Fan wiki hosting site Fandom rolls out controversial AI features

  • February 12, 2024

Fandom, which hosts wikis for many fandoms, will roll out generative AI features that it previously tested but now promises users will be able to opt out.

The most prominent AI-generated feature is Quick Answers, which generates a Q&A-style dropdown that distills information into a bite-sized sentence. When visiting the wiki for The Witcher, for instance, anyone curious to find out who trained Geralt of Rivia can click on the question and learn that the answer is Vesemir.

Fandom will also add AI to its image review process “to ensure quick and accurate removal of inappropriate content.” The company worked with Coactive AI to develop Image Review. Wiki admins can automatically approve or reject photos. The company said it will add auto-tagging for SEO.

Quick Answers lets visitors easily find answers about specific fandoms, which is one of the key reasons people go to Fandom pages in the first place. But when Fandom first began testing the feature in August 2023, community members complained that the AI frequently answered incorrectly and, at times, inappropriately. Wiki creators demanded an edit feature or an opt-out. At least one fan project, the Hollow Knight Wiki, announced it was leaving Fandom in part because of the feature — stating that Fandom did not test out AI features like Quick Answers or consult with creators, among other problems with the company. Fandom paused Quick Answers in September to add an edit feature.

Now, Fandom says wiki admins and editors can review answers to make sure it will only return correct answers for that fandom. It will be an optional feature, but Fandom said it is available on the character pages for its most popular sites, including Avatar (as in airbending, not the blue aliens), Harry Potter, The Last of Us, and The Witcher. Wiki admins can use Quick Answers AI to organize their content by automating the formatting of their sites.

“These new products are a direct result of our creator’s feedback, and Fandom is committed to providing the functionality they need to serve their communities better,” said Fandom’s vice president of community Brandon Rhea in a statement.

Fandom said it hosts 45 million wiki pages, with more than 350 million unique visitors each month.

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