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Submissions/Commoning free knowledge - methods and their wikinatures

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
Commoning free knowledge - methods and their wikinatures
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Mike Linksvayer
E-mail address
Mike Linksvayer
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Maintaining a commons requires regular "beating of bounds"; for pre-enclosure land commons this involved destroying private encroachments such as fences and cultivation, often with a merry-making and extralegal components. At first blush, protecting and promoting free knowledge necessarily takes a different kind of bounds beating, as proprietary bits aren't fences. But on second thought, their fence-like characteristics abound.

Consider at least three different free knowledge bounds beating activities:

  1. Pushing back when the commons is threatened, something which groups like the EFF do with some success.
  2. Building up and expanding the bounds of the free knowledge commons, sometimes (perhaps increasingly) out-competing proprietary knowledge (Wikipedia and free software running the internet infrastructure being the obvious examples).
  3. Ignoring the current regime altogether (except when thumbing one's nose at it), i.e., sharing not authorized by copyright holders, especially the self-conscious pirate movement.

Parts of the Wikimedia movement recently engaged in the first activity in a major way, but the second is the main, even if usually unspoken, political and commonsing contribution of the Wikimedia movement, as well as that of others with similar principles, ie free software -- a contribution that goes well beyond making the movement credible in the first type of activity. The third is the excuse given for attacks on the commons; a probably naive with might be for unathorized sharing to go away, then the open internet would be safe, surely. But file sharers are curators of of culture, perhaps like Wikimedians in many ways. If access to all human knowledge, summed or otherwise, is to be more than a mirage, they ought be allies, if not much more.

This talk will be a celebration of, and exhortation to take further:

  • The similarities of commonsing for knowledge and for other historical and contemporary resources.
  • The political offense (as opposed to defense) that free knowledge projects such as those of the Wikimedia movement constitute.
  • The complementary nature of underground knowledge communities.
  • Using the above to make officious political/legal advocacy (first activity) more powerful, and differentiated from the mere short term interest protection of many entities.
  • The WikiNature of commonsing, collective action challenges and opportunities.
Wikis and the Public Sector
Length of presentation/talk
25 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
I will have slides, but this would be a new presentation, so I don't have any yet. Some of the abstract is developed from the fourth question of an interview. I've posted and presented on overlapping matters a number of times; a recent post has links to some of them.
Special request as to time of presentations

Interested attendees

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  1. Mindspillage (talk) 02:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Tyng-Ruey Chuang (talk) 03:28, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 13:06, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  4. SarahStierch (talk) 03:57, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Shunlingchen (talk) 17:35, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Tal Niv (talk) 18:23, 23 March 2012 (UTC) Tal Niv[reply]