Difference between revisions of "GuildWiki talk:Wikia Move"

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These are the main issues, Gil. I would love to hear from you (and possibly Jimbo) on these in a straight and productive conversation. Thanks. --[[User:Karlos|Karlos]] 18:31, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
These are the main issues, Gil. I would love to hear from you (and possibly Jimbo) on these in a straight and productive conversation. Thanks. --[[User:Karlos|Karlos]] 18:31, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
===Input from CreativeCommons===
CC has refused to cmment on the specifics of the case, however, they provided me with this very handy tool for determining what constitutes commercial use: [http://wiki.creativecommons.org/DiscussionDraftNonCommercial_Guidelines NC Guidelines]
Read case (3) under section B (Advertising) and you'll see that both Gravewit's money making and Wikia's are disallowed under CC's license. --[[User:Karlos|Karlos]] 20:04, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
== Hi from Jimbo Wales ==
== Hi from Jimbo Wales ==

Revision as of 01:04, 18 September 2007


In Guildwiki's early days, we were kept afloat for awhile by the generosity of our users, which we depended on not only to pay for the server, but to keep the site alive and fresh as they always have. Asking for money wasn't an easy decision, and it never sat particularly well with me; we switched over to ads once it was viable to do so, and stopped accepting donations at all.

Following the announcement that we were moving to Wikia, many of you have brought up issue with this bit of site history, and I feel with good reason. Now that it is possible to return that money, I have begun doing so. Anyone who donated to the site whose information I can find (paypal seems to be having issues going back that far) will be fully reimbursed monetarily, and enclosed will be my personal thanks. This is only the first step in doing what is right by our still-amazing-after-all-these-years userbase, in light of our coming changes.

I truly thank you for every single edit. Gravewit 00:19, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

23.png <-- the motivation of the above posting
Instead of passing out Wikia's money in $50 chunks, how about you donate everything you "earned" to a worthy charity selected by the community? If the money isn't really important, then I'm sure you'll be eager to make that kind of amend.
I'd settle for Wikia making a matching donation (Gravewit's payout) to a community chosen charity. Since Wikia seems to enjoy throwing money away in a dot-com bubble-ish sort of way, it shouldn't be too hard for them to scare up another $200 grand.
If you have nothing to hide, how about agreeing to disclosure of the full contract and making a detailed ledger of all of your ad revenues/expenditures prior to selling the domain name? Shouldn't be that hard, since you probably already have such a ledger for the IRS's benefit. Right?
I'd also like an accounting of how many community members are being paid off by Wikia. I know the number is climbing. Instead of being all sekret shady about it, y'all could be "transparent". -- me, 17 September 2007.
It only took 6 full days of silence, growing community anger, the FFXIcyclopedia disaster, and probably Gil Penchina's help for Gravewit to actually do this. And not only does it sound like it was written by a bad PR department, Gravewit still doesn't take any responsibility for creating the problem in the first place. (And do check that image "me" posted, it explains a lot about Gravewit's post.) But at least it's the right thing to do, and I hope the money is coming from Gravewit's pocket and not as an extra payment from Wikia. — HarshLanguage HarshLanguage 07:26, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
After several years of the use of their funds, you buy them out at the amount they initially contributed, with no interest or share of the profits? Wow, why didn't Microsoft think of doing that to its early investors? "Hey, thanks, here's the money back for the shares you bought when we were just starting out. Please ignore the fact that you are actually entitled to far more now".
Wikia, a for-profit organization, is promising to reduce the ad load on this wiki's pages. I find it hard to believe that they offer to do this if a lower ad level would not still cover costs plus provide a slight profit. Yet, you make the absurd claim above that only now, with the buyout, you are able to repay the initial contributions. This despite your reported (by Fyren) claims in the past that the ad revenue, before you expanded the numbers of them here, were even then enough to cover costs plus cover saving for the costs of the additional server.
Now you also claim that accepting domations was regretable. You likely find it so now, but at the time you reportedly (by Tanaric) claimed "I'm curious if a community-edited strategy guide can exist solely by community donations and effort. It'd be incredibly awesome if it could".
Yet, despite this double talk, we're still expected to trust you, Wikia, and those advising you on your comments? -- 11:32, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Sure. I'll support you for a third of your buyout and stock options, two years of back salary at, say, $20k a year, and two years of back interest.

If I'm going to sell out a non-profit community endeavor, I'm going to paid well for it.

Tanaric 12:15, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Organized Dicussions

The lack of organization of this talk page is causing many things to be repeated and getting nowhere. Therefore I have decided to be bold to create sub-articles on individual issues.

  • Gravewit's compensation - On issues pertaining Gravewit receiving money from Wikia in the transaction, and legal/copyleft/license issues on the monetary transaction surrounding a BY-NC-SA site.
  • BY-NC-SA vs Site advertisements - On issues pertaining the GuildWiki (a BY-NC-SA site) having advertisements, either during the Gravewit era or under the new Wikia dominion.
  • Technical - DNS, server, extensions, skins issues related to the Wikia move.
  • Forking - For people with thoughts on taking a database dump (which Wikia will supply if requested) and start a fork elsewhere.
  • Poll of the community's opinions of the sale.

