I have attempted to consolidate and expand upon the answers to many of
the concerns raised about Wikispecies on the Wikipedia-l mailing list
over the last few days.
Please see http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikispecies_FAQ . The page
includes both questions specific to Wikispecies, as well as the wider
issues concerning the decision making processes of the Wikimedia
Board, including the following questions:
1 What is Wikispecies?
2 Is Wikispecies a fork of Wikipedia?
3 Why is Wikispecies not part of Wikipedia?
4 Why is Wikispecies not part of the Wikimedia Commons?
5 What happens if people start writing encyclopedia articles on Wikispecies?
6 What if people want Wikiwar, Wikichemistry etc
7 Was there consensus on starting this project?
8 Was Wikispecies a board decision?
9 Where was this announced?
10 Why was the full log of the meeting not published?
11 What is the next step for Wikispecies?
> Now, the GFDL requires that if you distribute more than 100 copies of
> a document, you must also distribute the source (i.e. wikitext)
> version of the document, and the text of the GFDL itself. I don't see
> a good way to do this on a smallish pamphlet (say, 5 pages): the text
> of the GFDL itself would nearly double the size of the pamphlet. The
> wikitext version is permitted to be distributed electronically (i.e.
> "see http://blah/ for a source version of this document"), but even
> that is somewhat onerous, as a small organization may not have the
> resources or interest in maintaining a mirror of the documents it
> distributes for the required year. Notably, pointing to wikipedia.org
> is not sufficient---the GFDL requires that the person doing the
> distribution maintain an exact source mirror of the document exactly
> as distributed, "free of added material", and including any changes,
> so "derived from the Wikipedia article [here]" would not be enough.
It seems to me that it might be possible to comply with this particular
requirement by copying from, and using the link to, a previous version
of the page. For example, you might want to include the article
[[Greece]] on your most recent revision:
By including the full URL of a specific revision, rather than that of
the current article, you assure that the linked page will be "free of
In connection with the general discussion about flagging revisions for
use in a 1.0 print publication, this means that providing a reliable
computer-network location is not that difficult. If you rely on
Wikipedia to keep its history available for at least the required year,
then it may be possible to comply with the GFDL on a print run without
maintaining your own mirror site.
Just to say my usual bit about this, I'm all for rewarding volunteers,
and the best way to do that is with kind words, mutual respect, and
admiration for good deeds. Mathematical formulas can never replace
taking the time to say "thank you" or "I am a fan of your work" when
you see an article that you like.
Algorithmic reputation systems are always a temptation, just because
they are possible. But human reputation systems are much more nuanced
"La nÃ¨fle est un fruit." - first words of 50,000th article on fr.wikipedia.org
I had a question about complying with the GFDL in medium-print-run,
subset-of-Wikipedia distribution efforts.
Say someone wanted to distribute a few Wikipedia articles in connection
with some event---the one that came to mind would be distributing some
information about Greek culture together with a local Greek festival,
but there are plenty of other possibilities.
Now, the GFDL requires that if you distribute more than 100 copies of a
document, you must also distribute the source (i.e. wikitext) version of
the document, and the text of the GFDL itself. I don't see a good way
to do this on a smallish pamphlet (say, 5 pages): the text of the GFDL
itself would nearly double the size of the pamphlet. The wikitext
version is permitted to be distributed electronically (i.e. "see
http://blah/ for a source version of this document"), but even that is
somewhat onerous, as a small organization may not have the resources or
interest in maintaining a mirror of the documents it distributes for the
required year. Notably, pointing to wikipedia.org is not
sufficient---the GFDL requires that the person doing the distribution
maintain an exact source mirror of the document exactly as distributed,
"free of added material", and including any changes, so "derived from
the Wikipedia article [here]" would not be enough.
In googling to see how people handled this, I came across Wikitravel,
which has a lengthy rant on somewhat similar issues, and they concluded
that the GFDL is simply impractical for pamphlet-type distribution
Hopefully there are more creative solutions though, as it would be a
shame to be unable to use Wikipedia material in pamphlets for logistical
So really to summarize, my questions are:
--- Do I really have to print the full text of the GFDL? It's not a
very short document relative to a small pamphlet.
--- Do I really have to make available the exact source of my pamphlet?
Thanks for any suggestions,
I found it is very tedious or even annoying for users and developers
to register an account for each MetaWiki site they encountered.
Take myself for example:
1. First, I got an account from wikipedia, that was my first visit to
wiki in fact.
2.Then, I found metawiki, was asked to register. Ok, I was still happy
to do it to be a more involved volunteer.
