On Alternative Wiki Platforms for Confic Communities
Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Media & Tech
by Lack of Lepers
Looking to get your confic community off WikiDot? Here are some things to consider.
Containment fiction is extraordinarily centralized, mainly about the SCP Foundation, but more so around WikiDot. WikiDot, as you might know, is dying and has very little customer support these days. The owner tried to sell it for bitcoin in the last years, advertising the SCP Wiki as its flagship product... no one bought it.
As WikiDot seemingly crumbles in real-time, alternative Wiki-style platforms are in demand for the confic space. There is an interest for alternatives, whether to move off of WikiDot or get started on a more stable platform. One has several options if hoping to retain the functionality of WikiDot but have a more engaged and robust team of developers, one that maintains it, and can actually respond to errors and bugs.
The purpose of this post then is to educate people about a few of the alternate platform options, and become familiar with a couple of these’s contexts, particularly socially; places like Fandom and Miraheze, which are not the static and monolithic edifices they can seem to be from a removed perspective. These are highly-nuanced and at times dramatic communities that have their own histories, space-shaking events, and personalities; not unlike all the SCP drama we know and love.
One of those is Miraheze, which hosts over 5,000 wikis. It competes with Fandom (hosts over 250,000) and has some distinct differences. Miraheze is more customizable in terms of direct user experience and custom looks, gives a bit more freedom when it comes to permissions given to Admins and programmers, does not use ads (is donor-funded), is non-profit, and staffed by volunteers who are unpaid. Miraheze is less geared towards entertainment mediums, such as television shows, movies, and video games.
Miraheze may be a finer choice for individuals who want to avoid a bombastic vibe and situate their wikis in a more refined, customizable aura. Not that immersion in confic is really valued in the way it once was, but there’s just something to be said for a page-sized ad for a mobile game right next to my confic experience.
Containment fiction-adjacent communities can be found on both Fandom and Miraheze. The most well-known example on Fandom is probably Backrooms, which features over 2000 pages at the time of writing. (Correction: Backrooms is hosted on WikiDot, while a fan community exists on Fandom.)
Miraheze does not platform many containment fiction communities at present, especially since The Containment Fiction Wiki was recently suspended due to emailed complaints from unknown actors in an attempt to censor the information made public there. But we did find one community that brushes shoulders with confic, started in February 2021. It’s the Trollpasta Wiki:
The Trollpasta Wiki had existed in at least one form prior, on the Wiki farm Wikia (later rebranded to Fandom), but had been wrecked when its previous owner shut the site down, annihilating all of the data put into it. The remaining participants picked up the pieces and moved to Miraheze, slowly and painstakingly rebuilding the content. Now up and running again, the Wiki’s creators suggest sharing the site on “shitpost threads, bad creepypasta YouTube videos and threads, etc.” It came to us in the form of the SCF Discord.
Ok but what is The Trollpasta Wiki?
Obviously, we recommend a good look for yourself.
The Trollpasta Wiki is not the only Wiki community to find refuge in Miraheze. Numerous communities, termed “media reception Wikis”, or just “Reception Wikis”, have done the same but for a much different reason; after being kicked off of Fandom, which at the time had relatively conservative content allowances; something we will see Miraheze has followed in suit. These communities include those that give critical analysis of mediums like television shows, games, and internet personalities:
Reception Wikis are an entire category of Wikis that “call out certain media and people (whether it be TV shows, video games, etc.) as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.” [source] While they were mainly based in Fandom and tolerated for a time, they eventually were disallowed because the bad ones were considered cyberbullying & harassment by the Fandom team. These are dangerously close to something like KiwiFarms, which specializes in laughing at internet personas (“lolcows”), and has an incorrect reputation as an alt-right haven.
It is important to note that Reception Wikis are defined as problematic first and foremost because they do not cite sources or provide any journalistic integrity in their information. A source familiar with the space and its drama — self-described as “…simply a user with a record of developing and pushing independent positions with mixed reception in 'the masses' so to speak based on what I believe is right…” — notes that these Wikis were “…exclusively dedicated to partisan, unsourced hot takes of people, users and so fanbases.”
The second reason is the sort of vehemence and comments that such communities would attract and their disagreed-with political leanings. As our observer native and knowledgeable to the space put it:
But historically the reception wikis in particular were an issue, and the most troublesome ones formed something called the Outcast Network. Almost all reception wikis were already kicked off Fandom and migrated to Miraheze as a much more accepting place, and since things weren't technically stressing the Content Policy yet they were allowed to continue for some time.
