I have asked and received permission to forward to you all this most
excellent bit of news.
The linguist list, is a most excellent resource for people interested in the
field of linguistics. As I mentioned some time ago they have had a funding
drive and in that funding drive they asked for a certain amount of money in
a given amount of days and they would then have a project on Wikipedia to
learn what needs doing to get better coverage for the field of linguistics.
What you will read in this mail that the total community of linguists are
asked to cooperate. I am really thrilled as it will also get us more
linguists interested in what we do. My hope is that a fraction will be
interested in the languages that they care for and help it become more
relevant. As a member of the "language prevention committee", I love to get
more knowledgeable people involved in our smaller projects. If it means that
we get more requests for more projects we will really feel embarrassed with
all the new projects we will have to approve because of the quality of the
Incubator content and the quality of the linguistic arguments why we should
approve yet another language :)
NB Is this not a really clever way of raising money; give us this much in
this time frame and we will then do this as a bonus...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LINGUIST Network <linguist(a)linguistlist.org>
Date: Jun 18, 2007 6:53 PM
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831. Mon Jun 18 2007. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Eastern Michigan U <aristar(a)linguistlist.org>
Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry(a)linguistlist.org>
Reviews: Laura Welcher, Rosetta Project
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University,
and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyer(a)linguistlist.org>
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 12:49:35
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
As you may recall, one of our Fund Drive 2007 campaigns was called the
"Wikipedia Update Vote." We asked our viewers to consider earmarking their
donations to organize an update project on linguistics entries in the
English-language Wikipedia. You can find more background information on this
The speed with which we met our goal, thanks to the interest and generosity
our readers, was a sure sign that the linguistics community was enthusiastic
about the idea. Now that summer is upon us, and some of you may have a bit
leisure time, we are hoping that you will be able to help us get started on
Wikipedia project. The LINGUIST List's role in this project is a purely
organizational one. We will:
*Help, with your input, to identify major gaps in the Wikipedia materials or
pages that need improvement;
*Compile a list of linguistics pages that Wikipedia editors have identified
"in need of attention from an expert on the subject" or " does not cite any
references or sources," etc;
*Send out periodical calls for volunteer contributors on specific topics or
*Provide simple instructions on how to upload your entries into Wikipedia;
*Keep track of our project Wikipedians;
*Keep track of revisions and new entries;
*Work with Wikimedia Foundation to publicize the linguistics community's
We hope you are as enthusiastic about this effort as we are. Just to help us
get started looking at Wikipedia more critically, and to easily identify an
needing improvement, we suggest that you take a look at the List of
Many people are not listed there; others need to have more facts and
added. If you would like to participate in this exciting update effort,
respond by sending an email to LINGUIST Editor Hannah Morales at
hannah(a)linguistlist.org, suggesting what your role might be or which
entries you feel should be updated or added. Some linguists who saw our
on the Internet have already written us with specific suggestions, which we
share with you soon.
This update project will take major time and effort on all our parts. The
result will be a much richer internet resource of information on the breadth
depth of the field of linguistics. Our efforts should also stimulate
students to consider studying linguistics and to educate a wider public on
we do. Please consider participating.
Editor, Wikipedia Update Project
Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831
There is a request for a Wikipedia in Ancient Greek. This request has so far
been denied. A lot of words have been used about it. Many people maintain
their positions and do not for whatever reason consider the arguments of
In my opinion their are a few roadblocks.
- Ancient Greek is an ancient language - the policy does not allow for
- Text in ancient Greek written today about contemporary subjects
require the reconstruction of Ancient Greek.
- it requires the use of existing words for concepts that did
not exist at the time when the language was alive
- neologisms will be needed to describe things that did not
exist at the time when the language was alive
- modern texts will not represent the language as it used to be
- Constructed and by inference reconstructed languages are effectively
We can change the policy if there are sufficient arguments, when we agree on
When a text is written in reconstructed ancient Greek, and when it is
clearly stated that it is NOT the ancient Greek of bygone days, it can be
obvious that it is a great tool to learn skills to read and write ancient
Greek but that it is in itself not Ancient Greek. Ancient Greek as a
language is ancient. I have had a word with people who are involved in the
working group that deals with the ISO-639, I have had a word with someone
from SIL and it is clear that a proposal for a code for "Ancient Greek
reconstructed" will be considered for the ISO-639-3. For the ISO-639-6 a
code is likely to be given because a clear use for this code can be given.
