Earlier this year, one of the biggest fan wikias on the internet, Star Wars resource hub Wookieepedia, found itself embroiled in a debate between site admins pushing to make the wiki’s handling of LGBTQIA+ topics and transgender people in particular more inclusive, and retrograde administrators who wouldn’t. The public furor lead to unprecedented intervention by wikia network Fandom — intervention that’s now codified as part of the network’s guidelines.
As part of wider initiatives for Pride Month at the company, today Fandom announced network-wide updates to its policies regarding LGBTQIA+ subjects and material categorised across its network of wikias — which, aside from Wookieepedia, includes resources such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki, Star Trek fandom’s Memory Alpha and Memory Beta, wikias decicated to Marvel and DC comics, and many more.
“Fandom is committed to inclusivity and equity for all fans and I’m proud that these community guidelines showcase that commitment,” Fandom CEO Perkins Miller said in a statement released to press. “We are a global company and it’s our responsibility to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion to serve our fan communities, not just today or this month, but all year long. I know that even small actions, applied consistently, can have real impact and this is one step Fandom has taken in this vitally important area.”
The new guidelines, which also include linkouts to a plethora of queer-inclusive and trans support resources and charities, range from minor, sweeping caveats — be inclusive, do not use queerness as a pejorative in discussion, don’t treat individuals as monoliths for an entire identity — to specific policies around pronoun usage in discussion and wikia content.
They also specifically highlight the process of creating redirects to avoid (and explicit forbiddance of) the practice of “deadnaming” trans individuals — the act, intentionally or otherwise, of using a prior identity of a person who currently goes by another.
A deadnaming debate over artist Robin Provonost’s page on Wookieepedia sparked the original controversy at the site earlier this year, as reported by Gizmodo, which lead to Fandom intervening to establish that the act of deadnaming violated the company’s terms of service, and eventually to the dismissal of two longrunning Wookieepedia volunteer administrators, named “Darth Culator” and “Toprawa and Ralltiir,” banning them from the entire Fandom network.
As well as the new guidelines — which go into into effect today across all of Fandom’s 250,000+ communities — the company will also be hosting a Pride-themed Twitch livestream on June 28, including LGBTQIA+ content creators from across its network to discuss and explore queer representation in popular culture.