User:Maveric49/The Wikipedia Family

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On Saturday 05 October 2002 12:01 pm, Stephen G. wrote:
> One disturbing thing is that Edgar still views the
> English Wikipedia as a solely American enterprise,
> rather than an international effort. I find this
> saddening, especially since many of our contributors
> are not American (e.g., me).

Yep - Edgar's perception is unfortunate but ever since we started talking about reunification I have come to see that this view is also /completely/ understandable (especially for people who equate the English language with American cultural imperialism - which seems to be increasingly common among non-English speakers in the world);

1) Before Phase III came along the non-English Wikipedias were waiting for ages to get an upgrade while depending on well intentioned yet still empty promises. Granted Phase II had major problems that exhausted the developers time but this didn't seem to be communicated very well to the non-English Wikipedias (another thing is that the modified Phase II software at Encyclopedia Libre seems to be working fine). The non-English Wikipedians therefore understandably felt left-out.

Issue being solved;
Now each wiki is being upgraded as fast as the volunteer staff of developers and translators can convert the databases.

2) Then there is also the issue that interlanguage links went only one way (to the "foreign" languages from the "main" English articles).

Issue being solved;
As soon as each language is on-line with the new software there will be inter-language links going in every direction. I will personally help with this job.

3) Then there is the fact that Wikipedia was at .com and a majority of non-English users wanted it at .org (or so I gather). There was also the related perception that almost all Wikipedia publicity pointed to the English Wikipedia as if it were the only one. And if the non-English Wikipedias were mentioned at all it was as a minor side note.

Issue mostly solved;
Now the English Wikipedia is at .org and so are each converted wiki. There really hasn't been any new publicity so I can't say there has been any improvement in that department.

4) Now that the .org conversion has been made, another thing of concern is that the English Wikipedia is at www.wikipedia.org and all the other languages are relegated to xx.wikipedia.org as if the English Wikipedia were /the/ Wikipedia (or at least the most important one in some symbolic sense).

Issue is being seriously worked on and discussed; There are now tentative plans to move the English Wikipedia to en.wikipedia.org and have www.wikipedia.org be a multilingual gateway to the entire Wikipedia (all languages). I now fully support this move and will work to make it happen. Visit What_to_do_with_www.wikipedia.org and help with creating a new Main Page for the /whole/ project.

5) There is also the fact that an American company owns Wikipedia's server and effectively owns the name "wikipedia".

Issue is being seriously worked on;
Now Jimbo and a few others (including lawyers who also happen to be Wikipedians) are in the process working-out how to set-up a non-profit. Jimbo seems to be very serious about this and I completely trust that this will happen, but to make sure it does, several of us loud Wikipedians are serious about holding him to this (However, setting-up the non-profit smartly and cheaply may take some time though).

A related issue is that at one time there was semi-serious talk about having some type of advertisements on Wikipedia.

Issue solved;
Jimbo has also promised that there will never be ads on Wikipedia. I will personally advocate that this is written in the preamble for the non-profit's constitution or in some other way to make it permanent.

Wikipedia does not need paid staff. Therefore servers, bandwidth, domain fees and electricity are the only real expenses we have. Jimbo has already said he will pay domain fees, for bandwidth and presumably electricity, but if it were needed, all costs could be paid for by a relatively small number of modest monthly contributions to a non-profit Wikipedia Foundation.

6) A current issue that I would like to put forward is that the English Wikipedia policy mailing list is at wikipedia-l as if policy decisions made for the English Wikipedia apply to the other languages.

Issue open;
This is /not/ the case but I can understand why some people might get this impression after seeing that the mailing lists for the non-English Wikipedias are at xx-wiki-l (if I remember correctly) and also seeing that some things which obviously pertain to the /whole/ project are discussed on the English mailing list (oftentimes without cross-posts to intl-l).

After the non-profit is set-up I propose that wikipedia-l /only/ be used for the non-profit's business and for working out issues that affect the entire project (hosting it at wikipedia-l@wikipedia.org would also be nice. There is little reason to keep it on the Nupedia server.). The English-specific mailing list would then be at en-wiki-l (or whatever the naming convention is) and will only be about English Wikipedia-specific matters.

> However, even he seems in
> favor of reunification, albeit very reluctantly.

It is a very good thing that Edgar is in favor of reunification, even reluctantly. The impression that I got from several off-list discussions with a person very familiar with the original fork is that Edgar was one of the most vocal opponents of being associated with Wikipedia in the past. We should even ask him what else we could do to make him feel more comfortable with reunification. For that matter, I would like to ask /all/ Wikipedians of every language this related question;

What can Jimbo and the English Wikipedia community reasonably do to make you feel more comfortable and a part of a larger multilingual Wikipedia community? I of course only speak for myself and only ask this question to gather information and spark discussion.


I would like all the different language Wikipedias to be a family where the non-profit Wikipedia Foundation is the symbolic mother and the different language Wikipedias are symbolic siblings. In my estimation that would then make Jimbo the symbolic father (in the same way Linus Torvalds is the symbolic father of Linux) since he was the person who thought of the crazy idea of having a free as in Libre encyclopedia (Hm, I guess that makes Larry the symbolic mid-wife and nanny. Sorry Larry I couldn't resist an opportunity to lighten-up this looong post ;-).

Sorry for the length of this post, but this has been on my mind ever since I first asked about the status of Encyclopedia Libre vs the Spanish Wikipedia and how that relates to the upcoming upgrade.

At first this was just a feeling I had, but now I think I have begun the process of understanding why there was a Spanish Wikipedia fork and also why many contributors to the non-English Wikipedias sometimes/often feel left-out as second class Wikipediacitizens.

Yours very much in the WikiWay;

--mav