04/04/2004: OpenMeatballWiki seems to be a spam garden.
There has been a lot of pressure on Meatball over its lifetime to modify the MeatballWikiCopyright to be an OpenContent license, typically a CopyLeft license. These arguments often miss several critical points:
'''Therefore, although the "liberalist" copyright policy is not enough for some authors as they would like the site to force OpenContent, they cannot change the copyright for the whole site. We have such things as the MeatballWikiBasicsSnapshot, but that is not quite enough. Authors can, however, dual-license their writings as they see fit. Popular methods include such things as an OpenAuthor? notice or by marking each interesting comment with a license notice (see PrimarilyPublicDomain). These techniques work well as long as their text does not become refactored or edited heavily, in which case sometimes these licenses fail (see CopyLeft). Consequently, authors feel it is necessary to mirror their own works elsewhere.
To facilitate this, and to make sure that it is clear that this is not "subvertive" behaviour, Meatball now also is considering providing OpenMeatballWiki where this content may be mirrored by likeminded authors. The copyright situation on OpenMeatballWiki is a complex terrain, however, as authors may license their works there in any way they feel appropriate. We do not recommend editing or contributing to that site directly.
It's understandable that this may create a real MeatballWikiFork? as people may decide to contribute to that wiki directly. We maintain a CommunityExpectation to guide people away from contributing to that wiki.
This is a response to Bayle and Alex's push for an open content MeatballWiki. I'm not satisfied that this is good enough. We could damage the copyright on OpenMeatballWiki enough that the copyright zealots feel it is impossible to contribute there. Such as saying something like "only works originally written on MeatballWiki may be contributed to this wiki." Although a hard restriction like that might be ultimately best served with a TechnologySolution, a la KeptVersions or AuthorPages or something like that where authors could just tag an edit (diff, page?) as something they want to hold onto. Then again, suppose someone wanted only a paragraph out of a whole page, or an small essay written over many days with intervening edits by other authors on a longish page?
Meatball also reserves the RightToMirror? (snapshot) MeatballWiki... how that could be used, I don't know. I'm not very eager to start using that "right" for work that was not specifically written to be mirrored, like FAQs, how tos, ModWiki, MeatballWikiBasicsSnapshot, etc.
You're too smart for me! That's why I marked it as DeletedPage right away. I'm well aware we've been having a ForestFire on this issue over the past few weeks (years), except it wasn't blatantly obvious as we have been distracted elsewhere. I want to clean all of this up, and that means I need a place to dump everything, except right now I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open, and I have to finish setting my new apartment tonight.
Discussion of the collection copyright -> CompilationCopyright
We all have different copyright preferences, from OpenContent (whether CopyLeft or more BSD-ish) to PublicDomain to ask-me-and-I'll-be-happy-to-give-permission. Do we create ten different alternate-license wikis to satisfy everyone's preference? What a mess. Are the MultiCopyrightWiki and the MultilingualWiki problem specific cases of some more general problem? Cliff, when will ViewPoint be finished? ;-) -- anon.
I was envisioning the open version not to be an integrated corpus, but merely a place to duplicate individual comments. You would mark each statement with a license or mark all your contributions there with an OpenAuthor? license. No new content unless originally contributed here on the normal MeatballWiki. While technically there may be no way of enforcing this, very little of this has anything to do with practicality anyway, and almost everything to do with idealism.
However, that's only a suggestion. That may be more strict than what others wanted.
The thing that gets me is that the copyright situation is so beneath the concern of the actual goings on that it is only useful in a copyright fight, and to something like MeatballWiki, that would probably mean someone who just basically hates us. So perhaps it's better to identify the problems we want to solve and ignore the rest? shrug -- SunirShah, still brainstorming
Yes, either we'd have to (1) decide on a single open license, or (2) have multiple open wiki repositories, or (3) have a mishmash of submissions with variant licenses. I can't think of an easy solution there, and I don't have time to do either of the first two. Let's just let people post what they want there under what license they want. For now, let's just get a data repository up. I know I don't have time to discuss more than that right now, and I feel that others don't either. All I want is for now is a repository so that open content is not lost. As you can tell, I'm eager to go ahead and do it. Content's a-wasting.
I'm sorry I can only respond in point form for the moment, but for what it's worth, here's a couple points in response just to shape the discussion:
Please consider replying on MeatballWikiCopyrightDiscussion.
Here is my solution with better FeatureKarma. I decided that although I cannot change the MeatballWikiCopyright, I could reinterpret the MeatballWikiCopyright. After poking through the BerneConvention, I discovered that
The only right that is missing is the right to make derivative works of text from MeatballWiki, which is a "per author" decision, which is fair. Meatball took the position not to forcibly disempower anyone--to state the default copyright situation--and I continue to support that. If you feel it is still necessary to do this, we can, but I question the need (I'm lazy) if people can just come here to make derivative works. -- SunirShah
Before CommunityWiki, I was unhappy because all the effort I was putting into MeatballWiki was lost to the OpenContent world. Now, I am happy, because I can put stuff on CommunityWiki. Content on CommunityWiki can also be integrated into MeatballWiki.
So, CommunityWiki gives us options while the MeatballWiki community decides what to do. If content gets put there in the meantime, that content can still be put back into MeatballWiki. If another OpenContent effort is started later, the content from CommunityWiki can be moved or copied.
I think there's no rush, and we can take our time with this issue now. As I said on the page CommunityWiki, I think that for now, CommunityWiki is OpenMeatballWiki. Let's think about incorporating it officially into the MeatBall project.
I understand there is an imbalance. When we started we thought it would just be back and forth discussion like WikiWiki, but it turned into a beautiful PatternLanguage that I would also like to see gain legs, but not at a grave expense.
This follows directly from that part of the copyright notice combined with the discovery that we own all the anonymous contributions.
For pages that are anonymous, the system can automagically copy the pages into an HTML scrape archive. Of course DelayAction for two weeks to prevent unscrupulous idiots from claiming some un PeerReviewed text was published. Although I was originally thinking the system would do this to all candidate pages automatically, I think a more prescriptive approach would be better. i.e. tag pages with ArchivedPage? notices. This way, either TheCollective may choose to publish, or someone from the outside could request to publish, and junk pages that happen to also be anonymous won't necessarily be published (these exist too).
We could have the software constrain the ArchivedPage? to only act on anonymous or anonymous + OpenAuthor? pages. We do have, after all, a nearly 100% covering CategoryHomePage system, but then sometimes things like ModWiki should be archived and republishable as well. (well, ModWiki is copyright LaurensPit, but other things like ModWiki have signatures and should be republished).
Note that this would encourage people to rework ThreadMode, which is an extra added bonus.
So, if we grant the right to include and even the right to redistribute the archives, provided attribution is granted, we stave off a lot of problems.
FairProcess is critical. We would have to give the MeatballMailingList and the CategoryHomePages some time to react. Note that only signed contributions are the issue. Since we are sticking to anonymous contributions or those explicitly given away by the signatories, then the impact should be minimal (not to mention crudfree). Those anonymous people who refused to UseRealNames are also an ethical loose end.
While we could still never really allow WikiPedia to derive directly from our main corpus, I still think it is better to create two environments, one where do not feel constrained to write text that is derivable (MeatballWiki) and another where we are more formal and altruistic. We could also create a PublicDomain snapshot wiki (OpenMeatballWiki). For those who really want everything they write, including random drivel, to be immediately CopyLeft, they have CommunityWiki, although I seriously think CopyLeft is evil for LifeInText. CopyLeft is only appropriate for objective, clean, formal text.
