Thursday, August 23, 2012

#Wikimedia Commons, a relevant history

A long long time ago when Commons the wiki was created, it was only a dream. The dream was to have one place where all the images could be shared freely among all the Wikimedia Foundation projects.

It was a dream with really practical implications. At that time sharing a picture meant uploading the same picture to another wiki. At that time removing a picture because of a copyright violation was removing it on one wiki and perhaps on one or more wikis as well. This was an inexact process with inadequate results. The dream of Commons was to store a file once and use it on any wiki. The dream of Commons was that administrative procedures would be significantly enhanced because everything could be done once and everything could be done right.

Commons was created and it took several months before pictures on Commons were available on the WMF projects.

Today Commons fulfils much of this promise. Media files are shared on all the WMF projects, you can even enable this functionality on external MediaWiki wikis. Most of the duplicate files have been deleted and a single copy only exist on Commons. Nowadays the administrative procedures are much more effective. Everybody involved in Commons will agree it is not perfect, far from it but, Commons is thriving nonetheless.

This notion of adventure that existed in the Wikimedia Foundation seems dead. I am convinced it should be revived. There are some signs that it is possible ... in things like moving towards agile development ...

More later
Post a Comment