[Foundation-l] Proposal for new projects
Robert S. Horning
robert_horning at netzero.net
Sat Oct 23 15:47:48 UTC 2010
On 10/23/2010 05:13 AM, Samuel Klein wrote:
> WikiHow is a good place for how-tos, and has an amazing community.
> They unfortunately use a license (NC-SA) that isn't compatible with
> Wikimedia projects. If you want to do something like WikiHow under a
> CC-SA license, you might pursue a new Project for them -- while
> incubating the project on Wikibooks. As Robert Horning notes, there
> are some examples there already.
> There are other models like HowStuffWorks that you could look at for
> how to organize this sort of information, if you really want to
> organize a new Project.
> On 10/21/10, Robert S. Horning<robert_horning at netzero.net> wrote:
>> I've never been a real fan with the "new project" process as it relates
>> to Wikimedia, and I find it unfortunate that nothing new has been
>> created for quite some time. The last major "community-sponsored" (aka
>> the idea originated with ordinary users as opposed to something of a pet
>> project by a WMF board member) project to become a major Wikimedia
>> project was Wikiversity.
> I'm not sure what 'pet projects' you are thinking about. Wikiversity
> is the last major Wikimedia project, period. [unless you are counting
> the Incubator itself?]
Actualy, I would count the incubator project as a "pet project" that
ignored community consensus building and discussion of the nature that
was associated with the creation of projects like Wikiversity and
Wikinews. There were several attempts at getting an "incubator project"
going and the current incarnation of that concept completely ignored
previous ideas that were suggested about the idea. It also didn't get
created with the "proscribed" new project creation process. This is
water over the dam now and I'm not necessarily saying that we can't move
forward, but a solid incubator building community could have been
organized along much different lines.
Wikispecies is an example of a project idea that didn't get the critical
early effort to get it going, and is still sort of floundering.
Previously, nearly all "project incubator" efforts were done strictly on
Meta, Wikibooks, or as sub-pages in the "User:" space on Wikipedia. I
could also mention some of the other "minor wikis" that are associated
with the WMF including the Wikimania wiki, some of the foundation
communication wikis, and there are a few other that do serve a useful
role. I also hope that I don't have to bring up the creation of the
German Wikiversity project, which predated English language Wikiversity
by nearly two years.
There is room for cynicism in how projects are created and it isn't
>> As I've mentioned on the talk pages at Meta, I wish somebody would
>> officially state on Meta and elsewhere that new Wikimedia sister
>> projects will never be started,
> Whereas I see support of good sister projects -- including avoiding
> duplication of effort and directing them to partners when Wikimedia
> isn't the right incubator/host -- as essential to realizing our
> mission. So I think we should just fix the process.
> There are at least two good candidates for new sister projects:
> * Wikibibliography / WikiScholar, which has been developed on Meta and
> in a couple of threads on this list
> * Wikifamily / Rodovid, which has been working well as an independent
> project but may be looking for more stable long-term support.
What has been the problem with these efforts then? These are hardly the
only new sister project proposal to be put forward and to me there have
been some very good ideas, including some concepts that would serve as a
strong support role to other Wikimedia projects even if not necessarily
Wikipedia itself. My complaint is more that the resistance to these new
project ideas is so fierce that the best advise I ever give to folks who
want to create a sister project is to simply don't try, or go somewhere
else like Wikia.... but if you do don't ever consider that such a
project would ever become a sister project if that happens. Once the
community is already established outside of the sister projects, it will
NEVER be adopted as a sister project. I dare a counter-example here at
the very least. The Wikifamily/Rodovid example is precisely the kind of
project that I fail to ever see adopted and integrated into the
Wikimedia family of projects because of its outside development. Some
of the Wikidata efforts are also something that while very interesting
and useful for the projects are something more likely not to be formally
integrated into the Wikimedia projects either.
Heck, in the board election campaign process there has been several
suggestions to simply jettison all of the rest of the sister projects as
a bad idea and stick strictly with the core Wikipedia support role and
throw the rest of the existing sister projects out to sink or swim on
their own. I'm not saying that this faction of the Wikimedia community
is necessarily gaining ground, but to ignore that it doesn't exist is
also putting your head into the ground. Based upon some comments on
this list I don't think the "movement" is necessarily dead either to go
this route. For myself, I think the non-Wikipedia sister projects serve
a strong role that can help each other too, but there certainly are many
folks who see these as distractions. My point here is that this faction
is also what stops up the creation of new sister projects and was
responsible for many of the opposition votes for the creation of
Wikiversity when the vote was held on Meta... if you want me to name
names and point to specific statements along this line of thought.
New project creation and organization has been a long time passion of
mine, and I've participated in the meta discussions including even
establishing some of the organization for project creation.... and
project termination on Meta. I haven't been so active lately mainly
because of the apparent futility of even trying, and my life has turned
in other directions lately. This still doesn't mean that I don't care
and in fact if a group is interested in getting a new sister project
organized, I would certainly be willing to share my insight on my role
with getting Wikiversity going. While a great many other people were
involved with the project too, I feel I had at least a small but
significant role in getting that project from a seed idea to becoming a
full fledged sister project. It isn't all negative but it is a huge
uphill climb and your idea for a new sister project simply must be
crystal clear and very well developed if it is going to have a chance.
It also helps to build a community of supporters, which is perhaps my
main contribution as I was able to find enough supporters of Wikiversity
across multiple language communities and knew enough about inter-project
politics that those suporters were able to push the idea on their own
momentum and sustain the project community well after it was established.
For the most part, well intentioned but naive newcommers to Wikimedia
projects thinking that simply making an announcement here on
Foundation-l is all it will take to create a new sister project is
missing a few steps along the way. I wish it didn't have so much
process, but that process can build a substantial enough community where
even if the WMF were to pull the plug that the community would live on.
Certainly if somebody wanting to create a new sister project would do
well to see how Wikiversity and Wikinews were organized prior to their
respective "launches" and what kind of efforts were put into those
successful project proposals. I put those out as examples of the best
way to get something like this organized, if that is your goal.
-- Robert Horning
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