What's appropriate attribution?

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Anthony-73
On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Michael Snow <[hidden email]>wrote:

> I might add that the attribution requirement of the GFDL talks about
> listing at least five principal authors, "unless they release you from
> this requirement." A fairly straightforward argument can be made that
> existing and accepted practice on Wikipedia, and for that matter on
> nearly all wikis, amounts to releasing subsequent distributors from this
> requirement.


For the title page, sure.  But the basic practice on Wikipedia is to list
the username of every single edit in the page history.

As for online sources, I think there are a lot of people upset about the
practices of these "subsequent distributors", but for the most part it's
just not worth it to sue them.  I suppose it'd be enlightening to send a
DMCA takedown notice to a few of the big names, but even that takes quite a
bit of effort, and for online sources it's fairly pointless.  I might have
done it myself by now, except that I changed my username to the generic
"Anthony", in part because for a lot of the articles I've contributed to I
actually would prefer *not* to be associated as an author.  Of course, I've
also largely stopped contributing.

For dead-tree distributors, this is mostly untested waters.  Personally I
would be extremely upset if I made significant contributions (say two
paragraphs or more) to a Wikipedia article which was copied into a book, and
I was not attributed in the book.  Printing a URL absolutely doesn't cut it,
in my opinion, when it comes to a printed book.  Pheobe and company may have
gotten advice from Eben Moglen saying that this was A-OK, but quite frankly
I think he was both ethically and legally wrong.  I don't think you can draw
any conclusions that this practice is an accepted one.  There just aren't
that many dead-tree distributors doing this.  As far as I know I haven't
made significant contributions to that book, though.  So that's someone
else's fight to fight.

I do feel like I need to speak up here, though, because the suggestion that
I have waived my right to attribution is an absolutely false one.
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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Robert Rohde
To Anthony and Jussi-ville,

Why do you want attribution of work you have done on Wikipedia
articles to be acknowledged more prominently in dead tree media than
it is online?

That's the sense I get from you when you say that referencing an
online publication of the history is not okay.  If one looks at the
Wikipedia publication, in general one has to choose to seek out the
edit history and (in many cases) put effort into parsing through it
before they would even notice that you had contributed significantly
to the article.  You seem to be suggesting that in the case of dead
tree media you have an expectation that attribution be made
clearer/easier to access than it is online.  Is that a correct
understanding of your view point?  And if so why?

Personally, it feels antithetical to the principles of free content
and frankly a bit unethical to demand that reusers give a more
prominent acknowledgment to contributers than one receives from the
primary publication, i.e. Wikipedia.

-Robert Rohde


On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 4:30 AM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Michael Snow <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> I might add that the attribution requirement of the GFDL talks about
>> listing at least five principal authors, "unless they release you from
>> this requirement." A fairly straightforward argument can be made that
>> existing and accepted practice on Wikipedia, and for that matter on
>> nearly all wikis, amounts to releasing subsequent distributors from this
>> requirement.
>
>
> For the title page, sure.  But the basic practice on Wikipedia is to list
> the username of every single edit in the page history.
>
> As for online sources, I think there are a lot of people upset about the
> practices of these "subsequent distributors", but for the most part it's
> just not worth it to sue them.  I suppose it'd be enlightening to send a
> DMCA takedown notice to a few of the big names, but even that takes quite a
> bit of effort, and for online sources it's fairly pointless.  I might have
> done it myself by now, except that I changed my username to the generic
> "Anthony", in part because for a lot of the articles I've contributed to I
> actually would prefer *not* to be associated as an author.  Of course, I've
> also largely stopped contributing.
>
> For dead-tree distributors, this is mostly untested waters.  Personally I
> would be extremely upset if I made significant contributions (say two
> paragraphs or more) to a Wikipedia article which was copied into a book, and
> I was not attributed in the book.  Printing a URL absolutely doesn't cut it,
> in my opinion, when it comes to a printed book.  Pheobe and company may have
> gotten advice from Eben Moglen saying that this was A-OK, but quite frankly
> I think he was both ethically and legally wrong.  I don't think you can draw
> any conclusions that this practice is an accepted one.  There just aren't
> that many dead-tree distributors doing this.  As far as I know I haven't
> made significant contributions to that book, though.  So that's someone
> else's fight to fight.
>
> I do feel like I need to speak up here, though, because the suggestion that
> I have waived my right to attribution is an absolutely false one.
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Gregory Maxwell
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM, Robert Rohde <[hidden email]> wrote:
[snip]
> Why do you want attribution of work you have done on Wikipedia
> articles to be acknowledged more prominently in dead tree media than
> it is online?
[snip]

I'm not stating my opinion on Anthony's position at this time,  but I
do not think he is asking for additional attribution.