'Outcast' was the group of wikis focusing on users, wikis, youtubers, 'vyonders' and others on those lines, split into binaries of 'good' and 'bad' with synonyms. Today the largest collective of reception wikis is called Qualitipedia, which has been on the path of removing negative content on people in general and trying to curb the extreme political partisanship that the wikis have shown since the beginning.
The harbored Reception Wikis brought their bad PR to the haven of Miraheze and drew some attention from the Wiki’s opponents. The disagreements seem to be mostly of a political nature and the drama has spilled over into Miraheze’s community forums, their Meta boards.
IIRC the focus on people, no quality control, and the political aspects are what got the wikis kicked off, even the less people-focused ones like Crappy Games Wiki itself which was (and sometimes still is) leaning in politics. The Website wikis even today are still visibly the worst offenders on the political side… these links are part of what's made Miraheze more weary, and it doesn't help when a co-leader of Qualitipedia also became an admin on [Encyclopedia Dramatica] (no longer on Miraheze, though you can still find his name in front page lists of staff and sitenotices for QP).
Qualitipedia is a series of Reception Wikis, also based on Miraheze. Reportedly, QP has reacted to the bad PR by rebranding, overcompensating for any potentially problematic material, executing closures of wikis and deletions (of both wikis and records, such as comments) that aren’t strictly against any policy or legal mandate.
There's a catch-all; ”the wiki must not cause problems for other wikis” clause of the Content Policy which is technically supposed to be very conservative but can be used for a relatively wide set of circumstances… I think the focus would be the abusability of both legal holes and platform discretion that overcompensates to avoid legal action of any sort as well as 'types of behavior' counter to a platform's vision or the 'gut feels' of its management (similar to how a big company might capitulate to certain politics even if it has no legal requirement to do so and the topic might even be small to the membership/customers).
As such, any confic individual or community looking to host a wiki on something like Fandom or Miraheze, and that has anything to do with confic commentary or is associated right or wrong with a political block, should be wary of the potential for actors — and these may be genuine complaints or simply dirty play from community competitors — to have their desired effects be enacted on such a community by virtue of accusation and complaint alone. This was the context of the recent take-down of The Confic Wiki, previously on Miraheze, now intact and on its own platform. Were RPC on this platform, for example, it may be taken down for no other reason than that people at SCP don’t like it and want to complain, casting all RPC participants (unfairly) as all bigots.
Speaking of SCP Admins, several — including aismallard and bluesoul — are at work on a homegrown wiki farm called WikiJump. Wikijump (what a clever logo) is a fork of WikiDot, likely with the intention of preserving the SCP Wiki and its familiar functionalities in the event that WikiDot croaks. This would theoretically have appeal for SCP Wiki forks such as RPC Authority, and also for other confic communities on WikiDot, such as Liminal Archives or SCP Commune. This is the closest and most active thing that could be called “Project Foundation”.
However, this option must be weighed against the known censorious leanings and proclivities of SCP’s political character, one that might not at all have any problem with subjugating dependent confic communities to their whims, and even outright refusing service to competitors. (SCP generally doesn't take kindly to other confic communities, as in my opinion they remind it of its own fractured and lost grip on the genre.)
Notion is another option that is a wiki/document service in one. A free option is available, however it seems limited. Priced options offer more features and storage space, and can be as affordable as $4 per month, billed annually. This is geared towards more commercial, enterprise-grade uses, and might be a bit much for a confic community.
ShoutWiki is another option, one that is free but comes with ads, which again might compromise any desired immersion. It is free and does feature MediaWiki, the same engine that Miraheze and Fandom are built on.
Other wiki hosting services are viewable here.
A last option that can be taken is to build your own damn site. In this method, you purchase a domain name, buy hosting services, and utilize either code, a webpage generator, or a content management system to build up the wiki functionalities. This last method is the most expensive and time consuming, but also is the most anti-fragile and has the most freedom with respect to design and content.
This last way is clearly our recommendation. It’s the method that this Magazine and the new Confic Wiki have taken in response to several attempted weaponizations of the above platforms. Communities that want to take extra steps to ensure anti-fragility can decentralize their website across a blockchain, making censorship and single-points of potential corruption or mishandling impossible.
In any route taken, this should be a wake up call for all confic communities; ain’t no place like home.