On Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 6:42 PM, Marc Riddell<michaeldavid86(a)comcast.net> wrote:
> And it is this control group, this "consolidation of power" which was
> described earlier in this discussion, that is keeping the Project from
> reaching its full potential. This issue has been brought up many times in
> the past, but each time has been conveniently ignored by this group - which
> in psych language constitutes denial. In fact, this practice of ignoring
> persons and/or issues they don't want to confront appears to be a handy
> refuge for members of this group. There appears to be a fear in some of the
> more forceful in this group that, if they loosen their grip, they will be
> left behind. Perhaps they will if they don't grow with it. In any case, this
> is one of the most pressing issues facing the Project today. And one, if not
> confronted, which will cause the Project to fall into mediocrity as newer,
> more tolerant, more innovative projects come into being.
Fully agreed, especially with the last couple of sentences.
... And except the last one. There will be no similar project to
Wikimedia, at least during this century. Projects like Wikipedia are
extremely expensive. Which [rational] projects have or had one million
of direct contributors? Great Wall, Chinese electrical system, Indian
railway system? Maybe. Wikipedia had momentum (and because of that
Jimmy's role is priceless) and it is very hard that we'll see another
project of such dimensions soon.
As we are inside of the project, we are not able to realize the
dimensions of what we are building. The biggest number of articles,
number of words, contributors... -- are just trees in the wood which
we have created. Numbers are just statistical facts which are not
important as is. But, all of them make a wood which existed never
before (and, probably, which won't exist for a long time again).
The point is that we, now and here, are making much bigger decisions
than how to keep ~10TB of data and build another 100TB of [very
useful] data in the next couple of years. Our work affects the whole
human civilization. Would we be able to keep or not our projects as
healthy places, this would give the answer which path would be used by
We have two non-exclusive possibilities: (1) centralized
Here is the response :)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: slavakileev <slavakileev(a)yandex.ru>
Date: Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 14:03
Subject: Re: Meadow Mari Wikipedia
To: Millosh <millosh(a)gmail.com>
Cc: Сай <slavakileev(a)yandex.ru>
10.07.09, 12:32, "Millosh" <millosh(a)gmail.com>:
> I see that you are not coming too often on Meta Wikimedia. So, just to inform you that Meadow Mari Wikipedia has been created: http://mhr.wikipedia.org/
I am glad to write you a letter. Please post my mail to foundation-I
mailing list, because I am writing from my smartphone and it is a
little bit difficult for me to post this letter to mailing list.
Thanks a lot for creation of Mari Wikipedia. In fact, I could open
mhr.wikipedia.org from 12 July (dns servers has updated their
records). But it is just in time. Our forum started at 10 July and
finished at 15 July. I expected 150 participants, but in fact there
were only 102. All participants are active native mari, most of them
can write and read Mari.
I had a chance to take a flore during the forum. I have told about
this good event - creation of Mari Wikipedia and wrote an url address
on the screen.
Moreover, all participants were diveded on four group and there was an
practical lesson(practice) for each group. During this lesson
particerants had learned about mari language in computer technology
(mari keyboard layout, mari dictionary, mari social network). And
starting from 12 July this lesson had included Mari Wikipedia. So only
two of four groups were introduced with Wikipedia at this practical
lesson. And for one grope I had introduced Wikipedia myself. I have
shown how to make edits, how to search and navigate through the wiki.
I have told about some tools such as page history, recent changes.
During this forum I have made some contacts. I have introduced
wikipedia to a dj, who works on a radio station, they have a lot of
informational texts on Mari language, that were used in radio
programs, and now they can give this texts for wikipedia for free.
We are going to start at September, because now most of
people(including me) are on the Summer holidays. Once again, thanks a
lot for creation of Mari Wikipedia - it is a great step for our small
These are some excellent mailing list and Wikipedia stats that Erik has
cooked up/refreshed, although kind of a pain to do meta-analysis on. You can
however paste the html tables into OpenOffice Calc which is nice (after some
serious complaints from your cpu!). The csv format was not very fun.
