The on-wiki version of this newsletter can be found here:
The discussion about how to license the different components of Abstract
ebbing down. Given the status of the discussion, we propose the following
summary and decision:
- All contributions to Wikifunctions and the wider Abstract Wikipedia
projects will be published under free licenses.
- Textual content on Wikifunctions will be published under CC BY-SA 3.0.
- Function signatures and other structured content on Wikifunctions will
be published under CC 0.
- Code implementations in Wikifunctions will be published under the
Apache 2 license.
- Abstract Content for Abstract Wikipedia will be published under CC
The last point was a particular focus of the discussion. As you can see, we
are proposing to adopt CC BY-SA. This was the most common !vote. We also
found the arguments for having the same license for Abstract Content as we
already have for Wikipedia convincing: this will allow us to use Wikipedia
as an inspiration for creating content without having to worry about a set
of rather complex legal and also moral issues. This is much more likely to
set up the relationship between the existing Wikipedia communities and the
community that will work on Abstract Wikipedia for a good start.
There were three main arguments raised by the supporters of CC 0:
- First, it was said that knowledge should not have a copyright in the
first place, and it should be as free as possible. And whereas I deeply
sympathize with that stance, more than twenty years ago Wikipedia decided
to use a copyleft license, and Wikipedia did rather well.
- Second, in a similar vein, it was said that abstract content should
never have copyright. There is not much legal precedent for copyrighting
abstract content, and therefore our licensing decision might influence the
wider perception on the copyright status of abstract content. Given that,
their argument is that we should encourage fewer things being copyrightable.
- Last but not least, it was said that a lot of the Abstract Content
probably would not pass the threshold required to be copyrightable in the
first place (which means that applying a license based on copyright would
not work). In order to not overclaim copyright protection on content that
has no copyright, we should just declare everything public domain. But note
that there are some Wikipedia articles that are so short and simple they
also might not meet the threshold for copyright. But most of our articles
do. And we don’t differentiate between these two. I expect a similar
situation for Abstract Wikipedia, and hope that over time it will be
increasingly obvious that much of our content will pass the threshold
required for copyright.
Regarding the license for Code implementations: once Wikifunctions is
launched and has been around for a while, and a community has formed, we
will re-consider the question whether we should allow for several licenses,
similar to how Commons does it. At that point we will understand much
better how the system works, who is forming the community, and what kind of
contributions we are missing by not having the option to have several
licenses. I am looking forward to that discussion.
Note: the proposal leaves the decision open about the license for Abstract
Descriptions for Wikidata (which likely should be under CC 0, in order to
keep the licensing of Wikidata consistent), or about Abstract Content for
other Wikimedia projects. These questions will come up in the future, as we
get a better understanding of how the components interact with each other
and the world. Given the limited participation of the community in this
discussion, we will likely use a more lightweight approach towards deciding
these questions, now that the wide strokes of the licensing questions are
We are putting this proposal up until Monday, December 20, 2021, for the
office hour, where we will adopt this as a decision (see below). We feel
that the decision above reflects the will of the community. If you disagree
that this decision is a valid outcome of the discussion, please raise your
concerns by Monday.
Thank you all for participating in this discussion! Your voices and
opinions were read carefully and were very valuable to us.
We are happy to let you know that Mariya Shilova
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:MShilova_(WMF)> has joined the
Wikimedia Foundation this week. She will share her time between the
Abstract Wikipedia team and the Growth team. Let’s hear about her in her
*"I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I studied for four
years at Saint Petersburg State University with a focus on Math and
Computer Science. In 2008, I moved to the USA and transferred to Lehman
College, CUNY. I graduated from Lehman College in 2011 with a Bachelor's
Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.*
*"I bring nine years of experience as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and
Program Manager. I worked in both non-profit and private sectors and
managed projects in a variety of industries, including e-commerce, health,
education, and robotics. I am especially proud of my contributions as a
Technical Project Manager for the organization called Vibrant Emotional
Health, an NYC-based non-profit specializing in mental health innovation
and suicide prevention. I worked at Vibrant for 2.5 years and led technical
projects that impacted health, wellness, and suicide prevention for
thousands of people nationwide.*
*"I have four professional certifications: PMP
PMI-ACP, and ITIL <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITIL>.*
*"I currently reside with my husband in Central New Jersey, USA. Outside of
work, I enjoy traveling, spending time by the ocean (luckily I live by the
shore), hiking, and baking things with all sorts of flours (buckwheat is my
favorite one for savory goods)."*
Let us all welcome Mariya to the team!
As mentioned above, on Monday, December 20, 2021, at 19:00 UTC
<https://zonestamp.toolforge.org/1640026842>, we will have our office hour.
Like last time, the office hour
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Abstract_Wikipedia#Office_hours> will be
in IRC and also bridged to Telegram. We will start by summarizing our work
since the last office hour, and then be open for any questions. We will
also use the office hour to close the licensing discussion and adopt the
decision suggested above.