[Foundation-l] Wikimedia Commons: Service project or not?

Geoffrey Plourde geo.plrd at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 16 17:56:04 UTC 2009

Commons is an oddball project. Other projects produce work, but Commons stores it. Wikisource could be considered another oddball for the same reason. At this point in time, I would class Commons as a service project (and wikisource as well) because it provides a service to other projects and its only point is to provide a service to other projects.

Unfortunately, I can not fathom any reason that Commons should be or is a independent project in its own right. It would be like making all the filing cabinets in an office their own division. 

From: Lodewijk <lodewijk at effeietsanders.org>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:41:49 AM
Subject: [Foundation-l] Wikimedia Commons: Service project or not?

OK, the question has popped up so many times, that I think it would only be
fair to give it a separate topic on this list :)

Now I'd like to have a discussion about this, and not just assumptions.
Let's not be childish and say "yes it is, no it's not" (which some of the
discussion comes down to) but lets play around a bit with arguments.

This discussion is btw not new at all, I remember to have discussed over it
several times, and I've had both opinions probably in time. Mostly this
discussion comes up when a project (in the past at least several times this
was the Dutch Wikipedia, as some might remember) felt that the commons
community was damaging the content they uploaded there without them having a
say over it. The even more important question is, however, when comes the
moment when the two are in conflict?

I doubt any project actually cares whether commons has out of scope images
(well, a few might, but that is actually commons people then imho, not
wikipedians/wikisourcians etc), not what the categorization is like. As long
as it works, they can upload their stuff, it is safe, and they can use it.
The problems often came when a few "bad people" (paraphrasing it as it was
received by the Dutch Wikipedians at the time, no insult intended) were
damaging their content (at the time, it was for example about Coat of
Arms-png's being deleted) and they felt not heard or helped by others.

I think that is currently a repeating pattern in some way. A smaller group,
with all best intentions, decides to "harm"  a collection of content, and
people feel attacked by that, and react in a not-so-positive way.

That is where the service project and the independent project clash. Were it
merely service, the commons would abide the wish of the wikipedians
(wikisourcians etc), were it independent, the Wikipedians would have bad
luck and live with it.

So now please share with me, in those conflict situations, which should it
be, and, most importantly, why? I'll believe service project is great in
ideal situations, as would be independent, as long as everything goes fine.
But in these border cases?

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