[Foundation-l] Rethinking Brands

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue May 8 04:26:02 UTC 2007

Andrew Whitworth wrote:

>>There is an alternative brand strategy: making use of the strongest
>>brand (Wikipedia) to identify all activities of the Foundation.
>As a wikibookian almost exclusively, i have some issues with this idea.
>* Wikipedia is like the domineering older sister, and other WMF projects 
>have been trying long and hard to differentiate themselves from wikipedia. I 
>know at en.wikibooks we've spent considerable time explaining why we are not 
>wikipedia, and how it is that we differ from that project. Naming us 
>"wikipedia books" would simply blur the lines even further, and stamp out 
>our attempts at forming an independent, successful project. Wikibooks is 
>still small but it is growing steadily, and we hope (perhaps naively) that 
>we will be big and important some day just like wikipedia is now. Renaming 
>us to "Wikipedia books" is akin to saying "you will never be as important as 
There is one big advantage to having the sister projects fly below the 
radar.  Wikipedia will get a disproportionate number of vandals, 
spammers and other ne'er-do-wells.  Wikipedia is welcome to them. ;-)

>* Along the lines of the above, many projects have very different policy 
>then wikipedia does. Naming all the sites "wikipedia" will raise confusion 
>because every project handles things differently. Users will be needlessly 
>confused by us saying "no, you can do that on the other wikipedia, but you 
>can't do that on this wikipedia", etc.

>* Saying "Wikibooks is a sister project of Wikipedia" is far less confusing 
>then saying that "Wikipedia books is not quite the same as the regular 
>wikipedia, even though we have the same name."
The sister projects developed specifically because they were not 
compatible with the pillar, "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia."  A very 
broad definition of "encyclopedia" could have accomodated them, but room 
had to be made for diverse approaches to knowledge that did not fit into 
the encyclopedia mould.

>* The WMF has some history of loving Wikipedia and ignoring the other 
>projects. For example, what percentage of WMF board members have an account 
>at en.wikibooks? any language wikibooks? Other then giving up on other 
>projects and focusing on wikipedia, you should be encouraging other projects 
>to grow independently. changing our name, while you may call it "rebranding" 
>seems alot to me like squashing our identity and our potential as an 
>independent WMF project.
I agree with this.  Innovation thrives better if these separate nodes 
can develop autonomously.  It's easier for newbies to feelo welcome in 
the smaller projects where they can be a part of project's policy 
development.  Trying to do that in a huge project like en:Wikipedia can 
be intimidating.; this can too easily leave the impression that newbies 
are not welcome.  It's easy to argue that changing the names is only a 
superficial change, but that can still have radical implications.


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