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


Bawolff said...

An interesting post. And you're right - it is important to dream big.

However, agile (development) is an over-rated buzz word, that in my opinion doesn't have a whole lot to do with inovation.

Graham87 said...

The link to Wikimedia Commons in this post is broken: "Wikimeia" should be "Wikimedia".

Gerard Meijssen said...

The link is fixed. Thanks !

Sandra Fauconnier said...

I'm the new board member for cultural projects at Wikimedia NL, and I have been working on online culture projects for 12 years now.

I've been looking at Wikimedia Commons from a user's, creator's and content provider's perspective, and see so much untapped potential in there. It *could* become THE world's central, and loved, resource for sharing media under free licenses; THE first platform that cultural organizations use for sharing their collections; and could even serve as a motor for convincing young creators to release their work under free licenses.

Turning it into such a platform is not a matter of switching development methods; it is a matter of indeed dreaming big, a daring change in interface design and user experience. I hope that after the Athena project, the Wikimedia community will turn its attention to the redesign of Commons.

research paper said...

I have trouble to open this link. May be the link is broken please check it !

Gerard Meijssen said...

both links work for me