Other readings

These readings are from various talk pages addressing specific issues between individuals. It may or may not be appropriate for others to join in those conversations, but they may provide additional background information on the issues.

  • This posting to Gravewit's talk page covers the founding of this wiki, and how other co-founders and financial contributors to the wiki have been, for lack of better words, cheated and deceived by Gravewit's actions, including the sale.
  • This post on Gravewit's talk page addresses one of the more vocal user's legal concerns. Especially around the site license, which is explicitly non-commercial.
  • This post on Tanaric's talk page covers a potential route for the community to create their own branch, as Gravewit is believed to have never owned the guildwiki.org domain (even though it was the domain under which this wiki operated for quite some time).

Misc discussions

  • Talk:Wikia Move/Archive 1 - Contains many discussions that do actually belong in one or several of the "Organized discussions", but this talk page was generally getting too in-conducive for discussion. You are free to unarchive any of the threads and place them into unorganized discussion section below or one of the above organized topics.


Wikia acquisition of another gaming wiki is also stirring up problems... forum post regarding FFXIcyclopedia here [1]. Can't confirm the authenticity, but it has parallels to what's happened here. — HarshLanguage HarshLanguage 20:56, 16 September 2007 (CDT)

10.png 13.png + 23.png 18.png are among some of the most interesting caps, if true. Assuming the numbers hold true across the board, it'd indicate Gravewit's compensation is somewhere around a quarter of a million. And the finale is just cake. 26.png
Considering Wikia's main source of income appears to be from ad revenues driven through acquiring large existing communities, compounded with pushing traffic from Wikipedia, I don't really doubt it. Merengue 21:32, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Wow. Just wow. --Dirigible 21:44, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Apparently, if we look at all of that, Wikia's had their eye on us for a while already. WoWWiki got snapped up first; probably because it's one of the biggest. THE biggest, I believe. Once they have the biggest one they can on their network, they're raking in enough money to pay for the other wikis, plus they can say "WoWWiki joined us already, and look at how well they're doing!". It's not looking like anyone from Wikia's going to help us out on this issue at this point; we might have to end up either folding like a lawn chair, or making a new GuildWiki. Unless someone finds a lawyer willing to go up against Wikipedia/Wikia. (good luck.) --GEO-logo.png Ĵĩôřũĵĩ Đēŗāķō.>.cнаt^ 21:53, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Ugh. What a mess. Does anyone have any info on the source of those images? Biscuits Biscuit.png 21:55, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
The images were supposedly taken from a private e-mail account through hacking, so there's really no verifiability. Due to the issue of transparency, or the lack thereof, we're likely never going to see any hard information short of a lawsuit forcing the issue, I'd imagine. Until then, it's a he-said, she-said issue, isn't it? Merengue 22:01, 16 September 2007 (CDT)

If these images are valid, then our number 1 priority is to get as much of the guildwiki data off the servers as possible for a fork. Wikia may buy off one person, but they cannot buy a community. 22:08, 16 September 2007 (CDT)

So long as Fyren can still access the servers, then we should be able to copy over the Wiki in it's entirety, and legally as far as I know. Wikia would be left to deal with a cheap imitation, basically. --GEO-logo.png Ĵĩôřũĵĩ Đēŗāķō.>.cнаt^ 22:17, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
All I can say is that we need to get as much information over to new servers if this is how it is. That doesn't look very good. Kind of underhanded if you ask me... The Imperialist

Anyone else find it ironic that Wikia's slogan, at least according to Wikipedia, is "creating communities," when really they're "buying wikis"? BftP 02:26, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

In every wiki community there is the vocal minority and the silent majority. In every corporation, they know that they should keep their friends close and their opponents closer. Watch this space as one by one those with the axes to grind fall by the wayside. What saddens me is that you don't see the figures.... You're all talking in numbers of "hundreds" of dollars in revenue... Look at the names involved - Jimmy Wales, Wikia, Angela Beesley... You think they are interested in taking over some crappy "hundreds" dollar website?? Christian Nelson has potentially been getting rich from this site for a long time, Wikia are planning on getting richer. And they'll sit you out, maybe even come to financial settlements with a few individuals? And the sheep will say "baa!" and the wiki will continue and you'll all donate your time and effort to making a small number of individuals richer. Suckers? Or victims? YOU decide whether you are one or the other. Take down this site legally until it is resolved. Meantime, put your desire to share your knowledge and hard-earned experiences into the official ANet wiki. As for ANet, a lot of GWiki stalwarts gave them a hard time over the launch of their wiki... maybe they just had better lawyers and more responsibility towards the community than they could, legally, let on that they knew...

