User:WikiSysop/The Case of Other Wikis

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The case of MuslimWiki.com[edit]

Apparently, a place having huge potential but ultimately lost. When I first visited this site, I believed it had no articles or data more than what was shown on the main page; thinking it was probably some website made by some Muslim, in some way, to counter the effect of wikiislam and provide Muslims with a Wiki platform to make a collaborative effort for promoting Islam. The appearance of the main page (in addition to having no favicon) made me believe that the founder had just left the Wiki after its initial setup, hoping others would pick up the work but no one had actually ever come around to contributing to it. Several times when I came to this site, I thought the same thing and left.

On 30th March, 2016 while browsing the WikiIndex, I for the first time saw the statistics displayed on the main page (I don’t know why I never saw them before). It boasts 2,666 content pages and 7,144 registered users (although a lot of them are probably spam bot created accounts). The site appears to have effectively ceased functioning in 2012 with virtually no significant updates after this point. Huge efforts had been put in by some particular users. Ideas for future financial support from the community were also considered as early as in 2006, which is odd given that the domain is registered through GoDaddy (one of the more expensive hosts), probably started hosting from their servers, presently is using Pulsant hosting which does not appear to even have a shared hosting plan (which are the most economical hosting plans) and keeping in consideration the present status of the site, the domain is still continuously being renewed (last time done in February 2016).

Update: The site is now (July, 2016) pretty much unusable, even more so then before, with the Wiki pages only showing debug information.

Observations[edit]

  • Originally started as MuslimWikipedia (both the site and the domain name), but changed the site and domain name to MuslimWiki, probably around April, 2007. Some pages still have that old name, like MuslimWikipediaStats and Mw:Tutorial. The name change apparently happened because of some concern over possible future copyright issues with Wikipedia. A short discussion on it was made on the WikiSysop user page.
  • Around December 18, 2006 a forum was also created by the administrator for user interaction, which unlike the website, is presently no longer even online. However, a backed-up version of the forum, about three months after its creation, is available at Archive.org.
  • Apparently, by some method the Wiki appears to have been "frozen" in time too. The "active users" (users who have been active in the last 91 days), have their activities logged in for August, 2014 meaning that "the last 91 days" include August, 2014.
  • There appear to be a total of only 15 extensions installed on the Wiki.
  • According to its Muslim point of view (MPOV) policy (originally “Pro Islam policy”), the site wants to “present Islam in a positive light”, but at the same time endeavour to remain “as neutral as possible”. The admin gave his answer to this apparently contradicting policy, here.
  • The stats quoted in MuslimWikipediaStats are apparently no longer relevant. Present Alexa.com statistics appear to show this Wiki as no longer getting much traffic.
  • A review system for new edits was in place for the Wiki. At some point (probably after 6th August, 2012) new edits were no longer checked and therefore remain excluded from the main articles. A complete protection of all pages, i.e. to disallow anyone other than the administrators to edit changes, also seems to have been implemented at the present time. This happened sometime after September, 2013. Aside from WikiSysop, all the 1,014 active “users” appear to be spam bot created accounts. Apparently, WikiSysop also had to block literally hundreds of such accounts over the years. MuslimWiki probably did not have CAPTCHA protection implemented. The spam accounts kept on being created up-to July 6th, 2014, which numbered literally in the thousands.
  • The MediaWiki software version implemented in this Wiki is v1.16.0 released back in 2010.
  • In early 2012, user Islamic Warrior repeatedly asks to be given administrator privileges in order to be able to maintain the wiki and repeatedly criticizes WikiSysop for neglecting the Wiki and ignoring the users. Other users also back Islamic Warrior for this role, but apparently, no reply is given by the administrator. This discussion happens in May, 2012. Apparently, in the beginning, user WikiSysop was more open and gave administrator rights to three other users, back in 2006-2007 but in the next five years no user gets promoted.
  • WikiSysop apparently, stops responding to his talk page back in 2010. He remains a somewhat active contributor up to May, 2012, then another one edit in October, 2012, complete absence for 2013 (although the user was involved in deleting spam bot accounts), and 6 edits for April-July, 2014. No edits since 2014. I could find no explanation for this continued inactivity.
  • Apparently, users were involved in making mirror pages (in other words, simple copy-paste cases) of English Wikipedia articles. This was done presumably to create MuslimWiki versions of Islam related articles and from there let MuslimWiki users make edits on it (similar to a fork in Git) keeping the Wiki’s policies and objectives in mind.
  • A number of articles on the Wiki, appeared to be such cases. One such example is the article on Indus Valley Civilization, which appears to be a complete copy of the English Wikipedia article of the same name whose 3rd May, 2011 version is the source. Although, it is possible that the user who created this article on MuslimWiki was the same person who created or contributed extensively to the article in English Wikipedia; looking at the logs for that time, however, makes such a case extremely unlikely. To apparenlty try to resolve this issue, Muslimwiki's Help:Contents page was edited on June 8th, 2007 by one of the administrators to ask users not to "copy articles from Wikipedia", although it doesn't appear that admin WikiSysop was much troubled by this.
  • Such a concept seems counter intuitive and extremely cumbersome. I believe, there are a good number of articles on the English Wikipedia regarding Islam, which are very objectively written, therefore there is no need to modify them. There does not appear to be anything to gain by, how do they say it, reinventing the wheel. Discussion about removing such articles was also made in MuslimWiki’s Community portal.
  • A good number of articles also appeared to be just stubs.
  • Notwithstanding such pages, there were, or rather still are, also a number of pages on which a lot of original effort was put in by various authors.
  • The popular Muslim lecturer Yusuf Estes also seemed to have made an account on this Wiki, linking to some of his various websites.

