News and notes
License update, Commons cartoons, films milestone, and more
License update committee forming
The Wikimedia Foundation is moving closer to a decision on whether to switch licenses for projects that use the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), including English Wikipedia. Deputy Director Erik Möller is currently forming a volunteer committee to help communicate the details of the proposal to the many editing communities and to organize a vote on it. If the proposal passes, the committee will also assist in implementing the shift to the Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. Switching to that Creative Commons license, which is similar in spirit to the GFDL, is an option that was added to the GFDL 1.3 (an update released in November 2008), after a long period of negotiation among the WMF, Creative Commons, and the Free Software Foundation (which is responsible for the GFDL).
On 6 March, Möller announced the results of a survey on the preferred method of attributing collaboratively-produced content when it is re-used by others. The most popular of six options was attribution by linking to the original article.
Wikinews photo contest results
The winning image, taken by Lex Kolychev, as arranged for by Wikinews reporter Nick Moreau (Zanimum)
. Originally Captioned as: University of Cincinnati hosted Independent's Day, for independent presidential candidates to debate at. Turnout was less than expected.
The results from the Wikinews Picture of the Year 2008 contest are in. The winner is a photograph by Lex Kolychev of a campaign event for independent candidates in the United States presidential election of 2008. It appeared on the Wikinews front page in the "News in pictures" section, which—as in the case of the winning image—occasionally features newsworthy photography even without a related published Wikinews article.
Commons debates hosting offensive cartoons
A fractious debate on Wikimedia Commons concluded this week over whether to delete an offensive political cartoon by Carlos Latuff. That particular cartoon, which depicts Alan Dershowitz masturbating while watching violence in Beirut, is one of many cartoons the controversial Brazilian artist has released as public domain.
The Commons debate centered on whether the image has any educational value—and thus falls within the project scope—as well as whether it falls afoul of the Commons policy prohibiting "Files apparently created and/or uploaded for the purpose of vandalism or attack". Commons hosts many other images by Latuff, some of which have also been the subject of recent deletion debates. The debate over the Dershowitz cartoon was closed as "delete", which set off a short wheel war in which the image cycled through deletion and undeletion, with five different administrators involved.
The larger issue of how to interpret the scope of the Wikimedia Commons project remains largely unresolved, particularly regarding the requirement that files "must be realistically useful for an educational purpose".
All notable films now have Wikipedia articles?
On 12 March, WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles completed the notable films list. This list, created by Reflex Reaction in 2005, originally included 1,914 movies compiled from various third-party lists which did not have articles on Wikipedia. The final movie removed from the list was Death of a Salesman (1951 film) which was created by Scapler.
In addition to the many missing notable films that were not included on that list, there remain to be written thousands of missing articles on dozens of other topical lists maintained by WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles.
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