The Sims Wiki:Miraheze migration
This page exists to help keep track of The Sims Wiki's migration from Wikia (who irritatingly insist on being called "FANDOM" these days) to Miraheze, a non-profit, open source wiki farm network.
Why migrate?[edit source]
Wikia has a long history of being problematic, ranging from their infamous "Featured Video" feature being rammed down people's throats without their permission; their malicious and questionable tactics of forcing the Portable Infobox markup onto communities; a site design that has long been criticized by its editors; an increasingly reader-centric site design to the exclusion of editors trying to maintain the content of the wikis they edit on; and a rebranding to a name that neither reflects the scope of what wikis are nor is supported by serious editors trying to maintain knowledge bases of whatever they are writing about.
There are numerous wiki hosting services out there, albeit none as large, notable, or powerful as Wikia is. Still, Miraheze appears to be our best bet.
Advantages of Miraheze[edit source]
- A skin that doesn't suck. Miraheze offers the Vector skin, the same skin that's used on Wikipedia and most other Wikimedia projects, which see more traffic than Wikia's wikis and are used by more people on a regular basis. The Vector skin offers a nice, large, wide layout that's easy on the eyes, allows for plenty of space for page content, and isn't inundated with oversized icons that look awful.
- No ads. Wikia is a for-profit company that relies on ads for revenue. Miraheze, by contrast, is a non-profit organization that does not run ads; instead, they rely on donations to sustain themselves. This means that their goals will be more in-line with what its users and readers want, since having a bad reputation amongst their users equates to decreased donations. With this, we believe that Miraheze will be more willing to listen to what we want, whereas Wikia cares more about its advertising revenue and will sacrifice user desirability for profit.
- Better software. Miraheze is committed to maintaining the most recent version of MediaWiki, the software that runs Wikia and Wikipedia. While Wikia has heavily modified their version of MediaWiki and are still technically running an obsolete version of the software, Miraheze maintains a closer relationship with the MediaWiki developers themselves, and they are more committed to keeping the software up-to-date, so we are able to enjoy the many leaps in technological advancement that Wikipedia enjoys that Wikia can only dream about at this point.
- Access to 50 million+ free-to-use files. Miraheze allows for the use of the InstantCommons functionality on all wikis, meaning that you can use any file currently on the Wikimedia Commons for free and without having to upload a local copy, simply by linking to it like you would any other file. This means that we can save on the amount of local files we have to maintain, and Miraheze can save on server space as we won't have to reupload files we want to use from Commons here. Miraheze also offers their own Miraheze Commons that can also be used as an image repository, accessible anywhere on all wikis without having to duplicate uploads.
- Free and open source. Miraheze's source code is open, and is hosted on Github. Free and open source code means that anyone can study it, fork it, and reuse it, which ensures that Miraheze cannot control its users the same way a company running proprietary, closed source software can.
- Direct access to great support. Miraheze maintains both an IRC channel and a Discord server that allows users to directly contact and chat with other members of the community in real time. While Miraheze Staff take care of the behind-the-scenes work, Stewards are volunteer users that serve a similar role as Stewards on Wikimedia—they are available to handle emergencies and help resolve disputes, but are non-intrusive and generally only act when the local community is unable to resolve the situation on their own. Unlike Wikia Staff, stewards are selected by the Miraheze community at large, and the community can call for a steward's access to be revoked through a vote of no confidence. Additionally, bug reports filed on Miraheze are much more open and can be seen by anyone (except for security-sensitive ones). Bug reports are filed through a platform called Phabricator, which Wikimedia also uses. This means that anyone can view bug reports and they are organized more publicly and openly, unlike Wikia which relies on a difficult-to-navigate email support system.
- It's all community. Miraheze is run by volunteers, not a corporate board of directors. What the volunteers do is more in touch with what the Miraheze community as a whole wants, because said volunteers edit here, too. Wikia is a for-profit corporation that doesn't need to listen to its users, and as recent events have shown, it doesn't want to. If Miraheze tried to adopt this mindset, it would have been a failure from the very beginning. Learn about how you can contribute to the Miraheze family!
