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Latest comment: 14 years ago by Sj in topic Revisiting this wording

knowledge under a free license[edit]

  • to collect and develop knowledge under a free license

Huh? How is *knowledge* under a free license? Knowledge is, in my eyes, a human related thing, ie. it requires a human to exist. We collect knowledge (from humans), but we don't "develop" it (only humans can do this, not a wiki or an organisation). At best, we collect knowledge and develop access to it. I'm not sure how to phrase this. What I am sure of, is that the actual phrasing sounds really strange. notafish }<';> 20:15, 15 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

Oh, And I really like the second part. notafish }<';> 20:19, 15 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

I do not support the use of the term knowledge and I will vote against this proposition as is. It has been debated long enough during the board retreat. It should be "content" to my opinion. Anthere

It may have been debated in small groups, but I do not recall any significant discussion in the larger group. Please list arguments. Also, why would you vote against it now when you did not even mention this while I circulated the statement among the Board, and you said it was fine?--Eloquence 21:13, 16 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
uh ? I remember that we had this discussion in length at the board retreat. You pushed the use of the world "knowledge" and several others did push the use of another word (content was mentionned, maybe others as well). My memory is that at the end of the retreat, the concept of knowledge versus content was not solved at all, and was still listed on one of Pat sheet as an "unresolved" issue. Now, I did not say "nope" when you circulated it amongst board members because we clearly do not agree on the use of the word knowledge and just going on discussing it between the two of us is not gonna go anywhere. Hence the need to have it discussed here. Anthere
Well the only reason that was given is that "some guy" never uses the word "free content" but uses the word "knowledge". ;-). Well, I do not agree with Florence about replacing knowledge completely with "content", in this that I strongly believe we do collect "knowledge". However, it is the way that we redistribute that knowledge which is free, under the form of free content. A hard notion to state adequatly. I'm still thinking. notafish }<';> 23:41, 16 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

I think knowledge is not the best choice if it is standing on its own. I have always thought of knowledge being the basic uncopyrightable stuff that (in Wikipedia) is taken from copyrighted source and remade into freely licensed but still copyrighted content. Maybe this is just in my mind but I have always thought of knowledge this way. And when you start to think of beyond WP it is not the most appropriate word.--BirgitteSB 21:58, 20 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

Knowledge is something people create in their own mind. A mix of "information" (content), of process (how to process/analyse information) and personal thinking methods. What we provide on wikipedia is only the "information". On wikibooks or wikiversity, we provide processes. But the end result, which is the knowledge human beings have, is personal. Imho. So, yes, "content" may not be enough to describe all projects, but knowledge, to me is going to far. And I do not think Stallman not liking the term content is the sligthest beginning of an argument to not use this term. From a "vision" perspective, we want people to be knowledgeable. From a mission perspective, this is not what the Foundation is doing. Anthere

While I can appreciate the difficulties with the word "knowledge", I find "content" to be completely meaningless. (In French will it be "le savoir" or "la connaissance"?) Whatever word is used we need to keep in mind that in the sentence it is grammatically the key noun which defines our stock-in-trade. We deal in "content"? What kind of content? The pathologist deals with the content of dead stomachs.
The nature of knowledge is not affected by copyrightability; copyryrightability is a posteriori to knowledge; it is something that you may or may not do to the knowledge once you have figured out what it is. It is a matter of law applied to the knowledge that has already been defined.
I can't say that I agree that knowledge is solely something that lives in the individual mind; I'll have to meditate on that. You did, however, suggest that "information" could somehow be equated in some sense to knowledge. Why was the word "information" rejected? That word was used in teh second paragraph. Eclecticology 11:42, 21 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
Here's a question, are we fostering the creation and distribution of free and open content or are we attempting to collect "the sum of all human knowledge"? - Nathan Carter (Talk) 10:00, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply

Content is that which enables the mental absorbtion of knowledge. I vote for content, and let the world collaborate to absorb knowledge.-- 12:20, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply

