User:Zeus/Personal Guide from Moving from Fandom

From Miraheze Meta, Miraheze's central coordination wiki

Blad's guide to move a wiki from Fandom and his experiences
No one ever said it was easy.

Fandom Inc. is the bane of almost every wiki editor's existence. It might seem cute and soft on the surface to the readers of the wiki, but when you really get deep into the rabbit hole, it's a NIGHTMARE. Chances are that you already notice this if you're clicking on this link, though. So I won't bore you with the whole "Fandom sucks" speech, but it's really, REALLY difficult to escape Fandom entirely due to their policies. You can try, but the process is long, and tedious. And as someone who did this over the course of an entire summer, there's no real guide on the internet to do it. And that ends today, as I, (ZeusDeeGoose), will explain in painstaking detail on how to do this.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • This guide requires you have a decent knowledge of how Miraheze and Phorge works, and how to perform basic tasks, like enabling extensions via ManageWiki. These are well documented, but here's a quick rundown.
    • Miraheze is a "wiki farm", which hosts wikis, similarly to Fandom. There are some differences with Fandom and Miraheze, such as the amount of customization over your wiki, the adless nature of Miraheze, as well as how you request a wiki. Fandom generates wikis at the drop of a hat for you, while Miraheze operates on a request-based system.
    • ManageWiki allows you to change your wiki settings and is accessible via the side bar. This guide focuses on several extensions available with ManageWiki.
    • Phorge is where sysadmins check various tasks, such as bugs, large imports, etc. This guide focuses on imports, although it may be possible to ignore Phorge entirely depending on your wiki.
  • To avoid any sort of confusion between wikis, each set of wikis are clearly distinguished from each other in this guide. THIS wiki is Miraheze Meta. YOUR wiki, the NEW wiki, or the MIRAHEZE WIKI, is the wiki on Miraheze that you have just requested. The FANDOM wiki, or the OLD wiki is the wiki on Fandom.
  • The writer (ZeusDeeGoose) makes NO GUARANTEE THIS GUIDE WILL WORK AS INTENDED. Perform anything here at your own risk.

TL;DR[edit | edit source]

  1. Achieve consensus for the move on the FANDOM wiki, and if the opinion of the wiki is against yours, tough luck. Depending on the size of the wiki, this may be potentially skippable, for example, if you are the sole contributor to the wiki.
  2. The most tedious process of moving is downloading all of the images from the FANDOM wiki, and uploading them into the NEW wiki. You can either upload them straight into the NEW wiki, or request it on Phorge. It's against Fandom's TOS to use scripting software to download the images automatically, hence why this must be done manually, and why they are omitted from this guide.
  3. Generate a XML dump on your FANDOM wiki and import it into your NEW wiki, using Special:Statistics on the FANDOM wiki to generate it, and Special:RequestImport on THIS wiki (recommended), or Special:Import on YOUR wiki to import your pages into your NEW wiki.
  4. It's not required, but you should request that Fandom staff close your OLD wiki, and start praying. If they decline your request, it's probably not the end of the world, but your OLD wiki will be lying around, competing for your NEW Wiki's SEO.

There are also extensions and skins that make your wiki more akin to Fandom's experience if that's your preference. The most common ones are:

  • DummyFandoomMainpageTags: Replicates the behavior of the <mainpage-leftcolumn-start /> tags and alike
  • PortableInfobox: Port of Fandom's commonly used Infobox extension
  • Cosmos: Skin akin to old-school Fandom

Once you're done, you can relish in the fact that the worst is over, and now you're a freely independent man, so long as you follow our policies.

Achieving Consensus[edit | edit source]

It is generally a good idea to achieve consensus first to move the FANDOM wiki. Without this, neither the community or the staff will be on your side when it comes to the move, and you'll end up disappointed (although you could technically fork it without consensus, this is still not recommended). If your wiki is small (1-2 contributors), you may be able to skip this step entirely.

Create a page on the Fandom wiki (something like Project:Move wiki), and explain why you should move the wiki, as little or as much as you want. Here is a quick example of what the discussion should look like. From there, post this in several high visibility places, and wait for about a week or two for any comments.

