From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
| "the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia"
Bulbapedia's logo, the bulb of a Bulbasaur with a Poké Ball superimposed on it
|| February 14, 2005
|| Archaic and Zhen Lin
| Number of Articles
|| Main page
Bulbapedia is a community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia that is based on the wiki concept, meaning it may be read and edited by anyone. It is similar in spirit to Wikipedia, but is focused solely on documenting the Pokémon canon and the fandom surrounding it.
Its name is a portmanteau of Bulbagarden, the Pokémon website which runs Bulbapedia, and encyclopedia. It is affectionately known as the 'pedia, Bulbawiki or simply Bulba among its contributors. Both Bulbapedia and Bulbagarden get their names from Bulbasaur, notable as the first Pokémon in the National Pokédex order.
For a number of reasons, such as a reputation, waiting to add facts until they are confirmed by official sources, and a wide array of information, Bulbapedia can generally be accepted as the most in-depth site within the Pokémon fandom. Images for the website are stored at the Bulbagarden Archives, which also supplies artwork, photographs and screenshots for Bulbanews, an affiliate news site also run by Bulbagarden.
Bulbapedia was set up by Zhen Lin on December 21, 2004. The original period of development sought members of the Bulbagarden community to write for "a collaborative and open work environment which makes interacting with other staff and looking up information very simple." This proved unsuccessful, but Bulbapedia proceeded with a dozen or so contributors, and reached 100 articles within three weeks. It eventually opened to the public on February 14, 2005, marketed as "Bulbagarden's Valentine's Gift to the Fandom". At least 21 new articles were created within the first 24 hours of operations, and within three months 1,000 articles had been written. The 10,000th article was created 3 years later, on June 29, 2008. Currently, it is the largest English-language Pokémon wiki.
Like every wiki, Bulbapedia's development was dependent on the community, and in the years that passed since its opening, many thousands of users have contributed to its success. In the summer of 2007, when the subject of starting of publishing advertisements on the website to maintain its costs came up, the entire community was given the right to vote on the matter, eventually deciding to agree to the advertising.
evkl was the first Editor-in-Chief of Bulbapedia and remains the Deputy Head of Bulbagarden. During his time as Editor-in-Chief, evkl's primary goal was to build the foundations of Bulbapedia. Although no longer regularly active, evkl still maintains contact to assist the staff when needed. evkl remained the Editor-in-Chief until early 2006, when he made way for Bulbapedia founder Zhen Lin to take the helm.
Zhen Lin has a background in coding and helped the site to perform its abilities on a consistent basis even as the site has grown. He still remains responsible for much of the technical operations of the wiki. Zhen remained Editor-in-Chief until 2008, when TTEchidna took over.
TTEchidna's reign continued to grow and develop Bulbapedia, and he is largely responsible for the bold colored, round-bordered templates that are now associated with Bulbapedia. His influence helped Bulbapedia become one of the most distinctive and recognizable wikis on the net, often being praised for its appearance. On December 1, 2010, TTEchidna resigned and passed the torch to MAGNEDETH.
While in position, MAGNEDETH put a main focus on the user experience, stating "We are here for the fans, so the site should cater to them." There was also a focus on staff organization to make it easier for users to identify moderators that would be best able to answer their questions. On December 9, 2012, MAGNEDETH stepped down and handed the site to Werdnae, appointing him the fifth Editor-in-Chief.
On February 17, 2014, Werdnae stepped down and chose Kogoro as his successor.
From the early days, Bulbapedia has been overseen by an editorial board that collaborates on all executive decisions, including the making of Bulbapedia policy. There are also many administrators and other staff who oversee the day-to-day running of the site. On April 22, 2010, the addition of a "Junior Administrator" position was announced to give accepted users a chance to learn the tasks of a staff member and possibly be accepted onto the staff.
Bulbapedia's Main Page, in its standard coloration
Bulbapedia offers information on every aspect of the Pokémon franchise. Projects exist for many areas, where editors can work together to grow Bulbapedia. The anime, Trading Card Game, games, and manga each have their own Project. One of the newest Projects, Project Globe aims to increase Bulbapedia's international content, an area that was previously scarce. These Projects were run by Project Leaders, whose job was to manage their Projects and make sure the Projects moved forward.