Things that need to get done[edit source]
Currently, the plan is to stay on Wikia while we work on the migration behind the scenes as much as possible. We thus have some time to test things like templates and our designs, and update things like our templates to work with any changes to the wiki here.
- Make sure our templates work on the new wiki
- Upload all the images that cannot be found on Wikimedia Commons from the Wikia wiki to here (which is a lot!)
A dump file of all the images on the Wikia wiki was created on March 5, 2019. That has all been uploaded.Done
- We need to continue uploading new images uploaded to the Wikia wiki in order to keep things in sync.
- Ensure all interwiki links continue to work (since some interwiki codes have been modified on Miraheze that aren't backwards-compatible with Wikia)
- Figure out what to do with comments on the Wikia wiki (can't be migrated into the Comments extension here)
Migrate edit filtersDone
- Create localized help pages (a lot of them! you can find some guidance on mw:Help:Contents and wikipedia:Template:Wikipedia help pages. Help:Contents and Help:Directory has some redlinks you can fill in.)
- Create TemplateData for templates
- Set up a system for people to confirm and link their Wikia identities
Import a database dump from the Wikia wiki into here; we'll need to contact Staff for help with this.
- Done A copy of the Wikia wiki's database, dated January 18, 2020, 19:28:28 UTC, has been imported to Miraheze.
At all times we need to make sure that we are not violating the terms of the CC BY-SA license that we use by making sure we provide proper attribution to our edits. This can easily be accomplished by exporting and then importing the page histories of our Wikia wiki correctly, and by providing a URL if that is not possible.
The Customized Sims Wiki merger[edit source]
In April 2019, The Customized Sims Wiki agreed to merge with The Sims Wiki on Miraheze. Here's what needs to get done:
Import their pagesDone Move their pages into their custom namespaceDone
- Update our templates to accommodate this new namespace (similarly to how it accommodates Fanon)
- Create the categories for their pages
Upload all of their filesDone
- Decide on policies (at Forum:Merging with the Customized Sims Wiki) In progress
- Update their pages to use our infoboxes (currently most of them use a plain table without much styling) In progress
Other things to do[edit source]
- Get in touch with news agencies revolving around The Sims series, like SimsVIP, asking if they'd be interested in helping to cover the migration.
- Start drafting messages to be posted on highly frequented discussion boards like The Sims Reddit to let people know about the migration. We need to interact with the community directly to get the word out.
- Losslessly compress images on the wiki so that the site loads faster. You can use FileOptimizer for some very impressive compression rates, or use EZGIF's online tools for PNG and JPG. Remember to compress losslessly; do not use lossy compression as this affects image quality!
- I contacted the Runescape Wiki and asked for advice. They suggested getting in touch with the SimGurus since they are likely to be on board with the migration and will have more of an interest with interacting directly with the community. We are part of the Sims Community and it is important that we get them on our side.
