WikiKernel is an idea relating to project proposals, and is itself a project proposal.
This is an independent Wiki that is oriented toward the development of new ideas for Wikimedia projects. Wikimedia's goal is the spread and promotion of knowledge and to that end Wikikernel will serve as an incubator for new project proposals to try out larger experiments with MediaWiki software and provide a home for the new project proposals that tend to languish on Meta.
There is a problem with Wikimedia projects in that participants of the various projects try to keep the scope of each project narrow. This generally stems from the desire to improve the quality of each project, but is also related to the fact that content which is at the periphery of a project can be susceptible to neglect and vandalism.
In addition, many worthy concepts are culled from Wikimedia projects due to there being no place to experiment with those ideas. It was anticipated that the Wikimedia Meta site could be one option for doing a small demonstration of a new project proposal, but the administrators on Meta are justifiably concerned about the issues of trying to decide what should remain and what should be culled.
By having a fully independent project that focuses on just new project development, an infrastructure of experienced users can be at hand to assist new project proposals, but allow these projects to be developed in a manner that has been typical for many Wikimedia projects. It would also provide a home for these worthy new ideas that are otherwise homeless, including small focused special projects that would be useful to Wikimedia projects in general but don't necessarily justify the creation of a whole new wiki.
Justification as an Independent Project
Several Wikimedia projects have been used for new project incubation. Notably both Wikipedia and Wikibooks have had several new projects get started, and it is still a problem on Wikibooks even with a formal policy that prohibits such activity. One of the big problems is that there is no place to put content that doesn't quite fit with any existing Wikimedia projects, other than to shove it onto Meta. Realistically, content that would go here could not be hosted anywhere else, by definition and as a matter of policy.
Ways this can Support Other Wikimedia Sister Projects
Key Features of this Proposal
- Guidelines for new project creation would be established.
- The vote for creation of a project to be included in this Wiki could be much smaller and would not necessarily require full notification to all of the Wikimedia sister projects.
- Not every project would necessarily be accepted here, and it would require some sort of community support first. The new project proposal process would still be needed.
- Developer support for the creation of new Wikimedia projects would not be needed, but would instead be done by existing administrators and experienced ordinary Wikimedia users through existing MediaWiki controls.
- Foundation Board approval would not be explicitly required to provide a set of web pages for experimentation of a new project concept, although review of the new projects would be still available to board members, including project cancellation.
- It would provide a place for the initial growth of new projects before deciding certain difficult issues such as 1) how they are licensed, 2) what standards they will use for naming, namespaces, and classification, 3) how they will be internationalised.
- It would be much easier to cull dead projects like the 9/11 wiki or Wikispecies, or at least provide some space to prove the viability of such projects first before significant Wikimedia resources are dedicated to those kinds of projects.
- General Wikimedia-wide policies for project standards such as NPOV and using Wikimedia resources for a personal soapbox would be enforced, but project scope issue policies would be dealt directly by each individual project independently. Wikikernel policies would mainly cover what qualifies as a new project on Wikikernel and under what conditions can a project be "shut down". In other words, each project would have its own set of "VfD" pages for culling individual pages and the main "Votes for Termination" page would be more about shutting down a whole project.
- This would be a multi-lingual project along the lines of the Wikimedia Meta Wiki. Since these are all brand new projects anyway, there is no reason to establish separate language editions of this project. New projects in languages other than English would even be encouraged.
- This wiki would not necessarily be a required step for new project proposals to become a full Wikimedia sister project, but it would provide a viable demonstration in terms of a proof of concept for any such proposals and strongly recommended.
These are separate pages for discussing key aspects of this proposal:
- Project naming discussion --Wikikernel is certainly not the only possible name for this project.
- Formal policies for this project - More oriented toward a What is Wikikernel?, but does include specific policies that would be in force if this project is approved.
- Discussion about the creation of a logo
- Project licensing issues - As some new project proposals may not necessarily be done with the GFDL, it might be wise to consider other licensing arrangements.
Previous incubator proposals
This has been discussed several times and in many places by various Wikimedia users. These are some previous proposals to accomplish this same objective:
There is still a need to develop this proposal first, so no vote will happen before June 2006 at the earliest.