Could you please clarify for me what this message is about? I am curious what the "future migration" is. Also, I'm wondering why it seems that users' legitimate PvZ-related discussion topics are being removed from the wiki's community feed. - Sitb(Message wall / Talk page) 23:59, June 16, 2019 (UTC)
He's currently not online, but I can try my best to explain it from what I know.
So from what I know, the previous staff team didn't like the Discussions feature. A lot of this stuff happened before my time as staff so my understanding isn't as clear as others, but I'm pretty sure they were trying to either migrate Discussions to either Discord or migrating Discussions to the Forums. Could have also been for a future migration of Forums to Discussions, but I am not sure.
As far as I'm aware no one actually moderates the Discussions, they get checked once a week and someone purges all the topics. I believe we have ended up having a discussion in our Staff Discord Server about what to do with the discussions, but I don't remember much from it.
7 GRAND UMP wrote:
Discussions ... get checked once a week and someone purges all the topics. I believe we have ended up having a discussion in our Staff Discord Server about what to do with the discussions, but I don't remember much from it.
Discussions appear to have been enabled on this wiki a few years ago by a former admin, and supported by at least one other admin at the time. However, it looks like since that time, there now seems to be a new initiative to prohibit users from posting in discussions. Based on what you said above, it sounds like you're saying there was an internal discussion among a few admins about this directive, in a private channel outside the Fandom network, which did not factor in input from the overall community of this wiki, is that correct? (if there is actually a post buried somewhere on the forums, by all means point it out to me)
Since the decision was originally made by local admins to enable discussions on this wiki, they cannot be removed now. Some of this wiki's users want to use Discussions and they have been legitimately trying to discuss game-related topics in this Fandom-integrated feature for some time, but these on-topic posts are being deleted. These users have been following links that are integrated into this wiki which lead them to the discussions area. The real issue here is that legitimate user activity that does not break Fandom's rules is actively being discouraged, and worthwhile posts are being deleted without any explanation to those who were taking part in those discussions. It is a disservice to the mobile users of this wiki whom, possibly due to technical reasons not under their control, are unable to take part in the forums area. I should point out that as per Fandom policy, deleting legitimate posts/comments could be grounds for blocking the user who is deleting said posts (even if the user deleting said posts is a local administrator).
I can understand if some users have a desire to stick with the old forums approach, but that old format is not optimized for mobile devices, and about 70% of this wiki's traffic accesses the wiki via mobile device. This means that 70% of of users are not viewing or discussing topics in an environment calibrated for their device, which can often cause display issues, or in some cases, bar users from accessing the forums area entirely. This isn't to say that forums and discussions cannot co-exist (the two features can run in parallel), but it is bad practice to alienate users who want to use a popular part of Fandom's platform, whether it is because they want to, or because technology dictates they need to.
I would really like to gain some more clarity on what has being going on with the discussions area. The current strategy of deleting ALL discussion posts indiscriminately, without engaging with users, should not continue in this manner. - Sitb(Message wall / Talk page) 13:25, June 17, 2019 (UTC)
And the main problem with discussions is that it doesn't feel like a part of the wiki. Users in the wiki itself don't even go there, so it feels like there's just two separate communities. Looking at the current posts that are currently up, I couldn't recognize any user, which makes sense, because they don't go to the wiki itself. Moreover, none of our current staff members visit the discussions for the purpose of trying to discuss something. Deleting everything is simpler than trying to moderate a place they don't want to use.
We're totally fine with not deleting the posts if that's the rule, but I don't think any of us are planning to moderate that... thing. It's way too detached from the wiki at this point.
Oreo is correct. No admin agrees or wants Discussions on the wiki. Because of that, we agreed to delete all posts there and just redirect to the forums and Discord.
The Discussions and Wiki communities are two separate entities.
Also, most posts there are low quality spam. We get stuff like little kids posting their faces, advertisements for YouTube channels, random garbage in different languages, and one word posts.
The genuine discussions over there are one in fifty. There's seriously is no reason for us to carefully go through posts. Redirecting just makes it super easier for everyone and the people can actually post in a moderated and protected area (unlike discussions, forums and Discord have active staff teams helping users out and actually having quality discussions)
If we have to stop deleting posts, so be it. I won't moderate that place, and I doubt any other staff member would either.
I remember all too well how Discussions were originally rolled out across Fandom (and the negative reaction that ensued from many communities). I did not work for Fandom at the time, but I did experience it first-hand as a wiki editor/admin of other Fandom communities. I will say that Fandom has been taking a different approach recently, has undergone many staffing changes, and has been working toward engaging more with communities before drastic changes like these are made. There have even been some steps taken recently that are specifically related to discussions and increasing their integration with other aspects of wikis (ie. the recent feed-related changes).