On Wikipedia attribution is "on the next page", it's just over on the
history tab.  This is analogous to including attribution at the tail
of a dead-tree article, or perhaps in a separate authors index.  It is
exactly analogous to providing attribution is a location which is
certainly not immediately accessible to the reader, and which is
potentially completely inaccessible.  (For practical reasons it may
not be possible to provide an equivalent, as dead-tree is not an
equivalent medium,  but this fact doesn't make a URL the equivalent or
even the nearest fit)

I expect this discrepancy to become more obvious as tools like
automatic text attribution make it easier to ignore vandalism,
copy-editing, and removed changes in the article history.   Addressing
this concern well is important even if your position isn't the same as
Anthony's.

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
In reply to this post by Robert Rohde
Robert Rohde wrote:
> To Anthony and Jussi-ville,
>
> Why do you want attribution of work you have done on Wikipedia
> articles to be acknowledged more prominently in dead tree media than
> it is online?
>
> That's the sense I get from you when you say that referencing an
> online publication of the history is not okay.  

Surprisingly enough, I cannot speak for Anthony. For myself
I would in fact probably like to soften my stance a mite. A
link to a web page, if it is specific enough (such as the
history of the article), may well be a - not ideal / but will do
in a pinch - solution.

What has weakened my opposition to this approach, is that
I thought of software distributions which only provide
source on demand, and are considered compliant with
a non-expansive interpretation of open source.

Perhaps there is a good argument for not trying to be more
catholic than the pope.

> If one looks at the
> Wikipedia publication, in general one has to choose to seek out the
> edit history and (in many cases) put effort into parsing through it
> before they would even notice that you had contributed significantly
> to the article.  You seem to be suggesting that in the case of dead
> tree media you have an expectation that attribution be made
> clearer/easier to access than it is online.  Is that a correct
> understanding of your view point?  And if so why?
>  

Having said what I did above, there is one valid argument
that would favor providing clearer  attribution in a fixed
medium publication of wikipedia content, than is on the
editable site. That is that ostensibly (yes, I do realize it
is in part a fiction) wikipedia is "merely" a work in progress,
and not to be used as a finished reference work. A scratch pad
as it was originally termed, for Nupedia.

But though I find this argument very persuasive, it is clearly
an ethical/editorial one, and not a legal one.
> Personally, it feels antithetical to the principles of free content
> and frankly a bit unethical to demand that reusers give a more
> prominent acknowledgment to contributers than one receives from the
> primary publication, i.e. Wikipedia.
>  

Well, like I said, that is assuming wikipedia is a publication
rather than a website for the collaborative editing of
content that can be used by others for fashioning finished
publications.

Do remember that wikipedia relies on the distinction of not
being a publisher, for that legal protection under that
clause that I forget the number of... 230 or something
of some statute or law or another.


Yours,

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen



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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Gregory Maxwell
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 10:26 AM, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> For myself
> I would in fact probably like to soften my stance a mite. A
> link to a web page, if it is specific enough (such as the
> history of the article), may well be a - not ideal / but will do
> in a pinch - solution.
>
> What has weakened my opposition to this approach, is that
> I thought of software distributions which only provide
> source on demand, and are considered compliant with
> a non-expansive interpretation of open source.

Thats my perspective for history information, as well as access to the
preferred form for editing, they are 'source code', I'd even drawn the
same parallel to software.

GPLv3 even relaxes the requirement for distributors to provide future
access to source in some cases (verbatim reproductions; though I'd
expect different rules in a free content license). A parallel
structure, along with really strong and permissive excerpting rules,
would create great justice in a future free content license.

I also hold the same view for attribution, *but only* in cases where
the most correct attribution is either too complex for reasonable
reproduction in some media (sometimes true for Wikipedia text), or not
easily available (always true for Wikipedia text as things stand
today).

