Oasis is the new skin that Wikia will be rolling out to Grand Theft Wiki in October 2010, to replace Monaco. This new skin is mandatory, and we will be unable to revert back to Monaco or Monobook.
There are a number of new features with Oasis, but also a number of problems this causes. These include:
- Wikia will remove our CSS customisation options. All we can customise are a pre-determined set of colours and backgrounds. We are unable to have our distinctive banner or similar big logos or customisations.
- The content area is quite small, and filled with advertisments. The terms of service prevent us from altering this at all.
- This skin removes Grand Theft Wiki's identity, and just makes us look like part of one central Wikia site
- This skin and the new terms of service prioritise advertising over content, even more than Monaco
- The narrow fixed-width layout breaks many of our pages and puts content last
- The skin still doesn't work properly, with many features and pages broken. It will destroy many of our pages, and it will take weeks or months to fix them
- The entire top section of every page is about Wikia and linking to other Wikia sites. The Grand Theft Wiki logo and our navigation is placed part-way down the page, making it a lot less obvious
- The talk page button is now hidden. It's a tiny icon near the search bar, completely separate from the edit button.
Wikia claim that they have consulted the community about these changes. Whilst there has been a beta test running, they have only fixed problems rather than listened to the genuine negative feedback from hundreds of users.
The Grand Theft Wiki staff fundamentally disagree with Wikia's priority of putting advertising and money before content and the community. It is the disregard for our opinion and the disrespect to our community and our content that is driving our upset.
"So, as of 20 October, I plan to stop contributing to any Wikia wiki. It's not because "I hate" the new skin. It's because Wikia's new direction makes me feel that I'm providing free content for someone else to use to make a buck." -- Tennessee Ernie Ford on GuildWiki
There are many advantages to leaving Wikia and becoming self-hosted, including complete control over the site, design, permissions and extensions. However, there are some major issues with this.
If we moved away, Wikia would not close gta.wikia.com. This means that the site would fork into two copies:
- This copy staying on Wikia, operated as a competitor to our site (gta.wikia.com)
- One copy operated by this community elsewhere (grandtheftwiki.com)
This means that most visitors (from Google etc) would continue to use gta.wikia.com after we move, singificantly reducing our traffic. We could post redirect messages across this wiki, but Wikia would likely remove them. So we would require the community to work together to make sure everyone went to our new site, not here. We also need to make sure that as many users as possible come with us, rather than staying here.
We can easily copy all content over to the new site, correctly licenced. We also have a server available and ready to handle the site. Whilst there would be a short period of problems (1-2 weeks), we would work solidly to get everything working. Whilst we might require funding in the future, this would be through donations or discreet advertising - NOT what Wikia are currently doing.
Grand Theft Wiki will not move without discussion and input from the community. Unlike Wikia, we respect our users, and we see this as YOUR site, not owned by one person, and certainly not owned by Wikia.
We are asking our members three questions on the talk page:
- What do you think of the Oasis skin?
- Do you think GTW should leave Wikia?
- If we moved, would you move with us, rather than staying on gta.wikia.com?