Featured articles are articles that have been recognized for their high quality and completeness. They could be voted on and nominated by every member of the community.
Until 2012, several articles were featured on the Main Page of the wiki on a one-day rotation.
In the initial stages of Bulbapedia, images were hosted on the same site. Nowadays, they are kept on the Bulbagarden Archives, which allows interaction with Bulbanews as well. From early 2009, the Bulbagarden Archives has been running off a separate server from Bulbapedia; this has reduced stress on and sped up the site.
The majority of images on Bulbapedia are recognized as "fair use".
Due to the interactive and collaborative nature of the site, Bulbapedia is prone to vandalism. This is often quickly seen and reverted by good-faith contributors, but two incidents have stood out in the site's history. The Great Bulbapedia Turkey Shoot is the first, and was for a long period of time documented for its historicity. The second, more recent spate is unnamed, although it was once jokingly referred to as The Great Bulbapedia Turkey Shoot II: Back for Dessert. The Turkey Shoot had its own article on the site for a fairly long period of time, but many people, both general users and staff alike, found the article to be of questionable notability. The staff of Bulbapedia held a vote in late March of 2012 and decided the article was no longer worth keeping.
- "Things like [that page] give us the small-town feel, but we've almost certainly outgrown it. I'm fine with it being taken down." — evkl
- "It has been decided that although [the] page details a major point in Bulbapedia's history, it glorifies vandalism, which sends the wrong message. We do not tolerate vandalism, nor shall we ever again dedicate a page to showcasing such heinous acts on our site." — MAGNEDETH
Vandalism, of course, is not tolerated on Bulbapedia and accounts performing such actions will be blocked permanently.
Bulbapedia has encountered numerous server issues over the years. A notable time frame was early 2008 when server issues caused multiple downtimes every week. The servers were upgraded later in the year to handle more, but to combat future issues, the userspace policy was instituted to encourage less editing of the userspace (userspace edits being considered less constructive while still putting daily stress on the servers). Although disliked by many users of the site, it has had a noticeable effect on the site bringing more mainspace edits.
In mid-2010, server issues cropped up again. The reaction was more swift in the case, bringing upgraded servers, but new issues cropped up resulting in "session data loss" errors and involuntarily log-outs. It was later discovered that the server load balancer had malfunctioned and caused the issues.
Bulbapedia still experiences server issues from time to time, notably more than other sites. These issues have been identified as unfortunate side-effects of its rapid growth and popularity, often finding itself run by servers that can't handle the capacity of people using the site. In recent years, server maintenance is done more frequently as the site grows in popularity, but major game releases have resulted in momentary server outages or slowdown. To combat these issues, the servers may be locked during major news events or big game releases by the staff to ease server stress.
Relations with other sites
Bulbapedia is a founding member of the Encyclopædiæ Pokémonis, a multi-lingual group of wikis documenting all aspects of Pokémon. As a part of Bulbagarden, it is also considered an affiliate site with all Bulbagarden affiliates.
Bulbapedia also co-founded the Nintendo Independent Wiki Alliance. This network comprises fan-run wikis from several Nintendo franchises.
Relations with The Pokémon Wiki, of Wikia, have not been as promising. This is to no fault of the Wikia administration, but due to Wikian contributors misunderstanding the various clauses of Bulbapedia's Creative Commons license, which prohibits commercial use of Bulbapedia information, and the redistribution of it. This has been a problem with other sites who wish to profit off of Bulbapedia's volunteer staff, such as the makers of one iPhone application. An attempt was made by Wikia early in Bulbapedia history that would have seen Bulbapedia become part of the Wikia enterprise. It was, clearly, unsuccessful. Since then, Wikia has made a number of offers for Bulbagarden, most recently in April 2010. All of them have been rejected in a rather emphatic fashion.
As a wiki, Bulbapedia is always growing, expanding, and evolving. Despite the thousands of articles and hundreds of new users each week, it still remains incomplete; but as the nature of any wiki, anyone and everyone is welcome to help contribute to the site. With a constant stream of new Pokémon games, anime, trading cards, manga, merchandise, and more being released every month (not to mention the ever-expanding fandom), Bulbapedia's job will never be done as it continues to be the #1 Pokémon wiki in the world.