[Foundation-l] Possibility of a git-based fully distributed Wikipedia

Domas Mituzas midom.lists at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 17:42:26 UTC 2008


> Then how about a fully distributed Wikipedia based on git?

Apart from technical issues with it, one of major problems becomes
simply that the agility of content is lost.

There are lots of debates in software world about distributed model
(bazaar/mercurial/git/..) versus centralized one, and the major
difference is that in centralized model everyone is welcome to do
small incremental changes, thus participating in community development
and building more.

Once you go distributed, changes pushed are always far bigger in terms
of scope, and development length, and the major problem is 'merge
jam', where simply there's lacking manpower to merge contents and
resolve conflicts.

In software world it means QA and 'code control' departments doing that job.
In volunteer projects it becomes complicated, and merges end up
happening less than once a year, and that is on projects which have
far smaller change bandwidth.

While we do support forks as "keeping the knowledge free" strategy,
forks are not helpful for developing free knowledge.

Our model is just awesome for situations like Katrina, where we can
have lots of people building the best possible content in thousands of
revisions per day. Our conflict resolution is trivial, but it works in
many cases.

In the end, centralized versioning supports the 'be bold' far more -
changes are lightweight, easy to spot, easy to fix. Reviewing
10000-page changeset is something not that many people would want to
do, and it is something what needs very strict procedures.

We already had one special case, where distributed fork was an initial
idea for a project (Citizendium), but eventually it was ditched. It
just gets too complicated and unmanageable.

So, while distributed model works for 'teams', we're still a quite
monolith community, and 'divide et impera' isn't that needed at the


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