I have read the numerous comments on the fact that we should be
planning Wikimania well in advance, and I fully agree that choosing
the city for Wikimania 2008 sometime at the end of 2006 or beginning
of 2007 makes perfect sense, and we have started working on it.
Just for the record though, Wikimania 2006 was only the second
edition, and I wish people would remember that when planning 2006, we
did not even know whether it was going to happen at all. So please
keep that in perspective. There is room for improvement, and I believe
Wikimedia has done a good job in trying to keep everyting into
consideration for the next editions.
On the subject of size. I am personally not in favour of an
*international Wikimedia conference* (keywords international and
Wikimedia) that will hold more than 500 people, ever. The reason for
this were clear last year, but even clearer this year, ie. opening the
conference to 1000 people makes it, in my opinion, lose the
"Wikimedia" touch, by bringing many people in who have in the end
nothing to do with Wikimedia. Mind you, I find the interaction with
other organisations and people with different web, collaborative,
knowledge experiences very fruitful and interesting, but this year
showed a trend that I wish we did not facilitate too much. There were
many many local (as in US) people who had but a far fetched interest
in our projects, and thus did not pertain to the "Wikimedia Community"
or had no intention of ever pertaining to it.
My dream is that Wikimedia got their hands on enough money in due time
to provide scholarships to far away contributors wherever they may be
and make sure that the core attendance of the conference is filled
Basically the real question is what do we want Wikimania to be? Is it
the ultimate wiki conference? Is it the Wikimedia conference? Is it a
free knowledge or access to knowledge conference? Is it an open source
conference? Is it all of that? Some of that?
In my opinion, and in an ideal world, Wikimania would probably almost
be booked solid before registration even happens, because we have
managed to bring in all the people that count in the Wikimedia
I would hate to see Wikimania be taken away from the Wikimedians. I
would hate for it to be so big that you would not have a clue who this
or that person is, or worse, that some people would come to Wikimania
and ask "what is Wikipedia?".
I believe we have shown the world that we can put together interesting
programs and that we should use this opportunity to make sure we
provide different events, aiming at different publics. I would love to
see a Wikimedia Academic Conference, or a Wikimedia Wiki Practices
Conference. I would also love to see more regional Wikimedia
conferences, such as the Chinese and Dutch edition this year who would
bring together people who did not make it to the international
conference or who need to concentrate in a language or on specific
In short, I do not think that Wikimania would benefit from becoming a
huge thing that everyone would attend because they happened to be in
"If you contribute to the Wikimedia projects, you are publishing every
word you post publicly."
"Wenn Sie zu den Wikimedia-Projekten beitragen, veröffentlichen Sie
jedes Wort, das sie abschicken, öffentlich."
and inspires me to loose a few words on how policy writing should be
handled in a multilingual project:
* Decide on the core principles of the policy - the essential rules
* Create a nice, elaborate page in english which you place on the
Foundation wiki as the official policy
* Ask the community to create inofficial translations based on the
essential rules - they may want to phrase a few things differently, some
things may need longer or shorter explanations depending on culture,
country or project. They may translate the english version word by word
but are free to formulate the essential rules in their own words if they
* Each translation should have a note on top that in doubt the english
version is the valid one.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Datenschutz tries to say the same
as the english one but in own words. Some paragraphs and sentences which
are not part of the core rules were shortened for the sake of clarity
If you disagree with this you may want to find community members who
will create a literal translation. My feel for language and style
doesn't allow me to do so.
Dear Wikipedians in fundation,
We now in Chinese Wikipedia have some trademark issues that needs your help.
We have found an Chinese had registered "Wiki" and "維基" (in literly it
also means "Wiki" in Chinese) as his trademarks at 2005/11/23 in mainland
China. Since we now have WP and WN, there might be some trademark issues in
mainland China. Do you have any advice or suggestions that we can do?
