[I'm writing in my personal capacity.]

Hi Mathieu,

On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 2:45 AM, mathieu stumpf guntz <
psychosl...@culture-libre.org> wrote:

> Le 01/12/2017 à 09:34, Markus Kroetzsch a écrit :
> Dear Mathieu,
> You are in an impossible position. Either you want to be an objective
> researcher who tries to reconstruct past events as they happened, or you
> are pursuing an agenda to criticise and change some aspects of Wikidata.
> The way you do it, you are making yourself part of the debate that you
> claim you want to reconstruct.
> Well, I guess this is a dilemma that many sociologists and anthropologists
> have to deal with. That's a really hard epistemic problem you are raising
> here, and I don't think this list is the place to discuss it extensively.
> So to make it short, I fully agree that your concern is legitimate, but if
> your implied conclusion is that it would be better to do nothing rather
> than going into a difficult epistemic position, I don't share this
> conclusion.

​You can do both, but these will be two separate efforts and you need to be
clear to your audience which hat you have on when you're writing your
messages. At the moment, the messages come across with mixed signals which
makes it really hard to understand what is your goal. FYI: Here is what I
have heard so far on this thread from you:
(i) I want to do research to understand how the decision about CC0 was made.
(ii) I demand transparency: You need to answer my questions since
transparency is important for us and I have the right to ask about any
topic and demand more explanation until my satisfaction.
(iii) I am pretty skeptical about the way CC0 was chosen as a license for
Wikidata, and I'm going to dig deep (casually, and not
methodically/systematically) to figure out what's going on.
​If you're doing (i):
We count you as a researcher and you are asked to follow research norms. In
this case, I recommend that you open a research page on
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Index , clearly state what the
problem is, why it's important to solve it, what methods have been used in
the past (literature review) and why they are not enough, what is your
methodology, how are you planning to do data collection (for example, will
there be interviews? if yes, how are you going to handle the data
collected?), results (when they become available), discussion (how you do
or don't handle bias in data collection, where you think your study can be
improved, ...). Once you have that page up, others may join to help you
improve your research methodology and analysis before embarking on the
actual research.

If you're doing (ii):
Be aware: all of us have to make trade-offs between documentation, spending
time on building history, and getting the volunteer/staff work ahead of us
done. This is especially true for volunteer projects (which is how Wikidata
was initiated). Someone spending time on documentation may mean the project
not moving forward, literally. On this front: If you demand transparency
and you make documentation a requirement for transparency, you will likely
have to work hard to bring more volunteer resources to this community to
help us document better/more, and also work with us to create ways for
doing documentation without disrupting current workflows as much as
possible. This is a long-term discussion, it needs months/years of planning
and execution to expand a capacity that is heavily under-resourced in our

If you're doing (iii):
I highly recommend that you start small, even more private, in the future.
You are exposing quite a few people. You will hurt them less (or not at
all) and still will learn over time. Only if you see strong reasons for
opening up things at the level of this mailing list, I suggest you embark
on journeys like the one you're on now.

I tend to agree with Markus that you are in a very difficult place now: you
have communicated mixed signals, some people are hurt, and you need to
spend a lot of time and resources on your end and theirs (if they're
willing to), to start from scratch. In practice, you may be better off
letting this conversation go and allowing others to pick it up and build it
on a clearer base.

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