This (May 14th) afternoon, Wikimedia CH has been officially
established at a meeting with 12 people present at Olten. The legally
binding record of the Founding Assembly will follow but I'll already
enclose some information:
The board of Wikimedia CH:
Ilario Valdelli (president, representative of Ticino)
Frédéric Schutz (representative of Romandie)
Michael Bimmler (secretary/members affairs)
The board will formally distribute the ressorts at it's first meeting.
As auditors (not part of the board):
Ad hoc elected Press speaker
For german-speaking part of Switzerland: Nando Stöcklin
For french-speaking part of Switzerland (Romandie): Frédéric Schütz
For italian-speaking part of Switzerland: Ilario Valdelli
Official contact adress:
info at wikimedia dot ch
A press release will be distributed tomorrow.
Wikimedia CH's first event will be Swiss Wikipedia Day 2006 in Zürich
(ETH Zürich), more information is to follow.
Wikimedia CH - Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Wikimedia CH - Association for the advancement of free knowledge
Kernigh has started this important thread on wikisource-l. I hope
someone on the Board level follows it and comments on it.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: xkernigh(a)netscape.net <xkernigh(a)netscape.net>
Date: May 11, 2006 9:55 PM
Subject: [Wikisource-l] Toward compatibility with the GNU FDL: delete
all Creative Commons works?
** Warning: this email has not been checked for accuracy. I am also
NOT an expert in copyright law.
I would like all Wikisource subdomains to adopt a common copyright
policy, considering which licenses are allowed and disallowed.
Currently it seems that some licenses are valid on some subdomains
but not others.
On en.wikisource, the current copyright policy
requires all content to be compatible with the GNU Free
Documentation License. However, maybe some other language
subdomains do not have this policy?
I read from the fr.wikisource copyright policy
that "La plupart des textes de Wikisource sont du domaine public;
quelques uns peuvent être sous GFDL." (My translation: "The majority
of Wikisource texts are public domain; some are under GFDL.")
However, in the multilingual (oldwikisource) policy
in section "Using copyrighted non-textual work from others" it allows
any kind of license. Considering that Wikisource should be a "free
library", I believe that non-free licenses should be disallowed.
Meanwhile, I would like to have the current en.wikisource policy
of GFDL-compatibility enforced better.
Understand what this means.
The FSF maintains a list of free software licenses at
and while the GNU General Public License (GPL) is a free software
license, some other free software licenses are compatible with the
GPL, but some are not.
Similarily, some free content licenses are compatible with the
GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), but some are not. This
is where the en.wikisource policy could be clarified: it prohibits
noncommercial licenses, but it does not mention free licenses
that allow commercial use but are incompatible with the GFDL.
However, it does require GFDL-compatibility, thus de jure
en.wikisource already prohibits those incompatible free licenses.
>From what I know, the basic test for GFDL-compatibility is this: can
someone combine content under license X and license GFDL and
release the combination under GFDL? If yes, X is GFDL-compatible;
if no, X is not GFDL-compatible.
This is analogous to how FSF says that GNU GPL compatibility
"means you can combine a module which was released under that
license with a GPL-covered module to make one larger program."
Because GNU GPL is copyleft, that larger program would be
The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) is an
example; it is a free , copyleft license. Now GFDL is also copyleft.
Because of copyleft, if I modify the work I must use the same license
for my modifications. If I combine CC-BY-SA and GFDL work, I must
release the combo under CC-BY-SA and GFDL simultaneously.
However, each license contradicts the others because of technicalities;
for example GFDL grants the right to add an Invariant Section, but
CC-BY-SA prohibits that. So CC-BY-SA is not GFDL-compatible, and
CC-BY-SA IS AGAINST EN.WIKISOURCE POLICY.
 CC licenses are not Debian-free (they fail Debian Free Software
Guidelines), see http://people.debian.org/~evan/ccsummary.html
The Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) is a more difficult
example. CC-BY is not copyleft. So when I combine CC-BY and
GFDL works, it is okay if GFDL has some extra rules (like copyleft)
that are not in CC-BY. Thus I have read that CC-BY is one-way
compatible with GFDL. For example, Wikinews picked CC-BY:
states that "The winner is CC-By 2.5, with the attribution to the Wiki.
The license is one-way-compatible with the GFDL."
That email seems wrong to me; compare what FSF says on their list
about CC-BY license: "Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License:
This is a non-copyleft free license for artistic works and entertainment
works. Please don't use it for software or documentation, since it
is incompatible with the GNU GPL and with the GNU FDL."
