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

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Sat Jan 10 13:20:33 UTC 2009

On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 12:46 AM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> The proposed attribution (crediting authors where it is reasonably
> possible and linking to the version history where that would be
> onerous) is completely consistent with
> 1) established practices on Wikipedia;
> 2) the ethics and spirit of the GNU Free Documentation License;
> 3) the ethics of the free culture movement;
> 4) the legal language of both licenses;
> 5) the experience of a human being contributing to Wikipedia.

As I said, if that's true, there's no reason to switch.  Compatibility can
be achieved by allowing CC-BY-SA to be relicensed under the GFDL.

That said, I think "if it's too hard to credit people, then you don't have
to do it" is a ridiculous interpretation of the GFDL.

> If anything, after making
> this update, we will attribute more clearly and consistently, and the
> same standards will apply to all.

Why wait under after the switch?  Why not start by complying with the GFDL,
before you even begin discussing changing it to some other license.

> For example, I'm in favor of a
> software change to show the authors of an article, where there are
> less than six authors, in the footer of the article.

It should be on the title page, i.e., next to the title.

> The notion that
> this is a conspiracy theory to remove or reduce attribution comes from
> a deep misunderstanding of law, ethics, practices, and the human
> experience.

I don't see the WMF reducing or removing attribution any more than they have
already been doing (but maybe I'm wrong, what has happened so far has
already surprised me - I never thought the FSF would go along with this
plan, in fact it had been promised that they couldn't).  What I see the WMF
doing is: 1) changing the license to fit their practices, rather than
changing their practices to fit the license; and 2) encouraging others to
distribute the content without attributing the vast majority of the authors.

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