|◀||Abstract Wikipedia Updates||▶|
As planned, we are closing the licensing discussion. The decision, summarizing the will of the community, is as follows:
- All contributions to Wikifunctions and the wider Abstract Wikipedia projects will be published under free licenses.
- Textual content on Wikifunctions will be published under CC BY-SA 3.0.
- Function signatures and other structured content on Wikifunctions will be published under CC 0.
- Code implementations in Wikifunctions will be published under the Apache 2 license.
- Abstract Content for Abstract Wikipedia will be published under CC BY-SA 3.0.
We proposed a summary last week, and we heard your feedback. During Monday’s office hour, which was also used to officially close the discussion, we incorporated two more points of feedback:
- First, we will leave the question about the license of the generated content from the abstract content open for now. We will re-visit this question when we discuss the location of the abstract content for Abstract Wikipedia next year.
- Second, we will write a document with the Legal department about how people can re-use code from Wikifunctions as painlessly as possible, while adhering to the license.
We couldn’t really reach consensus on the questions (which probably had to be expected), so we followed the !votes and arguments raised. Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion, thank you for the lively arguments, and thank you for working through the complicated situation. I want to particularly thank Stephen LaPorte for his support, and Quiddity for facilitating the work.
The team, together with a few volunteers, had the opportunity to reflect on our wishes and hopes for Wikifunctions in 2022. I wanted to use the chance of this year’s final newsletter to let you know about some of these hopes.
Our plan is to launch Wikifunctions in 2022. And our expectation is that in the first few weeks and months after launch we will discover many bugs and issues, and we will rely on your patience and help with those. We will switch from a team developing a product into a team maintaining and expanding a product, reacting to bug reports and issues. We will need to balance the issues of an on-going project with the need to develop new features beyond those with which we will launch.
One thing that was mentioned several times was that we look forward to being surprised. Surprised by the creativity of the community, and what they will do with this new project. We hope for a number of communities to grow around parts of Wikifunctions, and that Wikifunctions will be used in novel and unexpected ways.
Particularly high on our wishlist was the hope that smaller, under-served communities will find their way to Wikifunctions, and that Wikifunctions will be one way for achieving more balanced and representative communities within current Wikipedias and the Wikimedia movement as a whole. We hope that the functions in Wikifunctions will be requested and used by a great diversity of contributors and users, and that Wikifunctions will start contributing to knowledge equity in our world sooner rather than later. We hope to see the diversity of the world reflected in our usage, in our users, in our contributors, and in the depth and breadth of our catalog of functions.
We hope that Wikifunctions might have the opportunity to dispel the myth that “programming is really hard”. Wikifunctions will let people ask their questions and answer them using functions. But not just that: we will also expose and make transparent how these functions work. Everyone will be able to "peek behind the curtain" and see how the answers are being computed. This is not only meant as a way to build trust in the results of Wikifunctions, but also to show that these computations are not that complicated. By showing how functions are composed from simpler functions, and allowing people to read these compositions in their language, we hope to democratize access to functions and the knowledge of their inner workings, not just in Wikifunctions itself but in the computers that surround us all.
We hope to overcome in a timely fashion any challenges of technical scaling and our growing pains as we discover new use cases for Wikifunctions. We have a lot of ideas on how to grow and improve the system and the services that we will offer, and we hope that the usage patterns of Wikifunctions and discussions will guide us in picking the most productive areas for improvement.
We hope to iterate and experiment with the Wikifunctions software, and over time discover and implement a good experience and a good conceptual model to make Wikifunctions widely usable for everyone. We hope that people will discover the low hanging fruit with which Wikifunctions can help them, and that we will quickly grow beyond that into the role of being an integral part of tomorrow’s knowledge infrastructure.
The first newsletter of 2022 should be expected in the week of 10 January 2022. Happy holidays, and a great start into the new year 2022!