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Avatar Wiki turns eight!

My, my... Today, Avatar Wiki turns eight! To those of us still here, the occasion seems almost insignificant given the massive turnover Internet communities experience after a year or two - but this is how the wiki looked like back then:

  • Founded by Howabout1, Avatar Wiki was one of the first 1,000 pioneer projects started on a fledgling eight month old Wikia.
  • The latest incarnation of the main page in December 2005 was this... Minus, of course, a lot of the UI and backgrounds.
  • A typical article looked like this - horrifying, eh?
  • There were four registered editors on site until February 2007.
  • Prior to this, uploaded image count was in single digits.
  • Likewise, the no. of articles struggled above one-hundred.
  • In the beginning, there was only one bureaucrat, and no other serving administrators until March of 2007.
  • The Ba Sing Se Times did not exist. Neither did the Standards Council, or any semblance of usergroups, before 2009.
  • The old War Room forum was also absent before 2009.
  • It was not possible to upload videos, much less working .GIFs
  • By December 2005, Book 1 of ATLA had stunningly concluded with "The Siege of the North, Part 2".
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Chakomics: The Return

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Katarafanboy takes a serious blow from the victorious SIFU HOTMAN *sound effects of booing and cheering*. And now please welcome, the person who captured this beautiful moment. Please welcome, CHAKRASANDWICH!

Dramatic music plays: I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones. 'nough to make my systems blow. Welcome to the new age, to the new age. Welcome to the new age, to the new age...

Quite a suitable song for welcoming me. Wazzah peeps, it's yo girl Chakras here. Here to present another Chakomic! For those of you who don't know from my previous article, Chakomics is a new section of artsy pieces entirely devoted to make fun of other users, or just my interpretation of a user's profile image in a humorous or "inside joke" kinda way.

For today, we have a cheerleader who will explain everything she witnessed that is expressed by this picture. Greetings cheerleader. What did you witness at this football game?

Cheerleader: Oh my God. Like, Sifu Hotman *gasp* he is so HOT! He is absolutely gorgeous and stunning! Like who is this ugly Katarafanboy, ew I'd never date him. No wonder Hotman beat KFB. His hotness over took him *squeal gasp* AHHH *waves pom poms*.

Okay never mind *Chakras glares in disgust at cheerleader, pushes her into a polluted river, and then does the Asian flip off with her pinky fingers* Ahem cough *dusts herself off* I think I'll just explain it, often on IRC, many of the people online talk about recent sports games and exclaim at victories or defeats. They debate about which team is the best, which team member is the best, which sport is the best, etc. Most notable members who partake in this are KFB and SifuHotman (whom KFB calls "htoman"). So I decided to express their feuding in a picture in which Sifu is "straight arming" KFB while they curse at each other. And to KFB and Sifu: if you're reading this, that cheerleader's opinions are not at all shared by me *insert creepy emoticon here*.

Because of the fact that KFB is a fan of Katara, who is a waterbender, he is the one in blue. And because Sifu Hotman is, well, a hot man, he is the one in red. All right folks, I hope you enjoyed reading this issue of Chakomics. Thank you and have a wonderful ride to the land of Oz!

Dramatic music plays: I'm waking up to ash and dust. I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust. I'm breathing in the chemicals. I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus. This is it, the apocalypse. Whoa. (Radioactive by Imagine Dragons).

48px-3026053.png Of Birthdays and Awards
Lady Lostris

When it's someone's birthday, that person receives a cake and a party and lots of presents. Basically, when it's someone's birthday, it is their day –although there is something to be said about celebrating the mother rather than the born person, because she did all the work that day. So hold that thought, it'll become important later on.

We all know that awkward moment when everyone starts singing "happy birthday" and you really don't know what to do with yourself. Really, what are you supposed to do then? You can't sing along, cause that's just weird, wishing yourself a happy birthday, so you just stand there with this goofy smile on your face, laughing like an idiot. You can't clap along to the melody, cause then you're the conceited one who's cheering on the other persons to continue singing for you, so then you just twiddle around with your hands. You can't start eating the cake, because that's considered rude. And at that point, it's likely still on fire, and I hope that I do not have to explain the dangers of eating something that's on fire. So you just stare at the delectable with the big puppy eyes, practically drooling in anticipating. While you do that, you become aware of what you're doing, so you look away frantically at the singing people and laugh at the awkwardness of it all, but since you were already laughing like an idiot, it becomes even more idiotic.