A good practice, perhaps one worth codifying in a future free content
license, might be to be make it clear that the URL is not the author
with an attribution like:   "Multiple Authors
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/somearticle)".  This method makes it
clear that the complete attribution was omitted for brevity, and not
as a claim that "Wikipedia" wrote the article (an outrageous claim in
some cases, especially for works which originated in other compatibly
licensed locations).

For something like the reproduction of a isolated common photograph
with a single author, a failure to directly make available the name of
the author would be surprising and inconsistant with common practice
as well as unnecessary. So it shouldn't be done there.  (Nor should it
be done for the frequent case of Wikipedia articles with single
effective authors, but we currently have no way of easily identifying
them and I do not think it's reasonable to place that burden on the
reusers - I think this is a burden that should be shifted somewhat
towards authors⋯ If you don not make your attribution clear, don't
expect other people to name you.).
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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

John at Darkstar
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
Probably you should focus more on whats according to present law than
what someone wants to believe they can do. It is interesting to see what
the Norwegian law says on this matter instead of trying to fight against
the law.

Åndsverksloven § 3. Opphavsmannen har krav på å bli navngitt slik som
god skikk tilsier, så vel på eksemplar av åndsverket som når det gjøres
tilgjengelig for almenheten.

"The creator of the work has a right to be attributed according to good
practice, as well on each copy of the work as when it is made available
 for the general public."

Later it says
Sin rett efter første og annet ledd kan opphavsmannen ikke fraskrive
seg, med mindre den bruk av verket som det gjelder, er avgrenset efter
art og omfang.

"The rights after first and second paragraphs can the author not
release, unless the work in question is limited in nature and scope."

Proper attribution i Norwegian law can be said to be covered in a
reference to the correct page on Wikipedia. To attribute Wikipedia as
such are probably not completely correct, even if it is done customary
in newspapers in Norway. It is although the common thing to do - it has
become according to good practice, and it is done likewise on other
similar publications. A legal alternate is to credit the principal
authors or some publication that has the same article.

The law says you should be attributed on each copy of the work, still if
the copy is limited in nature and scope you can drop the attribution.
Now, is a printed copy of a single article from Wikipedia limited in
such a way? My guess is that it is and a reference to Wikipedia is
sufficient. On a printed copy of the whole Wikipedia a reference to
Wikipedias crediting system is probably sufficient. That is, the printed
copy (the book) is limited to Wikipedia so the crediting system on
Wikipedia is used to solve the attribution for this "limited nature and
scope".

Its the necessity to identify a publication which creates some of the
problems, that is, pointing the reader to "Wikipedia". It would be an
option if for example FSF or CC had some kind of identifier for each
work licensed with their license. Then that could be used the same way
as an ISBN number. That would make it possible to credit authors and
identify the work through the number, for example "(Desperados, Emanuel;
''Norway'', GFDL 0123456789)". Note that this is an identifier for some
broker system, not an identification of the first publisher. It is not
necessary to attribute the publisher, it it only necessary to attribute
the author. Still something like "(Wikipedia/Norway)" is sufficient if
there is a description of how attribution works on Wikipedia, and again
"(Wikipedia)" is probably not sufficient.

If someone outside Wikipedia reuses an article from Wikipedia then they
probably has to credit the persons involved at that point, or give some
kind of pointer to the correct version on Wikipedia. Probably they
should describe what this kind of crediting means. They could choose to
make a history page of their own, but then that page should described
similarly.

Now if they don't want to credit Wikipedia, that is they don't want
Wikipedia to attribute the authors, then they has to attribute at least
the principal authors.

In a printed "The complete Wikipedia" i believe that an identifier that
says "rev 1234567890" on each article is a sufficient attribution if the
meaning of this is described somewhere easy to find, and it is described
what this means when it comes to attribution of authors.

What I would like to have, is a special page that generated a list of
probable principal authors, a list of major authors and a list of other
authors. If there could be a single list sorted on importance of
contributions it would be nice, as this opens for more judgment from the
reader. If principal authors can be detected they should go in the
footer on the article pages, but only if they choose to supply their
full name, because this is to important for a lot of persons. This has
become very visible in Norway as an old paper-based lexicon has taken up
the fight against Wikipedia. If someone does not provide their full name
(it is in the database but not used for the moment) it should be taken
as a grant to not use the name in the footer but only list their user
name on the special page.

