There is a magical place we all go when we we’re looking for answers. No, I don’t mean church, your dreams, not even television or the movies. The place I’m talking about is that wonderful place we call Wookiepedia. i09 recently spoke with two of the editors about how they take all the (what seems like endless) Star Wars knowledge and put it in a nice, neat package for us to search. Come and open this Holocron.
I like to think of Wookiepedia as the perfect complement to Jedi Temple Archives. We cover everything that is collecting, they cover that mess we call Canon. i09 spoke with Mike Delaney, the community development team and Wookiepedia’s Legends admin, and Brand Rhea, the manager of content production and Canon admin. Two very different sources of material, at least since the Disney buyout.
As most fans know, the decision to convert the Expanded Universe into what we now know as ‘Legends’ was big blow to what many people believed was the real continuation of the Original Trilogy. With one fell swoop of a pen, the Thrawn trilogy was nothing more than a story we once read. It left a lot of fans with a bad taste in their mouth and Wookiepedia had a big decision to make; what do we do with all this information? According to Mikey Delaney, this decision was made pretty fast.
Basically the decision was made, fairly early on, that the information wouldn’t be lost, that it wouldn’t be removed. Some advocated that if it was going to be decanonized, it wouldn’t have a place on the wiki. That was a minority opinion. The majority of us on the site always felt that no matter what, the information should be retained in some way. It was just figuring out how that information would be displayed and kept on the site alongside the new canon information that would be brought out by Lucasfilm.-Mike Delaney
Brandon Rhea expanded explaining that their decision went right along with what LucasFilm had planned with the material as well.
They called it “Legends” for a reason. They said these stories are still around and could still be pulled from. So Wookieepedia kind of adopted the same approach. –Brandon Rhea
Since Wookiepedia is a fan wiki, this decision was based off more than what the admin’s wanted to do. Mike Delaney explained that this was a joint-decision with the more active editors and their team of administrators from around the globe.
It’s very much a community-run endeavor. While the administrators are the ones who have the power in the terms of being able to delete certain pages and block malicious users, when it comes to enacting that kind of decision, it’s very much a consensus-driven decision that the community is very involved in. –Mike Delaney
Star Wars has the most rabid fan base out there and if you’ve ever spent time on a fan site (Hello!), you know how fast information becomes available. When the trailer for The Force Awakens came out during Star Wars Celebration, Wookiepedia had screenshots and information being posted within five minutes of its debut. The fans play an absolutely critical part in the information making its way onto Wookiepedia as fast as it does.
There are people who are so into the idea of chronicling all this lore that they read the books specifically to do that. Every [Wiki] page for a novel has a giant list of appearances saying who appears in what book. There are people who will read a book and as they’re going through it, take notes about what they just read so they can update as they go and create pages as they go. There’s a lot of enjoyment that people get out of connecting to Star Wars in that way. –Brandon Rhea
What really makes Wookiepedia an excellent source of information on anything Star Wars is the reliability of the information. Many wiki fan sites experience issues keeping up with all the bogus information that gets added, but Wookiepedia boasts having some legitimate references backing them up.
It’s funny, the other day on Twitter, because Wookieepedia has interactions with other Star Wars authors and creators, and somebody kind of questioned if Wookieepedia would be an accurate source and the guy at Lucasfilm, Leland Chee, who runs their internal database, said he would caution anyone against questioning whether Wookieepedia was a legitimate source or not. –Brandon Rhea
If you’re a Star Wars fan, there is a good chance you’ve used Wookiepedia and maybe without even realizing it. I know I’ve used them countless times for bits of information that are so minuscule, they can almost seem irrelevant. The way they combine their admins with the community is something to wonderful to behold, and that is something that makes them great. Sort of like another Star Wars fan site that is collector based and has wonderful fans sharing their news. Even though you’d only have to utter the word “Prequel” (or “Sequel” in the case of a certain individual whom we all love) in a room of Star Wars fans to see the gloves come off and watch the room erupt into chaos and debate, we still come together under the banner of Star Wars fan. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
You can read the rest of the article here, I recommend checking it out for a few interesting bits of information.
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