History of the MicroWiki community

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For a summary, see Timeline of MicroWiki community history

The history of the MicroWiki community means the history of the community of micronationalists and micronations associated with MicroWiki and a changing set of communication platforms surrounding it. The history of the modern MicroWiki community runs from late 2008 to the present, though MicroWiki itself was founded in May 2005 and there was an early community there between 2005 and 2008.

Historiography

Recording and periodisation of the community's history has generally been centred on its MicroWiki entry and discussions related to it.

The ongoing period is generally referred to as the "Modern Era" and is only given a name in retrospect. An exception to this was the Discord Era, which was given its current name in October 2020 before it had finished.

Early MicroWiki community

MicroWiki was founded by Fabian Schneider on 27 May 2005 as a "database of micronations, small nations, created for various purposes, that simulate the proceedings of a real country". For the first few months, the community had no clear structure or leadership.

Leaderships of Perry and Jeffery, September 2006–November 2006

The United Republic of Arlberg, a micronation founded in 2003, joined MicroWiki on 18 September 2003 and its leader Perry of Arlberg quickly came to dominate the community surrounding the wiki, becoming the MicroWiki community's first leader. Arlberg was dissolved in 2006 and Perry's leadership role passed to his close ally and a friend of Schneider's, Jeffery II of Satirocity, a non-serious simulationist micronation.

Domination by Cesidio Tallini, November 2006–October 2008

Beginnings of modern community, October–January 2019

In October 2020, Jacob Tierney, Joe Foxon and Robert Lethler joined the community, and in January 2009, the Grand Unified Micronational was founded.

Talk page era

Year of conflict, 2009

August 2009–July 2010

August 2009 to January 2010 was characterised by the hegemony of the GUM and Robert Lethler over the community, with the GUM effectively being seen as the community itself during September and October 2009. Despite frosty relations between Erusia and St.Charlie, no major conflicts break out during this time. Many older micronations fall into inactivity while several newer micronations join the community.

In early 2010, the influence of the GUM begins to decline at the expense of that of the Organisation of Active Micronations, strengthened by several micronations joining; for the first time, there is a viable alternative intermicronational organisation in the community. This results in the influence of the GUM beginning to decrease, no longer representing a community unified under one organisation.

Between March and April 2010 was the Second Black March, a period of intense conflict caused by the Austenasian Civil War, Great Patriotic War and the Flaradonian-Solvoian War.

Skype era

Factionalism following Lethler's departure, July 2010–July 2012

Stability and declining activity, July 2012–July 2014

Left-wing–right-wing conflict, July 2014–May 2017

Gradual move from Skype to Discord

Traditionally, the MicroWiki Community was centred around the MicroWiki Forum and a tangle of micronational Skype rooms. The ascendancy of Skype rooms as the main method of communication for the community began in mid-2010; before then, the community had mainly used the talk pages of MicroWiki articles. As the use of Skype as the main platform for 'fandom' communication began to fall away in 2015-17, the MicroWiki Community became notable for its use of the service, sometimes being called the 'Skype community' by citizens of its nations; by 2016, it was common for the main representatives of nations in the MicroWiki sector to report difficulty in encouraging their nations' members to engage with chatrooms on the platform, and many new micronationalists became involved with the forums but did not join Skype.

From mid-2017 onward, activity started to drop in these venues, leading to significant concerns over the community's future. A number of Discord servers were created in this time, attracting younger micronationalists and becoming an important part of the micronational community. Early Discord servers which can be seen as the predecessors to MicroWiki@Discord include the Cafemicro Lounge created by Henry Clément, the Discord version of Abel to Dabel, and MicroClub. All three of these were created as alternatives to Skype chatrooms; the first two by older members of the community seeking to boost activity, and the third by younger members averse to using Skype. Some of these servers were fairly large; MicroClub had 62 members, and the non-MicroWiki Project Nations Discord had 120.

