On the Moldavian Wikipedia it says for over a month "This wiki has been
closed for now." Is there any outlook on whether 'for now' means 'for ever'
or that it will be re-opened at some time? I am asking because I want to
know what to do with the interwiki for the bot. If the wiki is closed down
for good, I intend to remove them silently; if it will be opened up again
some time soon, I want to keep them in the same way as to 'normal'
Andre Engels, andreengels(a)gmail.com
ICQ: 6260644 -- Skype: a_engels
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
Recently there has been a lot of traffic about search engines. The tone
of these discussions have been hostile towards Google. I want to remind
you all that it is because of the value Google attaches to our content
that we became the number 10 or whatever in the Alexa rankings. When
Google were to drop the value it attaches to Wikipedia in favour of for
instance Citizendium, it will become clear how important Google is for
the dissemination of our Free content. When Citizendium finally gets its
act together, and does a better job that we do, it will make sense to
Google to change its preference. We should not sit on our laurels but
innovate. Frankly we can use some competition.
The point that I am making is NOT that we might not consider dabbling in
search technology. When we are to do this, we will find a well written
proposal in Meta to consider. My point is that Google did a world of
good to the Open Content movement. It is relevant that we acknowledge
this. They are not like Microsoft who gives us a low ratings because of
us competing with their product. Google did good, Google does good.
The Commons Picture of the Year 2006 will be chosen in February.
Participate by voting for a picture out of the featured pictures
promoted in 2006. This vote is open to every established Wikimedian.
The election has two phases. In the first phase, taking place from 1st
to 14th February 2007, the ten best pictures will be chosen among all
2006 Featured Pictures.
At the end of phase 1, the top 10 images by number of votes will go to
phase 2 (the final). Only images with 3 or more votes are eligible for
During the final, to take place from 15th February to 28th February,
the Commons Picture of the Year 2006, and the two runners-up, will be
chosen from the eligible images.
The three winning pictures will be displayed on the Main Page and
enter the History Books of Wikimedia Commons forever :-)
Participate! The election is open from tomorrow on
As decided last august, we set up an advisory group according to
You'll find the entire list here:
Angela Beesley (eh !)
Benjamin Mako Hill
who have agreed to give a bit of their time and expertise, to help us
navigate in the difficult waters of collaborative software, free
licensing, free speech, education for all, governance, sustainability
We really appreciate.
How did we chose these people ? Either because they were already
frequently in touch with us, or because we thought their experience
could help. "We" is both the board and the community, as the board also
contacted some of the people whose names showed up when I asked help on
Is that list closed ? Of course not. Please feel free to discuss further
additions that could be necessary in the future.
I've somehow found myself embroiled in the middle of a fair-use fight on
en.wikipedia, but an interesting viewpoint has expressed itself that I'm
curious with the "powers that be" and other experienced Wikimedia users
might find a bit interesting, at least in terms of where a significant
faction of Wikipedia users want to go.
The philosophy is essentially that fair use images are permitted on
Wikipedia, even if you are not going to be legally permitted to use them
if you copy them and try to re-publish the Wikipedia article. I guess
this same philosophy also applies to the whole issue of NC images and
their inclusion in Wikimedia projects, but in this case the issue is
mainly centered on fair use applications of image content.
In reading through the Wikipedia Fair Use guideline talk page
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk%3AFair_use), I noticed a
recurring theme to justify many fair use images based around two
significant points of the fair-use doctrine as described in USC 92
* Educational fair use - Wikipedia is part of an "educational
institution" and the images are used as a form of instruction.
* Non-commercial entity - Because the WMF is a 503 (c) 3 non-profit
organization, and because all of the editor/contributors to Wikipedia
are unpaid volunteers, Wikipedia can claim non-commercial usage of fair
My counter argument is that neither of these justifications are valid
for inclusion into Wikipedia. The educational exception is a major
stretch and I just don't see how it really applies in the case of
Wikipedia, particularly with some common-law cases that have
significantly reduced the scope of educational fair use. In the case of
the non-commercial entity, I would argue that the GFDL is the trump card
here, as reproducing Wikipedia (and almost all Wikimedia) content must
be done under the terms of the GFDL, which explictly permits commercial
The response to this is that it doesn't matter if the GFDL applies.
They just want to include fair use images, even if the GFDL doesn't
permit their reproduction. This is essentially a "buyer beware"
attitudue where you, as the end-user, are required to explicitly go
through the licensing terms of all images you download together with an
article and remove those images if you decide to pass the article on to
a 3rd party. The inclusion of an image on Wikipedia has no connection
to the GFDL, but only if it is legal (even if barely) for it to be
displayed on a website run by the WMF.
I had a hard time understanding this philosohpy, but a fairly vocal
group insists that this is where fair use policy on Wikipedia ought to
I should note that I got into this whole mess because I was involved
with a group that was trying to write a Wikibook about M.C. Escher, and
I tried to point out that they couldn't reproduce the Escher artwork
unless they somehow were able to obtain a license that could be used
under the GFDL. The response was that the images were being used on
Wikipedia, so why not Wikibooks? The Escher reproductions are claiming
fair use, but I think it has gone way too far on Wikipedia, as I believe
these to be merely a copyright violation.
Robert Scott Horning
I got a call yesterday from a press officer for a major UK bank. My
number was one of the few contact numbers they could find.
They spent lots of time yesterday morning adding stuff to the bank's
article from their websites and having it reverted as a copyright
violation. They couldn't work out what she was doing wrong, so they
called me. They hadn't heard about the Microsoft mess at all. Oh dear.
I explained that editing the article about yourself is a conflict of
interest, and pointed them at the talk page and said this was the
right place to put stuff - that they should introduce themselves, etc.
And that people might argue, but that happens on the Internet. I also
said I'd have a look myself.
Well, that's one more innocent disaster averted ...
But we really need something to handle this sort of thing and make it
widely known. Something as n00b-friendly as possible - just type on a
page (or in a form) or send an email.
Which will mean another firehose of crap to find volunteers to deal
with. This is the tricky bit. Compare to OTRS, which has the twin
problems of (1) a firehose of crap with a few important things in it
and (2) too few volunteers, who then get (understandably) tetchy and
close to burnout, and not great success at recruiting more.
0. I submit that we really do need this.
1. Most n00b-friendly interface possible. This is not a big problem.
2. How to get volunteers interested in wanting to look at this? This
is the tricky one.
(I'm tempted to submit this to Ask Slashdot for ideas ... any objections?)
Another bad publicity storm such as happened last week to Microsoft is
absolutely not in Wikipedia or Wikimedia's interests. We don't want to
make organisations fearful of coming near us.