>From: Robert Horning <robert_horning(a)netzero.net>
>As far as the "textbook" emphasis, that is something which has always
>been a slippery slope. A current discussion on en.wikibooks is to try
>and change the wording to "educational text materials" to reflect more
>the reality of the situation on Wikibooks. There are a number of
>Wikibooks that don't necessarily fit the strict definition of something
>that would be considered a textbook, but are clearly non-fiction and do
>have an educational emphasis.
>It is too bad that this text has to be marked yet again, presumably due
>to the current interest in all things about Harry Potter.
>As a side note, there is some very significant activity happening right
>now with this book, and something which the Wikibooks admins have been
>preparing for for a little bit too. With the release of the last book,
>plus the movie release, it was anticipated that there would be many new
>users on Wikibooks, and this has in fact proven to be true as well. It
>will be interesting to see just how far some of these new participants
>may end up going once they stick around for a bit, as there are a few
>new individuals who are quite active at the moment and making positive
>contributions but are otherwise new to the Wiki-world.
>-- Robert Horning
Even if we say that "Wikibooks is for textbooks" (which is the current
definition of the project) we are then left with the next question of "what
precisely is a textbook in this context?" When you start to think about a
traditional "textbook", you are really thinking of something that isn't what
Wikibooks is all about. Traditional textbooks are certainly instructional,
but they contain all sorts of things: tests of reading comprehension,
suggestions on how to use the book (such as the structure of the course that
will use the book), reference materials in the form of appendices,
definitions in the form of glossaries, etc.
On Wikibooks we focus on things that are instructional. This means that some
things that are not considered traditional textbooks, such as how-to guides
and manuals are included. However, things that typically are considered to
be textbooks, such as original source works, are not included.
This brings us to the issue of the "Muggles Guide to Harry Potter". I will
start by apologizing, I probably raised interest in this issue by posting
about the current situation with the book on my blog. The muggles guide is
from a class of books that we call "reading guides" or even "annotated
texts". The goal of the muggles guide is not to reproduce the text of the
Harry Potter books, nor to allow for speculation. What it is, is a helpful
guide, such as the popular "spark notes" or "cliff notes" that can help the
reader to understand some of the finer points of the book. We are a long way
from a full-fledged academic analysis of Harry Potter, but the ultimate goal
of this is to produce a resource that casual readers, school students, and
school teachers can use to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from this
series. Since Harry Potter seems to have an unprecidented (at least in
recent times) ability to motivate young children to read, any guide that is
going to aide in that reading and learning should certainly be rewarded, not
viewed with suspicion.
Need a brain boost? Recharge with a stimulating game. Play now!
Wikibooks has always been slightly loose in the definition department. Basically, it is as its tagline shows, a library of textbooks. These text books range in their subject matter as much as their contributors do. Another thing to keep in mind is that on projects other than Wikipedia, original research is what they thrive on.
The textbook in question, I believe, *does* meet the scope of the project. Any textbook that someone wants to read is acceptable (for the most part :P)
-------------- Original message --------------
From: "Gabe Johnson" <gjzilla(a)gmail.com>
> On 7/20/07, habj wrote:
> > The Meta entry on Wikibooks
> > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikibooks
> > is not very thorough. How is a "textbook" defined? How is it defined what
> > fits on Wikibooks or not? Is "Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter"
> > http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Harry_Potter a suitable Wikibooks project?
> > Why/why not?
> > /habj
> I think it would be suitable. It's no it's own work of fiction, it's a
> guide to one. ~~~~
> Absolute Power
> C^7rr8p£5 ab£$^u7£%y
> foundation-l mailing list
I just found out Erik's video thread also exists on Foundation-l.
Readers there may want to see the lively discussion on commons-l
Kelly Martin also has an interesting blog post on the matter at:
Continue reading this email to see an interesting point:
On 7/20/07, (on commons-l) geni <geniice(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> YouTube's TOS conflicts with most free licenses.
YouTube's TOS is pretty bad but they aren't alone.
In YouTube's case having a lot of free content would likely be against
their business model: If people can legally duplicate their collection
its value to them is reduced. ;)
Here are some hunks of another TOS. I think it's important so please
take the time to read it:
collection of Web pages and other digital content (the "Collections")
available (...). When accessing (a) page, you will be presented with
do not use the (...) Collections or its Web site (the "Site").
Access to the (...) Collections is provided at no cost to you and is
granted for scholarship and research purposes only.
Some of the content available through the Archive may be governed by
local, national, and/or international laws and regulations, and your
use of such content is solely at your own risk. You agree to abide by
all applicable laws and regulations, including intellectual property
laws, in connection with your use of the Archive. In particular, you
certify that your use of any part of the Archive's Collections will be
noncommercial and will be limited to non infringing or fair use under
Where did this come from?
This is from the TOS for the Internet Archive, the organization Erik
would prefer be hosting our video.
Serving large files is technically easy compared to what we are
already doing. Our techs don't see a need. ... We have a better
recognized name, and more traffic today. I just don't see the
justification for hosting anything of ours there.
Collaboration is another matter. No one is opposed to that.
But when Erik meets with the Internet Archive to talk Wikimedia
technical stuff without consulting with the board, the community, the
technical staff, or even being aware of the current status of our
existing video support ... that isn't just isn't how collaboration
happens. It was my understanding that Erik was out there for
Omegawiki, and not Wikimedia in any case.
It's good if people are able to make visits for us while on other
trips: but not if it isn't people with the right information...
On 7/21/07, Joichi Ito <jito(a)neoteny.com> wrote:
> I'm sorry this happened. I'll look into how this happened, but my
> understanding was that the language that was used was what was in the
If it was the language in the public drafts during 2007 I am gravely
mistaken and owe an apology.