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In July 2004 I was appointed to the official position of Chief Financial Officer of the Wikimedia
Foundation. The expectation, backed up by repeated calls from myself, was that I would be replaced
by a relevantly trained paid professional when the needs of the foundation became greater than
what I, as a part time volunteer, could provide.
During my tenure, I have helped with bookkeeping, budgeting, financial reporting, and with
fundraising. I am most proud of my work coordinating several fundraisers that together brought in
nearly a million dollars for the foundation. I am least proud of the last nine months, a time when
the board repeatedly failed to meet to discuss proposed budgets I submitted to them or to give me
direction on what we could or could not publish to the community in regards to spending.
Last week, the board informed me that a selection process has been initiated to hire a paid
professional to help run the foundation's finances from the Wikimedia office in Saint Petersburg,
Florida, USA. At the same time, the board informed me that they approved the membership of a
fundraising committee. I will be serving on that committee.
I therefore resign as Chief Financial Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation but will continue to
help where needed during the transition process.
It truly amazes me how long we, as an organization that runs one of the top sites on the Internet,
can go on volunteer time alone. So it is both a sad and happy day for me as I prepare to hand the
baton to a paid professional.
Yours in the wikiway,
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For a long long time it has been the operative assumption that the
Wikimedia Foundation carries the legal liability, and if things go
really really badly wrong, the foundation would sacrifice itself, so
the community, and the content itself could continue elsewhere.
There has however been gradual development of the foundations
structures in two ways that seem to indicate that this operative
assumption (not being anywhere formally enunciated, except in the
tangible fact of working under the GFDL) may not last forever.
Firstly there is the building of increasingly robust defensive
bulwarks against litigation and other forms that the foundation could
be seriously harmed. This is something which is clearly an unequivocal
good in what ever operative assumption the Foundation labors under,
and should continue no matter what. The question on this front rather
is, whether there exists now, or will exist in the foreseeable future,
a sufficient level of robustness for these defenses that the need to
keep the Foundation as expendable, discardable isn't relevant anymore
from a standpoint of necessity?
The other facet of the question is the speed at which the organs of
the foundation develop into integral parts of how our whole greater
endeavour operates. Note I am not saying indispensible in the sense
that those particular organs are locked into place (we are a long way
from that yet), but integral in the sense that should the highly
unlikely eventuality of having to start again occur (as the GFDL
allows), _something_ would have fill their functions in the operation
of the restarted endeavour.
The problem (or non-problem, as the facts may obtain) here lies on
what philosophy do we adopt toward this earlier operative assumption
Do we find on reflection, that we have already crossed the Rubicon,
that although theoretically the work could be restarted elsewhere, the
disruption would be high enough, that it is wisest to abandon all
worry about the possibility of sacrificing the Foundation, and
concentrate on making the Foundation functional without regard to what
things it might lock us into, and speed up construction of legal and
other defensive bulwarks into a kind of Fortress Wikimedia Foundation?
Or should we seriously consider examining every new thing the
Foundation takes onto its plate, making doubly sure that it is
something that would compromise our ability to just chuck the
Foundation away like the tail of a lizard, and trust we will have the
resources to grow a new tail, there being no vital organs in it.
Or can someone in one swift stroke demonstrate that all the above is
entirely inconsequential? For me, that would be a great relief, and
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, AKA. Cimon Avaro
Candidate for Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation in the
September 2006 elections.
I am pleased to announce that WMF has hired Mark Bergsma to serve as
Networking Coordinator for the Foundation. Due to Mark's continuing
studies, the position will be part-time. Mark has distinguished himself
with his work on the Wikimedia infrastructure. In light of the recent
concerns about network reliability, network independence, etc.,
dedicated manpower for this function is critical. We welcome him and
look forward to his work in the future.
General Counsel & Interim Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
I'm not sure the authors of this book about "how mass collaboration
changes everything" have ever heard of Nomic, but they have a cute web
address, a remarkably familiar cover image and font-choice, and are
looking for better title suggestions.