3.After that, I found the chinese version of eikipeida. I always
wanted to contribute to my own people. I registered an account there
4. Today, I want to add my new feature request and bug report. You
know what? A MediaZilla poped out requesting me to register again!
5. I suspect if I happen to access wikidictionary, wikibook, and so
on, I have to register again and again...
I don't know how many people have the same problem as me. But wouldn't
it be better to have a single account to access all sites within
MetaWiki? I know there is a passport project from Microsoft dealing
with the similar problem. It would be much easier for us to do the
same thing within MetaWiki because we don't need to worry about the
identify,money issue in the real world.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kiss All <kissall(a)gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2004 22:14:19 -0500
Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] An urgent Proposal: A fair, effective and
free rewarding system for WikiPedia volunteers
To: Krzysztof Kowalczyk <kkowalczyk(a)gmail.com>
I revoke my MUST here. Thank you for your good comments. I think what
I said are better to be optional.
1. let authors choose to appear their names under the articles or not
2. let authors choose to get direct donation from readers or not
> The problem with your proposition is that it radically alters how the
> system works. While you're of course convinced that the new system
> will work so much better, I personally don't see it that way.
I agree you. The existing works good enough. I think it would work
better with these two more options.
> First there's a very flawed assumption that just giving people ability
> to donate will create enough dontations to support the system.
I may not clear express my idea. I never mentioned the funds to
wikipedia. All I concerns are about those volunteers. And I really
know even for volunteers, the donation cannot pay them rent or food ,
not to mention wikipedia sites.
> There there's also this fact that, while the issue isn't completely
> settled, there is psychological research saying that extrinsic
> rewards, contrary to naive but popular belief, not only doesn't
> increase performance, but actually lowers it, see e.g.:
Why don't we try it if this isn't settled ? All I propose now is to
provide two more options to authors. It would be more convincing to
see the difference from our own practice rather than showing some
extra research. Research results could only be used as references I
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kiss All <kissall(a)gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2004 22:03:36 -0500
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] An urgent Proposal: A fair, effective and
free rewarding system for WikiPedia volunteers
To: Christopher Mahan <chris_mahan(a)yahoo.com>
I know I wrote too much in my proposal and readers will lost in it.
I'd like to simplify it as this :
1. I just want to add major authors' names under each article, it is
an option for authors.
2. give the authors' option to get direct donation from their readers.
Both of them are optional. Nothing more and nothing less. Isn't it
better to give more choices to authors of articles?
I guess you are one of those persons who don't need any external
reward to do excellent wiki work I already mentioned in this proposal.
:-). However, would you feel even better if you could see the
exciting rating number from readers about your work and their
continuous attempt to donate some money to you? It is not late for you
to choose refusing themt at that time.
People sometimes are too confident about what they are doing and
ignore other's feelings and what it is really good for . My current
poposal is a typical example. I thought it is a terrific idea. But the
responses to it till now are mostly negative.
Therefore, I still think it is good to to let authors and readers
interact more by providing direct rating facilities . An attempt does
not harm anybody I think. Personally, I would like to to see direct
feedback from readers of my articles. Just like I know my proposal got
a 2 out of 5 :(
Anyway, thank you very much for your response in your valuable
weekend time. I have the same confident in my this proposal as you do
in your wiki editing. I will insist it.
On Sat, 11 Sep 2004 15:28:01 -0700 (PDT), Christopher Mahan >
> Personally, no.
> My reward to volunteering for Wikipedia is that I get to do something
> mostly fun with mostly fun people.
> Chris Mahan
> 818.943.1850 cell
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Shop for Back-to-School deals on Yahoo! Shopping.
This idea appeared in my mind when I was in bathroom this morning .
And hope I am using the right words and sentences to express my idea
because English is not my mother tongue. :-)
* We ***MUST*** find fair,effective, and free ways to reward, either
spiritually or financially, those volunteers who are diligently,
consistently creating and editing high-quality articles in wikipedia
* And We also **MUST** extend this reward method to any person who
directly or indirectly contributed or are contributing to wikipeida
site family by any means.
== Do we really need this? Absolutely! ==
By fairly and effectively rewarding those page creating and editing
volunteers, we can encourage and enable current volunteers to do even
better work and attract more new voluteers to participate in this
magnificent, world-wide cooperation
which will definitely benefit to our planet in the future .
Actually, a positive feedback cycle could be established in this way
and WikiPedia would have a model to grow rapidly and healthily:
volunteers write/edit good articles--> more people are willing to read
them, find they are useful and reward the volunteers --> volunteers
get rewarding, either spiritually or financially -->voluteers are
encouraged and be able to write more good articles --> ...
