Wiki Communities Never Sleep

Why do gamers spend time boosting products for free?

Down at the Edit Me! How Gamers are Adopting the Wiki Way panel: The big question. Why do people wiki?

After all, for games this used to be the stuff of expensive printed game guides (official and unofficial) done for profit. Angelique Shelton of Wikia Inc. uses the basketball analogy: "Have you ever played ball in the street? Well, there's people in the NBA who get paid to do that."

NCSoft community manager April Burba has a pretty good idea who these volunteer encyclopedia builders are: "The users of wikis are people that are into producing documentation." They serve a double purpose for developers: not only do they keep the discussion going and get more people involved, they keep players playing.

The real question, she added, is whether the firm tries to build its own wiki or let one develop organically from the player community. That's pretty much a matter of trust (and, she adds, the community is often better than a single staffer in correcting errors and dealing with trolls.)

So are all game developers ok with letting people go wild with their product? Maybe not all, but George Pribul, lead admin of World of Warcraft wiki WoWwiki
noted that Blizzard have been very supportive, while Shelton said the Spore wiki community nearly wilted with joy when Will Wright made a comment and correction. Oh, and the cash: as Burba noted, if Wikia makes a dollar off advertising on the site, the developer will be making $10 off all that lovely free advertising.

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