[Foundation-l] Follow up: Fan History joining the WMF family

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Wed Dec 2 05:49:41 UTC 2009

Thanks for this repost, Laura.

I don't know where 18 months comes from, but it is much much too long  :-)

It might be more accurate to say that our project proposal process is
broken, and we simply need to fix it.  The Meta process for requesting a new
project is what I have in mind.   As philippe pointed out, the Expanding
Content task force is meant to address the meta-topic of this thread.  The
current (broken) process does in its way accomodate both new and adoptive
projects -- projects are encouraged to link to demo sites or live
communities in their proposal.

Laura writes:
> some changes need to be made:
> 1) Clear procedure for what happens step by step in making such a
> Post proposal.  Contact people who support your position to vote in
> 2) Clear timeline of what happens and when so that people can plan
> 3) Expectations regarding exclusivity of proposal to the WMF during the
> proposal process.  Can people propose it elsewhere or seek acquisition by
> others while there is an open proposal on Strategy Wiki?

Yes.  1 and 2 need to be defined, along with any criteria that should be met
before starting on 1.  It is polite for the Foundation to let people know
whether it is worth their time to draft the proposal.
As for 3, I don't think anyone would ask for proposals to be exclusive.
Similarly, it is polite for the proposer to let the WM community know
whether they are serious, or about to pursue some other option instead.

On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Laura Hale <laura at fanhistory.com> wrote:

> The process broke down in the following places:
> ...
> 4.  No clear point where a proposal is considered dead, beyond silence.
> 5.  Misleading steps in the proposal process that create misconceptions.
> 6.  Connectivity problems between proposals on strategy and meta.
> 7.  Incorrect assumptions regarding Wikipedia needing to apply to all new
> projects.

Also good points.  7 is an ongoing discussion, but the other three points
could be addressed with clear process.

> I apologize for the earlier rambling and lack of clarity regarding what I
> was attempting to accomplish with my post.

I found the background quite informative...

Dan Rosenthal writes:
> I'd toss in there "lack of realistic expectations from your project",
especially as far as being financially compensated is concerned.

This point, the copyright question, and the narrowness of project scope seem
like the hardest ones to reconcile.  But that doesn't save us from
addressing the good points made about fixing the proposal process.
Wikimedians could respond quickly with "looks interesting, but a)
individiual projects don't get dedicated paid staff [since 2002 :)],  b)
you'll have to pursue a license migration in one of the following ways...,
and c) you'd have to frame this as part of a larger-scope 'cultural history'

As a pillar of the free culture community, it might also be useful for us to
welcome such interest rather than frustrating it, offering an overview (as a
community service) of the options for specialized free knowledge projects
that want sustainable hosting/supoport/tool development.

Mike.lifeguard writes:
> I mean to say that since 2006, and perhaps even further back, there have
> been no proposals which should have been approved. Why do we need a
> process to handle something which, in essence, *doesn't happen*?

I'm not sure what you mean.  There are lots of new interesting projects, in
line with our mission, that require tools and distributed collaboration to
replace proprietary but essential basic knowledge with free knowledge.  A
number of them have had reasonable proposals made on Meta.  Among the
projects that developed successfully independent of Wikimedia (most of which
are nevertheless less often visited than, say, Wikispecies):
   Wikikids, Rodovid + WeRelate, AboutUs, Open Library, Wikimapia +

Wikimedia as a community could significantly shift the amount of attention
devoted to building these and other free-content reference works.  We need
to decide whether we should.   (by the way, this doesn't have to be limited
to starting new projects or adopting existing ones; we could find other ways
to drive traffic and interested editors to fellow-traveller projects that
meet our criteria for furthering our mission.  The part where closer
collaboration becomes interesting is: It would be great to see wikikids
projects in fr, de, es and nl (three independent projects!) develop
interwiki links[1].  We could help ensure WeRelate's data is backed up and
preserved for generations.  Wikimapia might be even more beautiful without
its massive ads.)

There's nothing wrong with us deciding that any particular Project isn't
within Wikimedia's scope, but each of those decisions deserves due
consideration.  (note that we could decide that a Project like an atlas is
very much within our scope, but a specific proposed implementation isn't
suitable.  Many current proposals got hung up on that distinction.)

> I'd be far more interested in discussing ways we can critically evaluate
> which of our current projects should remain in the Wikimedia movement,
> and which should be asked to move outside that movement to continue
> their development.

Once we have a way to assess projects for their priority is in the grand
scheme of empowering people to develop and share free educational knowledge,
we can assess current Projects and implementations as well.  Even our
lowest-traffic projects such as wikiversity and wikisource tend to be among
the most popular sites in their domain.


[1] the german grundschul wiki is the smallest, but has the best main page
welcome that others could learn from:
* Are you an expert in gerbils?
* Do you know all about airplanes?
* Do you know why penguins and polar bears never meet?

Then you will fit right in! Join now!

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