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Tim Quievryn, Aug 29 07:50 PM:

Hello Robin,

Thanks for contacting Wikia.

Wikia is contemplating what we are going to do with SMW in the upcoming quarter. We are probably going to do an upgrade but we also finally starting our long-hoped-for StructuredData work during that period too.

While I would not object to a SMW-dedicated wikia, I can not really strongly support it either due to the rather ambiguous, TBD nature of SMW on our platform in the future or even what version of the tool we will have.

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Timothy Quievryn
Director of Technical Support
Wikia Community Support Team

Every week Wikia releases code to give you new features and bug fixes......


Semantic MediaWiki was never officially supported but was available on request for several years. Problematic. Works quite well, but with definite limitations, on some wikis such as The Third Turn and Familypedia. See w:c:Familypedia:Help:Semantic MediaWiki.

Here's a staff comment on a blog, June 2013, that probably still sums up the current approach (subject to the above more recent reply hinting at future changes):

Hello,

I wanted to clear up what is happening from Wikia's perspective. For the last five years, Wikia has supported Semantic MediaWiki on our wikis and up until late last year offered installation of it upon request. In spite of this, SMW has never been particuarlly easy to maintain for Wikia. SMW is an extremely powerful software that adds significant strain to our database servers.

Part of this was due to some of the ways SMW was initially written (which to the extension developers' credit, they have mostly fixed) and another part was due to the inherent nature of the platform. Setting and querying annotated data is always going to be a technically expensive process. Essentially, you are layering on a top-level database over the underlying running MediaWiki runs on. On just one wiki, this creates noticably lag in site speed. Now multiply that times 200 wikis and you begin to understand where the issues begin.

Wikia has tried a number of unique solutions to the Semantic MediaWiki platform. We worked with SMW to fix a number of the performance issues in 2011 and that year we also took the Semantic MediaWiki tables and put them on a dedicated server (this has caused some of the peripheral bugs Simant mentioned).

After MW1.19 upgrade in July, we began to put wikis on a waiting list for the software. There were so many bugs in the SMW-specific parts of our codebase relating from the upgrade, I personally, as our team's SMW contact, did not feel comfortable "spreading" the bugs to more wikis and further impacting performance. After another reevaluation this spring, I could not in good faith keep telling users to wait. There is no breakthrough in sight with the issues we face with the platform and I have changed our messaging to adequately reflect this. SMW is tough to run on a wiki, it's almost impossible to run effectively on a farming platform like Wikia.

I'm genuinely sorry that Wikia can not offer this extension to new wikis going forward. We remain committed to keeping it active and useable on wikis that already had the tool, and maintaining their uptime and performance was part of the reason we had to cut off new installations of the extension.

Wikia is committed long-term to offering some sort of annotated data service. There is no doubt in our minds that semantics are the future of effeciently distributing information on the internet. We have investigated building an in-house tool specifically designed to meet how Wikia's backend is design and it does appear we will be heading in that direction but I can not give a timetable on that.

I hope this clears up some of the questions.

2013-06-07 by DaNASCAT @wikia

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