Tolkien Gateway

Tolkien Gateway

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* [[1 January|January 1]], 2006 - Foundation of [[Tolkien News]]
* [[1 January|January 1]], 2006 - Foundation of [[Tolkien News]]
* [[2 April|April 2]], 2006 - Opening of the [[Forum:Council|Forums]]<ref name="Forum Create">"[[Forum:Welcome to the Council forum!]]" (accessed [[November 24]], [[2010]])</ref>
* [[2 April|April 2]], 2006 - Opening of the [[Forum:Council|Forums]]<ref name="Forum Create">"[[Forum:Welcome to the Council forum!]]" (accessed [[November 24]], [[2010]])</ref>
* [[October 14]], 2006 - Creation of [[Tolkien Gateway:Projects|Projects]]
* [[14 October|October 14]], 2006 - Creation of [[Tolkien Gateway:Projects|Projects]]
* [[October 16]], 2006 - Default skin changed to "Cavendish"<ref name="2006u"/>
* [[October 16]], 2006 - Default skin changed to "Cavendish"<ref name="2006u"/>
* [[14 April|April 14]], 2007 - New [[Main Page]] design<ref name="Old Main Page">"[ Main Page oldid=42029]" (accessed [[November 24]], [[2010]])</ref>
* [[14 April|April 14]], 2007 - New [[Main Page]] design<ref name="Old Main Page">"[ Main Page oldid=42029]" (accessed [[November 24]], [[2010]])</ref>

Revision as of 19:56, 8 June 2011

This is the encyclopedic article about Tolkien Gateway, for generic help and information see Help:Contents or Community Portal.
Alexa rank530,539
TypeWiki; collaborative encyclopedia
Article count11,756
RegistrationRequired (since June 2010)
Key peopleEderchil
(see Top Editors)
Launch dateJune 3, 2005
Tolkien Gateway (or simply TG) is a not-for-profit collaborative wiki devoted to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, being the largest Tolkien-related encyclopedia on Internet.[1] It strives to be the most extensive and complete online resource with content relating not just to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien but also information on Tolkien-related images, adaptations, people, places, events, societies, and other works of scholarly and academic interest.

Inspired by the recent release of The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy, Tolkien Gateway was founded by Hyarion on January 1, 2003 as, then, before eventually opening up as on June 3, 2005. Tolkien Gateway uses the same MediaWiki software as Wikia and Wikipedia whilst operating a GNU-FDL licence.



Tolkien Gateway is determined to inform you as much as possible about J.R.R. Tolkien and his masterpieces. Our goal is to have the most complete database about Middle-earth and Tolkien as possible.


Key Dates

See also: Tolkien Gateway:Updates

History by year


Inspired by the recent release of The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy, Hyarion created TolkienGateway on January 1, 2003 as a community and an encyclopedia at Sporting a tan-coloured skin, TolkienGateway made use of the free PHP-Nuke software.[13]

In February, Hyarion decide to move the web-hosting of TolkienGateway from Angelfire to FuturePoint. By August, Hyarion migrated to the free, and more aesthetically-pleasing, domain of[14]


Tolkien Gateway's original logo

On November 6, Hyarion purchased the domain and begins work on creating a proper wiki. By March 2005, the original TolkienGateway has gone offline so Hyarion can focus on the new website.[14]


In January 2005 Tolkien Gateway's IRC chat was opened; this enabled both Tolkien Gateway editors and users from other websites to congregate in a single place for discussion of their respective websites and the works of Tolkien.[15] Tolkien Gateway's IRC, irc://, is still in use today.

After a long hiatus, Tolkien Gateway opened to the public on June 3 with Hyarion as the sole administrator and bureaucrat. In order for Tolkien Gateway to have a sizeable number of articles ready for its released, many were copied from either The Encyclopedia of Arda or Wikipedia; this has since been criticised by later editors who have struggled to identify and update all such articles.[16]

Notable editors during this time include BrightSideoftheDark, Bokkie, Elemmakil, Gandalf, Hyarion and Tik.


On January 1 2006 Hyarion opened a second website, Tolkien News, as a another source of information, in competition with, but without the commercial advertising. The website closed in 2008

Technically, 2006 was a very important year for Tolkien Gateway: it saw the introduction of the fresh Cavendish skin, the creation of a forum for editors to discuss important issues, a community portal, and the ability to embed video. Furthermore, 2006 witnessed impressive growth in page views: from less than 200,000 page views at the start of the year to a million by October, by this point Tolkien Gateway was also witnessing 3,000 pages views per day.[4]

2006 also witnessed modest growth in members from about 180 at the start of year to 422 at the end of the end of the year.[8] Important editors during this time include Ardamir, Earendilyon, Ebakunin, Hyarion, Mith, Narfil Palùrfalas, Tar-Telperien and Tik.


Tolkien Gateway in July 2006
Although technically relatively uneventful, 2007 saw attempts by Hyarion to increase Tolkien Gateway's user base and reach. In particular, coinciding with the release of The Children of Húrin Hyarion arranged The Children of Húrin Release Party an online gathering of artists, collectors, scholars and fans to celebrate the publication of this fresh story; a record-breaking 69 new users joined Tolkien Gateway in April 2007 as a result of this.[8] Coinciding with The Children of Húrin Release Party, Hyarion also introduced a brand new Main Page layout which still remains the basis for the current Main Page.