Regarding Discussions being activated on this wiki back in 2016:
I found a discussions post from one of this wiki's (now-former) admins that introduced users to the new feature. A second (now-former) admin stopped by the discussion to offer their support, and several other users were part of that discussion as well. So, it seems there was at least some interest in the feature within a small portion of this community right from the start. Of course the discussion I'm referring to, along with all other past discussions, have since been deleted. So, any evidence that users want to, or are already using Discussions has essentially been censored by administrators who came along afterward.
discussions ... doesn't feel like a part of the wiki. Users in the wiki itself don't even go there, so it feels like there's just two separate communities. Looking at the current posts that are currently up, I couldn't recognize any user, which makes sense, because they don't go to the wiki itself.
I know what you mean; I've seen the very same thing on other wikis. However, I think it is important to take into consideration a wiki's overall activity (viewers, as well as contributors). Those who are inclined to use discussions and don't seem to make edits on a community, sometimes seem like a completely different demographic than a wiki's regular editors. However, part of this reason may stem from the fact that mobile users have a very discussions-forward interface, and in some ways, the design specifically leads these users toward the discussions area. There's also the fact that editing via mobile devices was disabled last summer. It is possible that the discussions area is the only place on the wiki where some of these mobile users are able to communicate with the wiki community.
There have been over 275 moderator actions (such as deleting discussion threads) performed on this wiki's discussions area over the past 3 months. This number seems a little high to attribute simply to vandalism/spam. I can actually say for certain that legitimate discussions have been removed, because I was taking part in at least one of them myself last week, and now that discussion is gone. "Quality discussions" is a bit of a subjective term. If a discussion is related to PvZ and is not offensive, where is the issue? It seems there is a segment of the PvZ community who want to use discussions, so why not let them? If given the chance, it is even possible that one of those users would be willing to help moderate discussions, or at least flag spam as it appears. Discussions can also be a gateway for users who may not normally edit, to start branching out from a discussion because they are drawn to a recommended article, or other recent wiki activity. They could eventually start being inclined to edit mainspace articles as well. - Sitb(Message wall / Talk page) 19:10, June 17, 2019 (UTC)
Alright, I figure I may as well throw my hat in here as well. You talk a lot of good stuff, I can give you that. I'll start with that first.
For one, I definitely agree that there's been some moderation out of hatred going on here. Many of the good discussions are being deleted as well as the bad, and if discussions are the only way that people can talk to us, then so be it. I think discussions can be used as a legitimate place for conversation as long as it's moderated. I believe you already understand the reasons why forums are preferred over discussions here, so I won't repeat that.
One thing I am a bit curious on is I don't see why it's necessary to have editing disabled on mobile. Could you please provide context for me (or link me somewhere) before I say too much more?
What I do want to say though is that this...
Sitb wrote: They could eventually start being inclined to edit mainspace articles as well.
...is just absolutely silly. Let me start by saying that forums and discussions fulfill a similar niche; they both serve as a means for communication, both about the wiki as well as the PVZ series, outside of mainspace comments. The things is, there are several people who go on the wiki every day, making posts to the forums, but don't edit mainspace. Therefore, since the two platforms fulfill the same niche, it isn't a stretch to say that there will be people who only use discussions and not actually cross over to mainspace. Of course this isn't going to happen for everyone (never say never or always in this types of situations), but I believe a majority of the people who use discussions will specifically be there just for discussions, and nothing more. Besides, since as you said, discussions is the only way people on mobile can contact us since they disabled wiki editing on mobile, how would they be able to contribute to mainspace in the first place?
In short, I agree that moderation is too heavy handed and discussion should be opened there, but some of your reasoning is just silly to me.
Ballistic Planet wrote:
I don't see why it's necessary to have editing disabled on mobile. Could you please provide context for me (or link me somewhere) before I say too much more?
At the link I provided above, one of Fandom's technical support specialists, Kirkburn, explained in a comment:
"usage of this option was extremely minimal, and the experience wasn't what we wanted it to be, so it has been removed until we have a better alternative."
I can't say anything else about the development of that feature, because I don't know any more than that myself.
Ballistic Planet wrote:
forums and discussions fulfill a similar niche; they both serve as a means for communication ... there are several people who go on the wiki every day, making posts to the forums, but don't edit mainspace. Therefore, since the two platforms fulfill the same niche, it isn't a stretch to say that there will be people who only use discussions and not actually cross over to mainspace... I believe a majority of the people who use discussions will specifically be there just for discussions, and nothing more. Besides, since as you said, discussions is the only way people on mobile can contact us since they disabled wiki editing on mobile, how would they be able to contribute to mainspace in the first place?