  • If a majority of users (60-70%) supported the proposal, close the discussion, and announce the move. You should post an announcement on a high visibility place, announcing the move. This can essentially be done anywhere (announcements, main forum, main page, etc), just get the word out as much as possible. Now, you can move on to the next steps.
  • If a majority of users opposed the proposal, there is no consensus and the wiki should not be moved. Sorry!
    • Note that while an Abstain isn't necessarily an opposition, be cautious if there is a major amount of abstains. Make sure you read over all of the arguments in a proposal to determine whether there is consensus or not.

Pre-requisites[edit | edit source]

First of all, you will need a wiki to move content into, which requires a Miraheze account, and it's also heavily recommended to add an email in case you lose your password. If you don't have an account, you can create one here. Also note that many wikis on Miraheze use a custom domain, so if you've made an account on one of those wikis, you should login instead. The easiest way to tell if a wiki is hosted by Miraheze is by scrolling all the way down to the footer, right next to the copyright license.

Requesting a wiki[edit | edit source]

You can request a wiki here. The wizard is very useful, but where many get tripped up is when they get to the description of the wiki. Take caution and be descriptive of the wiki, and choose an appropriate subdomain. Avoid off-topic content and filler as well. Here's a good example of one about the Virtual Boy: "A wiki about the Virtual Boy console, Nintendo's notorious faliure. It is mostly a personal project to provide high quality info about the console. This wiki will document the console itself, it's games, accessories, and legacy. The scope will be generally limited due to a lack of software, about less than 100 pages, at most 150." Once your wiki is approved, you can go onto the next step!

If your wiki is rejected for one reason or another, refer to the comment given by the Wiki creator. Most of the time, the issue lies within the wiki request itself, however other issues tend to crop up. Be wary of this, as a good wiki request does not lead to an equally successful approval.

The Great Migration[edit | edit source]

Once you have your new wiki, you can start on the move. The main portion of your time will be spent on uploading all of the images into the new wiki.

Images[edit | edit source]

Okay, so I would like to formally announce my opinion on moving images on Fandom. IT SUCKS. Not only is it impossible to generate an image dump from Fandom wikis, but you can't even use an automated script to download the images, because it's disallowed by Fandom's TOS. It takes forever to upload all of the images. Our wiki had about ~300 images, and it took myself and another user nearly an entire SUMMER, with me doing day shifts and the other doing night shifts. It takes a ridiculous amount of time, and I suggest getting a few users together to download the images.

Once you have all the images downloaded from the FANDOM wiki, upload them to some sort of cloud storage. A good starting point is Google Drive, which gives 15GB of space for free. Some other storage solutions include Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. Also make sure the cloud folder can also be easily accessed (ex. no password protection). Request an image dump via Phorge, and share the link with SRE, or, if you hate yourself, you can choose to upload all of the images to the NEW wiki manually, pick your poison. If you're running low on cloud storage, you can also enable uploads via URL on YOUR wiki at Special:ManageWiki/settings#mw-section-media. This will require you to go to the image page (click on an image, click on the top-left link) and right-click on the image. Click 'Copy image address', and then go onto YOUR wiki. Go to Special:Upload and select the circle for 'Source URL'. Paste, and name the file whatever it was named originally. Skip the Phorge step if you decide to go this route. There is also no way to easily prevent uploads on a Fandom wiki, so you should leave a notice on MediaWiki:Sitenotice on the FANDOM wiki. This way, your message will display to everyone on that wiki.

Once you're done with this, you can hold off on importing the text for a while, as when you'll close the Fandom wiki, you can download an XML dump. If you don't want to, you can skip this step entirely and jump to importing.

Closing the Fandom Wiki[edit | edit source]

You probably don't want to leave the FANDOM wiki around when moving, so you should probably close it, for a few reasons.

Why?[edit | edit source]

  • Two sites are incredibly difficult to manage and individually update.
  • Traffic; Fandom SEO is ruthless and will often rank YOUR Miraheze wiki below the Fandom version.
  • Keeping the Fandom wiki around can cause a divide within the community, and the wiki will suffer because of it.

