LSS/foundation-l-archives/2006 09

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September October
39 4041424344
November December
45464748 49505152
January February
12345 6789
Inactive March - June
July August
27282930 31323334
September October
3536373839 4041424344
November December
45464748 49505152

Translations English (en)  - español (es)  - 日本語 (ja)

This is part of LSS, a mailing list summary service. It is a summary of foundation-l. Most posts whose authors are named have links to the full e-mail in the archive. However not every post is archived and the archive itself is so unstable that the urls will periodically be reassigned breaking the links in this summary. While edits to correct inaccuracies are welcome, changes to style or focus should first be discussed on the talk page. Decisions on whether to refer to people by their Wikipedia handle or their email name is arbitrary and may not be completely internally consistent. Some genders may be accidentally incorrect.Incorrect or not, this standard is used all around the net, for business or projects.

Note: For this issue, much of the entire month of September is summarised. Future issues will cover just one week


  1. [1]The fine details of the boardvote extention message texts were worked over to get the formatting/display correct
  2. [2]Jan Kulveit brought up Charles Hannum's post, "The Future of NetBSD", an analysis of some of the failings of the NetBSD project. Charles Hannum was once president and director of the NetBSD project and foundation, and his posting has been posted to en:Slashdot and widely discussed there and on other forii. Anthere noted that a number of points may apply to Wikimedia, Delirium drew attention to a point that the NetBSD foundation should have focused on purely administrative matters and avoided day-to-day interaction. Anthere provided a link to a chat with Jimbo on that topic. Discussion continued on that topic, as well as about the relationship between the foundation and communities of various wikis. David Gerard suggested that the mail was primarily motivated by internal politics, and the biggest problem with NetBSD is that it lacks a distinct mission/goal.
  3. [3]Discussion on the CVU (Counter Vandalism Unit, an organisation on the English wikipedia with the stated goal of fighting vandalism)'s use of Wikipedia logos against the logo policy became a discussion on the merits of that policy. [4]Arnomane counseled against speedy deletion of the offending images based on the idea that AfD it would help publicise the reasoning behind the deletion, preventing recreation by unknowing people.
  4. [5]Milos Rancic asked about ways for disabled people to use MediaWiki, but there was no answer
  5. [6]David Gerard asked if there was a page on Commons giving guidelines for people in reuse of Wikipedia content. Delirium replied that there was not, so David started one
  6. [7]Anthere announced a resolution appointing James Forrester and Jon Harald Søby as election officials for the September Board Election.
  7. [8]Tuvik asked for a clarification on licensing issues for the Wikipedia logo for use on the article on Wikipedia on the Dutch Wiki. David pointed him back at the Dutch wikipedia image license policy, noting that the presence of the Wikipedia logos on commons was a special case and does not guarantee license-free usage. Tuvik said he would discuss the mentioned points on the Dutch Village Pump.
  8. [9]Guillaume Paumier announced a FAQ for Wikiversity Beta, it being 10 days old
  9. [10]Kelly Martin provided a pointer to Statistics on Wiki usage gathered by Greg Maxwell, along with some brief observations on those statistics. This led to more analysis over several other parts, including concerns over eventual large numbers of edits on the English wikipedia by non-native speakers.
  10. [11]David Gerard forwarded a message from commons-l (another wikipedia mailing list) on the PD-Soviet license, asking opinions on if it was valid. Matt Brown suggested it was likely invalid, with Ray Saintonge seconding that, but David Gerard wanted to know if the foundation would or should step in. It was alternatively suggested that allowing the users to attempt to reach a conclusion via normal consensus/supermajority methods would avoid board liability for the wrong decision or that juriwiki-l (another mailing list) would be good to mail.
  11. [12]Anthere gave a report on a RAFT conference she attended, aimed to broadly share training on the practice of medicine.
  12. [13]Eric Möller provided a link to survey results on open content projects in nonwestern countries, suggesting that some of the mentioned groups would be good to partner with. He [14]also suggested that the Global Text Project, which aims to textbooks for students in developing countries, would be worth partnering with.
  13. [15]Jeff Merkey noted that the enwiki dumps provided by the foundation are not usable by the published versions of the MediaWiki software because the dumps require extra patches/extensions. He provided a link to a tarball of MediaWiki ready to load the dumps. Filip Maljkovic (a community member) suggested that this was off-topic, and asked him not to post this type of message in the future. Jeff suggested that it was a problem when the dumps are not easily used with the software distribution, and suggested creation of a new list for business affairs moderated by the Foundation rather than the community so he would not get such replies in the future. David Gerard pointed Jeff at wikitech-l (another mailing list), and Jeff replied that list members should know that the dumps were not usable. Another user suggested that Jeff was offtopic, and Jeff reiterated the need for a business list where people would not make such suggestions. The discussion [16]became heated, and after a call for calm, David Gerard explained that dumps are not a high priority for the Foundation given time available. Jeff repeated his request for a business-specific list, giving a list of reasons the community some reasons to make it invite-only or private. Some people objected to this, and further discussion ensued, and it was eventually concluded that another list for content reusers should be created, albeit still not moderated by a foundation employee. Jeff agreed that this would be useful.
