Mailing List Archive

Closing the Circle to Published Content (was Re: Evil Book)
On 11/01/2010 04:08 PM, ???? wrote:
> How is this a problem the articles are licensed CC-BY-SA the book is
> advertised on Amazon as being a collection of WIKIPEDIA articles. That
> someone knowingly spends $50 on it is surely there own fault.
>
>
> Attribution: To re-distribute a text page in any form,
> provide credit to the authors either by including a) a
> hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages
> you are re-using, b) a hyperlink (where possible) or
> URL to an alternative, stable online copy which is freely
> accessible, which conforms with the license, and which
> provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to
> the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all
> authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude
> very small or irrelevant contributions.) This applies to
> text developed by the Wikimedia community.
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_Use
>
> *shrug* seems that all they have to do is put a URI on a page. Of course
> as more of this type of book is produced it may make the general public
> think that wikipedia has some finger in the pie.
>
The problem here is that the publisher is being deceptive as to the
origin of the content and how it was put together. Since I haven't seen
the book itself and can only react to what is on the amazon.com. I
guess this is a "buyer beware" in regards to whatever you purchase in
this fashion.

One other problem that I see here is that this is an unfilled niche
where there is demand for content of this nature.... the "long tail"
where there are people who would be willing to pay fairly substantial
amounts of money for a specialized book that did a fairly good treatment
on a more obscure topic. These companies are exploiting this niche even
if they are doing a pretty lousy job of dealing with these customers as
well. Certainly there are people who are interested in these obscure
topics.

Something missing from the Wikimedia projects is some way to close the
circle in terms of moving from raw content and rough drafts to a
polished final published product of some kind. There are some private
groups which are doing this with Wikimedia content, but nothing
organized by the Wikimedia volunteers themselves. It is something I
have tried in vain to attempt to get organized with Wikibooks, but it
can also apply to other Wikimedia projects as well. Perhaps it is
something that is well past due to be put together as a formal Wikimedia
"sister project".

I strongly insist that you can't simply automate the collection of
random pages from a wiki and call that a book. While those tools which
do this are useful to an extent, I feel that there needs to be a human
element in the process as you are changing media which has different
requirements than a web page. An "editorial board" or something that is
able to filter some of the volumes of content available on the various
Wikimedia projects perhaps would be useful. It seems like it is a
volunteer organizing effort much more so than a technical challenge, as
the tools necessary to select content for organization and to publish
are all pretty much available even for those members of our community
who are of modest financial means.

My problem I've encountered is simply finding the right community of
people that would be interested in putting together such a development
effort to close the process and get some "published" content prepared
that is derived from Wikimedia projects. I am very much aware of the
Wikipedia 1.0 effort, which is sort of what I'm talking about here, but
I feel if something is done like this needs to be more comprehensive in
nature than merely putting together some of the featured articles from
Wikipedia. I could do this as a for-profit company as there are
marketable products that could be sold from this effort, but it is
something I'd also like to do where I'm "giving back" to the community
as well in some fashion that helps support the overall effort.

I know in the past that the Wikimedia Foundation has been extremely
reluctant to set itself up as a publisher and wants to maintain its
distance from this gap closing in part to preserve its "internet service
provider" status where the WMF can essentially plead ignorance
deliberately over the content on the various projects. This in turn has
made it nearly impossible to organize publishing efforts like producing
Wikijunior books and to keep a sustained effort going on projects of
that nature. I was involved with the physical publishing of some
Wikijunior materials, and getting squished like a bug on those efforts
also took the wind out of my sails in terms of pushing for something
more. Perhaps the time is ripe now for something new to develop along
these lines.

Seriously, I'm interested in putting something like this together, and
if anybody reading this mailing list would like to get something
organized to "close this gap", let me know or point me to some groups of
Wikimedia users who would like to get some real published content
prepared in various forms. I'm talking physical dead-tree books,
e-books for things like Kindle (and other e-book readers), pdf files
that can be downloadable on Wikimedia projects, and other forms of more
complete content that is peer-reviewed but derived from Wikimedia
projects. I'm pleading ignorance if there is such a group that has been
put together already but I think it is about time that something of this
nature is put together if it hasn't been already.

Perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree here and nobody really cares about
this stuff. If so, ignore this post, but it seems like many of the
posts on this mailing list lately have been complaints about the quality
of the content and bemoaning the fact that Wikipedia and the other
Wikimedia projects have a hard time distinguishing between brilliant
prose and something the latest troll put forth at the last minute.
Something clearly is missing here, and I think this "evil book" is a
prime example of an unmet need in the "market place of ideas" where I
think it is time that the Wikimedia volunteers step up to the plate to
show how these books really ought to be made. We wrote the content, we
know what the gems are that are out there in our projects and what is
something to avoid like the plague. If these books are going to be
flooding Amazon.com and the other on-line publishers anyway, let's put
some high quality stuff into those book sellers so that when people are
going to be buying re-purposed content from Wikimedia projects that it
is something really worth getting.

Perhaps, and this is a side benefit worth noting but not the primary
purpose (nor secondary or even tertiary for that matter) this could also
be a minor and modest fundraiser for the WMF. But the purpose here is
to get the quality of what we are making to the publish and get it
distributed. Commercial publishers have been selling Wikimedia content
for some time, but are doing a rather lousy job of it too. Why is that?

-- Robert Horning
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Re: Closing the Circle to Published Content (was Re: Evil Book) [ In reply to ]
Дана Tuesday 02 November 2010 00:48:06 Robert S. Horning написа:
> The problem here is that the publisher is being deceptive as to the
> origin of the content and how it was put together. Since I haven't seen
> the book itself and can only react to what is on the amazon.com. I
> guess this is a "buyer beware" in regards to whatever you purchase in
> this fashion.

By the way, this seems to be limited to this publisher Betascript, who does give misleading descriptions: http://www.amazon.com/Ukita-Kokichi-Lambert-M-Surhone/dp/6131076278/

There's this Books LLC with more accurate descriptions: http://www.amazon.com/Tairo-Tokugawa-Tadakatsu-Kagekatsu-Masatoshi/dp/1155945018/

A similar problem is that they offer reprints of PD books, probably also of poor quality...
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Re: Closing the Circle to Published Content (was Re: Evil Book) [ In reply to ]
On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 3:04 PM, Nikola Smolenski <smolensk@eunet.rs> wrote:
> Дана Tuesday 02 November 2010 00:48:06 Robert S. Horning написа:
>> The problem here is that the publisher is being deceptive as to the
>> origin of the content and how it was put together.  Since I haven't seen
>> the book itself and can only react to what is on the amazon.com.  I
>> guess this is a "buyer beware" in regards to whatever you purchase in
>> this fashion.
>
> By the way, this seems to be limited to this publisher Betascript, who does give misleading descriptions: http://www.amazon.com/Ukita-Kokichi-Lambert-M-Surhone/dp/6131076278/

This is covered in

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDM_Publishing

> There's this Books LLC with more accurate descriptions: http://www.amazon.com/Tairo-Tokugawa-Tadakatsu-Kagekatsu-Masatoshi/dp/1155945018/

They are not very accurate about the content; it is missing images,
formula, etc.

http://booksllc.net/faqs.cfm

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: Closing the Circle to Published Content (was Re: Evil Book) [ In reply to ]
The problem with LLC is, that on many of their amazon pages,.
Wikipedia isn't mentioned at all. Example:
http://www.amazon.de/Himmelsmechanik-Gravitation-Keplersche-Titius-Bode-Reihe-Ereignishorizont/dp/1159048118

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Re: Closing the Circle to Published Content (was Re: Evil Book) [ In reply to ]
In a message dated 11/2/2010 12:59:12 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
pjacobi.de@googlemail.com writes:


> The problem with LLC is, that on many of their amazon pages,.
> Wikipedia isn't mentioned at all. Example:
> http://www.amazon.de/Himmelsmechanik-Gravitation-Keplersche-Titius-Bode-Rei
> he-Ereignishorizont/dp/1159048118
>


We have no requirement to mention our project on the advertising for a work
that uses the project contents.
The license requirement is on the contents itself.
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