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Kernigh at other wikis:

What is wrong with Wikimedia?

From October 2005 to April 2006, Kernigh was active on Wikibooks as a "non-Wikipedian Wikimedian". Now, I rarely edit here. Why? What follows is an essay critical of Wikimedia: Good Members, Bad Community.

As a Wikimedia contributor, you do not need to read this essay. Though I complain of troubles here, you are not trying to cause trouble at Wikimedia; you are trying to make all Wikimedia projects succeed.

Good Members, Bad Community[edit]

Now I do believe thus:

  1. Cooperation between Wikimedia projects is poor.
  2. If your wiki project is not Wikipedia, then the Wikimedia Foundation is a bad place to host it.
  3. For Wikibooks in particular, the MediaWiki software has some disadvantages.

And further, I find that editors at non-Wikipedia projects are less welcome at Wikimedia than editors at Wikipedia, and I regret that I started my experience with my Wikibooks account. I would prefer to count myself among those who started outside the Wikimedia Foundation, especially among the small wikis.

Concering Cooperation Between Wikimedia Projects[edit]

Most Wikimedians support cooperation between the various projects. One can readily find links between the projects. Front pages like have links to other projects at the bottom. Further, many other content pages feature links between projects. The Wikimedia Commons serves images to all projects.

The Trouble with Transwikis[edit]

However, transwiki is evidence of the lack of cooperation between Wikimedia projects. I have seen situations where Wikipedia voted to move a text to Wikibooks and delete it from Wikipedia, but then Wikibooks deleted it.[1] I once transwikied a set of dictionary definitions from Wikipedia to Wiktionary but could not find a way to remove them from Wikipedia.[2]

Wikimedians seem unable to decide whether our favorite way to transwiki things is through cut-and-paste or through XML import-and-export. Notice how Meta states that one must "must" use "copy and paste", but English Wikiversity states that must never be done:

As there is currently no way of moving pages across wikis, the transfer must be done using copy and paste.
If you wish to have a page imported from Meta or Wikibooks, place your request on Wikiversity:Import. Cut-and-paste transwikis will be deleted.

The worst thing about transwiki is there is too much of it. The pile of articles copied from Wikipedia to Wiktionary is the extreme example of this.[3] Too many editors contribute to the wrong Wikimedia project. Too many editors have to work with useful pages being on the wrong project. Too many editors have to work with pages incorrectly moved between projects. This is a great example of Good Members, Bad Community; all editors' contributions are good, but the trouble arises from having the pages upon the wrong wiki communities.

When I was an editor of b:en:Guide to Unix, I had to deal with a separate body of content at b:en:Transwiki:Useful unix command. I have never completed the merge.

Outside of Wikimedia, I need not worry about transwikis. With the exception of pages emigrating from the original Wiki[4], wikis almost never move pages between each other.[5]

"The Wikipedia Foundation"[edit]

They call it the "Wikimedia" Foundation, but it is really more like the Wikipedia Foundation. When I was active on Wikimedia, three of the five members of the Foundation's Board were wiki editors: User:Angela, User:Anthere, and User:Jimbo Wales.

But Wikipedia was the first project. The other projects were initially populated by Wikipedians. In some cases, the resulting problem has been severe: I complained on Wikiquote after I could not participate in discussing page deletions on Wikiquote because they were using an "informal" version of Wikipedia's deletion policy -- and I was not familiar with Wikipedia's deletion policy.

Other projects like Wikisource and Wiktionary came into existence because of editors trying to contribute irrelevant content to Wikipedia:

What to do about primary sources? People like to add them to Wikipedia, but people also are (rightly) disturbed by their presence.
– Anonymous, before 10 December 2001
Whilst Wikipedia is not a dictionary, Daniel Alston has made the excellent suggestion that the overall Wikipedia project might be enlarged to include a Wiki dictionary in the spirit of Wikipedia, as a companion volume to Wikipedia.
– Anonymous, before 25 November 2002

The MetaWikipedia was one of these projects. It is now called the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki, but because of its legacy, many of the pages continue to assume that all Wikimedians are active Wikipedians. They are not. At Main Page#Community & Collaboration, the first link is to The Wikipedia Community, a community around an encyclopedia project. There is no reference to the wider community of Wikimedians.


President Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales, in a wrote concerning his power to dictate policy: "This has been our traditional community policy everywhere in all projects. It is not used much, and certainly has not been used in the case of Wikibooks." I wish that someone had told me this earlier. I would think that if this was a "traditional community policy" then there would be a page on Meta-Wiki mentioning it. I have not yet found the page.

(From what I know, User:Jimbo Wales has never dictated policy on Wikibooks. However, he did state that the development of video game guides - those in my mind being textbooks about video games - were against the foundation's charter. Oddly, many Wikibookians treat statements from User:Jimbo Wales as policy decrees, and I do not yet understand why. This is another reason why I think that non-Wikipedians are less welcome at Wikimedia: since Wikibooks:en:User:Jimbo Wales redirects to Wikipedia:en:User:Jimbo Wales where this user is more active, editors from the English Wikipedia are more familiar with this user and with the related traditional community policies. Enwikipediathink.)

Wikibooks versus MediaWiki[edit]

At multiple times, users have suggested starting multiple wikis, one wiki for each textbook or collection of textbooks.

There are certainly advantages to this. If you have your own MediaWiki, then you obtain your own set of special pages. I have employed the special pages much more often at Wikihack than at Wikibooks. You also obtain your own set of categories. And importantly, you can easily [[make links]] if you have the entire main namespace.

(After I wrote the above paragraph, I switched from Wikihack to NetHackWiki. The entire wiki is about one subject, so the special pages of NetHackWiki are about one subject. To contrast, the special pages of Wikibooks are not the subject of only one textbook. --Kernigh 00:43, 17 December 2010 (UTC))

I stopped writing textbook material for Wikibooks so that I could cleanup existing material. I made some moves toward making sections of the bookshelf, category, and requested book systems more orthogonal. At the times, I also examined the recent changes and new pages. I came to understand that there were many idle textbook projects on Wikibooks.

I am in want of wikis outside Wikibooks where I can work on textbook projects.

Wikibooks is not going away, and you will continue to see good textbooks developed there. Wikibooks will be a great project, even in the worst-case scenario if they lock out everyone not from Wikipedia. Perhaps you should visit and explore Wikibooks in your language, or visit Wikibooks:en:User:Kernigh and work on some of the projects that I abandoned.


Adopt a textbook[edit]

Help English Wikibooks, the project which I abandoned, by working on anything in this list. The only one that I still work on is en:NetHack, and that only because of a transwiki to outside Wikimedia.

A Neutral Look at Operating Systems, Freeware, Guide to Unix, Guide to X11, Use the Source, Bourne Shell Scripting, NetHack
Not Unix
Modern History, Guide to Social Activity, Wikijunior South America

Beware of the following:

I find it frustrating how undermaintained English Wikibooks is. At some point, I stopped writing textbook content and started cleaning up existing content. Now I have stopped that too. You might find interesting the page called Wikibooks:Wikibooks maintenance.

Edit counts[edit]

I introduced this table to collect information about my own edit counts. It doubles as a list of all of my accounts at Wikimedia. The info is from editcount (except the bot which lacks edits) as of 8 September 2006:

User Total edits Article edits Image uploads
Commons:User:File Upload Bot (Kernigh) 0 0 343
Commons:User:Kernigh 487 13 115
MetaWikipedia:User:Kernigh 512 198 0
MW:User:Kernigh 4 0 0
OldWikisource:User:Kernigh 3 0 0
Wikibooks:de:User:Kernigh 2 0 0
Wikibooks:en:User:Kernigh 4571 1994 0
Wikibooks:it:Utente:Kernigh 3 0 0
Wikibooks:ms:User:Kernigh 5 3 0
Wikinews:en:User:Kernigh 16 8 0
Wikipedia:en:User:Kernigh 105 54 0
Wikiquote:en:User:Kernigh 62 46 0
Wikisource:en:User:Kernigh 295 140 0
Wikispecies:User:Kernigh 10 4 0
Wiktionary:en:User:Kernigh 57 38 0


Copyright © 2006 Contributors to Wikimedia Meta-Wiki

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License."