It's been one year since I adopted this wiki. I thought it would be nice to reflect on my time here so far.
I should go over my progress on the plans I stated when I requested to adopt Cyberchase Wiki. Seems like a good sign of progress.
"I'll work towards clearing the wiki's administrative and organizational backlogs, such as candidates for deletion and uncategorized pages."
So, those specific backlogs aren't fully cleared out, but only because so many things on this wiki compete for my focus. I feel I've been taking pains to cull this down, and hope to put even more work into it in the future.
One listing I've been working at lately is unused files (things like images and videos that have been uploaded to the wiki, but aren't embedded on any pages). There were at least 526 of these files when I started. As of writing, this is down to 153 files, a 71% decrease.
Very recently, I noticed someone had promotional art of Inez on their user page. It wasn't on any articles, but it wasn't listed as an unused file because the user page counted as "using" it. So I went through every user page on the wiki to find other images like this and add them to the wiki proper. I hope this demonstrates my commitment to maintenance.
"I'll be able to better protect against bad-faith editing. (I'll continue to check in with most editors on their message walls—I'll only warn or block in exceptional cases.)"
I've been trying to keep up with every contribution to the wiki to make sure nothing slips through—perhaps to a fault? I'll talk more about that later on. Anyway, I've done my best to intercept spam and vandalism, and take administrative action when needed.
"I'll improve the wiki's theme. Navy on gray doesn't exactly scream "Cyberchase". I have experience with customizing wikis' styles, so you can expect something pleasant-looking."
Fixed this up the day after my promotion. I hope everyone enjoys the theme! On top of aesthetics, I sought to ensure the color scheme has a contrast ratio of at least 7:1, per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
"I'll continue to contribute to articles to make them more complete and accurate. I have an ever-expanding pool of material to keep adding and citing. This will remain true regardless of whether I adopt the wiki."
I hope you think I'm accomplishing this. A year later, there is still plenty of material I plan to add.
It is difficult to track the wiki's progress over time, as Recent Changes entries are temporary, and I can't find good archives on the Wayback Machine. Nonetheless, I managed one exciting finding.
In the past year, Cyberchase Wiki has grown from less than 600 articles, to 838 as of writing. This means the wiki was averaging about 50 new articles per year, and we nearly quintupled that!
The newest set of 50 articles span from mid-February to now. That's my estimate of a year's batch of articles, created in a month and a half. I can hardly believe it!
I'd like to express my appreciation to everyone who has created these articles, and, just in general, to everyone who's helped flesh out the wiki. There's no way we'd be here without everyone's efforts.
Scope creep and archival
Now moving on to the introspection.
I probably got a renewed interest in the show in mid-2019. At that point, I only had vague memories of Cyberchase, For Real, and Cyberchase Online. I had no idea there were offsite games, a book, a museum exhibit, a Tax Day event…
Every time I research something for an article, I feel like I discover something new. Like I get a more complete and authentic understanding of this series I've always loved. This is a constant, whenever I go looking for new information, and it feels immensely rewarding.
So, I'm excited to keep at this, hoping that a more comprehensive Cyberchase Wiki will make a positive impact. And there's always more to do. I have plenty to get to.
On the flipside, there's the feeling of scope creep. The more things I find that haven't been documented yet, the more incomplete this wiki feels. While I doubt "finishing" the wiki is feasible, I don't have a sense of how far along we are. There's always more I want to see covered.
Like, again, this is to be expected: wikis are works in progress, and new Cyberchase content is still being produced, piling onto about 25 years of history (series development started in 1996 or earlier). And completing, say, 70% of 70% of a project is still less than halfway done. I doubt we're nearly that far.
But this is also a race against time. I keep learning about materials both on- and offline that aren't readily available. For instance, whole iterations of Cyberchase Online have been delisted and can only be viewed through the Wayback Machine. The original versions of the Flash games there are now unplayable without workarounds. Other content that could revolutionize our coverage wasn't even archived in time. Currently available material could eventually see the same fate.
I feel lucky that the pilot version of "The Poddleville Case" was found. I don't expect that kind of thing to happen often for less notable media and resources. Regardless of my admin status, research and archival feel like duties I must take on, and sometimes that self-pressure weighs on me.
Communication and community
Forgive me, as that stress isn't my only grievance. I don't intend to call anyone out here. These are general frustrations. I believe they can be solved… I just have no idea how, at the moment.
I'm nowhere near the only person contributing to this wiki, of course, but I think communication has been lacking. There are contributors I trust, but I don't get a strong sense of collaboration or community.
