[Foundation-l] what do we do in the event the Foundation fails? - Re: Pol...

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Wed Apr 18 22:19:39 UTC 2007

On 4/19/07, Delphine Ménard <notafishz at gmail.com> wrote:
> I thought the projects and their content were free? Can't any
> organisation, based anywhere in the world, just take the content and
> start anew?

Well, there are two main difficulties:

1) In the event of a major wikidisaster, we would likely see in fact a
multitude of do-gooders and charlatans try to be the "next Wikipedia".
Hence it is good to have some clearly designated successor to avoid
the community splitting in a very chaotic fashion.

2) Any new community will essentially have to rebuild the user account
database from scratch. This will slow down initial growth very
significantly. At the same time, if a designated successor
organization already has a replicated database they can use, that
would make things easier.

As for the issue of brands, if these cannot be licensed in a safe way,
one could still designate "successor names" that are wholly owned by a
separate organization. We should also re-evaluate whether the current
US organizational structure (all assets owned by a single org.) is

Again, these are all questions that cyberlaw experts should be
consulted on. We are currently evaluating several candidates for the
role of WMF Legal Coordinator, and the question of risk management
certainly makes for a nice long term project.

Peace & Love,

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

"An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

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