  14. [17][18]Anthere suggested people prepare to meet to discuss multimedia on foundation projects
  15. [19]Erik Möller suggested and described a Wikimedia Youth Camp guiding kids on how to contribute well to Wikipedia. Various ideas were discussed, from an event before Wikimania to improving advice to people in general on how to contribute productively. Some youth expressed a preference to be treated like any other editor. Some discussion about doing this in local chapters was held.
  16. [20]Delphine posted a reminder of the bid deadline for Wikimania 2007
  17. [21]Anthere posted a reminder of International Literacy Day on 8 September
  18. [22]Anthony asked about the effects of COPPA (an American law on child privacy) on Wikimedia projects. Kelly Martin suggested that the foundation, being nonprofit and not engaged in commerce, is exempt from COPPA. Geni provided a pointer to a quick government guide to COPPA that suggests Wikimedia may not be exempt, and Kelly Martin noted that as the foundation does not collect information, instead just providing a space for their creation, COPPA does not apply.
  19. [23]Sabine Cretella provided a status update on WiktionaryZ (an external project focused on languages and translation) and asked anyone interested to join that project.
  20. [24]Effe Iets Sanders brought up a new development on MediaWiki - images that link to targeted pages rather than their image page, asking if it is good policy to allow that. Discussions followed on whether this is good practice based on easy access to licensese and legal requirements for attribution. This eventually became a brief discussion on another tab for pages that would build a list of contributors and licenses for all components of a page.
  21. [25]Peter Rocky7 brought up the issue of systematic admin corruption on non-English wikis, asking if there are means to deal with such situations. There was some levity due to odd phrasing of the message, but eventually the discussion turned serious. The idea of establishing "Best Practices" for new communities to benefit from was brought up, along with a brief discussion on admin culture on other wikis. Rocky7 then suggested that wikis should have a board consisting of people who are not admins to review admin behaviour. It was pointed out that many wikis have a different means to handle bad admins (ArbCom on EN, RFC on PL)
  22. [26]John McC asked why the English wikibooks could not automatically import from the English wikipedia. Effe Iets Anders mentioned that this functionality has to be turned on by request of the relevant communities, with the request filed on Bugzilla.
  23. [27]Andrew Lih mentioned a Guardian Article on Wikipedia's recent block in China and its refusal to alter its content in order to be unblocked.
  24. [28]Daniel Bregman let people know about new logo contests for Wikibooks, Wiktionary, and Wikiversity.
  25. [29]Jeff Merckey posted an update on his Machine Translation project, with a note that the Chickasaw language is being added
  26. [30]Mindspillage let people in the United States know about a story on Wikipedia on ABC News's Nightline that evening.
  27. [31]David Gerard let people know about a work-in-progress, his Process Essay, asking for comments
  28. [32]Effe Iets Anders gave a brief overview of the Dutch Wikipedia conference
  29. [33]Brion Vibber switched the 9/11 wiki to read-only due to lack of legitimate activity and abuse by spammers.
  30. [34]Christolph Seydl mentioned a discussion on the German Wikipedia on attempts to solidify criteria for verifiability. James Hare suggested that no individual wikis should be allowed to override uniform standards, as it is a foundation principle. Christolph asked where it was codified on Meta, and it turns out that it was simply mentioned there. Ray Saintonge noted that codifying it would probably be too difficult and that referencing it in the current form is sufficient, and Christolph noted that this can lead to widely different perspectives on its importance and how to apply it. Discussion covered various actual approaches and concerns on EN, from deletability of all articles without sources to worries that an overemphasis on sources drives people away. Erik Möller pointed to a poll on DE on deletion of unsourced articles, noting that requiring sources seems to be failing in the poll and noting that he is personally opposed to such because he feels unsourced claims can evolve into sourced ones.
  31. [35]Jimbo Wales commented on the ongoing Board Election reminding people to vote and suggesting that Oscar and Mindspillage are especially worthy candidates, and mentioning that some of the other candidates are problematic because they have shown themselves not to work well within the community. Some further discussion centred on the meaning of elections and the need for elected board members to work well together. Additional discussion covered the idea of life board memberships, appointed board members, and general discussions of the candidates. This was a particularly long discussion, with many topics covered.