People vs community[edit]

communities>back to people: Please, no communities. Our community (ies) is/are made of people, and we are trying to empower people within the community. You can't empower "a community" of which you have no clue who or what it is. It all started because people got together, not because there was an idle community there that we picked up out of the blue to start a project. notafish }<';> 23:41, 16 November 2006 (UTC)Reply are right... but to my mind there is still something missing. I will ponder some more. pfctdayelise 02:56, 17 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

Not the whole world, the internet, is it?[edit]

Should there be a more explicit nod towards sometime in the future, at the very least thinking about (for the dissemination purpose at least) going beyond the internet? Not all people in the world have access to the internet, and aren't expected to all that soon, OLPC notwithstanding.

I think disseminate it effectively covers possible printed versions and DVDs and the like, doesn't it? The Internet is obviously not effective for people who have unduly expensive or poor internet coverage. pfctdayelise 17:37, 18 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
The existing wording retains the option of selling the material in other media for a profit. Eclecticology 11:46, 21 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

multilingual wiki[edit]

Does anyone else read "multilingual wiki" as being things like Commons and rather than wikis in a multitude of languages?--BirgitteSB 22:06, 20 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

By 'Multilingual wiki projects' I understand projects like Wikisource, Wikinews, Wikipedia, but "project" has always been an ambiguous term for Wikimedia... --pfctdayelise 01:00, 21 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
OK I can see that. I use "project" that way myself alot if the time, but it is very inconsisant in general. I wish we had a more straightforward term.--BirgitteSB 13:12, 21 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
I think that the choice of the word "project" as applied in en:wp for the organized study of various topics was unfortunate. Something like "study group" would be less ambiguous. Eclecticology 01:37, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply

more comments[edit]

"empower and engage"

Why not just "help"?

to collect and develop knowledge under a free license, and to disseminate it

It would seem the "under a free license" is misplaced. It's really the dissemination and distribution that should be free. The development is effectively an internal and intermediate process where the free licence is less relevant. It may involve the process of freeing the knowledge, but in that case "free" should be a verb. We also want to deal with material that is already in the public domain. Somehow squeezing public domain material into a licence of some kind would be a step backward. Eclecticology 08:57, 23 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
My suggestion for rewriting the first sentence (based on comments above):
Our mission is to help people in every part of the world collect, review, and share information for the minimal cost and minimal restrictions on reuse.
My intent is to simplify the language, & to acknowledge that despite our best efforts, it still takes money to use Wikipedia: for example, one needs to own a computer, & pay someone for an internet connection. The words "Minimal restrictions" includes both public domain as well as licenses like GFDL or Creative Commons -- which still impose certain restrictions on the end user (e.g., keep the end user imposing his own restrictions). -- Llywrch 18:04, 29 November 2006 (UTC)Reply
Some people would regard a copyleft license as not being "minimal," since copyleft is clearly a consciously chosen restriction that aims to maximize the amount of freely licensed derivative works. So "minimal restrictions" could be interpreted as a move away from copyleft.--Eloquence 07:24, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply

more plain?[edit]

I love the idea ... I'm scared with the expression. It sounds now more complex and hard to understand for English speakers as second/foreign language. Imagine, more than half of English speakers are not native speakers; I checked a glossary for high school student in Japan and found some words in the current version unavailable. In my humble opinion, difficulties for native speakers in 12-15 years old would be nice. Without losing its dignity and elegance appropriate for our projects, I would like some native speaker to rewrite it in more plain and simple manners. --Aphaia 10:18, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply

I suggest translating the statement, once finalized, into as many languages as possible, instead of simplifying the language.--Eloquence 17:18, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply
Yes, we are going to translate it, so translation is our common concerns, and I repeat my proposal here again, in a variant. It is ideal for us all to have a simplified version in English, besides the original. Translation is indeed a primary ground of my proposals.
I fear lest the current statement is a bit hard and scary for translators; so here are two concerns, 1) their difficulties and 2) risk of misunderstand spreading with wrong translation a/o narrow broadcasting. Around the latest Board Election similar complaints rose from our veteran translators. I would like to point out that candidates whose statements were complicated are just left and had a less number of translations, though translators knows the importance of equality of chance. I would quote here Habj, "the best way to show appreciation to translators is writing in a simple manner" (or alike, on foundation-l). Here the second concern comes to us: the risk of poorly broadcasting and at worse, misunderstanding.
I propose therefore to have a simplified (or Simple English) version of statements; both mission and vision. Besides translation issues, in my opinion we need such finally to share the idea with Simple English project communities. --Aphaia 08:43, 17 December 2006 (UTC)Reply
Having an additional simple English version would be fine.--Eloquence 19:34, 17 December 2006 (UTC)Reply
I agree that the current text is using difficult words that make it not easy to understand it. And as a result to translate it and keep the correct meaning. That there also will be a version in simple English is no solution. It is this version, the master version that will be used as template. Keep it clear and simple. This version is not only for (near) native level English speakers but also for the very large group lower level English users. Lose words like "empower and engage", "disseminate", "in perpetuity.". The general feeling I have when reading this text is that it sounds like management talk who use a lot of special words to hide the fact the are not saying anything. I am not saying this text says nothing, certainly not, but using certain words give that feeling. --Walter Do you have news? Report it to Wikizine 01:04, 6 January 2007 (UTC)Reply


I'm not sure I'd define Wikipedia content as solely educational, so I don't think we should define Wikimedia's mission as "educational." We should call it something more general, like "informative." --Davidstrauss 04:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply

I was going to comment on the same thing. For example "educational" potentially forbids original research on Wikiversity. Research is done for its value as research rather than for its educational value. --cfp 10:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply
Cfp, not sure how you come to that conclusion. What is the ultimate purpose of education if not to learn about the world (publishing --> educating others)? Informative is virtually meaningless. What non-nonsense is not "informative"? --pfctdayelise 10:54, 27 March 2007 (UTC)Reply


Something seems to have dropped: free of charge. Many wikipedians and wikimedians contribute their work free of charge. It would be no more than common courtesy of wikimedia to distribute it again free of charge. whereever possible. I also foresee a great many volunteers would cease to contribute should the content of the wikis (books, encyclopedias, media) only be available against payment.

I am not saying that there may be no commercial spin-offs: they should be more than welcome. The publication of books could bring in royalties. The development of special software for pdas, combined with the articles in the wikipedias, could be made available for a fee. But I think it should be the dream of the foundation to make the knowledge available free of charge.

It is for this reason that I support Mission#Proposed Mission Statement and not Mission#Draft from the Board Retreat. TeunSpaans 13:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply

The last sentance says "free of charge" in both stable and unstable versions.--BirgitteSB 18:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC)Reply

Revisiting this wording[edit]

Two changes I would suggest, for simplicity and clarity:

  1. around the world --> anywhere
  2. effectively and globally --> to everyone in the world in their own language

The first is simpler and clearer -- 'around the world' could mean 'a few people from each country' rather than making access to the tools of editing and publication available universally to all. ('anywhere' also makes it more clear that the mission includes people who are not currently able to contribute to the online interface of Wikipedia, for reasons of language or connectivity.)

The second is a bit longer, but restores one of the most compelling parts (for me) of the original: "in their own language". This makes it clear that WP is not an English project that happens to have lots of translators from secondary languages helping out; and that there is a mission-level drive to support knowledge sharing in the native language of contributors. That implies extra effort to develop small language projects - where this is little structured written corpus. -- sj | translate | + 21:39, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

anywhere or everywhere? :-) Cbrown1023 talk 22:28, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
An important distinction. I chose anywhere so as not to be repetetive with everyone, but 'everywhere' would be clearer.

I can't find where we used to say "in their own language" -- but the original statement of purpose said "in all the languages of the world" which was clearer than 'multilingual' and perhaps a bit bolder than "in their own language" in that it doesn't exclude dead languages [as we do not today]. There's a related thread on the Wikimedia Forum, and kibble reminds me that people may have forgotten these pages exist and we should publicize them. -- sj | translate | + 23:16, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply