(urth) Wiki draft proposal

JWillard aldenweer at charter.net
Sun May 14 01:55:37 PDT 2006

maru dubshinki wrote:

>I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think any wiki we
>start on Wolfe's work should be categorized tripartitely:
>One section should be for Urth ML emails. This would make it much
>easier to reference assertions and theories, especially since it seems
>that a number of messages are primary sources, not merely secondary
>sources. And of course, if they are hosted on the wiki itself, one
>could run a bot or some sort of bot to auto-link phrases to their
>pages. (Now that I think of it, one could compile a list of words,
>phrases, and subjects from the mass of texts).  I'm not too sure about
>the copyright status, however: I'm pretty sure the list owner can
>allow them to be posted on a wiki (since he already has the right to
>so post them in a publicly accessible archive), but I don't know how
>that factors into reditributions and licensing. So having a separate
>section would allow us to segregate non-Free content from the Free
>The second section would be articles. Straightforward factual articles
>on Wolfe, relevant authors, his books and short stories, etc.  Think
>like what Wikipedia currently has.  I guess we could import Wikipedia
>policies wholesale for this section: verifiable, NPOV, no personal
>attacks, etc.  This section we could grab straight from Wikipedia.
>About all we'd have to do is add a GFDL notice (assuming we decide to
>go with a non-GFDL license, or cross-license) and perhaps swap out
>internal Wikipedia links for interwiki links.  Of course, these
>articles would link (perhaps in the relevant sections) to the third
>section... which is the section of interest to us all:
>The third section would be distilled discussions and theories.  The
>idea is to condense all the verbiage and back and forth into a single
>page of pros and cons (ie. the evidence that, say, Thecla is the
>hermaphrodite lover of the Autarch would be presented on its own page,
>perhaps titled "Theclas as hermaphrodite"; the evidence for it would
>be presented, linking to the relevant emails, with textual citations
>and such, and then the opposed side. Talk pages can be used to hammer
>out the list, or it can be done on-list.)
>Categories could be very useful for sections two and three.  An
>off-the-cuff example: A top-level category could be Authors, with Gene
>Wolfe in it, and then Books and Short Stories in the Wolfe cat, books
>being divided into Short Sun, New Sun, Peace, Soldier etc. categories.
>Then one has the articles on the individual novels. If a character
>appears in all the books, and so doesn't fit into a single book's
>category, they would go in the New Sun category, but minor characters
>could go into only one book's category (ie. Triskele would go into the
>New Sun cat, but the serving boy at the restaurant in SotT would be in
>the Shadow of the Torturer cat (if that's the right book)).
>Now, no doubt someone will suggest that the wiki host the various
>Wolfe interviews and miscellany available online.  I won't address
>these: technically those are copyright violations (at least, I haven't
>seen any under any sort of Free license), and so it would be
>unconscionable for me to advise Ranjit to set up a wiki and work to
>populate it with stuff that exposes him, the hoster, to legal
>retribution. Now, perhaps he doesn't mind the risk, or perhaps Wolfe
>has made known an intention not to prosecute any fans, but it's up to
>Ranjit, not me, or us, for that matter.
>We also need a name. Lupinepedia, Wolfepedia, the Wolfe Wiki, the urth
>Wiki, just plain Urth.net... are all possible names. Now, the perfect
>name would be short, clever, clear, and be easily compressed (ie names
>based on Urth or Wolfe are good, as they make it easy to refer to, and
>they also make interwiki links from, say, Wikipedia, easy to do, so
>they look like [[w:c:Wolfe:Article|Article]] or
>[[Urth:Article|Article]] instead of something much longer). Just some
>We also need to decide on licensing. Using the GFDL is a possibility
>but there are severe drawbacks that may more than counterwiegh the
>ease of using Wikipedia articles as a base: it's long, complex,
>cumbersome, unclear, and there are some bad features. I'll provide
>some links for further reading, if you want to know more:
>There are quite a few possibilities w/r/t Free license. We could use 
>a modified BSD license (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license), a
>Creative Commons license (I like the Attribution-SA myself:
>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/), or a public domain
>license (no rights reserved, essentially).  My personal preference
>would be to go with PD; it's simple, it's definitely Free, and it's
>not like we really need the protections of copyleft- who'll steal our
>content?  And of course, if we decide to merge with Wikipedia some
>day, PD interoperates well with GFDL.
>Ok. So those are my thoughts on the subject. Look forward to hearing
>your comments and criticism.
>"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the
>balances are correct."
>Urth Mailing List
>To post, write urth at urth.net
>Subscription/information: http://www.urth.net
How about theoubliette-wiki?  (OED says: "A secret dungeon, access to 
which was gained only through a trapdoor above...") It seems we've all 
fallen into this particular oubliette.  And Wolfe mentions its 
etymological significance as "a place of forgetting" - which seems 
appropriately ironic for a venture trying  to do the opposite.  And who 
else would get it?

Maru, you've asked about what kind of licensing we want.  If you think 
public domain is all right (I agree, I don't think lots of people will 
be interested in what we're doing) then, fine.  It sounds like Wikia 
wants a large audience to establish a wiki, and I don't know that we can 
provide that.

I was wondering if we could do something like the portals at wikipedia: 
instead of Ancient Greece Portal, we could have an Urth Portal, Whorl 
Portal, Latro Portal, etc.  It seems to me that, optimally, any one of 
these areas is begging for a tremendous amount of information, because I 
think, ultimately, we're talking about having a page for every Wolfe 
character, every Wolfe creature, flower, building, etc., every key 
concept (White Fountain, fuligin, etc.), and every theory (Severian's 
lineage; Thecla as Secret Protagonist; Severian Clones, etc.) - and 
that's just Urth.  I'm sure people will want  the same for The Wizard 
Knight, Peace, Fifth Head of Cerberus, etc.  (I do.)  If  I'm just 
reiterating something you've already proposed, I apologize.  But it 
seems to me we're talking about a potentially massive amount of stuff 
and will need to be laid out to accomodate that.  It seems to me the 
main page of the entire wiki should focus on Wolfe:  links to categories 
like biography, influences (I'd like to see more on connections between 
his work and Nabokov's, for example), bibliography, etc. and to the 
portals for the different books/series?  I don't know:  I'm tired and 
I'm probably just babbling a bunch of obvious things.


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