Such a special page should be able to generate such lists for previous
versions, not only for the present version. Ie, The complete Wikipedia's
article for Norway (revision 1234567890) is identified as
"Special:Attribution/Norway,1234567890". Likewise
"Special:Attribution/Norway" is the present version. This should also be
linked in the footer together with any identified principal authors.
Note that those numbers are our internal revisions, not some kind of
ISBN-equivalent.

A full credit of an _article_ on Wikipedia would be
"Wikipedia/Norway/1234567890", a sufficient credit would be
"Wikipedia/Norway", and probably an insufficient one would be
"Wikipedia", given that there is a description of how the attribution
works on Wikipedia and given that the use of the article(s) are limited
in nature and scope.

I'm not sure how this works given the GFDL license, but it seems to be
within the legal boundaries for me. The overall solution is pretty much
as today but with an added focus on attribution of principal authors.

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Gregory Maxwell
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:51 AM, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM, Robert Rohde <[hidden email]> wrote:
> [snip]
> > Why do you want attribution of work you have done on Wikipedia
> > articles to be acknowledged more prominently in dead tree media than
> > it is online?
> [snip]
>
> I'm not stating my opinion on Anthony's position at this time,  but I
> do not think he is asking for additional attribution.
>
> On Wikipedia attribution is "on the next page", it's just over on the
> history tab.  This is analogous to including attribution at the tail
> of a dead-tree article, or perhaps in a separate authors index.  It is
> exactly analogous to providing attribution is a location which is
> certainly not immediately accessible to the reader, and which is
> potentially completely inaccessible.  (For practical reasons it may
> not be possible to provide an equivalent, as dead-tree is not an
> equivalent medium,  but this fact doesn't make a URL the equivalent or
> even the nearest fit)
>

Well, first of all, I never said that linking is perfectly fine with me.
Depending on how the link is handled, I have various degrees of
disappointment.  Ideally, I think online media should directly provide a
list of authors.  Linking to someone else's copy of a list of authors would
be next best (assuming the link remains valid and provides the list of
authors at the time of the copy).  Linking to the Wikipedia history page is
significantly worse, but right about where I'd draw the line ethically.
Linking to the Wikipedia article itself is over that line.

Printing a URL which someone can use to get the list of authors if they can
manage to get a computer, get internet access, type in, etc., is not at all
acceptable, for the reasons given by Gregory above.  It's also not
accessible because URLs go dead, and they go dead much faster than paper
disintegrates.  I don't think Wikipedia will be around 20 years from now,
but printed copies of Wikipedia probably will be.  A mirror which relies on
a link to provide attribution takes the risk that the link will go down, and
when that happens they have the responsibility to provide a new link or to
provide the attribution directly.  Dead-tree publishers aren't going to
recall all the books they've printed when a url goes down.

I'd be willing to set a threshold on who gets direct attribution.  I haven't
thought about it enough to say for sure, but somewhere around 50 words is
probably an acceptable threshold.  That's not all that much dead-tree space
to deal with.  Worst case scenario, if everyone wrote exactly 50 words and
had a two-word-long-attribution, we're talking about around 4% overhead.  Of
course, the tools aren't widespread to calculate that sort of thing, if
they're available at all.  But if that's what the rules say, then I'm sure
they will be developed.  And in the mean time, publishers can choose to
print all names instead of calculating which names to include.

Anthony
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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 4:30 AM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Michael Snow <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> I might add that the attribution requirement of the GFDL talks about
>> listing at least five principal authors, "unless they release you from
>> this requirement." A fairly straightforward argument can be made that
>> existing and accepted practice on Wikipedia, and for that matter on
>> nearly all wikis, amounts to releasing subsequent distributors from this
>> requirement.
>
>
> For the title page, sure.  But the basic practice on Wikipedia is to list
> the username of every single edit in the page history.
>
> As for online sources, I think there are a lot of people upset about the
> practices of these "subsequent distributors", but for the most part it's
> just not worth it to sue them.  I suppose it'd be enlightening to send a
> DMCA takedown notice to a few of the big names, but even that takes quite a
> bit of effort, and for online sources it's fairly pointless.  I might have
> done it myself by now, except that I changed my username to the generic
> "Anthony", in part because for a lot of the articles I've contributed to I
> actually would prefer *not* to be associated as an author.  Of course, I've
> also largely stopped contributing.
>
> For dead-tree distributors, this is mostly untested waters.  Personally I
> would be extremely upset if I made significant contributions (say two
> paragraphs or more) to a Wikipedia article which was copied into a book, and
> I was not attributed in the book.  Printing a URL absolutely doesn't cut it,
> in my opinion, when it comes to a printed book.  Pheobe and company may have
> gotten advice from Eben Moglen saying that this was A-OK, but quite frankly
> I think he was both ethically and legally wrong.  I don't think you can draw
> any conclusions that this practice is an accepted one.

