A few days ago, Grawevit, the owner of the guildwiki domain and one of the founders of guildwiki, announced that he has sold guildwiki to wikia for an undisclosed amount of money and wikia company stocks. I am disgusted by his move, but, unfortunately, not surprised. All those active in the first years of guildwiki will remember that Grawevit's contributions had been moderate to begin with and all but stopped after about half a months. After that, all his interest seemed to focus on how to get adds to work. With hindsight (and some people with foresight it is pretty clear that Grawevit had a clear business plan. He used the well running guildwiki to start and promote the gamewiki platform, kept silent about ad revenue (despite being offered further donations by users: A clear sign he was breaking even).
I do not want to go into legal details. I am not a lawyer. However what Gravewit did was morally wrong. Users who contributed to guildwiki had the explicit or implicit understanding that this was a non-for-profit collaboration, with the sole aim of providing a useful resource for fans of guild wars. Everyone was strongly lead to believe that his contributions would only ever benefit the users, never anyone monetarily. Did anyone know that the guildwiki domain now sold did originally not belong to Gravewit? I am sure MartinLightbringer did not intent for his domain to be used to obtain Gravewit some stocks when he registered it and gave it to the project.
It is important to remember that wikis are build upon the concept of free labor: Whenever someone contributes, he gives away his labor for free. Producing an encompassing encyclopedia (like wikipedia) takes much work and, unless done as a wiki, lots of money. So does producing a thoroughful gaming resource. All those ads only pay because there is worthwile content on the page drawing in viewers in the first place. And that content is produced by editors working for free. Humans are altruistic beings and as such willing to give something, including their work, for free towards some goals. However when these goals are the monetary gain of a for profit company, I doubt many would work for free, just as you expect your employer to pay you.
Betraying these editors and abusing their free labor for monetary profit undermines the foundations of a great system which brings together many altruistic people for some common good. I despise Gravewit for undermining good deeds and pushing, in his small little niche, the world towards a place where humans are not to be trusted and everyone is in for their own gain. This might sound spiteful, but I certainly hope that he does not become happy with his ill-gotten money. --Xeeron 14:02, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
The various talk pages for those who want to inform themselves about what happened:
- http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/GuildWiki_talk:Domain_Name - The origin of the guildwiki domain.
- http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/User_talk:Gravewit Gravewits talk page contains Tanaric's recent open later, as well as archives full of notes showing how little Gravewit actually administered the wiki.
- http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/User_talk:Tanaric/Archives2 Tanaric's talk page archive, showing how this very issue was already controversial (and lead to me leaving guildwiki) in November 2006.
- http://gw.gamewikis.org/wiki/Wikia_Move The wikia move page on guildwiki + discussions