Lostpedia is 10 years old

Baker1000 September 22, 2015 User blog:Baker1000
LogBook Placid Azylum5
Lostpedia logo

On September 22nd 2005, Lostpedia was created. That means it’s now 10 years old! It was also the first anniversary of Lost, and the day after the much anticipated Season 2 premiere was aired. During the years that followed, Lostpedia grew into one of the biggest fansites about the TV series on the internet. It became an incredible resource for fans to keep track of all the twists and storylines within the show as they obsessively documented everything from the number of crash survivors still on the Island, to more bizarre stuff like how many times a season Hurley said dude. I’ve been coming here since 2006, and I’ve been a member since 2007. So in order to mark this milestone, I’d like to go through 10 things which had a significant impact on the site, and shaped it into what it is today.

I’ve tried to rank them in terms of importance.

10) Desmond episodes

3X08 DEsmondWakesUp
Desmond wakes

Everyone knew the general format of Lost episodes by the time we got into Season 3, with a few exceptions. Each episode contained real time scenes on the Island, intercut with flashbacks focused on a character or two, usually off-Island. It made formatting the episode articles easy. Flashback, then Island scenes. Then Desmond happened. "Flashes Before Your Eyes" was a complete shake up of the well-known format, starting out as you’d expect on the Island, before taking us back to when Desmond turned the Fail-safe key. Then it got weird. Desmond woke up in the past, and suddenly started to remember not only his life on the Island, but also that he had lived through everything happening once before. It was a mind boggling twist. Was it time travel? Was it all a dream? We were just as confused as Desmond. Of course it became a common element in Desmond episodes to totally shake up the expected format, and things got even crazier in "The Constant" when his consciousness skipped between two time periods. This meant we could never expect a simple format on our episode page whenever Desmond was the centric character.

9) The Lost Experience

Rachel Blake

Ah yes, The Lost Experience, or TLE for short. For those who may have never heard of this, it was an alternate-reality game (ARG) that filled void between Seasons 2 and 3, in summer 2006. Basically it followed the story of Rachel Blake as she tried to expose the Hanso Foundation’s secrets, the company funding DHARMA. It was an exciting time for me personally, as we lived out the story as it happened in real-time and the fan community came together to hunt for clues and game elements. It was during this time when I found Lostpedia, because the site was not only gathering and documenting the clues that were found daily, but it also became a part of the game. During the final stages of TLE, Rachel Blake had managed to record the screening of a DHARMA Orientation film but in order for us to see it, we had to find hidden glyphs which would unlock segments of the recording. It became a virtual and real world treasure hunt as the team behind the game placed glyphs all over the world and internet. One such glyph was first discovered on Lostpedia, when User:RachelBlake posted a cryptic Morse code message which linked to another page on the site with a hidden link to the glyph code. I loved TLE, and it was a brilliant way of engaging fans and keeping us entertained in the hiatus. Sadly, it was never topped despite a few attempts between later seasons with other ARGs, though Find 815 was still a great little game.

8) The constant fight against spoilers

2x13 kate
Kate, after getting spoiled. Presumably.

As with any fansite during the shows run, spoilers were a big problem. There was an endless debate amongst fans all over the internet that spoilers were either a good, exciting way of discovering what Lost had in store, or were ruining the enjoyment of the show for people who wished to remain in the dark until airing. Personally, I’ve always been in the latter camp, preferring to enjoy the episodes twists and surprises as they were presented to me. Lostpedia always operated a spoiler-free main site, but had dedicated spoiler pages used by fans to keep track of all the leaks and rumours. Eventually, it was decided after much debate that Lostpedia should be completely free of spoilers and in 2008 the policy came into place. This didn’t stop the spoilers by any means, as people would intentionally go out of their way to place spoilers where fans would see them (and being removed as quickly as possible), but it allowed users a relatively worry free browsing experience.

7) Time travel

Time travel gave us headaches

Time travel in Lost provided us with many great twists and the chance to explore the Island’s past and even the near future. On Lostpedia, it gave us a headache. We had the timeline well worked out, using dialogue and the changing of days/nights to give us a good idea how many days had elapsed since the crash. Suddenly in Season 5, days no longer existed in the traditional sense. Each time the characters skipped through time, we had to try and establish roughly when each time period was taking place. No longer could we provide almost certain dates, but we had to use logic to narrow it down to an estimate so we could place it in the correct chronological order. Sometimes it was easy, other times it was a real pain in the neck. Eventually, in {{|5x05}}, we were faced with a quick succession of flashes with no real clues as to when the characters were. Thankfully things settled down to a single time period, in the 70s.

6) New seasons/episodes

4x01 TBOTE fruit
A new season begins

This is only low on the list as it became routine, but obviously with each new episode there was a huge amount of information that needed to be placed on the site. Thankfully we had a fantastic community of editors who dedicated their time immediately after the episode to get the site up to date as quickly as possible. There would probably be people editing the episode page as it happened, if not for them being locked until after. As I had to watch the episode the next day, I never got to see just how chaotic it became right after the episode finished airing but you could imagine what a couple of hundred people all trying to edit the same pages was like. New characters needed to be added, new locations, new info on the pages of any character that appeared. All while fans feverishly gave their reaction and attempted to make sense of the events that took place. New seasons were even crazier, as even more people than the standard weekly number flooded to the site to take part in the discussion, or hoping to find anything they may have missed. It was of course even worse when we were given more than one episode as a season premiere. Double the work load, double the excitement. I was constantly amazed with how complete the episode pages were by the time I got the chance to check them.

