Today’s blog post is a simple review of two wiki sites I previously used.
Click on “more” further down below to read the review on ShoutWiki.
Miraheze is a community wiki farm similar in design to Wikia/FANDOM. It is neither a shared hosting service nor a dedicated hosting service, it was simply a wiki that lets you create more wikis on the site. So whenever you wanted to blog you had to use your wiki to do so, there was no WordPress.
As a long-time user of Miraheze, I can say for sure that I do not recommend Miraheze for multiple reasons.
The first reason is simple, the site is very “500 error”-prone. It could not go for over a week without freaking out and preventing me from contributing to my own wiki. I did not think much of it at the time, but in retrospect, it was so bad that I had created a backup, although I never really needed it. The errors would pop up to the point where I created a wiki on Shoutwiki, just in case it suddenly stops working altogether (Again, it was left untouched).
When they upgraded their Mediawiki installation, they did not do so without causing heavy discomfort inside their own community. First thing first, it broke all the wikis so that nobody could contribute effectively due to the captchas no longer showing up, and for a while, all of Miraheze’s noticeboards were filled with complaints from users that would get errors from trying to edit their articles. It has been 1 year since this happened, so I do not recall all the details, but that is the gist of it. You can and should update Mediawiki regularly, but not to the detriment of your own userbase.
Sometimes, they install extensions that can be exploited, however, they somehow let said extensions go unnoticed for several years until they are used frequently across Miraheze’s wikis. So by that point, Miraheze then removes the extension and breaks all the wikis that previously used it, which is outrageous in itself, but they do not wanna clean up the mess they have caused, they expect the users themselves to clean up after their mess. I have gone in-depth about that issue on the wiki site itself and it was a major reason for me to leave Miraheze. Furthermore, that begs the question, how do they verify whether an extension is safe or not? I really wanna know their methods because they do not appear to be effective.
UPDATE: This could have been fixed via MassEditRegex and Replace text, neither of which were suggested to me when I asked for support from Miraheze, instead they told me to download a Python script and deal with it. Considering that this wiki farm has an absurd amount of extensions, most of which I did not need I did not know it had either of these installed, this could have saved me a headache. Replace text is installed by default on Mediawiki, so at least if similar issues were to occur on Trollpedia, I know how to perform a change on multiple pages at once.
My last complaint about the service overall is the notifications from Miraheze which are terrific. For whatever reason, it has a plethora of notification settings inside the user preferences, (some of which are grayed out so I am unable to deactivate them), but that is not the worst part of it yet.
There is a single notification setting for newly signed users that I was not initially aware of, and which does not exist anywhere under preferences at the time that I am writing this post and I do know it exists since I kept getting spam emails from Miraheze telling me of new users signing up for the website. It is a genuinely garbage and truly useless notification because 95% of people who sign up on my wiki from Miraheze are spambots with extremely generic names and an additional 4% were either people who only contribute once or twice and never come back or vandals.
UPDATE: This is handled by New_User_Email_Notification, a global extension that cannot be disabled.
And the one and only reason why I linked my Email address to this service was due to one specific community would not let me edit unless I connected my Email address to my Miraheze account. That notification setting not being available to users, so they can disable it, is perfectly unacceptable and it is worse when you are like me and you do not regularly check your Emails.
It is tragic to see that it has been run so poorly, but then the next thing is what really made me leave Miraheze entirely.
What Miraheze really failed at is proper moderation and transparency. Let’s start off by explaining why good moderation and transparency matters. It is simply because Trollpedia has a variety of articles on online trolls and trolls are generally Mythomaniac by nature while the worst offenders are Sociopathic. One such troll decided that he (It was a cis white man, not a Trans woman for the record) was going to cry foul about it on my wiki by claiming that he was not who he was and said that he was an autistic woman named Tiffany that fired “the troll”, or “himself”, but he was ignored because it was obvious that he was playing the victim and faking it for sympathy. This very same troll had a Youtube channel and, to this day, every single video features the same cis masculine voice from the presumed owner of the channel being the troll that was meant to be fired according to “Tiffany”, one of the troll’s many online personas.
Update: I learned after making that post that “Tiffany” was his wife, making the claim that she “fired” him the more ironic.
Because contacting me did not make me remove his article, he decided to go after Miraheze’s staff as a last-ditch effort to save his skin and while I initially did not think much of it since nothing has happened for over 1 year since the confrontation, I would eventually be informed that Miraheze deleted that very same article without warning and without hearing me out on the matter and that is where they not only failed at proper moderation but also fail at transparency. All of that happened on their Discord server, which I was not a member of, so I was not aware of anything that was happening there. Apparently, using archived links and screenshots showing the troll’s behavior was not enough to convince them that it was “well-sourced enough”.
