I just wish to formally advise that I am pulling out of the board elections.
I do not consider myself to be a serious contender and believe my running
could take votes from others. At the same time, I believe that there are
others more deserving than I for a board position.
As most of my platform was centred on the role of chapters within the
foundation, I feel I can best serve it through my membership on the ChapCom.
Nathan Carter (Cartman02au)
Which policy do you use in your Wikipedia about recent events?
Do you establish a fixed time (i.e 30 days) to accept new articles
for them? Or do you analyze every single case?
I ask for this rule because some articles are written in
journalistic style and could be not acceptable for Wikipedia and I'm
investigating in which way other Wikipedias solve this problem.
>The project is called Wikinotes. In short, the wiki is split into a
>for every academic course (or every classroom) at every educational
>institution on the planet.
The amount of boiler-plate code you would need to institute this would be
phenominal. Course names and numbers might be similar between different
institutions. For instance, Math 21 at one university could be completely
different from Math 21 at a different university. You would need to force
contributors to create pages with some kind of hierarchical structure: "My
Universty/My Class", or more specifically "My University/My Department/My
Class/My Section". Keep in mind that even in a single university, a single
course can have very different requirements and learning goals between
>In each category, i.e. for each study course, students of that class can
>write/upload/type up notes for lessons taken in that class. This helps them
>share what they've learnt, fill in each other's gaps and ultimately builds
>an organised set of personal revision material for use when the class is
>complete (and exams loom).
It does help people share what they've learned, but verbatim "sharing" can
also be construed as "plagiarism". A much more helpful resource would be one
where people don't simply share notes verbatim, but are also forced to
paraphrase them, rewrite them, reformat them, etc. Instead of creating a
place to store online notes, we could create a list of existing wikimedia
projects and resources that are working on subjects similar to those used in
the particular class. For instance, If we say "Harvard University/Math 21
(Calculus)", that page would create links to the various wikipedia,
wikibooks, and wikiversity courses that mirror the material, without having
to recreate it. Of course, simply having a list of links is generally
against wikimedia policy anyway.
Putting this idea through the mailing list before proposing on Meta. It
takes a bit of explaining, but don't worry it doesn't require any software
changes like most proposals with lots of explanation. I hope I've explained
it properly below because I think this idea has a lot of potential.
This idea is aimed entirely at students, primarily ones at university, but
there is no reason why it can't be for students at all levels. Because of
this, I was thinking this has potential either as an independent project, or
as a (rather large) subsection of the new Wikiversity.
The project is called Wikinotes. In short, the wiki is split into a category
for every academic course (or every classroom) at every educational
institution on the planet.
In each category, i.e. for each study course, students of that class can
write/upload/type up notes for lessons taken in that class. This helps them
share what they've learnt, fill in each other's gaps and ultimately builds
an organised set of personal revision material for use when the class is
complete (and exams loom).
The ultimate product would be a wiki where a user can browse to the category
corresponding to a certain course (maybe his/her own) and find notes or
material pertaining to it. But (and here's the crunch), the wiki is 99%
focussed on the actual typing up of/working on notes, as this is what aids
the actual students working on a course (the target userbase) - and 1% about
anyone beyond those students reading them afterwards. Rather than every page
in the wiki being useful to every person in the world (as Wikimedia is used
to), every 100 pages or so fits into a course-specific category that is
useful just for people taking that course. And the main "use" comes in the
benefits of typing up one's notes, and the benefits of a whole class doing
this in one space across a year of study, culminating effectively in a
thorough set of notes for their course.
I already have a live version of this in use, at Cambridge University, so
I've already very thoroughly thought about the problems it could face, and
worked out (I believe) viable ways around them. For now I'd like to just
discuss the basic idea. The idea is clearer with a university example:
University students go to lectures/seminars/discussion groups/classes where
the standard practise is to listen and take notes. These notes end up being
scruffy scrawlings on bits of paper - this may be the 21st Century but no
one seriously uses a laptop in a lecture hall, and even if they do they
wouldn't have the time to organise their notes as they type them. A lot of
students are thus already in the habit of typing up their notes, or in some
way reorganising them when they get back home.