I think that misses the point. From what I've read, there are two issues people are concerned about. 1) That the wiki was able to be sold for profit in the first place, given the non-commercial license. Your post is more related to issue 2) Gravewit is making money from this, when he was only one of a group of people who invested time in the wiki in the early days, and has done arguably little since registering the domain. This is made more sour because people donated money towards server costs and have had the records of their donations deleted, and no share in ad revenue since. In general, I don't see any harm on the people owning a wiki making ad revenue for hosting a community, good for them. It's just fishy that here one person is receiving compensation, and a bunch of strangers are going to be making money from this from now on without the community having been consulted beforehand. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Gravewit had declared he didn't want to host anymore, to see what would have developed then. Biscuits Biscuit.png 06:30, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

A very good page detailing the FFXI scandal and the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars that changed hands is here.

Subtopic pages

General note: please direct indepth discussion of any forking efforts into the relevant subpage, so it's more centralized and other people of like mind can find it easier. It may be possible that some of the community may be interested in forking but didn't care about the FFXI topic so are not reading it. -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 23:57, 16 September 2007 (CDT)

Your obsession with categorization is commendable, but for this particular topic it is a nuisance. This discussion is not solely about forking anyway. 00:38, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
I was just about to revert Pan's move myself. This discussion is important enough to deserve to remain here, and as 193.52 noted it's neither exclusively about forking nor Gravewit's profits. --Dirigible 00:40, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
It is my belief that important discussions related to how much Gravewit made should be in the appropriate sub-page so that the people interested in that subject will see it, instead of putting it under the Misc Discussions section under the generic main talk page. The forking discussion didn't go very far, but if you feel the need, you can further sub-split that part of the topic into the Forking sub-topic. -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 00:50, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Pan, you are missing the point; this section is not exclusively about how much Gravewit made. Read the link, it involves the whole behind the scenes process. Also, I don't see why you think that an "important" discussion belongs hidden in a subpage; if it were up to me, this would be on the Main Page right now. --Dirigible 01:01, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
On the second point, my apologies. I had failed to realize that the Organized Discussions section may not be prominent to certain people. Can you help think of ways to make the sub-pages more prominently noticeable? Keeping every non-dead discussion on the main general talk page is gonna lead to many redundent repetative points being made over and over again and overshadow new thoughts. -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 01:04, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

FAQ and working through the issues

Thank you all for the patience -

FAQ's: A few things I can tell you now, at least to provide some amount of updates for those who are afraid that too many changes will be made:

  • We will not be changing the licensing for the wiki - it will stay with it's current license. For some of the smaller wikis on gamewikis.org - where there is an existing GFDL wiki, we will work with the two communities to try to merge them so that the communities can come together if they're willing
  • We DO NOT plan to put lots of ads to the site, in fact if you look at our sites, they typically only have ONE ad per page instead of TWO so I had hoped we would be viewed as an improvement. Also when you login to our new skins, the ad unit is EVEN smaller
  • We always maintain monobook as an option for people that want to use it, if you don't like our new skins, like on http://tv.wikia.com
  • We do have a number of wiki communities that have come over to Wikia and some but not all received some compensation for this. My contract doesn't permit discussion of this, but I will talk it over with Gravewit as some of the estimates have been speculative
  • What I can tell you about the contract is that we acquired the domain name and did not ask for a copy of any CC-NC content as part of it. However we did acquire any commercial licenses or rights that came with the URL.
  • The content GameWikis presents to the public is available under CC and we WILL continue to make public dumps of it available on a regular basis to insure that it belongs to the community
  • We try to support communities so those who want to stay on their old URL have been able to do so and we would talk to you before making that sort of change.
  • I had hoped that by reducing the number of ads and improving the software, we could help make Gamewikis a better place for fans and that this would be a positive change and one that would improve the experience on the wiki.

I have been trying to work through the various issues raised and want to see if there is consensus about at least the issues

  • Some people appear to be angry that Gravewit received compensation for this, or at least curious about how much.
  • Others are trying to determine what exactly CC-NC-SA prohibits
  • Some are angry that the site was not run by a company, although it was hosted by a commercial hosting facility paid for by Gravewit and will now be hosted by a different commercial hosting company. What I find a bit troubling is the notion that ads are ok if there's no profit. Once there are ads - it is a site with some commercial flavor to it. (Not sure that's a legal term)
  • Others think Wikia is making lots of money from this. If the community has one volunteer who is designated by the admins, I will put them in touch with our accountants and they can hear directly from them that we lose lots of money every month. We hope over the long term that revenues will increase as we attract more passionate users, but for the moment, we are definitely not making a profit despite having over 4,000 wikis on Wikia. That is something I am happy to be super-transparent about.

