Time for GNUPedia again?

Posted 4 Feb 2013 at 10:46 UTC (updated 4 Feb 2013 at 20:32 UTC) by audriusa Share This

At one time, Wikipedia was a universal source for the useful programming tools and resources. If some language, framework or tool was used in general, it has been covered there. However recently Wikipedia seems raising the requirements to the level that would exclude many useful Free software projects. For instance, recently JAMWiki has been removed - reasonably popular, thousands of downloads (and that is for server side app), mentioned in near every review on Java-based wiki engines over multiple sources on the web - where it has been a problem?

The problem was referred as "there are sources but these are not good enough, may be affiliated with the subject and do not cover this software in depth". And "only" three votes to keep plus rather positive comment against a single vote to delete. Looks serious.

Some other I would say known tools like JSPWiki are also deleted. lckl, specially for you - please refrain from discussing exactly Java this time, seems to be more general problem.

Looks like some rather supported team is rigorously checking all FOSS articles in a row and I really doubt if most of them are in dept covered in research articles published by university professors. Maybe, GCC. How many "fundamental, in depth articles not affiliated with the source" are written about wget? BusyBox? OpenMoko? GNU Classpath? Which part of existing references should not be considered "blogs"?

I do not say Wikipedia is getting evil or is specifically targeting open source. However as I read JAMWiki deletion discussion, this does not help with the feeling that many in general known FOSS tools may soon disappear from its pages. Simply looks they start missing necessary criteria. Shortly, Wikipedia is great and FOSS is great but maybe FOSS should not rely on Wikipedia to represent it as much as it used to. It is possible to say that every project now has own website - true, but resources like comparison tables also shrink - no article, no entry.

In this context, one very very old idea from the dawn of Wikipedia seems rising in my head again. GNUPedia. Unlike Wikipedia that assumes equal (and close to zero) competence to any contributor, software developer community also has different tools to evaluate the competence. We have commit histories from FOSS projects. We have Advogato reputations. Recently, maybe Stack Overflow or Roseta Code reputation scores could be used. This would allow to filter sales postings with less false positives.

Are we sure we still do not need our own encyclopedia for storing articles we write and need? Encyclopedia that not everyone could edit, but the most of our community would?

Or, alternatively, if we still think Wikipedia is good and better not to fork - it is time to search for the real good sources before it is too late. For instance, another project I know a little about, GNU Classpath in Wikipedia is supported by material from one conference and one dead link to some ETHZ blog (other links seem "affiliated"). Really only that much could be said about the library that at these times was required and used in many academic projects requiring to modify Java system library, that was available on near every GNU/Linux distribution? Let's go to update the refereces, masters. The deletion discussion may only last few days and involve a few people. At this time it may be already too late to search for some publication that just may not be online.

GNUpedia, posted 13 Apr 2013 at 02:13 UTC by aicra » (Journeyer)

OAll great points. From my experience and perspective, there is a lot of unnecessary censoring and that is not just due to lack of sources. It seems there are "advocates" for pages or topics who have an agenda, monitor legitimate edits, and deny the edits. There seems to be an appeal process also. If the hall monitor finds material unflattering to the org or company, it is axed. Who is to say the advocate does not work for the org or corp. I think a good fork would be nice for us. Wikipedia has a wealth of information. However, with censoring and source requirements information is not free. I think it might be good to open dialogue with RMS about this.

freshmeat?, posted 7 Feb 2014 at 20:16 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

I'm not sure to understand why you'd want Wikipedia to be a software index. That's not really the point of an encyclopedia, is it?

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