We can apply for a code and as it has a use bigger then Wikipedia alone it
clearly has merit.
With modern texts clearly labelled as distinct from the original language,
it will be obvious that innovations a writers needs for his writing are
This leaves the fact that constructed and reconstructed languages are not
permitted because of the notion that mother tongue users are required. In my
opinion, this has always been only a gesture to those people who are dead
set against any and all constructed languages. In the policies there is
something vague "*it must have a reasonable degree of recognition as
determined by discussion (this requirement is being discussed by the language
subcommittee <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_subcommittee>)."* It
is vague because even though the policy talks about a discussion, it is
killed off immediately by stating "The proposal has a sufficient number of
living native speakers to form a viable community and audience." In my
opinion, this discussion for criteria for the acceptance of constructed or
reconstructed languages has not happened. Proposals for objective criteria
have been ignored.
In essence, to be clear about it:
- We can get a code for reconstructed languages.
- We need to change the policy to allow for reconstructed and
We need to do both in order to move forward.
The proposal for objective criteria for constructed and reconstructed
languages is in a nutshell:
- The language must have an ISO-639-3 code
- We need full WMF localisation from the start
- The language must be sufficiently expressive for writing a modern
- The Incubator project must have sufficiently large articles that
demonstrate both the language and its ability to write about a wide range of
- A sufficiently large group of editors must be part of the Incubator
Dear All,Sorry for bringing up a possibly old and closed issue, but could
someone explain to me that why was the GFDL with a possible migration to
CC-BY-SA 3.0 or later[1[ chosen as the site license for the Hungarian (and
I guess some others as well, created at the same time) Wikinews?
Wasn't the CC-BY used by the older Wikinewses a deliberate decision to give
Wikinews an extra opennes and connectivity with other news outlets (I
personally see a bigger chance for some newsproducer agreeing to license
their work under either CC-BY or less likely CC-BY-SA than GFDL or even GFDL
with a possible migration)?
Is the current license compatible with Wikipedia (I am thinking that the
added migration clause makes the project incompatible with GFDL sites that
are not also double licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or later)?
it seems that people enter articles into quality assurance more often
than before having the flags - which at the end leads to higher
quality for these articles. but i am unsure if this feeling can be
better prooved somehow.
one thing seems to be a bug: with ff3 on linux i always get the
flagged revision and not the most current one, even if i unchecked
"show flagged revision" in the preferences.
On Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 2:02 PM, THURNER rupert
> it seems that people enter articles into quality assurance more often
> than before having the flags - which at the end leads to higher
> quality for these articles. but i am unsure if this feeling can be
> better prooved somehow.
> one thing seems to be a bug: with ff3 on linux i always get the
> flagged revision and not the most current one, even if i unchecked
> "show flagged revision" in the preferences.
> On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 11:14 PM, Andre Engels <andreengels(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> 2008/5/7 Lars Aronsson <lars(a)aronsson.se>:
>>> Erik Moeller wrote:
>>>> In a nutshell, FlaggedRevs makes it possible to assign
>>>> quality tags to individual article revisions, and to alter default
>>>> views based on the available tags.
>>>> Aka hacked up a nice script that shows how many pages have been
>>>> "sighted" (basic vandalism check) on the German Wikipedia:
>>>> Given that FlaggedRevs has just been live for a day or so, a review
>>>> rate of 4.41% is quite impressive!
>>> Wait now. When FlaggedRevs was first mentioned, the press started
>>> to announce that censorship was being planned for Wikipedia.
