What are our sisters up to now?
The Wikimedia sister projects are the publicly available wikis operated by the Wikimedia Foundation (including yours truly, the Wikipedia). The "basic" sister projects are the Commons, Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikiversity, Wiktionary. There's also the Wikimedia Foundation wiki itself; Meta, which coordinates and documents what the Foundation is doing; the Wikimedia Incubator, where people can start an alternative-language version of a project; MediaWiki, where the software that all of this runs on is discussed and improved; and the Outreach wiki, plus a few others. Let's take a glimpse into what's going on with two of these.
The Commons is a database of more than 12 million freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute. Well, almost freely usable – a person does have to follow the terms of the particular license that the image was contributed with (which might require attribution and may also include trademarks, patents, personality rights, moral rights, privacy rights, or any of the many other legal causes which are independent of copyright and vary greatly by jurisdiction). Leaving that aside, though, some fascinating things have happened on the Commons recently. For instance, the National Archives and Records Administration is basically turning over the National Archives of the U.S. to the Commons. Not to be outdone, premier.gov.ru and government.ru are now CC-BY licensed and thus everything on those sites can now be moved to the Commons as well (with attribution), which will greatly increase the availability of American and Russian documents and images. A few months ago, a Wikipedia Takes Your City was held in Montreal – the winners won a Nikon D3100 camera and $300 cash.
As I write this, there's a discussion going on about whether a given photograph on the Commons should be speedy deleted (or deleted at all) if a privacy request is made. For example, let's say that you are in the closet about something and you attend a related activity (perhaps you LARP or attend a Skinhead festival). One of your friends at this activity asks to take your picture and you agree. The friend then posts the pictures they took to their Flickr account, tagging them as public domain photos. Someone then moves it to the Commons, following all relevant procedures, and you later find yourself as the posterchild of a Wikipedia article, potentially outed to family, friends, and coworkers, potentially causing you great embarrassment. You contact your friend, they delete the photo, you contact the Commons, prove that it's really you, and ask to delete that copy of the image. Should the Commons delete the photograph?
The English Wiktionary "aims to describe all words of all languages using definitions and descriptions in English" (topical since I'm writing this in English for the English Wikipedia). Thus, a given word which exists in multiple languages will feature multiple writeups on the same page. The word pancake, for instance, only really exists in the English language. The Spanish word for "pancake" is pancake (looking at the pancakes that most English speakers are used to, instead of crêpes). This is true for basically every language, so the pancake page is relatively spartan when compared to wikt:test, which has a considerable amount of text on the page since it exists in multiple languages. The tabbed language trial was meant to test a style of vertical compression which pushed all the foreign language variants into one bunch, navigable by tabs on the left. You can test this out for yourself by selecting "Enable Tabbed Languages" at wiktionary:Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets. The trial recently ended, with ongoing discussion at Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Tabbed Languages trial is over (amongst other places).
Australian "Wikimedians to the Games"
If you live in Australia, you'll be excited to hear about the History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia/Wikimedians to the Games initative (in cooperation with Wikinews, Wikipedia, the Commons, and Wikimedia Australia), a contest to send two Australian editors to London to cover the 2012 London games. If, like me, you don't live in Australia, you can only dream about what might otherwise have been possible.
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