Talk:New project policy/Archive 1

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Number of users

The "at least 5 users must pledge to start up the new project" line should be for creating a new language version of an existing project. The bar for creating a brand new project must be set higher. --Daniel Mayer 19:46, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Why? Brian Jason Drake 09:27, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure. 199 users asking for a new project to start didn't seem like enough either, so who knows what the bar really is going to be set at. --Roberth 08:40, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Rather silly to set a specific quantitative criteria or evaluation process. That would begin to resemble governance/management/coordination by rules or precoordinated policy or consensus rather than personal whim. I am personally more interested in the appeal on the donations pages for potential philanthropists to help make the sum of all human knowledge freely available to all human beings. If this is not to be assisted by courses at Wikiversity then how exactly (or vaguely for starters) does the stacked Board of the Wikimedia Foundation intend to meet this committment to the donating public? user:lazyquasar

Project closing

Why not just keep it on? If we're still hosting the content, why not keep the wiki there? Inactive projects dont use any bandwidth and involve one LocalSettings.php file and some database entries - the only cost for keeping the software on is paying for the domain name - instead, we could just relocate the inactive wiki to something like or something. My $0.02. KirbyMeister 20:58, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Usually, we do not pay for such domain names... There is a sort of technical cost in this that these projects may be vandalised without anyone realising. This might decrease our credibility. Anthere
If they are inactive, they don't have to be look nice - we can put a prominent warning about their inactivity there that can only be edited by certain people. Brian Jason Drake 09:27, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

This may have been the start of something awful

Thoughts from a few weeks before, about how to improve our project-description framework, to better identify how well-developed a project is:

I think all of the recent trouble comes from not giving active contributors enough room to stretch their arms. The only channel for pushing forward a new project on a grand scale, is to push for a new project (with the accompanying announcements, attention; the burden of setting up a new wiki, with its own policies...) We have not set a good example. There should be a measured way to develop a new idea with a group of supporters, in an incubating environment to a point where it can be judged ready for 'the next step'.
I would like to see a brightly-lit board of new projects which receives much attention, even conscious attention, from regular comments on foundation-l, perhaps these can be in various stages of development like the books in wikibooks with little icons for the different stages. At some stage, a project would be acceptable for 'recommendation for a new domain' (and at this one critical stage, because of the branding and domain-registration issues involved, a vote of the board, discussion among individuals)
but people want to stake out a claim for themselves in a small piece of [their world]...
A solution for this is to recognize the many good projects that exist, and to remove the mystery from 'making a project come together' then it no longer seems like the work of one coordinator, but rather the successful creation of a logo, a slogan, an initial proposal, short founding policies, an initial hundred articles and templates, an announcement and communication to other projects...
I think that as long as we provide an avenue for recognition of good work -- for instance, measurable progress in pushing a project forward (not just a binary "domain exists / does not exist") -- that these ego issues will recede somewhat in the face of a worthy shared goal.

Discussing ideas for new projects

<Jun-Dai 17:20, 3 May 2005 (UTC)> This page is all about the formal process for proposing new projects, but there's no reference to a good centralized place to discuss ideas for new projects, or read discussions about them. I recognize that we can do this in pretty much any namespace, but it would be good if the New project policy document at least made mention of a place for that, yes? </Jun-Dai>

There is now such a place: Proposals for new projects. There is a link on the policy page now. Brian Jason Drake 09:36, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
A proposal page and space might be appropriate for some types of projects. For example, a small software project only needs to attract a small number of knowledgeable people and people willing to learn to successfully initiate a software project. Other projects such as Wikipedia or Wikiversity or Wikibooks need to attract large numbers of highly qualified participants to achieve targeted success criteria but must get started with initially available resources to achieve a prototype that is convincing to large numbers of people within the available stream of casual web traffic. A great deal of energy has been expended at Wikiversity discussion protecting the concept of free learning materials and processes from proponents of other wikis who appear to believe a zero sum situation exists. Apparently there is fear that efforts at Wikiversity will somehow negatively impact Wikipedia or Wikibooks unless the Wikiversity site is policed and any possible effort construed as duplication immediately deleted or merged back to the other preferred senior projects. This problem is magnified because the initial community proposing the Wikiversity was effectively stalled by demanding a tests or prototypes (first at Wikibooks and later at meta) be conducted to prove the viability of a Wikiversity project. Naturally each hosting namespace or community likes to demand that its local policies and constraints are followed to the letter. If a similar requirement had been levied that be successfully prototyped at or it is likely that would have been a complete failure unworthy of even a footnote in any 2 bit encyclopedia much less Brittanica. Instead the dedicated namespace successfully convinced and allowed a community of volunteers to experiment and refine their methods and their visible available product independent and substantially isolated from project opponents until was transferred to and allowed to incrementally improve its growing community and product. Now is apparent that explosive growth potential is possibly limited by donated resources for processing, storage and bandwidth. It might be wise to consider the needs of individual projects or at least define several different categories of potential project requirements instead of attempting to shoe horn every project into a single rigid formal process. user:lazyquasar