Differences between Wikia and Miraheze[edit source]
|Core principles||Wikia has been rebranding itself to "Fandom" since 2016, marking a shift in the company's image and attitude towards its communities. https://www.fandom.com is filled with clickbait articles centered around fan theories and the entertainment industry. When Wikia first started, it was to be a wiki hosting service that accommodated all wikis, regardless of scope and subject, thus allowing both entertainment wikis (centered around games, movies, and TV shows), lifestyle wikis (centered around food and health), and more scholarly or serious wikis (for example, wikis about mental health or historical events) to develop. With the "Fandom" rebranding, the platform is now completely and utterly biased towards entertainment wikis, with annoying features such as the "Fan Feed" located at the bottom of every article containing links to clickbait titles under the Fandom website. The name "Fandom" does not reflect The Sims Wiki's goals to provide a knowledge base of information and instead makes us look like a third-rate fansite that promotes player theories rather than fact.||Miraheze is focused on being a wiki hosting service; their primary focus is on keeping the technical workings of the site going. They support all wiki communities equally, do not bias themselves towards a certain genre or topic, and any features or events that they release or hold accommodate all wikis, rather than just the "most lucrative" ones. Miraheze focuses on accommodating all wikis and allowing all wiki communities to flourish equally, and their focus is on making things friendly for editors, rather than on selling branded merch to people who win some arbitrary reward. Miraheze's goals are compatible with The Sims Wiki and allow us to more accurately reflect our mission.|
|Software||Wikia uses MediaWiki version 1.19.24, which went out of support in May 2015. Wikia heavily customizes their version of MediaWiki, to the point where a version upgrade will be extremely difficult.||Miraheze uses MediaWiki 1.36.0 (f74b46f) and constantly updates its software, as seen in Special:Version. It strives to upgrade to the latest stable release of MediaWiki whenever possible to ensure that all communities are able to enjoy new features to the wiki software.|
|Skins||Wikia only offers one skin for desktop, called Oasis, and one for mobile, called Mercury. Wikia used to offer Monobook, but this was removed in May 2018.||Miraheze offers six skins by default that users can enable as they please in Special:Preferences. The Sims Wiki has opted to use the Vector skin as its default skin, which is the same skin used on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. In addition, Miraheze utilizes the MobileFrontend extension, which delivers a rich, easy to use interface on mobile devices.|
|System messages||Wikia does not allow free editing of the MediaWiki namespace, only allowing a select whitelist of pages that can be edited by administrators. Changes to any other system message must be reviewed by Staff. Wikia cites "security issues" as the reasoning.||Miraheze allows all wiki administrators to edit the MediaWiki namespace freely by default, allowing for virtually unlimited and unhindered customizability of the site's appearance.|
|Advertisements||Wikia uses banner advertisements, usually injected at the sides of articles or at the very top of page. Inline advertisements have also been reported. Advertisements on Wikia are described as being annoying, disruptive, distracting, and at times malicious, as there have been reports of advertisements redirecting users to inappropriate websites.||Miraheze does not have advertisements whatsoever, and rely on a donation model for funding. Because there are no advertisements, there is no chance of having bad ads redirect you to inappropriate places. Having no ads also improves site performance significantly for those without adblocking software.|
|Extensions||Wikia offers around 18 extensions by default, and around 13 extensions upon specific request. Wikia does not allow local administrators to customize the extensions they can and cannot have. Extensions not on their list of extensions are generally rejected and not installed.||Miraheze offers over 150 extensions that can be enabled by local wiki managers simply by checking a checkbox. This is in addition to the large number of extensions already enabled by default (too many to count). New extensions can be requested.|
|Namespaces||Wikia offers the standard 16 editable namespaces that ship with MediaWiki by default, along with the "Forum" and "Forum talk" namespace for wiki-style forums. Custom namespaces can be created, but only by request, and limited to a maximum of three.[n 1]||Miraheze offers all of the standard namespaces and the wiki-style forum namespaces, and allow for custom namespaces to be created using a web interface. There is no limit to the number of custom namespaces that can be created. This means that The Sims Wiki can create as many namespaces as it needs, whenever it wants.[n 2]|
|Files and images||Wikia doesn't offer any sort of shared file repository, so if you want to use an image, you have to upload it on the wiki you want to use it for. If you want to use the same image on multiple wikis, you have to upload that image to every single wiki you want to use it on. Wikia offers no real support for Ogg files; as such, playback of these files depends entirely on the web browser or on third-party plugins installed on the user's system (as Internet Explorer and Edge don't support Ogg files, they are unable to play these files). Multiple files can be uploaded at a time, but drag-and-drop is not offered, so users must click on every individual file they want to upload. Wikia does not allow MP3 files to be uploaded, even though the patents for this file format expired in April 2017.||Miraheze allows users to use files hosted on the Wikimedia Commons, granting access to over 50 million+ free to use images, videos, and other media files, all without having to reupload them on the wiki. Miraheze also runs its own repository called the Miraheze Commons. Miraheze uses the TimedMediaHandler extension to play Ogg files, allowing everyone to be able to play these files. Drag-and-drop is offered on Miraheze, so users can upload multiple files simply by dragging them into the wiki editor. Miraheze allows MP3 files to be uploaded.|