So really, in the end, no one wants to be serenaded to like that. Going all John Cusack on someone and holding up a boombox, sure, that's cool, cause then, actual music is playing –and, you know, John Cusack is at your birthday party. When you're getting a birthday serenade, on the other hand, it are just a bunch of people who can't sing, but who are doing it anyway in the hopes that if they do it all together, no one would notice that they can't song –which, really, doesn't work at all. Two negatives don't necessarily make a plus. Especially not when they're a bunch of negatives.

Anyway, to cut myself off right there: we are not going to that. We are not going to scream our lungs out to our screens and try to shove cake down our computer's portals. Cause not only will you look incredibly stupid and have likely ruined your computer, but most importantly, you will have wasted perfectly good cake and that's just the abomination of abominations! And well, you know, the other community members wouldn't have heard you, so it will have been all for not anyway. Since the traditional birthday-protocol is out, we will just have to be creative about this. And by "be creative", I obviously mean "recycle an award that has been fun for two years already", obviously.

So without further ado, I am proud to remind everyone of an upcoming birthday of something that connects us all: Avatar Wiki celebrates its 8th birthday Monday July 15!

For eight years now, this community, although ever changing, has managed to keep this wiki going, and by doing so, we have transformed it into something that none of us could have ever done alone. Avatar Wiki has been a great home to many of us, allowing us to have conversations with people literally on the other side of the world. So basically, one could say that we're all sort of the mothers (and fathers if you will, but considering what I said in the first paragraph, you really want to be a mother at the moment) of this wiki: thanks to the collaborative efforts of users over the year, the Avatar Wiki is still going.

Avatar Wiki User Awards Banner

So, to celebrate that fact, we are going to celebrate the community who made this all possible by hosting for the third year in a row the Avatar Wiki User Awards! So forget the awkward singing, forget possible qualms you might have (had) with other users, and come around to celebrate this awesome community and awesome wiki with your fellow editor!

For those who have been around since July 15th 2012, you already know the drill, so you can stop reading here. For those who don't, sorry, you're stuck a few paragraphs longer.

The Avatar Wiki User Awards, or the User Awards for short, is an award ceremony that Rassilon of Old came up with to first celebrate the wiki's 6th birthday. The goal of the User Awards is to say thank you to and acknowledge the many hard-working, sung and unsung editors and contributors of the wiki. It's sort of like the Oscars of the Avatar Wiki if you will.

So get out your evening dresses and find those tuxes, and get ready for the Avatar Wiki User Awards.

Why purchase Avatar merchandise you can get for free?

I figured this might be an appropriate article for around now, since we've got th soundtrack coming out, as well as TSP2 and the LoK DVD/Blu ray. So, I figured that many people who are a fans of the Avatar comics or the LoK music, the above question you're probably asking yourself. If you can get all of the material online for free, why bother purchasing it? Well, hopefully now you'll have some good reasons to! Obviously there is nothing forcing you to buy anything, but if you really enjoyed the material and have some extra change to spare, it's definitely worth the purchase!

The first reason I think it's valuable to get the physical merchandise is for the value of owning a copy and being able to treat it as you please. With online scans or music, sometimes it can be a hassle to find them or they could not be as high quality as purchasing the actual things. A physical copy allows you to enjoy something in high quality, and fairly hassle-free.

Another one is portability. If you have comic books cans, sometimes it can be a hassle to find them when you need them, or to search through them. The same can apply for finding copies of episodes online, and especially for music.

from the fanon portal
48px-4760310.png It's Raining Cats!

Fruipy here, with an actual news article! I know, what a surprise! Well, it's still relating to the fanon portal, so that's a plus.

