Since the issue was raised several times, and since
there is an open board meeting which will deal with
this topic among others, I drafted a policy about new
projects on meta.
This is naturally open to discussion, suggestions
I hope it constitute a base for next week end meeting
Reminder : A meeting with the board will be held on
November 6 at 20:00 UTC in the #wikimedia IRC channel.
This meeting will be open to everyone, and a log will
be published on Meta.
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http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Draft_privacy_policy has been a draft
for a very long time. I think it's time we had a live version, and I
would like it to be finalised for translation fairly soon and have at
least the English version ready to go live by the end of the year.
I've added some thoughts on what needs to happen before then at
Please comment on the talk page and make any necessary changes so the
draft status of this document can finally be removed.
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.
We have been contacted by the assistant to the Manager
of Pirelli INTERNETional Award.
Website : http://www.pirelliaward.com
The Pirelli INTERNETional Award call for contributions
to the diffusion of scientific and technological
culture, with an overall budget prize of 135,000 Euros
(about US$ 170,000), plus 25,000 Euros for this year's
Pirelli Relativity Challenge, a special prize for the
centenary of the publication of the Special Relativity
Submissions to the Pirelli INTERNETional Award must
1. a multimedia work
2. for the spread of scientific and technological
3. of maximum 150 Megabytes in size
4. in the English and Italian language
Applications should be done online
http://www.pirelliaward.com/ch5_intro.html and work
submited via FTP by December 31st, 2004.
I made a page on meta :
Please, note that there are already articles in
english AND italian.
I think work is needed to get the best of the two
versions to make one common great article. And if
possible (in particular if WE WIN the award) to have
this article translated in many languages.
Of course, editors of all languages are welcome to
work on this challenge.
Berto, from it, has agreed to work on this, and help
provide a common best article.
Danny is also very excited by the idea, and will
coordinate the submission.
There is an issue on how it should be presented.
I also think this is a great opportunity for two
languages to cooperate, so I hope we can do this well
and in peace.
What do you all think ?
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Inactive wikis, with few articles, very sporadic edits, no community
and no users dedicated to editing them, accumulate spam and vandalism
and waste much time of those users who check these small wikis for
It is possible for a steward to lock an inactive wiki to prevent it
from being edited whilst not removing any existing content. Locking a
wiki is not permanent and can be undone by a steward at any time.
I would like to see whether there are any objections to this being
done for the inactive Wikipedias, and other projects. I have proposed
a procedure for this at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Inactive_wikis
and would appreciate any comments on it.
To see the message that would be shown when someone tries to edit a
locked wiki, please see
I'm [[:nn:User:BjarteSorensen]] (as well as in en: and no:). Over at nn:
(Nynorsk or Neo-Norwegian), we are contemplating the creation of an association
for the promotion of an open-content encyclopedia in Neo-Norwegian.
Just for your briefing, Norway has just below 10 native languages, 3 of them
with a user base greater than 50,000 and with wikipedias (no:, nn: and se:). no:
and nn: are the only active wikis at the moment. These two languages are two
quite different written standards of the Norwegian spoken language, while se:
is North-Saami, a language of a totally different language group. nn: was
created in July, and has since September grown at a respectable rate for a wiki
of a language with an estimated 400,000 - 800,000 users. no: uses mainly Bokmål
or Dano-Norwegian with between 3 and 4 million users nationwide.
There are many sources one could seek for funding of the development of an
online open-content encyclopedia in Neo-Norwegian, as many non-governmental
organisations as well as governmental bodies for the promotion of this language
exist. However, this would probably not happen in many cases unless it
was ear-marked this particular wikipedia. When I say development, I mean funding
for things such as paid editors, for promotions and demonstrations,
competitions, advertisment etc., i.e. human resources, rather than donations
for hardware etc.
In order to receive money and distribute them fairly, a formal organisation
needs to be in place, of course.
So my question to the mailing-list is: If there was to be such an organisation
for the promotion or development of contents for a specific language wikipedia,
is it your opinion it should be in the name of Wikimedia, i.e. a
language-specific chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, or would it be best to
establish an independent group not associated with Wikimedia?
I believe this question may be relevant for other situations, too. Languages
know little about political borders. Looking forward to hear your opinions.
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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