Organizational suggestions for New Project Policy

As somebody who has gone through the process of trying to start a new "sister project", there is quite a bit that is missing from this policy. I think as a first attempt this is a good start, and it certainly sets the bar high for what it is going to take in terms of trying to get a new project going. A few thoughts about the policy as it current stands:

The jump from doing an announcement on meta to an announcement on Foundation-l should have a few more steps in between. Foundation-l gets bombarded with a whole lot of junk from a lot of different sources, and new project proposals that are suggested should have a little bit more time to ferment, IMHO. If somebody actually finds this page (they have to do quite a bit of digging on Meta to get here in the first place) these steps are usually something that a single person by themself can accomplish. At least a couple week delay from when you first throw the idea on Meta to when it goes onto Foundation-l. Discussions at the "water coolers" of sister Wikimedia projects may also be useful, but to avoid the spamming issues related to trying do everything at once. I added a section on the New Project page that went into some details about things like Wikiprojects that could be started instead of beginning a whole new Wikimedia sister project.

Indeed the best way to describe how new sister projects get started (with about the lone exception being Wikispecies... and I'm not too sure about that) is the following:

  1. BE BOLD and add content somewhat related to but not exactly like what is on a current Wikimedia project (Current events... for example on Wikipedia)
  2. Get serious about that concept and really work on it to the point that hardly resembles what is on that Wikimedia project.
  3. Get into an edit war where other editors/contributors start to complain that the content is inappropriate for the particular Wikimedia project (like doing original current event reporting on Wikipedia).
  4. Start a new Wikimedia project proposal in some form....especially if you can bring along a cadre of people that have been working with you on this crazy new idea from the old sister project that you are now being kicked off from.
  5. Show that there is a large group of people willing to get the project rolling, and that you havn't steped in too many virtual landmines to blow the proposal away from getting started.
  6. Start the new project.
  7. Go back to step #1.

Not everything happens this way, but those who have been here for awhile can agree this is a typical pattern. I don't know if this is good or bad, but the most successful projects (like Wikinews) had some time to incubate on the "parent" Wikimedia project before going on their own. Wikiversity, for instance, has matured quite a bit while on Wikibooks, and will continue to have strong ties to Wikibooks. The best new projects (Commons, for example) draw on the strengths of other projects and fill in holes where there were previously some problems.

Moving on....

Going from interest discussion to the poll is a tougher leap than I thought, even while I'm trying to do it myself right now for Wikiversity. Digging up people that are willing to do translations for the interest poll has proven much harder than even I would have anticipated. The vote for Wikiversity just barely creeped under the wire with the vote instruction pages being translated into five languages just a week before the "poll" was opened. A couple of new languages have been added since (especially Spanish in this case), but the polling was already going on.

I neglected to include a formal translation of the proposal in the case of Wikiversity. I know this is a technical mistake, and in this case there were demo pages instead in at least five different languages, including all of the original languages that had the voting page translated as well. A complaint on the part of some of the voters who don't speak English is that they are somewhat confused with the proposal, and perhaps a short description (< 1000 words) of the project would have been useful as well.

One thing I did accomplish prior to the vote, however, was a series of notifications and Water Cooler announcements translated into different languages. This has been invaluable for me to make the announcement into the Water Cooler pages in other languages, and has been IMHO one reason for the relatively large turnout so far for the Wikiversity vote. Particularly from those who don't speak English as a native language, nor people that are regular contributors to Foundation-l. It took quite a bit of time to try and track down the appropriate Water Cooler sections, but having the announcements already pre-translated made my work incredibly easier... even for languages that I knew myself. Organizing a list of appropriate water cooler pages to make general Wikimedia announcements on would have use beyond even just the New Project Policy. For example: board-member elections, Wikimania, death of Jimbo, and other announcements that wouldn't necessarily be announced on every single page but affect all Wikimedia users.

The "independent" election judge is perhaps the hardest hurdle that I have come across. I'm trying to be that "independent" judge for Wikiversity, but it is not a trivial thing to do. It takes somebody with a huge passion for the project (or a weird set of priorities in life) to be willing to do all of the work it takes to set up and run one of these new project polls. Perhaps I got myself a job in the future :) Anyway, it has not been easy to put all of this together, and it takes quite a bit of time just to organize the poll and write the necessary content.

