American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, July 6, 2018

AG Complaint Department: The Top Five and Bottom Five A*G Events in the Past Ten Years of the A*G Wiki

Ten Full Years!

Where the sweet hell did June go--oh right, A-Kon work, Pride, swapping doll eyeballs, raiding the corpse of Toys R Us, Memorial Day, and family business. Don't beat yourself up, Neth. Just, you know, go take review pictures. There's lots of stuffs you could be covering. Just set up your photo spot and take the damn pictures, woman.

*dusts off cookies*

There's new summer stuff out! Woo, releases! And I have several opinions on it, good and bad. I plan to post about it soon--I wasn't able to get complete pictures of the stuff until the end of the month, because that was the earliest I was able to get to the store. I'm aiming Sunday or Monday's post.1 Today though, is a super cool anniversary for me in the AG fandom.

Guys, gals, and non binary pals, today is the ten-year anniversary of what's been called the best database for American Girl Info since its 2008 conception, the American Girl Wiki.

Lemme set the scene for the launch. Picture it, Seattle Area, 2008. I'd been officially banned from AF Playthings that March, though I hadn't really visited in weeks at that point and was trying to get my stuff down from the site at the time of my banning.2 I was overseeing training at my then-job--which mostly consisted of shadowing over someone who'd done all the main education and was now doing live work with assistance. Since it was a niche section, those of us that normally did the work were not doing it so they could get as much practice as they possibly could. So since I'd been doing the work for two and a half years, I was being paid to sit by my trainee, listen to their calls out, walk them through steps, and answer simple questions quickly so they didn't have to ask the supervisors. I needed something to do between questions and call listen ins, so I was surfing the net trying to get some AG data on upcoming new stuff and characters.

Look it was that or bike back and forth on the long path through Solaceon Town hatching eggs in Pokemon Pearl. Smartphones were not as widespread as they are now and I'd already done some sketching. 

But I couldn't get any data on anything that wasn't locked behind forums or on slowly updated personal sites--and what data that existed was primarily about the items and buying them. While AG is a merch driven thing and so it made perfect sense to talk about the stuff, that was all that got talked about. the Stuff. Very little on any site at all was about the actual characters, there was sporadic history on the line itself, and most of that was heavily coated in the idea that everything that came out before 2000 was perfect and flawless and everything that came out after was Mattel's Hot Garbage trying to turn the line into Barbie. Hell's chicken and fries, there was little to be found about the books. Many places had a list of book titles, but nothing about what happened in them. Not even character parent names.

And it occurred to me: why didn't the American Girl fandom have a wiki-style database? Other toys had them. Lego had one, the Brickipedia. There was an entire one about yo-yos. I'd just been using Bulbapedia to look up some Pokémon data, followed by getting lost on the Muppet Wiki. Hell, there was Wookiepedia--all Star Wars, All The Time.

Was it because someone had never done that themselves? Taken that step out to make an American Girl Wiki? Well, I would be that someone. TV Tropes had the right idea with the The Wiki Rule: There is no area of interest, no matter how narrowly defined, where a person cannot put up a wiki for it and attract at least a few editors with similar interests. So, even if I spent weeks alone coding in character and book pages, making notes on Addy's younger sister and Kirsten's father, I could do it.  Plus, it'd give me something else to do with my fandom knowledge. I did have like, almost all the books. All of them. I might hate the people who'd banned me and shunned me, but that didn't mean I couldn't do something for the AG fandom, even if I'd likely never be appreciated for it.

I submitted my proposal for the wiki to the Wikia staff--which, like onions on your belt, was the style at the time. I got approval and was sent the URL and given my admin and founder rights. I started to clean up the main page images, then started creating pages for each Historical Character and Girl of the Year. I created basic collection pages.  That was enough to start making more character pages and some item pages. I searched and scanned images from my books, making references and internal links here and there and coding. I couldn't post links on any forums, but I could promote on AG Over 18 and my own personal journal, and I did. By August  we'd been featured in the Wikia Spotlight. By September 2008 we had 300 pages. By the first anniversary, the Wiki had just over 850 articles.

Ten years later and with two other admins, we're at a touch over 4000 articles--and I often hear across the fandom how useful the AG Wiki is to pull up information and how nice it is that within days of new stuff coming out, there's at least something on it even just a stubble. And to think, I started the AG wiki with just about 100 or so pages, supervising training at Nintendo, and hoping I was able to do something for American Girl fans with my information, because I was getting damned sick of sites that only talked about the stuff and most of that was in forums people could be banned from.

Oh and the moddie line has gone through about three names--but since category changes are hard, we still call the category by a name several years out of date. Edits, whatcha gonna do.
We're fairly quick with the updates--and if you're curious about, say, that one-off character in Felicity's mystery? You can probably get some data or add it in yourself--as long as you follow the rules, are over thirteen, don't edit in garbage, pay attention to the rules about descriptions because a single line edit is not a description unless they're just plain white socks, and don't spam the wiki with petitions to bring back flash games from your childhood because AG is not going to bring back flash games from your childhood. Flash is a terrible thing anyways.

I'm very proud of what the AG Wiki is and has become, and what it will be in the future. 

That being said, I have more to say. Since it has been ten years, I decided that I'm gonna babble on about the Top Five and Bottom Five Things AG has done in the past decade since I started wiking. All opinions are, of course, my own. Of course they are, this is my fucking blog. There will also be some honorable--and dishonorable--mentions in there too.

Hop under the cut and getcha read on.