Just a few points:
1) there *isn't* really an accepted practice, which is why we're
having this discussion.  There just haven't been that many test cases
-- there have been very few attempts to reprint Wikipedia content in
large scale in print, rather than on another website where standard
practice has been to link back to Wikipedia.

2) For HWW, I think everything we used from Wikipedia would qualify
under fair use anyway -- we quoted few pages verbatim or at length, so
hopefully we're good for you and anyone else who disagrees on that
score.

3) For our book particularly -- if you can't get to a computer and
type in a URL, it's a pretty useless piece of dead-tree anyway, since
it's all about how to use Wikipedia online :P Of course that won't be
true for article collection reprints.

4)  When you say "significant contributions", that's the sticking
point for me. What's significant? A first draft of an article that
people then change completely? One paragraph? Two? What about adding
paragraphs that are subsequently removed and are not present at the
time of quoting the article? Adding some references? Any major edit?
Repeated vandalism reversal over time? It seems to me that this is
such a loose concept that might be interpreted so differently by
various editors that the reprinter is pretty much stuck with an
all-or-nothing approach -- either you print all the editors in tiny
type, which actually obscures the major contributors to an article, or
you use some sort of metric or value judgment in picking out
significant contributors, which seems like will always be wrong in
some way.

-- phoebe

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Anthony-73
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:48 AM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 4:30 AM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > For dead-tree distributors, this is mostly untested waters.  Personally I
> > would be extremely upset if I made significant contributions (say two
> > paragraphs or more) to a Wikipedia article which was copied into a book,
> and
> > I was not attributed in the book.  Printing a URL absolutely doesn't cut
> it,
> > in my opinion, when it comes to a printed book.  Pheobe and company may
> have
> > gotten advice from Eben Moglen saying that this was A-OK, but quite
> frankly
> > I think he was both ethically and legally wrong.  I don't think you can
> draw
> > any conclusions that this practice is an accepted one.
>
> Just a few points:
> 1) there *isn't* really an accepted practice, which is why we're
> having this discussion.
>

Absolutely agreed.

2) For HWW, I think everything we used from Wikipedia would qualify
> under fair use anyway -- we quoted few pages verbatim or at length, so
> hopefully we're good for you and anyone else who disagrees on that
> score.
>

Well, my one statement was qualified with an "if", "if I made significant
contributions".  My other statement was regarding Eben Moglen, who you said
"felt that as long as our metric was consistent and we linked back to the
history on Wikipedia, citing all the authors of every article in our print
version was not necessary".  Maybe he made this comment knowing that the
amount quoted was insignificant, in which case I withdraw my statement.

But at the same time, "fair use" may be an excuse for copying, but it isn't
an excuse for lack of attribution.

3) For our book particularly -- if you can't get to a computer and
> type in a URL, it's a pretty useless piece of dead-tree anyway, since
> it's all about how to use Wikipedia online :P Of course that won't be
> true for article collection reprints.
>

I don't buy that as an excuse.

4)  When you say "significant contributions", that's the sticking
> point for me. What's significant? A first draft of an article that
> people then change completely? One paragraph? Two?


That's a grey area obviously, but I suggested maybe two paragraphs.


> What about adding
> paragraphs that are subsequently removed and are not present at the
> time of quoting the article? Adding some references? Any major edit?
> Repeated vandalism reversal over time?


Anything removed shouldn't count.  Adding references probably lacks the
creative expression necessary for copyright protection.


> It seems to me that this is
> such a loose concept that might be interpreted so differently by
> various editors that the reprinter is pretty much stuck with an
> all-or-nothing approach -- either you print all the editors in tiny
> type, which actually obscures the major contributors to an article, or
> you use some sort of metric or value judgment in picking out
> significant contributors, which seems like will always be wrong in
> some way.