I notice that the 364 power posters (posters with more than 200 emails
across all lists) account for 312569 / 458349 ~= 70% of all mailing list
posts. Also, 164 of these power posters account for 46579 / 52201 ~= 90% of
all posts to foundation-l. I denote this subclass of power posters uber
posters. Combined with the project statistics we have (I realize this is
somewhat arbitrary, but still quite interesting in my view):
1 benevolent dictator, 7 board members, 27 foundation employees, 164 uber
posters, 364 power posters, 635 wikimania attendees, 12927 very active
wikipedians, 91067 active wikipedians, 744752 monthly wikipedians and 928022
There are many other interesting numbers you could include. I couldn't find
the total number of mailing list contributors and only an admin with access
to all lists could give us the total number of subscribers. We could also
compare the number of sysops etc.. across all wikis in addition to the total
number of visitors and especially donors.
The most interesting part of this data to me is the power posters and uber
posters. It would take a careful analysis of the anatomy of a decision to
draw any conclusions from it. For example, you would need to draw links
between conversations on the lists, conversations on the wiki and
conversations in person to know how many people actually contribute to a
decision, and it would be interesting to see the average number of
contributors to decisions weighted by the importance of that decision,
further scaled by other factors. My feeling though is that a relatively
small number of uber posters act as voices that are representative (in the
eyes of the foundation) of the much larger number of contributors across the
projects (these data are largely specific to Wikipedia), and that foundation
staff then make an assessment of consensus based largely on the opinions of
foundation staff which has been informed by whatever conversations happened
to occur on list.
It is hard for someone to be everywhere all at once given the astronomically
large number of places that one can hold a conversation across all WMF
hosted media and I know that some foundation staff are excellent at
patrolling and knowing absolutely everything about places such as meta and
the english wikipedia and that many important conversations happen in person
that most of us never hear about. </endrunon> All that said, I continue to
worry that our benevolent dictator, board members, foundation employees,
power posters, uber posters and wikimania attendees are not very
representative of the the community at large. Part of the problem is that we
have almost no way of measuring that. Even if the community only included
everyone up to wikimania attendees it would appear that only a tiny fraction
of contributors account for all of the decision making. When we include all
contributors we see an awesome consolidation of power.
To put it simply, I am not very happy with this consolidation. I would like
to see the foundation use technology to bring more of these contributors
into its fold and involve them in the decision making process. We can use
technology to increase the signal to noise ratio while simultaneously
improving the quality of decisions and finding alternate and optimal
solutions that would only occur to less than 1 person in a thousand. As it
stands, those solutions are not being found. As the foundation continues to
bring in employees it gains more and more power and takes it away from the
community. That's my view at least. I would like to drastically reverse that
trend so that there is no consolidation - so that it is easy (and indeed,
beneficial for us all) for anyone who wants to be involved in whatever
decision to get involved and make a difference. Starting mailing list
threads just doesn't seem like it. I also note that the mailing lists have
been on the decline since June of 2006.
This is a reminder that July 27 is the final day to present yourself
as a candidate for the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees.
Candidate submissions must be in by 23:59 (UTC) tomorrow. Voting will
begin at the earliest practical point on July 28 (hopefully shortly
after candidate submissions closes, but that really depends on how
long it takes Tim to work his magic that makes the voting extension
run on the SPI servers).
I know I speak for the full committee when I thank Tim for his work to
make the technical end of this happen, and extend our deep
appreciation to Software in the Public Interest (and particularly
Michael Schultheiss) for their part in hosting the election on their
servers. They are very kind to do this for the third year in a row.
I also would like to point out that although we are theoretically
accepting candidates until 23:59 UTC, candidates MUST have their
identity confirmation to the Foundation prior to standing in the
election, so practically speaking I would encourage any remaining
candidates to present themselves very soon.
For the election committee,
Again and again, I see the saying that Wikipedia does only work in
practice, but not in theory. Well, that depends on the theory. If one
describes Wikipedia as an anarchy or "wisdom of the masses" or "swarm
intelligence", that theoretical approach will certainly fail.
Wikipedia is community-based, and it is a myth that "anyone can edit".
In reality, unregistered and new users meet a lot of "resistance", as
Ed Chi has called it. Quick reverts, often accompanied by a rude
comment, are the result and lead to frustrations.
Therefore I would like to suggest to reconsider the idea of "everyone
can edit". My concept will make it possible to people have an
influence on Wikipedia in two ways:
* Report: Many people are not interested in becoming a Wikipedian,
they just want to correct a typo or add a link or an information. They
are mostly interested only in one peticular subject. Would'nt it be
better not to let them edit, but to let them report? Their reports
could be treated by a system similar to the current OTRS (support)
team we already have.