  32. [36]Jeff Merkey announced some members of his projects having changed positions
  33. [37]Delphine Ménard announced that the candidate cities for Wikimania 2007 had been reduced to a shortlist of Alexandria, London, Taipei, and Torino
  34. [38]Amgine spoke to dispel rumours about his departure from the English project in 2004 being related to Danny Wool, asserting that it was instead relating to strong disagreement with an Arbcom decision. Erik Möller apologised for likely misremembering the history behind the departure. Amgine asked what people were doing discussing him on the phone, and the conversation was taken off-list.
  35. [39]Anthere drew attention to an article announcing Larry Sanger's announcement of Citizendium, a fork of Wikipedia that will initially draw its content from WP but will proceed with radically different ideas of governance. Responses were plentiful and varied in tone, from predictions of failure to cautious interest. Some discussion of how Citizendium's policy sketches differ from Wikipedia's were held. (Comment: A few prominent Wikipedia folk are active on the Citizendium mailing lists). [40]Mindspillage later brought up some policy ideas from these lists that she thought were worth discussion. Jeff Merkey suggested , as he did in the earlier discussion, that Larry Sanger's project was doomed to fail and that it's not worth discussing.
  36. [41]Erik Möller noted that Rob Levin (lilo), former head of the group that manages, the IRC server on which the wikipedia irc channels reside, died.
  37. [42]Anthere gave a report for a conference she and Sj attended in Nigeria. The conference focused on education and development technologies/needs in Africa. She [43]followed up with ideas to increase Wikimedia visibility in Africa. Gerard and Anthere had a discussion of some of these ideas
  38. [44]P.Birken gave a report on decisions made in the German Wikipedia for how stable versions should work. Erik Möller followed up with his ideas, and Delphine let everyone know that she sent it off to the translation lists for broader distribution
  39. [45]Frank Schulenberg gave a report on progress on the German Wikisource. The German Wikimedia has financed access/digitisation of a number of historical works, and has established a budget to continue to do so under community guidance.
  40. [46]Kelly Martin responded to an earlier message by Aphaia (that I could not locate) regarding issues on translation and the Wikimedia board elections. She suggested indirect election as a way to fix some inequities in the current system. A broad discussion of various types of polling/elections followed. Jimbo [47]gave support for the idea in broad terms, suggesting the board should be much larger and less involved in day-to-day issues
  41. [48]Angela Beesley reported that Tim Starling, prominent developer/sysadmin for the project, is in surgery, and posted a link to a get-well subpage of his user page.
  42. [49]Cormac Lawler reports that he is to meet informally with some KDE folk on Wikiversity at a conference with Dublim. This is based on the possibility of use of Wikiversity to train developers on their platform
  43. [50]Valdelli asked about GFDL license issues in transferring content between WMF projects. Luiz Augusto stressed use of Special:Import to avoid these difficulties in maintaining proper attribution.
  44. [51]Danny Wool noted that many of the election platforms for the Board Elections were very long, and that if all candidates had statements as long as the longer ones, people would need to read what is essentially a novella to educate themselves about the candidates. Effe Iets Anders noted that a number of the statements were in english difficult to read by English-as-a-second-language folk. Erik Möller (as the board candidate with the longest statement) responded to Danny's note by noting that he tried to structure the various parts of his statement to make sense read in parts, and that nobody was forced to read the whole thing. The discussion continued in several parts.
  45. [52]Erik Möller asked if the Wikimania 2007 selection would be postponed to allow the new board member to take part. It was clarified that only the meeting with the cities in the running would take place at that time, not the final decision.
  46. [53]SJ wrote an essay about Wikipedia's role in society. He followed it up with an [54]open-ended question on goals for the foundation (from which sprang a [55]discussion on Bugzilla as well as some other conversation), [56]a set of ideas for user surveys, and [57]discussion on sharing ideas/experiences with other groups, neither of the latter two gathering much discussion.
  47. [58]Arnomane, to deal with license issues relating to use of commons images on other wikis, wanted to run a bot that would be exempt from subproject-specific bot policies. After some discussion, it was decided that it would be ok to avoid the need to negotiate with the hundreds of wikis and that it could run with individual projects choosing to block or not block it as they saw fit.
  48. [59]Alison Wheeler asked how people might verify that their votes are counted correctly in the election. Tim Starling gave a procedure involving contacting election officials in order to do this verification.
  49. [60]James Forrester announced the results of the foundation elections. Erik Möller, with 42% approval, recieved first place. Some discussion followed. Erik followed up by [61]starting a discussion asking for ideas and comments on his priorities as an incoming board member. Considerable further discussion followed.
  50. [62]Aphaia resigned from his activities with the board, being unwilling to work with ArnoLagrage. Erik Möller and others asked her not to leave.
