Fwd: Wikisource and sharing its content
(too old to reply)
Gerard Meijssen
2016-12-16 07:01:25 UTC
Raw Message
I had the email address wrong. This is why I forward it as well.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gerard Meijssen <***@gmail.com>
Date: 16 December 2016 at 07:58
Subject: Wikisource and sharing its content
To: Katherine Maher <***@wikimedia.org>
Cc: ***@lists.wikimedia.org

Hoi Katherine,

I have had a read of your long mail on strategy. I want to mention a few
things in reply and give you another perspective. I am a really long time
contributor and for me there is one over arching idea that captures
everything that we do. Everything we do fits "sharing the sum of all
knowledge". Everything we should fit and when it does not, the question is
does it fit us.

The biggest problem I see is that we are not true to this motto because as
a movement we discriminate against our "other" projects, we put too much
emphasis on Wikipedia and on English Wikipedia at that. English does not
represent 50% of our traffic.

We raise funds only on Wikipedia and it makes beggars of all the other
projects. It is an arguments that is used by English Wikipedians; "you
should be grateful for all the attention you get and, MediaWiki fits what
you need anyway". In this way the needs for the other projects are ignored
and waved away.

When you then think about what our aim is, "share in the sum of all
knowledge" we effectively are no longer thinking how to achieve that.
Wikisource is a project to create digital publications from paper
publication. The problem is that this is not what sharing/publishing is
about. Sharing has an emphasis on readers and seeking more readers for
content. This is why all these books are transcribed.

My solution would be to separate out the editing of Wikisource and the
reading of Wikisource finished material. We need a platform where only the
finished goods are presented to a public and helps them find freely
licensed books. The data for all the books is largely available at
Wikidata, the books are at Wikisource so it is just a matter of

In this way we provide a platform where people actually find books. We will
generate more readers and thereby more interest for Wikisource. To top it
off it may grow into a platform for both fundraising and advocacy for more

We can use template for authors, we can use templates for books and
publishing companies. Software will be localised at translatewiki.net and
it may be used for existing platforms for finished Wikisource goods (they
exist in Tamil and Malayalam and probably more).

Why do this? Because it will grow Wikisource and it will have us do a
better job at "sharing the sum of the knowledge that is available to us".

Does it cost money sure, but it will enable us to fundraise for Wikisource.
I talked to Seddon; he said it is not cost effective to raise funds on the
"other" projects and the "other" languages. It is an honest discrimination
but the resulting lack of care is not benign. I have asked a friend of mine
if he could do a good job and he can. It would use Wikidata for its data
and the Wikimedia user database.

It is well within the budget of the WMF, I am convinced that it will grow
the reading of freely licensed books exponentially.