Although some of the "copylefters" may be ok with the public domain snapshot wiki as well. -- SunirShah
Why would Wikipedia want to derive directly from Meatball? Wikipedia is NeutralPointOfView. Wikipedia doesn't give advice. Wikipedia doesn't express opinions. Wikipedia has a different writing style. MetaWikiPedia might want to derive a little from meatball, but the encyclopedia proper wouldn't want to gobble up meatball, even if it could. --MartinHarper
Ask Alex why he wanted to embed MeatballWiki into WikiPedia. He may have chosen a poor example. The idea was for CopyLefted wikis to use Meatball as a base, but the converse action is also impossible--we cannot use CopyLeft material from elsewhere as a base. Of course, we will publish public domain content as well, so it seems while CopyLeft aims at a middle-path (open with restrictions), we will aim at bottom (PublicDomain), middle (RightToInclude), and high roads (MeatballWikiCopyright). cf. HighRoadLowRoad. It's all about trade offs.
So, anyone like/hate this proposal? Some positive reinforcement would be nice, rather than the normal silence. -- SunirShah
I like this line of thinking, and I'd like to work at making CommunityWiki more like this, rather than the current situation of it being a separate project using MeatballWiki as its core (or archive). -- StephenGilbert
People will dislike it greatly if you take their material and republish it, especially for profit. Ultimately, the best thing to do is to just run the wiki as a wiki. On MeatballWiki I make it clear that for things like FAQs and How Tos, we'd like to distribute them as well. Aside from that, I don't think there's much more really at contention. Your users aren't your enemies. They obviously like this place enough to hang out here. Just try to be fair and civil. Most of copyright law (before the year 2000) was fair, too, so I wouldn't worry about that either. -- SunirShah
I am currently data dumping all the text that is tagged with "The above text is PrimarilyPublicDomain" onto OpenMeatballWiki with a very crude script. However, after doing this, I realized how lame this solution was. A better solution, I think, would be to create on every page a headword section that was explicitly flagged PublicDomain. For instance, the layout of the equivalent "NoSuchPageSyntax" would be
[There is no open content on this page. Click here to create some.]
Existing discussion of LinkPattern under the DefaultCopyright goes here.
And the layout of a page with a refactored public domain DocumentMode would look like
[Assertive comment about the nature of LinkPattern goes here. Solution for all of humanity's problems with only three lines of Perl described.] The above text is PrimarilyPublicDomain ________________________________________________________________________
Existing discussion of LinkPattern under the DefaultCopyright goes here.
The nice thing about this solution is that it unifies the PageDatabase in both technically and in mind. We could do things like search both the public domain and the default copyright text with one query. More importantly, it serves as a GuidePost that one should a) be writing DocumentMode, b) write OpenContent, c) you do not want to write everything as OpenContent. For the reader, it puts everything on one page. For the editors, it makes refactoring and reworking into OpenContent a lot easier. For the community, it brings both aspects together in one place.
The current solution is confusing because it is the architecture of a fork. It is invisible because no one wants to fork this community, and so no one goes to the other site. We should fit the architecture to the community. I think this would work well. -- SunirShah
Of course, we don't need an architecture change to do this, do we? At most, change the default text for a new page from "add new content here" to something more structured. cf PublicScriptStrings?. --MartinHarper
Technically we could have a CommunityExpectation to make this work as we do now, but that is not as effective or clear as an encoded GuidePost. I agree with you that there are advantages to simply use the wiki as a wiki, and thus use our hands to continue this trend, but it may be a good political move or cultural move to rely on a little ArchitecturalCollaboration?. Plus, from a structural point of view, the VersionHistory of the public domain section would be better as StableCopy than KeptPages, and the construction of the TarBall? would be presumably easier. I think making it visually distinct has major advantages as it removes the first barrier to making things public domain: making the decision that there ought to be public domain content. -- SunirShah
Martin, I feel humbled. You're absolutely right. We can just start writing "The above text is primarily public domain," on all these pages. We can then write a script to do the rest for us (in theory). Sounds like a BarnRaisingNomination to me. -- SunirShah
Further, having something visible (contra LimitVisibility) would help undermine the deleterious effect CommunityWiki has on MeatballWiki. It would be something to point to when people complain; and if they complain that not enough content is PPD, then we could ask them to help move our existing content to the PPD section. -- SunirShah