The Unified Community Platform, or UCP, is the project that aims to move Fandom and Gamepedia wikis to a combined modern and regularly updated platform.
Fandom, having acquired Curse Media and its assets, including Gamepedia, ended up with two wiki platforms. Fandom's old Wikia platform, with hundreds of thousands of wikis, was based on a very outdated version of MediaWiki (1.19), and a lot of essential security fixes and functionality had to be back-ported by developers. This made maintenance of the platform increasingly more challenging. Gamepedia's platform, Hydra, which had several thousand wikis, was based on a much newer version of MediaWiki (1.31, upgraded to 1.33 as part of UCP preparation).
Moving Gamepedia wikis to Fandom's old platform was technically impossible due to numerous incompatibilities between the versions. Gamepedia's platform, however, was not scalable, and could not hold Fandom's number of wikis. As such, the only remaining solution was to develop a new platform that would be both scalable and kept up-to-date with MediaWiki development. Enter UCP.
UCP is planned to be rolled out in two phases, made of several stages each.
In Phase 1, the end goal is to have both Fandom and Gamepedia on the new platform while retaining largely the same feature set and interface. Phase 1 has the following stages:
- [Complete] Internal Testing Stage: The new platform is privately tested by Fandom staff and wiki managers to identify and fix the most severe issues before even a testing version of the platform is made public. On March 11, 2020, the first public version of the UCP was released, and Phase 1 progressed to the next stage.
- [Complete] New Wiki Stage: As of the first UCP release, all new wikis on Fandom would be created using the new platform. This is to provide developers with the most feedback possible and reduce the complexity of the later stage where all wikis would be migrated. For the same reasons, Gamepedia put wiki creation requests on hold (except non-English variants of existing wikis). On May 26, 2020, staff announced that a small portion of Fandom wikis – those without complex features – would be eligible for migration to the new platform. This marked the start of the next stage.
- [Complete] Simple Fandom Wikis Stage: At this point, the extent of problems with UCP's basic functionality has been massively reduced, and most of the work ahead would have to involve re-introduction of the old platform's features (or equivalents) to the new platform. To learn about potential problems with the migration process itself, staff launched a process where some simple wikis (that don't use features not yet present on UCP) would be moved to the new platform. As enough data is gathered on the migration process, and it is found to be adequate for application on a larger scale, the next phase will begin.
- [In progress, few legacy wikis left and almost complete] Remaining Fandom Wikis: As new features become available on UCP, it will become possible to migrate more and more wikis to that platform. This process is going to be done in batches to account for potential issues with migrating wikis depending on what features they use. Wikis with features that are more complex or otherwise difficult to manage will be migrated last. In the end, every Fandom wiki will end up on UCP.
- [Complete] Gamepedia Migration: At this point, UCP should be more or less stable and feature-complete – after all, most of Fandom wiki would be using it. However, none of the Gamepedia wikis would, and migrating Gamepedia wikis to the UCP may pose its own challenges that could not occur during the Fandom-specific phases. As a result, a phased migration process – not unlikely, similar to the one above – will be applied to Gamepedia.
At the end of Phase 1, all of Fandom and Gamepedia would end up on UCP, which would then be simply the platform for all wikis. However, Phase 1 is not expected to bring significant changes to the feature set by itself.
Phase 2 is the next phase of development for the new platform. It is currently in pre-production, and its process is not finalized yet. The goals of Phase 2 include:
- An entirely new unified design for both Fandom and Gamepedia intended to be as similar as possible for all users, regardless of platform or device. This design system is expected to be extensively and easily customizable to fit the individual needs of every wiki: "no one size fits all".
- A restructure of experience for all users, including changes to attract more users and encourage them to get involved with editing and discussion. Additionally, workflows for both editors and administrators are going to be improved, based on user feedback and research by Fandom's UX experts.
- Several mechanisms to improve the discoverability of wiki articles, including search engine optimization improvements and improvements to on-platform discovery features.