[Foundation-l] Wikipedia Attribution and Relicensing

Sam Johnston samj at samj.net
Wed Jan 21 17:31:49 UTC 2009

On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 8:26 PM, geni <geniice at gmail.com> wrote:

> If the change to CC-BY-SA goes through I will be proposing a new
> wikimedia project to record what authors and reuses consider
> acceptable (and what people actually do if that happens) in terms of
> attribution for every form of reuse we can think of.

This is an interesting suggestion for a thread calling for Wikipedia to keep
it simple :)

If the rules are too complex they will be either ignored (and broken) or
avoided (eg users will go elsewhere). In particular, anything which involves
attempting to extract meaning from the (arbitrarily long and constantly
growing) edit histories or refer to a table of 'reuse scenarios' almost
certainly falls into the 'too complex for your average [re]user' category.

To use the cloud computing article again, there are almost 500 unique
editors including chestnuts like 'RealWorldExperience, CanadianLinuxUser,
MonkeyBounce, TutterMouse, Onmytoes4eva, Chadastrophic, Tree Hugger, Kibbled
Bits and Technobadger'. About half are IPs (which probably still need to be
credited) and there's even a few people I'd rather not credit were I to
reuse it myself. In this case at least, attempting to credit individuals as
currently proposed dilutes the value of attributions altogether and actually
does more harm than good - I would much rather 'contribute' my attribution
to Wikipedia.

Allowing users to discuss 'recommended' attributions eg on the talk page
could be another simple, effective solution. That way such claims could be
discussed and a concise list of authors maintained (subject to peer review).
It would ultimately be for the reuser to determine above and beyond the base
'Wikipedia' credit.

I would hope to see something like this emerge, which is not far from
Citizendium's relatively good example:

*If you reuse Wikipedia content you must at least reference the license and
attribute Wikipedia. You should also refer to the article itself and may
include individual author(s) from the history and/or attribution requests on
the talk page, using URLs where appropriate for the medium.

Unfortunately with wording like '*To re-distribute a page in any form,
provide credit to all the contributors.*' in the draft it seems I shouldn't
be holding my breath. In any case I hope this doesn't derail the migration -
perhaps asking the question about CC-BY-SA separately from the
implementation details would be best?



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