>>> This was countered with the explanation that flagging was a more
>>> open regime than page locking. We no longer have to lock pages on
>>> controversial topics, because we can allow free editing as long as
>>> the non-logged-in majority gets to see the flagged/approved
>>> Is it really "impressive" to have this new "soft locking"
>>> mechanism applied to a large number of pages? Wouldn't it be
>>> better to show how few pages were in need of this protection?
>>> And at the same time, to mention how many previously locked pages
>>> have now been unlocked in the name of increased openness?
>> No, I don't think so. Having a flag on a page is just a way of saying
>> "this version is ok". Would it not be much better to have a version
>> that is 'ok' for ALL pages rather than just the controversial ones?
>> Would it really be a good thing to say "Only these few pages have
>> versions that are okay, we have no idea about the others, but we see
>> no reason to think they're not okay?"
>> Andre Engels, andreengels(a)gmail.com
>> ICQ: 6260644 -- Skype: a_engels
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
As you know, the board recently created a Nominating Committee to help
it identify, research and recommend candidates for the appointed Board
of Trustee positions involving "specific expertise." The members of the
committee are me, Michael Snow, BirgitteSB, Milos Rancic, Melissa
Hagemann and Ting Chen.
We've brainstormed a list of selection criteria here
and now need to cut it back from about two dozen to eight.
If you're interested, we'd like your help. Please comment on the talk
page re which criteria you think are most important, and also let us
know if you feel anything is missing.
Our rough timeline, in case you're interested:
1.Michael Snow, on behalf of the Board, will brief the Nominating
Committee regarding its role, the restructuring, and the board's
assessment of its own strengths and skills gaps. By August 30 DONE
2.Based on that briefing, the Nominating Committee will generate a set
of criteria for potential “specific expertise” board members. By
3.The staff of the Foundation will deliver to the Nominating Committee
the list of potential candidates that has been developed by the staff,
current Board members and supporters and friends of Wikimedia. By
September 15 DONE (by Michael)
4.The Nominating Committee will brainstorm and solicit additional names,
and add them to the total list. By September 30 IN PROGRESS
5.The Nominating Committee will research the names which have been put
forward, and assess their fit against the selection criteria developed
earlier. This will result in a midlist of candidates. By October 30
6.The Nominating Committee will initiate discussions with midlist
candidates to gauge their interest, provide them with information, and
respond to questions or concerns. By November 14
7.The Nominating Committee will cull the midlist and deliver to the
board a final list of interested candidates who fit the criteria for the
"specific expertise" roles. The goal will be to give the board a full
briefing on the top eight candidates for the four "expertise" seats,
along with a recommendation for the four who the Nominating Committee
thinks would be the best fit. By November 14
8.The community board members (Michael, Kat, Frieda, Domas, Ting, and
Jimmy) will vote to determine who will fill the four seats. By December 15
9.Nominating Committee orients new board members. January and February
10. Nominating Committee supports the board with other board development
tasks as requested. March, April, May, June
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment: help us make it a
At the page  you may see complete data for a number of lists (of
bigger projects). Below this email is my analysis of data.
In brief, you may read inside of the analysis:
* Almost all lists are in decrease.
* Decrease varies between rare significant, but not high decreases and
rare dead lists. In other words, the most of the lists are in
significant decrease: Some of them since 2005, more of since
Positive and "positive" trends:
* Technical lists show the smallest amount of decrease.
* Two [of analyzed] lists -- textbook-l and wikija-l -- show
*increase* of traffic! It would be good to analyze why it is so. Maybe
they have the answer to our problem: increasing of list traffic
usually means that community is increasing. (Or they are just in the
earlier phase, which means that they will show decrease of traffic
during the next year or two.)
* Russian Wikipedians don't use WMF based lists for their
communication. (Or they don't use mailing lists at all, which seems to
me less possible.)
* Portuguese list doesn't have extension "-l" in the name.
So, some numbers are analyzed. Unlike simple claims like "foundation-l
traffic decreased", we have now significant enough data: decrease is
systematic, not only at one list and in amount of emails, but on
almost all of [analyzed, bigger] lists and in amount of new and active
participants. This shows very well that our community and our
communities are not so alive like they had been in the past.
