I'm a user from german Wikiprojects. You'll find my main User-Page on de:b:Benutzer:HirnSpuk.

My Username means BrainHaunting and reflects the creative process my brain sometimes does, that I can't control, generating ideas in a seemingly endless stream. That's especially tiresome while trying to get to sleep.

I'd like to work on a project-idea for the english Wikiversity, where I was asked to search and get an opinion from around Meta first, so I'm using this page for sketching a draft to prepare for a discussion. Regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 18:13, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Project TriggerEdit

As some of the readers might know, there was a prominent copyright-infringement-case concerning fan-creativity: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/crowdfunded-star-trek-movie-draws-851474

For those of you who haven't followed the case and did not read anything about it: The case settled in the meantime and Paramount/CBS released some pretty „hard“ guidelines (I criticise a 30 Minutes Maximum first and foremost).

Thus the idea came to my mind how cool it would be to have one's own sandbox to play in, with great interaction between people, triggering all kind of creative works.

For those of the readers solely interested in the problem, jump to the section #The Problem. If you continue reading sequentially I'll describe some preliminaries first, so you might better be able to judge the problem.

History of Events until nowEdit

  1. Asking on Wikibooks about an idea: b:Wikibooks:Reading_room/Archives/2017/January#Handbook_on_a_fictional_world
  2. After some discussion a thread in Wikiversity started v:Wikiversity:Colloquium/archives/January_2017#A_possible_project_on_world-building
  3. First project-sketching at v:User:HirnSpuk

In the discussion of 2. I was directly asked to “check with meta”, though it was recommended to ask Wikimedia in the worst case. I'd like to discuss it here first. I suppose there won't be a Problem (see #Possible Solution below).

The scope of the project shifted (and probably will shift a little further) during discussions to the following:


The wikiversity-project I'm thinking about shall be a community-driven creativity project with some amount of research involved.

The main project goal would have been to build an imaginative story-canon for creatives to “play” in, e. g. writing stories, making movies, drawing concept art, to name just a few, to see, if this is actually possible and with what amount of marketing (viral and community-investment) this could thrive. This might not hold up against the principles of wikimedia, see below #Obstacles.

So, based on creative community collaboration (and thus gaining and documenting experience in this field), there shall be three main columns to foster the project and to fit the scope of wikimedia:

  1. doing research how effective a collaboration for creative world building might be and how fan-fiction and fan created works affect the regarding real world franchises.
  2. creating resources and learning creative processes, especially for world building (e. g. language construction, character creation, etc.) and legal constructions concerning copyright (though this might be a pretty hard task, because it is highly country-specific and definitively needs professionals taking care of the regarding learning resources); additionally documenting any kind of process involved in working on the project.
  3. hence creating an „open resource canon“ (see Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter for „closed source“ examples), for creatives to rely on, so the generated material is consistent between creators

The first is the academic motivation accompanying the creative work with gaining knowledge. The second shall be a positive side-effect during the process. The third might be specified as the most tangible outcome of the project, hopefully growing a long time, motivating external creatives to base works on a community effort.

As examples for the different fields:

  1. One Theory I'd like to assess or being assessed some time is: Is suing Fan-Fiction generally meaningless, because any Fan-Fiction will actually help the franchise and if not, where and why to draw the line?
  2. There are already existing projects in Wikiversity, that might be interested in cooperation (though I did not ask until now, because of the problem discussed here): e.g. v:Creative_writing, v:Exploring_science_through_fiction or v:Literary_studies
  3. I'm playing an RPG in a universe we invented together as a group of four persons. I'd like to publish the framework of this universe as described here, so anybody interested can create stories in and around it.


Publication of Theories and Fiction is usually kind of prohibited by the scope of Wikimedia, especially in this case regulated by v:Wikiversity:Policies precisely the points: Content – Reliable sources and Verifiability. Though research projects are acceptable, see v:Wikiversity:Mission. Hence the „open ressource canon“ probably needs to be a „side effect“ or support-tool for the training and research activities, although it was the initial project-trigger. This can probably be tackled by thoroughly defining the guidelines of project-processes, e. g. requiring a documentation of project-works, so anybody can build upon those experiences.

More, but solvable ObstaclesEdit

  • safe “canon-information“ from being changed → you can't safe it; try to discuss, revert if possible, otherwise, change the canon, why not? It's a community effort.
  • block “canon-timeslot“ if more than one content-creator wants to do something big → establish a gentleman-agreement for “reserved-space-/timeslots“, keep told stories kind of “local”
  • profanity → establish a gentleman-agreement for not doing it in excessive manner in the informative descriptions in wikiversity (if you think about some Races in Star Trek (cursing/war-mongering) and the like or establishing an antagonist in a creative work, there needs to be a fine line); no “linking” to creative works of this type. It must be supposed, that it'll happen anyways, and it can't be prohibited other than by Law itself.

There are probably more…

The ProblemEdit

A major Problem arises when thinking about reusing the information of the project by a creative person:

  • If a creative bases a work upon the published „canon-information“, it is probably a „derivative work“ as described in the CC BY-SA licence. Thereby I suppose the GFDL is not applicable, because no text is directly reused.
  • The BY assures attribution of the original creators.
  • IF and only IF the project is successful and a community (aka a lot of conributors) did write the „canon-information“, a creator of derivative works would be in serious trouble finding out each and every contributor of the information he or she used – As an example: the problem would be pretty bad, if the creative work shall be a small three-panel-comic, and would need to add four pages of contributor-names to fulfil the attribution-requirement for derivative work.

Possible SolutionEdit

To cope with this problem, I would rely on the phrasing: „(i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution ("Attribution Parties") in Licensor's copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means, the name of such party or parties;“ of section 4(c) of the CC BY-SA 3.0 Licence.

Therefore I thinking about specifying a page for (and only for) the information (and not the exact text) of the „open resource canon“ to clearly point out for contributors and reusers, by contributing to the canon one accepts, that an attribution by a content creator of derivative works is sufficient by mentioning something with acceptable effort. One could think of something like this: “by contributing to the 'open resource canon' you accept, that a sufficient attribution of your work for reusing the information to build derivative works as demanded in the CC BY-SA licence is given by the phrase 'This work is based upon the information of an open resource canon from a community of creators from a Wikimedia-project. See [[URL]] for the project and specific contributors.' For the specific example of similar agreements across Wikimedia-projects see m:How_to_use_or_reuse_our_content.”

I suppose this should not be a problem, and will be within the best practice, information given in How_to_use_or_reuse_our_content and common sense.

Pages I already checked for informationEdit

None of the mentioned seems to contradict my proposal.

The main Question to be answered – SummaryEdit

In short: Based on a wikiversity-project for fostering creativity, would it be tolerable to explicitly state FOR the information (not the text itself) of a specific part of a wikiversity-resource, that it is sufficient to only provide a link to a wikiversity-resource as an attribution as demanded by CC BY-SA, to circumvent a lot of work regarding the precise determination of a list of authors?

If your reflex-answer would be he**-NO! you probably haven't read the whole description above and I kindly ask you to do this.

Thanks for your time. Regards, --HirnSpuk (talk) 18:13, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Discussions, Questions and ProposalsEdit

In this section, I'd like to invite you to talk about the problem, ask questions and the like. I'd be happy about any point in any direction. The worst thing (for me) that might happen, is, that I stop working on this topic. Thanks, regards --HirnSpuk (talk) 18:13, 11 April 2017 (UTC)