Maybe CC-BY 2.0 is incompatible, but CC-BY 2.5 is compatible?
Actually, my own reading of CC-BY 2.5 suggests that CC-BY 2.5
is incompatible. License is at
and in clause 4a: "If You create a Derivative Work, upon notice
from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove
from the Derivative Work any credit as required by clause 4(b),
as requested." Clause 4b is the attribution requirement.
In short, an author can use clause 4a to change the requirement
from attribution to nonattribution. This would apply for example
to Wikisource translations of CC-BY works.
But the GFDL requires attribution, and has no equivalent to
CC-BY clause 4a. License it at
and in GFDL section 4, modifications are allowed if "you
release the Modified Version under precisely this License".
Its copyleft, and CC-BY clause 4a contradicts the GFDL.
Thus, (on a minor technicality!) the CC-BY is not
GFDL-compatible, and CC-BY IS AGAINST EN.WIKISOURCE
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>It is abundantly true that we need better support for the localisation
>of our project and of our software. There is a subcommittee that deals
>with communication and translation. I am sure that they were consulted
>before these punitive measures were enacted.
Sorry, what subcommittee? The meta subcommittee that is completely
divorced from commons? (I'm not saying that's their fault or the
Commons' fault, but it's a fact)
>The issue has
>been discussed on the English speaking village pump of Commons.
> But should we consider the English speaking village pump of
>Commons as an authoritative voice in a multilingual project, which
>includes tiny minority languages, and also somewhat less tiny
>minority languages yet less active and dynamic than the English
>speaking community (and represented there mostly by bilingual
>people, non bilingual people being almost absent and
>underrepresented if not unrepresented) ?
What is the alternative???? How do you honestly propose that we
communicate with all these monolingual people?
As you know Teofilio I have supported some of your measures (like the
&uselang links one) and disagreed with others (parallel category
structures), and as it happens I disagree with the "hiding" links
approach of Arnomane. Although the Arabic front page is quite
appalling: literally one paragraph. It is the *only* page in
[[Category:Commons-ar]]. I did suggest to an admin candidate who spoke
Arabic that they might like to update it substantially. But if native
speakers are not interested in maintaining their translations what
exactly are us non-speakers supposed to do about it? We cannot force
them. They have to take the initiative. But they are more interested
in their Wikipedia or other projects - of course! The vast majority of
English and German speakers are too, actually. These projects are just
lucky enough to have a "surplus of interest" to allow something
resembling a Commons community to exist.
Realistic, workable, technically-feasible ideas to promote
multilinguality, I will always support. But it is unrealistic to
expect the people who are interested in the Commons to consult over
100 different language groups on ANYTHING let alone EVERYTHING.
Look at the Village Pumps - look at how active they are.
(als) Commons:Brünnele No topics.
(ar?) Commons:قهوهخانه One line, not even set up. Should probably be deleted.
(bg) Commons:Разговори One topic in October 2005.
(ca?) Commons:La taverna 6 topics, last active November 2005.
(de) Commons:Forum Active.
(en) Commons:Village pump Active.
(es) Commons:Café Active.
(fi) Commons:Kahvihuone No topics.
(fr) Commons:Bistro Maintained, but not very active (6 topics).
(gl) Commons:A Taberna Maintained, not very active (9 topics).
(he) Commons:המזנון 1 topic, unanswered.
(hu) Commons:Kocsmafal One line, no topics.
(it) Commons:Bar italiano Moderately active, seems to be maintained by
our one native Italian speaking admin.
(ja) Commons:井戸端 Moderately active. I see the most recent discussion
concerns Captchas - another technical limitation we never asked for
but had to work around (and I recall being accused of "English
villainy" on this occasion too)
(lb) Commons:Stamminet No topics.
(nl) Commons:De Kroeg 4 topics, remarkably unused considering the
NL.wp controversy. (We can never solve problems on Commons if they are
not discussed there...)
(no) Commons:Tinget Maintained, not very active (7 topics).
(pl) Commons:Bar Surprisingly inactive, 4 topics.
(pt) Commons:Esplanada Maintained, moderately active (24 topics).
(ru) Commons:Форум 2 topics, seems to be unmaintained and inactive.
(sl) Commons:Pod lipo No topics.
(sv) Commons:Bybrunnen Moderately active/active, maintained.
(zh-hans) Commons:互助客栈 4 topics, but basically unused.