It's difficult to speculate what could happen here, unless users are actually permitted to use the discussions feature for its intended purpose, and we let it play out. However, I have had a few personal experiences on other wikis, where a user originally stuck to discussions, but through talking with other users and seeing recommended wiki content/activity popping up on the side-bars, they were encouraged to contribute a bit to the wiki as well. Not near as much as regular users, mind you, but at least they became a little bit more a part of the community in their own small way. I presume the Fandom App/Mobile-exclusive users may not end up editing on the wiki, but most people also have access to a desktop, or a web browser app on their tablet which would allow them a way to edit when/if they really wanted to.
Just to be clear to anyone reading, I want to stress again that I do not believe discussions need to replace forums on this wiki. This wiki's forums are highly-developed and maintained stringently by dedicated users. I just don't like seeing any segment of Fandom's userbase barred from being able to take part in certain aspects of a community, when there are ways they could be having an enhanced experience. - Sitb(Message wall / Talk page) 21:13, June 17, 2019 (UTC)
I see what you're trying to say, Sitb, but when there's stuff like this, a post being low quality or effortless isn't really subjective. There's also this, which is a bit better, but still pretty pointless.
Another issue are posts like this right here. The person is looking for a teammate, but no one really replies to that stuff. That's why we redirect to the Discord server. There's much higher chances of meeting someone there that would play with them.
If people who have access to discussions on mobile have a PC/tablet/laptop/whatever, couldn't they just use the forums in the first place?
Now, the examples I wanted to show are deleted, but a massive chunk of the posts there were stuff like "hey check out my PvZ YouTube channel and subscribe" and just contextless images of game characters. Compare that to stuff in the forum like this. A civil discussion that doesn't have much spammy/low effort/pointless replies and content. The moderators also enjoy helping around there and participate in threads.
I can't be 100% sure, but I checked a lot of the posters in Discussions, they have 0 edits on anything on the wiki itself. I don't see how the community there is participating in the wiki community. The Discussions page literally has a section that's dedicated to exploring articles on the wiki. Both that and the guidelines should be enough to motivate people to actually use the parts of the wiki its staff support. I don't understand. If you believe that they would do that, wouldn't at least some of them start already?
The staff really dislike some new features Wikia has added recently, a good example being the notification system. It pings literally everyone that participated on the wiki even for a small edit, and it notifies them even if they're on other wikis. It's just annoying. That's why we stopped using it and instead utilized a custom wiki script.
As for staff bringing decisions without community knowledge, this is a new system established in mid-2018. The staff had minimal power at that time and regular users abused the voting system by constantly voting about the same things every month and showing clear bias. Right now the staff bring all changes and decisions. There's also a feedback page that staff would check if there's an issue.
If not wanting Discussions as part of this wiki is such a big problem, we'll have to just stop deleting and embrace it. This doesn't mean, however, that I'm gonna moderate it. I don't believe the community there has anything to do with the wiki itself. It's different in every way. Almost nobody that uses discussions uses other parts of the wiki and vice versa.
So yeah, I'm gonna have a talk with the staff and we'll see how we're gonna do this.
Definitely appreciate the feedback on our actions, though.
If you want to limit/direct certain types of posts to another area of the wiki for a good reason, such as to cut back on posts you know will likely never get replies (like posts looking for a teammates), those types of rules could always be written into the discussion guidelines, and those particular posts can get flagged/removed as they appear. If a user ever happens to question why such a post was removed, they could be linked to the guideline page containing clear instructions of where to post, so there shouldn't need to be any extensive exchanges between an admin, and a poster of this content.
Every forum/discussion area is going to have some level of spam, so the links you've been providing to what you consider as "low quality content" don't really surprise me; I've seen a lot of stuff similar to that in discussions before, and it's easy enough to quickly remove. Like I mentioned above, you could even write something into the guidelines asking users not to post those short posts that aren't really discussion-generators. Those types of posts are not really the type of content that I'm saying should be left alone. In the end, there may indeed only be a few legitimate discussion posts each month, but at least there will be some content, rather than users being directed by the Fandom system into an empty discussions area.
I'm not going to speculate reasons why a user may, or may not prefer mobile or the app, and not use a desktop/web browser to edit on the side; I'm sure each user has their own personal reasons, and I'm not much of a mobile user myself, so I can only partly-relate. An important thing I want to stress is that the current Fandom policy is: once discussions are applied to a community, they will not be removed for any reason. So currently and going forward into the future, this wiki is always going to have some traffic being directed to the discussions area whether you like discussions or not. It's a product of Fandom's website design that cannot be avoided.
I can't personally address the Fandom features you and other admins are unhappy with, as I do not play a part in their design whatsoever. However, there is always Special:Contact/feedback, where you can make suggestions/offer feedback (positive or negative) about Fandom features. If several users band together to submit similar feedback, it is possible those suggestions may get more exposure to Fandom staff. - Sitb(Message wall / Talk page) 10:24, June 18, 2019 (UTC)