Requirements for Unofficial Branches

Problem: The term “unofficial branch” was not really defined for a long time. The range of projects within this term ranged from unofficial branches with fully developed community, a growing stock of translations and original content, a chat, social media and a functioning administration to wikis where only the warning on the front page and one of the heritage SCPs are translated, with one or two lol-I’m-admin’s fooling around.

Everybody can make a wiki and apply the theme within a few minutes. But a wiki that is copied together by following the branch creation guide, or even by receiving a clone of the template wiki is not automatically an unofficial branch of the SCP Foundation Community.
There were many wikis in the list of unofficial branches, which were just that. A wiki with the theme (or an older version thereof), a few menus and system pages translated, a few translations and maybe a few original articles, and just a handful of users most or all of whom were inactive.

Another problem was that of the founder’s competence. As everybody can found an unofficial branch right away, and therefore suddenly become an administrator and demand treatment as such, people who are not qualified to be admins, become admins. And the founders of a wiki are those who are the hardest to get rid of, no matter how incompetent they are. They will either become inactive or be a nuisance all the time and hinder the wiki’s progress. This sounds harsh, and of course, not everybody who founds a wiki is incompetent. Quite the opposite.

To make sure unofficial branches get a good start, they shouldn’t start at zero. All Wikis which recently have become official - DE, IT, UA and PT - had some base they could build upon. Others who came before them and failed, build the foundation from which they - the new administrators - could raise the actual branches we see today, or they had support by other communities.

But we can not provide all of them a wiki on which generations of admins have failed to the point where it could become successful under the lead of the admins that did not fail. Instead, we provide this wiki, the Underrepresented Language Incubator.

So as a conclusion, only wikis that have reached the following criteria at least mostly will be considered candidates as unofficial branches. As several criteria are subjective, in every case, the INT staff will vote after a wiki has been assessed, to determine if it is an unofficial branch or not.

Assessment When a translation wiki is at least 1 month old (better at least 3 months), they can request to be checked and assessed. Then, one of INT's staff members checks their wiki and creates some statistics to see where they stand. Then, based on that data, the INT staff votes if that wiki is an unofficial branch or not.

Requirements for a prosperous, growing and healthy wiki:

  • Users: Without users, there is no community. I think there should be at least three active users who talk to each other to keep a community going.
  • Support: The users who are active need to talk to each other, maintain a friendly atmosphere and must not work against, but at least support one another.
  • Framework: To attract new users, at least everything new users see on their first visit must be inviting. That means the theme must be working, the front page and all menus must be translated and most menu pages must be working and translated/newly created.
  • Content: To show new users that they are not seeing an empty husk, there needs to be some basic content. A few translations from short Series 1 articles and maybe one or two original articles.
  • Administration: There needs to be at least one active staff member, who must be fair and competent. Not everybody is suited to be staff. Unqualified staff members will be repelling new and old users.
  • Rules: Participation always needs rules and boundaries. Without them, users don’t know what to do.

When a new wiki is founded, it often lacks all of the above. Many of the existing wikis fulfill a few of these requirements, but due to lacking some they do not get anywhere.

Criteria in detail: These criteria have to be met at least approximately, to be defined as “unofficial branch”. Note that there may be two values. The first one is the minimum value that must not be undershot. The second one is the recommendation for most cases.

  1. Amount of active users
    • Has 3 / 7 active users
    • An active user is, who took part in the wiki by posting/editing articles, posting in the forum or doing administrative jobs at this times per month: 1 / 4
    • At least 2 / 4 must be authors and/or translators
    • Must have shown activity for 2 / 3 months, to make sure it’s no one-shot
  2. Supporting each other
    • An indication are positive remarks on the forum, upvotes, feedback, cheerfulness, a general positive atmosphere and the lack of trolling and dickish behavior
  3. A solid framework
    • Must have fully translated: Front page, all menus, series hubs, all necessary components and system pages, join page
    • Must have a fully working theme
    • Should have a Sandbox meeting the same requirements
    • Must be under CC BY-SA 3.0 license
  4. Content
    • Must have fully translated 1 / 5 SCPs
    • Should have 0 / 1 Original article
  5. Administration
    • Must have 1 / 3 active team members (same criteria for “active” as above)
    • Must have 1 / only competent team members
    • A competent team member meets the criteria for 2. and shows to know what they are doing as well as the will and motivation to do it, also has at least basic ideas how to manage the branch. Highly subjective choice though.
  6. Rules
    • Must have rules for behavior and translations in their language
    • Should have rules to create own articles
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