Discussion about the future of this wiki by Wolfbln
I’ve been admin (or in Fandom speech: bureaucrat) of this wiki 2015-21. I’ve compiled more than half of the countries and edited all of them. A new layout, different manuals and an almost worldwide coverage of countries were introduced in this period and more than 18,000 edits in total I’ve made in this time. This took a lot of time and effort, but was rewarded by many contributors and acclaim. We were even mentioned in Lonely Planet guidebooks or simply cloned by copy&paste on the internet. Many others started own tutorials on YouTube and other platforms about using local SIM cards while visiting a country.
In spring of 2020 I stopped editing this Wiki but of a few adjustments. The reason was the almost complete shutdown of international travel due to the Covid19-pandemic as you might know. The wiki user numbers tumbled from almost 10,000 hits per day to a tiny fraction of before (admins can see these numbers on a weekly basis).
During the pandemic I devoted my time to other projects waiting whether tourism and travel will once again reach pre-pandemic levels or perhaps international roaming unions or offers will make local SIM cards redundant like in most of Europe recently. In April 2021 after a time only monitoring the changes in the wiki, I was told by a post of a Fandom representative that user NFH has requested to “adopt” this wiki as new admin.
As you can see in my Talk Page and that of NFH, I had some discussions about various disputes with NFH in the past, that once led to a short block of this profile as he kept on reverting previous edits. Generally, I’m open about the future of this wiki because I don’t know where we should go from here.
The conflicts with NFH stem from a totally different perspective on content and form. While I see this wiki mostly about content, he puts much more weight on form and style. Though I’d approve any better layout or graphics, this seems to be limited by the editing system. He insists on proper UK English, while I approve any reasonable comment in any form of English as long as it’s in any way understandable. In the age of translators, I even considered non-English comments through a translator tool as an option because travellers frequently use them. Most of his edits were about some formal issues, that I haven’t made much fuss about. I was mostly interested in content by giving readers the factual information of a local (mostly national) phone market in operators, offers, peculiarities, and prices. Easy or good comprehensibility is for me more important than good style.
This comes from my polycentric point of the world as a long-time traveller: that there are many ways to get it done and not one single approach should be followed or be valid. To insist on Oxford textbook English often deters those users who don’t use English as their native language like some of our contributors (and myself). We need their local expertise here too and English is for me only the lingua franca used all over the world, a tool for communication and certainly not an art form.
Some of the arguments with NFH were quite tiring when he insisted, that all over the world prices should displayed like “£20”, even in those countries (in more than half of the world) where it’s made the other way round like “20 €”. I’m still critical of this very UK-centred approach (or –centered, if you like, when you live in America) which looks very narrow-minded for a global presentation aimed at a universal audience.
From a message on the Talk Page Site of NFH I’ve learnt on 6/APR/2021 that NFH has requested at Community Central to adopt this wiki. I must stress that he has disobeyed formal FANDOM proceedings which include to ask the previous admin if this wiki is up for grabs. He has never asked me about it. That’s why I need to consider this (in economic terms) as an attempted “unfriendly takeover”.
This message to NFH by Sitb - a Fandom Rep. reads like this:
I read your adoption request on Community Central and will be happy to add you to the Sysop administrator group, if you create a community discussion post asking for users' support. This is one of the requirements of wiki adoption, and this wiki does indeed have active editors other than yourself. They need to be given the opportunity to discuss this change. On the bright side: if there are no responses like you predict, that will not count against your adoption request.
If we presume the community supports, or is indifferent to you being granted administrator permissions...
Sysop permissions will give you everything you need to maintain/moderate the wiki, even if Wolfbln happens to never becoming active again. If significantly more time passes, with Wolfbln not becoming active, we can possibly consider granting you bureaucrat permissions at such time. However in the meantime, I can be contacted if there is ever a need for someone with bureaucrat-level permissions (I have access to those tools too).
- Sitb 19:51, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
Following up this message, yesterday NFH has created this Community Post which is very hard for other users to find. Not his fault, but the way Fandom separates discussions from content:
I have been editing this wiki since 24/06/2012. Almost two years later on 14/03/2014 a new user Wolfbln started editing the same wiki and subsequently adopted the wiki as an admin on 25/06/2015. Wolfbln is now the only admin and bureaucrat, but has been mostly inactive since 08/08/2020, having previously edited the wiki almost every day. He has been 100% inactive since 01/02/2021, more than 60 days ago. I am the longest-running active contributor to this wiki and the second-highest contributor to this wiki of all time with 853 edits. In the absence of an active admin, does anyone support or oppose my promotion to an admin?
Well, in line of the past events, I can hardly imagine a good working relationship with NFH as two admins with equal rights as I got worn down in conflicts about things that I don’t care so much for, but he insists must be applied universally. It’ll be OK, when he confines to corrections in style or wording/phrasing. That’s what he has done most of his edits. But I think it’s simply tiring to rephrase any wording off UK Oxford textbook style as long as it remains conceivable what the author has meant. I don’t understand why he thinks that e.g. outdated prices in articles are OK, as long as the currency sign is on the right (rather in his mind left) side of the value all over the world. I later proposed a compromise to write it on the left side on those country pages where it’s done like this locally, and in others where it’s done locally on the right side to write it accordingly. But this compromise was rejected as UK language rules allegedly governs all regional differences. This is exactly at the core where our worlds collide.