|Editing||Wikia offers two editors: VisualEditor and their classic editor. Although their VisualEditor was developed in collaboration with Wikimedia, it frequently has bugs and issues and often doesn't load correctly, even on modern browsers. Additionally, the VisualEditor was forcefully rolled out to all wikis, without community input. Their classic editor remains usable but is no longer being actively developed. Their raw wikitext editor, called the "source editor", uses the 2006 editing toolbar, which was removed from mainstream MediaWiki releases and is horribly outdated.||Miraheze offers the 2010 WikiEditor, which is also being used on Wikipedia. Their version of VisualEditor was developed directly by Wikimedia and is in active development. VisualEditor is also an optional feature that local wiki communities can choose on their own accord whether or not to enable.|
|Accounts||Wikia's accounts are global across all Wikia wikis. When a user registers for an account, an entry is created in the account creation log only on wikis where the user first registered their account in, meaning that if a user creates their account on Wiki A and then visits Wiki B, the account creation log on Wiki A will record their account creation, but not Wiki B. Users can see which wikis they've contributed to at Community Central.||Miraheze's accounts are global across all Miraheze wikis. Miraheze uses the CentralAuth extension that Wikimedia also uses. When a user registers for an account, an entry is created in Special:CentralAuth that lists the date and time their global account was created; this global account is what users log in to, and will be connected to any local account on individual wikis that belong to the owner of the global account. If a user visits a wiki while logged in where they do not have a local account on yet, the CentralAuth system will automatically create a local account on that wiki for that user to use. These local account creations are logged in the account creation log on every wiki where a local account was created. A user's global account status, along with any local accounts they have attached to that account, are listed in Special:CentralAuth and is publicly viewable by anyone.|
|Staff||Wikia employs full-time paid staff that are not selected by the Wikia community at large. Staff members say they only intervene with local wiki communities in certain circumstances, such as ToU violations, although they have been known to take actions outside of that scope, including forcibly enabling extensions without community input, changing URLs for SEO purposes without notification, and even removing local wiki administrators that object to forced changes. Wiki communities are not considered to have control over their own site; if they migrate, they are not permitted to redirect the old site to the new one. Wikia Staff may appoint new administrators after removing old ones if a wiki community migrates, as is the case with the Runescape Wiki. Wikia Staff will find ways to forcibly continue to run a wiki even if the old community leaves.||Miraheze does not employ any full-time staff. Most staff members focus on the technical, behind-the-scenes operations of the wiki farm and generally do not involve themselves in on-wiki issues. Stewards generally fulfill many of the roles that Wikia Staff taken on; they are also unpaid and are elected by the community at large. Because Miraheze is a non-profit, there is no reason for them to trap communities inside their ecosystem.|
|Attitude||Wikia has been known to adopt aggressive tactics as of late to remove content that they or their advertisers do not agree with. As such, "free speech" is much more limited on Wikia due to pressure from advertisers not to host content they disagree with. They have been known to employ SEO tactics, sometimes against community consensus or without notification, to boost search engine rankings for their own benefit or to inject more advertisements into their pages.||Miraheze is a non-profit and doesn't run ads, so there is no pressure from advertisers to police the service outside of illegal content. Miraheze Staff focus on the technical, behind-the-scenes aspects of the wiki and leave each individual wiki community to decide upon their own policies on how they want to operate.|
When is the migration going to take place?[edit source]
We are not entirely sure. The current plan is to stay on Wikia for now, but to continue working on the Miraheze wiki to ensure a smooth transition. A rough timeline is a migration in 2020, with 2019 being used as a year of preparation for the big change.
What do we do with the old Wikia wiki once the migration has completed?[edit source]
Wikia won't allow us to close the old wiki, nor will they provide means to let us redirect pages from the old wiki onto the new. This means that migrating our readerbase will be difficult.
We may need to take cues from other wikis that have migrated and see how they managed to do it. The Sims community is very widespread, so this will be a difficult process. We'll need to see if other websites are willing to update their links to point to the Miraheze wiki, and we'll have to contend with the fact that there will probably always be some links still pointing to the Wikia wiki, given how we've been there since 2005.
