Over the past years, we have noticed a disturbing trend in Nintendo fandoms. Where once stood friendly communities, operated by well known and well loved faces, now stand sterile places run by faceless corporate entities, whose only care for their visitors is how much advertising revenue they generate. Nowhere is this more true than with fan wikis. For the past several years, there has been a systematic attempt made by certain groups to acquire wikis of sufficient size and prominence in their respective fandoms. While some webmasters have resisted, many others have instead given themselves over. Some misled by duplicitous offers of free hosting with many more strings attached then they were ever aware, and others led astray sadly by greed, with promises of shared advertising revenues or even flat out lump sums of cash.
We seek to change this trend.
What we have said should not be misunderstood as being anti-corporate. There is certainly a place in online fandoms for corporate sponsorship, and it's true that many fansites, ourselves included, would not be able to cover their hosting bills without advertising of some sort. Nor can we blame all of those who have had to relinquish control of their communities, as the financial and technical burdens for those of us who become large are often quite significant, and there are most certainly difficulties for webmasters in forming the networks and connections they need to make enough return off their advertisements to pay for their communities.
What we do stand against is the corporate meddling in the actual day-to-day operation and management of our communities, which we feel is a detriment to our fandoms as a whole. Our feelings can be summarised thus.
* Fan communities should be run by the fans, by people whose involvement in the well-being of the community is of the emotional nature of the fan. They should not be run by those having only a purely financial investment, with no interest in the specific fandom itself.
* Fan communities should be run for the fans, by people who will take a positive interest in the fans' desires, always thinking about how they can continue to enhance the enjoyment of everyone in the community.
* Fan communities should be run together with the fans, embracing a spirit of co-operation and camaraderie in our fandoms, with friendly rivalries rather than bitter divides.
It's time we made our stand together, as fans, for the sake of the futures of our fandoms.
That stand begins now.
NIWA is a network of independent operators of Nintendo wikis, founded jointly by Bulbapedia, ZeldaWiki and Super Mario Wiki - three strong communities that have banded together in the face of this threat. We hope that our example will send a message to fandoms everywhere: we will not take this trespass into our domain lying down, and neither should they. We will show the world that such a stand is possible, and worthwhile.
To those of you who seek to dominate and hold power over us, we say fear us, and know that your actions will be tolerated by the fans no more.
To those of you who seek freedom in your pursuit of knowledge, and to those of you oppressed under the shackles of faceless shadows, we say seek out and join us.
We are NIWA, and this is our declaration of our independence.