What to do now?
Anyway, I think we should look forward to consider and discuss where this wiki should head to. As NFH seems to be determined to get control over this wiki, he should lay out here what he wants to do with it. What are his goals, ways, aims and how he intends to meet them?
The major problem in my point of view is that most country articles are stuck in the state of 2019 with a few exceptions where users care for their country. 2 years is a long time in the telecommunications market. There is nothing in the wiki yet about 5G introduction or 2G/3G shut-downs, eSIM options (esp. for iPhone users) and other novelties in the markets and all provider and price information remain frozen as of 2019. To update these segments is a monumental task and I honestly doubt that me or him or any other single person will do this. Shall we get rid of all prices (as they are mostly outdated anyway)? We have indiscriminately featured all providers in a given country that offer prepaid options. Shall we make a selection? And if so, based on what criteria?
Here I’d like to hear from readers, contributors and NFH what they think about it and how it can be achieved. Please add here or in the comments section your opinion. As far as I’m concerned, I might be willing to “care” for some countries in the future even under an “ownership” of NFH if he presents a clear idea why he wants to take over this wiki and a path towards the future that I can approve of.
His edits in the past don’t reflect this: he is very centred on the desktop presentation like most editors are (who mostly write on devices with big screens). But 80% of our actual users access it though the mobile editor on a small screen according to Fandom data. That’s why I frequently had to cut complex tables that are hardly displayed there. As one of his recent edits, he has changed Ivory Coast to “Cote d’Ivoire” which is all right, as this country likes to be called in French nowadays. But the article is still called Ivory Coast. It needs to be renamed as well. This involves some work. But now the country is called differently to the article. Furthermore, there is still Ivory Coast and Swaziland as names on the country list for mobile devices used when accessed through a smartphone what most users are doing. For outsiders, this must be confusing. Obviously, he hasn’t found out that these country lists are in fact two different lists simply due to technical reasons. To get this wiki a coherent look has been one of my prime objectives during the last years. I might have not succeeded all of the time, because I didn't want to interfere too deep in existing structures, but it looks much more consistent today than before 2015.
Finally, this should not be seen as a private feud between two users. He has deleted my planned objectives for 2020 on the main page which have obviously not been implemented so far and presumably wants to take over the wiki. All personal differences aside, I’m curious to hear what he is up to and I think users and editors of this wiki have a right to know. As I have devoted so much time to this wiki, I’m only interested to give it in the best hands I can, when I can’t care (so much) for it anymore than before as it has been my baby too.
Any comments and suggestions are highly appreciated in the comments section below.
Response by NFH
No, I don't want to take over this wiki. I want to become an admin in the absence of an active admin. I did not request this behind your back, but I followed Fandom's correct procedure for adopting a wiki as described at https://community.fandom.com/wiki/Adoption:Requests. You have been mostly inactive since 08/08/2020, and 100% inactive for more than two months, despite having previously edited the wiki almost every day. This gave me the impression that you had disappeared or had lost interest in the wiki.
A temporary drop in user numbers is expected during a pandemic when travel is impossible or severely curtailed. But that does not mean that we should stop updating the wiki or fixing its many problems, because travel will resume when the pandemic is over, just as it did after acts of aviation-related terrorism in 2001 and 2006, and even after the 1918 influenza pandemic.
I agree that we have different focuses. Your focus is adding new content, which I applaud, and my focus is correcting the many errors in this useful resource. I suggest that my focus is closer to the remit of an admin. As co-admins with different focuses and different time availability, we would help to perfect the wiki.
You mention the mobile home page. I see no point in a separate mobile home page, given that the main desktop home page is responsive and displays optimally on mobile devices.
I see no purpose in trimming down the wiki. We should aim to cover every country and territory, even with just a stub page for some countries to which others can contribute. In the absence of a stub page, casual contributors won't bother to add information about a non-covered country. Casual contributors don't want the hassle of creating a new page. An example is the Syria page which I recently added as a stub. I am sure that many thousands of Syrian refugees have used this wiki, but they were unable to easily contribute any information about their own country because the Syria page had been deleted.
I disagree that I have created conflicts. I draw your attention to Fandom's comments at https://community.fandom.com/wiki/User_blog:MisterWoodhouse/Introducing_the_Wiki_Rules_and_Blocking_Policy that "Wikis ultimately belong to their communities, not any one admin, bureaucrat, or even the founder. An admin has many additional user rights on the wiki platform, but not the right to bully other community members with their local authority or even exclude them entirely for no good reason".
We can work together as admins in order to bring this wiki up to the same standards as Wikipedia and Wikitravel, which it currently falls significantly below.
The discussion is continued in the discussion section below
Have your say.