To Angela, Anthere, Jimbo, Developers and anyone else I might have
scolded a bit to much on the Sorbs issue. I was way out of line
especially with regards to my remarks towards Angela, Anthere and Jimbo
in mail and the developers on IRC, all of whom I know would help at all
times. I am sorry and my apologies.
My problem is not that I do not understand why the measures are taken
(at least my brain does), they are unfortunately necassary at times. It
is just that the heart doesn't understand it and flares up. It is a
normal problem with me. The heart takes over from the brain and the
damage is done.
Waerth / Walter van Kalken
I'm very pleased that the technical solution I suggested and helped
develop with Ilya has been implemented on Wikinews. The fact that it
had been discussed and was in development before you changed the main
page should, however, be mentioned Erik. Another is that it might not
now be in existence if I had not written a crude implementation this
afternoon and given it to Ilya.
> I put the inputbox on the Main Page to demonstrate it.
When has it been okay to experiment on the main page of a live site
without so much as an explanation to the regular contributors to that
I'm not opposed to the inputbox extension in and of itself; it's a
slick piece of code which answers a need often expressed. I do not
think it is appropriate to use a complex nested template as it is
currently implemented, but that could be resolved by the community.
> Wikipedia has no such dependencies. I follow a link and I start
> writing. If my article is not perfect, that's fine, because it's
> still linked from the right places. People can see it. People will
> eventually fix it for me. In general, there's less things to know,
> and less things that can go wrong.
This was the justification for the use of the manual list in addition
to the automated list, until the additional functionality was coded. I
used nearly the same words, in fact.
The governance issues are not the basic reason for the Open English
There are currently 5 people supporting the creation of an Open
English edition of Wikinews, which is obviously not entirely due to
the recent differences regarding the DPL. Like any community at
en.wikinews there are different opinions as to what the goals of the
project may be, and some members of the community feel it is not going
someplace they wish to continue to support. But we continue to support
the larger goals of Wikinews, creating site where any human can
contribute news, valuable in its own right, with an open
decision-making process. And we would rather not leave the project, so
an alternative edition which serves different goals would give us the
opportunity to contribute without exacerbating strained working
In the Netherlands a new princess has been born. She is the second
daughter of prins Willem-Alexander our crown prince. Today the little
girl was named Alexia Juliana Marcella Laurentien and registered at
our "burgerlijke stand".
There are plenty of lovely pictures of this event. The only
restriction is in the use of the photos. The pictures can be used for
practically any use except for the fact that they may not be used in
advertisements. So, it is not allowed to advertise for baby-formula
and show a picture of little princess Alexia.
The pictures can be used in a commercial context, educational and
informative is explicitly OK it is just advertisements that are
My question: is this a restriction that we can make when we use
material like this on our Wikimedia projects ..
By law it is not allowed anyway to use pictures of members of the
royal family in advertisements. So it is explicitly stating what all
the people from the Netherlands should already know.. (it is assumed
that everyone knows the law .. :) )
The first is about the recent crisis on wikinews.
The second is a comment about the new features.
For the first point Erik, it seems some people are not happy with the way decision making happens on wikinews.
It seems that this time, the trigger of the conflict is the way a new feature was put into use,
even though there was no clear agreement whithin the community to use it. I'd say, it is fair to complain about
software changes, when software changes are not agreed upon. It is good that you propose now a discussion over
whether this new feature should be used or not, but the discussion should occur *before* the feature is used, or
even better *before* the feature is developped.
I suppose you will answer that it was discussed, it was agreed, that it is the best solution so should be used...
this may be. But you can not at the same time claim this... and ignore the fact regular editors are so mad that it
appears to them their *only* options are to suggest another wikinews (fork) or obey you (not so benevolent dictatorship).
How do you suggest to improve this in the future ?
For Kyle, I do not think there was any abuse of Erik in his blocking NGerda.
I am more dubious of whether the same standards apply to everyone, but this is another story. NGerda apparently disrespect a rule all
wikinewsies should follow, so it is fair he is given a time out. I trust NGerda has a tough skin :-)
As for Erik, being under different pseudos or his own name is generally known and I do not think there is any abuse either on the matter
(there is only one wikinews account). He is Eloquence on wiki, Zirzon on irc and Erik as a real person.
I will add that he is indeed an officer of Wikimedia Foundation, but this has nothing to do
with him being an editor on wikinews and should not mean he should be treated differently than others. He should be entirely and only
judged by his activity on wikinews as an editor, not by any official position he has in the organisation. In short, if he does good,
congratulate, thank him and support him to do more good. If he does wrong, complain and discuss. If he does really wrong, block him.
As a simple participant, I would like to comment on the new feature which I think is called "inputbox extension" (or is it "DynamicPageList extension" ?).
