Recently, it has come to my attention that there are certain invididuals on Wikia and in the wider online community, including a formerly active administrator of this site, who do not appear to understand our purpose or why things are the way they are here. I regard these claims as unfair and I seek to answer them in this post.
Claim 1: "Anything can be posted" on Avatar Wiki
This is false, and is a slight to the hard work a multitude of users here have put in to continuing to build our core content, and maintaining our policies and standards. I am confident that our encyclopedia is one of the highest-quality resources on Wikia, and is the only comprehensive resource on Avatar on the Internet. We have managed to maintain an unrivalled quality of accuracy over the years as virtually every single edit on this wiki is checked by another user within several minutes, or at least several hours, of that edit being made. In fact, I stand so strongly beside the reputation of our written material that I will say that I believe our encyclopedia to be a higher in quality than even giants such as Harry Potter Wiki and Narutopedia.
It is not only in the area of core content where we have displayed a preference for not allowing just "anything". We have also developed strong, but fair restrictions on article comments, blog posts etc. — essentially, every part of the site users can post material on has its relevant limits on what can be posted and has basic standards as to the quality of the posted material. Image copyrights, in particular, are enforced very tightly and unused images are cleared out much more regularly than any other wiki of this size that I have seen. Administrators, assisted in certain areas by rollback users and fanon administrators, very regularly and very diligently delete material that does not adhere to our policies. Where it would simply be too harsh to simply delete, messages are given urging the improvement of posted material.
Claim 2: Avatar Wiki "has turned to a fanfiction [sic] site"
Such a claim is categorically untrue. Statistics, commenting activity and Facebook "like" activity all demonstrate that this is not primarily a fan fiction site. The most popular pages on this wiki have always been, and will remain our encyclopedic articles. For example, our most viewed page by far at this present time is our article on The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra. Our most viewed fan fiction articles, while popular, receive not even one tenth of the visitors that our most popular encyclopedic articles receive. Avatar Wiki is not a fan fiction site — it is a site that allows and encourages fan fiction as something complementary. Has the presence of fan fiction decreased the quality of our encyclopedia? Has it caused a mass emigration of users not interested in fan fiction? I think the answers to both those questions are crystal clear.
No. Our policies make clear this point: "Avatar Wiki is a wiki, not a social networking site." Avatar Wiki is a multipurpose community site with very strong favour given to its encyclopedia, which is the focus and the centre. Information is much more important than the individual, and we have demonstrated that strongly with our gradually increasing restrictions on user pages. No-one with more than 2,000 edits here does not contribute to our encyclopedia, or our maintenance of that encyclopedia. That is telling.
I am of the opinion that having social features (but not a full social network) has improved our ease of transition into editing, and has improved the rate at which readers become regular writers and editors. Our standard of writing on our encylopedia articles has been achieved through having more users per article than a vast majority of other wikis. Our proportion of regular editors (editors of mainspace canon articles, no less) to the reading audience is far higher than Harry Potter Wiki, Narutopedia or WoWWiki. Why is that? Because we make it easier for users to stick around on the wiki, by giving them colour rather than the black and white of a pure encyclopedia. We are realistic where others are overly idealistic: not everyone is born an academic.
Management of a wiki is about finding balance. Arguing shrilly for the ideal, non-social, thesis-standard pure encyclopedia will only leave those interested in the project wondering why they can't seem to net a larger community and gain more editing interaction. On the other hand, going all the way towards becoming a social network is destructive, non-productive, and based on the evidence, clearly is not practised here. That is all.