[Wikipedia-l] Proposal: commons.wikimedia.org
erik_moeller at gmx.de
Fri Mar 19 02:26:34 UTC 2004
I propose that the current Project Sourceberg is integrated into a larger
Said "Wikimedia Commons" should reside at commons.wikimedia.org and be a
- public domain texts
- otherwise freely licensed documents
- music, artistic works (but see below)
All material in the commons would have to be licensed under one of several
licenses, not necessarily the FDL, but all allowing at the very least free
distribution and commercial use. For texts, modification rights would also
be a requirement. There would be NO fair use material on
Material would be eligible for inclusion in the Commons if it is useful to
at least ONE Wikimedia project. This includes plausible *future*
The Commons Community would apply commons sense .. excuse me, common
sense, to determine which files are eligible for inclusion, i.e. if a band
is notable enough to have an article in Wikipedia, and their MP3s are
freely licensed, they can be deposited; if a file is highly referenced
from the outside and causes unbearable bandwith costs, it can be removed.
The larger and more popular a file, the more pressing needs to be its
rationale for inclusion.
I propose that we shall build an interface between the files residing in
the Wikimedia Commons, and other Wikipedia projects, so that it will be
possible to easily reference a file in the commons, like so:
[[Image:co:Airplane.jpg|200 px|A very nice airplane]]
This would not create a copy of the file or auto-generated thumbnails on
the local server (e.g. en:). However, [[Image:Airplane.jpg]] could be used
to describe the file in the local language and context (we should probably
rename the Image: namespace to File: in the long term, because it is also
used for other description pages.)
All new uploads would automatically go to the commons unless the uploader
explicitly chooses not to send them there (e.g. for material which is
clearly only relevant to one project, only allowed under certain
The commons wiki itself should of course be multilingual as Project
Sourceberg and Meta are. There are some features which we should enter
into our software development roadmap to facilitate the transition to
using the commons:
- user interface languages can be set in the preferences
- automatic import of source information from the commons to the
description page of the local wiki
- better interlanguage handling in a single wiki installation
- friendly user interfaces for multi file uploading, automatic addition of
uploaded files to a category etc. - things that make life easier for
people not familiar with Wikipedia
- automatic gallery generation for multiple images of one category
What are the advantages of this system?
- Central place to resolve licensing issues
- Less time wasted on locating relevant files
- Less time wasted on re-uploading files
- A place for things like image galleries that go beyond the needs of a
single article (e.g. 10 different pictures of the same airplane)
- We can actively solicit contributions specifically to the commons from
people who are not interested in contributing on a regular basis
- We can provide the largest such respoitory of freely licensed material,
with a quality control mechanism that other such projects lack (the
- We further establish our name beyond being merely the largest, greatest
- We benefit from the positive connotations of the term "commons" and
appeal more directly to altruism, which will be beneficial when we ask for
- We create a very real consciousness for the copyleft idea which so far
is missing especially for images, where many people simply upload whatever
they find on the net.
- We can use this platform to become more politically relevant in the
ongoing discourses about copyright law.
What are the downsides?
- The user interface is likely to be a bit clunky at first. We can fix
- This project can exceed Wikipedia in costs if it is successful. I
believe prominent fundraisers will cover us, if not, we can fix this by
limiting the scope of the commons.
- People will upload all sorts of things which we don't want. We can fix
that the same way we deal with Wikipedia articles we don't want.
- Changes to the software will be very specific to our needs, other
MediaWiki sites will probably be unable to interface directly with the
commons. Maybe we can authorize other projects on an individual basis to
interface with us.
I believe that we should not work on a temporary fix to the licensing
(tagging) problem, but address this issue in one fell swoop instead. More
generally, if we want to do this, I would suggest for Jimbo to authorize
me to set up a roadmap on Meta for the implementation. That roadmap would
also be a place for volunteers to list themselves for specific tasks that
need to be completed. This will have to be a community effort among
developers, sourcebergers, wikibookers, wikipedians etc.
I believe we can launch the Wikimedia Commons within about 3 months, maybe
less, if we work together. Let me know your thoughts and possible
improvements to this concept.
Please help to get the word out about this proposal by forwarding this
message to the other project mailing lists, translating it, summarizing it
etc. As this concerns a way to share relevant data among *all* projects, I
believe every Wikimedia user should know about this and participate in the
I suggest that the initial discussion (do we want to do this?) take place
on wikipedia-l (we have no Wikimedia list yet, sadly), and that the
implementation discussion, if any, take place on meta.wikipedia.org.
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