[Foundation-l] RfC: License update proposal

Sam Johnston samj at samj.net
Thu Jan 22 15:56:57 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 8:46 AM, Nikola Smolenski <smolensk at eunet.yu> wrote:

> We can develop tools that would identify principal authors with sufficient
> accuracy; and this list of authors is likely to be short enough to be
> practically included in full.

I disagree with this assertion regarding automation and can think of many
situations both in which this does not hold true, giving false negatives
(e.g. single/initial uploads of large contributions, uploads using multiple
aliases, imports, IP numbers and not-logged-in contributions, etc.) and
false positives (e.g. minor edits not marked as such, spam/vandalism,
comprehensive rewrites, deletions, abuse/'attribution whoring', etc.).

The only 'tool' I can see being effective for identifying principal authors
is discussion, which will invariably lead to conflict, create unnecessary
risk for reusers and waste our most precious resource (volunteer time) en
masse. Oh, and I would place anyone who considers their own interests taking
precedence over those of the community (both within Wikipedia and the
greater public) into the category of 'tool' too :)

Please consider this, especially in light of recent research that shows that
> most Wikipedia contributors contribute from egoistic reasons ;)

Wikipedia is a community and those who contribute to it for egotistic rather
than altruistic reasons (even if the two are often closely related) are
deluding themselves given they were never promised anything, least of all
grandeur. What value do they really think they will get from a 2pt credit
with 5,000 other authors? If it is relevant to their field(s) of endeavour
then they can draw attention to their contribution themselves (as I do) and
if they don't like it then they ought to be off writing books or knols or
contributing to something other than a community wiki.

I might add that the argument that "you ought not violate some individuals'
rights for the good of some other (larger) group of individuals" is weak in
this context, and that exactly the same can be (and has been) said in

"Requiring even 2 pages of attributions be included after every article
inclusion is a non-free tax on content reuse, and a violation of our
author's expectations."


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