It *was* the language in a Dec 2006 draft I was given privately.
Because I did not see the language in later drafts I believed it was
dropped from consideration, I was in error to make that assumption
regardless of anything else that went on.
An example draft:
Even if this isn't confusion on my part, then this still isn't the end
of the world.
There does appear to be a widespread belief that the current language
is confusing, so I can't say that I'll be too happy if the end result
is nothing more than to agree to disagree, but I am happy to see some
Thanks for your attention.
I noticed a logo for "Carbon Neutral website" on a wiki;
The concept is to be aware of the carbon production related to the
operation of a website/organization and to try to keep the production
as low as possible by using energy efficient computers and
environmental awareness by people working for the organisation.
And further compensate the produced greenhouse gasses by investing in
projects to reduce emissions.
Why doing this:
There is a climate problem on earth caused by the human activity's
like the release of greenhouse gasses.
If there are people who find this is not correct go to
and voice your beliefs there.
Because a picture says more then thousend words maybe this short
picture can made clear what this is about;
Back to carbon neutral website;
The impact of doing things like this can not be anything else for the
environment then symbolic. But I do not think that is an valid excuse
for not (trying) to do it. Symbolic actions have also there value.
If some small website does something like this then that is nice but
that is all (*). But if a Top 10 Internet website does it then that is an
important symbolic signal. And if it would come form a American
organization it would be matter even more. Like it or not America has the
image in large parts of the world as the largest polluter in world who
does not want do anything serious about it.
I would like to raise this topic to the global Wikimedia community and
if there is support for (maybe a vote?) the Wikimedia Foundation to
take this topic in to account.
And explore if, how and when it could be possible to reduce the
environmental footprint of the Wikimedia Foundation projects and maybe
get to the point to be
become a carbon neutral website.
The vision statement of the WMF is;
"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."
In a future with increased global temperature of more then 2 degrees
Celsius the change of that vision getting reality is strongly reduced.
I think it would fit the mission of the WMF to try to at least try to
become a carbon neutral website/organisation.
And it would also not hurt from a public relations point of view.
Some people could be concerned about the NPOV attitude of Wikipedia.
This is not about advertisements, this is about the future. To stay
hard core neutral by doing nothing is saying NOP (Not Our Problem).
That is also a POV, a irresponsible one.
(*) A cleaner environment starts with yourself. Being small is no
excuse for not doing anything yourself. I operate the websites
wikizine.org and sol3.info . These are Carbon neutral websites because
of investments in green power installations by myself.
Contact: walter AT wikizine DOT org
Wikizine.org - news for and about the Wikimedia community
Last week I met with John Killy, the COO of the Mozilla Corporation,
and with Brewster Kahle, ED of the Internet Archive. Mozilla intends
to support video playback in Firefox using the new <video> tag ,
but such support is not likely to arrive before late 2008 according to
The Internet Archive currently does not transcode to Ogg Theora, but
has a transcoding pipeline in place for other codecs. They have
recently started embedding the Flash-based open source "Flow Player"
for playing back FLV files directly in the browser, and have added FLV
to their transcoding pipeline.
The Archive is happy to support us with video hosting in any way. If
we can find a useful hosting arrangement with them, they would also be
willing to add Ogg Theora to their transcoding pipeline.
Imagine that we could easily embed any currently hosted video from the
Internet Archive into Wikimedia projects, but also make use of their
immense hosting capacity for future video uploads beyond the current
20 MB upload size limit.
Video has tremendous potential educational use, and we should not let
the Wikimedia projects fall behind when it comes to hosting video
content. One should not underestimate the big role that ease of use
played in the success of YouTube: thanks to embedded Flash video,
users no longer had to worry about some plugin possibly hosing their
Windows installation, or about Real Networks' eternal "Buffering ..."
message showing up. It just worked [tm].
We must achieve the same ease of use in Wikimedia projects. In my
opinion, inconveniencing users is the worst possible way to raise
awareness of free content & free software. I therefore propose that
1) we immediately begin serious discussions with the Internet Archive
about hosting some or all of our video content on their servers;
2) All uploaded videos should be transcoded to at least Ogg Theora & a
3) we add video support to MediaWiki that will, as intelligently as
possible, fall back to any of the following methods
- embedded open source Flash player
- Java player
- VLC plugin
- (in the future) <video> support.
4) We support the open source Flash project Gnash to ensure that it
can be used for video playback on Wikimedia servers.
Having an open source Flash implementation & an open source Flash
player does not address the patent issues with Flash video, but those
who are concerned about violating software patents (which are not
universally applicable anyway) could still use the provided Theora
files. We could also add a clear message to this effect at the bottom
of every embedded Flash video.
Such a solution would be a reasonable compromise between trying to
provide "free as in speech" video wherever possible, but also
minimizing hassle and maximizing ease of use for typical Windows users
looking for free educational content. We should continue to evangelize
& use Ogg Theora, but not at the expense of usability.
Toward Peace, Love & Progress:
DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.
----- Original Message ----
From: Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro(a)gmail.com
Indeed. And a further thing that separates Foundation trustees from
being shareholders is that the trustees have not made an undertaking
in expectation of getting some dividend based on the profit made by
The only thing the Wikimedia Foundations trustees have promised,
hopefully, is that they will do their best; not that they will try
to maximise the money gathered for some party who gains
monetarily from what the Wikimedia Foundations activities bring forth.
It would be a sad day if you could buy into the board of Wikimedia
Foundation, like shares can buy control of a corporation. I know that
Jimbo has spoken on this matter to different effect, but this is my view.
I think I know what your answer to this will be based on your response ... But, I wanted to ask anyway and see if others chimed in. Many non-profit boards expect each board member to commit to raising a certain amount of money for the organization as a part of being on the board. Are you saying that you would be against such a requirement?