And to be more clear. If we take a look at traffic at this list for
Octobers 2006-2008, we may see that the approximation of decline is
20% for the first year and 50% for the second. If this trend
continues, we will have ~175 emails during the next October, ~50
during October 2010, ~10 during October 2011. According to the
statistics of other lists -- 10 emails during October means no emails
between June and September. This means that foundation-l will be in
2012 at the position where wikiquote-l is no (de facto dead list).
And some good news:
* We have enough time to change things.
* If content projects would become history, MediaWiki would be alive
for some more time.
The question is: Do we have ideas how to make things better?
 - http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Problems/List/Low_activity_on_mailing_lists
* * *
== Analysis: Data interpretation ==
=== General lists ===
* Communication on all general lists are decreasing. Technical lists
(wikitech-l and mediawiki-l) are significantly better than general
non-technical list foundation-l. Out of other particular cases,
technical lists stays the best.
=== Project lists ===
* commons-l has very high decrease in traffic, while decreases in
number of new and active participants are significant, while not so
* textbook-l (Wikibooks list) is one of the rare examples which is not
* wikimediameta-l increases, while it is a very young list, which
should take community part of discussion from foundation-l list.
However, increase on this list is not significant enough to cover (at
least, partially) decrease at foundation-l.
* wikinews-l: Similarly to foundation-l -- significant decrease.
* wikipedia-l: It shows very high decrease in all aspects. During the
first years it was used as the main list, including for Wikipedia in
English. Decrease 2002-2003 shows moving Wikipedia in English issues
to the language specific list -- wikien-l. Decrease 2005-2006 probably
shows moving general issues to foundation-l. However, 2006-2008
doesn't have any obvious reason and it follows the similar decrease on
the foundation-l list.
* wikiquote-l: While it was not a very active list ever, this list is
de facto dead from June 2008.
* wikisource-l: While it was not a very active list ever, it shows
''not'' significant decrease during 2008.
* wikispecies-l: This list was not significantly active ever and
conclusions about time line of its activity can't be made.
* wiktionary-l: The list was in decrease during 2006 and again between
mid-2007 and present (October 2008).
=== Per language Wikipedias ===
* wikide-l: In constant decrease since the first half of 2005.
* wikien-l: In decrease since the beginning of 2008.
* wikies-l: In increase from the second part of 2006 and during 2007,
but in decrease during 2008; the second part 2008 has less traffic
than the second part of 2006.
* wikifr-l: In constant decrease since the end of 2005.
* wikiit-l: In constant decrease since the beginning of 2007.
* wikija-l: The only analyzed Wikipedia list which shows increase of
traffic -- since the beginning of 2006.
* wikipl-l: In constant decrease since the second half of 2005.
* wikipt: While it was never a very active list, it is almost dead (3
emails for October 2008, no emails between June and September).
* wikiru-l: Data shows that the community around Wikipedia in Russian
doesn't use wikiru-l as their mailing list.
* wikizh-l: In constant decrease since the second half of 2006.
The problem is a systematic one, and thus very serious. While I have
some clue about the problem, I don't pretend to give the full answer
about causes, present problems, consequences and possible solutions.
It should be analyzed by the whole (at least "meta") community not
just because I am not able to gather all data, but because the whole
community, or, at least, the significant part of it has to participate
in the finding solution and implementing it.
The worst method which may be applied in the situations when some
serious problem exists is to lie ourselves and to say that everything
is fine, that we just need to interpret data differently.
== Present problems ==
- Communication at this list, as well as other common communication
channels (except blogs!), tends to decline. I am sending this message
after two days without any email. While it may be explained with
weekend days or so, it is definitely not so usual. One day without
emails is usual just for holidays.
- All groups -- global and local -- tend to close itself. If it is not
in the sense of delaying incorporation of new members, it is in the
sense of making a group of persons which are self-sufficient and which
don't need communication with external part of the community.