Life (especially with regard to the law and ethics) works that way some
times.  But just because it's difficult for you to determine exactly where
the line is, that doesn't excuse you from clearly crossing it.

Try applying your excuse that it's all or nothing to a few other situations
and you'll see how ridiculous it is.  Should I drink myself into oblivion
because I can't quantify exactly how many beers is too many?
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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

phoebe ayers-3
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:10 AM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:48 AM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>wrote:

<snip, including some sarcasm that was lost on the replier. Moving on!>

>> It seems to me that this is
>> such a loose concept that might be interpreted so differently by
>> various editors that the reprinter is pretty much stuck with an
>> all-or-nothing approach -- either you print all the editors in tiny
>> type, which actually obscures the major contributors to an article, or
>> you use some sort of metric or value judgment in picking out
>> significant contributors, which seems like will always be wrong in
>> some way.
>
>
> Life (especially with regard to the law and ethics) works that way some
> times.  But just because it's difficult for you to determine exactly where
> the line is, that doesn't excuse you from clearly crossing it.

Actually... my all or nothing phrasing seems to have muddied the
waters. It seems to me the options are, when reprinting a Wikipedia
article in a book:

1. cite everybody who ever touched the article
2. cite some of the people who touched the article
3. provide a link back to a comprehensive list of everyone who ever
touched the article, which also has the benefits of handy diffs so you
can see who added what, etc.

Option 1) has the advantage that there are no questions and no
judgment that need be applied to the list by the reprinters -- here's
all the authors, plain and simple. It has the disadvantages that it is
technically difficult to get (there's no clean way currently to get a
de-duped history dump for a particular article, hopefully this will
change in the future), difficult to work with (we're talking thousands
of names for big articles), and arguably obscures the major
contributors (check out one of the Wikitravel readers for a great
example of this -- in a history section with a long list of all
authors, a la Bertelsmann, "Mike" is cited, then the next name on the
list is "Mike_sucks." Hmm, I wonder who made more constructive
contributions?)

Option 2) has the advantage that you actually (hopefully) highlight
the primary contributors to a piece. It has the disadvantage that it's
incredibly difficult to figure out a metric for who the primary
contributors actually are, and then once you've done that technically
producing the list is also hard (to nearly impossible for an average
person without the ability to write history-mining scripts or go
through the whole thing by hand, if you use a value-laded judgment
like "x quantity of significant writing).

Option 3) has the advantage that it's simple, easy to apply
consistently and you don't have to worry about getting all the authors
listed -- it's already done for you. It's also much more practical for
short applications, e.g. reprinting an article in a magazine. It has
the disadvantage that according to some contributors (and perhaps, the
current license) it doesn't give full and proper attribution to their
work.

There may be other problems and advantages that I haven't thought of
yet. I'll leave other people to hash out the moral, ethical, and legal
advantages of each approach. But these are the practical
considerations faced by a reprinter of content. It's also important to
remember, I think, that if we are trying, in general, to make
reprinting and reuse not just possible but smooth and easy that adds a
consideration to the problem. For my part, I think we need to think
carefully about this problem and come up with a good solution for the
sake of free content distribution in general -- producing content that
can be reused is a fundamental part of Wikimedia's mission, so let's
do it right.

-- phoebe

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Robert Rohde
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 8:37 AM, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:51 AM, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM, Robert Rohde <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> [snip]
>> > Why do you want attribution of work you have done on Wikipedia
>> > articles to be acknowledged more prominently in dead tree media than
>> > it is online?
>> [snip]
>>
>> I'm not stating my opinion on Anthony's position at this time,  but I
>> do not think he is asking for additional attribution.
>>
>> On Wikipedia attribution is "on the next page", it's just over on the
>> history tab.  This is analogous to including attribution at the tail
>> of a dead-tree article, or perhaps in a separate authors index.  It is
>> exactly analogous to providing attribution is a location which is
>> certainly not immediately accessible to the reader, and which is
>> potentially completely inaccessible.  (For practical reasons it may
>> not be possible to provide an equivalent, as dead-tree is not an
>> equivalent medium,  but this fact doesn't make a URL the equivalent or
>> even the nearest fit)
>>
>
> Well, first of all, I never said that linking is perfectly fine with me.
> Depending on how the link is handled, I have various degrees of
> disappointment.  Ideally, I think online media should directly provide a
> list of authors.  Linking to someone else's copy of a list of authors would
> be next best (assuming the link remains valid and provides the list of
> authors at the time of the copy).  Linking to the Wikipedia history page is
> significantly worse, but right about where I'd draw the line ethically.
> Linking to the Wikipedia article itself is over that line.
<snip>

