[Wikipedia-l] GFDL and Wikipedia, II

Axel Boldt axel at uni-paderborn.de
Fri Oct 26 16:50:06 UTC 2001

A couple more things:

* I am not in favor of switching to another license for three reasons:
   ** designing a license is not easy, and it would suck a lot of
      energy out of Wikipedia proper. Furthermore, it is not clear
      that in the end we would be able to agree on one license.
   ** GFDL has goodwill in the community; our new license would be
      scrutinized and certainly criticized by vocal GNU hawks.
   ** I think it is not too difficult for Wikipedia to comply with
      GFDL, see below.

* the requirement that (at least) the five most important authors be
  listed can be easily fulfilled once we keep complete logs (which is
  desirable for other reasons as well). We simply list *all*
  contributing authors then, and that is in compliance with GFDL.

* The requirement that titles have to be changed for every new version
  of the work can be waived by the authors; we need to have a clear
  statement on the submit page which says: "you are now submitting
  your additions under GFDL without front- and back cover text and
  invariant sections; furthermore you agree that modified versions of
  the document may retain the same title. If you don't agree, don't
  hit submit."

* Three additional arguments against the current strict table
  attribution requirement occured to me last night:
   ** if we really want large websites to adopt Wikipedia (Microsoft
      is out since they have Encarta, but Yahoo, Google and AOL are
      potential customers), there is absolutely no way that we can hope to
      dictate layout decisions to them. Their site designers will laugh us
      out the door.
   ** On educational websites that use some materials from Wikipedia,
      teachers typically would want to tell students about the project, but
      they don't want their students to jump right in and contribute
      to Wikipedia: it would distract too much; learning is the focus.
      So you make actually discourage teachers from using Wikipedia
      material, because the current table would suggest to students
      that the teacher wants them to contribute.

   ** We are currently using FOLDOC materials which were licensed to
      us under GFDL. Imagine their invariant section contained some
      pink table and a blinking icon. I don't think we would
      appreciate it.


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