[Foundation-l] GFDL Q&A update and question

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Thu Jan 8 22:16:43 UTC 2009

>> We discussing a move to CC-****BY****-SA, attribution is still
>> required.
> Maybe, but that's not what the FAQ says.

Um... yes it is...

>> I'm not an expert on the attribution requirements of
>> CC-BY-SA (I've just read them, but it isn't entirely clear to me
>> whether Original Author is, in the context of a wiki, just the latest
>> editor or all editors),
> Yes, CC-BY-SA is extremely confusing on this point.  That's another reason
> not to use it.
>> but it seems clear to me that we can require
>> people to link back to Wikipedia (in particular, the history page) so
>> that everyone is, at least indirectly, attributed. Given that that's
>> how most people are using the GFDL anyway, I really don't see the
>> problem.
> There are very few offline reusers of Wikipedia content.  I know of none
> that are using more than de minimis portions of my content without
> attributing me.  If you know of any, please, tell me who they are, and I'll
> send a cease and desist to them.
> This switch to CC-BY-SA is clearly going to open the door for offline
> reusers to use Wikipedia content without attributing authors beyond listing
> one or more URLs.  In fact, it's quite clear from discussions which have
> taken place on this list that this is the main point of making the switch.
> The WMF condoning and facilitating such behavior is absolutely unacceptable,
> no matter how many people "vote" to do so.

I don't think that's clear at all. I don't know how many authors you
are meant to attribute things to under CC-BY-SA, it may well be all of
them. I need to do more research (or, I need someone to tell me the

> You actually seem to recognize this to some extent, in that you realize that
> a 51% vote is not sufficient.  But then you randomly pick 60% as a magic
> threshold to use instead.  You welcomed alternate suggestions with actual
> reasons, and I gave you one.  100%, because you shouldn't purport to take
> away someone's right to attribution without their permission.

My reason for thinking we need more than 50% has nothing to do with
the acceptability or otherwise of the proposal but rather, as I said,
our tradition of favouring the status quo. Yes, you gave a number with
a reason, thank you for that, I just disagree with the reason.

> Even Mike Godwin seemed to recognize this principle in his early discussions
> on the topic, when he suggested that there would be a way to opt-out of the
> relicensing.  But my single question which I presented for the FAQ was left
> unanswered.  How can I opt out?

I'm not sure Mike was thinking clearly when he said that - I don't see
any way someone that has made a significant number of edits could
opt-out. The work required in tracing what parts of what articles are
derivative of your edits would make removing your edits infeasible, so
every article you've edited would have to remain under only GFDL,
which dramatically reduces the usefulness of the changeover. And
that's before we consider articles that have been merged and other
means by which text is moved from one article to another.

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