- At the project level, especially Wikipedia level, we are not anymore
in the edit war phase. Actually, edit war phase looks now as super
healthy phase for the present phase. Present phase is full of much
more intelligent destructive persons at the projects, and even
supported by the whole and relevant communities. At the other side,
people who are willing to deal with such problems don't get enough
support from the upper levels.
- When one community gets into the ill situation, even we do the right
things at the right moments -- years (yes, years, one or two, at
least) have to pass to put that community in the better position. As a
steward I have some clue what is going on inside of some communities
and, if my examples -- and there are, I think enough of examples --
are representative, I have to say that we have very significant
problems in the most of the communities. Healthy community is an
exception; bad relations inside of the community is the rule.
- Except the German (and probably Swiss and Polish) chapter, our
chapters are not more than the groups of Wikipedians which have a
formal organization in their countries and which don't know what to do
with it. This is especially important because Wikipedia is not anymore
"a miracle", but "an ordinary thing" of everyday life. Like an
ordinary journalist doesn't have some special need to make news about
Google or IBM, an ordinary journalist doesn't have a special need to
make news about Wikipedia. During the first year of Wikimedia Serbia,
I didn't have to call any journalist, they called me. Today, any media
appearance has to be organized. Every chapter needs a PR strategy now.
And it is just about PR. What about other things? How many chapters
are able to fund some project? I think two: German and Swiss. And, as
far as I am introduced, we have more than 20.
- The situation with the software is a chaotic one. There are a lot of
basic and near-to-basic functionalities which we don't have, while we
have tons of extensions which are really not necessary (in comparison
with the first two groups). The worst thing here is that we don't have
systematic thinking about what do we need and how to help to various
projects. At the other side, WMF has enough money to fund fundamental
- Communication between projects are at the positive zero. Yes, there
are some communication, but it is more than very poor. At the other
side, I don't see systematic work toward making the communication
better. Without communication, we have separate projects hosted at WMF
servers, nothing more.
- Besides all of those reasons, I may clearly see decadency inside of
the Wikimedian community. The same decadency which was characteristic
of all big societies at the end of the golden era. Bureaucracy is an
excuse for not doing things and keeping present positions; openness
toward new things is around zero; glorifying of "ol' good days" is
more and more common; there are more and more bizarre things; and so
I am sure that I may gather other present problems, as well as I am
sure that others may add more problems here. The list above is
consisted just of things which came into my mind during writing this
== Causes ==
As I said at the beginning of this email, causes of those problems are
not particular. I don't think that any particular group is responsible
for the present systematic problem inside of the Wikimedia community.
At the other side, all of us are responsible for that problem. And
this is the worst thing: when all and no one are responsible, such
problems tend not to be solved.
At the other side, I may list some of the issues which caused this problem:
- WMF tends to work on their issues, related usually just to gathering
money. Presently, we have global financial crisis and I realize why it
is a priority, but I also think that Wikimedia is one of the last
institutions of the modern world which would loose will for support. A
great part of the planet understands the significance of Wikimedia
projects and they are willing to help.
- At the other side, WMF is not willing to interfere into the
community issues. As the community (or the communities) was not driven
well in the previous years, today WMF Board is the only body able to
make significant changes at the level of the global community.
- While transparent work is something desirable, the most of Wikimedia
community bodies are not working transparently. It seems that one
thing is to add as Erik's or Sue's duties to report to the community
about their work; while the completely other thing is to demand it
from volunteers (while I think that no one demanded it from
committees, stewards and other groups).
- Efforts to increase communication inside of the community are
partialized. When I was trying some time ago to realize which
Wikimedia body has the goal related to communication between projects,
I realized that we have ComCom, ComProj, as well as a number of not
official communication channels, like Wikizine, Wikipedia Weekly, Not
the Wikipedia Weekly and so on are.
- In relation to WMF position, we don't have any meta body which is
able to make some community-wide decision. Solving problems at some
community is a matter of personal initiative of some persons. Solving
problems in which two or more communities are involved is science
fiction for us.
As for the previous section, I am sure that others may add here more issues.
== Consequences ==
- 2008 is the year of Wikipedia stagnation . I am sure that we may
get some more precise data from other statistics, but Alexa's
statistics are informative enough. We are not even at the beginning of
stagnation (we were in that position at the end of the last year), we
are now in very obvious stagnation.
This may be explained by different reasons, including the fact that we
reached our reasonable top and that we are not able to go further
anymore. If this is the only visible part of our stagnation, it could
be interpreted like that. But, it is not. We have other projects which
didn't reach their top and they are also in stagnation: Wikinews is at
the same level for years; Wikibooks is in stagnation; Wikiversity
shows that it has some improvement for the last two months or so --
after years of stagnation.
At the other side, stagnation for us means growing, too: we have more
articles every day. But, if we want to keep us inside of this kind of
"growing", we have to work extremely clever. We have to automatize a
lot of things which we are doing by hand, at least. However, I don't
see such moves.
- The worst and the most possible consequence of a stagnation is a
decline. I am not anymore so hard "at the field" and I am not able to
see how the things are going on. However, when I went to the article
about France (related to one of the previous topics at this list), I
realized that during 2006 the article had around 1000 edits per ~4
months. Unlike then, the last 1000 edits were made for one year
(between November 2007 and October 2008).
But, the article about France is just the top of the iceberg. It is
one of ~1000 articles about which the community will take care "up to
the last moment". I am wondering do we have not maintained articles
now -- which were maintained fairly well during 2006 or so.
Again, it could be the consequence of the fact that we have now much
more articles than we had in 2006. But, the real number about we
should take care in this situation is the number of articles per (very
active) editor. If the number is growing (in the case of bigger
projects) -- we are in the problem: we wouldn't have enough of
volunteers to keep the projects.
- World is changing very fast. Position of Wikipedia as the only
source of particular informations is not anymore untouchable. There
are projects, wiki projects -- even MediaWiki based -- which have
better informations about particular topics than Wikipedia. I see that
as a positive tendency. Simply, it is not possible -- as well as it is
not necessary -- to gather all kinds of people at one project. Of
course, while the knowledge is license-compatible.
But, when people introduced in medicine, linguistics, Star Wars,
OpenOffice and so on; when they make relevant sources of informations
in their fields; when they cover the most of relevant fields --
Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects wouldn't be so relevant.
And this relevancy is not in the sense of seeking for the best
possible information about some issue -- Wikipedia, as any other
encyclopedia, is just a starting point -- it is about seeking for the
general information. Why should Google, or any search engine, prefer
Wikipedia about the encyclopedic informations about OpenOffice at the
time when OpenOffice wiki would have better encyclopedic informations
The second problem with that is decline of number of readers and,
consequently, of editors. Again, about 10 millions of articles someone
should take care. Do we have some relevant approximation about how
many editors are enough for keeping projects consistent? What is the
line for which we have to fight?
And, the third problem here is a possibility of creation of the real
Wikipedia competitor. No one of the previous general purpose wiki
encyclopedias are not real Wikipedia (and Wikimedia) competitors.
Wikinfo has different POV-related policy, Citizendium has different
organization, Knol is much more Citizendium competitor than Wikipedia
competitor; there are, of course, a number of projects which cover
specific topics, too.
While we may debate about is concurrency a good thing or not (in this
case I think it is not because of wasting efforts two times for the
same thing in open and generally transparent environment), it is not a
question here. The real question is, again, related to decline of
number of maintainers of more than 10 millions of articles.
- The last question related to the consequences is: Have we finished
the job? Looking from the point of view of one historian from the
future, I am sure that he would say that we did a great job and that
we have our place in the history. But, do we think that we finished
it? Are there some issues which we haven't done and we are able to do?
While I have a long list of what do I think that we haven't done, this
is not the question just for me, but to all of us.
If the answer is that we have finished the most important part of the
job, we may conclude that should keep Wikimedia projects and that we
should start to work on other sides to achieve other goals. If the
answer is not, then we should try to move things forward, out of the
stagnation and possible decline.
