Monday, March 19, 2007


Tito's note: This is the second in a series of articles about the Version 1.0 Editorial Team in the English Wikipedia.

I was planning on making a longer article, but due to time constraints, I'm not able to do so. However, during a 1.0 meeting earlier today, there was an interesting proposition, and I wanted to ask the greater Wikimedia community about it:

The German Wikipedia has published WikiReaders before. Why cannot the English Wikipedia do so?

There is a page in enwiki that is... pretty much dead nowadays, but that has a few suggestions about potential WikiReader content. While the suggestions are old (and probably not a good idea now, as articles may have decayed on quality), it did bring up a troubling question: why is the English Wikipedia not producing them? There were two answers that came to mind:

  1. No one knows about them. If users don't know that they can make WikiReaders, they won't try to make them.
  2. More importantly, users do not know how to make them. The user who proposes a WikiReader will probably not know who to contact, and what issues follow from there.
Problem No. 1 is relatively easy to solve. No one knew about Version 0.5 until the Version 1.0 Editorial Team began doing some legwork. However, the second problem is much more of a community-wide issue that cannot be addressed by a group of users alone.

So, I pose the following questions to everyone:
  1. Do you have a group of articles that you would like to see in a WikiReader?
  2. We are beginning to consider how we can make publication of selected subsets of Wikipedia (or even Wikibooks, even though it is a bit outside our scope) articles easier. What suggestions do you have for the process?
  3. What would you want to see as the end result?
  4. Do you even want us to consider this, or do you think this is a waste of time?
  5. Would you be willing to help us at any stage in the process?
Note that the idea is not half-baked... it is about a quarter-baked. :P However, if you consider that the best way to encourage users to write is to showcase their work (see [[WP:FA]], [[WP:TFA]] and Raul654's thoughts about the issue, for the prime example), publication of WikiReaders is a great way to encourage editorial improvement of Wikipedia. It also should be orders of magnitude less complicated than a full release, such as V0.5.

Anyways, I'm eagerly interested in hearing all of your opinions, either here, or at 1.0's talk.



David Gerard said...

The PDF feature is under development - where you can add a pile of articles to a list and get a PDF of it generated. That is, make your own WikiReader built into MediaWiki.

Titoxd said...

But that is not the point; the point is to actually have it published by someone, and have it be commercially available. It would be a huge boost to several projects for the reasons I wrote. ("Want to write something, and see it sold to the world? Do it through Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia!") , and if we stay away from touchy subject, publishers may be more willing to get involved.