The actual English instructions for the poll were written by Daniel Mayer, and copied from the Wikinews poll. I added some more "rules" but these election rules perhaps should be formally adopted as a matter of policy rather than something arbitrary and written by the current judge, or going by whatever was successful in the past. The voting rules as stand now while arbitrary seem to read as "official policy", and IMHO they should be even if they are not at the moment.

One final comment: There seems to be quite a bit of resistance in general to starting any new Wikimedia sister project in general. So much that even worthy projects (like Wikiversity) are getting "No" votes from people because they think it diverts resources that are better used elsewhere, like server space, Foundation board agenda time, and sucking away potential contributors from other projects. I would like to see somebody who is knowlegable about these issues to frankly address them, particularly in regards to the technical issues like why starting is any harder or more complex than (as an example, to pick on a language with a small population base). If it is going to be Foundation policy to not start any new projects, I wish that policy would be clearly stated, and tell everybody trying to start new projects to simply go away and use Wikicities instead. Not just a recommendation to try Wikicities but that Wikicities (or other free wiki servers) is the only game in town and we shouldn't even try to start another Wikimedia sister project at all. The Wikimedia Foundation isn't interested and will not start a new project. Period. Or at least be clear that the Foundation may be interested in new projects, but only if they meet very high standards in their proposal. Currently I see neither coming from the Foundation and others seeming to speak on behalf of the board on this matter but don't really have that authority. --Roberth 03:37, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

If you're going to do something completely different to what's supposed to be on any of the projects, why not do it on a project set aside for this? Brian Jason Drake 09:44, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
So are you suggesting that this page is a total waste of time? Why not simply put wording on this page that simply says the following:

No new Wikimedia project will ever be accepted. Thank you for trying, but instead try to fit within the framework of existing Wikimedia projects or try your idea out on Wikicities. Thank you for your time.

I think that is silly and wrong, but that is the end result of the attitude that no new projects should be created. The argument about creating an incubator project on the other hand is a good one, and something that should be added to this page instead. If you have a neat idea and want to get it started as potentially a new Wikimedia project, perhaps one of the steps in this New Project Policy is to create a Wikicities like project for Wikimedia sponsored concepts. Unfortunately, that incubator Wiki project doesn't exist yet. That is ultimately the reason why we want to do something completely different that we can't put it on an incubator project. And Wikicities is not the answer either as once a project moves to Wikicities it is highly unlikely to move back to being a Wikimedia project at least without some sort of policy change by the Wikimedia Foundation board, not to mention conflict of interest by two members of the board as well. Nothing personal, but that is a fact that there is a conflict of interest there. -- 16:58, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

I am suggesting nothing of the sort. Roberth suggested that you put inappropriate content on an existing project before propsing a new one (e.g. put Wikiversity content on Wikibooks, then when they complain, make a proposal for Wikiversity). Why not just put the Wikiversity content on a project set aside for playing with new project ideas?
I see how my comment could be interpreted as referring to Wikicities. Perhaps we could even use Wikicites as the incubator project. The most restrictive agreement that Wikimedia uses the GFDL (Wikinews is (was?) public domain.). Wikicites uses the GFDL. It looks like they are both intended to make ideas and information freely available. Why is there any conflict of interest? Brian Jason Drake 08:28, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
The conflict of interest is that Angela and Jimbo have a foot in both the Wikimedia Foundation as well as Wikicities. Essentially, once something is on Wikicities it will be near impossible to have the idea move back to becomming a Wikimedia sister project. At least that is the current perception. Generally speaking, I like the idea of using Wikicities as an incubator with an interest survey to see if the project should join the rest of the Wikimedia projects as a "sister project". Things like Memory Alpha will obviously not be made a sister project, but some others might. This will require specific changes to the new project policy, and something I've seen discouraged from discussions on Foundation-l. That also requires a specific vote with the Foundation board, so is not a trivial change either. Who knows. Something does need to change, and the new incubator project does need to start in some form or another. --Roberth 00:37, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Is Wikicites a non-profit organization (if so, don't see why it matters that some people are members of both boards)? Can't seem to find the answer anywhere. Brian Jason Drake 06:42, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
See wikicities:About Wikicities for more details, but the long and short of it is: No, Wikia is not a non-profit organization (although it may not make much profit). It is distinctly different from and not directly associated to the Wikimedia Foundation except through the two people mentioned above. There is advertising on Wikicities, and that advertising revenue does go to Wikia, although some of the money from Wikicities supposedly also goes to the Wikimedia Foundation as well. I don't know the exact figures, and even if all it did was help pay for Jimbo's and Angela's personal expenses, it is still a conflict of interest in the sense that Wikicities is being promoted over creating new Wikimedia sister projects. I don't see any ulterior motive, and I do like what is done on Wikicities for the most part. It is a different environment from the Wikimedia projects, however. --Roberth 08:58, 28 December 2005 (UTC)