On 17 September 2018, in an initiative led by Anthony Clark, the MicroWiki administration created MicroWiki@Discord as an official Discord server for the community. At the time, it was felt that Discord servers were 'occasionally used by the community as an alternative to Skype'; MicroWiki@Discord, however, immediately became exceptionally popular, surpassing the Project Nations Discord in size. This coincided with a significant drop in the activity of the Skype chatrooms, leading to the administration encouraging a move to the Discord by advertising it in the otherwise inactive Skype rooms, which by mid-2018 had been completely abandoned, with even the monolithic Grand Unified Micronational transferring to Discord.

The period during the transfer from one platform to another was also characterised by increasingly serious fears about inactivity, with genuine concern voiced that the community might not survive into the 2020s; these concerns and this inactivity largely disappeared following official support for the move to Discord.

May–September 2017

Diplomatic division between older and newer members dies down, with many older members of the community leaving its traditional venues and those which remain forming closer ties with newer members. Tensions sharply rise after a relatively quiet few months, with late August seeing the site swamped with news on a dispute between Austenasia and Delvera and the disruption caused by an individual encouraging a break-away movement from the community, but both issues swiftly die down.

Serious decline in activity, September 2017–September 2018

Activity in the GUM, on the MicroWiki Forums, and in associated Skype groups drops to an all-time low, with a predicted revival after people settle back into school after summer failing to materialize. Concerns are voiced publicly about the future of the GUM, and community members discuss ways to restore activity. Some new members arrive in the community in mid and late 2018, but interaction and activity remain at low levels, with the MicroWiki Forums effectively dying. Even the Abeldane Empire, previously one of the most active of the solely web-based MicroWiki community, struggles to maintain its government, and similar micronations increasingly discuss ways to withstand limited participation.

Discord era

MicroWiki@Discord, September 2018–November 2020

The community shows strong signs of returning to life after a move from Skype to Discord, a shift encouraged by the MicroWiki administration, which launches an official Discord server, MicroWiki@Discord; this server is consistently active and sees a significant number of new, typically younger members join and interact with the rest of the community. The GUM likewise moves to Discord and flourishes under the Chairmanship of Adam I, holding a third 24 Hour Quorum in January and an in-person summit in Birmingham at the end of this period. Meanwhile, Jonathan I becomes head administrator of MicroWikia and effectively resolves the schism with that site, having it drop the claim to be the "true MicroWiki" in October, successfully encouraging most of its remaining active users to move back over to MicroWiki, and significantly downsizing the site itself.

Communication on MicroWiki@Discord becomes dominated by various memes and in-jokes, with some bemoaning a general atmosphere of unprofessionalism. The long-running Micropolitan Club and Lounge splits into two rival servers.

A safeguarding issue in the GUM results in a community-wide scandal ending with one member leaving the MicroWiki community in disgrace and a brief decline in the GUM's influence. The coronavirus pandemic creates a rise in activity on Discord, with several prominent former micronationalists, such as James Stewart, coming out of retirement. In early June, the community suffers another major blow with the death of the popular micronationalist Nicholas Randouler. Constitutional crises in both Austenasia and Abelden also dominate the news. An attempt to revitalise the MicroWiki Forums is largely unsuccessful.

From August 2020 onwards, tension and drama erupts between increasingly polarised camps, with the return of Pavlov and the expulsion of certain community members leading to a period of instability and continued toxicity on the Discord server, leading to multiple senior admins choosing to resign as MicroWiki@Discord administrators, and Jonathan I giving up management of the Discord server. Several members of the community work to revive Micro Club, and other members create several splinter servers ending MicroWiki@Discord monopoly over the Wiki Community. On 27 Oct, Jonathan announced the end of MicroWiki@Discord as a catch-all server, to be replaced by a sort of webportal that would redirect to other micronational Discord servers.

Following major changes to MicroWiki@Discord, November 2020–present

The changes to MicroWiki@Discord incur serious resistance from the userbase. On 17 November, the administration tried to close the last remaining discussion channel on the server, but resistance led by Sertor Valentinus, Cole Baird, Fredrick M. and Kenneth Fydtroust led to the channel being reopened on the 18th.