On October 4, Hyarion introduced interwiki links allowing Tolkien Gateway's English articles to be connected to the fellow wikis Ardapedia (German) and Kontu (Finnish).[6] Since then, interwiki links have also been expanded to the French website Tolkiendil and Farsi website Valimar.

Influential editors during this period include Dr Death, Dwarf Lord, Earendilyon, Elemmakil Fleela, Hyarion, Mith, Narfil Palùrfalas, Tar-Telperien, Theoden1 and Tik.


Tolkien Gateway in June 2008

The first major event of 2008 was a server move, "Due to the rapid growth of Tolkien Gateway we will be migrating to a new quad-core server with 8 gigs of RAM."[17] Tolkien Gateway moves server on roughly a year basis every time resulting in considerable downtime and residual problems; this move was no exception![18]

On April 30, 2008 the first major extension to the wiki's content was the creation of a map which seeks to list all the important locations in the world relevant to Tolkien's life, publications and adaptations.[7] The expansion of the wiki continues, reaching 7,000 articles by July 12[9] whilst gaining an extra 366 members over the course of the year, taking the total membership to 788.[8]

In the summer, Hyarion revealed to editors that he had been in discussions with the the administrators of One Wiki to Rule Them All, the Tolkien encyclopedia of Wikia, to merge the two sites together. Although the proposal wasn't fully fleshed-out, members of both communities got so far as registering their intention to vote on the issue before Wikia staff decided they were unwilling to let go of their own site - the merger never took place.[19] A happy side-effect, however, is that many One Wiki editors migrated permanently to Tolkien Gateway, including the One Wiki bureaucrat KingAragorn.[20]

what a shame. It's almost comical that they ignored the wiki until there were any talks of leaving, at which point they realized they'd be losing money so they now have all of their employees pretending to be active contributors. Anyway, we're moving past it, they are not worth the time
Hyarion on Wikia's staff attitude towards a merger of Tolkien Gateway and One Wiki to Rule Them All[20]

The second seminal event of 2008 was the introduction of Meetings. The first meeting was held on August 17, 2008; following the first meeting, Tolkien Gateway saw its very first promotion of Ederchil to administrator, an expansion of Projects to focus the activities of members, and a more extensive Community Portal.[21] Meetings continued on a weekly basis until October.[22]

Finally, on August 26, the "Gateway to Ithilien" was made the default skin for Tolkien Gateway, and - with minor alterations - still remains the default skin today.[11]

Top contributors during this period include Aule the Smith, Dwarf Lord, Earendilyon, Ederchil, Eldarion Telcontar, KingAragorn, Linathiel, Mith, Narfil Palùrfalas, Quidon88, Sage, Þelma, Theoden1, and Tik as well as KingAragorn Bot


Apart from another difficult server move,[23] 2009 was a relatively uneventful year for Tolkien Gateway and its editors. Despite this, Tolkien Gateway gained the largest number of editors in any year (481),[8] as well as passing the threshold of 8,000 articles.

Frequent editors of 2009 include: Ebakunin, Ederchil, Eldarion Telcontar, Grond, Hyarion, KingAragorn, Mith, Morgan, Mthomas, Pinkkeith, Þelma and Sage, as well as KingAragorn Bot.


Tolkien Gateway in November 2010

2010 started eventfully for Tolkien Gateway as a new editor, Gilgamesh, including Quenya and Sindarin declension templates in the majority of articles - this led to an intense discussion between Gilgamesh on the one hand, and Ederchil, Mith and Sage on the other (arguing that their appearance and canonicity were questionable). Eventually, all the templates were removed.[24]

Despite reaching its fifth birthday (as a wiki) this was left uncelebrated by the editors. Indeed, some editors expressed disquiet about existing technical problems, the paucity of editors and the inactivity of Hyarion with some editors suggesting that the project should be forked. Following this, Tolkien Gateway witness a re-emergence of its meetings,[22] Hyarion became more active (updating the MediaWiki software), Ederchil was promoted to a bureaucrat and Mith was promoted to administrator/sysop.[25] It was also at this time that, with great reluctance,[26] that members of the community decided to lock Tolkien Gateway to anonymous editors; this was in order to prevent the large numbers of spammers who were vandalising articles.[12]

In the summer of 2010, Kris Kowal from added links to Tolkien Gateway - alongside existing ones to the Encyclopedia of Arda - on his interactive map.[27]

During this time, many key projects were embarked upon by editors: the relatively new editor Morgan working on bibliographical information;[28] Mith working on the Timeline and years; Ederchil and Mith updated and expanded infoboxes; Mith and KingAragorn trying to remove five-years of redirected links (with the aid of their bots);[29][30] KingAragorn re-categorisation all location articles; Sage working on language-related articles; and Amroth and Pinkkeith working on video-games articles. Other high-frequency editors include: Aule the Smith, Gilgamesh, Grond, Mthomas and Theoden1, along with the aforementioned KingAragorn Bot and Mithbot.