Possible Contacts[edit]

I checked the contributors for the top 50 popular pages at MuslimWiki in hopes of getting some new contacts. There were probably only about 10-15 individual active contributors (or at-least the ones who had user pages).

  • WikiSysop’s last contact information appears to be “admin attt muslimwikidotcom”. No other reliable e-mail address seems to be available.
  • User name Zain claims to be the owner of Islamicwiki.org on his post, dated November, 2006. At the moment, according to who.is records, it was registered in August, 2008 which probably means that the above Zain no longer holds the domain name. islamicwiki.org appears to be a Muslim site, but almost completely undeveloped and domain registration will expire in August, 2016.
  • Apparently, user Islamic Warrior was a major contributor (about 600-800 edits). He wrote an interesting article about “wikiislam”. He claimed to be an editor on English Wikipedia too, but unfortunately had a different user name there - which he did not disclose - therefore at present there is no way to contact him. However, he also talks on his user page about taking part in some discussions and actions on Wikipedia, if those can be found from archives, the user identity could be ascertained. His last edit on MuslimWiki is for October 4th, 2012.

Update: Islamic Warrior appears to be talking about the relevant Wikipedia discussion here, but I was unable to find any related information within the relevant time period (maybe the edits were hidden?).

  • User:Svick from the English Wikipedia also had an account on MuslimWiki. He appears to be an experienced Wiki contributor, but apparently has not been active for some time now.
  • User:Almaqdisi also has a English Wikipedia user page, he had one interesting discussion regarding problems from other Wikipedia editors, in writing factual statements about matters hurting Israel politically. Unfortunately, he does not appear to be have been active since 2011. He was an experienced editor with around 1,200 contributions.
  • User:Engineer was an administrator at MuslimWiki apparently having some technical knowledge, unfortunately presently I have no method of contacting the user.
  • User:ALM scientist’s English Wikipedia user page. Last contribution in June, 2014.
  • User:Bless sins. Last English Wikipedia contribution June, 2015.
  • User:Darz_kkg – Facebook page. Mainly active in editing Myanmar related articles. Active in March, 2016.
  • User:Alarob made minor but really important edits to one of the project pages. It is a wonder, WikiSysop had not fixed those issues, even after five months. According to the user page at MuslimWiki, he is apparently User:Alarob at Wikipedia. He has been a dedicated contributor to Wikipedia and some other Wikis. He is, at the moment (April, 2016), still active on Wikipedia. Real name Robert P. Collins (about.me profile, wordpress site). He apparently has had some interest on Islam related articles but does not appear to be a Muslim himself and has himself been a convert. The user appears to mainly be concerned with making small edits on various Wikis and doesn't seem to have any special interest in the Wiki.

The case of Islam Wiki (at Wikia.com)[edit]

Their About page.

Observations[edit]

  • Apparently, started on September 25th, 2006.
  • Boasts 525 pages. At-least some of them are either stubs or English Wikipedia’s Islam related pages’ mirrors (which by no means should be taken to conclude that huge efforts were not put into it).
  • It apparently is linked to six other “Islam Wikis” in other regional languages.

Possible Contacts[edit]

  • User:BlueDevil had been an extensive contributor with 1,899 edits on Wikia. Regular contributor to this Wiki with extensive contributions in 2008-2009, around 1,200-1,500 edits. Only two edits in 2010, and those too only reversions; increased contributions again in the 2011-2012 period; 13 in 2013; just one (a reversion) in 2014 and then 16 (minor edits) in 2015 with September 2nd, 2015, almost 8 years since starting at the Wiki, being the date of last edit. There is another BlueDevil on the English Wikipedia too, whose user page describes the user as Muslim, therefore, it is likely that this is the same person. The last English Wikipedia contributions were back in December, 2012, with edits totaling around 1,250.

The case of AskIslampedia[edit]

Observations[edit]

The case of Islam.Wiki[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • The domain for this site (i.e. islamWiki.org) apparenlty was also in use by some unknown party back in May 2006.
  • Islamwiki at the discontinued Wikkii.com, archived pages from July, 2013. Appeared to have not gone beyond the initial testing phase.

WikiSysop (talk), 31 March 2016 with minor edits made later on