Early History of Camerapedia
Camerapedia.org (Camerapedia) was founded in 2004 by User:Lbstone. This strictly noncommercial, Mediawiki-based site created a serious independent resource about cameras, their lenses and photographic accessories. It contained text freely licensed under GFDL, but the photographs and other illustrations within the articles were linked from other websites, with the permission of those websites and the copyright holders. User:Rebollo_fr became the most prolific author, giving the encyclopedia a strong coverage of vintage Japanese cameras and their makers. In 2006 the Flickr group Camerapedia was founded as a high-capacity, high-bandwidth illustration resource for the wiki. Camerapedia.org's webserver was financed by Lbstone, the owner of the domain name; the image resource space was provided by the Flickr community.
Takeover by Wikia
Sometime prior to January 2011, Lbstone negotiated the sale of the domain name camerapedia.org to the for-profit "wiki farm" Wikia, but had not announced this at Camerapedia or, as far as is known, even privately informed any contributor. When Lbstone did reveal it, few contributors were convinced of the benefits to a long-running independent non-commercial project of hosting by Wikia, despite the promise of Wikia maintaining the technical infrastructure. Wikia made the individual page addresses of camerapedia.org redirects to the corresponding pages of camerapedia.wikia.com. Two months later, after incidents of wrong user attribution of wiki texts and unauthorized image uploads—both reverted by Wikia after protests—advertising placement within wiki pages was switched on. Camerapedia.wikia.com is now a commercial site, meaning its use of images with "non-commercial" Creative Commons licenses is questionable.
Founding of Camera-Wiki.org in Response to Takeover
The project community found a response to the unwelcomed takeover. User:Voxphoto created a new Flickr group (whose name changed a couple of times), and flickrmailed invitations to anyone who seemed likely to help. User:Steevithak had done some hard thinking about what steps would be involved, and in the course of a discussion in the new group he proposed a plan that eventually was followed very closely. In the night of January 23rd 2011 they "forked" Camerapedia, duplicating all its article pages and moving them to a new installation of MediaWiki. User:Heritagefutures and others encouraged Voxphoto and Steevithak to make these efforts to launch Camera-wiki.org as a new home for the old wiki community. A majority of Camerapedia contributors moved to the Camera-wiki.org project; within its first six months more than 700 new article pages were added.
Fate of the Wikia-controlled Copy of Camerapedia's Content
Camerapedia.wiki.com has had a mixed record. The page designs used in Camerapedia.org were not designed for the narrower columns of Wikia's standard layout (needed to leave room for sidebar advertising), which causes some articles to re-flow in bizarre ways. Some users have contributed their own images which they have uploaded to Wikia's servers, athough a greater number of images may have been removed or blanked by unhappy past contributors. As of June 2012, Wikia continues to host the old Camerapedia content but without any active administrators. The site has largely become a static mirror of Camerapedia as it existed in early 2011 but with many of the photos removed.
The "dot-com" domain camerapedia.com is completely unrelated. Squatting of camerapedia.com had predated the formation of the genuine Camerapedia wiki by years. Long no more than a blank page, this was first exploited (for an anonymous advertising page) by December 2007, and one year later into something that looked at first glance like an encyclopedia. The encyclopedic first impression was achieved by plagiarizing Wikipedia. Then as now (2011), camerapedia.com was the product of "Information Superbrand, Inc.", a small company based in Irvine, California that has created a large number of worthless websites with "pedia" in their domain names.
- For example, www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Fujica_G690 was the address within camerapedia.org of the page about the Fujica G690 and closely related cameras; since January 24th 2011 this has been a redirect to the derivative article within camerapedia.wikia.com on the same subject.
- Camerawiki Flickr group, at Flickr.
- Discussion about forking Camerapedia, at Flickr.
- Steevithak's proposal, at Flickr.
- See this February 2001 grab by Wayback.
- See this December 2007 grab by Wayback.
- See this December 2008 grab by Wayback.
- See for example how the text about "Twin-Lens Reflex Camera" on the top page is taken directly and unthinkingly from the (rather good) 28 September 2008 version of "Twin-lens reflex camera" at Wikipedia. Camerapedia.com tells its readers: "Mamiya's C-Series, introduced in the 1960s, the C-3, C-2, C-33, C-22 and the Mamiya C330 and Mamiya C220 along with their predecessor the Mamiyaflex, are the only conventional TLR cameras to feature truly interchangeable lenses." The change to "1960s" from simple "60s" had been the latest one made (on 28 September) to the Wikipedia article. "" and "" are the result of pasting text containing footnote indices from the screen. Here is the version of Wikipedia's "Copyrights" page that was current at the time. This conspicuously points readers to the section "Reusers' rights and obligations", which starts: If you want to use Wikipedia materials in your own books/articles/websites or other publications, you can do so -- but only in compliance with the GFDL. (It continues, providing detail.) Yet the camerapedia.com page of December 2008 contains no mention of either "GFDL" or "GNU" and clearly violates the GFDL; worse, the foot of the page states "Copyright © 1995-2008 by Information Superbrand, Inc. All rights reserved." By April 2011, the only noticeable change was that "© 1995-2008" had been updated to "© 1995-2011". (See the current top page of camerapedia.com, or the copy of it made in April 2011 and archived here at BackupURL.)
- Company profile for "Information Superbrand", Manta. Accessed 4 April 2011.
- Stan Schroeder, "Ruining ****Pedias For Fun and Profit", Mashable, 18 February 2008. Accessed 4 April 2011.