Wikispecies and why splitting up does not benefit information production (was Re: [Wikipedia-l] Developers needed!)

leercontainer-wikimedia at leercontainer-wikimedia at
Tue Aug 24 20:56:29 UTC 2004

Let me first say that I have supported Daniel Mayers objections on this
issue on his talkpage because I find it much easier than answering a
mailinglist digest, but here I am. Until now, I find Till's approach
the best one, if not dismissing it altogether (as a Wikimedia project)

> Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 20:47:47 +0200
> From: Gerard Meijssen <gerardm at>
> > By contrast, if I proposed importing my database of 147,000+ types
> > of postage stamps, about half of all types known, I bet a lot of
> > people would say "too much detail for the encyclopedia!" :-)
> >
> > Stan
> >
> Stan,
> When you want to import your database on stamps, I personally would
> not 
> mind. Propably it would be a great thing if it is were accompanied by
> pictures. I am pretty sure there are loads of people who would really
> welcome it. It would make wikipedia an important resource on stamps.
> On 
> nl: we have a chess entheuasiast. He has written a zillion articles
> on 
> chess including chess players. Why not ?

I also welcome your stamps database, please bring it in.

> A scientific description of a taxon is in Latin sometimes in English.
> It 
> is latin gooblediegook. It is relevant for those who can read it. I
> fail 
> to see that several hundred thousant articles like this (overly 
> optimistic, this will only happen in 25 years if at all, not that
> these 
> articles do not exist) would be appreciated by the average Wikipedia 
> user. When an authorised version of the scientific description is 
> uploaded, it should be locked against further editing. The value is
> in 
> it being the original description.

I don't think that the average user would "appreciate" [[D’mt]] (800 BC
kingdom in Ethiopia, from my watchlist) much either, but does it thus
belong in "Wikihistory"?
What you describe above is not wiki, hence it will not benefit from the
wiki process, or the wiki community, it also does not fit with
"_Wiki_media" (I am not hereby defining the means of which the
Wikimedia Foundation may use to reach their goals). 

I am sure there are many subjects on the wikipedia that I do not
understand, but that does not mean that they belong to another

I could imagine that one of these rare species have some special
relation to my homecounty (infact I know there are many), thus they
should be mentioned in Wikipedia articles concerning f.ex. [[Mushrooms
of my homecounty]]. If I was interested (and I imagine I would be) I
could continue to the taxa information, learn, and if you're lucky
contribute (by spelling the homecounty mention right). If you were to
lock this down to "scientifically approved members" you would never
benefit from all the "scientific amateurs" out there.

Off course it would be nice to make a professional advanced database
maintained by scientist and all, but what is wiki in that? Why use the
Wikimedia foundation?

I'd also like to comment on Anthere's reply. She seemed to imply that
there is some kind of limit to what the Wikipedia should describe.
AFAIK there is the NPOV rule, no original research, encyclopedic rule
and then the noticeability rule (?) so frequently cited on vfd.
It is the last one that can be really limiting, where would you put the
line? The line could have been drawn at "what Encyclopædia Brittanica
include", but then we would never become "the biggest" encyclopedia.

The information that Wikipedia (or Wikimedia) produces, however, can be
distributed in all the ways that the GFDL permit. Wikipedia CD /
Wikipedia 1.0 / Wikipedia scientifically peer-reviewed / Wikipedia
Brittanica, and so on. The more things are split up, the less they will
benefit from the breadth of the community, the less they will benefit
from each other. If the Wikipedia at an early point was split up in the
Technical Pedia, Medical Pedia, and so on we wouldn't be anywhere near
where we are today (I think).

The above mentioned points emphasize why it is so important to get a
universal login where you can have a universal watchlist, recent
changes etcetera for all the MediaWiki projects and languages. Then
they could truly start to benefit from each other.
And when you could move and copy (for translation) articles between
projects, we would have an easy way to move and use content between the
projects without breaking the GFDL (contributor history).

If we are to effectively expand from making an encyclopedia to
producing useful, factual, NPOV and free information for the world (or
as the by-laws state "encourage the further growth and development of
content, social sofware WikiWiki-based projects [...] and
to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of
charge") I think we need to focus more on how to most effectively
produce this information. The first major step is to give users one
interface from where they can work on and monitor all projects in all
languages, using the interface-language of their own choice.

I know I have gone lenghts outside this thread now, but I hope I am
within the boundaries of the list. I have been wanting to say a lot of
this for a long time now, but it has been timeconsuming and diffcult to
"put on paper", hope I didn't fail miserably or just repeat what others
have said tens of times before.


> PS on there is
> a 
> picture. As this is a Russian website it may be public domain..

Why does Russian imply PD?



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