See also: Wiki#Trustworthiness and Criticism of Wikipedia for criticism of wikis in general

Like other wikis, Tolkien Gateway has been criticised for the reliability of its information, its lack of sources and the frequency of its revisions. In particular, in the summer of 2010, Tolkien Gateway was criticised for confusing the two articles for Norman Power and Joseph Power; the prominent scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull said:

The Tolkien Gateway entry for Norman Power makes a terrible hash of it by conjoining Norman and Joseph. How on earth could the writer think that someone said to be born in 1925 (Joseph) could be a student at Oxford in the late 1930s? [..] Well, call us old-fashioned (we do), and we admit to having only a passing knowledge of the ways of wiki-creation, but it would never occur to us to post a work-in-progress, to be cleaned up by someone else, especially since people often take wiki articles, in any state of completion, as gospel truth.
Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull[31][32]

Despite Morgan launching a defence of Tolkien Gateway on The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, although accepting that Tolkien Gateway was better than other online encyclopaedias, the members generally complained about the unreliability of Tolkien Gateway - and wikis in general - and the ephemeral nature of the Internet, with an agreement that there was a "distressing lack of sources".[33] The article English and Welsh was paraded as a particularly bad example; once Morgan informed other Gatekeepers of this, KingAragorn posed the question, "If they have a problem with it, then what's stopping them from editing it?", Aule the Smith retorted, "A mix of snootiness and cranky technophobia, it would seem...".[34] In response to the criticisms raised, both the "Joseph Power"/"Norman Power" and "English and Welsh" articles have been amended.

In a review of Tolkien Gateway, Kristine Kastle claimed that it was only appropriate for the younger reader, it suffered from poor navigation, and the design was basic, lacking colour and that the life was sucked out of it; she gave Tolkien Gateway a score of 1.5 out of 4 which translates as, "Well now at least the website is recognizable as a website; style is still not pretty much nonexistant."[35] The skin has been updated twice since the review although the navigation system has changed little.[18]

Commenting on Tolkien Gateway, Troels Forchhammer says that "[i]t suffers from the same problems as any wiki when the subject is one of some fame or notoriety and in particular when the subject lends itself to strongly held opinions". He also marks that Tolkien Gateway is "trying to add thorough references to their articles, but has still a way to go."[36]

See Also

External Links


  1. "List of Tolkien Encyclopedias", based on research by Mith (accessed November 19 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 From "Tolkien Gateway: About" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  3. "Forum:Welcome to the Council forum!" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Tolkien Gateway:Updates#2006" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  5. "Main Page oldid=42029" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Tolkien Gateway:Updates", entry 10-4-07 (accessed November 20, 2010)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tolkien Gateway:Updates, entry 4-14-08 (accessed November 21, 2010)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Personal research by Mith
  9. 9.0 9.1 Tolkien Gateway:Updates, entry 7-12-08 (accessed November 21, 2010)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "User Rights Log" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Tolkien Gateway:Updates", entry 8-26-08 (accessed November 21, 2010)
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Forum:Database Lock" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  13. Internet Archive: Wayback Machine, "" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Internet Archive: Wayback Machine, "" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  15. "Tolkien Gateway:Chat (accessed November 21, 2010)
  16. See "Tolkien Gateway talk:Meetings/5 September 2010#Ideas for Agenda" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  17. Tolkien Gateway:Updates, entry 1-29-08 (accessed November 21, 2010)
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Tolkien Gateway:Updates" (accessed November 19, 2010)
  19. "User talk:Hyarion#Merge" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  20. 20.0 20.1 "User talk:Hyarion/Archive 4#Merge" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  21. "Tolkien Gateway:Meetings/17 August 2008" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Tolkien Gateway:Meetings" (accessed November 21, 2010)
  23. "Tolkien Gateway:Updates", entry 9-2-09 (accessed November 24, 2010)
  24. "Forum:Quenya declension template appearance" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  25. "Tolkien Gateway:Requests for adminship/Archive#Mith (28/06/10)" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  26. "User talk:Ederchil#Anti-spam strategies" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  27. "References for Middle-earth" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  28. "Writings by J.R.R. Tolkien" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  29. "Forum:Linking to redirects" (accessed November 24, 2010)
  30. See "Redirects" for progress (accessed November 24, 2010)
  31. The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, "Brother Joseph Power's experiences of Tolkien, post #7238261", dated July 26, 2010 (accessed November 19, 2010)
  32. The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, "Brother Joseph Power's experiences of Tolkien, post #7239909", dated July 29, 2010 (accessed November 19, 2010)
  33. The Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, "The future of Tolkien knowledge", dated July 30 to August 11 2010 (accessed November 19, 2010)
  34. "Talk:English and Welsh" (accessed November 19, 2010)
  35. Kristine Kastle on Collaborative Web Review, "Tolkien Gateway Review" (accessed November 19, 2010)
  36. The Tolkien Newsgroups' Links Collection, dated 5 August 2008 (accessed 26 April 2011)
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