"There has been some shock over the sudden retirement of The 888th Avatar as editor from this newsletter after a straight three and a half years, as well as forty-seven odd editions, under his name. Since 2009, he toiled to make a once small and insignificant fortnightly newsletter the great center of news and wiki culture that it is today. In every publication, 888 has worked behind the scenes to make this newsletter successful, and the deputy editors of the Ba Sing Se Times feel it is only fair that his retirement be publicized in turn by the very wiki legacy he founded. Let's all give his last edition with us a warm reception!
For those users who may be new to the Ba Sing Se Times or the wiki in general, The 888th Avatar is an admin on this site who founded this newsletter based off the idea that the (then smaller) wiki would benefit from a centralized source of news and user opinion. Since then, it has garnered critical acclaim and a good amount of popularity. Last edition, he announced that he would no longer be able to work on the newsletter, and as a send-off gift, I have arranged a small interview with him, mainly relating to his future on the Ba Sing Se Times, and his thoughts on his retirement and the publication:
1. How much are you planning to contribute to the Ba Sing Se Times in the following months, if at all? Do you make any commitments, and if so, will you continue the most popular Urban Dictionary column?
I definitely intend to contribute to the newsletter whenever I can, and I'm happy to commit to continuing Urban Dictionary. Suggestions for themes would be welcome!
A common question that has been drifting around the wiki.
2. How will you be succeeded? And do you have faith that your successor will be able to maintain the high standard of quality that you have set?
Well, as people have probably seen by now, a forum thread on the subject is ongoing, and we've widely agreed on the person for the job. I'm very confident that person will be able to maintain the standards of the newsletter. I've sung his praises on the forum thread, and I mean every word of it. This is a job that not many can do. It requires more character than, say, founding a user group. I think I personally proved unequal to the task.
Many users have been surprised by your announcement of retirement after such a prosperous editorship.
3. What was the thought process behind your decision to leave at this juncture, and when did you start considering it?
It really started a few weeks ago when I realised that sticking to a timetable for a newsletter was really incompatible with my personal life. As much as I enjoyed having the opportunity to do a service for the community, I decided that it was better to give someone else a shot, particularly as I knew there would be more than satisfactory replacements.
A penny for your thoughts.
4. What does the Ba Sing Se Times represent to you? And what expectations will you have of it in the future?
I think the newsletter really represents the strength of our community more than anything else. It takes a lot of people for it to be a success and I think it's a testament to the strength of the wiki that people are willing to step up. I think that when the newsletter isn't doing so well, it's a broader symptom of decay in our community. Of course, I don't expect this to be the case anytime soon and I expect the newsletter to be even better than it is today, with a wider readership and an aim towards being even more influential.
Let's leave the best for last!
5. Do you have any last thoughts to leave us with about your tenure as editor on the Ba Sing Se Times, and the newsletter itself?
I think the truly successful editor needs to go beyond what I brought to the newsletter and be perhaps less passive. Perhaps the new approach, which I was never really able to pursue, should involve more actively seeking contributions and encouraging the sparking of debates along more meaningful themes.
I know, I know, the irony that I would be writing such an article.
But the truth is, users are becoming inactive, now at a faster rate then before. Is it because of the light of recent events that I shall not completely dwell into? Or, because school must force them to cut their time short? It could even be due to the superior force called parents.
However, if it is because of the recent discussions we have had inside the war room and out, because of all the recent drama, then all I can do is point you back to The Ultimate Waterbender's article a couple of issues ago. If users feel the need to leave Avatar Wiki because they don't even think we are mature enough to be a wiki, does that tell you something? Users are now getting offended for the silliest things- and users are offending people for the silliest things. I shall leave that matter alone for you to think about.
Another reason: the classic wiki addiction. Haha, you know who you are. I was told that I spend up to four hours a day on this site, when I was around. I didn't even realize it. Okay, let's be honest here: some of you are really active here. Hats off to you for that matter- however I know it is a reason someone would leave. Because wiki has come to the point where some people are staring at the Wiki Activity page for quite some time. (Guilty as charged!)
Ah, and of course, wiki addiction leads me to the matter of parents, which is part of my problem. Well, bad choice of words. I am aware of the range of ages of users on the wiki, I mean, 13 year olds to 30 year olds. Or...12-30. Several users here do not act underage when they actually are. Anyhow, some users, unfortunately, cannot make the descision of staying, or leaving, or anything like that. I know a few users who hid the wiki from their parents. I can tell you, honestly, that if that is the case, then you need to be honest about it. I learned it the hard way.
Then, there's the classic middle school bell. Or high school, college, what have you. This is another reason why I have become inactive. Me, well I'm not going to put my age on here however, I can say that this school year matters a lot.Wiki would be a distraction to me, as much as I hate to say it. If I were still active when school began, I know my performance would have dropped. For users on here who leave because of school purposes, well hats off to you.
And in general, users who know they have to go, hats off to you. You will be missed on here. However, the saying "real life comes first" is true on all occasions. Whatever you do on the wiki will be greatly remembered, however in my opinion, it should not affect what you do outside cyber space.
Thank you for reading. This is Iceland77, signing off for good.
A rollback user is a member of the Avatar Wiki community that has several extra user rights to help the administrators. With the assistance of their trusty [rollback] button, these users can undo vandalism edits with only one click rather than two or three using the undo button. In addition, the rollbacks can edit and delete comments on articles and blog posts around the wiki.
It is clear that rollback users are very valuable to Avatar Wiki, helping the administrators keep up with all of their work. The rollbacks are very useful, but is the amount of rollback users becoming too high?
When I joined the wiki earlier this year on May 26th, there were only twenty-two rollback users. To this day, the rollback users’ population has almost doubled, reaching thirty-eight users. This year alone, there have been sixty-eight requests and nominations for rollback rights. The year isn’t even over yet and the amount of rollback requests and nominations for 2012 has already topped last year’s amount that stood at only about sixty requests/nominations.
I myself have acquired rollback rights in this (just over) three month time span after Acer Indonesia kindly nominated me on July 11th, making me the twenty-fifth user to get rollback rights this year. My nomination was the forty-ninth request/nomination filed this year.
With thirty-eight rollbacks on the lookout, vandalism is caught within seconds of the vandal publishing it. Several times now, I have found vandalism and hit rollback as quick as I could, but on certain occasions I get the ‘Rollback failed’ page, notifying me that someone else has reverted or rolled the vandalism back first.
After the pilot of The Legend of Korra, a wave of new users has come to the wiki, one of them being me. Several books for The Legend of Korra are still on their way, and with each of their premieres I can guarantee another wave of new users. And more users will equal more people requesting rollback rights.
So will the wiki eventually have to set a limit to the amount of rollback users? The requests for rollback page firmly states that there is no maximum number. There are many users that deserve the rights, and there will be plenty more on the way.
How many users will it take to cause the community to set a limit? The world may never know!