As I suggested before, though less directly, unless Wikipedia directly
provides a quotable list of authors, I don't see any reason to expect
that other publishers should be prepared or required to create one.
They could copy the entire history, though many people acknowledge
that this goes over to the absurd for very long articles.  Arguably
providing a list of "principal" authors is a technically solvable
problem for Wikipedia with appropriate tools, though as Phoebe notes
there are serious questions about how one defines significant
authorship given the fluid nature of wikitext and the different
varieties of editing Wikipedians do.

For the long articles:

"Multiple Authors. 'Earth' retrieved from Wikipedia on Jan 1, 2008.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth"

is about the level of acknowledgment that I would expect to see currently.

There are several problems with that.  I would say there should also
be (at least) a revision id, a reference to the history page, and
statements about free content.  But unless we can agree on the
structure we want to see in acknowledgments from reusers, then I don't
expect them to do much better than the above.

Part of agreeing on a structure for reusers could be agreeing on a
framework for who should be listed as authors, but until we have a
standardized way of providing that information in a useful form, I am
mostly surprised when publishers bother to list any authors with a
specific acknowledgment at all.  The more direct point is that the
free content movement should not be expecting other people to solve
the authorship problem if we ourselves are unable to do so.

So I welcome the discussion of where to draw lines on authorship, if
you really think it is possible to do so.  However, I personally am
rather skeptical about the ability to have a practical set of rules
for defining an author list in a way that would actually satisfy the
majority of people in the majority of cases.

-Robert Rohde

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
2008/10/21 Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <[hidden email]>:

>  And to
> underline it more emphatically, I would most strongly
> oppose any move to give prominence to the freedomdefined
> site in our negotiations with the relevant interest groups,
> as being representative of wikimedias interests.


Which, as I noted, is fine for you personally, but claiming it's not
representative of Wikimedia's interests is simply factually incorrect,
given the board resolution stating that it's precisely that.


- d.

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Michael Snow-3
2008/10/22 Michael Snow <[hidden email]>:

> I might add that the attribution requirement of the GFDL talks about
> listing at least five principal authors, "unless they release you from
> this requirement." A fairly straightforward argument can be made that
> existing and accepted practice on Wikipedia, and for that matter on
> nearly all wikis, amounts to releasing subsequent distributors from this
> requirement. If the authors can make this implicit release, then you
> have to look at whatever attribution is customary in a given context,
> along with any moral rights issues.


In any case, this discussion has already reached the stage of counting
angels dancing on the heads of pins and assuming that law is as
brittle as computer code. It just ain't so.

The threat model we're taking about is: what does a reuser say if
taken to court by an insane and obsessive author? Would a judge
consider the reuser's actions reasonable, given accepted behaviour
regarding said licence to date? That sort of squishy, arguable, grey
area thing.


- d.

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

John at Darkstar
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
Sorry, you place the board of WM Foundation whereby they are responsible
for all users on Wikimedias projects.

John

David Gerard skrev:

> 2008/10/21 Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <[hidden email]>:
>
>>  And to
>> underline it more emphatically, I would most strongly
>> oppose any move to give prominence to the freedomdefined
>> site in our negotiations with the relevant interest groups,
>> as being representative of wikimedias interests.
>
>
> Which, as I noted, is fine for you personally, but claiming it's not
> representative of Wikimedia's interests is simply factually incorrect,
> given the board resolution stating that it's precisely that.
>
>
> - d.
>
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> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

David Gerard-2
2008/10/22 John at Darkstar <[hidden email]>:

> Sorry, you place the board of WM Foundation whereby they are responsible
> for all users on Wikimedias projects.


That's like saying a community can decide to repudiate the GFDL on
their project. They can, but it won't be a Wikimedia project much
longer.

[*] apart from Wikinews of course.


- d.

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

John at Darkstar
No, its not the same. WM Foundation represent the community in some
aspects, but they are not responsible for the users in the community.