* Become a serious editor: For those who would like to edit, to become
a Wikipedian, we must build an easy and secure path. Someone who
candidates as a Wikipedian should be required to leave an
e-mail-address (to facilitate communication) and present himself a
little bit (why he wants to become a Wikipedian, what he is interested
in). This can be in perfect anonimity. Then it would be great to link
him with a mentor, someone who is following his steps and helps him to
fit into the community. Edits by this newbie has to be reconfirmed by
his mentor or other people we know of that they treat a newbie
With such a two-way-system, we would prevent spam and vandalism and
help reducing frustrations. We would still make it possible for
"instant collaborators" (IP users) to contribute (by "reporting").
Some could say that this system would highly modify the Wiki
principle. But in fact reality has already modified it. Our openess
exists only in theory, in practice we scare a lot of good willing
Ziko van Dijk
Thanks to all who dropped in on our "office hours" on IRC last
Tuesday. Eugene and I really enjoyed chatting with people and hearing
your thoughts. We had a few comments that it would be nice if there
was an alternative time for people who were in substantially different
time zones. With that in mind, our IRC office hours are going to be:
* Tuesdays from 1-2pm PT / 3-4pm CT / 20:00-21:00 UTC
* Tuesdays from 9-10pm PT / 11pm-12am CT / Wednesday 04:00-05:00 UTC
These are unscheduled casual talks about the strategic planning
process, your hopes and dreams for the Foundation, or whatever else
you'd like to discuss with us.
We meet in the #wikimedia room. Hope to see you there!
Facilitator, Strategic Plan
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
I would not normally forward an open source conference CFP to this
list, but I think this case has particular merit. The linux.conf.au
2010 Call for Papers closes this Friday. LCA is a free software
technical conference, but one of the topics they are targeting this
year is "Free Software and Free Culture topics, including licencing
and Free and Open approaches outside software". Also, the first
announced keynote speaker is Benjamin Mako Hill, who is on the WMF's
advisory board. It's a really enjoyable full-on technical community
conference, so if a trip to the southern hemisphere in January sounds
OK by you please think about submitting a proposal. (see "Information
for speakers" http://www.lca2010.org.nz/programme/papers_info to find
out about benefits for speakers)
It's on during January 18-23 2010 in Wellington, NZ. I am going to try
and organise a meet-up the weekend before the conference.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Davies <michael(a)the-davies.net>
Subject: [lca10-papers] linux.conf.au Call for Papers are now open!
To: linux SA list <linuxsa(a)linuxsa.org.au>
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: linux.conf.au Announcements <lca-announce(a)lists.linux.org.au>
Subject: [lca-announce] linux.conf.au Call for Papers are now open!
=== linux.conf.au Call For Papers ===
linux.conf.au ( http://www.lca2010.org.nz ) is pleased to announce the
opening of its Call for Papers for the coming linux.conf.au, LCA2010!
LCA2010 will be held from Monday 18 January 2010 to Saturday 23 January
2010 in Wellington, New Zealand.
linux.conf.au isn't just a Linux conference. It is a technical
conference about Free and Open Source Software, held annually in
Australasia since 2001 - covering everything from the Linux Kernel and
the BSDs to OpenOffice.org, from networking to audio-visual magic, from
hardware hacks to Creative Commons.
=== Important Dates ===
Call for Papers opens: Monday 29 June 2009
Call for Papers closes: Friday 24 July 2009
Email Notifications from Papers Committee: Early September 2009
Registrations open: Mid September 2009
Conference Dates: Monday 18 January to Saturday 23 January 2001
=== Information on Papers ===
The LCA2010 Papers Committee is looking for a broad range of papers
spanning everything from programming and software to desktop and
userspace to community, government and education but there is one
The core of your paper must relate to open source in some way,
i.e., if it's a paper about software then the software has to
be licensed under an Open Source license.
The LCA2010 Papers Committee welcome proposals for Papers on the
* Kernel and system topics such as filesystems and embedded devices
* Networking topics such as peer to peer networking, or tuning a
* Desktop topics such as office and productivity applications,
mobile devices, peripherals, crypto & security and viruses and
* Server topics such as clusters and other supercomputers,
databases and grid computing
* Systems administration topics such as maintaining large numbers
of machines and disaster recovery
* Programming topics such as software engineering practices and
test driven development
* Free Software and Free Culture topics, including licencing and
Free and Open approaches outside software
* Free Software usage topics, including home, IT, education,
manufacturing, research and government usage.