  51. [63]Anthere announced that the Dutch Wikipedia established a local chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation
  52. [64]Anthere announced a new board resolution to adopt a conflict of interest policy, which is to be signed by all board members, officers, executives, and staff.
  53. [65]Erik Möller, in response to candidacy questions and recent proposals on Meta, proposed the 9/11 wiki be temporarily opened to clean out spam/vandalism, and that it be dumped for other sites to take on. In the same proposal, he solicited volunteers to host the content. Many people approved of the plan -- Robert Horning asked about the need to do so, and it was stated that that wiki is outside the foundation charter. After some further discussion, Jeff Merkey said he would host the content.
  54. [66]Phoebe Ayers announced that Taipei was chosen as the site for Wikimania 2007. Some congratulations were given - Arne Klemert added to his that he was disappointed that the other bidding cities put so much effort into assembling sponsors for events that did not happen. Considerable further discussion on the merits of putting a lot of effort into bids when only one can win followed.
  55. [67]Frank Schulenburg announced that Wikimedia Germany was starting on a project to explore use of Wikipedia at schools. After surveys, a school in Hildesheim recieved a day of tutorials/workshops on use of Wikipedia. They are working on evaluating the experience and writing up the result.
  56. [68]Virgil Ierubino wrote to report on a new MediaWiki extension he wrote called WikiLogic. It is intended to easily write formal logic equations in Wikisyntax.
  57. [69]Łukasz Garczewski wrote about an event held to commemorate the 5th birthday of the Polish Wikipedia.
  58. [70]Andrew Leonard reported that the donations page for the Asturian wiki was actually written in Spanish. It was suggested by Titoxd that the translation was not done yet, having only recently been started
  59. [71]Erik Möller proposed modifying the site notice on wikis without an affiliated chapter to suggest doing so. This led to a brief discussion of the purpose/scope of chapters and what is involved in starting them.
  60. [72]Ragib Hasan noted that the Bengali Wikipedia reached 10,000 articles, giving a brief account of their community.
  61. [73]David Gerard responded to a message (from another mailing list) on the Royal Society (Britain) having put their archives of historical documents online, noting that while Brits could not do so, other English speakers may, depending on local law, be able to retrieve documents from that archive and place them on Wikisource. Legal and moral issues with doing so were briefly discussed (some parts in [74]another thread).
  62. [75]Erik Möller suggested using extra mediawiki sidebars to contain extra links for information on wikipedia, chapter information, projects, and volunteer opportunities. Futher discussion ensued, along with a mention by Sam Korn of [76]an earlier proposal to do so.
  63. [77]Oscar asked about announcement of the (necessary) resolution approving Erik Möller to the WMF board. He further asked about Erik having been made steward and granting himself rights on some projects. The approval was confirmed, but Oscar asserted that the steward status was given improperly. Erik initially called the discussion pointless and on trivial matters, but was pressed to remove the rights after the role of stewards and how one becomes one was explained. He then asked if Jimbo had become a steward, and Jimbo's role as project founder was used to explain his possession of those account roles.
  64. [78]Gregory Maxwell pointed out some fine details of the GFDL v2 draft that mentioned a GNU Wiki license. It was concluded that the GNU Wiki license had not yet been made public and so discussion on it would not yet be fruitful.
  65. [79]Erik Möller noted that The British Library suggested that current copyright law is too cumbersome for modern needs
  66. [80]Oskar started Metapub, a centralised location on Meta for topic discussions
  67. [81]Sj posted a link to an essay written by two lawyers on ideas for enforcing collective copyright, and suggested asking them for a freely-licensed copy
  68. [82]Brad Patrick brought to the community's attention a growing problem with corporations using Wikipedia for advertising themselves, with reverts to their edits resulting in phone calls and complaints. He suggested that current practices of using AfD are insufficient and that such content should be removed on sight. Jeff Merkey suggested that only externally publishing approved articles would solve the problem. Gerard plugged his Yellowikis project as a solution to remove the need for companies to have Wikipedia articles, but it was pointed out that the submitters of such entries are primarily interested in Wikipedia because it is very popular -- posting on Yellowikis would not have the same appeal. Articles with few or no incoming links were suggested as indicators of spam articles. Further discussion on notability, bias, and corporate edits ensued.
  69. [83]Danny Wool deleted an article on a nonexistant place, starting a brief discussion on articles with no sources and whether they should be kept. James Hare suggested a new speedy criterion whereby articles with no sources should be removed, Gerard noted that this would be too restrictive for other Wikis and that it would discourage community involvement. He further noted that it would be a lot of effort to source all existing unsourced articles. Geni and Erik similarly objected.