(zh-hant) Commons:互助客棧 No topics.
So of the 20-odd groups, there are not even ten that have any decent
amount of activity. Realistically, what do you propose we do? How
should we conduct discussions?
To me the bottom line is that the whole thing is volunteer, just like
everything else. That means people only translate if they are
interested. We can't force them.
As you criticise us, please consider coming and helping us improve. It
is hard for us to be everything to everyone when very few people want
to devote much time to maintaining or improving the place.
Help us harass the developers for automatic translation of templates,
automatic language selection based on browser settings and/or
drop-down menu for language choice on the main page, for adoption of
Duesentrieb's proposed category translation scheme via interwikis.
These are just a few of the proposals that we dream of being
implemented but have no idea if it will ever happen.
Join the Commons mailing list and start throwing out proposals:
I'd like to notify you of the fact that on May 14th the Founding
Assembly of "Wikimedia CH - Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens"
(official translation: Wikimedia CH - Association for the advancement
of free knowledge) will take place at Olten in Switzerland. More infos
as well as the agenda can be found at
Of course everybody is invited to join us as guest or as future
member, everybody is eligible for membership (Swiss nationality is not
Our (proposed) bylaws can be found at
http://ch.wikimedia.org/wiki/Bylaws (De, En, Fr, It), however they are
*theoretically* subject to change during the Founding Assembly)
A statement towards the press and towards WMF and the
Wikimedia-projects-participants including the names of the board
members etc. will be released soon after the successful foundation.
Please direct any questions, that you for some reason do not want to
publish on any mailinglist, to info-ch at wikimedia dot org
(Preliminary Board of Wikimedia CH)
On Thu, 2006-04-05 at 11:51 +0200, Erik Moeller wrote:
On 5/3/06, Andre Engels <andreengels(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > But might it not be a good idea to have the text of a license like the
> > GPL even if we don't have any material under it? Would not that be
> > well under the purpose of Wikisource?
> This is an excellent question. It leads to another one: Why does
> Wikisource, as a project, exist? People will have many different
> answers to that. Here's mine.
This is all well and good to present your ideas of what this project is
and should do. I tend to give weight to the people who are actually doing.
The Foundation should (and did) describe the projects goals and missions,
and approve any modifications of these. But changes from outside that
process from people not involved in it?
Wikisource doesn't have some of the things I see as part of their mission
- Galleries of artwork (they are the proper repository for such), original
research (transcriptions of oral histories, for example), or a legal
library (collections of court decisions, to be used as references for a
Wikibooks curriculum of law textbooks) to name just a few - but from
outside the project and unwilling (-able?) to put in the work to add this
content I have little or no basis to try to dictate to them.
Likewise, members of the larger community need to consider that people
active in the project are most knowledgeable of the needs of the project.
It's one of the underlying tenets of the Wikimedia Foundation. So long as
the goals and mission are being addressed, trying to force changes from
outside are likely to be counter-productive.
On Sun, 2006-07-05 at 01:29 +0200, Daniel Arnold wrote:
> Well there is already a project in Commons perfectly suited for that
> people are working right now in there and I really wonder why people
> think that an translation effort of Wikimedia Commons needs to be
> by a "sub commitee" (sorry if I read that word I read "be aware of
> Basically all we need are people that just do things without large
> scedules and debates and start working up the tasks at:
> For sure I appreciate any help but it is more than just that single minor
> important main page that needs to be translated but real help pages like
> Daniel Arnold
I'm really glad to hear you don't need any help in this regard, Arnomane.
The committee is there to offer help if it is needed, not to get in the
way of any project's efforts at translation.
I read on the list of "approved" project a proposal for a
bua.wikipedia.org The code bua is NOT an ISO-639 code. The article about
this language on the en.wikipedia is almost a stub. I find the quality
of the requests for many new projects really low. Have a few people,
find yourself a code .. or make one up who cares .. :(
This is not the first time we have projects started where it is assumed
that the facts given are solid. This is definitively another one of them.
I object to the start of this project under this code. As it is for the
special projects committee to accept new language versions or projects,
I urge them to be diligent in the checking of the basic facts.
On 5/3/06, Andre Engels <andreengels(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> But might it not be a good idea to have the text of a license like the
> GPL even if we don't have any material under it? Would not that be
> well under the purpose of Wikisource?
This is an excellent question. It leads to another one: Why does
Wikisource, as a project, exist? People will have many different
answers to that. Here's mine.
