Wikipedia cloning project

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This page is a proposal for a new Wikimedia Foundation Sister Project.
Status Closed (could be re-opened under new policy).
Reason Inactive proposal. --Sannita (talk) 13:06, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
What is the proposed name for the project? Wikipedia cloning project
Project description
What is the project purpose? What will be its scope? How would it benefit to be part of Wikimedia?
How many wikis?
Will there be many language versions or just on one multilingual wiki?
How many languages?
Is the project going to be in one language or in many?


Technical requirements
If the project requires any new features that the MediaWiki software currently doesn't have, please describe in detail. Are additional MediaWiki extensions needed for the project?
Development wiki
Interested participants

The purpose of the Wikipedia cloning project is to define strategies and develop tools so that the distribution of wikipedia's content all over the internet be subject to the interests of the wikipedia community and to the GNU-FDL license. And to use a Wikipedia fork or mirror wiki during the Wikimedia/Wikipedia maintenance tasks, so one able to save one´s edits in the Wikipedia fork.

To serve the Wikipedia community best interests:

  • the wikipedia content must be widely distributed
  • the GNU-FDL license must be respected
  • every article must have a link to correspondent wikipedia page
  • unnecessary forking must be avoided
I think necessary forking should be easy and encouraged politely without creating unnecessary obstacles. This is an essence of freedom, the ability to move on or elsewhere without abandoning previous investments involuntarily. user:mirwin
I disagree. Forking should be easy, but discouraged because we trying to build an enciclopedia and for that we need some sort of central control. Forking is only a good thing if necessary.user:Joao
Perhaps we should move this discussion to the talk page and preserve this page for articulated points of w:consensus. I do not think we are that far apart in essence. The GPL and FDL are about not restricting future users freedoms. What if a free software project such as linux had a GPL'd code base that was setup such that modifying it inside the constraints of the GPL was extremely difficult? It might fail to attract contributors and thus fail for lack of interest. If we wish to attract people who become Wikipedians, they must be confident they can use a copy the community property to their own advantage in other places, projects, and applications. An example might be an introductory science text or engineering text. Can a Wikipedia contributor or user download an article in a form to easily include it in a usemod wiki, other wiki, or cut and past text and attribtion data while complying with the attribution requirements of the FDL? Another sample, which I need to add to the FAQ. Is there a way to cut and paste material from one Wikipedia article to another Wikipedia while preserving the attribution information necessary to comply with the FDL? --user:mirwin
A new w:argument (see also w:legal theory): From http://wikipedia.com submit button notice "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't hit submit." The bold was inserted by me. Consider that in the U.S. a legally enforceable contract has a meeting of minds and appropriate consideration in both directions or it can be set aside by a civil judge. Clearly Bomis has the ability to redistribute at will as they are running several servers and/or wiki spaces. It would seem to me that perhaps our implied contract requires us to provide similar at will consideration to other stakeholders in the Wikipedia community. user:mirwin

To achieve these goals it is proposed that we:

  • Draft, discuss and ratify a community charter. We should keep in mind that wikipedia and its members are all part of other communities. Perhaps if we get several operational scenarios and associated charters drafted we could take them to an appropriate public forum such as advogato.com, slashdot.com or somewhere on sourceforce or other forum where potential free developers and contributors hang out and invite public discussion to refine our alternatives.
  • Organize a how to fork/mirror guide that first explores when and why to fork/mirror or not to fork/mirror. This way if differences can be resolved appropriately much forking and loss of disgruntled contributors can be avoided.
  • Reasonable guidelines can be developed and posted publicly so that all contributors know the risks of participation and the potential cost of departure with an instantaneous snapshot for forking.
  • Release the database in several easy to download files. The articles must be released in an organized manner so that equally relevant be released in the same file. Articles Relevance can be established from the number of links the articles gets.
  • Write an interface to the database that respects the GNU-FDL license, places a link to correspondent wikipedia page in every article and disallows editing to avoid unnecessary forking.

Would the immediately above be the "invariant" proposed on the mailing list? to me (user:mirwin), disallowing editing would seem to violate the essence of wiki and make the material harder to tailor for new purposes.

You can always use the wikipedia software and databases to build another wikipedia. But it is a bad idea to make it easy, so that only people with a good reason to fork actualy fork. Disallowing editing would not violate the essence of wiki because wikipedia clones are not wikis.user:Joao
It is my opinion that making it difficult violates the essence of the FDL and limits the value delivered to customers and contributors alike. Further, it may backfire in the following sense: There are many free developers and a large pool of potential new contributors (to mutually self train as a pool of improving collaborative encyclopedists) around with the capability to recreate the essence of Wikipedia from scratch. This project has clearly demonstrated the value in the approach to many with public and private agendas. I think it is better to provide the freedom to leave easily and attract interested parties to contribute to our project's success because it potentially benefits them and they see this clearly; than to provoke a fork out of possibly misguided concern that the local knowledgebase is not truly free and useful to other members of the larger community or ourselves in other free projects.
Let me add that there are articles around that clarify this is not the intent of the project founders or the local community but that as a beginner here I did not find them easily. I still have some concerns that the practical details have not been implemented or worked out yet, but it appears the development team is contemplating the problem and potential resolution methods. It is my current view that this is a serious Research & Development effort and thus some confusion to new contributors is inevitable. We need acknowledge the concerns and show clearly how we are working on these issues.
The site has committed to meeting legal requirements on the front page and in press releases and with the submit button. You and I are attempting to agree on the level of ease appropriate and how important it is to our longterm success as a project. Others will probably have opinions or know the current w:consensus of the community. Hopefully others will chime in or point us to the appropriate summaries and ratification procedures or articles detailing or attempting to draft change proposal development and review procedures. -- user:mirwin
  • Provide a comprehensive snapshot download capability that provides all necessary data to build a complete mirror/fork that is in compliance with the GPL and FDL but which is provided on a first come first served metered basis which provides the information in a reasonable period of time but does not adversely affect the parent site.
  • Release periodic updates of the database to avoid the need of webmasters for downloading all files again.
  • Look for collaboration from people that write CMS software like: PHPNUKE, PostNuke, Drupal and Scoop. Maybe Rusty from Kuro5hin be interested in hosting a wikipedia mirror. Or even SlashDot people.

We've been through half the discussion before on talk:SunirShah. As for Drupal, Dries incorporated a wiki-inspired permanent storage system into it last year, and Cliff managed to spooge UseModWiki into Scoop at one point. But I'm not sure what you mean by writing CMS software. Wikipedia is a CMS. I mean, what more do you need?