Talk:Wiki for standards

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Original research[edit]

This is original research. You can easily set up a wiki and work on your standards where you like. There is no need to bother Wikimedia Foundation with this. -- Nichtich 17:13, 15 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why would the WMF be bothered? Why do you call it research? It is not that a wiki cannot be set up anywhere. But I am afraid you only look at what will be done within this wiki and do not look at the bigger picture; it means good qualitative articles in many languages in many wikipedias, it means terminology to be made part of WiktionaryZ.
I do not understand your point, though you are welcome to your opinion. GerardM 19:40, 15 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How does this meet the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation? Angela 22:53, 16 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The mission of the foundation is to bring information to all people in their own language. This is something that is technically not possible. We have standardised on the UTF 8 code and while it is a big improvement, it still leaves out certain languages, living languages because those languages do not have their UTF 8 codes. There are even languages that do not have their proper characterset yet. This month there was a lot to do abour a completely new character that indicates a sound that can be found in many African languages. When we cannot fulfill our mission because the standards are not mature, we can help ourselves by helping Standards mature.
There are many standards that will help us fulfill our mission when we realise that they are enabling technology. Enabling, because they help us present information in a manner that makes sense not necessarily to us but to the people that we want to provide our information to.
By hosting this project we help our selves. We host the discussion on standards. We have need for many of these standards. We are in the position to do this. We talk about Freedom and NPOV but we cannot even see texts in other languages because we lack fonts, we can not produce data in a proper sorting order because the software does not necessarily know how to do that in so many lanaguages. In order to be able to support all languages in that language, we do not even take into account that we want people that speek English, German, Dutch .. at least to be able to find the information that exists in other languages. How can there be a NPOV when there are so many topics where we cannot even see information because the software that we use does not support it.
I hope to have demonstrated why we NEED better standards. Now on a more mundane level, many standards organisations try hard to explain what they are about and find it hard. In Wikipedia they have a great place to explain who they are.. They have to do this in a NPOV way but once they get the hang of it, particularly the languages standards people will translate this to a significant number of languages. Many of these standards have their own vocabulary, that helps and it hinders, when they share this with us in WiktionaryZ or the Wiktionaries it may help in understanding where so many misconceptions relating to standards are coming from.
In the Wikimedia Foundation we are aware of some Standards that are not always as straightforward as we would like them to be. There are two people from the ISO who are associated with ISO 639, there is someone from the W3C, from Oasis .. The CLDR is another standard that we could benefir from ..
Concluding, I would say that with a wiki for standards, we will benefit as much as the people that work on standards benefit. GerardM 16:26, 17 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You can write a document, but how does that become "a standard"? How do you get people to adopt your document as a rule for their designs and processes? --LA2 21:27, 17 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You do not only write a document, you do this together because of a lot of communicationg it gets accepted, you arrive at a consensus. When this group is influential, it can become a standard. It is not a given that a standard is easy to arrive at GerardM 00:43, 18 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Abstention and potential[edit]

I have abstained from the vote so far because to me, the best test if this project will fly is whether the illustrious community of language standards experts who have expressed interest in getting it off the ground will be able to cough up the required 5 translations of the proposal. :-) At time of this writing, we have one, but thanks to some gentle prodding by Gerard, things seem to be moving forward. The last thing we need is a dormant wiki, so I want to see that there is real interest and real commitment. I would like to encourage those who have voted "No" to abstain for now for the same reason, or to make their vote conditional.

I think that if all the standards experts who have already expressed interest in this will really get involved, there is tremendous potential both for the standards community and for the Wikimedia Foundation. We'll have some of the most eminent experts in the field publishing drafts and sharing ideas, across organizational boundaries - in a neutral space provided by a non-profit. I have talked to some of the people who have signed up here personally, and from those discussions I have learned that these organizational boundaries are very real and very powerful. ISO, OASIS, W3C and so forth are separate, with separate conferences, separate publication processes, and different workflows - a wiki helps to bring them together.

The connection to Wikimedia is one which is mutually beneficial. I'd like to point out that out of the "10 things that need to be free" that Jimbo listed in his Wikimania keynote speech, at least four are very directly related to standards: the dictionary, the file formats, the product identifiers, and the maps (geodata standards). It's not just language standards that will be useful to us, though those are of the most immediate importance, so it makes sense that our initial expert community comes from that area.