John

David Gerard skrev:

> 2008/10/22 John at Darkstar <[hidden email]>:
>
>> Sorry, you place the board of WM Foundation whereby they are responsible
>> for all users on Wikimedias projects.
>
>
> That's like saying a community can decide to repudiate the GFDL on
> their project. They can, but it won't be a Wikimedia project much
> longer.
>
> [*] apart from Wikinews of course.
>
>
> - d.
>
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> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

David Gerard-2
2008/10/22 John at Darkstar <[hidden email]>:

> No, its not the same. WM Foundation represent the community in some
> aspects, but they are not responsible for the users in the community.


Then I'm completely unclear on what you mean, and/or you're completely
unclear on what I mean.


- d.

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
Anthony wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:48 AM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>wrote
>> It seems to me that this is
>> such a loose concept that might be interpreted so differently by
>> various editors that the reprinter is pretty much stuck with an
>> all-or-nothing approach -- either you print all the editors in tiny
>> type, which actually obscures the major contributors to an article, or
>> you use some sort of metric or value judgment in picking out
>> significant contributors, which seems like will always be wrong in
>> some way.
>>    
> Life (especially with regard to the law and ethics) works that way some
> times.  But just because it's difficult for you to determine exactly where
> the line is, that doesn't excuse you from clearly crossing it.
>
>  
That's a self-contradictory statement.  If you can't determine exactly
where the line is there is nothing clear about having crossed it.

Ec

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3
phoebe ayers wrote:
> 1. cite everybody who ever touched the article
> 2. cite some of the people who touched the article
> 3. provide a link back to a comprehensive list of everyone who ever
> touched the article, which also has the benefits of handy diffs so you
> can see who added what, etc.
>  
...

> There may be other problems and advantages that I haven't thought of
> yet. I'll leave other people to hash out the moral, ethical, and legal
> advantages of each approach. But these are the practical
> considerations faced by a reprinter of content. It's also important to
> remember, I think, that if we are trying, in general, to make
> reprinting and reuse not just possible but smooth and easy that adds a
> consideration to the problem. For my part, I think we need to think
> carefully about this problem and come up with a good solution for the
> sake of free content distribution in general -- producing content that
> can be reused is a fundamental part of Wikimedia's mission, so let's
> do it right.
It all comes down to the risk tolerance of the person doing the
printing.  I would be satisfied with including a printed link to the
relevant Wikipedia history page. This would satisfy what I believe to be
my ethical responsibilities in the matter.

When you bring it down to basics you arrive at the core issue, producing
re-usable content.  On the way there we get diverted by trying to have
the language just right, but each elaboration of language brings new
vulnerabilities to the fundamental principle.  People seem to read laws
in a way that puts them at maximum disadvantage.  In an attempt to abide
by the literal word of the law (which includes private rules) they
imagine circumstances that can only remind us of the boys in the George
Carlin skit trying to befuddle the aging priest with hypothetical sins.
We tie ourselves in knots trying to find legal countermeasures to
aspects of the law whose interpretation is tenuous at best.

Maybe it just takes a plain language statement of what we believe.

Ec

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Re: What's appropriate attribution?

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

> 2008/10/22 Michael Snow <[hidden email]>:
>  
>> I might add that the attribution requirement of the GFDL talks about
>> listing at least five principal authors, "unless they release you from
>> this requirement." A fairly straightforward argument can be made that
>> existing and accepted practice on Wikipedia, and for that matter on
>> nearly all wikis, amounts to releasing subsequent distributors from this
>> requirement. If the authors can make this implicit release, then you
>> have to look at whatever attribution is customary in a given context,
>> along with any moral rights issues.
>>    
> In any case, this discussion has already reached the stage of counting
> angels dancing on the heads of pins and assuming that law is as
> brittle as computer code. It just ain't so.
>
> The threat model we're taking about is: what does a reuser say if
> taken to court by an insane and obsessive author? Would a judge
> consider the reuser's actions reasonable, given accepted behaviour
> regarding said licence to date? That sort of squishy, arguable, grey
> area thing.

There is no inoculation to prevent insanity and obsession.  Whatever
model is chosen can provide opportunities for the litigious.  Thus if we
go with the five principal authors, what's to prevent number six from
arguing that he should be in the top five.

In the general case I think that any reuser who exercises a modicum of
good faith and due diligence will likely be safe  Accepted behaviour
will also be influenced by past practice including the chronic failure
of rights owners (not WMF) to protect their own rights

Ec

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