Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brief History of the Alternate History Wiki

The Alternate History Wiki (or the Alternative History Wiki) is one of the more significant alternate history communities on the Internet.  Though it lacks the numbers of AH.com, it makes up for it by having an active community that gravitates toward collaborative projects, like 1983: Doomsday.  Despite being independent of AH.com, there has been some confusion with newcomers to the wiki who assume that the AH wiki is owned and operated by AH.com.  Let me assure you that the AH Wiki is independent an Ian the Admin has no power there.

Though the AH wiki has a reputation on AH.com for containing low quality timelines, this has not stopped many prominent AH.commers from becoming members and even administrators of the AH Wiki.  These including Max Sinister (whose Chaos timeline is still featured there) and Dr. Nodelescu. Benkarnell, another AH.commer and Wiki member/administrator, shared with me recently some info on the early history of the wiki and I present that to you now.

The wiki was founded on January 26, 2005, by Nik Taylor who went by Nik and Nik42 on the wiki.  The first announcement of the creation of the wiki happened on January 27, 2005 on the Conculture list.  Back then Wikia, the site that hosts the AH Wiki today, was know as Wikicities.  The first alternate history to be posted on the wiki was Nik's Rebellion of 61 timeline.  Shortly after the wiki was created, other members began posting their own timelines.  An early member by the name of Chlewey, who would go on to be administrator as well, posted  British Louisiana on January 30, 2005.  In March 14, 2005, the wiki was given a boost when it was chosen to be the featured Wikicity of the week.

One of the great advantages that a wiki has over a forum, is that it is a lot easier to go back and see how things were in the past.  For example, take a look at an early version of the list of alternate histories from March 15, 2005.  There were only a handful of alternate histories at the time, one was deleted sometime in the past.  Now look at the current list of alternate histories.  The wiki surely has grown from its humble beginnings.  Remember, that list is only for the "portal" pages for timelines.  It does not include the mass amount of articles on people, nations, wars, etc. that belong to those individual timelines.

One article that is standard among timelines is the "List of Nations" article.  Benkarnell speculates, and I agree with him, that this article has become standard due to the influence of Ill Bethisad, another alternate history project that made use of a wiki and whose community predates even AH.com (some have even called them the grandfather of alternate history groups).  On their wiki, everything is organized by geography and chronology takes a backseat to culture.  Considering the number of Ill Bethisad alums who held positions of power and influence on the AH Wiki, including Louisiannan and Marcpasquin, it is easy to see how Ill Bethisad was able to influence the wiki so easily.  Even the governing philosophies of Ill Bethisad have been adopted by the AH Wiki.

Much has changed since the early days of the wiki.  Nik has not touched his creation in almost five years and the informal system of choosing administrators has evolved into well-regulated body known as the Time Stream Protection Task Force, whose members are chosen by vote from among the community.  Large collaborative timelines and map games dominate the site.  They even have their own awards, the Stirling Awards, that are handed out every year.

What the AH Wiki lacks in size, it makes up for it with its collaborative-oriented community and rich history.  It represents the continuing evolution of the online alternate history communities and will no doubt still exist long  into the future.

1 comment:

  1. "collaborative-oriented community"... No longer true...

    ReplyDelete