I'd like to say a few words regarding our brand new
For those who missed the fun, many contributors have
been working in the past few weeks on our first global
This is the english version, but 5 versions are
and several others are near completion and hopefully
will be done in the next few days/weeks : Ar: De: Es:
Fi: It: and Sv:
The newsletter idea was several times mentionned last
summer on meta. In particular, Angela and I thought it
could be sent to members of the Foundation.
A few weeks ago Jimbo also mentionned he would like to
find a way to better communicate his thoughts and
points of view to the whole community. He pointed out
that his communication was limited by the language
I then suggested we do a quarterly letter to inform
people of Jimbo and the board thoughts and activities,
as well as report what has been going on in the global
Improving the communication within the community and
increasing the visibility of the Foundation activity
to contributors, to readers and to donators is very
important. I think this newsletter is one of those
steps in this direction.
We also wished that this first quaterly letter
coincide both with the 1.000.000 Wikipedia articles
announcement and the 1st trimester of activity of
Angela and I. But the problem was very very short
delays !!! And naturally a huge amount of work to
provide. Not only huge, but definitly requiring a lot
I asked Sj if he could be the coordinator of the
newsletter. I was sure he would do a very good job and
I knew he would love it ;-)
I am extremely glad I did ask him, and he accepted,
because I think Sj made a wonderful job and I would
really like to issue a special thank you note to him
for making this dream come true. I think he has been
devoting many hours on it, with optimism and cheerful
mood. A hand of iron in velvet gloves. I hope he is
very proud because he should be :-)
This newsletter has been set up in an incredible short
time (resulting in a few overlappings between writing
and translating, sorry about that).
Its great design was made by Villy, who probably also
dedicated a month wikipedia-time on it. Dozens of
different people have been contributing to its
content; dozen of editors from many different
languages have been contributing to its translation.
We had a very nice and interesting interview from
Ward. Many editors also helped proofreading, typo
correcting, frame fixing etc... May they all be
5 versions are currently final, and have been
transferred to the wikimediafoundation website and
will be advertised on the local projects.
There is still some work on them to do. More editors
are still working on the other versions and I guess we
will end up withabout 10 fully translated versions
which is really great. Next steps will be to have all
of them adequately set on the foundation website, made
visible on projects, and slowly to work on a pdf or
In all cases, I hope all those who worked on it had
pleasure to do so, and feel proud of the result. I
really thank all of you; it gave me a very warm
feeling to see we could so well and so quickly build
up such a common project (of course, I should not feel
surprised by this, but... still... even after nearly 3
years on wikipedia, I am still regularly amazed :-)).
I think it was an important thing to do, and among
other reasons, I think it was a great way to have
editors from many languages working together on a
common global project. I also hope it will help
smaller projects to feel more involved and drain more
people to get interested in meta activities.
There are some flaws in the letter naturally, I hope
readers will forgive us. There will be some feedback
both on the letter or on its editorial organisation,
or on the content itself to provide. Please do not
hesitate to give us your feedback. Perhaps on
so we can have an even better letter in 3 months.
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>> Thank you for your support. I would like to again
>invite all interested
>> parties (especially developers, but also writers,
>photographers etc.) to
>> add themselves on the above page, so that we can
>together move this
>> project forward after MediaWiki 1.3 has reached a
>stable state. As the
>> above proposal states, I hope that we can also
>implement single sign-on in
>> one fell swoop with the Commons itself, which would
>be one important step
>> to bring the individual Wikimedia projects closer
>>I am still willing to help and aid in this project.
>>However, as things
>>look now, the only help I can offer you is to
>>discontinue any plans I
>>myself have in this direction until you are ready.
>>One time there was just the English Wikipedia, then
>>were made. I have the feeling that I'm like someone
>>wanting to set
>>up another language and getting the answer that it's
>a >good idea, but
>>that in half a year there will be a new software with
>>and the possibility to have an interface adaptable to
>>I just wait for that.
>>It's not that I don't like your plans. I do. And when
>>comes, I'll join in. For now I'll just count my
>>losses. And wonder
>>why you might succeed and I do not. Is it because you
>>developer and I'm not? Because your plans are grand
>>down-to-earth? Because I'm not brazen enough? Anyway,
>André. Pause réflexion. Un vrai leader évite de
>perpétuellement marcher sur les pieds des autres. Il
>leur laisse de la place pour s'exprimer, parfois même
>il s'efface pour laisser les autres s'occuper d'un
>projet qui leur tient à coeur. Il évite de créer des
>rancoeurs :-) Enfin, juste ma triste opinion. ant
C'est bien de voir que tout au moins quelqu'un se souvient de la liste
correcte pour discuter ces sujets. Est-ce que tous les autres oublient
parce que en ce moment Jimbo ne reçoit pas les messages de cette liste-ci ?
