I am a bit concerned about the pace at
which new Wikipedia spinoff projects are
Isn't spin-offs the whole point of the Wikimedia idea?
Wiktionary was a good idea, because it filled
a gap that was there -- we received lots of
dictionary entries, so it seemed like the logical
conclusion to start a wiki-dictionary.
We also get a lot of very long articles that are more suited for a textbook.
But now we have a new "Textbook-Wiki" which
was started without much discussion -
Not much discussion? There was so much discussion that we very quickly got our
own mailing list.
possibly a good idea, but also possibly too
Too specific? Have you browsed any online book seller for textbooks? There are
thousands of different types - if anything it is a far more ambitious project
that creating just one encyclopedia. We plan on writing hundreds of different
textbooks. Specific indeed.
and shortly afterwards, a "Wiki-Quote"
That one blindsided me too - where was the discussion for that?
Now people are talking about creating a
"Wiki-Piki" for pictures.
Terrible names - sounds like a fast nose picking. But having a centralized
database for images that all Wikimedia projects can share is a very good
thing. But that is a longer term goal and (as you say below) there are more
important immediate needs to take care of.
This is all nice and good, but haven't we learned
anything from the Wiktionary experience? Wiktionary
was set up without much thought as to how the wiki
process could be applied to a dictionary; it took
months to formulate some kind of standard template,
Huh? The template and the processes you speak of were worked out the WikiWay
on live data. Wikipedia was similarly chaotic during its first few months. To
work this stuff out you have to work with real data - mock-ups on meta are
little help here (and having them "clog" meta's RC would probably be frowed
So we have learned something from the Wiktionary experience; we started with a
project with the vague goal of having it be a dictionary. We experimented on
different ways to make that happen with a great variety of different data. So
different ways to organize those data were explored. Ambiguity problems arose
between different meanings of words so we reorganized articles. Somebody had
the idea of having translations in entries - similar ambiguity problems arose
and were taken care of. Now instead of just a dictionary we have a dictionary
to end all dictionaries whose entries will be all words of all languages.
It is difficult to imagine all that being worked out on meta.
and we still don't have Wiktionaries in other
In time. Wikitionary has the goal to define every word in every language so in
a sense it is already somewhat internationalized (of course the descriptions
are in English). This, IMO, brings down the demand for other language
versions (they are still needed though).
Wiktionary could have benefitted a lot
from better planning before it was set up.
Perhaps. But do read the above.
I'm not sure I like the Wiki-Quote idea at all,
as it intersects a lot with Project Sourceberg,
That has been my reaction too and I unsuccessfully tried to expand the focus
of the project to include really big quatations (such as books).
is not very wiki-like (a quote is a quote) and not
very compatible with the open content idea.
Giving the source of the quotations and giving commentary about them is
Wiki-Quote was only very briefly discussed.
I don't remember the discussion at all...
Furthermore, it's not exactly like we have lots
of free resources. Our database server, pliny, is
down on its knees, the full text search on the
English wiki is now permanently disabled, we
have only a couple of active server administrators,
and hardly enough developers to address
problems in the software.
These are all very valid points.
I propose that
1) we do not start any new Wiki spin-off
projects until our current resources have
been substantially expanded;
I agree - that may have to wait until well after Wikimedia has a bank account
set-up and is able to accept donations/grants. But that should encourage much
discussion on how Wikimedia will function and on how to organize additional
2) we formalize a process for starting such
projects, e.g. a planning period of at least 3
months on Meta with exact specifications as
to what is to be placed there.
I wouldn't put such a time period on it since many ideas never are discussed
much. I would set milestones (such as figuring out a name, the parameters of
what just should and should not be in such a project etc.).
After this period, users on the Meta wiki should
vote on whether the new wiki should be set up
or not. 3 months may seem long, but if interest
can't be kept up that long, the idea may not be
so great after all.
Hm. I wonder if there would have been a Wikipedia at all if a similar process
was vetted at Nupedia... Sometimes the best thing to do is jump in head
first. But dead wikis are bad so something is needed to keep the still born
Otherwise I see the danger that we'll end up with
lots of nice ideas that all go nowhere, like the sep11.
(which IMHO should never have been
set up in the first place).
Call me Cassandra but I predicted that. I suggested several times that we
should have a general tribute wiki and that we shouldn't limit such a project
to a single event. I still think that that would be a viable project.
So yeah - until our load/server/software problems are fixed the non-developers
should concentrate their efforts on the already existing Wikimedia projects
and subprojects and on devising processes on how to best form new ones. In
short; no new Wikimedia projects.
--- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)