== Possible solutions ==
I was thinking to list possible solutions, general and particular,
here. However, I don't think that particular solutions have the place
- This is the systematic problem. It is not up to some particular
bodies to work on their own hand and to hope for the best. The only
Wikimedian body which is able make a real influence is the Board.
However, much wider consensus is needed; much more people than ~10
board members should be included into marking problems, thinking about
them and solving them.
- I was very loud about WikiCouncil a couple of months ago. Without
community and Board support it was doomed to failure. Also, while I
have to say that I met some great persons during that process, I have
to say that we didn't choose each other as a group members, but we had
been put together. Such group has to have a couple of persons with
strong initiative to survive.
The point here is: no WikiCouncil (or whichever body which is working
on the community regulation) -- no community. Yes, a number of
communities with different interests exist and will exist, but any
kind of cooperation on a lot of not solved global issues is and will
be just a nice dream. And, without solving not solved issues, we have
come in this position.
- After that, I was thinking that making a new role, global sysop
role, would be able to help in the process of communication between
communities. As I mentioned a couple of times, it was the main idea
behind my action (besides it is a very useful thing). People should be
interested in volunteering. Saying to someone that they should just
volunteer is not so motivating action. However, it didn't pass because
of some number of things. Even it had a lot of support, even some
redefined proposal would have much more support, I concluded that 80%
of support is science fiction for any kind of such proposals.
- One more possible solution is to gather people interested in this
issue somewhere and to see their production after a couple of months
or so. However, again, it seems to me that there are not so much
persons interested in solving this problem. It is maybe a too hard
problem for thinking about; maybe the most of Wikimedians don't see
this as a problem -- I don't know. (I just know that the problem will
be more and more visible.)
There is one more problem with this approach: I don't think that we
have couple of months. If nothing would happen during the next couple
of months, the situation will be changed. While changed situation is
not the end of the world, we would have to redefine our goals. To be
honest, I think that we came into the situation when just the group of
professionals (at least in the sense of time which they need to spend)
And, of course, maybe someone has some other ideas...
 - http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/wikipedia.org
In the thread started about the decline of mailing lists, it is written that
many people are blogging instead. I am one of those who does exactly this.
On one level I got frustrated about people stating that to much was written
and, that because of my frequent contributions I "should" reduce what I had
to say. For those who are interested in what people write on blogs, there
are ways of following this in a reader.
Some news.. news that is not only interesting to blog about ..
- I have learned that Steve Slevinsky has started work on an extension
that will enable SignWriting in a MediaWiki environment.. He has started a
Wiki where he is show casing his progress.
- I learned that Sourceforge gives the maintainers of a project the
choice to have a MediaWiki environment. I think this is yet another great
example of MediaWiki being used outside of the WMF.
- On the Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland i will give a presentation about
a Commons that supports search and categories in multiple languages. We have
a proof of concept project at http://commons.i-iter.org/ We are looking
for funding to make it ready for use at Commons. We do invite comments and
particularly developers. We have run our of budget to work on this for the
moment. The presentation will be available after the conference.
A debate has erupted on en.wiki regarding the use of a particular montage of
use images being used as a navigational aid on an article. The image in
The article it is used on:
Of particular note relevant to the Foundation is a proposal late in the
approach the Foundation regarding the issue in abstract. See Masem's 00:33,
30 October 2008 (UTC) comments, and my response.
In a nutshell, the situation is that the debates regarding fair use image
on the local en.wiki project have been going on virtually ceaselessly for a
very, very long time now. There's little in the way of consensus on fair use
issues. Probably the only absolutely consensus is that there is no
It is recognized that the Foundation does not get involved in local project
debates. It is also recognized that the local project ArbCom does not get
in such policy debates either. This results in a situation of perpetual tail
that has never shown any signs of ending, nor is it likely to.
This is damaging to the project in a number of ways:
- Huge amount of wasted effort debating fair use
- Inconsistent application of what policies there are
- Due to inconsistent application, lack of adherence to the Foundation's
I do not propose any solutions here, but would like to hear some input on