[Wikipedia-l] New projects

Anthere anthere9 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 16 14:16:51 UTC 2004

--- Anthere <anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> If we create a new project, say htt://www.wikispecies.org (to simplify) 
> and that this project is multilingual, then we will also probably have
> http://en.wikispecies.org
> http://fr.wikispecies.org
> http://zh.wikispecies.org
> etc...

Mav said 

Huh? Wikispecies is *specifically* supposed to be a language-neutral database.
Subdomains mean different databases so I'm a bit perplexed. Perhaps you are
thinking about the language that the interface is in and having the subdomains
trigger that?  
-- mav

Fuz question was about the legal, financial and logistical possible implications of a *new project*. This was a *general* question, and I answered "generally". I should not have put wikispecies as an example possibly ;-) Wikispecies does not necessarily cause problem on some of the examples I cited. These were general points.
But it seemed that people were questionning the fact the board had to get involved in the decision of creating a new project. It seems perhaps some people were considering that as soon as a group of people decide a new project is worth, and that there is no strong opposition to it from editors, then the project should be created manu military and the foundation opinion is not involved. This is not true.
Anyone can indeed anytime suggest a new project, then anytime a group can decide to begin a new project, but if the project is to be part of Wikimedia proper, then I think the Foundation also is involved in the decision.
There is first a legal requirement (and moral requirement toward all editors actually).
The new project must fit with the mission of the Foundation. For example, even if the project is great, and is supported by enough editors, if the content provided in that project is not "free", then it does not fit the "mission statement" of the Foundation. I do not necessarily mean gfdl, but I think it should be free in some sense. 
The new project (any new project, not wikispecies proper) will have a name... hence possibly a trademark registration (legal issue again, as well as monetary).
Someone will be necessary to manage DNS issues. There will be names to register. If there are subdomains, more names to register, hence more money required. 
If the new project involved storing HUGE amounts of data, then more storage place will be needed. More storage means more money as well.
I do not say all this is necessary blocking the decision, money can be found to manage a new project of course, however, a new project not fitting the current mission statement could be blockable. Or the bylaws changed :-)
I only mean that indeed, the proper way is
1) propose a new project
2) study its suitability and interest for readers
3) see if enough contributors are interested to make the project viable
4) see if it would be a good idea to welcome it under Wikimedia umbrella
1, 2 and 3 are totally up to the editors to decide. If any of those 1, 2 and 3 gets a "no", welllll....
And if 1, 2 and 3 are "yes" while 4 is "no", the project could very well exist, but only as a friendly project. Perhaps like wikitravel is a friendly project ?
Within 4, it must be checked
4.1) if the project fits with Wikimedia mission statement
4.2) if we can technically welcome it,
4.3) if we can financially support it,
4.4) if it could cause a threat to other wikimedia project
4.5) if it is a strategic move.
Anyone is welcome to discuss any of these points of course, but ultimately, I guess it is up to the board to answer these questions and to decide. Possibly I missed some questions as well.
4.1 : is mandatory -> requires to look at mission statement, ask a lawyer etc...
4.2 : if we cannot, what should be done ? (factual) -> requires implication of the developer team, possibly developer payment etc...
4.3 : if we cannot, we should look for money to support it (factual) -> requires grants, donations etc... 
4.4 : if so, estimate the potential benefits and the losses -> requires community feedback and to look at the big picture
4.5 : is really up to people opinion -> requires community feedback, but I hope the board would be trusted to avoid very wrong moves.
I guess the current criticism is over the 4.4 step no ?
 >>Actually, a new project has legal, monetary and logistical issues attached.
> This argument could be made for nearly anything under the Wikimedia
> umbrella, so it would be best to define explicit scope and procedures.

I guess the scope is above
Procedures (arrrggggg) should be something like
* propose a project on meta
* explain the proposal and the benefit of the project on meta
* list people interested on meta
* mention it on the goings-on
* head to the mailing list and talk about it
* toss well
* regularly put sumaries on meta
* let rest for some time
* toss again
* regularly put sumaries on meta
* let rest for some time
* look for support
* remind people
* regularly put sumaries on meta
* let rest for some time
* gather support
* whine, implore, threaten
* regularly put sumaries on meta
* let rest for some time
* make a poll or whatever
* report from the poll
* contact the board
* mention you contacted the board
* pray
Procedures are evil. But we should be able to summarize this one in 4 mandatory steps I guess (even if the truth will be probably nearer to what I wrote above)

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