driving content, done in more than one-off numbers, since the requirements for such a page are not prohibitive. Guides on a guide hub are also pretty clearly inspired by SCP, although they don’t seem to suffer from the same guide sprawl that is afflicting the Anglo-American SCP Wiki and its contemporaries.
The Liminal Archives is our next stop. It’s a community made up from those who for one reason or another were originally disaffected by the WikiDot Backrooms Wiki. Before going on, it must be said that their Discord community is highly toxic in tolerating slurs and hate speech so reader discretion is advised before checking it out. That being said, this is about their wiki which does not share those traits.
Simple front page which showcases content for anyone landing on it for the first time, while also being a useful hub page for tasks the everyday site users would want to use every day, like a sandbox link and a little site news ticker. They’re proud of the logo. It's on the top and also the bottom of the front page. It is a good logo, so I don’t blame them for wanting to show it off.
The general presentation is simplistic overall. It's straight lists of content presents as though one were looking through a database, which is highly immersive, but a little more descriptive information being included would probably help; for example, in choosing which link to look at, or when looking for an article to read, and wanting something to go by other than a pretty-often technical-sounding title.
There are a lot of nice touches to the presentation, most of which were done by their admin Vizlox; little touches that give the Liminal Archives Wiki its own ineffable style. A standout is the cool globe animation on one of their lore pages. I like it even if it was a little confusing if I was supposed to be looking at a globe, or if it was meant for me to look at it as though I were looking through a porthole.
The Backrooms Fandom Wiki has a reputation for being a little less serious than the other backrooms communities, at least in terms of taking itself less seriously. The presentation is decent and would be a lot better if Fandom weren’t so overloaded with advertising, but the functionality is all there. It isn’t like some other unfinished crappy Fandom projects; it feels like it is complete and usable.
User AmbushIsVeryHard is doing admirable work providing the resources for new users to be able to successfully create pages and not muck things up. It seems to be higher trafficked than the WikiDot community, but a lot of that traffic is driven by people using Fandom, and not necessarily people interested in the Backrooms with any deep significance.
Those using the WikiDot site are there for the Backrooms, and probably aren’t super interested in the larger WikiDot ecosystem, unless they’re writing for other confic sites like SCP, Wayward, Chaos Insurgency, an international affiliate, or maybe the RPC Authority or Liminal Archives. There is still a lot of author overlap with other confic communities though; at the time of writing, one of this week’s top five contributors is a user named MikeScpFan229.
Timeless Places is a project was created as a result of known Backrooms content creator Mr. Ferrante being dissatisfied with the state of things in the Backrooms. There’s been one Mass Edit done here so far, but the site has a good amount of content and a cool aesthetic. Since it is the newest of the backrooms-based communities, instead of merely seeing it for ourselves, here are what the people of the Timeless Places have to say about it in a round-table discussion:
HB: [Why] are you here, what is it about the timeless places that interests you?
Doeymous: I'm here because Ferrante made this place. I don't much care for dreamcore and aesthetics are nice but they're decoration not substance. I came to the Backrooms because the idea of an entire world made of interior spaces instead of a natural environment was cool and interesting.
It was quirky and weird with almond water and smilers and liquid pain, it didn't take itself too seriously or try to be impressive. [The] whole site was done up in this yellow theme like it was written on wallpaper which was great. [It] was a fascinating open world where I could expect to find anything or add anything myself.
Now, the Backrooms takes itself seriously while being worse than ever [in the] realism department. [It] expects me to be afraid of ten-page descriptions of someone's OC living [in a fun] safe happyland where no one ever dies, and the entities are friendly. It's become tonally conflicted and lost its original charm and [it's] not because of lore, [it's] because of bad writing and bad moderation. Timeless Places is an attempt to fix the wrong problem.
Ferrante (responding to Doeymous): I never said the main problem was lore. [There were] a lot of problems. Lore isn't bad, it just wasn't handled correctly because it wasn't regulated. [Too] many plot holes and contradictions. Timeless Places doesn't have lore mostly because I don't take an interest [in it].
JSMeansJunkship: I'm personally here because I like the direction TP is taking limfic in. I like how Spaces in TP uniquely focus on the essential elements of spaces themselves, without extraneous details or lore. Summaries [Tales] in TP explore and [interpret] Spaces from the perspective of characters in them, and use the environment as a way to tell the [narrative] and support the themes of the article. TP feels a lot more minimalistic and personal, and less diluted. It's a pure brew of the essence of limfic.
© Confic Magazine