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Re: [Libreplanet-dev] Libre Planet status

From: John Sullivan
Subject: Re: [Libreplanet-dev] Libre Planet status
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 15:32:16 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.110009 (No Gnus v0.9) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Peter <address@hidden> writes:

>> Right, the fact that people are doing things is okay, and we don't have
>> to wait for the wiki to be upgraded before we can start dealing with
>> things that are incorrect. 
> I agree, except we don't have a policy in place, which makes things tougher 
> for everyone. With a functioning wiki, we could avoid some of the issues.

What sort of policy do we need? The Mission Statement and FAQ are meant
to provide guidance for doing this kind of editing -- if they are not
sufficient then we need to improve them, and that doesn't depend on any
wiki software upgrades.

>> It's okay that people are registering 
>> themselves and adding links to other sites, that is what they are
>> supposed to be doing.
> My understanding was LP would be their group site, so no outside links. The 
> exception was if they already had a free ethics site running, or intended to 
> do so, they could link to that. They are supposed to form and run groups. I 
> seem to be more conservative on this point, perhaps because I see little 
> effort toward developing groups and a great effort in other things.

Hm, I think the idea is more that it's okay for groups to have outside
sites -- that way they can use the technology that they are comfortable
with -- but we do have standards about what is okay to link to and what

>> However, if they are adding things that are 
>> completely inappropriate, please remove them and explain why. If they
>> are adding things that might be appropriate if some changes were made
>> (like, they talk about open source a lot more than free software or call
>> their group "linux" instead of "gnu/linux"), then those things can be
>> moved to the appropriate talk page with a request that someone make the
>> needed changes before those resources are placed on the main wiki.
> I'd love to do that, but I'd need the mission statement, or some policy to 
> refer to. I don't think I'm the best person to make these judgment calls and 
> can easily make the situation worse. My contribution here is mainly my 
> software skills (such as they are), although I will pitch in wherever else 
> I'm needed.

People on the list can help provide guidance, and the mission statement
is pretty close to right if not finalized yet. Even just pointing out
things that seem questionable to you so that other people on the list
can make decisions about them would be very helpful.

>> Part of the vision of the wiki is to help people coordinate software
>> projects though, so there is nothing inconsistent with that and the
>> mission statement I don't think.
> Maybe you're right, but I see it has gone beyond coordinating. I believe LP 
> has a role to play in getting people involved, promoting interest, and 
> publicizing the formats, etc. But I don't see LP's mission as participating 
> in the development process as this attracts technical type people, not the 
> public relations type. I have seen really intersting stuff, like using the 
> LGPL for closed source distribution, which is the kind of issues LP groups 
> should be dealing with. Software research is, imho, outside the scope of LP.

I agree that software development and research is definitely not the
focus. I think in most cases, LP's role here is when it comes to
priority projects -- which can be thought of as software issues that
make activism a lot harder to do. Like, not being able to use Flash or
call someone on Skype is a powerful barrier to switching to free
software, given the prevalence of that software. The more official,
forward-facing parts of the wiki should definitely be focused on
activism and not software development, but as always with a wiki I don't
think that we need to be too much of an enforcer if someone decides they
want to talk about a software project on the wiki, as long as it's free.
There's already plenty of wikis for software development so I don't
expect that we'll get overrun with that sort of thing.

This might be a good addition to the FAQ.

> My take on LP is that it becomes a media centre (literally) along the lines 
> of 
> the Fry video (GNU's 25th birthday), only much more dramatic. We stream radio 
> and video broadcasts, run comic stories, and create a free software ethics 
> 'Disney World'. We have serious news and activist agendas which groups 
> provided and participate in. Groups can actually host local plays and other 
> dramatic arts.

I like these ideas.

>> It's going to be bumpy, just hang in there and talk things out with the
>> people who are contributing. The increased level of activity is
>> exciting, and we just need to be building a team of people to help with
>> daily editing.
> I am pleased in the interest people have shown in LP. I am just disappointed 
> we don't have a functional site to get people started on the right track. My 
> main concern is that we lose too many people during the startup period. The 
> 'bumps' I am currently experiencing are with getting a handle on LP's purpose 
> and development because I take the users activities as the expression of it.

Users definitely will be defining and driving things, and I think that's
a positive. We want to maintain a central core and theme and carry
forward with ideas like the ones you describe and try to build support
for them -- but if people want to do other things that are not
inconsistent then I think we will be best served by supporting them
doing that and encouraging the enthusiasm. A general level of activity
is a very good thing for a wiki even if it isn't all in a straight line.

John Sullivan
Manager of Operations
GPG Key: AE8600B6

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