The second point is this one.
A lot of the opposition on the wikinews project is
* dividing community forces (stretching human
* reduced number of editors will mean less chance for
* breaking news-pressure will push editors to publish
quickly, while nearly 4 years of experience show us
only time and number of editors allow us to approach
npov. As best said by Maha_ts ''Establishing NPOV
within the short time span required for news reporting
will almost be impossible, to any degree of fairness
* fear of legal issues (consider setting up a legal
team at the same time than wikinews)
* and mostly, concerns on original reporting.
So, overall, though I think the idea of wikinews is
great, and should become a major hit, I think that we
- that rules be collectively worked on, so that
concerns voiced by non-supporters are taken into
account. For this, I hope that many editors join the
future project so that we all work on it.
- possibly to get some journalists involved in the
project, so that we get more (or different)
perspective. There are some journalists interested in
wikipedia, and who would feel ready to discuss the
project with us. Or even to join it.
For this reason, and after several discussions here
and there, given the controversial nature of the
project and its likelyhood to get in the sunlights of
media immediately upon its creation (contrarywise to
wikipedia, which had time to polish before it become
known), I would suggest that we try to contact some
interested journalists and possibly have them join a
sort of advisory board. What do you think ?
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Angela reminded me today we had agreed on an open board meeting early
So... Here it is.
You are warmly welcome in #wikimedia for a tea-party (or a brunch, or an
after-dinner liquor, just pick up depending on your time-zone).
Date : Saturday the 6th of november
Hour : 20 UTC
Place : irc.freenode.net#wikimedia
Who : everyone interested in wikimedia projects future (trolls not
Why : brainstorming session on the future
Topic : see http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_agenda
Outcome : Great hopefully.
Log will be published on Meta.
It’s time I step in with some basic thoughts on the grant process in general and Wikijunior in particular.
I want to start by saying that my position with regard to the Wikimedia Foundation is that our objective is to collect and disseminate knowledge in all its forms. This is our goal. The sense of community and camaraderie that derive from this are wonderful, but our goal is to collect and present the sum of human knowledge in a way that is freely accessible to people anywhere, whether in print or online. That is why we have so many different languages and projects. When deciding on new projects, our criteria should be this goal alone: does it assist in the collection and/or dissemination of knowledge to a specific community?
Our grant process, which is still in its infancy, should respond to that. Our purpose is not to bolster some virtual playground, where people can play around with their favorite topics. In fact, this is the basis of the criteria for inclusion: “Is it encyclopedic?” Our grants should focus not just on getting new servers, but on finding ways to make the Wiki projects accessible and friendly to the most divergent audiences. I think Anthere said it best when she wrote:“It is not a party.” We are committed to the serious work of creating an encyclopedia.
Of course, this is totally in character with what funders are looking for. No one wants to give money so that some random group of people can get together on the Internet. They want to see bang for their buck (pardon the Americanism). They want to see that their money is invested wisely in creating something. Any grant we receive will want to see some outcome. They have a right to demand a product that is created as a result of their funding. If not, they will not give funding.
At this point, perhaps I should clarify regarding a misconception in an earlier post. The NEH grant was not dropped because people opposed it. We simply weren’t ready for it this time around. I hope that next time we will be.
We are now in the process of requesting substantial grant moneys. It is no exaggeration to say that the sums are of the six and seven digit kind. That kind of money will empower us to do quite a lot. However, it also commits us to doing what we promise.
I myself am opposed to open discussion of this process. While this may sound un-wikilike, it is obvious to me that the discussion leading up to grant proposals will be done in a casual, informal style. Things may be said that we do not want the potential grant-givers to hear. If it is open to the kind of public debate that is typical of Wikipedia, we are seriously endangering our chances of receiving those grants.
I also believe that grants should be coordinated. Grants involve making promises (that we can stick to). The grant process is not panhandling. Uncoordinated grant applications could mean that six or seven people approach a certain group (let’s say UNESCO), asking for different things and making different promises. It certainly impinges on our credibility, especially when some of those same groups may well be coming to us at the same time (and yes, we have been approached by some major charitable organizations). At the same time, we do not want to be seen as being in a position of turning down grants and perhaps burning bridges with organizations in whose good graces we will want to be, if only at a later date.
