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

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Mon Jan 12 20:10:33 UTC 2009

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 2:05 PM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> 2009/1/11 Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org>:
> > That may have been the intention of the author of the GFDL (though you
> > haven't proven this).  But the simple fact of the matter is that the
> history
> > section *does* provide credit to *all* the authors.
> It does so, in the context of Wikipedia.org, because change tracking
> and attribution are served by the same software function. That a
> listing of all authors would always be included directly (as opposed
> to by reference) with any copy of a Wikipedia article is not a
> reasonable inference from this fact, especially given that the
> language in GFDL which clearly exists for purpose of giving credit
> includes reasonable limitations (principal authors).

I fail to see how you can follow the GFDL without crediting all authors.

After all, even
> you yourself agree that including the full change history with each
> copy is overkill.

I don't think you understand what I meant by that.  I don't think the GFDL
should require including a full change history, but I do think it should
require every author to be credited directly in the document, and it should
ensure that these authors are credited in a way that they are not considered
responsible for modifications made by others.

Hence, we are having a practical debate about what is and isn't
> reasonable. I base my argument on the language of the GFDL when it
> comes to author credit, which includes limitations, as well as
> established guidelines and practices on Wikipedia.


> Your argument, on the other hand, appears to be pulled out of thin air.

I assure you that the concept of the right to attribution is not something I
pulled out of thin air.

It is neither a
> direct requirement of the GFDL, nor an established practice, nor a
> reasonable expectation of a volunteer contributor. I can only conclude
> that it is your personal preference.

It most certainly is a requirement of the GFDL (not sure what your
weasel-word of "direct" is supposed to mean).  It most certainly is an
established practice (it's part of the Berne Convention, though it's a part
which the United States has failed to implement).  And it most certainly is
a reasonable expectation of a volunteer contribution (plagiarism is a
violation of a natural right which even a five-year old would recognize).

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