If there are other issues I need to work through let me know, otherwise I will keep working on these three. I am going to try to be as transparent as I can here - so please continue to contact me if you see things we need to be talking about that we aren't.
Penchina 23:14, 16 September 2007 (CDT)

You are answering a lot of FAQs no one is asking, and failing to answer the one question that everyone wants answered: how much was Gravewit paid for this? Also, there is no uncertainty about what CC-NC prohibits. Just read clause 4(c). I am sure you don't need an army of lawyers to understand what "you may not exercise these rights ... in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or private monetary compensation" means. Unless you are willing to publicly certify that Wikia will make zero profit from hosting the GuildWiki content, you are in breach of license. 23:24, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
Gil, I think one thing we really want an answer to is whether or not this is a legal sale at all. And by answer, I mean a clear, legally sound reference to licensing law that states it's okay to sell a CC-NC-SA licensed site. Regardless of dollar figures, we at GuildWiki want to know that the integrity behind this "Non Commercial" license is still sound. Even though we're not lawyers some of us feel scammed. And we want a clear explanation of why this is. This statement:
"What I can tell you about the contract is that we acquired the domain name and did not ask for a copy of any CC-NC content as part of it. However we did acquire any commercial licenses or rights that came with the URL."
...is one thing that especially troubles us, where the muddy waters begin. What, exactly, does the purchase of the domain name entail? How much of GuildWiki was built up under the idea of being "non-profit", only to be later sold? What "commercial licenses or rights" came with the URL?
I realize and have seen it repeated many times, that "My contract doesn't permit discussion of this". But, at this point a lot of us want to hear every last little detail explained until our questions are answered. We want to get as close to the "Truth" as possible while you can still remain within bounds of your contract. It just seems that any time we get answers, they are vague, non-specific, generalized, and/or dodge around the question(s)/issue(s) involved. Entropy Sig.jpg (T/C) 23:30, 16 September 2007 (CDT)
I just want to say, Gil, thanks a lot for the response here, you have answered a few questions. But yes, like Entropy just said, there are still much more important questions that have been unanswered, and without those answers, the majority of the people posting here will still feel scammed and duped. A few users were closely involved in the very founding of this Wiki, yet only Gravewit is getting paid for this. How much you paid him you can't disclose, but you should at least be able to tell us if the sale was legal, what exactly you bought, and so on. --GEO-logo.png Ĵĩôřũĵĩ Đēŗāķō.>.cнаt^
I can't answer every question overnight, but what I am saying is that we acquired the domain name as the primary asset. We specifically did not acquire anything under CC as it is freely licensed, but if there were trademarks or other commercial "things" we typically try to cover ourselves for that in a contract, as we never know. The purchase of a domain is pretty simple legally. What would be particularly helpful to me is if anyone can provide documentation that the site was DEFINED as a non-profit anywhere. I can't find any reference to non-profit, only CC-NC-SA on content. Similarly on the founding, if there were founders agreements, or anything like that. Otherwise, it being a wiki it's hard to really determine who created what value, as it really is a group effort. My understanding is that the asset (the domain) was purchased and paid for by gravewit. That said, I talked to him tonight and will be talking to him again on Tuesday as my goal is to try to get a close to making everyone happy as is humanly possible, while also trying to sort out the legal questions and provide max transparency during the process, with my continued apologies that it seems to move slower than some would prefer. We are looking at CC-NC-SA issues, but I hope you can take my word that as with everything else here, it seems to be more complicated than it looks at first glance. More on Tuesday I hope. Penchina 00:13, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
You are failing to see the point. Probably willful failure on your part, given the content of the leaked emails from the FFXI wiki episode. The domain and servers were paid for by donations (for the old site) and ad revenues (for the new site) that were gleaned from the CC licensed content. If GuildWiki was *not* a non-profit, then why was it busy profiting from non-profit CC licensed content? If GuildWiki was a non-profit then there are different laws in different states governing the acquisition of non-profits, the taxing of non-profits, etc. If GuildWiki was a non-profit, then were these laws followed, at least in spirit?
The only way we can know for sure is 100% transparency. The contract, specifically the compensation. An accounting of ad revenue prior to the selling of the domain and how it was spent. Is Gravewit an employee/contractor of Wikia, in the recent past or anticipated future?
(disclaimer: I remain Not A Lawyer. My words are equivalent to a monkey randomly shitting on a keyboard, as far as my expertise is concerned.)-- 01:54, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Gil mentioned earlier that "If the community has one volunteer who is designated by the admins". I can volunteer, though I think approval should be from the general community and not the admins in particular. Just to be up front with things, I am partial to Wikia's cause, and am currently an unpaid intern (since July of this year) working on gaming-related stuff with them. If you guys just want an in-between person for communication purposes, I shouldn't be a problem. But if any issues arise that requires negotiations and stuff, the more critical/skeptical members of the GuildWiki community may feel I shouldn't represent the GuildWiki community. -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 00:30, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

People who are officially on Wikia's payroll would tell you exactly what is most convenient for Wikia to tell you, and that helps this situation how? --Dirigible 00:44, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
*Shrug* I am an unofficial intern who works for free. Didn't sign any paperwork with them whatsoever. They offered me university credit for it, but I have no use for that. -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 00:53, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Also, by your logic, Gil's on Wikia's payroll. Wikia's accountant is on Wikia's payroll. An independent inspector would need to acquire Wikia's books from a person Wikia's payroll. So how does any communication help the situation? How does any communication with Anet via someone on Anet's payroll help any situation? -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 00:59, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
For what he is proposing to mean anything, we'd need to somehow trust the accountants that work for Gil more than we trust Gil himself (that's what he's saying, isn't it? "If you don't trust me, come ask our accountants"?) . I don't see why that would be the case. --Dirigible 01:03, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Oops, sorry, I didn't realize your comment was directed at the part of the sentence after where I quoted. I somehow had mistakened to think it was directed at me. -User:PanSola (talk to the Follower of Lyssa.png) 01:08, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Community Issues, for Gil's benefit:

Allow me to describe to you very precisely what our issues are, Gil. And I hope that we see a response from you in a timely fashion (unlike Gravewit) that actually answers the questions, not simply repeats then. I am a certified Toastmaster and trained public speaker and know a bit or two about "disarming" people and making people feel soothed and all that stuff. I strongly suggest you avoid these tactics and get down to business. I don't need you to make a post in which you repeat my points to make me feel like I have been heard. I need you to start addressing some of these issues so that we know that you care about "resolving" these issues, not sounding good while they still linger. I am sorry to put it bluntly to you, but ever since I contacted you, you have placed the same slogans followed by repeating what we have been saying.

With that blunt intro out of the way, here are the issues:

First Issue: Making money
How can Phil be making money out of this when the license says that this is a non-commercial community effort? The license specifically states that the content provided will not be used in any commercial endeavors. Now, the definition of commercial endeavor is not as murky or shady as you make it sound, Gil. The divider that the overwhelming majority of us see and that you don't seem to see is the for-profit vs non-profit status. In a for-profit scenario, the contributions of the users are used to generate money for investors, be they stockholders, private owners of the company (like Phil) or venture capitalist. This does not mean the money has to be made right away (so your point about Wikia not making money off of those $25,000 wikis it's purchasing is irrelevant). The issue is whether or not at any point the data will be used to generate revenue in the pockets of certain people. In a non-profit scenario, no matter how much money the establishment makes, the money stays in the organization, or is otherwise deposited into bank accounts and trust funds and what not for later use. A non-profit CAN hire people and pay them salary, but it cannot give them revenue. More importantly, the manager of a non-profit cannot "sell it" to another entity for cash/stock. You think the CEO of the Ford Foundation can sell it to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and deposit the cash into his own pocket?

Second Issue: Is this really a non-profit?
This site has touted itself as a non-profit since this edit by Tanaric. From that moment on, we told every editor in this community that we are accepting their edits "provided they are never used for a commercial purpose." I would qualify Phil's sale of the site to you as a "commercial act." One that is entirely and solely based on the success of this gaming community which is completely based on the individual contributions of thousands of people all of whom were promised that their contributions would not be used for commercial purposes.

On top of that, from day 1, the assumtpion (and sometimes the explicit mention, as Tanaric showed) was that this is a non-profit operating by donations and that the switch to ads was simply to make it self-sufficient. The fact that Phil actually ACCEPTED donations leaves no doubt that this was supposed to be a non-profit effort. Last I checked, businesses either take loans or investments, they don't ask for "donations."

Third Issue: He's not "selling" the data, just the domain name/hosting plan
This is probably one for the court system. There is no inherent value in the domain name and/or the hosting facilities if not for the contributions of those editors which we established were clearly made with the slogan: "No one will make a profit off your edits." You yourself said that you guys were adding a "community" not merely buying a domain name. There might be a legal technicality under which the purchase can be classified as not selling of the users' contributions and therefore not making money off of them. However, even if this is the case, making money off their contributions through the ads is clearly in violation of the license and the copyright notice. This means that even if you can prove your purchase of the domain name + hosting plan does not constitute Phil making a profit off of our contributions, your continued ad hosting (with the aim of making profits) and his prior ad hosting (from December 05 till now) both ARE violations of the terms of the license.

Then there's the issue of someone ELSE buying the name space (see Tanaric's open letter on Gravewit's talk page). Does that other person KNOW that the domain name HE purchased with his money is being sold for thousands of dollars now? Are you guys at Wikia sure you won't get sued by that person later on because Phil scammed him with the whole non-profit-but-for-profit deal?

Fourth Issue: Going beyond acceptance of the deal
I thikn all talk of whether Wikia is bad or good for this wiki and whether their management style, monobook.css and so o are better or worse should be pending on whether this purchase is legal to begin with and whether the RIGHT people were compensated.

Phil paying me back my $50 two years later and after the site's value has greatly increased seems like a pathetic attempt at pacifying us and at possibly avoiding legal consequences.

These are the main issues, Gil. I would love to hear from you (and possibly Jimbo) on these in a straight and productive conversation. Thanks. --Karlos 18:31, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Input from CreativeCommons

CC has refused to cmment on the specifics of the case, however, they provided me with this very handy tool for determining what constitutes commercial use: NC Guidelines

Read case (3) under section B (Advertising) and you'll see that both Gravewit's money making and Wikia's are disallowed under CC's license. --Karlos 20:04, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Hi from Jimbo Wales

Hey everybody, I am currently in South Africa promoting the growth of free culture in South Africa. I haven't had good Internet access and so I am sorry I was unable to comment earlier.

