Welcome to the next installment of our Featured Wikian blog series. Recently, we chatted with Monchoman45, a self-proclaimed ubertechie who has been asked by some users to write a "Wikia for Dummies" book. It hasn't been confirmed that he's actually working on this book, but you can check out the interview below to learn more about Monchoman45's interests on Wikia.
Wikia: Tell us a little bit about yourself -- just some general information about you.
Monchoman45: I'm a self-taught ubertechie who loves the Internet. I tinker and poke at things for fun, and I'm usually more interested in how something works than what it actually does. I picked up HTML, CSS, and JS at the end of last year, and I've been using them ever since. One random fact about me is that I don't read the newspaper while cooking anymore because I've set a fire by accident too many times.
Wikia: How did you first discover Wikia?
Monchoman45: I decided I'd give a new game a try, and found Remnants of Skystone, a steampunk MMO/Platformer. I asked the community a few standard questions and they directed me to the game's wiki, Skystone Wiki. As I learned more about the game, I started editing [on the wiki] more, and eventually became an admin after our bureaucrat Danaroth took a hiatus.
Wikia: Which wikis do you spend the most time on, and which is your main wiki?
Monchoman45: I lurk around Skystone Wiki, Kongregate Wiki, Kongai Wiki, and here on Community Central. I don't edit much on the first three, but I always have a tab for their RecentChanges open on my browser, and I check frequently to make sure everything is in working order. Most of my editing now is done [on Community Central] answering forum threads and responding to messages on my talk page. I also tinker with code on my sandbox wiki, Monchbox.
Wikia: What do you think is great about Wikia?
Monchoman45: I like that anyone can make a wiki. I think a lot of people are scared to edit Wikipedia because it's Wikipedia -- it's big, and some users feel like there are other people who know more about Wikipedia's policies who should be editing it. But on Wikia, anyone can create their own wiki and do whatever they want with it. They can make their own policies and grow their own communities. No one will tell them that they need to add a source to that one sentence, or that their article is too short, or that their content isn't important enough to warrant a page. They can run things however they want. To me, that freedom is what wikis are all about.
Wikia: How has Wikia inspired you or supported your passion?
Monchoman45: Wikia is a great place for me because few other sites let you use custom CSS and JS. MediaWiki software is flexible and modular, which lets me to move and change things to make the interface more useful to me. Wikia gives me a place where I can share these modifications and create some for other people, too. I've learned more this way than I did in Computer Science at school.
What would your top 5 tips for new folks on a wiki be?
- Be bold. Wikis are meant to be changed, and they won't do it by themselves. You might do something wrong, but that's ok -- everyone makes mistakes.
- Speak your mind. Discussion makes the content better, and helps people to understand things that they don't get from just reading the article.
- Assume good faith. Editors don't always add the correct information to a page, but you should assume they're trying to whenever possible. It'll help solve a lot of disputes.
- If you don't know, ask. No question is too big or too small -- wikis are full of people willing to help you.
- Click the "source" button. The RTE works for writing paragraphs and adding a picture or two, but once you get the hang of wikitext, you'll find it's much faster than the RTE and it lets you do a whole lot more.
Wikia: What would you like to see that isn't on Wikia already?
Monchoman45: More stuff in Wikia Labs, and a place for things in Wikia Labs that aren't being beta tested -- wouldn't it be cool if you could turn DPL on or off without using Special:Contact? And it'd be cool if you could see which features are on and which features are off, so you can tell from a glance at Special:WikiaLabs what's available on that wiki and what's not.
Wikia: You said that you do a lot of work in JS; for those who don't know what that is, can you give us a little description, and also explain why you work in JS?
Wikia: You founded the Kongai Wiki right? Why did you start that wiki, and what advice would you give other users looking to start their own wiki?
Monchoman45: I founded Kongai Wiki because all of the content there used to be on Kongregate Wiki (Kongai is a game on Kongregate, as is Remnants of Skystone), and it was taking up a lot of space. So we moved all of it to a new wiki because it was big enough that it could benefit from having its own space. If you're thinking of moving a wiki, don't do what I did and move each page one by one -- use Special:Export and Special:Import. They're a lot faster, and they preserve the page history.
Thank you Monchomon45 for taking the time to answer our questions!
If you or someone you know would make a great Featured Wikian, please let us know by leaving a comment here with their username and one sentence about why they should be featured. And feel free to introduce yourselves by answering one of the questions from this interview in the comments below.