[Wikipedia-l] The threat of forking and why it is good

Axel Boldt axel at uni-paderborn.de
Tue Oct 30 20:20:14 UTC 2001

Let me preface this by saying that I don't like the concept of
marriage: two people should stay together because they love each
other, not because they feel bound to each other by the prospect of a
messy divorce.

Every open content project has to deal with the threat of forking.
Somebody just takes the code or content and starts a competing
project. This is good. It keeps the managers of the project on their
toes. They will have to do a good job or else the developers will go

Forking is actually less of a threat for Wikipedia than it is for
Linux, say: we could just cut and paste the forker's superior articles
into Wikipedia. Code reuse between different programs is much more

We all agree that Bomis does an exceptional job in managing our little
project, in every respect possible. Still, I think a small but real
threat of forking is beneficial, even for our benevolent dictators.

The current table form of the invariant section almost seems to be
designed to defeat any forking attempt. I would prefer a version which
makes forkers say "Ok, you could also contribute to the project at
wikipedia.com if you think they do a better job. No hard feelings."


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