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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 45: 2 September

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48px-1025281.png From the editor
The 888th Avatar

Welcome to the (belated) final issue of The Ba Sing Se Times under this editorship. In this final editorial, I'd like to discuss what to wikis is necessarily their bread and butter: retaining long-term contributors. Most wikis actually fail at this task. Even Wikipedia's contributor base is suffering a slow but steady decline. Preserving a stable community is not easy, and wikis must consciously take this into account whenever making decisions that have wide ramifications on the site as a whole.

The most widely-seen mistake that many wikis make is rigid adherence to the encyclopedic paradigm. While that structure is useful as a foundation for a wiki, which is at its base a content management system, it does not encourage diversity. In fact, the experience of Wikipedia and other major wikis that fall under this category is that over time, a (usually male) subset of contributors form a cabal. Such a scenario ensures they stay around, but drives away others, detracting from the goal of retaining as many long-term contributors as possible.

At the other extreme, however, the mistake that other wikis make is the substitution of consensus-driven decision-making based around debate for simplistic up and down votes on every proposal. This drives away existing long-term contributors by negating their ability to use their experience on the wiki to provide meaningful and important input. Such rule by the mob discourages them from believing they have anything to continue editing for.

So far, this wiki has avoided such pitfalls, and I hope it continues to do so for a long time to come. Don't forget the principles that built this wiki.

48px-5161988.png An interview with The 888th Avatar

"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.

48px-3300084.png Users Becoming Inactive

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.

48px-5114102.png Massive increase of rollback users

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!

48px-4777191.png What is JavaScript?

Welcome to the third chapter of the Web series of Coding Companion tutorials. Today's topic is JavaScript. What you will learn today is a mix of details and vital information about the most famous and commonly used client-size (don't worry if you don't know what that means) script in the world.

To give you some background information, it was Netspace (now Mozilla) that created JavaScript (originally known as LiveScript, but later renamed to JavaScript because of marketing) back in 1996. At the beginning the web was but HTML (with some basic styling). When JavaScript was added, it was viewed as an unneeded element of the Web; today, however, most users cannot image the Web without JavaScript. To give you a bit of an idea, without JavaScript comments would not work on Wikia, nor would reloading of the recent activity page (which uses AJAX, a part of JavaScript).

Continue reading >

from the fanon portal
48px-3565124.png Fanon Advertising Bulletin

BlackMonkey, back for a nice ol' fanon advertising post.

Today the promotion for Dancing Shadows ends. This week we actually had a winner of the drawing who made a pretty nice review of the fanon, TheLoKnessmonster! He will be given a special userbox and his name will be on the FAS main page forever, so congrats.

And like the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the Fanon Advertising Promotions begins anew. The next promotion will be for To BE but Not to BE, a newer, creative story by Omar067. Don't be hesitant because of the author, this promotion was requested before any of the recent Omar commotion happened. It in fact is pretty well written story, and actually won Featured Fanon just this June. So what's it all about? To BE but Not to BE offers the reader an original, unorthodox plot for an Avatar fanon. It tells the tale of Avatar Korra’s successor, an Earth Kingdom boy named Elquiorra. Unlike a lot of Avatars, Elquiorra harbors a nihilistic viewpoint on life. His journey leads him to face a powerful foe called the Death God who has taken over Republic City and whose followers use a new form of bending called Biobending. If you want to read a different, creative story focusing on a much different side of the Avatar universe, read this To BE but Not to BE. And if you do, please send your thought to the Fanon Advertisement System here, for a chance to win a special userbox, recognition in the next Ba Sing Se Times, and your name on the Fanon Advertising page forever. Don't be shy, it can just be two or three sentences on your favorite character, a tip for the author, or what you liked overall. Send it in here.

For more information about promotions, ads, and the contest, please check out the Fanon Advertisement System.

48px-2249220.png Fanon Awards
Acer Indonesia

Hey, folks. I know, we're celebrating Fourth Fanon Awards 2012 right now. It's F.U.N, isn't? I doubt you all missed it; if yes, come on before it's too late!

To the topic, we have know the Fanon Awards, don't we? It's an annual award of Fanon, just like we've in Main portal: User Awards. Years ago, the Fanon Awards have been abandoned-for a year. 2011, a year without any F.U.N. A year without any Fanon Awards! Fanon Portal fell to barren, with no any active writer booming on the top threads. Fortunately we have Fanon Awards Councils, who finally arranged to create the 4th Fanon Awards. Finally, it's created once again.

The Fanon Awards contains a lot of categories, which we can win "at least" one. I know it's hard to compete with some great authors, but why not we try our best? I saw on the activity, it's not completely active. Only between 6 hours a vote/nomination will up. Come on, guys. We can't miss it! I want to call you all, Fanon Folks, to get up from your bed, go throughout the internet sea, surfing and browsing the Fanon Awards-Before it's too late.

Congratulations for the leader-I mean the future-winner!

You can cast your vote on General Noticeboard.

And, for the Fifth Fanon Awards.

The Fifth Fanon Awards are awaiting for us, folks! We'll meet a lot of F.U.N, more F.U.N if we're prepared enough to fight in the fifth ceremony. As you know, Councilors are confused enough to change the categories as the fanon stories are stop publishing. Just like "Outstanding Romance Series" is erased, as the known Romance Series are majority produced within 2010-2011. If you have an idea, don't be afraid to publish it! We have Fanonbenders to help you out, all of case: writing, coding, and format. Don't be shy to write your own!

"I don't have any idea to writing a fanon."

Good quote. Confused what will your fanon tell about? There are thousand ways to create a story. First, read another's fanon. Lately, I saw there are a lot of fanons who're told us about Air Nomad Genocide, such as Burning Air, and Secrets of the Wind. Try your own, and little tips for you: search some minor/untouched stories. It's enhance creativity scores! Or.. why not visit our idea-farm, this? You can start your own without any requirements, only the things needed there; bio.

Thank you for reading, keep writing! Be ready for the fifth Fanon Awards, this is AcenglishMaster.

Credits to wjxhuang, the best BSST editor - Farewell, master. Farewell.

Sokka reaches out BW

There is nothing in me...
And in you.
To BE but Not to BE

48px-4674372.png Fanfic that needs readers!
Night's Fire

Do you like stories with a strong, independent, female main character? What about one that's running from the most elite police force in the world, accused of treason and attempted murder of the Fire Lord? If that sounds appealing to you, take a look at my fanon, The Perfect Crime.

The story focuses on a woman named Naomi, who was once the Fire Lord's most loyal guard, and the only female member of the Imperial Firebenders. Now, after explosive devises failed to kill the Fire Nation's most important man, Naomi finds herself in the middle of the biggest conspiracy in the country's history. With her friends, neighbors, and family thinking she's a vicious traitor, and her fellow Imperial Firebenders sent to capture her, she embarks on an epic journey to clear her name... that is, if she's even innocent.

Random polls

Of the following, what best describes your feelings toward the creation of the rumored LoK animated movie?

The poll was created at 09:05 on September 4, 2012, and so far 116 people voted.
What kind of polls do you like?

The poll was created at 09:05 on September 4, 2012, and so far 110 people voted.
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