5) The flash-sideways

6x01 SafeLanding
Oceanic 815 lands

What made the flash-sideways so difficult to document is that we didn’t know exactly what they were until the end. At first I think it’s safe to say most people just assumed it was an alternate timeline where Oceanic 815 never crashes, made by the events of “the incident”. It was intentionally presented to us in a way that made us believe it was as such. The struggle then, was how did we document this timeline? Should it go before or after the on-Island timeline on episode pages? We settled on before. But then what about character pages? This is where the biggest debate took place, as editors were split between giving each one their own separate article, or including it within the current character pages. The argument was that since each character had slightly different experiences due to the absence of the Island, and different outlooks on life, they essentially weren’t the same character and should be given their own separate articles. Of course in the end we discovered that they were still the same characters, but after death. So we had to place all of the information on the same article as the characters, as well as move it on every episode page to after the Island events. Even after all that, the flash-sideways still divides fans.

4) The Season 3 finale

3x22 jack bridge
Jack reaches breaking point

Otherwise known as the turning point. As I said, before Season 3 you could predict the format of every episode with a few exceptions. The reason the twist in "Through the Looking Glass" was so successful is down to this predictable format of flashbacks. We assumed we were watching a flashback, and were given lots of reasons to justify that assumption, yet the final scene turned everything on its head and presented us with the very first glimpse of future events. You could almost imagine someone writing the episode article out with a flashback as it happened, only to have to shift everything behind the Island segment of the summary. We could no longer assume each episode would have a flashback, and so we had to start referring to each episodes main character as the “centric character” not flashback character. I could have picked finales in general as significant moments for Lostpedia for the same reason as premieres, but Season 3 was something special. Aside from the usual double dose of information, we had to deal with bombshell of a twist that made almost every fansite and forum on the internet grind to a halt under the pressure of traffic.

3) The series finale

The last moment

The finale was obviously a huge moment for fans all over the world, and the internet exploded with reactions both positive and negative as they tried to make sense of exactly what it all meant. Lostpedia was no exception, and as I said we had to completely change how we documented the flash-sideways timeline. But I’m putting this here for another reason. It was always going to be a turning point for this site, as new story developments were no longer going to happen and therefore, the encyclopedia side of the wiki would no longer need to be updated (aside from when the DVD came out). The buzz around the finale would eventually die down, and so too did the activity on here. Unless there is a reboot or follow up, the site will always remain in this state of very little activity. It’s sad, but it was inevitable. Lost was never going to be around forever, but Lostpedia will still serve new and old fans for as long as it can.

2) The switch to Wikia

The button was pushed

I didn’t like the switch to Wikia. For those unaware, Lostpedia used to be an independent wiki modelled after Wikipedia, with its own domain name On December 18th 2008, just before Season 5, we became part of Wikia. In the long run it was the right decision, as the show came to an end and the site would no longer be able to generate enough ad revenue to stay online, we had to switch to a sever that would keep the lights on even after the rats outnumbered the editors. That doesn’t mean it was all good, however. Wikia forced many changes to the site from day one, including a different layout which wasn’t the traditional Wikipedia look. Not long after the show ended, Wikia took to rolling out a site-wide universal look that wasn’t optional, which included a forced reduction in page width - which in mine and many other people’s opinion all across Wikia, was way too narrow. It messed up more than a few pages, which had to be corrected. The width now is bigger than that initial restriction, but I still can’t help but look at Wikipedia and wish we still had a page that wide. Wikia also introduced other site-wide changes such as new image templates that gave credit to whoever uploaded the image in the caption boxes, on pages. This went against Lostpedia’s policy not showing possession of edits on the article pages, plus it made the pages look more cluttered. So we created our own template to by-pass it, and rolled it out across the site which took tons of work to implement. There were positive changes to the site from being part of Wikia, the most notable of which is the blogs. At first I was sceptical, I didn’t think we needed somewhere else on the main site to discuss things. We had dedicated discussion pages for articles, and we had a forum for anything not related to the wiki. But the blogs have proven to be a great addition, and one of the only things keeping this site from being a total ghost town. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to post this if we never had them. In the end I’m thankful Wikia took over, but damn I wish they wouldn’t force site-wide changes to all of their wikis.

1) Creation

Oceanic 815 from Otherville 02
Where it began

It couldn’t be anything else, could it? On September 22nd 2005, a Lost fan named Kevin Croy took to the internet to find a wiki for the show, thinking there had to be one. So shocked that there wasn’t, he created one himself and so Lostpedia was born. (or “the Lostpedia” as he originally referred to it...much like Facebook) He was also fascinated with the software used to make Wikipedia and wanted to learn more about it. Over the following months, Lostpedia grew as it gained attention from fans and the media. It soon became the go-to place for anyone wanting to check facts and trivia on the show. I remember various times when people on forums would be asking about a certain subject, and a link to Lostpedia was quickly provided so they could find what they wanted. I didn’t know Kevin. I don’t know how active he was in the early days but he had a very “hands off” management approach, preferring to let the community decide the direction it wanted to take. He remained owner of the site until Wikia took over, and I don’t know if he ever checks back to see how the site is doing. I sure hope he doesn’t forget it’s been 10 years since he started this little project. If he does ever read this, I would like to thank him for providing fans with a valuable resource for the show, and a place to come together and share in the experience that was Lost. Of course, the site would not be the place it became if not for the thousands of users who contributed and built the encyclopedia. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and commitment during the years Lost was on our screens, and those who have stayed behind to maintain it. Here’s to another 10 years.


Also on Fandom

Random Wiki