Initially, the most I was willing to accept as me being in the wrong was when I used the troll’s selfies in the article since I do not understand all the intricacies of the GDPR and copyright law until I realized that there was no copyright infraction or invasion of privacy because I remembered that Wlkimedia Commons had the face of Daniel Keem or DJ Keemstar on their site. After looking through the internet I found several websites discussing the subject, including this one where two points are raised:
- Did the person in the photo have a reasonable expectation of privacy?
- How is the image being used?
Both of which are respected based on the images I used in the article. When you take a picture of yourself and post it onto the internet, you revoke your expectation of privacy since you wanted people to see how you look. The troll has historically attempted to sue everyone for either “defamation” or “invasion of privacy”, but has not won in court a single time. The second bullet point was also respected since the wiki is non-commercial and the image was used under fair use for educational purposes and documentation.
I do not wanna bring the troll more attention than he deserves, especially on a post dedicated to a pair of wiki farms, so I purposely edited out his name and incorrectly named his wife, but his article is still available on the wiki and he is mentioned a few times across several articles on Trollpedia, particularly the on-wiki blog (Which we consider to be deprecated, but is still worth checking out for more information on the matter).
I got you another story that is somewhat related to the above issue. In 2019, when the wiki was brand new, Miraheze’s moderators did not help when I was asleep and my wiki was being raided by a troll. However, I did see them help out on NonbinaryWiki (no offense to them) when they never helped out our project which hints at some form of favoritism on their part.
In short, if you ever get inspired by Trollpedia or RationalWiki and decides to create a wiki called “StupidEvilPeopleWiki” for lack of a better name, do not use Miraheze, otherwise, you might have nasty surprises as Trollpedia did.
Ultimately, if your goal is to start a wiki for something inoffensive, let’s say a video game, then perhaps Miraheze would be a good choice as an inexpensive wiki host, but if that is not the case, it is highly inadvisable to use Miraheze.
Miraheze will never cease to amaze me. If you read the blog on Trollpedia wiki you probably remember when I said that one of the reasons I was leaving was because it had an issue with children on the site and that it directly affected Trollpedia’s reputation. Well, it turns out this issue is far more prevalent than I originally anticipated.
Without mediation and with editors acting like children, it was obvious that at some point edit-warring would happen. But the fact it was allowed to happen across two articles on the meta site is beyond me.
This conflict bled into one of the site’s noticeboards where this happened.
This problem was already jarring considering that the dreaded “reception wikis” had plenty of in-fighting between editors and some were even dishonest douches who would talk shit about other editors off-wiki, like by doing so on Encyclopedia Dramatica for instance. Additionally, those “reception wikis” act as troll honeypots as well because of their sheer immaturity and awful writing style.
Because that happened in the first place, I decided to blast them on one of the noticeboards because I was particularly heated that day.
You will notice that I sometimes call the user Gay Socrates “they” and sometimes “he”, that is because I had assumed their gender due to them being called “Gay Socrates”. Gay is most commonly used for boys. However, I realized that they hadn’t told anyone their gender, so I edited all the masculine pronouns for neuter pronouns but forgot to fix a few of them.
Regardless, in the message above I address everyone involved in the conflict. Read it in its entirety to get the full context to this.
Additionally, per another complaint further above, the webmasters botched their site’s MediaWiki update from version 1.35 to version 1.36, they did it again! They then asked to send a note over Phabricator to get this resolved, but why though?
I said this earlier and will say it again, I do not recommend you to use Miraheze. This is coming from personal experience with the website. There is very little communication between the users and the admins, even less so between the users themselves. There are pricks running some communities. Some wikis read worse if not as poorly as one of FANDOM/Wikia’s wikis which are by themselves already the epitome of garbage wikis.
Shoutwiki is about the same as Miraheze, a wiki farm.
The extent of the review is “I guess it is cool” since Shoutwiki’s staff could not be bothered to do the most basic thing and import a dump of the Miraheze site when I originally created the backup wiki.
I have to say, but to lose a consumer so quickly that’s almost a challenge, it took me from 3 to 4 days to figure out how to import a dump on my own MediaWiki site here, but I never gave up and at the other end you have Shoutwiki which simply refuse to use a single feature because it appears complicated to them. Additionally, I would have performed the importation myself if Shoutwiki did not disable the feature entirely, I can understand that decision if some troll decides to dump and then import Wikipedia, but then they should have done the importation in my stead which they didn’t.
And keep in mind that Trollpedia was not that big when I signed up on Shoutwiki, they have much bigger wikis than my own like bad webcomics wiki.
I do not recommend Shoutwiki because they could not help with the most basic thing ever and I doubt they would be able to help with the more complicated stuff if it was to occur.