A BabyWikipedia is a child project of Wikipedia that inherits all of the traits of its parent (Wikipedia) and grand-parent (meta). The people who manage this copy, use the MediaWiki code to establish a local-context version of Wikipedia built by the exact or even higher standards than the global ones. The managers of a BabyWikipedia should have an established dialog with the Developers, Sytem Operators, Moderators, Administrators, Editors...Everybody at the Grand MetaWiki.
The Baby's purpose is simply to grow within its nativity, or local context into a complete encyclopedia for that locale (country, region, state, province, county, city or whatever). Any content that is notable in that context can develop, just like it does here. The generic version can also be used for special interest groups, as long as they focus on encyclopedic content. This qualification, like Wikipedia is by election or consensus of the community that supports the effort. The copy also inherits the quality of having no editor in chief, but even this policy is elective.
Think about it like a family.
A BabyWikipedia differs from many installations of the mediawiki code in that the elements of Wikipedia culture go with it, including NPOV and encyclopedic standards. These elements comprise a "seed" from the guidelines and help files from the Wikipedia for that language region. (in my case, English Language Wikipedia) The content of a BabyWikipedia allows local communities to include content that is of interest to the locale only, while keeping itself linked to the larger context. For example the same categoties: History, Geography, Culture, Society, and even Science and Technology are locally specific and highly detailed just as those with Planetary importance are on the large Wikipedias. The parent group that manages this wikipedia should consist of at least one experienced Wikipedian and a group of local developers and editors that are familiar with both the locale and the major language Wikipedia.
Once installed in a local context, The parent group and members from the local community work together to generate content that relates specifically to that context, refining it and shaping it toward maturity in the form of encyclopedia-quality content ready for entrance into the grand scheme of things at Wikipedia proper. The seed mentioned earlier is taken out of its context at the global level and placed into its natural context (nativity) say, inside of a region, county, city, town or other place. It can also be carried into a community of interest like a trade union, academic or professional association using a slightly different seed coming again from an established higher context. This distributed process could remedy the growing pains of trying to do this in a live global environment.
One key problem is that of local schools. A local school is extremely important to the people of that locality as are neighboring schools, but school articles get deleted every day from Wikipedia due to lack of notability. With a BabyWikipedia, the slate is wiped clean; standards for notability can be established independent of those in use on Wikipedia, and enforced by the new baby's community.
The systemic bias toward planetary notability is necessary for say the English language Wikipedia. It is very likely that the existance of locale specific encyclopedias, if properly built, can contribute useful content to the larger content. The process of "exercising" the context/content muscle is beneficial to both the means and the extremes.
"Wikipedia in the Global context is a very large and cumbersome site. There are language barriers, social conflicts, problems with relating content and context, vandalism, spam, flame wars, controversies and all of the other problems you would expect to see on a planet-wide open site.
On the other hand, the administrators of the site, authors of the code, and managers of the servers have gone to great lengths to ensure that the Quality of Wikipedia content is by and large, high. Wikipedia has over 150,000 registered members in its Community and is gaining respect as a viable encyclopedic reference.
A definite need for tiny context Wikipedias that manage small region or interest-specific blocks of content has emerged. This content is best generated and maintained by people who have a stake in that region, locale, or special interest.
Think of lexically scoped variables in perl. You get enormous benefits by slicing and dicing contexts and 'lists of lists' in the Perl language. If you think of 'global' quite literally, you can eventually envision a sort of 'world of worlds' and scope all the way from a personal context - your world, to a global contex - the world.
If you're anything like me, you are logically constrained to a set of circumstances that has you continually seeking for answers to personal situations ranging from essentials to frills. Sometimes these are satisfied by information alone. In an expanding universe where knowlege is power, you may have stumbled (like I did) into the growing Wikipedia World. If you have developed an understanding of what w: can truly be, for yourself and the rest of humanity, you want the system to work.
To avoid the duplication of effort as part of a huge community that works continually to produce quality content and the tools to get the work done, you try to find w:neighbors and w:kindred spirits both in the physical world of your own stomping grounds and in the metaphysical world of the Global Internet. This refinement of practice may have led you to installing and managing a copy of the Wikimedia code on your own server or one that you control. If you have the scruples and the altruism required, you could adapt your little world to a highly standardised and disciplined model such as the BabyWikipedia I am proposing.
My theory is that such a tendency will eventually form here at meta. "You might say that I'm a dreamer..."
These variables represent some thresholds for helpin' to guage the quality and quantity of the wikipedians' efforts.
The Special:Preferences page might contain three sets of variables:
- strict - I want the system to work me using strict standards
- loose - I want to do my own thing freely without limits or expectations
- resident - I am a resident member of a project and can be expected to be at my post most any time
- transient - I'm here when I can make it but I'm likely to be gone most of the time
- disciplined - I do more work than my presence on the project and my skill level indicates
- casual - I do less work than my presence on the project and my skill level indicates
These allow the user to set a standard for herself based on self-expectation. The result is an octal number (0..7)
The Special:Extensions page might contain measurements like:
- merit - Community awards (Wikipedia:barnstars), participation in successful endeavors (a separate extension)
- demerit - spelling and grammer errors, POV complaints, entries that end up on VfD, and so forth
- residence - the relative amount of time logged in and on the job (making active edits)
- transience - the relative amount of time offline and away from the project (not necessisarily detrimental)
- volume - the actual amount of edits (good, bad or ugly)
- duration - the number of edits that succeed (stay put)
This is a complex algorithm, but not impossible. The extensions could be based on averages collated from all the participating users and/or all the users witting or not. The result is basically another octal number based on the community's expectations of what a wikipedian ought to be. Some of the values will be machine-made others will be consensus-driven.