It hit me that hundreds of students within one class thus go home with 100
copies of roughly the same note. Some type up their notes, meaning there are
100 copies of the same note across 100 computers. What if they could all be
brought together, to make a singular fantastic note? Seen as many are
electronic anyway, uploading to a wiki would be very easy. And seen as it's
a wiki, everyone could contribute to this note, until it has all the
relevent information from that class/lecture. The wiki is thus an "online,
The wiki would have to embrace and promote this work ethic of a) typing up
your notes and b) sharing them. But isn't this Wikimedia's ethic anyway? a)
Making information electronic and b) sharing it? Typing up notes is a vastly
beneficial practise for several reasons (discuss later), all of which the
project and by proxy Wikimedia would have to swear by - hopefully this
embracing of an ethic won't be a problem, if the board agree, with me, that
it is one that could be of epistemic benefit to millions of students.
Crucial to the mechanics of any wiki are its policies, and a major policy of
Wikinotes must be that there is absolutely no style guide or standard or
goal, indeed that there are absolutely no restraints on the content added to
the Main namespace (apart from legal ones, and that content be on-topic),
because it is not intended for readership beyond each classroom. The
students who type up their notes on the wiki do so for their own good, and
it's directly for them and their classmates. What they put in is what they
take out. This is a kind of sharing that Wikimedia isn't accustomed to,
because it is possible (and okay) that pages in the Main namespace won't
even be intelligible to anyone who isn't a contributor towards the category
that the pages are in (i.e. to the course they apply to).
But as a Wikimedia project, these basic ideas could be expanded so that the
site does reach out in the way we're used to. The site could have two main
aims, and this is where Wikiversity comes in. The first aim is the
"internal" one, i.e. within individual classes, as described above. The
second aim is the "external" type which is to use the class notes in each
category as base material for the formation of proper revision guides (or
learning guides) for people taking those courses (or people who want to),
where these guides do have style standards. The ultimate aim of this second
part of the site would be for each category to contain both raw notes for a
specific course, and then also a set of refined guides based on those notes.
This effectively splits the wiki into two types of users, those working on
the internal aim ("students") and those working on the external
("collators"? "copyeditors"?), but each type of user could do both. Which is
why it works neatly in the following ways:
* As a seperate wiki primarily for intra-classroom sharing of knowledge, and
secondarily for the creation and leaving-behind of up-to-date,
course-focussed revision guides and notes, which new generations of students
in the same course can make use of.
* As a seperate wiki not intended for outside viewers, just for the
students, used as base source material for copyediting, expansion and
fitting-into-guidelines, then the transfering of these revision guides to
Wikiversity. i.e. as a Wikiversity raw material resource.
* As a subsection of Wikiversity.
Running as an adjunct to Wikiversity would, I believe, heavily expand the
growth of Wikiversity. In essence Wikiversity needs to be written by
students of classes, and the Wikinotes idea is much more useful to them, as
well as easier and not requiring a user to be dedicated to the goal of a
wiki. So as well as being useful on its own, it would serve as an entry
point into Wikiversity, and would also allow any user to aid Wikiversity by
creating course-materials from the raw course-material stored at Wikinotes.
If you read this far, what do you all think?
If someone can identify one or two native speakers for each African
Language who are willing to spend a couple of weeks
putting together lexicons for Wikitrans for each target language, along
with language synthesis rules, I can start performing
runs for the target laguages. I will need the following:
rogets thesaurus (open version on my website) lexicon
transposition of english words and phrases for the Cherokee lexicons
into these languages.
I already have the ability to synthesize new words for advanced latin
derived scientific language which will speed the creation
of a full African Language Wikipedia with the various languages. After
the translation runs, then there should be a large enough
body of matrerials to start getting a community around it. Starting at
ground zero with groups of people who need food more than
computers will certainly relegate the project to failure from the very
Most of these African languages are going to have similiar challenges to
Native languages in American in that they will not
have evolved modern words for modern concepts.
Also, while folks I notice talk a lot about solutions, which is a good
thing, we will need someone here to take some action and get
these speakers to contact me and get these lexicons put together. I
will also need to construct a rules database with the AI engine
and about 20 or so articles from the runs taken and retensed and
corrected to teach the AI engine how to reorder text and phrasing
for these languages into a readable form.
If the Foundation wants a good test run of WikiTrans on these languages,
this would be an excellent project to get Wikipedia
converted to these languages rather than waiting years (or maybe never)
to get it done. I just read the Slashdot article and they
are bashing the heck out of us over this program announcement.
We have rosetta's stone to use, let's use it. I need the folks doing
the African langauges program to shoot me an email, and I will
give them instructions and we can get them at least a good starting
point of content that will require 8,000,000+ articles on wikibooks
and wikipedia to be proofread, but its better than starting from 0.