I am not treating volunteers as experimental white mice here(Remeber I
am one of them). But this cycle simply works! Doesn't it? Of course,
there are some people don't need any kind of reward to do excellent
work, just let them be and provide an option to turn off the rewarding
faucet to them :-)
== Mission Impossible? Fair, Effective, and Free? ==
=== How to be Fair? ===
*let all readers/visiters have an equally chance to participate in
grading any volunteer and any article (or even any section) in terms
of quality and quantiy.
* A convenient way for readers to grade current article or section.
* A convenient way for readers to grade each volunteer
* Or we can just focus the quality of the article, let computer derive
the grading of the volunteers from the articles ? No, I don't like
this way. Computers are not smart enough to identify real work or junk
work currently. And somebody could abuse it if he/she knows the
===How to be Effective?===
Simply and easy: Give them Fame! && Give them money!
Needless to say, all volunteers deserve fame and money via their excellent work.
Again turn off the rewarding faucet to people who don't want those two :-)
==== Fame ====
* Showing their names (even nicknames work well enough for encouraging
purpose)explicitly under the title of each article(or even each
section if it is peice of enough work), sorted by grading numbers
provided by readers/visiters which can be used to identify the quality
and quantity of their work
* Better organization of the contribution information for individual
volunteers. I don't want talk too much about it this time, but the
current page for this is a mess.
* A centralized monument(a php page actually) carved in the important
names and their pictures(if they don't mind) who contributed a lot to
wikipedia in history (though it is a short history)
* A centralized room to showing current star volunteers with highest
grading number along with their pictures if they don't mind.
==== Money ====
* Let readers/visitors have changes to directly donate money
flawlessly(1 cent, 1 dollar or one house if they really want) to the
volunteers at their own will.
* Or let them donate all to WikiPedia and let WikiPida distribute
them? NO!NO!NO! Some bureaucrats could abuse their power and ruin the
whole direct and fair reward mechanism. We already have the option for
visitors to donate to WikiMedia
Foundation directly.Don't mess them up.
===How to be free? ===
It is actually care-free enough for WikiPedia Site family if we use
the methods I mentioned above.
===Is it feasible? ===
I cannot see any technical obstacles to prevent us from realizing this
grading-rewarding system. However, we need consult experts for the
non-technical issues, I am not a lawyer.
And more over, it is not a new idea at all. I saw something similar
happening in sourceforge.net.
== Its impact on the future==
Finally, what is the impact of this open, direct,and discrete
working-rewarding model on our world in the future?
I would say: A revolution has began! Why? This model can facilitate
people to do what they really have interested in while get the reward
they deserve if their interests can actually benefit a large group of
people in some way. The direct feature of this model also eliminates
most of the intermediate costs or overhead which is not unusual in
By contrast, traditionally, we have to be employeed by some
organizations for a relatively longer time to contribute our wisdom,
knowledge, and efforts to end-users indirectly. However, our interests
are usually changing and sometimes we are
feeling be forced to do something we no longer like to do. The worse
thing is that the reward from the end-user are so indirect that
sometimes the people between us and the users grab a large portion
from it in an amount of we think they do not
deserve. The result is quite obvious: we get really frustrated and
therefore work ineffectively.
Hey! I am not saying this model can completely phase off the
traditional work model. The people between the workers and users are
indeed necessary for many big products, the presure imposed by
employers serves as stimulant for us to secrete more adrenalin to
become more powerful and energic than usual, and there is no detour to
gain real achievement without loyal to your original faith and
What I am really going to emphasize is that some real requirements in
our world can be fulfilled better in simpler, directer, and even
discrete way. And, We already have paid enough attention to the free
spirit of software sharing,knowlege sharing and so on and so forth. It
is time for us to see another unadulterated side of this coin: the
sharing is also joyfull, profitable, and thus sustainable and
In conclusion, please seriously consider my above proposal and the
meaning behind it. Let's put it in roll as soon as possible! I bet it
will make a big difference to wikipedia site family, the whole free
resource community(no matter it is a
idea, a software, a valuable experience,an encyclopedia article, a
piece of knowledge or anything else useful to our world), and most
important, it may make a big difference to you, my lovely, respectable
friends combating in this money? world for the noble ideal of sharing
knowlege among the world for free.
I am also puting this initial, unmature proposal into page
Please refine it (English is a pain for me) and add your ideas or
comments if you are interested.
I am waiting for your response......
The report of Wikipedia at the ars electronica in Linz can be found on
In Linz we had also the idea of creating a Wikipedia calendar to better
keep track of important stuff such as events, deadlines for funding
proposals, press releases etc. It's on
Please use it freely. There's not much in there at the moment, later we
could introduce more color codes to separate certain type of events.