Perhaps someone should send them cover-image suggestions as well. (Or
perhaps, as they seem to have developed a 3D model of a suitable
globe, there could be an exchange -- license to use that cover for a
3D model of the real WP logo... which would be handy.)
REMINDER - TODAY!
I will be hosting a live Skypecast of a conversation/interview with
Brad Patrick and Danny Wool of the Wikimedia Foundation on Friday,
August 25, 2006 at 11 am EST. All are welcome to join (using Skype),
and also to chime in with questions. Find details on the Skypecast
LONG: I'm in St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of research on a book
about Wikipedia, and wanted to interview both Brad and Danny. I
figured, why don't we do a "radio-like" show with us in the Wikimedia
Foundation offices, and community members can chime in as well? Brad
Patrick is the general counsel and interim executive director of the
WMF, and Danny Wool is a longtime Wikipedian and holds the position of
grants officer. Among the things we'll discuss (but we want audience
What does the WMF office do? Who are the people in the office?
What is the difference between Wikimedia and Wikipedia?
What happens on a day to day basis in the office?
Where are the Wikimedia servers?
What can the WMF staff do to help the Wikimedia projects?
What are the challenges for the future for WMF?
Please feel free to add comments/questions here, or listen live via
Skype and you can "Request the microphone" just like a radio call-in
show. We will try to let as many participants chime in.
The time was chosen so that it occurs when most folks are awake - 11pm
in East Asia, 9pm in Moscow, 4/5pm in Europe, 11am in Eastern US, 8am
in Western US. If you cannot join online, I plan to make a podcast
Caveat: This is the first Skypecast we're hosting so please be patient
if at 11am we are still working out some kinks.
We have reached another nice number at WiktionaryZ.. We have our 500th
user.. As you may know, we are quite happy to increase not only our
number of editors (please let us know when you have your Babel templates
and have read [[DefinedMeaning]]) we have also slowly but surely
expanded the number of languages that we support, Thai Ido and Serbian
among the ones that have added lately.
In the background there have been many interesting discussions about all
kinds of everything, many of the suggestions made are feasible but are
reliant of the state of the software and the availability of people
willing to program for us. The first volunteer contribution is about to
be go life in a few days time; this is software that will change the
behaviour of the screen. The way you like to have your screen configured
will get some stickiness. Thanks Rod :) The first stage of versioning is
likely to go life next week.
We have had a setback with the development of the "Mulitlingual
MediaWiki", the guy who started to work on it fell sick and the money
promised for it has become uncertain for now due to legal problems at
the donor side. We now have the funding to make this happen thanks to
Wikia and the University Bamberg. We even have some money to create some
new functionality to make the life of our editors and users a bit more
sweet; things like lists of the words in a language and/or a collection
or the words where there is content in language A and there is no
content in language B...
From a content point of view, I do not have a clue how many "articles"
WiktionaryZ has, I do know that it grows rapidly certainly when you
consider that the growth is based on what is done manually. Our Alexa
ranking has some amusement value;
and we have our own stats as well; http://wiktionaryz.org/stats/
When you have not visited us yet, this is as great a time as any, if it
were only to boost the "Alexa" ratings :)
I have a lot of sympathy and fondness for African languages. However, I
think the attitude we are taking is paternalistic. The same problems exist for
languages in many other corners of the world. Identifying this issue as uniquely
"African" is paternalistic and, quite frankly, a tad racist. Why do we not
make the same efforts for Khmer (the official language of Cambodia, 66
articles), Burmese (the official language of Myanmar, with 32 million speakers, and
just 66 articles), or Assamese (an official language of India with 20
million speakers and only 6 articles)?
So, for starters, I would like to suggest that we replace the term "African
languages" with "languages in developing regions." Speakers of Pashto, Tajik,
and Malayalam stand to benefit from a strong Wikipedia just as much as the
speakers of Swahili.