I think that Wikisource communities could decide to
implementing "critical editions" of texts. I would think it is
better to have a proper namespace for that, or at least
a clear template which warns users about the collaborative
nature of the edition.
Thanks Aubrey, this point is crucial. I think it is important enough for a separate thread
title. When at the very beginning we considered annotated editions at Hebrew Wikisource,
the solution we found was quite simple: An "Annotation:" namespace. A separate
namespace is a way to effectively address all of the legitimate concerns about creativity,
neutrality, professionalism, etc. It immediately lets the user know that he is using a
text that has been produced collaboratively and in a different way than basic typing and
proofreading. It provides a clear separate space for people to produce valuable editions
without allowing any confusion between the products of two different kinds of processes.
For editions with serious editing guidelines (such as a critical edition), we include a
link in the title template to a Wikisource page "about this edition".
I suggested creating an "Annotation:" namespace some time ago at English
Wikisource, but didn't get a response. And I am loathe to push the issue there myself,
since I am hardly active in English anymore and so I don't see it as my place to deal
with policy. But I do think, for those who are currently active in English doing things
beyond proofreading, that it is highly important to create a safe and defined area for
their activity through the creation of a namespace. It is wrong to leave them and their
activity in limbo over the course of years, as it has been so far. So I highly urge those
to whom this is important in English and other languages to seriously consider doing what
we have done in Hebrew, namely to allocate a namespace for the purpose. It is simple,
painless, and a highly intuitive solution to an inherent problem. And in our experience it
works just fine.
I would also think that these critical editions would
be for just
few texts, compared to the thousand of printed texts Wikisource
provides. And, of you think about, "neutrality" does not exists
neither in our proofreading work, there is always interpretatation...
Correct. Basic proofreading will always provide many times more texts, and that is
perfectly fine of course. And your point about neutrality is also correct in principle
(though not everyone is fully aware of how true it is).
I'm interested in Wikisource critical editions (as
I am in
annotation and hyperlinks), and as I explained before I think a
layer system should be better, but we are technologically far
At Hebrew Wikisource we have created various templates for this purpose. They can do a
lot, and actually make creating good new editions both possible and relatively easy, but
they still cannot do everything that your proposed layer system would allow for. I truly
hope that the technology will move in this direction (especially regarding TEI support),
and would be happy to take part in that process.