[Foundation-l] [Commons-l] Some reflections about the governance of Commons

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 03:06:19 UTC 2009

On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 1:04 PM, Stan Shebs<stanshebs at earthlink.net> wrote:
> David Gerard wrote:
>> 2009/6/15 Rama Neko <ramaneko at gmail.com>:
>>>        Furthermore, I sometimes have the feeling that contributors of
>>> Wikipedia expect us to host all sorts of unacceptable media in return
>>> of the service that they provide; while we of course appreciate the
>>> service projects, this is a problem, particularly when these files are
>>> copyright violations.

I don't have this feeling.  There's some misunderstanding, though,
with different conversations happening on different wikis.   A better
facility for discussion pages that are not tied to a particular wiki
(or are replicated on more than one) would help mediate this.

>>> In the particular case of Pikiwiki, it would of course be very
>>> caricatural to say that all their images are copyvios. There are lots
>>> of out-of-scope party snapshots, too.

Fuzzy party pictures are an icon of the times.

David Gerard writes:
>> Anyone else? Or is the Commons admin community this insular and derisive?

Yikes.  I find the Commons community to be rewardingly inclusive...

> I don't know if this makes me insular and derisive, but as a casual
> onlooker to the Pikiwiki episode, I do worry that there is an attempt to
> strongarm Commons into accepting material that would not normally be
> able to get in. It worries me because if Commons loses its reputation as
> a reliable source of free media, the that loss effectively contaminates
> everything in the project - potential users will be unsure if my own
> photos were really self-made, or I'm putting free licenses on material
> that is not mine to give away.

Absolutely.  This is a contamination problem that affects most online
media sites.  (Jamendo is one I can think of off-hand that does the
cleanest job of trying to confirm licensing of its free works)

> For projects that have committed to only using Commons for media, the
> pressure to accept borderline material is going to be intense, and it's
> always going to be a secondary concern that the files are going to be a
> problem for other clients of Commons. Projects experiencing that kind of
> pressure should maybe consider re-instituting local uploads, which

Actually, I would be content with a less-free repository for media not
suitable for commons but still of use to at least one page on one
Wikimedia project -- I would like to be able to monitor (and pressure
to become totally free) all 'local upload' materials on a single wiki.
 The technical advantages of having a single way to call a file from
multiple namespaces would still apply, but there could be strong
pressure to replace any non-free media with free media ... while
releasing some of this kneejerk pressure on Commons.

In a similar vein, I'd like a wiki quarantine where I could post
material that is mostly free but contains some non-free parts (a logo
or something that needs removal) -- to allow a community of editors to
see and revise it to make it freely available, without reinventing
tools such as revision control, RC, &c.

The idea of all of this would be to move towards 100% free projects
and contents, but without the strain imposed by the current sharp

> allows for more gradual migration of material as it is determined to
> meet Commons' standards, and takes away the pressure on Commons admins
> to make snap decisions on tricky copyright issues.

Right.  Except there's no need to tie the advantages of gradual
migration tot eh dsiadvantages and duplicated effort of local


More information about the foundation-l mailing list