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Wikimorial: The Wikimedia memorial to the dead, a proposal

The Sep11 wiki memorial is a great and noble idea for a wiki but the concept can and should be extended more widely so that the project has enough topics to be self-sustaining in the long run. 'Wikimorial' is a proposal to expand the focus of that wiki to be a much more inclusive project that would not only allow articles on every victim of every disaster, terrorist incident, war or even pile-up on the motor way, but would include anybody, yes anybody who is dead. This would allow the already very large number of people working on their family's genealogy on the Internet to use Wikimorial as a collaborative and wiki way to get their work done. Imagine working with distant relatives all over the planet in constructing your family tree. In Wikimorial living people can, of course, be mentioned on family tree pages, but they could not have stand-alone articles on them. This would be a very necessary policy in order to prevent the creation of vanity and blog-type pages. The focus of the entries should move more toward a type of NPOV than eulogizing (although eulogizing should be perfectly fine on talk pages). What say you Wikimedians?


Name suggestions[edit]

Please add more suggestions until Wednesday 10 December 2003 at 20:00 UTC. Then we can discuss the pros and cons of the various proposals until a majority (60%) of people involved in the discussion feel that continued discussion will accomplish little and that we should put the issue to a vote. Please use Talk:Wikimorial#Name discussion to discuss possible names.

Concept 1: Wiki + memorial

  • Pros:
    1. "Memorial" places an emphesis on honoring the dead (not just mentioning their passing - job of an obituary - or marking their existence - job of an epitaph).
    2. Memorials can be built for many, many different purposes. Many are educational, for example.
  • Cons:
  • Possible implementations:
  • Wikimorial
    • Pros:
      1. Easy to pronounce.
      2. Unique and trademarkable.
      3. Follows convention set by Wikipedia.
      4. The .org and .com domain names have already been bought and will be donated to the Wikimedia Foundation if the name is adopted.
    • Cons:
      1. Some feel that it looks and sounds silly.
  • WikiMemorial
    • Pros:
      1. You can easily understand what it means.
      2. Cons:
      3. May not be as trademarkable. Not unique.
      4. boring.
  • WikimediaMemorial
    • Pros:
      1. Can be placed at http://memorial.wikimedia.org (meaning no need to buy antother domain)
      2. May be a good place to have the project temporarily; then the Wikimedia Memorial community could choose a real name.
    • Cons:
      1. Not a real name.

Concept 2: Wiki + epitaph

  • Pros:
  • Cons:
    1. Focus is on the individual (the inscription on a gravestone) and not on events (such as disasters, wars, etc) that caused the death.
    2. Simple inscriptions on gravestones are rarely used to list extensive genealogical relationships, while a memorial can be built for many different purposes.
  • Possible implementations:
  • Wikiepithaphs
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
      1. Not unique
      2. Sounds odd
  • Wikitaph
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
      1. Hard to pronounce.
      2. Sounds vaguely obscene.

Concept 3: Wiki + obituary

  • Pros:
  • Cons:
    1. Focus is on the individual (the newspaper account of the death and where the memorial/funeral will be held) and not on events (such as disasters, wars, etc) that caused the death.
    2. Obituaries are rarely used to list extensive genealogical relationships, while a physical memorial (different than the service) can be built for many different purposes.
  • Possible implementations:
  • Wikiobituary
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
      1. Not unique
  • Wikibituary
    • Pros:
    • Cons:
      1. Not unique
      2. Sounds odd


Please use Talk:Wikimorial

Jimbo's thoughts on this idea[edit]

From an organizational perspective, I think it's an absolutely *superb* idea. If it generates traffic, it generates favorable attention for us. If it generates no traffic, well, an un used wiki costs close to zero to maintain.

And the kind of attention that it generates will be likely to cough up money from donors who are outside of our geek culture, if you see what I mean. A lot of good people may have little interest in encyclopedias but will think that it's great that such a website exists to memorialiize the dearly departed.

--Jimbo The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mav (talk • contribs) 17:43, 11 December 2003.

Another suggestion: "Wikitree" This could also include people who are alive. Perhaps, rather than excluding living people, their information could be limited to basic stats.

Combinational suggestion[edit]

  1. Wikimorial (by whatever name) for obituaries of the deceased. Wikipedia pages on deceased people should link to their wikimorial obit. Overviews of death, disasters, and battles can be placed on wikimorial, if they are minor events; but in general the overviews deserve Wikipedia pages of their own. For instance, a page on people who died in the 9/11 attacks could link directly to pages dedicated to subgroups (Ladder N, particular companies) on wikimorial, which would in turn link to individual obits. Current sept11.wikipedia.org main page, and similar project-level pages for other catclysms, could remain on wikimorial.
  2. Wikifamily (by whatever name) for geneaology and family trees. Each person would have an entry devoted to the trees associated with that person, and some basic information; it would also link to the wikimorial obit for the deceased, and/or the wikipedia page for the 'encyclopedic'. Focus would be on family, marriages/children, and bloodlines, which an obit often covers only vaguely.

Sj 21:11, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Why not just have Wikifamily do everything? I kinda like the name and went ahead and registered the .com and the .org. --mav
I think that the proposed Project is a very interesting thing. Wiki is the best technique for doing Genealogy. The results of a big genealogy Wiki could be immense. -- 14:12, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I disagree: the wiki concept is not a good match to genealogy, because genealogy requires large amounts of structured and unambiguous information, whereas a wiki promotes ad hoc structures of constantly shifting information - pages need unique names, people don't have them; links contain no semantic information, family trees require them; etc...
See also my comment on the discussion page - IMSoP 20:55, 4 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree - My idea all along was to have birth and death years as well as full names as part of page titles: John Howard Doe (1803-1869). MediaWiki could also be extended to better support geneology functions as well. --mav 02:06, 5 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
And those functions wouldn't just support geneology. Wikipedia could benefit from better methods of disambiguation, links with semantic information, better search facilities, etc.
I like the idea of having to disambiguate two people who were closely related in name, time, and location -- such disambiguation would in fact likely have been a part of their lives. And I think expanding names as necessary to include date, time, and location is useful... perhaps the article-data itself can be stored independent of its name, and the names expanded accordingly (adding location / lineage, and creating automated disambigs, as necessary). Sj 04:21, 28 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]
I started a sourceforge project called FamilyTreeWiki. See my comments on GlobalFamilyTree. -Jason Dunsmore

In case anybody sees this, check out WikiTree.org. Currently at early development stage, but fully functional and in need of community/contributors. --Krubo 16 May 2005

For an example of a wiki being used for genealogy, see The Whitney Research Group website. This website is specifically for individuals with the surname of Whitney. It currently has 2,487 extracted documents, 2,845 family pages, and a wealth of other information. - Tim Doyle.

Beta version[edit]

I have a small version running of what I envision the wiki to look like: Maria Winblad. It has biographies of dead people linked to each other with images. This is not genealogy. It is biography of ordinary people. Most people die and leave just a funeral notice. I want a place where a full biography can be written. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 05:41, 27 February 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Merge proposed[edit]

See Wikipeople.