Wikikids/Vikidia's withdrawal of the adoption proposal

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The adoption proposal of Vikidia by the Wikimedia Foundation made us open a poll on Vikidia. It was needed for the next step of the proposal, to show if the community approved the proposal (or else it couldn't be upheld by the WMF).

They were a majority for the adoption, but it showed several argument against the adoption by the WMF. It was notified on the poll page that this was not a decision that could be implemented right after this poll. It had to be validated by the Vikidia association, and in accordance with the Vikidia association's bylaws, it had to be approved by Wikimédia France and myself (Astirmays (talk)). And to go through a Wikimedia community large approval and to be validate by the WMF board. Within the association, we then changed our mind and decided to break off the adoption proposal. We had worked for a while on that proposal, nevertheless, there are several reasons for our choice :

  • we usually equally respect every voice on Vikidia. Still most of the approval votes were from children and teenagers, whereas most of the regular and adult big editors were sceptical on that question. They are the ones that justified and explained the most their opinion on that poll;
  • the fact that the objections previously heard on that project (kind of synthesis of them on Wikikids/Questions and answers) were likely to show up again if it would have been pushed forward. This Wikikids project seemed not to have quite many chances to be accepted by the Wikimedia community as a whole, notably because of some reluctance for a project that explicitly aims children;
  • would a big organisation as WMF be the right place to launch such a wiki that raise some new questions ?
  • Wikimedia France allready knows and supports Vikidia. The Wikimedia chapters may be more approachable than the WMF to get some support if needed, even if they don't have the same budget, technical or legal teams for example. The main issues in helping such a project to thrive remain a matter of volunteers work;
  • Vikidia's and WikiKids.nl's statistics show that being part of the WMF is not required for such wikis to reach their readers. (See these Google Trends that compare the popularity trends of Vikidia and Wikikids.nl in their main language area to 4 Wikimedia projects (excluding Wikipedia): Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikiversity, Wikisource and Wikikids in the Netherlands and Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikiversity, Wikisource and Vikidia in France.
  • the fact that creating a "wikikids" in english would have been very uncertain due to the existence of Simple English Wikipedia. SEWP follows a model that has not been copied in any other language : to aim to be written in a basic language while contesting to be aimed at children, or remaining ambiguous on this point. the existence of Simple English Wikipedia was an issue for the adoption of the Wikikids project since every conceivable option had its drawbacks or difficulties (See Wikikids/Relation to Simple English Wikipedia).

Withdrawing the adoption proposal frees the Vikidia project on this point and we decided to open a Vikidia project in English http://en.vikidia.org/ , which will be launched at the end of February 2014 !

Comment[edit]

Hello Astirmays, thank you for this update. After the positive response to the local poll, I was hopeful that things would proceed smoothly. Clearly I was mistaken, alas! Still I am glad to hear about your plans for the year, and vikidia is lucky to have your enthusiastic support.

A few thoughts about your notes above, for the benefit of future adoption efforts of other wikis:

  • Yes, support through chapters is a good solution.
  • A public discussion for adoption would run for ~1 month, but that could overlap with the time it takes to finalize technical details for a migration.
    Yes, some objections would be raised in the public discussion. As long as there are sensible answers to objections, it is normal for new projects to have some commentors who object. (This is ok: they don't have to edit the project :-)
    It is legally true that the V. Association and the WMF would have to approve this change, but those decisions could happen quickly and in parallel. The WMF has always promptly approved new projects once they had community support.

As for simple english: I don't see any conflict between en.vikidia and SE.wikipedia. SE is a language-variation used for all of the wikimedia projects: wikipedia, wikibooks, wikiquote, &c. If anything, you might have some people who wanted to start SE.vikidia debating whether there was a need for simple and non-simple language on it.

On the other hand, for small-innovative-projects like Vikidia: if it turns out that they are better off being independent, but supported through affiliate or partner grants: then perhaps it would make sense to spin off some of our smaller projects as well (Wikiquote and Wikiversity come to mind) so that they can be more creative and flexible. This is a valuable discussion to have. Either we should make it much easier and more welcoming for small projects to be part of the core group of projects, or we should make it easy for them to be independent parts of the free knowledge universe.

Be well, SJ talk  00:52, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Samuel, thanks for your feed-back, thoughts and informations.
I can admit that the WMF would probably have approved such a new project once he had the (wikimedia) community support, still I was not sure about this community support and they also were some relectances within Vikidia for possible imposed changes.
About simple english, I'm not sure that this formal approach of it as a language-variation can be relevant for every issue.
Then, our goal in Vikidia is not to be independent at any cost, we will still take care of our links and relations with the Wikimedia institutions/organisations, for the simple reason that it's where we come from, and we run our wikis in a very similarly minded way (and some references in "progressive education" to realise that the wikimedia principles also fit to children).
Cheers for the way you may conciliate people in the issues you work on, and bye ! Astirmays (talk) 22:36, 22 February 2014 (UTC)