Only a little more than a year ago, Memory Alpha was founded as a community where Star Trek fans could pool their efforts, knowledge, and enthusiasm to create the most definitive, expansive, and up-to-date reference for all things Trek. And since then, Memory Alpha has already begun to take off faster than either Harry or I ever believed possible.
At first, Memory Alpha was hosted as a sub-site of Star Trek Minutiae, my own personal Star Trek site. However, Memory Alpha quickly outgrew its humble beginnings, and needed to be moved to its own hosting account. That service was generously provided by Erik Möller, one of the developers of the MediaWiki software. But as more people heard about Memory Alpha, and more people contributed, the demands on resources to host the community grew. Our original monthly fee of €15 per month was raised in September 2004 to €25 per month. And still Memory Alpha's community continued to expand.
In December, the total amount of bandwidth transferred over Memory Alpha's account was more than 20 gigabytes, for more than 2.7 million distinct hits, and approximately 65,000 separate visits to our site. But that was just the beginning... in January, our total traffic almost tripled, to a total of 55 gigabytes, nearly 7 million hits, and 240,000 visits.
The costs involved in hosting such a massive site, assuming that such growth is going to continue in the foreseeable future, will be enormous. On our current hosting account, the costs will rise up to €100 per month just to maintain our current requirements. And that will likely only sustain Memory Alpha for the next six months, or maybe a year at the most.
Many Archivists have generously contributed funds to support our hosting costs so far. Unfortunately, the incoming funds are not nearly enough to cover the newly-increased costs, and neither Harry nor I have the personal funds available to pay for the hosting services ourselves. Therefore, we've been forced to consider other alternatives.
Wikicities is an organization run by many of the same people who operate Wikipedia, the community that served as the inspiration for Memory Alpha. They offer hosting for wiki communities, free of charge, and recoup their costs by placing Google text advertisements on their clients' wiki pages.
Memory Alpha will shortly be joining the Wikicities community of wikis. Aside from the brief interruption of service as the database is locked for the server move (to avoid any loss of data), almost nothing will change for you, the contributors. We will still have all of the same information located at our same domain name. The only difference will be the addition of a vertical panel of text advertisements along the right-hand side of each page.
At this point, I'm sure many of you will feel upset, angry, maybe even betrayed by our decision. Harry and I carefully weighed and discussed the options for continuing the operation of Memory Alpha. We know that no one likes viewing advertisements, but the simple fact is that there's no other way right now for us to cover the growing costs of operating this community.
We also would like to apologize for the short notice given before the move. We realize that, ideally, there should have been some opportunity for input from the community. The fact is, that we needed to make the decision quickly to avoid incurring extra costs from our mounting bandwidth problem. Seeing as how Harry and I are the ones who ultimately pay for Memory Alpha right now, we decided that we needed to make the decision as fast as possible.
If you have any questions, concerns, or complaints, please feel free to discuss them on the [[Memory Alpha talk:Announcements/February 2005 server move|talk page attached to this notice]. Harry and I will be monitoring the page, and we will respond to any issues that arise as quickly as possible.
Thanks go out to each and every one of you who has helped to make Memory Alpha into the thriving community that it has become. We wouldn't be at this stage without you!
Dan Carlson and Harry Doddema February 9, 2005 @ 20:30 GMT