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Proposal:Virtual wikis needed

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Virtual wikis will be like special purpose wikis created for special needs, but without really splitting up the wiki world.


For the writers, each wiki is a well-defined text collection with a certain editorial policy. But the users who search and read wikis needn't be forced to choose one wiki at a time. They could use search pages enabling searching through several wikis, and articles found may be filtered (optionally discarded), based on certain criteria. A search page for a certain wiki set and exclusion criterion will appear as a virtual wiki.


  • A special-purpose wiki could use Wikipedia as a fall-back for red links - to avoid much wasted article writing for trivial topics. (As called for in the proposal Interwiki links for redlinks)
  • Other wikis can use the images in Creative Commons (and may have a local image cache for avoiding taking too much bandwidth). Image donors presumably want to donate to the public - to all wikis.
    Already possible: mw:Manual:$wgForeignFileRepos#Using_files_from_Wikimedia_Commons_:_ForeignAPIRepo.
  • Polyglot readers can search in all their languages. (Ukrainians also in Russian, Catalans in Spanish, Alemannic in German, etc.)
    Already possibile thanks to improved search when there isn't a local result, or using site:wikipedia.org etc. on a search engine.
  • Deletionists/censors may present subsets of Wikipedia to their flocks.


There is a need for many special-purpose wikis - and for avoiding splitting up the wiki world.

Key Questions

  • Will Wikipedia/Wikimedia cooperate and open up? (Or are donations causing greed and closedness?)
I'm not sure what is meant by this. Do you mean 'open up' to non-WMF wikis? The WMF staff works 60-70 hour weeks for not great pay. Most donations go to paying for technology to keep the site up and running. Wikimedia decisions and WMF leadership selection are made by the user-elected board. --Lyc. cooperi 10:06, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Who will decide «subsets of Wikipedia»?
  • List these «many special-purpose wikis».

Potential Costs

Very little for writing special-purpose search pages - provided wikis don't block such direct accesses.

Some extra work for flagging/tagging articles according to important criteria (sex, violence, complexity... ?), but this will be little compared to the cost of writing and maintaining special article versions.


More details in my Wikinfo article Virtual wiki.

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Virtual wikis needed.

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