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The Ba Sing Se Times - Happy holidays!

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

Another year is approaching its end. Around the world, I am sure you are all celebrating the end of 2010. It has been a while since Avatar Wiki has heard from The Ba Sing Se Times, and we return to a very different wiki. When the official wiki newsletter was suspended a year ago, there were far fewer regulars, only half as many visitors, and a much less substantial range and depth of content. We have now firmly established ourselves as a leading Avatar community site.

While the biggest challenge for the wiki this year was the release of Film:The Last Airbender, from an administrative point of view, far more frustrating was the roll-out of Wikia's new look. Coming only a few months after the coding of a new skin for film articles, it meant an enormous adjustment for all users of the site. I'm pleased to say, however, that the results of our forced redesign are quite popular among our community.

Next year, I hope our wiki will become even better with the release Avatar: Legend of Korra. I would encourage all of us to continue to support Avatar Wiki through our contributions through 2011.


48px-3042313.png The Hawky Awards: updates
Ianbernard

First I’d like to say Merry Christmas! The Hawky Awards have been going strong for three months now, and it’s all thanks to you guys. The current ceremony is for the month of February. We had to skip January because of my tardiness, and I apologize. So I decided to take the opportunity at hand to run The Awards as I wanted to in the first place. From now on, the awards will open the month before, allowing for users to hold their award for the month that it’s been awarded for, instead of receiving it at the end of the month.

I’d also like to thank Water Spout for making me a beautiful banner for the awards. I used his styles and made new award images, to match. I also made a beautiful footer to match the header he created, that users can click on it to direct them to The Awards main page. Thanks so much Water Spout, you truly are one creative genius, and a pro with photoshop.

Lastly, I’d like to stress the importance of reading the rules for The Awards. It’s very difficult to have to explain myself over and over again. The Awards main page can be accessed by clicking on the footer at the bottom of the ceremony page. After February, I will no longer add the rules and information about the awards. All questions can be answered about The Awards on that page in the FAQ section. If you’re new to The Awards, please take the time to read the information page. It shouldn’t take you long, and it will save both you and me the headache. Happy Holidays and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Hawkyfooter


48px-2050906.png New year brings new users
Courage the Cowardly User

As Avatar: Legend of Korra draws near, the wiki is experiencing a boom in new users, however the change has also brought more vandalism. Everywhere, users are seeing an increase in spam, inappropriate content, and vandalism. This week, high level users and normal users alike have been handing out warnings and undoing edits through the day.

With this increase in vandalism, which is expected to increase along with the joining of new users, some users have begun to try and find ways of slowing it down. Some users feel that more admins may be needed as Korra comes closer to premiring, while others feel that the rules need to be tightened. Improving the rules for Fanon has recently become a priority with the rise of new articles. Some users even feel that certain parts of the wiki, such as badges, should be more restricted. However, some of these may take months to be implemented, while others may not be at all.

What is for certain, however, is users will have to work harder to fight the vandalism and spammers. But, users should be reminded not to confront any vandals or spammers, instead to warn them and tell an admin or bureaucrat if they do not cease. Rollback users, who have been granted the right to delete comments, have become much more active in recent weeks and have been doing their part to clean up the wiki. However, new users have been appearing, helping the wiki and doing their own part. The wiki has also been growing, with users such as Water Spout increasing the size of articles and generally improving the wiki. This is generally a good thing, and the new year is expected to bring an increase in visitors and helpers.


Avatar Book 3 What do you think of the new look?
VJavatar

On October 25, 2010, Wikia released it's new format for all wiki's to apply. But how do the users enjoy it? Did they think it was a good idea changing everything they knew? According to poll taken by seven active users, many of them favor the new look in one way or another. The main reason that people seem to like it is because it is brighter. Now you thinking that the old one was bright. True, but only in some areas. This new customized skin is a bright orange while the other one was a dark blue. Other users enjoy the new skin because it is more avatar based. The old one was all about the last airbender. And even after the movie failed, the skin stayed the same. So this was a nice change of pace. However nothing is perfect, and this is no exception. Many users miss the old skin because of its easier navigation. So their you have it. If you have an opinion, send it here.