I just wanted to give my personal assurances that we want to work with everyone to make things better, no problem. The issues raised here are complicated and interesting, but please rest assured that we don't intend to change anything unless you want things changed.

As Gil Penchina has said, but worth repeating from me: this wiki has had advertising for a long time, and our intention is to reduce the amount of advertising, not increase it, for sure. This wiki has more advertising on it than is typical for wikia. We want to offer you some new features and skins, but that's never mandatory. And as everyone knows from my work, the one thing that I think I do really well, and that Wikia does really well, is respect communities and work with people.

Of course the content is under a CC license, and will remain so the same as ever. The NC license does not mean that a wiki can't have advertising on it... any more than people uploading CC NC photos to flickr means flickr can't run ads. It means that no one can package up a book from the content and sell it, and that we can't charge people for access to the site. No problem there. In any event, our intention is to reduce the commercialism of the site, not increase it.

Beyond that, as for people's beef with Gravewit, I am sad to say that I really did not anticipate this or know anything about the history here. We will do what we can to make things right for people. I welcome people to email me personally at jwales@wikia.com so I can better understand the situation. Let me know what is your personal pain point, and let's see if there is a way to resolve it.--Jimbo Wales 03:24, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

I think the NC clause is substantially unclear, but I'm afraid we can't look to Flickr for the answers. The Yahoo! TOS states that "with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service, you grant Yahoo! the following worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable... 9(b) [w]ith respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available." This is clearly more permissive than CC-NC, which states simply that the distributer may not profit, and also less permissive because CC-NC doesn't restrict distributers to use the content "solely for the purpose" for which it is submitted. I presume that when there is a conflict, the more permissive license wins. As to the matter of whether the words "primarily intended for" commercial purposes or private monetary compensation have any legal weight, I think we have to wait until CC-NC sees any litigation. I personally don't see a fundamental difference between selling a compilation of GuildWiki articles as a book or profiting from ads served on pages containing GuildWiki content. BftP 04:26, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for responding. I think Wikia stepped into a bad situation here. Here, Wikia is dealing with a single person (Gravewit) who was apparently not acting in good faith with you nor the GuildWiki community. And while Wikia's practice of essentially buying out wiki communities by heavily compensating the operators disturbs me, Gravewit's profit off of the contributors here is the issue that rankles more, at the moment. Wikia should have done some easy investigative steps first, like looking at Gravewit's contributions, comments, past actions, and general (lack of) participation and community-building. Wikis make that information easy to find, as you know. You would have discovered an absentee owner who barely contributes, and I think it's safe to say the general sentiment of the community here is that if anyone should profit from GuildWiki, it's not Gravewit. And it seems he may have pulled a fast one on the GW domain name itself, too. It's really too bad, because before the official Arenanet Guild Wars wiki launched, GuildWiki was a thriving community that provided excellent information. Had Gravewit been interested in the wiki rather than the money, it might have continued to thrive. — HarshLanguage HarshLanguage 05:09, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
I believe the main points of contention are the secrecy, the lack of community input and CC-NC-SA related legal issues. If it was an ad-supported hosting deal with no money changing hands rather than a merger and there was community input before the deal was finalised, I believe the controversy would have been avoided. -- Gordon Ecker 05:24, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
I hear you. I am not really the business guy, so I will leave that stuff to Gil to respond. For me, it's all about the communtiy: what do you guys need from us, how can we help? I'm really sorry there is trouble, we don't intend to do anything other than host you, help you, and do what we can to foster friendships and community. One of the things we are trying to do for our communities is to work with the game companies to get beta keys and things of that sort. I want what you want: a thriving community that provides excellent information. A lot of people have been talking about ownership of content and so on, but we don't at all think we own your content. One analogy I like to use is a bowling alley. We're providing a bowling alley here, you guy do the bowling. :) We just want to keep the lights on, the lanes clean, and the beer flowing for the party. :) Anything I can do to help, call on me. --Jimbo Wales 08:29, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Jimbo, I'll try to say this in the best way I can, but you are insulting our intelligence with such platitudes. The least you can do to placate the community is come clean on how much you paid Gravewit for the wiki, and make a promise to keep an open record of your ad revenue from the wiki. Lacking even this minimal show of faith in the community, we have to assume that we are dealing with a hostile entity. We did not spend years developing this wiki to make one person (Gravewit) or a group of strangers (Wikia) rich. BftP 08:59, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Keep in mind, this wiki prospered in spite of Gravewit, NOT because of him. Despite your assurances of supporting this wiki and not wanting to get in the community's way - there is a huge backlog of bad feelings towards Gravewit. This bad feeling is going to make it hard for many to feel okay with continuing to contribute to a site where an absentee landlord (internet equivalent of a slumlord?) made a profit off the hard work of others. A few points to remember:
  1. This wiki grew to what it is under the guildwiki.org domain name - while still unconfirmed, it's believed that Gravewit has never been the owner of that domain name - attempts have been made to contact the person to whom that domain is registered. However, after this wiki became hugely successful and he decided to attempt to build a multi-game wiki site, he moved everything to the domain he does own "gamewikis.org" - from which he could profit from the sale because he did own the domain.
  2. While Gravewit is offering to refund donations (his post above, currently on this page), this is years after the fact. Those receiving refunds are being bought at at the amount they contributed - no interest and no share of the profit from the sale.
  3. Even while under the domain name that Gravewit controlled, he relied heavilly upon volunteer labor to maintain and upgrade the servers. The site would've collapsed under its own weight long ago if not for the efforts of Fyren and a handful of others.
  4. And on top of all this, we're still being asked to believe that Gravewit was struggling with the site finances. By his own words; at one point the ad revenue was enough to cover costs plus pay for an additional server. As a for-profit entity, Wikia would not be promising to reduce the ads if the current level was not already more than what's needed to cover costs plus get a profit.
It's not hard to understand why there's distrust of Wikia in this transition. Despite your assurances of a bright and happy future going forward, rather than support the community all posts by Wikia have glossed over the issues from Gravewit, supporting the myths he has attempted to spread. It's obvious that Wikia's sole goal is to gloss over these issues as quickly as possible, rather than trying to do what's right for the community and those who helped create it. -- 11:38, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
"One of the things we are trying to do for our communities is to work with the game companies to get beta keys and things of that sort." Well, if ANet ever did that - which goes against their grain anyway - it won't be THIS wiki that gets it. There are no benefits for the community in this transfer, only benefits for Gravewit and Wikia.
Yeah, I found that line funny, too. Granted, Mr. Wales has no way of knowing how the Guild Wars community works. A.net actively wants people to use the official wiki -- so that it can become as accurate and complete as this wiki.
There is little doubt in my mind that the devs are reading about this situation. There's threads on guru, on guild-hall, and probably other places as well. A.net passing out candy to the old GuildWiki makes a ton of sense. I think it's safe to say they loved GuildWiki. Who knows how they'll feel about the new GuildWikia. Since a.net has relationships with so many of the people wronged or otherwise pissed off by this transfer, it's a reasonable guess that they won't be as happy with GuildWikia as they were with GuildWiki.
Anyway, given the mass copyright infringement on this site, we should be petitioning Gaile to remove the fansite status. A community run fork would be a saner place to bear the specialty fansite badge.-- 13:17, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Suggested Course of Action for Jim Wales, ver 1