While Wikia won't let us replace entire pages pointing to the new wiki, we might be able to discreetly point to our new wiki, though how we'll be able to do this is up for debate.
What is Miraheze?[edit source]
Miraheze is a wiki farm, just like Wikia. They run the hardware and software for a multitude of different wikis, and provide support for the communities that they host. The main difference between Miraheze and Wikia is that Miraheze is a non-profit organization, funded entirely by donations, while Wikia is a for-profit enterprise that relies on advertising revenue.
We highly encourage you to donate to Miraheze to keep the service running! By doing so, you not only ensure that The Sims Wiki will continue to exist independently of Wikia, but also all of the other wikis that have migrated away from Wikia to Miraheze.
How do you pronounce "Miraheze"?[edit source]
People, and no one pronunciation is correct.
You guys are using the same name. What should I use to distinguish between the two wikis?[edit source]
When referring to the Wikia wiki, you can use "The Sims Wiki on Wikia". When referring to the Miraheze wiki, you can use "The Sims Wiki on Miraheze".
Will my Wikia login credentials work here?[edit source]
No. You will need to create a new account on Miraheze. Login information cannot be transferred from Wikia to Miraheze.
Miraheze has a global account system like Wikia, so you only need to create one account to be able to access all of Miraheze. If you created an account on another Miraheze wiki, you can use it here on The Sims Wiki without having to register for another one.
Will my Wikia contributions be carried over?[edit source]
No, unfortunately. This is a difficult decision we've had to make. Since there are thousands of users that have edited The Sims Wiki, we cannot be 100% sure that all of the usernames used on Wikia are not already being used on Miraheze. To avoid issues with edits being attributed to the wrong users, most edits that have been imported from Wikia are not attributed to any Miraheze account. Your username is still listed on those edits, but they will not link to your userpage. They will appear as sims>Username or as imported>Username (e.g. sims>k6ka or imported>k6ka).
What about fanons?[edit source]
Fanons have automatically been imported to the Miraheze wiki. We strongly encourage fanon authors to move to the Miraheze wiki and continue their fanon there.
Sorry, what is this wiki's name again?[edit source]
We are The Sims Wiki.
Yes, that's right. A WIKI.
Suck it, "FANDOM".
- 2 February 2019 - The Sims Wiki on Miraheze was created by K6ka, initially to protect against registration by trolls.
- 21 February 2019 - The Sims Wiki:Miraheze migration is created to help coordinate migration efforts.
- 24 February 2019 - Fanon and Game guide namespaces recreated.
- 17 March 2019 - Beginning of large-scale file uploads from the Wikia wiki. Proves to be a long and tedious process.
- 7 April 2019 - The Customized Sims Wiki agrees to merge with The Sims Wiki.
- 8 April 2019 - www.thesimswiki.com becomes live and points to the Miraheze wiki, marking the first time the wiki had its very own domain name.
- 12 April 2019 - All pages from The Customized Sims Wiki are imported to a subpage of The Sims Wiki:The Customized Sims Wiki and await further migration to their permanent homes.
- 13 April 2019 - All files from The Customized Sims Wiki are uploaded to the wiki.
- 1 May 2019 - Most file uploads are completed. Newer files uploaded to the Wikia wiki will need to be uploaded to the Miraheze wiki as an ongoing task until the migration.
- 18 January 2020 - A database dump from the Wikia wiki is generated and submitted for import to Miraheze.
- 19 January 2020 - The import is completed. The dump includes all page histories and revisions, and excludes log entries and files. These need to be uploaded separately.
The Sims Wiki would like to thank the following for their contributions to the migration:
- Lost Labyrinth
- Miraheze Staff and Stewards
- For technical purposes, the Fanon, Fanon talk, Game guide, and Game guide talk namespaces on The Sims Wiki on Wikia have namespace IDs 112, 113, 114, and 115, respectively.
- For technical purposes, the Fanon, Fanon talk, Game guide, and Game guide talk namespaces on The Sims Wiki on Miraheze have namespace IDs 3000, 3001, 3002, and 3003, respectively.