Now, as most of you writers and readers would know, there are several categories that must be added to the mainpage of any fanfiction, namely being the name of the story, the author and the genre (where applicable). Now, there is one more; the character genre.

Okay, lemme explain. A while ago, a War Room forum decided that three new categories would be made and added to the story pages and discontinued fanons. These were the Original character (fanon), Avatar: The Last Airbender (fanon) and Legend of Korra (fanon). Pretty much, the idea is to be able to sort through specific types of stories regarding the characters in them.

It also makes for some interesting statistics. You realise that we have almost 500 OC stories, with less than 300 ATLA based ones, and not even 60 LoK stories? We also have 485 discontinued stories, with 31 marked as inactive and only 60 complete? And all the stories in the "comics (fanon)" cat are discontinued? With 852 fanons in the portal, it makes you think....

Well, even if it doesn't, I have one more article to mention.

In another, more recent forum, the {{Discontinued}} tag for fanons was updated. Okay, the way it works is, if a fanon hasn't been updated in 3 months, it is marked "inactive". Three months after that, it is added the the "discontinued" category and the "story pages (fanon)" cat is removed. Now, the recent change pretty much says that any discontinued story that hasn't any chapters will be moved the the author's userpage. This is just to make classification and categorisation a little easier, and to keep the fanon portal nice and neat and tidy.

Wooh. All that serious talk has tired me out *wipes brow*. I hope to see all of you giving writing a go, and if not, at least use the new cats to find something to read! This is Fruipit, signing off~!

48px-4760310.png One-shots, and all that jazz

Well, well, well. This is more like it. A fanon article about actually writing fanon.

So, unless you've been living under a rock, everyone should know (or at least have heard about) the upcoming fanon awards. For those who have been making said rock their home, it's basically a time of year where other readers and writers get together and say, "Hey. That writer? They're pretty awesome. And this story by this other user... just wow," and we give out awards for it. Simple, really.

What isn't simple is actually writing the stories. Despite my own proclivity for shooting them out of my a- ahh fingertips, writing is actually one of the hardest things to do. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, and probably will be until I die. The ability to take a character - to create a character - and a world to put them in is one of the most difficult things. I can't even do it (there's a reason I write one-shots). Particularly OC stories, I will forever have respect and awe for the authors able to create such wonderful fanfics that they shouldn't even be classed as such. They are, in my opinion, just as good as (if not better than) some of the published literature I pay to read.

However, this isn't an article going on about OC stories (for which there are many). The actual intention of this is to help those who hadn't yet written anything, or who felt they wanted some more pointers - particularly regarding one-shots. I find it surreal that only 14 months ago, I had never written a single story, and if someone had told me then and there that I would be as invested in the fanon portal as I am now, I would have raised an eyebrow, and then said, "Seeing as how you can see into the future, who is Lin's father?"

I actually remember the first person I asked how to write a one-shot. It was Vulmen who explained to me that I needed to "...decide upon one key element / interaction that would be the entire focal point to build around ... let the characters shape the "why" and "how" that major event happens - leading up to both before and after the event as necessary. Sometimes the 'before' or 'after' would take away from the impression to leave the reader with; so it's better not to cover it."

I took his words to heart, although I didn't write anything. I pondered what I should write about - my first thought was the death of Aang. That idea was almost immediately scrapped for two reasons. The first was because I felt the idea was over done. The second was lack of faith in my abilities. I wasn't a very good writer at that stage (at least I thought so). My stories were getting nowhere and I was unhappy with them. Writing became a task. I had never written a one-shot, and I had never written using the characters of the series. I decided to rewatch it, hoping for inspiration. Luckily for me, it struck.

It was during The Chase, actually. Toph had just joined the Gaang (she wasn't yet my favourite character. I know, surprising, eh?) and Katara said something that I had previously overlooked. I ended up rewinding it and listening to it over and over again. Those 13 little words absolutely broke my heart, to be honest, and I think it was at that stage I ceased focussing on the deuteragonist, and began looking more at the blind earthbender: "The stars sure are beautiful tonight; too bad you can't see them, Toph."

