[Foundation-l] proposed new project - wikistandards

No Spam nospam at cacace.org
Sat Aug 26 17:58:34 UTC 2006

> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Robert Scott Horning" <robert_horning at netzero.net>
> To: "No Spam" <nospam at cacace.org>; "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" 
> <foundation-l at wikimedia.org>
> Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 12:19 PM
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] proposed new project - wikistandards
>> No Spam wrote:
>>>I would like to propose a new wikiproject, called wikistandards, in which 
>>>the community at-large contributes to the creation of international 
>>>standards (a wiki version of ANSI and ISO).
>>>The first standard I would like to begin work on is a Project Management 
>>>standard. The impetus for this comes from my frustration over the Project 
>>>Management Institute's standard www.pmi.org
>>>It is also an IEEE standard:
>>>And there is also the ISO standard:
>>>There are other lesser known examples of closed committee works or this 
>>>The PMI standard suffers from 'design by committee' and is, to say the 
>>>least, stultifying. Lets see how the wiki community does at designing 
>>>I look forward to comments.
>>>I am willing to start the first project off but need some guidance and 
>>>advice on how to proceed.
>> Have you seen the pages on Meta:
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikistandards
>> and a competing proposal
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wiki_for_standards
>> It should be noted that this proposal has been formally "voted" on by a 
>> small community that has sought to create this idea into a full Wikimedia 
>> sister project.  I am unsure of its current status by the special project 
>> committee, especially as Wikiversity has been far more dominent in the 
>> conversations that have been going on with that group.
>> I was actually planning on trying to move Wikistandards to the Incubator 
>> Wiki (http://incubator.wikimedia.org/) to do a trial run of this idea, 
>> but I'm currently quite overwhelmed right now trying to get Wikiversity 
>> going instead (for myself).  I know that there is already a small 
>> community of people who are interested in seeing something like this to 
>> be developed, and it would really be just a matter of informing that 
>> group if something were put together and to try and restart the momentum 
>> that had occured earlier.
>> I would have to agree that a Wiki being used to develop standards in a 
>> very open process is something that would be beneficial to the standards 
>> development community.  The costs of purchasing "standards" range from 
>> merely very expensive to insane.  In fact, one reason that has often been 
>> given for the price of some standards is to act as an anti-competitive 
>> pressure to make sure that those who purchase the standards have the 
>> financial means to really make something work, or specifically to 
>> discourage new people from  getting involved in the development of the 
>> standards.  I have seen some of these standards go for a price of over 
>> $100,000 for a single 300 page book.
>> ISO standards are ones that are "merely very expensive", as I don't think 
>> paying $500 for a 500 page book is necessarily a fair value for the 
>> standard.  The reason given behind why they charge so much, even for a 
>> PDF version of the standard that you download off the internet, is 
>> supposedly the network bandwidth and server storage costs.  You are also 
>> indirectly helping to pay for the standards development committees, and 
>> for the office staff of the standards agency (which for the USA is 
>> located in downtown Manhattan).
>> I believe that such standards can be made much more cheaply.  Network 
>> bandwidth and storage costs are not nearly what ANSI or IEEE make them 
>> out to be (both are local agencies or "chapters" for ISO in the USA).  I 
>> also beleive that there are sponsorship opportunities to help pay for 
>> these costs that could be obtained by the Wikimedia Foundation 
>> specifically to make sure that these standards are made available, and 
>> they could be made free.
>> -- 
>> Robert Scott Horning

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "No Spam" <nospam at cacace.org>
To: "Robert Scott Horning" <robert_horning at netzero.net>
Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] proposed new project - wikistandards
 Hello Robert,

 Your historical knowledge of this is valuable and appreciated.
 And your personal insights are equally valuable and important.
 The reasons you state, and more, are what motivate me to get this going.

 I want to emphasize the following point to all that may be involved that 
 intent (as I see it) is to generate a public domain knowledge base designed
 by inclusion (the wiki community and not an exclusive committee) in the 
 tradition, that is created and used by everyone at no cost. The resulting
 body of knowledge will serve up enough information to spawn new businesses
 and organizations that feed off of the wikistandards effort. I suspect that
 some types of standards will have to become rigid; at defined points of
 progress, a permanent snapshot of a wikistandard will have to be archived
 for it to serve its purpose (such as a standard for a next generation
 bluetooth technology).

 I also believe, for a while anyway, that the ISO's and ANSI's of the world
 will continue to serve an important purpose. But they will nonetheless see
 this effort as a threat. To allay the fears of those who have something to
 lose wikistandards will not serve all needs. Firms that want to push
 standards in a direction that serves their proprietary needs (patents, etc)
 will be frustrated with the wiki way. They will insist on going through 
 and ISO. For example, the waring tribes of firms that fought over the HDTV
 standard for so many years feel that their interests can only be protected
 by fighting it out in exclusivity. It will be interesting to see how that
 continues to play out once the wiki standard effort goes open-source.

 The example of PMI (www.pmi.org) is interesting. PMI reminds us that their
 standard is a basis from which you, NASA for example, can build your own
 standard that is applicable to your industry or business. A sort of 
 block or template. The standard is not directly applicable to any end-use.
 And, as you say, PMI charges a lot of money for this standard. Furthermore,
 they are quick to file suit against anyone who plagarizes their document
 (perhaps a large protion of the $1,500 for certain pubs pays for the

 Wikistandards would act with autonomy and freedom to include every work,
 hyperlinked with every best practice, from which a menu of such elements 
 be chosen to form your custom methodologies. And naturally, at least some
 standards will be useful on their own merits (such as a standard for a next
 generation bluetooth technology). If innovation is accelerating at a
 non-linear pace now (kurzweil) imagine what it can do if standards are
 broader, more alive, and easily accessed.

 I can also envision a day when wiki can offer certification exams for those
 who want to show they are knowledgeable experts on any given wikistandard
 (Certified Wiki-IT ?).

 That is my vision for starters, I suspect the thing will morph well beyond
 this -- meeting needs as they emerge. That after all is a nice benefit of

 Do you have any suggestions for me on how to proceed? Perhaps a contact at
 wiki headquarters where I can begin a fact finding mission?


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