To me, approval of grant requests means board approval. Believe it or not, there are some people who do see a larger picture and know what is going on in various competing spheres. I certainly don’t know everything that is going on, so when I ask for a grant, I turn to them to inform various considerations I might have. That is not hierarchy. That is informed decision-making based on consultation.
Back to Wikijunior. An organization approached us. It is a relationship we would like to foster. The objectives of their request clearly meet our own goal of creating and disseminating knowledge. In fact, it is a wikibook (or series of wikibooks) for a younger audience. I don’t know when that idea was ever rejected, and the fact is that people have shown quite a bit of enthusiasm for the idea. Obviously, it needs some working out still. It is not a fork, just as Wiktionary or Anglo-Saxon are not forks. It will be the same people working on the same material. I also believe that it will benefit our other projects as well, both in terms of information offered and dissemination. If anything, I would hope that people welcome the idea of developing educational materials for younger children, whether they plan to work on them or not.
I am anxious to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
Since voting for the new project wikinews is well
under way... I would like to mention 2 things.
When Erik set the vote, he set the voting bar at 50%.
That means that if the number of approval is just over
the number of disapproval, the project will be
accepted (and obviously, it will be, since much more
than 50% of people are supportive).
I would like to first remind that *I* asked Erik to
set a vote, to avoid any further accusation of
unilateral decision from the board. So, I *support*
this vote. However, it was my mistake that I did not
check in time the voting bar for the project to go
Launching a new projet is something extremely
important. A voting bar set at 50% is something I find
Though it is too late for this time, I would be very
glad if next time a project is proposed, a more
consensual procedure is adopted. And at least
possibility to agree on some points, and refuse
I know that in any decision the global community will
adopt, there will be some happy and some unhappy
people, and this is also why, though we must sometimes
rely on voting procedure because of community size, I
see voting as a bad choice. In such a vote, with a 50%
barrier, that mean a project may be lauched with as
much as 49 people very unhappy among 100. I do not see
that as a positive move *at all*.
And this in particular as some of those opposing the
creation believe this project, as is, could hurt the
So, it does not matter for this one project (I'll try
to give time so that policies are developped which can
fit with more expressed opinions) but just as some
users were not happy with the way wikispecies was
launched, let me just state officially once for all,
that I am not happy with such an important decision
taken at simple majority.
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> Being elected without *majority* support even happen to the greatest
Were all Presidents elected by approval voting that probably wouldn't be the
case (almost certainly not in the US), but the point is that Wikimedia
doesn't run by consensus.
Being started without consensus support happens to the greatest websites,
> Launching a new projet is something extremely
> important. A voting bar set at 50% is something I find
> plain wrong.
I agree. I'd rather see the bar at around 20% (with at least 10 people
voting in favor). I do see the argument for majority, though, and in this
particular case it didn't really matter.
> I know that in any decision the global community will
> adopt, there will be some happy and some unhappy
> people, and this is also why, though we must sometimes
> rely on voting procedure because of community size, I
> see voting as a bad choice.
I agree with this, too. I think having a survey is acceptable, in order to
gauge opinion on the matter, but ultimately the decision of whether or not
to go into a new project should be a board decision.
> And this in particular as some of those opposing the
> creation believe this project, as is, could hurt the
> project overall.
That's really why I see it as a Board issue. I think it's pretty much
impossible that Wikinews is going to hurt the foundation, but that's an
argument that should be considered on its merits. If it comes down to a
vote, that's why we've elected a Board of Directors, to make the final
decision on broad and important issues like the creation of a new project
(and when I say a new project I don't consider languages to fall under this
unless they seriously duplicate another language, such as simple English).
In some ways this whole issue is an example of Wikipedia being a victim of
its own success. I say "Wikipedia" intentionally, because were there no
foundation there would be about zero reason not to start a project like
this. But we do have a foundation, and just like we're not requiring a vote
and consensus every time the foundation spends money on a new server, we
shouldn't require a vote and consensus every time the foundation starts a
The foundation doesn't run on consensus. The bylaws don't require the Board
to make decisions by consensus, and the Board isn't elected by consensus.
In fact, 4/5 of the Board (all but Angela) was installed without even a
*majority* support, though it is nearly certain that Jimmy Wales would have
received a consensus support.