If you’ve ever visited a wiki site other than Wikipedia, it was probably run by Wikia, a site that  allows anyone to create and run their own full Wikipedia-style site, for good or for ill. Perhaps their best-known spinoff is Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki that is by far the most complete and comprehensive source of Star Wars information outside of Lucasfilm itself, with 117,811 articles as of this writing. And it’s not just huge, lore-filled franchises either; Wikia’s 335,281 (and counting) communities range from a Wallace and Gromit wiki, to a wiki for the Oscars, to a wiki about buffalo nickels. “The 1913 Type 1 (or variety 1) Buffalo Nickel is the first pereoid of 1913,” proclaims this wiki. “This video may also tell you bits and pieses of the 1913 type 1 Buffalo Nickel.”

(fun fact: while looking through the Wikia movies hub I found an inexplicable description of/advertisement for a condo community in Florida that some confused soul had thought would be a good addition to a wiki about movie wikis)

But, like any content-focused Internet community that combines enthusiasm, the ability of anyone whomsoever to join, and a complete lack of moderation of any sort, Wikia gets more and more perplexing the deeper you go in. Take, for example, the fanon wikis.

Fanon (a portmanteau of “fan” and “canon”) is any material that fans of something create that, while not part of officially licensed canon, nonetheless is “true” in some sense to its creators. It sometimes takes the form of simple “headcanon” inferences about characters. More often it’s full-blown fanfiction, derivative stories about the characters in a work. And then there’s whatever the heck is going on with fanon wikis.

Gum Fun

Do tell, Spongebob Fanon Wiki. (click to expand)

As best as I can figure out, these wikis are dedicated to making plausible-seeming, “real wiki”-style articles about made-up entries in existing franchises. I can understand why someone would write SpongeBob fanfiction, but it’s harder to figure out why someone create an article about their fictional Spongebob spinoff, detailed to the point where the episode trivia section includes that the original airdate was missed. “The title is probably a reference to Everybody Hates Chris!”, cannily observes the page for “Everybody Hates Squidward!” Even the page’s creator isn’t completely sure, it seems.

Meanwhile, the Angry Birds Fanon Wiki posits the existence of a world much like our own, but with many, many more Angry Birds spinoffs and levels. This is a world where Mega Giant Bird has been declared by fiat to be the largest bird possible, and the wholly fictional product-placement-fueled Angry Birds Fritos has been a featured article. In this realm, there is an official release called Angry Birds: 50 and Angry Birds Space: The Movie is planned to air after Season 3 of Angry Birds: The Show.

In this spirit, I am proud to announce my co-founding of the Chess Fanon Wiki. Here, users can unleash their inner creativity and share with the world the new rules for Chess that they’ve made up. Go, and create a work of everlasting value.

(title reference)