Now, there are many skeptics of standards who will say that they are too slow, that they often do not describe reality. But that is exactly what a wiki can help to solve, especially a wiki that is tied to the Wikimedia Foundation that has to apply standards to solve real world problems.

We are also the ones who test the limits of localization in MySQL, or BiDi support in browsers, or UTF-8 encoding issues, or font availability. We don't just implement standards, we are utterly dependent on tools that do so. If these tools are broken because the standards are broken or incomplete, we have very little recourse to get things fixed. Our feedback during the standardization process can directly trickle down to the other organizations, companies and individuals who develop tools based on standards.

The primary goal of Wikimedia is to provide free knowledge to people in their language. Directly working with the language standards community is not just helpful in this goal, it is necessary. Doing so as part of a broader project opens the potential to solve some other "free culture" problems Jimbo has listed. When experts who work on standards for a living start to use this thing - in collaboration with the Wikimedia community - other experts will be paying attention. You'll get synergies where you didn't expect them if you have groups like the W3C and ISO sharing ideas, and you'll avoid overlap and duplication of effort.

But again, it all sinks or swims depending on the level of commitment we have from these people. A wiki without the involvement of experts and existing standards groups might lead to some interesting results, but is nowhere nearly as powerful.

As for "When does a document become a standard", it is very likely that the wiki will initially be only used to share and refine drafts, and that the drafts will be finalized and approved within the traditional processes of an organization. This is already a very substantial step forward, as it completely opens up the process of initial development. If this turns out to work well, we can experiment with stable version tagging and similar features.

As I said, I'm holding my breath until we get the translations. But if we do, I would really hope that those who have voted oppose will reconsider their decision. Let's be welcoming to these people and educate them in the ways of the wiki. :-)--Eloquence 15:56, 18 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And ... done! We have the 5 translations. I've added my vote as a wholehearted support.--Eloquence 23:51, 26 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. French:
  2. German
  3. Spanish:

Other thoughts[edit]

I liked the original wikistandards proposal to start with historical standards information, and proceed from there. I don't think this concept is somehow antithetical to Wikimedia's goals or wikis. On the other hand, the definition of the project, and what kinds of processes it would support, should be clarified.

Is it aiming to improve communication between existing standards bodies? To draft its own standars? To record the history of standards development? To provide a universal citation index for standards and their revisions? To support better revision-tracking and author attribution in the standards development process?

Sj 01:51, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Translations, &c.[edit]

The translations were nicely done. All the same, I would like to see more community understanding of and support for the project before creating an entire new project like this. What languages do each of the supporting contributors speak? Who read/needed the translations? Sj 08:38, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is "WMF centric" thinking, it is not accepting who the people are that ask for this project and insisting on "if all you have is a hammer, everytthing looks like a nail" thinking. The crux and the relevance here is that we are talking about a group of people who currently are WMF sympathisers but are not WMF regulars. They can translate and they did. They did because OUR policy insists on translations. They are voting in person because it was insisted on by WMF issues.
The question "what language do they speak", most if not all are professional level language speakers in at least two languages and it should be obvious that they propably, as a group, can communicate in more languages than a random WMF group of a similar size. Then again, what is the relevance of the question ? GerardM 12:46, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Getting wider support/acknowledgement from other projects[edit]

I know I have been a pain in the side for Gerard Meijssen, but I would like to get some more widespread input in this whole process from other Wikimedia users before this task goes live.

Just as I did with Wikiversity/Vote, I would be willing to help with the development and deployment of some sort of notice to all of the Wikimedia projects, including this time some mailing list submittals as well. The point here is that we need to let the wider Wikimedia community know what is going on here before you can actually say that community input has occured. I really don't think this proposal is going to be accepted until this step occurs, although it is not explicitly mentioned in the official guidelines.

So as not to step on the toes of anybody here, I am not going to do this unless I get at least one or two current project supporters who would like this to proceed. It does take some time to accomplish, and I'm not really in the mood to do this if it is unwelcome. --Roberth 17:29, 2 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is the current status?[edit]

The voting period is apparently over, but votes are still being added. Has the Foundation Board been notified? Who is going to shephard this project to the next step? --Roberth 20:31, 15 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

JSR168 compliance plans[edit]

As adherance to various standards is discussed, has there been any discussion about the JSR168 standard? We are using MediaWiki within a company for R&D info, and corporate is implementing a portal software with a common search engine to link various systems together in a manner which would be really helpful - but the gotcha is that they have to be JSR168 compliant. Being able to link our Wiki into this portal framework would be awesome!