This is kind of a problem I have with the Cyberchase fanbase in general: it seems weirdly small and inactive. I can't find or create any ongoing platforms of discussion for the show. This wiki is the only resource I know of that documents Cyberchase with any degree of rigor. Discord communities have lost their momentum. I tried reaching out to a community on Tumblr and got no response. And no one I find is interested in joining the wiki. Interviews paint Cyberchase as a greatly successful brand of the past two decades, and I believe there's a lot of depth to its appeal and many interesting things to discuss. So why can I scarcely find anywhere to talk about it? There must be more nostalgic people like me! Surely other wikis on similar topics have this!
For the editors already on this wiki, though, I'm sure I play a part in the poor communication. I still need to change my workflow to express the purpose of my edits more often, to avoid creating needless conflicts and resentment. I'm sorry. By writing this blog, I hope to come across as more than the lone admin who rewrites things out of nowhere and seems to expect a lot.
But they say communication is a two-way street. Even when I try to reach out and ask others about innocent contributions, they seem reluctant to cooperate. Comments in general rarely get replies, and are rarely coherent and relevant to the wiki.
Everyone is doing their own thing on here and doesn't want to talk about it. Not even to lend credence to the claims they added to articles when there are reasonable doubts (citing sources here would benefit everyone). Again, not calling anyone out; this just seems to be the norm.
Why is there so little communication? Why does it seem I've so far failed to foster a collaborative community? Try as I might, I don't feel like the best moderator, and I assume there'd be better communication if I were running this wiki properly, so
am I doing something wrong?
The anxieties of this question, and of confrontation in general, have deterred me from checking the wiki in the past. When I'd build up the courage, I then had to catch up on days, or maybe sometimes weeks, of missed edits. Because as a lone moderator, I take it as my responsibility to check every single edit and post, just to be sure. (Usually they're fine, but it might not seem like I believe that.)
I think I've stopped letting this anxiety get to me to that extent, and am checking in more regularly. However, I still feel the need to patrol every edit that comes in, and I'm starting to wonder whether this moderation technique is worth it.
Sometimes I'll try to build upon someone else's edit, finding it a good but incomplete start. Or I'll notice something else in the grammar or source code that could use tweaking. In both cases, I'll make a quick edit and continue on. However, I worry that both of these cases are taken personally, read as scrutiny from a nitpicking, unchecked admin who is never satisfied with a reasonable edit. I believe some of my changes have been undone under such an assumption (and it's hard to work those situations out due to the lack of communication).
Assuming my read on unspoken ire is correct, none of that is my intention. I just want to make the wiki the absolute best it can be, and to capture the best wording and most consistent formatting I can achieve in every article I find. And there are over 800 articles, so it's easiest to go about this on pages that I'm already checking for moderation purposes.
As I've tried to establish, I'm stressed about how my position of power ties into this. I hope my edits don't come across as trying to possess and control the wiki to my exact specifications. I've built up high standards—maybe too high?—over years of editing, and am trying to apply those to improve this wiki.
I'm glad to get all that out of my system. Here's hoping it's seen. No matter whether you think positively of me, please, please reach out and hopefully we can resolve any disputes smoothly!
Hopes for the future
Despite all that ranting, I'm very happy with how this wiki has grown over the past year! Any mistakes anyone's made in the past few months, I myself have probably been guilty of before. I'm pretty proud of what I've seen, and I'm confident in the future of the wiki.
Of course, there's always room for improvement, so here is what I'm personally hoping for. These aren't necessarily expectations I'll hold people to, I moreso want to be open about this.
I hope our coverage keeps improving. I can rest easier as we accumulate more text and file descriptions, and reputable citations. Good article coverage can prevent content being lost to time, even if it ends up delisted or worse.
I hope to find or help create a sustainable Cyberchase community. This wiki seems like a promising home for one. I just don't know how to reach out to the many other fans who I'm sure must be out there. I'm also wary to link this wiki to more general communities, or create a discussions platform for this wiki, as I can imagine negative repercussions like increased trolling or distraction from the actual wiki. I would love to hear about any ideas.
I hope communication improves. Both from myself and others. If only we were all more willing to talk, it could be so helpful to collaborating on the wiki, getting people to stick around, and resolving disputes maturely without generating discontent.
I hope I find trustworthy people to promote. I don't like being the only admin, and I would love to delegate things to other active editors who share my silly passion and can ensure the best for this wiki.
If you read all this, I can't thank you enough. It'd be so nice to hear your thoughts in the comments! Take care, and here's to a better year!