If you decide to close the wiki, contact Fandom staff and request that Fandom staff close the Fandom wiki. Link to the page where your consensus is, and note why you're leaving. Fandom staff may or may not close the wiki, depending if it has "potential for content" (essentially, does your wiki make money or not?), so be wary. Sometimes, Fandom is kind, other times not so much.

If they close the wiki, download the dump as soon as possible, and upload it to a safe space. Skip down to Importing.

Wiki not closed[edit | edit source]

Special:Statistics, as seen on the Fandom wiki Celeste Wiki. In this case, I would generate a dump (if I was an admin).

If they did not close the wiki, generate a dump. If you are an admin, generate a wiki dump via Special:Statistics on the FANDOM wiki. If you're not an admin, you can request a dump of any Fandom wiki here. A Fandom staff member will need to approve your request. This will allow you to move the wiki's pages, but NOT your images via this method.

Once you're done with this, there are two ways to get your content up and running on your new wiki.

Importing[edit | edit source]

Option 1 (recommended)[edit | edit source]

Special:RequestImport on THIS wiki.

Use Special:RequestImport (on THIS wiki, Miraheze Meta, and not YOUR wiki) and upload the .xml file from the .7z you downloaded and link to the FANDOM wiki. Your wiki database name is typically your subdomain, plus wiki at the end. For example, The Legend of Dark Witch Wiki's subdomain is darkwitchwiki. From there, a member of SRE will process the import. There is no ETA, however large imports will take longer. I also suggest preventing editing for regular users during this time, as some problems can occur. You can go into Special:ManageWiki on YOUR wiki, and click the 'Closed' box.

Example[edit | edit source]
  • Source URL:
  • Target Database Name: examplewiki
  • Reason for request: Import from fandom

Option 2[edit | edit source]

Special:Import as shown on The Legend of Dark Witch Wiki.

You can also attempt to import content directly on YOUR wiki, with Special:Import. This is only recommended for extremely small wikis (<2-3 mb xml file), otherwise you may time out and the import won't finish. Once again, close the wiki before doing this, using Special:ManageWiki on YOUR wiki.

If it asks you for an interwiki prefix, type in wikia:{subdomain of fandom wiki}.

But I don't have a Wikia wiki. What are you talking about?[edit | edit source]

Fandom, as you know it today, was originally called Wikia. Because the people at Fandom felt like it, they switched every Wikia wiki over to Fandom. Even then, Fandom still owns the Wikia domain, so they will automatically redirect you to the Fandom version of that wiki.

Post-move[edit | edit source]

You're almost done with the move!

  • First, your main page might look a little awkward if you use the mainpage parser. You have to enable DummyFandoomMainpageTags in Special:ManageWiki/extensions in order for it to look right. And just like that, it should look like normal.
  • You may also not like the default skin, Vector 2022. You may wish to enable Cosmos in the skins tab for a more Fandom-like experience. Personally, I prefer Vector but it's up to you. More info at mw:Skin:Cosmos.
  • Your infoboxes may be broken if you use Fandom's default infobox creator. Simply enable PortableInfoboxCreator and everything should be good.
  • You may wish to delete all the Message Wall pages as they are blank. Enable Nuke and make a new namespace for Message Wall. Go to Special:Nuke, click Message Wall, and nuke the pages. If done correctly, all of them should be gone.
  • If you enjoyed Discussions on Fandom, you may wish for them on your Miraheze wiki. There was WikiForums, but it has been temporarily disabled for security purposes. Thankfully, DPLForums is here and can still be enabled. See this for how to set it up. Personally, I never used discussions but if that's your thing, cool.
  • Note that inactive wikis are closed after 60 days, and 14 if there is no content on them, so be wary. If you're a bureaucrat, you can manually re-open the wiki within 6 months of closure. If a user wants to reopen the wiki, they must go to RfRW.

Now, you've done it. You've survived moving a Fandom wiki. It was a hard battle fought, so you earn the greatest reward of all; A PAT ON THE BACK!

If you need help with moving your wiki, please use the talk page. Any oddities within this essay may be discussed there as well.