1) All material is ready to use, because we follow a strict standard
of freedom. Derivative works, commercial use, and so forth, are all
permitted. This parallels the equally strict standards of Commons (I
still think a case could be made for them to be merged, but that
decision has long been made), and distinguishes Wikisource from other
2) Metadata. Wikis are getting better at storing a wide range of
relations and associations with the pages they contain. For now we
have categories, templates, interwiki links, and regular links
(enriched with the "What links here" feature). Projects like Semantic
MediaWiki or Wikidata will eventually add even more functionality, and
the collaborative editing approach makes it possible to develop
reasonable "folksonomies" (yech). Wikisource will probably have the
best metadata of all the source text libraries.
I count annotations as metadata. There is a wide range of NPOV
annotations that are possible, especially for classical texts.
3) Translate and collaborate. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I
feel translations should become part of Wikisource's core mission.
This is where wikis, with some additional functionality (easier
processes for managing documents and assignments), could really shine.
There is tremendous value in free translations. Many, many books which
are in the free Wikisource archive are not available as free
translations even in languages like German, Italian, French, let alone
Russian, Farsi, or Japanese.
Wikis are well-suited for this kind of work, because you can both
split the work into packages, and collaborate on refining the
consistency of the end result. The same is true for proofreading
scanned documents, but here, the "Distributed Proofreaders" project is
already doing an admirable job. We'd have to do a lot of work on
further software extensions to compete with them.
4) Limited scope archive. We cannot possibly archive every single
document that might be of interest to someone in the future. Similarly
to Wikimedia Commons, we need to develop criteria of usefulness. One
such criterion is freedom of the content. This already drastically
reduces the scope to a much more manageable amount. The material
should also have been published at some point and meet general
criteria of notability.
5) Incentivize freedom. Through 2) and 3), I hope that we can create a
real incentive for authors to release published works freely,
especially after they have gone out of print. I have decided to put
the first edition of my own book under a GFDL/CC-BY-SA dual license. I
did so with the hope that it might be archived and translated on
Wikisource. However, de.wikisource.org has neither decided whether it
wants to do translations, nor whether it wants modern texts.
I see no principal reason why Wikisource should not archive many
different ''kinds'' of material as long as they meet criteria as
defined in 4). For instance, I think it would be great if Wikisource
became an archive for "open access" scientific content (and even data)
that meets the free content definition.
But with the exception of 2), all of the points above suggest
implementing a strict standard of freedom on Wikisource. Then, in
answer to your above question, it follows logically that license texts
that are not used as resources are, unless they are free content,
inappropriate on Wikisource. What do we gain by archiving them? Due to
their very nature, only armageddon could wipe out the record of the
most popular licenses. If we cannot translate them, if others cannot
derive new licenses from them, if we do not use them -- then we should
not host them.
But, you might answer, aren't these documents in themselves
philosophically compatible with our core ideas? You might make an
equally strong case for mirroring all of Richard Stallman's
philosophical essays. However, unless they are published, and unless
they are free content, we should not do so.
Now, a library of free licenses that others can use as modular
building blocks to create their own, that would be a very interesting
All of our projects will eventually need clear definitions. There is
some need for Board oversight here, or there will be what we call
"semantic drift" in the WiktionaryZ project: people developing their
own meanings, and implementing them as they see fit. Some will take
the project away from its free content nature. Others will be too
strict in limiting the scope of documents. Some will argue that a
collaborative translation is a form of "original research" and should
not be allowed. Again others might see annotations as unacceptable
alterations of the source material.
We have seen this with Wikibooks. Intended as a place to
collaboratively write textbooks, this definition clashes with a much
more inclusive practice that has long tolerated materials such as game
guides, jokes, or dating tips. How much do we know about the way the
meaning of Wikibooks or Wikisource is interpreted in other languages
than English, when we don't have a shared definition of its mission
which itself is literally translated into these languages?
I'm glad that we did write and translate a mission statement for
Wikinews. There was never any confusion in a local Wikinews edition
about whether or not original reporting is allowable, for instance. So
volunteers could immediately start working on policies for it. These
_policies_ differ from language to language, but the core goals do
Volunteers like Birgitte can be forgiven for being frustrated when
their own ideas clash with those which are seemingly well-understood
by a small group of people who have little to do with the project
itself, ideas which are not well-communicated to its editors. It needs
to be clear why Wikisource exists, and what core policies it should
follow. Certainly such a definition can be developed through a process
of community consultation (as we're doing with the FCD), but it still
has to be done.