Uncyclopedia:Press Release - move from Wikia

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1/3/2013 – Uncyclopedia, the online community of editors and readers who strive for the noble goal of parodying Wikipedia, will move to independent web hosting at uncyclopedia.co beginning January 5th, 2013.

The site began in 2005 when it was founded by Jonathan Huang. It was originally located at uncyclopedia.org before Huang sold the domain to Wikia, a San Francisco-based wiki hosting service founded by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Uncyclopedia’s resident math expert, a 4-year-old Japanese kid, estimates that the transaction was in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.

While Uncyclopedia continued to be located at uncyclopedia.org for some time, Wikia eventually changed the domain to uncyclopedia.wikia.com, where the site has been residing for the last six years. Uncyclopedia’s financial expert and conspiracy theorists say that in those six years, Wikia has made a sizable profit off the community-driven efforts at Uncyclopedia.

The move was officially announced by the website's administrators on January 2nd. In a statement, they said that “a plethora of Uncyclopedia administrators and editors have been working on and off on a plan to move the site for many months.” Among many reasons for the move, they cited Wikia’s persistent lack of communication with the Uncyclopedia community regarding major policy changes over the years. Such policy changes have included adding content disclaimers, putting advertisements for other Wikia wikis on the site, installing mandatory website “skins,” and the aforementioned domain change. Some of these changes have led to tenured contributors quitting the site in protest. In addition, while they have caused a decline in readership, the exact consequences are unknown because the community is not privy to its own traffic statistics.

The administrators also noted that Wikia’s implementation of new features and removal of others have made parodying Wikipedia’s layout increasingly challenging. While most wikis do not have to look like Wikipedia, immitating Wikipedia's layout is a necessity for Uncyclopedia. “Thanks to the upcoming move, the difficulty of keeping up with the Wikipedians will no longer be exacerbated by our host. We will also have the freedom to customize our site in ways that will make it much more accessible to new users," said William Nishri, an administrator who has served for over 7 years.

Wikia has not yet made any official statement on the matter, but in posts to Uncyclopedia's forums, Wikia staff members have stated that a version of the website would still be hosted and maintained by Wikia at its former location, despite the move. They have also forbidden any links to or promotion of uncyclopedia.co.

Uncyclopedia administrators opined that the greatest challenge ahead will be overtaking the former website, now operated by Wikia, in traffic and links from other websites. They explain that the migrating community aims to overtake Wikia’s deprecated version of the site by linking Uncyclopedia’s social media pages and the majority of Uncyclopedia’s other foreign language versions to the new domain. The Italian, Spanish, and Polish Uncyclopedias, all hosted by Wikia for the time being, have also expressed interest in migrating to new webhosts.

Uncyclopedia contributors and readers say that the move means a better future for the website. "As a commercial entity with little variability, Wikia’s goals are simply incompatible with Uncyclopedia’s, and their approach has only become more problematic for us over the years," said Kim Schoonover, a current administrator and longtime reader. “Uncyclopedia needs to find her own feet for a change, so that she might become something, as opposed to continuing to dwindle away to nothing. We can’t do that when others hold the reins, and though it is a technical challenge, we do have the means and the will to carry it through."