If you really want the beer to flow...

Step 1: Make a database dump available asap. Step 2: Close down gamewikis and guildwiki.org after a reasonable time. Either point the domains to your existing, crappy Guild Wars wiki or point them to nothing. (Tell us about how you bought guildwiki.org from the original owner so people can stop holding on to the fairy tale of getting that domain back? Cause I think that's how it went down, myself.) Step 4: Fire Gravewit. Call him names in a public forum. Make information about negotiations with Gravewit available to assist the community members looking to recoup their investment from Gravewit, in full proportion with his windfall, with interest and plenty of ass kissing. Invoke weird contractual clauses and DENY gravewit his stock options in October. Step 5: Revise your procedure for acquiring wikis to involve the afflicted communities, so that you don't end up with another situation like this or other fiascoes. BECAUSE IF SOMEONE HAD BLOODY WELL ASKED US, WE COULD HAVE WARNED YOU AHEAD OF TIME.

Duh. --me, 17th of September, 2007

The realities

I really should just walk away, but I keep foolishly reloading this page every few hours. The current reality seems to be that Gravewit and/or Wikia will try to pay out those who donated to this site originally. Some are demanding interest on that donation---Karlos, for instance, suggests a 1000% return on his investment. Tanaric thinks that he was never paid a salary he was promised. Wikia will gladly buy such people off to shut them up; even $5,000 is peanuts. Far from solving the problem, we will just have more people profiting personally from a community work.

Does anyone realistically think Wikia will not win this? I don't.

To me, this is the end of the community. We have already allowed ourselves to be sold; a few are just haggling over the price. Maybe it is time.

Inspirational Speech.jpg This user contributed to GuildWiki before it sold out.

