Sometimes, when two user communities cover the same or related subject matter (and possibly share similar contributors), they may wish to merge their communities. This can push their efforts forward in one direction and a combined community to be more successful.
The process of "merging" communities
While joining forces is often a great idea to make a community more successful, the term "merge" is misleading, as Fandom cannot push a button to make two communities suddenly become one community. This is because of the technical limitations of MediaWiki software, the unique way Fandom user tables are configured, and the fact that two communities may have pages with the same name but different content (a "collision").
There are more limitations to consider, such as viability and community harmony, before deciding when you should merge communities.
When to merge
Merging active communities
The best reason to merge is when the active communities on multiple wikis realize that their work would be more organized and attract a larger number of readers and contributors if they were combined. In this case, both communities should discuss the merger thoroughly to form a consensus, making sure to advertise the discussions on both wikis so everyone involved has a chance to contribute ideas.
When there is a consensus that the merger should go through, users can begin merging the content as described below, or contact Fandom staff for technical assistance. If contacting staff, provide a link to the merger discussions, otherwise, they'll need to ask for clarification that the merger is a community decision, not one user's whim.
Merging inactive communities
If the topic is of general public interest, Fandom staff generally prefers to leave dormant communities available for adoption by new users. Inactive communities do no harm to active projects, and the resources required to host and protect the community from spam are manageable.
However, the most probable reason why a community becomes inactive is because it relates to a very specialized topic that attracts too few people; in these cases, it sometimes makes sense to merge the content and redirect the URL to a more general active community that shares the topic.
Research and approach
First, find out if the community is new; if it has only had a month or two to grow and attract contributors, Fandom is unlikely to be willing to merge right away.
Then, check whether or not there are still active editors. Visit Special:RecentChanges on the community, and use the "in last 1 | 3 | 7 | 14 | 30 days" links to look further back in the community's editing history. Check Special:ListUsers on the wiki to find the most recent editors and/or admins. On small communities, the founder will usually be the only one with both bureaucrat and administrator (sysop) rights. Try to contact the founder, using their Message Wall or talk page.
If there are active admins, approach them politely about merging. Offer a friendly invitation to edit at the more active community, and let them know that it's possible to move articles and merge the projects so that everyone will have greater success. Always be diplomatic when discussing a community's work; telling people their project is inferior or pointless won't convince them to join you, but may drive them away from Fandom altogether.
How to merge
If consensus has been formed by both communities to merge, or there have not been any active editors for a couple of months and the admins are agreeable or unresponsive, you may start merging content. As all communities share the same account data, if there is a small number of articles, transferring content can be done manually and does not take too much time.
You can move any articles from the community that was not selected to be the community URL to the wiki that will remain open using the following method:
- Use Special:Export on the community that will be closed and redirected to create XML pages with author and page history.
- Use Special:Import on the community being kept to import the XML (this requires admin rights).
See Help:Exporting pages for step-by-step instructions on this process. After importing, make sure to fix any broken file links, templates, or redirects; Special:SpecialPages has a list of maintenance reports to check after a merger.
If there are many articles, or if you need additional technical help (such as importing into a different namespace), please contact staff first, or any local Wiki Manager of either merged community.
Inform Fandom staff that a community can be shut down. You can do this by leaving a message at Special:Contact, which should include the following information:
- a request to merge.
- confirmation that there is community agreement for the merger, with links to any on-wiki discussions, or confirmation that there are no active editors and that you've tried to contact the founder.
- links to both the old and new community, making clear which is to be closed.
- confirmation that all of the content has been transferred from the smaller community into the one that is to stay open.
A staff member can then close down the inactive community and redirect its domain name to the new destination. The communities will now be under one sitename and URL. (Any redirected domain name can become the primary URL for the merged communities, if the users choose.)
- Help:Merging pages (combine two or more pages on a given community)
- Start a new community (general information on community creation)
- Community Creation Policy (includes general policies about closing communities)
- Help:Adopting a community (try to resurrect a promising community project)