Over the past few months I've occasionally heard comment about the way the forum software works, and have fielded the occasional specific concern, as at forum:A Spoiler tag. Many, many people are growing weary of constantly having to remind other users to sign their posts in discussions. And I know a lot of new users are a bit baffled by the lack of organisation on pages with a lot of comments.
Well, the truth is that there are ways to improve how MediaWiki handles talk pages and forum pages. I know, for example, there are some wikis running MediaWiki which have talk pages that automatically sign and indent posts, while at the same time keeping a very orderly list of posts at the top of the page in a nifty index. Other discussion variants I've seen allow for stickied threads, which could be very useful to us. Some allow for more sophisticated handling of categories within forum threads.
Point is, there are a lot of options out there for us, which may very well make the forum experience more friendly and more forum-like — which hopefully will increase the number of people actually using the fora and talk pages.
I've opened a dialogue with Wikia Central to see what exact extensions are available to us. I'll likely get some sort of response in the next 48 hours and can report back. Hopefully there will be multiple options and we can discuss as a community which looks like it'd be the best fit for us. If there's only one option, though, I'm just going to ask them to go ahead an enable it so we can play with it for a bit and see if we like it. If we don't, we'll just get 'em to turn it off. No biggie.
Your comments on how you'd like the fora and talk pages to work differently are welcome. czechout☎✍18:24:59 Mon 16 May 2011
Wikia got back to me today on my request to upgrade the forum software. Looks like they do not currently approve of any forum extension that presently works with MediaWiki, the software core that powers Wikia wikis. It's a bit odd, since they actually originally helped fund the development of LiquidThreads, one of the cooler forum extensions out there. Nevertheless, I'm assured by daNASCAT, one of the Wikia tech gurus, that they have a team actively looking into this very problem. We're at least on the list of wikis signed up to be first adopters of whatever Wikia eventually comes up with. czechout☎✍18:40:05 Tue 17 May 2011