Anyway, if any of you goes to wikinews and intends to start a new page, here is what he will get : http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Wikinews:Writing_an_article.
I invite you to enter the name of a new article and to edit it.
When you will get the edit box, you will notice two things :
First, the box does not start empty, it is already prefilled with a whole bunch of preformatted content. It indicates where to put the article. It has a table with pre-filled fields for citation of sources. It has a bunch of categories into place. And it has the "development" tag by default. If the editor wants the story to be visible to the reader, he must replace the development tag by a publish tag (this is quite clearly explained on top of the edit window).
On the positive side, I feel that the benefits of this are
* a more "similar" appearance to all articles
* a strong reminder to the editor that he should list his sources
* a system allowing to "publish" the article quite freely, without relying on an editorial team.
The drawbacks of this is
* if you are a new editor, chances is you will be very perplex in front of all this complex synthax.
* if you are a new editor, chances is you will not understand for a while the publish tag system, so your story will not be visible
As long as wikinews is small, there can be hope some oldbie will see and check the article and push it published... but when wikinews grows, it might be that the system does not scale so well and that articles are not quickly published. Still, we can hope some editors frequently check the list of articles with a "development" tag, so I am not sure it is really a problem.
The main problem I saw with this is not the publication system, but only the fact it will appear awfully complex to a new editor. The basic of wiki is
* it is simple synthax
* create an article, edit, save and this is it !
A more similar appareance and a reminder to cite sources is good, but I do not think the benefit balance the drawbacks of loss of easiness to edit.
I think these two issues should be community enforced and taught by model (looking at what already exist).
Last, I have been wondering how much difference there was with wikipedia. Indeed the publication system might be necessary, as the goal is to get on the main page and to get it *quickly*. So, the current semi-automatic tagging solution might not be bad.
However, Wikipedia just as well might propose pre-filled articles, with pre-formatted titles, subtitles, see alsos, external links, categories and international links. And IT DOES NOT. Why is it felt necessary on wikinews when it is not felt necessary on other projects ?
I have been caressing the idea of writing to Ward Cunningham and ask him to create a wikinews article... and tell us about his experience afterwards ;-)
Dear Wikinews community,dear interested individuals,I would like to invite you to participate in an open, unmoderated discussion about the future of the project, specifically the English edition. Members of other editions who want to learn about recent changes to the English version, and who want to debate whether these changes could be useful for their project, are also invited to join. Please sign up for a time that is convenient for you at:http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikinews/Future_TalkThe purpose of this IRC meeting is to discuss issues such as* Should the DynamicPageList extension be used?* Should the inputbox extension be used?* How should decisions about issues like this be made in the future?* How local can Wikinews stories be?* How can we make Wikinews more accessible for newcomers?Please feel free to add topics of discussion to the agenda.Note that we should not be trying to make decisions at this meeting - those should be openly documented on the wiki - but to reach a
basic consensus about how to proceed.Best,Erik
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Dear Wikinews community,
dear interested individuals,
I would like to invite you to participate in an open, unmoderated
discussion about the future of the project, specifically the English
edition. Members of other editions who want to learn about recent
changes to the English version, and who want to debate whether these
changes could be useful for their project, are also invited to join.
Please sign up for a time that is convenient for you at:
The purpose of this IRC meeting is to discuss issues such as
* Should the DynamicPageList extension be used?
* Should the inputbox extension be used?
* How should decisions about issues like this be made in the future?
* How local can Wikinews stories be?
* How can we make Wikinews more accessible for newcomers?
Please feel free to add topics of discussion to the agenda.
Note that we should not be trying to make decisions at this meeting -
those should be openly documented on the wiki - but to reach a basic
consensus about how to proceed.
Free Knowledge Communities is an initiative that was discussed while
Erik and I were in South Africa
One of the aims of the initiative is to make it possible for anyone
anywhere to gain the knowledge required for any purpose, by providing
access to knowledge via the web, or on CDs distributed to remote areas
with limited connectivity. The intention is to augment efforts to
provide access to information and communication technologies in
developing countries with provision of open content.
The vision is "Knowledge for all - Education for all, Empowering
Communities to Empower Themselves with Knowledge - Towards Wisdom".
I believe this fits very well with Wikimedia's goals, so, along with
other groups such as CSIR and MIMOS, I am hoping we will make a grant
proposal related to this to the World Bank by the end of this year.
If anyone is interested in taking part in the development of the
proposal and grant application, I would like to invite you to join the
new mailing list at <http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/fkc-l>
The list content is to be kept private since the exact details of the
grant application should not be made public before it has been
accepted. For this reason, membership of the list is moderated. Public
information will be placed at
Dear all, ( translators, please forward to your local projects )
Wikimania 2005 is coming up, during the first week of August. It is
being held in Frankfurt, in a beautiful hostel-and-conference-center
downtown. If you are planning on coming, register this week, before
the conference and hostel rates go up!
