(urth) Wiki draft proposal

maru dubshinki marudubshinki at gmail.com
Tue May 9 12:38:16 PDT 2006

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."

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