BftP 12:49, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

I, for one, am going over to the official GW wiki to help there. t needs alot of work and with this issue I think its about to get a bunch more workers to work on it. I'll also be putting that userbox on my profile, lol. --Hawk SkeerHawkicon.png 13:16, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
"Does anyone realistically think Wikia will not win this?" Yes, I do. If the community decides to move to GWW, or even call it quits, Wikia will have lost. --Toxik 13:19, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Wikia doesn't need this community. GuildWiki has such a high google pagerank that they can keep profiting for years by doing next to nothing. Plus, it would be monumentally stupid to misunderestimate the Wikia PR/marketing department, who haven't pulled out the big guns yet. BftP 14:12, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Before the "hostile takeover" I had never even heard of Wikia, so their PR/marketing department must be doing something wrong. --Toxik 15:38, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Oh, I've heard of Wikia before. Back when they attempted to buy out Bulbapedia, which, by the way, is currently the largest Pokemon Wiki in action. But in that particular case, their offer was up-front and direct, and they were shot down by multiple admins and users. You can check that out here. --GEO-logo.png Ĵĩôřũĵĩ Đēŗāķō.>.cнаt^ 16:02, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Thank you for that link. One thing that really stands out to me is the following: "On top of that, there's already a Pokémon wiki on Wikia, and it's terrible. The only good thing which could potentially come of the two being anywhere near each other would be that the other one might wither and die; and, well, while that might help us, it isn't really necessary." I really see a connection there. --Toxik 16:19, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Heh, I personally would never lend anyone with interest, it's against my belief system. :) I made a donation to a non-profit that turned out to be a commercial entity. Phil is choosing to rewrite my donation as a "loan" and I am choosing to rewrite my donation as an investment share. On what legal grounds does he posses the right to rewrite my donation as a loan? Simply because it suits him? It suits me more that we rewrite it as an investment. We'll see how this goes. --Karlos 18:35, 17 September 2007 (CDT)


DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT To whom it may concern, 1. Detailed identity of the copyrighted work that I believe has been infringed upon. This includes identification of the web page or specific posts, as opposed to entire sites. Posts must be referenced by either the dates in which they appear or the permalink of the post The contents of contributors under the by-nc-sa/2.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/, license at the URLs http://gw.gamewikis.org http://guildwars.gamewikis.org http://www.guildwarswiki.com http://www.guildwiki.org

The company `Wikia`, www.wikia.com has recently purchased from the original holder Christian Phillip "Gravewit" Nelson, the transfer of all GameWikis URLs, the labour of a data dump of all wiki content and the discontinuation of hosting the sites. Licensed content of interest includes all edits from contributors that have not dual licensed their edits under a commercial license. The sheer size of the user database and number of anonymous contributors are in the tens of thousands and a complete list included in this document would be incomprehensible, instead a list of registered users is supplied, http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/Special:Listusers , anonymous edits are not recorded in a list but are recorded on individual article histories. Individual editors will not be singled out, so they will not be listed in this document.

Copyright infringement content includes:- All anonymous edits made to http://gw.gamewikis.org that have not specified their alternate license to be allowed for commercial gain. All registered edits made to http://gw.gamewikis.org that have not specified their alternate license to be allowed for commercial gain.

It is believed that Wikia is gaining monetary gain through providing advertisement, despite the clear indication that content they host is released under by-nc-sa/2.0 and may not be used for such. Wikia have refused to reveal any information to the contributors related to this subject and are believed to refuse access to this information in the future.

Referential material:-

http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/GuildWiki:Wikia_Move http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/GuildWiki_talk:Wikia_Move http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/GuildWiki_talk:Wikia_Move/BY-NC-SA_vs_Site_advertisements http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/Talk:Wikia_Move/Archive_1#A_for-profit_company_displaying_ads_over_the_content_isn.27t_commercial_use.3F

2. Identity of the material that I claim is infringing upon the copyrighted work listed.

Histories of article pages can be traced through individual articles history tab. If a user is under a dual license they will have it noted in their article edit comment or their user page.

3. Location of the author copyright notice (for information). http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/GuildWiki:Copyrights Or otherwise stated by in the contributors user page or edit comment.

4. Information to permit our company, the provider, to contact you. >Include here your email, fax or postal address to quickly get a feedback from the provider.

5. Statements I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the infringing web pages is not authorized by their registered copyright and by the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that these contributors are the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is infringed. Your signature >Signature of the author >Add your name here

A rough draft of a DMCA that can be used, individual copies can be adapted through reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMCA#Exemptions. While I and others have waited patently for a number of days, it seems that Wikia intends to "ride this out". The license that most work at Gwiki is under by-nc-sa/2.0, this specifically states that contributions can not be used for monetary gain, until Wikia accepts this and puts this into practice, Wikia can not host the content. This is black and white. There are no "Others" that are trying to determine what exactly CC-NC-SA prohibits, hosting the Gwiki content in its current form is illegal. Do the moral thing contributors.

More information about DMCA. http://www.pixel2life.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=20185

Submit this to GoDaddy.com, the provider of Gwiki. Details on where you can send it to are listed at https://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/about.asp?ci=8921. 13:47, 17 September 2007 (CDT)

Do NOT do this until we have gotten a copy of the database out. 13:57, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
Bolded the entire thing, since the other way made it go off the page o-o The Imperialist
Can we really do this since they're keeping the BY-NC-SA license? 18:29, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
It doesn't matter what they say they're doing if it's not being upheld, which is the question at hand. Merengue 18:40, 17 September 2007 (CDT)
It would be the same as keeping the copyright on the McDonald's logo, then scribbling all over it and using it as my own company's logo. Doesn't matter that I kept the copyright, because I didn't actually follow it. --GEO-logo.png Ĵĩôřũĵĩ Đēŗāķō.>.cнаt^ 19:45, 17 September 2007 (CDT)