Special projects committee/Report April-July 2006

A report of the activities of the Special projects committee between April and July, 2006.


The scope was set and approved by the board. It may be seen here.

The current members are Anthere, Ascánder, brassratgirl, Cormac, Danny, Dbl2010, Frieda, Galwaygirl, Oscar and Sj. Advisors are Arne Klempert (akl), Muriel and Kpjas. Aurevilly resigned in July (currently on an indefinite break from all WM projects). There is no plan to expend the committee at the moment.

The committee uses

  • a public mailing list : spcommittee-l((AT))wikimedia.org (moderated posting. Public archives)
  • a private mailing list : spcommittee-private-l((AT))wikimedia.org (restricted to members, private archives)
  • and a private wiki (access restricted to members) : http://spcom.wikimedia.org

The committee has regular biweekly meetings on a dedicated irc channel. Past meeting dates are: July 10th, June 28, 2006, June 14, 2006, May 29, 2006, May 18, 2006, May 10, 2006, April 24, 2006, April 4th, 2006 (postponed), March 20, 2006, March 12, 2006.

Until now, all committee meetings have been restricted to members. A public meeting could be planned soon in the future.

Three committee members have been proposed to have access to the internal mailing list and wiki : Ascander, Cormac, and Sj (Danny, Anthere, Galwaygirl, Oscar already have access).

Most rules of organisation have been defined. Only two areas have not (yet ?) been touched : membership of subcommittees (rules are decided by each subcommittee) and area of delegation.

One delegation has been provided (by email rather than by resolution): datafeed management. On all other topics, the committee has preferred providing a recommendation to the board.


4 subcommittees have been created. 1 has been closed.

Cell phones subcommitteeEdit

(Danny, Angela, Soufron)
Was the first created and was closed for inactivity.

Wikiversity subcommitteeEdit

Active, working on Wikiversity, should be seeking a delegation from the board soon.

The SPC authorize the creation of a subcommittee dedicated to Wikiversity. Its purpose will be to clarify the scope of this project and to set up Wikiversity as a sister Wikimedia project. The subcommittee will consist initially of Cormac Lawler, and will report back to the SPC on its formation, no later than the 31st of March.

Static content subcommitteeEdit

It was created in june 2006. State : active. First report received.

Resolution approved by spc : The SPC authorize the creation of a subcommitte dedicated to static snapshots of Wikimedia content. Its purpose will be to identify the groups working on such projects, and to help them work effectively together. The subcommittee will consist initially of Kpjas, Frieda, and Sj, and will report back to the SPC on its formation no later than the 30th of June.

Its goal/description (see below) has not yet been validated by the spcom.

The goals of the static projects subcommittee are:

  • To report on the status of efforts to produce and distribute static content from the Wikimedia projects, and to coordinate these efforts where possible.
  • To advise the SPC on what is needed to maintain, provide to the public, and assist users in obtaining static content; and on how to improve such efforts.
  • To stimulate research about making static content accessible in an offline or semi-online environment

As for the first goal, this includes efforts to produce DVDs and other digital media, print media, static mirrors, and software for viewing such content (e.g., for use on PDAs or offline). This also includes projects to edit and refine static content for certain audiences and age levels.

As for the second goal, "Static content" includes both static subsets of content from a project at a particular moment in time, and metadata about such subsets (completeness, complexity/age level, quality). "Providing to the public" here includes creating software necessary to view content offline. "Users" include third-party content providers, end users, and researchers.

The subcommittee membership initially consists of Krzysztof Jasiutowicz, Frieda Brioschi, SJ Klein, Martin Walker, and Mathias Schindler. Discussions take place via email and through monthly meetings on IRC. The subcommittee's work will largely take place on meta, through lists and descriptions of existing projects and researchers; and through regular interaction with those groups.

See also http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Static_content_subcommittee

New Language SubcommitteeEdit

The SPC has authorized the creation of a subcommittee dedicated to creating new language projects. Its purpose will be to recommend policies for starting such projects and setting related standards, such as their abbreviations and fonts. The subcommittee will consist initially of Ascánder and Sabine Cretella, and will report back to the SPC on its formation no later than the 30th of June.

State : creation is recent. SPC expects a report on its creation.


No other subcommittee is planned in the very near future.


Danish Radio collaborationEdit

Anders (da:User:Wegge) has instigated a collaborative project with DR, a Danish radio station (Denmark's Public Broadcasting Service, analogous to the BBC in the UK), which will integrate a mirror of the Danish Wikipedia with the radio station's website. The project will be based on the sports content of the Danish Wikipedia, which will be supplemented with content from the station's sports encyclopedia, created for the Sydney Olympic games, as well as publicised with journalists and the general public in Denmark. To do so, Anders has written a code for a skin, which needed to be proofread by developers (Brion/Tim).

The SPC recommended a three-month trial of the collaboration between the Danish Wikipedia and the Danmarks Radio sports portal [1] as described in the project summary of June 9, and resolved to review the project by September 15, 2006 to determine guidelines for future collaboration.

Update: the project has been designed, but is not fully operational, seemingly. Project (test) page is at: http://drwiki.wegge.dk/wiki/Portal:Sport?useskin=drsport

As a note, we have already been contacted for a similar collaboration (name undisclosed) just after this collaboration was announced. Our answer was that the DR collaboration was a trial and we suggested a new contact at the end of the year 2006.

Puppy LinuxEdit

A static live Wikipedia on Pupy Linux Project is under development and the communication with Puppy GNU Linux Foundation is still active. The project is extended from a whole snapshot of whole Wikipedia to Subject Based Wikipedia. Dbl2010 is in charge of this case. Various similar static content proposals actually came on the board OTRS queue. In most cases, no answer was provided. Such requests justify the creation of the static subcommittee as the issue as been identified as one to focus on.


The SPC recommended the implementation of the InstantCommons project, as broadly described on meta and in email to the SPC mailing list; and that the Foundation seek a grant from Kennisnet to implement InstantCommons, paying the developers involved itself. The SPC approved a detailed recommendation regarding the proposal and related contracts, as described on the SPC wiki.

Current state is (apparently)

  • Oscar wrote a grant proposal for Kennisnet.
  • It was not sent by regular mail. I suggest we send it by email
  • An agreement proposal was written by Brad
  • No idea whether Gerard was sent the agreement


The SPC made a recommendation. Publishing pending approval by board.


We are still digging in projects... Some have been explored and rejected, such as Learningpedia (Eugene Scodigor at Grenoble Ecole de Management).


Amongst projects to which we'll have to give attention soon, we may count

  • Wikijunior : content removed
  • content removed
  • Wiki For Standard. content removed
  • OLPC (project One Laptop Per Child).


We were contacted by Nokia by 2 different groups. One group wanted to do a search applet and link to Wikipedia, and required an agreement. The other group is seeking collaboration on cell phone (Nokia Smartphones in India - name removed).

Several emails were exchanged with the first group in Finland. A contract agreement should be worked out with Brad (I do not know the status of that). However, I took the opportunity to negociate sponsorship for Wikimania and got 10 000 dollars plus some 770. Sponsorship is currently handled by Delphine.

We were contacted by name removed for a Wikipedia Board Game. content removed

2 discussions are on-going for datafeed agreement. Other proposals (2) led nowhere. In the past few months, some templates were created on OTRS to answer such requests and a page of technical description set up by Brion. In the future, we should work in spreading the word in all languages communities, in particular so that community leaders redirect big mirrors to us for a contract.

Many other proposals were received on OTRS, but none led anywhere serious, in most part due to lack of time from us to answer, or possibly due to lack of legal support (no contract agreement provided or no legal counselling).