Send email to wikimania-registration(a)wikimedia.org if you have any
diffulcties. See who else is already registered:
We have some excellent speakers coming, including Jimmy Wales himself,
Ward Cunningham, Richard Stallman, Sunir Shah of MeatballWiki, and
Ross Mayfield of Socialtext; also Gabriele Beger on law, Achal
Prabhala on rural information development in Southern Africa, and
Stefan Magdalinski on building magical wiki applets.
There will also be presentations by core developers of many wiki
platforms, including Twiki, Xwiki, and Socialtext; by Wikipedians,
about their projects; and by academics researching Wikipedia.
The whole conference has been made as inexpensive as possible, so that
all can attend. The last three days will be a larger conference, when
we take over the entire hostel; it should be a great deal of fun.
Registration for all three days is 50 Euros. The first half of the
week will be devoted to our Hacking Days, a small-group discussion and
brainstorming among developers; these days are free (but you must
register for them as well, to reserve space in the hostel).
ps -- If you are interested in helping out with the event, even if you
can't be there yourself, we could use help setting up our Trivia
Contest and judging the initial entries for the summer writing & media
competition. More about these later.
pps -- If you really want to come, but can't quite afford it; please
register and fill out the field at the end of the form to request a
ppps -- If you can't come, but still want to participate, there will
be audio streaming, IRC backchannels, and regular podcasts available
of conference events. You can sign up or ask for details on the
Sorry for spoofing myself as the Wikimedia user Menchi, that was an old
nickname I had before Ashibaka.
> First of all, I'm not convinced this needs to be a separate project
Well, some sort of SVG map tool could just integrate right into
Wikipedia, but that would make quite a mess with articles or even
namespaces trying to coordinate the maps.
Come to think of it, the amount of programming that would have to be
done on this makes it seem like a full-time company job. Since I'm not a
programmer, maybe I should just wait on the other two mapping projects
I realize that we get a new proposal about once a week, so I'll make
this simple and clear. I think it would be extremely helpful and a great
innovation to create a wiki-based historical atlas. Here's why.
An historical atlas would be useful: it would provide viewers with
visual portrayals of political and cultural change that Wikipedia cannot
explain in the most long-winded history article.
An historical atlas would be innovative: as far as I know there has only
been one previous computer-based historical atlas, and its price kept it
out of the reach of viewers. Paper-based atlantes lack the animation
that a Web or software-based atlas could provide. Additionally, unlike
any paper-based atlas, you could cross-reference map keys to Wikipedia
An historical atlas would be an active project: Like Wikipedia, it
provides immediate results-- you can see your changes on a map. You
can't copyright facts of history, so any contributor could take
information from a paper atlas and mark it up.
An historical atlas would supplement Wikipedia, making it easy to
generate standardized maps for any country at any point in history.
Here are some previous atlantes individuals have compiled:
This site demonstrates how useful an historical atlas can be.
This $90 software is something like what I hope the project could
The only obstacle to this project is actually writing the software. I
would think this would require a standard vector-based format and
process used for a website, which can be downloaded as offline software.
Changes to the map would also require some sort of user-friendly vector
I welcome any comments or criticism.
a few weeks ago, my wife and I were hiking through the beautiful Swiss Alps and
had a lively discussion about the definition of some absurd term. All we had
with us was a cell phone. This was the birth of our idea: Wouldn't it be great
if the Wikipedia content was accessible sending a simple SMS?
This is how we figured it might work: Send an SMS with the keyword (the term you
want to look up) to a special number. The server will then access Wikipedia and
return the abstract of the article. You will only get as much as will fit into
an SMS, but in many cases, this will be enough.
In the first release of this service, the 'abstract' could be just whatever the
article starts with. In the future, there might even be a specialized way in
the Wikipedia to add such SMS-abstracts to an article.
I wrote this idea to Swisscom Mobile and got the answer that they would actually
be interested to offer such a service. However, there would have to be a
standardized gateway by Wikipedia to their Vodaphone live service. Other than
that, it would not be implemented. The responsible manager made it clear that
the phone company would not implement such a gateway, but that it would have to
be done by Wikipedia.
And this is why I am writing this post. I am unable to go any further than this,
because this is beyond my technical capabilities. All I can do is offer this
idea and offer the contact with Swisscom Mobile. Perhaps someone can pick this
up and make it happen? I think it would be a real win-win situation for both
Wikipedia as well as any phone company that might choose to offer such a
(from Switzerland, but not affiliated in any way with Swisscom! :-)