Monday, September 17, 2007

Simple/English Wikibooks Merger

SB Johnny and myself have left a message on the [[Wikibooks:Simple Talk]] page of the simple.wikibooks project (the equivalent of the "staff lounge" or "village pump" that readers might be familiar with). The gist of the message is that we move to merge the simple.wikibooks project into the en.wikibooks project. Earlier this week, import was enabled between the two projects, which would make the transition easier then it would have been otherwise.

Initial reaction seems positive. We've tried to structure the suggestion in a way that is non-hostile. We want to accentuate the positives of a merger, without throwing around words like "failed project". Some of the positive reasons for a merger are:
  1. More administrators. En.wikibooks has more administrators, along with bcrats and CU's necessary to really keep cleanup tasks under control, and to effectively combat vandals. Simple.wikibooks currently only has two admins, one appears to be relatively inactive, and they require regular help from stewards to fight vandalism. If there is a merger, it's likely that the administrators from simple.wb could be made into admins on en.wb immediately, or through an expedited process.
  2. En.wikibooks is no longer "grumpy" (not my term for it). Our project used to copy many of the policies from wikipedia, such as the "one subject, one article" policy. We've expanded to allow multiple books on a single subject, especially if those books have different scopes, or different target audiences. This means it's perfectly acceptable to have an "X" book, along with an "X in simplified english" book. In fact, we already have a number of books written in simplified english variants, so the addition of the books from simple.wikibooks would not be any kind of problem or exception.
  3. En.wikibooks has really been expanding it's organizational structures recently. We have an entire namespace dedicated to organizing, and we've developed a number of category/DPL techniques for keeping books organized. We also have a very successful "Featured Books" program that helps to promote our best books.
  4. En.Wikibooks is very stable, with a solid group of contributors, large numbers of new accounts created regularly, new content being created regularly, etc. We are no longer suffering from the cyclic periods of ups and downs that smaller projects experience. Work is able to progress at a more even and consistent rate. This stability attracts new contributors who in turn bring more content and more visibility for our project.
There are still a few more active users on that project that we want to hear from, but overall i think it's a good idea that will bring benefit to all users. If they don't like the idea, that's fine too. I dont want to force anybody to do anything that they dont want to do, but I hope that other people can see the same kinds of benefits that I see from it.

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