I've been quiet about most of this for the longest time, and I've been in doubt about my course of action for the same amount of time. My choice to share it now comes from anger, humiliation, and the fact I want to do something about but don't think it's right to let this decision be mine alone.
I am talking about the officalness of this wiki and my wish to, if nothing else, end that officialness. I can't stand anymore how I and the wiki are being treated, so if I'm not getting anything out of it, I at least want my investment back.
The story starts in June or July, when I was approached by Wikia with the request to cooperate with them and Mattel to reform this wiki into the official EAH Wiki. I was hesitant from the start, but I didn't want to be a party pooper. I mean, I understand lots of people would be thrilled by this opportunity, but I am first and foremost a fan who likes to collect info and analyze my entertainment. I am not a salesperson and I am not free labor and if I do something for fun, it has to provide the room to stay fun. I knew that if the wiki would go official, things would be changed that I would not want to be changed because it'd take things out of my control or go against my freedom as a fan. But I accepted it, thinking that an opportunity like this was at least worth exploring.
I should probably explain now that the whole officialness workings is a bit of a "what kind of nincompoopery is this?!?". See, as a user who is little more than their screenname, I am not an entity that contracts can be made with. We all aren't, btw. Therefore, I am a wild card from a business perspective. This officialness deal is not so much between this wiki and Mattel as it is between Wikia and Mattel, and then Wikia acts as a go-between for the wiki. This leads to the rather unfortunate situation where I, and by extension the entire EAHWiki crowd, have the knowledge and the plans. But we can't get that information through to Mattel without going through Wikia, who understands the programming but nows zip about the franchise. And Mattel itself apparently has all kinds of wild ideas (beats me what, because Wikia refused to say), which are mostly impractical because they don't know anything about the workings of a wiki. I don't think I have to explain in much detail how this setup enables miscommunication and inserts too many different interests in the EAHWiki project.
The first thing that was to happen was a Wikia-designed new main page, a Wikia-designed background, and a Wikia-designed navigation bar. I would principally not get a say in anything of it, but I could list a few wishes before so that the designers, who have no familiarity with the way the wiki works, would not create something that wouldn't fit with the rest of the wiki. I asked that no character roster would be implemented because it would inevitably favor some characters over others, while I think the appeal of a large cast is the way people are free to pick their favorites. I asked that there would be no vids, because I didn't want to maintain them - images alone are already hard enough to keep track of. I asked that the background would be character neutral to main the character neutrality of a large cast. I asked that there wouldn't be character-favoring in any design choice (also because I knew character-favoring would benefit white fans over POC ones, and I didn't want that. I told Wikia this!). I asked that information would be arranged in a number of way that properly prioritize them.
Almost every single of my wishes was trampled on, as you can see to this day. I got upset and called them out on this. I was "threatened" that Mattel would revoke the officialness offer and that this would be my fault. I was promised it would all be temporarily, at most until Early September and then I could adjust as I wanted. And in several cases, they'd adjust it for me, as I have little knowledge of the MediaWiki coding used to enable some of the main page visuals. Heck, I've been promised someone to explain to me how what they did in MediaWiki works so I could get control of the main page again.
None of it was true. None of it. No promise was kept and to this day I have little control over the front page and it's a sore on the entire experience. Like, the thing is that if you work in MediaWiki, you are extremely dependent on the program updates Wikia at large makes. MediaWiki stuff is extremely sensitive to those changes. Which is why the main page has been looking like shit ever since the Fluid update and has gotten even worse since three weeks ago after another update. Part of me wants to get Wikia to help if they care so much about the officialness, but on the other hand, I don't want to have to be forced to get help from others regarding problems they caused and wouldn't be here if I'd simply undid everything they've ever done. Also, last time they got to work, I lost all poll data from the ongoing poll. I wasn't even warned there'd be poll adjustments so I could've saved and updated around the reprogramming.
So that's Wikia's bullshit. Now onto Mattel's. The main promise of the officialness deal is access to exclusive content and integration with Mattel's marketing strategy. Do tell if you've ever seen so much as one official account promote this wiki, because I sure as heck haven't. And as for the exclusive content, a rundown:
- A preview of the music video that was uploaded after the video itself. It was removed within, like, five minutes because Mattel saw the largely negative response to the video and had Wikia remove it quickly. THIS was the first exclusive we got. THIS. And to make matters worse, half a year ago I asked for Wikia to ask Mattel for the song's name. We keep calling it the EAH theme song. I assume the title is "Ever After High", but I don't know for certain. So I asked. It's been half a year and still no reply. On just a simple name!
- An LD-related contest that never happened.
- A preview of "A Tale of Two Tales" that was released hours after "The Tale of Legacy Day" was released as if it was some big scoop. I complained about this, and was told it was a huge miscommunication problem. Okay, a mistake can happen, as humiliating it is to me, so lets look at the future. To soothe the matter, the wiki was given a preview of the next webisode "The Tale Ever After". I approved of this because I thought (which I asked Wikia; never got a reply) this would be start of the wiki getting webisode previews and maybe a webisode schedule. But nothing more ever came. Looking back, what happened is that Mattel's (Wikia is innocent in this matter) incompetence in the preview matter had them just grab whatever was the next webisode, make a quick preview, and then hand it to us like it alone somehow made up for TV special preview's mess-up and didn't look extremely awkward in context.
- Conversation with Wikia about the future of the officialness led to a few requests and ideas from me, like Q&A possibilities, and a few back. This was, if I'm not mistaken, in October - November at the latest. Supposedly everything went to Mattel, but I had to show patience, as the winter months are a busy period. Okay, fine, I could wait. Surely the next TV special or Toy Fair would prove this officialness to be worth something, to be taken seriously. However, my inbox has since then not seen another email from Wikia.
Simply put, I feel extremely humiliated. Not one moment have I walked out of this deal with more than outright lies, false solutions, and empty promises. And if someone were to ask me right now to prove the officialness thing, I would pretty much come up empty-handed. There's two shitty previews in the video gallery, one of which was uploaded too late for me to be even able to prove a genuine insider made it. Everything else, I might as well have faked to look interesting. This is why I prefer to forget the deal, because thinking about it makes me feel like I've lied to people - to you all. And, whatever you may think of me reading this, at least consider that I am genuine about my regret that I've been complicit in this deception.
As I said way up above, I'd like to terminate the officialness. I've been played for a naive fool who conveniently works for free. Never has this thing been of benefit to the wiki. But, I don't think it is my choice so much as it is the EAHWiki's choice what to do next. And also, I know that if I close this door, it will never open again (I mean, assuming it's still open. For all I know the silence is because it has ended behind my back). I'm still naive enough to want to make absolutely sure nothing is behind this door.
So, I have a proposal as well as a question. My proposal is to set an ultimatum. It's the end of February and about 3/4th a year since I was approached by Wikia. I want to send Wikia an email for both them and Mattel that they have one-and-a-half month to show their intent, and after that it's definetely over. Things I'd want to see is art donations, finalizations/reparations on the main page, useful information, exclusive information (a webisode schedule would be nice), acknowledgement, etc. Just... something. How would you people feel about this course of action?
As for my question, that is an invitation to everyone to come up with their own ideas how to handle this. Being in the thick of it, my emotional response may not allow me to recognize the best course of action. So, since this is your wiki too, what do you think would be best?
(P.S., a minor announcement. I've grown beyond irritated with the current background for all that it represents. I'll be deleting it this weekend. I have no replacement plan currently, so it might be empty for a while. I hope you can understand and bear with it for the time being.)