Most presentations and tutorials will be technical in nature, but
proposals for presentations on other aspects of Free Software and Free
Culture, such as educational and cultural aspects are welcome.
LCA2010 is pleased to invite proposals for three types of papers:
* Presentation - 45 minutes
* Tutorials - 1 hour and 45 minutes (short)
* Tutorials - 3 hours and 30 minutes (long)
Presentations are 45 minute slots (including questions) that are
typically a one-way lecture from you to the audience - the typical
conference presentation. These form the bulk of the available
Tutorials are either 1 hour and 45 minutes, or 3 hours and 30 minutes
in length, and work best when they are interactive or hands-on in
nature. Tutorials are expected to have a specific learning outcome for
To increase the number of people that can view your talk, LCA2010 may
video the talks and make them publicly available after LCA2010. When
submitting your proposal you will be asked whether materials relating
to your paper can be released under a Creative Commons ShareALike
For more information, see:
=== About linux.conf.au ===
linux.conf.au is one of the world's best conferences for free and open
source software! The coming linux.conf.au, LCA2010, will be held at the
Wellington Convention Centre in Wellington, New Zealand from Monday 18
January to Saturday 23 January 2010. LCA2010 is fun, informal and
seriously technical, bringing together Free and Open Source developers,
users and community champions from around the world. LCA2010 is the
second time linux.conf.au has been held in New Zealand, with the first
being Dunedin in 2006.
For more information see: http://www.lca2010.org.nz/
=== About Linux Australia ===
Linux Australia is the peak body for Linux User Groups around
Australia, and as such represents approximately 5000 Australian Linux
users and developers. Linux Australia facilitates the organisation of
this international Free Software conference in a different Australasian
city each year.
For more information see: http://www.linux.org.au/
=== Emperor Penguin Sponsors ===
LCA2010 is proud to acknowledge the support of our Emperor Penguin
For more information see: http://www.internetnz.org.nz/
=== Papers Enquiries ===
LCA2010 Papers Committee
LCA2010 - Director
PO Box 11-682 | linux.conf.au 2010
Manners St | Follow the signs. Visit Wellington!
Wellington 6142 | http://www.lca2010.org.nz
NEW ZEALAND |
lca-announce mailing list
Michael Davies "Do what you think is interesting, do something that
michael(a)the-davies.net you think is fun and worthwhile, because otherwise
http://michaeldavies.org you won't do it well anyway." -- Brian Kernighan
Lca10-papers mailing list
They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
Why the Photos On Wikipedia Are So Bad
"The NY Times has an article investigating why, unlike the articles on
Wikipedia which in theory are improved, fact checked, footnoted, and
generally enhanced over time, the photos that go with Wikipedia
articles are so bad and in many cases there is no photo at all for
even well known public figures. Few high-quality photographs,
particularly of celebrities, make it onto on Wikipedia because
Wikipedia runs only pictures with the most permissive Creative Commons
license, which allows anyone to use an image, for commercial
purposes or not, as long as the photographer is credited.
'Representatives or publicists will contact us' horrified at the
photographs on the site, says Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia
Foundation. 'They will say: "I have this image. I want you to use this
image." But it is not as simple as uploading a picture that is
e-mailed to us.' Recent photographs on Wikipedia are almost
exclusively the work of amateurs who don't mind giving away their
work. 'Amateur may be too kind a word; their photos tend to be the
work of fans who happen to have a camera,' opines the Times's author.
Ultimately the issue for professional photographers who might want to
donate their work is copyright. 'To me the problem is the Wikipedia
rule of public use,' says Jerry Avenaim, a celebrity photographer. 'If
they truly wanted to elevate the image on the site, they should allow
photographers to maintain the copyright.'"
I started a thread on Wikien-l last month suggesting we start a
dispute resolution mailing list:
Responses were largely positive, and what little criticism the idea
got (much of it from Thomas Dalton) was fairly easy to deal with.
I filed bug report requesting the list's creation on June 27, which
was assigned to C.Bass
https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=19414 . I also emailed
I'm curious as to the status of this. Its been a month. I've gotten no
response from C.Bass, and the bug report has been thus far untouched
or ignored. I realize of course that people are very very busy, and
that private emails, bug reports, and wikien-l discussions are not the
appropriate avenues for discussing a new open email list. That's why
I'm mentioning it here.