You are in an impossible position. Either you want to be an objective
researcher who tries to reconstruct past events as they happened, or you
are pursuing an agenda to criticise and change some aspects of Wikidata.
The way you do it, you are making yourself part of the debate that you
claim you want to reconstruct.
From a research perspective, any material you gather in this way comes
with a big question mark. You are not doing us much of a favour either,
because by forcing us to refute accusations, you are placing our
memories of the past events in a doubtful, heavily biased context.
Your overall approach of considering a theory to be true (or at least
equally likely to be true) unless you are given "proofs that this claim
is completely wrong" is not scientific. This is not how research works.
For a start, Occam's Razor should make you disregard overly complex
theories for things that have much simpler explanations (in our case:
CC0 is a respected license chosen by many other projects for good
reasons, so it is entirely plausible that the founders of Wikidata also
just picked it for the usual reasons, without any secret conspiracy).
And once you have an interesting theory formed, you need to gather
evidence for or against it in a way that is not affected by the theory
(i.e., in particular, don't start calls for information with an
emotional discussion of whether or not you would personally like the
theory to turn out true).
What you are doing here is completely unscientific and I hope that your
supervisor (?) will also point this out to you at some point. Moreover,
I am afraid that you cannot really get back to the position of an
objective observer from where you are now. Better leave this research to
others who are not in publicly documented disagreement with the main
So you should understand that I don't feel compelled to give you a
detailed account of every Wikidata-related discussion I had as if I were
on some trial here. As a "researcher", it is you who has to prove your
theories, not the rest of the world who has to disprove them. I already
told you that your main guesses as far as they concern things I have
witnessed are not true, and that's all from me for now.
On 01.12.2017 03:43, mathieu stumpf guntz wrote:
First rest assured that any feedback provided will be integrated in the
research project on the topic with proper references, including this
email. It might not come before beginning of next week however, as I'm
already more than fully booked until then. But once again it's on a
wiki, be bold.
Le 01/12/2017 à 01:18, Markus Krötzsch a écrit :
Your post demands my response since I was there when CC0 was first
chosen (i.e., in the April meeting). I won't discuss your other claims
here -- the discussions on the Wikidata list are already doing this,
and I agree with Lydia that no shouting is necessary here.
Nevertheless, I must at least testify to what John wrote in his
earlier message (quote included below this email for reference): it
was not Denny's decision to go for CC0, but the outcome of a
discussion among several people who had worked with open data for some
time before Wikidata was born. I have personally supported this choice
and still do. I have never received any money directly or indirectly
from Google, though -- full disclosure -- I got several T-shirts for
supervising in Summer of Code projects.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough on that too, but to my mind the problem is
not money but governance. Anyone with too much cash can throw it
wherever wanted, and if some fall into Wikimedia pocket, that's fine.
But the moment a decision that impact so deeply Wikimedia governance and
future happen, then maximum transparency must be present, communication
must be extensive, and taking into account community feedback is
extremely preferable. No one is perfect, myself included, so its all the
more important to listen to external feedback. I said earlier that I
found the knowledge engine was a good idea, but for what I red it seems
that transparency didn't reach expectation of the community.
So, I was wrong my inferences around Denny, good news. Of course I would
prefer to have other archived sources to confirm that. No mistrust
intended, I think most of us are accustomed to put claims in perspective
with sources and think critically.
For completeness, was this discussion online or – to bring bag the
earlier stated testimony – around a pizza? If possible, could you
provide a list of involved people? Did a single person took the final
decision, or was it a show of hands, or some consensus emerged from
discussion? Or maybe the community was consulted with a vote, and if
yes, where can I find the archive?
Also archives show that lawyers were consulted on the topic, could we
have a copy of their report?
At no time did Google or any other company take
part in our
discussions in the zeroth hour of Wikidata. And why should they? From
what I can see on their web page, Google has no problem with all kinds
of different license terms in the data they display.
Because they are more and
more moving to a business model of providing
themselves what people are looking for to keep users in their sphere of
tracking and influence, probably with the sole idea of generating more
revenue I guess.
Also, I can tell you that we would have reacted
in a very allergic way
to such attempts, so if any company had approached us, this would
quite likely have backfired. But, believe it or not, when we started
it was all but clear that this would become a relevant project at all,
and no major company even cared to lobby us. It was still mostly a few
hackers getting together in varying locations in Berlin. There was a
lot of fun, optimism, and excitement in this early phase of Wikidata
(well, I guess we are still in this phase).
Please situate that in time so we can
place that in a timeline. In March
2012 Wikimedia DE announced the initial funding of 1.3 million Euros by
Google, Paul Allen's Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Gordon
and Betty Moore Foundation.
So please do not start emails with made-up stories around past events
that you have not even been close to (calling something "research" is
no substitute for methodology and rigour).
But that's all the problem here,
no one should have to carry the pain of
trying to reconstruct what happened through such a research. Process of
this kind of decision should have been documented and should be easily
be found in archives. If you have suggestion in methods, please provide
them. Just denigrating the work don't help in any way to improve it. If
there are additional sources that I missed, please provide them. If
there are methodologies that would help improve the work, references are
Putting unsourced personal attacks against
community members before
all other arguments is a reckless way of maximising effect, and such
rhetoric can damage our movement beyond this thread or topic.
All this is built
on references. If the analyze is wrong, for example
because it missed crucial undocumented information this must be
corrected with additional sources. Wikidata team, as far as I can tell,
was perfectly aware of this project for weeks. So if there was some
sources that the team considered that it merited my attention to
complete my thoughts on the topic, there was plenty of time to provide
them before I posted this message.
Our main strength is not our content but our
community, and I am glad
to see that many have already responded to you in such a measured and
We completely agree on that. This is a wonderful community. And
concerns for future of this very community which fueled this project.
I only can reiterate all apologies to anyone that might have felt
personally attacked. I can go back to reformulate my message.
I hope you will help me to improve the research, or call it as you like,
with more relevant feedback and references.
On 30.11.2017 09:55, John Erling Blad wrote:
Licensing was discussed in the start of the
project, as in start of
developing code for the project, and as I recall it the arguments for
CC0 was valid and sound. That was long before Danny started working for
As I recall it was mention during first week of the project (first week
of april), and the duscussion reemerged during first week of
development. That must have been week 4 or 5 (first week of may), as
delivery of the laptoppen was delayed. I was
against CC0 as I expected
problems with reuse og external data. The arguments for CC0
And yes, Denny argued for CC0 AS did Daniel and I believe Jeroen and
Jens did too.