What? I mean, really. What? Our loveable waterbender, the mother hen of the group, the chick that will "never turn her back on people who need her" (yes, I know that happened after this incident, but whatever). That girl openly mocked Toph for being blind, purely because she was in a bad mood? That really got my engine revving. It was at that moment that Katara ceased to be perfect in my eyes, and I started flogging her off to Zuko because Aang didn't deserve her.

It was also around this time that an idea began forming; how would I explain things to people who can't see? Like glass. I wondered how you would explain to a blind person that there is something in front of them, something solid, that people can see through. Soon, my fantasising moved onto colours. I didn't write anything down, instead preferring to let it stew in my head for several weeks over my Christmas holidays. The idea developed, and I realised (belatedly) that it would be an excellent story. But, how to go about it?

I wrote. That's it, plain and simple. I went through probably six or seven drafts, just of them sitting in different places, Aang explaining in different ways the concept of "colour" to Toph. The original draft actually had him use other colours as a base in which to explain them (thank goodness I threw that one out). I didn't have a beta-reader at that stage, and so I had to do my own editing.

There were a couple of reasons why I was so pedantic about this story. The first was that I still had very little faith in my ability. I think the only reason I actually continued with it was because the subject absolutely fascinated me, and I didn't want anyone else to steal it. The second was that I wanted to do the idea justice. To me, this was the pinnacle of my creativity; the first one-shot I had ever written, the most emotional, most unique story. I didn't want to waste my chance. Even though I still revise it, I don't feel I have.

48px-3565124.png Tribute to an Anonymous User

As we all know, to some more sadly than others, as of July 1st, anonymous users can no longer edit on Avatar Wiki due to COPPA laws. I could go on for a very long time about why it will hurt us, or why it was unfair - but all that's already been said, and if you wan't to hear that, go to the recent forum. Today I simply want to say a tribute to one anonymous user who really influenced me and helped my wiki career, and now along with the thousands of anonymous among him, can no longer edit here.

On April 30th, 2011, over two years ago, Anonymous User wrote the first comment on the second chapter of my fanon. It was a simple word of praise; "…your awesome! and why isnt anyone commenting?"

And although he probably didn't think twice about it - that comment may have changed my life.

Because it didn't stop there. On the third chapter, he wrote "awesome! im the same guy from the last chapter" And it continued like that, on every chapter I wrote he would leave a little compliment or question and I would write my chapters to see what he thought and hear his praise. My only fan was this anonymous user, but it was because of him and his dedication to my story that I continued to write it, because I knew that he would always have something good to say about me and my writing. From "OH MY GOD!!!" to "cant wait for book 2", his words were the reason I could push myself to keep writing.

It wasn't until I was around 13 or 14 chapters in that I began to get a bigger fanbase besides the one anon. As I attracted more readers and he started to comment on my chapters less and less, at times I forget about this anonymous user. But looking back, I think credit is due to him for helping me through Rhythm's first few months of unpopularity. Without him, I may not have even gone through with my fanon at all.

I never got the chance to sincerely recognize him, but I think now with the disabling of anonymous users here, its a very appropriate time to do so. So thank you,, for motivating me to write The Avatar Rhythm.

And to all the users who are saying stuff like, "Aw, thank god anons are gone," as annoying as they may be, its an anonymous user's efforts who gave me the inspiration to write a fanon over 135,000 words long. And if this new COPPA rule was commissioned back then, not only wouldn't I have finished it, but I might not even be here now. I owe my successes (and even some losses) to him.

I'm hoping that other users will follow suit and describe an anonymous user who made a mark on their wiki career, maybe in another column, a blog, or even just a comment. Although wikia has given them a bad name, there have been some really helpful anons here on Avatar Wiki and definitely not just in the fanon portal. I want the community to realize some of the great work they've done here.

BM, signing out.

Random polls

How will you (yes YOU!) be celebrating the Wiki's 8th birthday?

The poll was created at 16:51 on July 15, 2013, and so far 55 people voted.
If you had a time-machine, laptop, and actual Internet, when would you have chosen to be an AW user?

The poll was created at 16:51 on July 15, 2013, and so far 60 people voted.
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