[Foundation-l] Licenses, again

Andrew Whitworth wknight8111 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 13:43:59 UTC 2008

On Feb 13, 2008 12:59 AM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
> This initiative brought to my focus a fact
> that German Wikiversity is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.5, which means
> that Wikimedia projects are becoming intentionally incompatible. And
> this incompatibility makes another question: What is Wikimedia? -- A
> loosely related group of projects which are hosted by WMF servers or
> we have something more in common?

This is a question that is raised relatively frequently, although in
different forms. Already there are certain license incompatibilities
between projects, and there are also no clear demarcating lines
separating the scopes of the various projects. Wikipedia, as the
oft-cited example, is really more inclusive then it strictly needs to
be. This causes a certain duplication of effort and material that
wouldn't be necessary if the divisions between projects were better
defined, and if the projects themselves had better working

I certainly don't mean to pick on Wikipedia, it's just the best-known
example. There are plenty of areas of overlap between projects like
Wikibooks, Wikiversity, and Wikisource as well. There are also some
sharp discontinuities between different languages of a single project.
One example that comes to mind for me immediately is that a book
author had a book that was written in both English and Vietnamese, and
wanted to donate it to Wikibooks. The English project quickly accepted
the donation and our volunteers worked to format and upload the book.
The Vietnamese project claimed that the book donation violated several
policies, and did not accept it at all.

In short, it's hard to say that there is really a single underlying
unifying theme to the projects. There often are poor or non-existent
working relationships between them, and no real relationship to speak
of besides our relationship with the WMF and our use of shared server
resources. This is an issue that I really think needs to be addressed,
but it's so large and pervasive that any attempts might be doomed to

--Andrew Whitworth

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