48px-1040506.png Interview: The 888th Avatar
Dcasawang1

“It's often been commented on by others that this wiki is actually very big and very popular considering the relative scale of the franchise it is based on”.

The 888th Avatar is one of the admins and bureaucrats of Avatar Wiki. And he is also the editor of The Ba Sing Se Times. “Community focused. Involved in new content. He maintains our policies, projects and some styling”. In this issue, he answers some questions about the future of the wiki, and shares his opinions about the new series and the film:

1. You didn’t participate in the “Korra Contest”. What do you want to see in the new series?
R: There are a couple of things I want to see in the new series. I want the new series to incorporate what was good about the original series. I thought the original series explored themes of war, loss, liberty and friendship very well, and I would definitely like to see similarly mature themes in the new series. What would really make me happy to see, however, is the new series to further build on those themes and explore them in more depth - and I think, from what I know, that would be deeply appreciated by the demographic of people watching Avatar. In more depth and in a more realistic way.

2. What changes do you think the wiki will need for the premiere of the new series?
R: I think it's very hard to predict what kind of changes we would need. We certainly made predictions of our own for the release of the movie - of course, a lot of our predictions were wrong, including about the quality of the movie itself. So I'll restrict myself to one thing I'm almost certain of. I think we will need to improve the willingness of people who come here to contribute. 10,000 individuals visit the site a day, yet fewer than 30 of those I would say contribute regularly. This could be through being kinder to anonymous users - everywhere - and more actively encouraging users who make good edits to continue, by posting on their talk page. Certainly, there should be more ways to do this. If we can accomplish this, I think everything else - better articles, more exciting community activities, more admins - will follow.

3. Do you think that the fact of an inactive admin in these moments, will have an effect on the wiki later?
R: I don't think having one inactive admin will make that much of an impact on our wiki. Our wiki has a lot of people - something like 20 - who can delete pages, and that seems to be the most commonly used admin ability. Certainly though, if an admin becomes permanently absent, it is more convenient to replace that admin. There is just no rush to do so.

4. What do you think about the activity the wiki has right now?
R: I think our wiki is actually doing very well, especially considering the negative publicity and fan reaction the movie has received. We're certainly much more popular than this time last year, and we're definitely now one of the most popular, if not the most popular Avatar website. It's often been commented on by others that this wiki is actually very big and very popular considering the relative scale of the franchise it is based on.

5. What's the cause of the negative reaction of fans to the film? Is M. Night Shyamalan responsible of this?
R: While the whole "Racebending" controversy didn't necessarily "kill" the movie, I think it made a huge impact. We have to appreciate the demographics of people who watch Avatar, and it's certainly clear to me that a disproportionate number of people who belong to minority groups watch the show. So, even if the criticism is unreasonable (I have no comment on this), it still has a devastating effect. The movie, in terms of its public image, had to fight an uphill battle from there. When the critics then also gave the movie bad reviews, it only compounded the problem.

6. What changes would you make in “The Last Airbender 2” if you were the director?
R: I would be more careful about the dialogue for the movie. The first movie was very weak in this aspect - it was often bleak and sounded simplistic. There needs to be more color and shade in what the characters say, and more variation between the characters so that we can gain insight into their personalities. I would also be less cautious about changing the chronological order of events from the TV series. Movies are not TV series, and they need to be written so that there is a clear build-up to the climax. If changing the order of events helps in this regard, then it should be done.

7. Who do you think was the best character in “The Last Airbender” and why? (acting and adaptation to the film)
R: I think the best character in the film was Iroh. I think that Shaun Toub understood what was meant by bringing life to a character much more than did a lot of the other stars. It was not necessarily in line with the portrayal of Iroh in the TV series, but it was still a believable performance and I think that's the most important thing to look for in a movie.

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