I am not open sourcing the translator at this time, but I will assist in
creation of lexicons, rules, syntax, and grammar databases and parsers
and perform and post translation runs into any of these languages to
provide a starting point for wikipedia. I am about 5 years ahead of the
with solid written tools moulded around MediaWiki that already does all
of this. Let's apply them to this program and just get the thing done and
shutup these nay saying folks claiming we cannot pull it off -- we can.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Robert Scott Horning" <robert_horning(a)netzero.net>
> To: "No Spam" <nospam(a)cacace.org>; "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List"
> Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 12:19 PM
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] proposed new project - wikistandards
>> No Spam wrote:
>>>I would like to propose a new wikiproject, called wikistandards, in which
>>>the community at-large contributes to the creation of international
>>>standards (a wiki version of ANSI and ISO).
>>>The first standard I would like to begin work on is a Project Management
>>>standard. The impetus for this comes from my frustration over the Project
>>>Management Institute's standard www.pmi.org
>>>It is also an IEEE standard:
>>>And there is also the ISO standard:
>>>There are other lesser known examples of closed committee works or this
>>>The PMI standard suffers from 'design by committee' and is, to say the
>>>least, stultifying. Lets see how the wiki community does at designing
>>>I look forward to comments.
>>>I am willing to start the first project off but need some guidance and
>>>advice on how to proceed.
>> Have you seen the pages on Meta:
>> and a competing proposal
>> It should be noted that this proposal has been formally "voted" on by a
>> small community that has sought to create this idea into a full Wikimedia
>> sister project. I am unsure of its current status by the special project
>> committee, especially as Wikiversity has been far more dominent in the
>> conversations that have been going on with that group.
>> I was actually planning on trying to move Wikistandards to the Incubator
>> Wiki (http://incubator.wikimedia.org/) to do a trial run of this idea,
>> but I'm currently quite overwhelmed right now trying to get Wikiversity
>> going instead (for myself). I know that there is already a small
>> community of people who are interested in seeing something like this to
>> be developed, and it would really be just a matter of informing that
>> group if something were put together and to try and restart the momentum
>> that had occured earlier.
>> I would have to agree that a Wiki being used to develop standards in a
>> very open process is something that would be beneficial to the standards
>> development community. The costs of purchasing "standards" range from
>> merely very expensive to insane. In fact, one reason that has often been
>> given for the price of some standards is to act as an anti-competitive
>> pressure to make sure that those who purchase the standards have the
>> financial means to really make something work, or specifically to
>> discourage new people from getting involved in the development of the
>> standards. I have seen some of these standards go for a price of over
>> $100,000 for a single 300 page book.
>> ISO standards are ones that are "merely very expensive", as I don't think
>> paying $500 for a 500 page book is necessarily a fair value for the
>> standard. The reason given behind why they charge so much, even for a
>> PDF version of the standard that you download off the internet, is
>> supposedly the network bandwidth and server storage costs. You are also
>> indirectly helping to pay for the standards development committees, and
>> for the office staff of the standards agency (which for the USA is
>> located in downtown Manhattan).
>> I believe that such standards can be made much more cheaply. Network
>> bandwidth and storage costs are not nearly what ANSI or IEEE make them
>> out to be (both are local agencies or "chapters" for ISO in the USA). I
>> also beleive that there are sponsorship opportunities to help pay for
>> these costs that could be obtained by the Wikimedia Foundation
>> specifically to make sure that these standards are made available, and
>> they could be made free.
>> Robert Scott Horning
----- Original Message -----
From: "No Spam" <nospam(a)cacace.org>
To: "Robert Scott Horning" <robert_horning(a)netzero.net>
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] proposed new project - wikistandards
Your historical knowledge of this is valuable and appreciated.
And your personal insights are equally valuable and important.
The reasons you state, and more, are what motivate me to get this going.
I want to emphasize the following point to all that may be involved that
intent (as I see it) is to generate a public domain knowledge base designed
by inclusion (the wiki community and not an exclusive committee) in the
tradition, that is created and used by everyone at no cost. The resulting
body of knowledge will serve up enough information to spawn new businesses
and organizations that feed off of the wikistandards effort. I suspect that
some types of standards will have to become rigid; at defined points of
progress, a permanent snapshot of a wikistandard will have to be archived
for it to serve its purpose (such as a standard for a next generation
I also believe, for a while anyway, that the ISO's and ANSI's of the world
will continue to serve an important purpose. But they will nonetheless see
this effort as a threat. To allay the fears of those who have something to
lose wikistandards will not serve all needs. Firms that want to push
standards in a direction that serves their proprietary needs (patents, etc)
will be frustrated with the wiki way. They will insist on going through
and ISO. For example, the waring tribes of firms that fought over the HDTV
standard for so many years feel that their interests can only be protected
by fighting it out in exclusivity. It will be interesting to see how that
continues to play out once the wiki standard effort goes open-source.
