I've been hesitating to post about this, but it's now gotten to the point where I'm seriously taking it into consideration. For reasons that I'll explain below, I think it may be time to ditch the old talk page system and enable article commenting on this wiki.
My own reasoning
When I first came onto this wiki, I wanted to organize it in a way that was mainly productive for users, paying no attention to how "technical" things got. This is because my starting wiki was based on a children's fantasy book series--which, even though it's also a subject primarily targeted towards children, it attracted the kind of people who (obviously) are the least likely to say, "Eh, reading takes too much time. I'll just watch the movie!" So, coming from this kind of environment, I simply assumed people would be okay with this technical nature because of it being a wiki website: people expect to see and use a site consisting of a bunch of codes. There's nothing else to it, right?
That way of thinking has changed a lot for me in recent years as Wikia, websites, technology in general, and even people in general have all become more visually oriented and accustomed to eliminating steps and bringing instantaneous results. Seeing all this happen made me realize two things:
I never took into consideration the differences between who would be frequent readers and who would be frequent users;
Both technology and people have changed, and to have one be successful with the other, you need to simplify as much as possible with visuals and easy-to-use tools.
This is why in recent months I've been trying to find ways to get more people involved without getting too "technical". As a result, we've had more socializing activities going on around here. In light of continuing this, I think it may be beneficial to enable article commenting rather than our slightly more productive, but less used talk pages.
The hard truth of it is: Kung Fu Panda's primary audience is young, movie-going people with shorter attention spans than book-reading people. And in the best interest of the wiki becoming both easier to use and more popular with its subject's primary audience, I think this may be an important step to take.
The pros & cons (currently)
Here's how I see article commenting affecting our wiki:
Simply and honestly, they're easier to use. Talk pages require more steps in posting a message, and also have a specific style guide that needed to be followed in order to read a conversation easily. Article commenting eliminates these extra steps.
They're more visually oriented versus a wall of weirdly indented text on talk pages.
Because of its easy use and visual presence, it may provide more activity and feedback from the wiki's users.
Its easy use makes it more susceptible in attracting non-feedback messages (e.g. "i love this character!!"), which may require more article patrolling.
This could potentially be a pro if we want to have something to do. I see it as an opportunity to maybe organize a group of people to regularly patrol comments...
I'm not too sure on this, but I would think having a bunch of comments on the page would increase the article's byte size, which would be counterproductive to the goal from this thread.
There's my longer-than-anticipated tidbit. Didn't think I'd ever argue so much for this feature, but hopefully my thoughts made sense.
Other thoughts? Opinions? Should I maybe try to move this to a community vote?
UPDATE: I've just activated article comments on this wiki. It'll stay on here until the results of the community vote, which will happen at the earliest in one week. (Depending on how much the feature is used, we may need to extend the trial period, which I'll note here if so.)
During the week, I'll keep track of how the feature is being used, how often it's being used, and whether or not it's taking up more byte space on articles. I have the current byte sizes of the top 30-ish long articles logged, and I'll take note of any changes as comments are made.
^ Well, hopefully most of the "chatting" part can be reserved for the Forums and Wiki Chat, but we'd love to hear more feedback from the community about the articles. You're more than welcome to start doing that if you want. :)
By the way, I forgot to announce on this thread: the trial period is officially extended since we haven't had any activity with the article comments. I think it should just be extended indefinitely until there is sufficient material for a community vote. However, because we're using different criteria to judge the feature's use and usefulness to our community, it's hard to judge when we'll have "enough". It could very well be a while, though.
I'll make note here on when I think we should move to a vote; until then, we'll keep the feature in its trial period.