The example of PMI (www.pmi.org) is interesting. PMI reminds us that their
standard is a basis from which you, NASA for example, can build your own
standard that is applicable to your industry or business. A sort of
block or template. The standard is not directly applicable to any end-use.
And, as you say, PMI charges a lot of money for this standard. Furthermore,
they are quick to file suit against anyone who plagarizes their document
(perhaps a large protion of the $1,500 for certain pubs pays for the
Wikistandards would act with autonomy and freedom to include every work,
hyperlinked with every best practice, from which a menu of such elements
be chosen to form your custom methodologies. And naturally, at least some
standards will be useful on their own merits (such as a standard for a next
generation bluetooth technology). If innovation is accelerating at a
non-linear pace now (kurzweil) imagine what it can do if standards are
broader, more alive, and easily accessed.
I can also envision a day when wiki can offer certification exams for those
who want to show they are knowledgeable experts on any given wikistandard
(Certified Wiki-IT ?).
That is my vision for starters, I suspect the thing will morph well beyond
this -- meeting needs as they emerge. That after all is a nice benefit of
Do you have any suggestions for me on how to proceed? Perhaps a contact at
wiki headquarters where I can begin a fact finding mission?
I need to go now, not sure if I am back before the end of acceptance,
and I am not sure if the additional official help hasn't been
appointed yet, so I hereby put this notice for the candidates who will
come from now till the end of acceptance. To candidates, sorry for
your inconvinience and thank you for your understanding.
Candidates are accepted till 23:59, August 28, 2006 (UTC) on meta.
Further information is available at
We the Election Officials are now completing the confirmation process
for candidates for the Board of Trustees election. In order to do
this, please fax a copy of the first page of your passport or any
other legal identification to the Foundation Office at +1-727-258-0207
by Monday, August 28. (UTC) Your documentation must contain the
1. Your legal name
2. Your age or date of birth
3. Your picture (i.e. photo ID only)
In addition, please also provide the following information along with
your identification so that we may contact you further if necessary:
1. Your mailing address
2. Your phone number where you can receive an international call
Please let us know what the best times are to contact you by phone, in
UTC (example: 23-2, 5-11 UTC).
Thank you for your cooperation, and good luck!
Wikimedia Election Committee, 2006
* vivemus, mea Lesbia, amemus *
Thanks to all those who contributed their ideas. After considering the
opinions posted on meta, I propose the below as our policies for voter
eligibility in the coming Election:
1. Users indefinitely banned or blocked from any Wikimedia project
may not vote in the Wikimedia Foundation Board elections. This means
they may not vote using the blocked account or from any other account
they may hold on a Wikimedia project.
2. Users temporarily banned or blocked from any Wikimedia project
may not vote from the blocked or banned account for the duration it is
blocked. However, they may vote from any other project on which they
are eligible to vote, or they may vote after being unblocked if the
election is still open.
3. Election officials may strike votes from users who do not meet
the eligibility criteria described above. Officials may find
disqualified voters by searching manually, by technical filtering (to
be provided by developer(s) if possible), or by third-party reports.
4. Any Wikimedia user is invited to report questionable votes to
the Election Officials. To ensure the authenticity of the reports, we
highly recommend that bureaucrats or admins of a local wiki make the
reports, and we appreciate the assistance of local wiki admins in
checking such questionable votes. Admins of local wikis are welcome to
report on projects other than the ones on which they are
administrators; however, local admins are expected to be the most
reliable source of such information.
Your comments and feedback to the dedicated page on meta will be appreciated.
The final version will be posted on meta and foundation-l before the
* vivemus, mea Lesbia, amemus *
Thank you for your interest on Election.
Today I would like to invite you to an open question from me. About
voters' eligibility. There is no discussion among three, mainly
because two of them have been not available since the midst of this
month, hence no opinion, there is no consensus based conclusion.
I could rather say "we will do so-and-so because of lack of
consensus", without bother you with my question, but even if I should
say so at that time, I think it would be nice to know what kind of
trends are found among us, the community from hundreds projects,
people from hundreds lands and languages.
* vivemus, mea Lesbia, amemus *
P.S. And how is the issue of additional help going?