Om schibboleth, förkortningar och förvirring

Även fast det bara är tre bokstäver från m till p i alfabetet ställer det både till förvirring och kräver en del förklaring när jag pratar om skillnaden mellan Wikimedia och Wikipedia. Som tur är har fantastiska Johan Jönsson skrivit om det så bra att jag klipper in det rakt av här.


On shibboleths, abbreviations and confusion. And Wikipedia. Mostly Wikipedia.


The Wikimedia Foundation is an American non-profit that owns and operates Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects (Wiktionary, Wikimedia Commons, Wikiversity, Wikibooks and so on). Wikimedia Sweden is a Swedish non-profit that supports free knowledge, with a strong but not exclusive focus on Wikimedia projects. It’s one of the Wikimedia Foundation’s local chapters, but a legally independent entity.


In their relationship to Wikipedia, they are two very different beasts. The Wikimedia Foundation owns Wikipedia. It’s not involved in the day-to-day business of running the different language versions, which is done by the communities who edit them, but deals with much of e.g. the technical development, runs the servers, deals with fundraising and so on. Wikimedia Sweden is more of a supporter club, so to speak. It reaches out to get more people to edit, organises edit-a-thons, supports editors by trying to give them tools to write articles or lend them equipment to create better illustrations and so on. As an organisation, it has no voice in how Wikipedia is run (though the individuals involved might have in their capacity as Wikipedia editors, of course), at least no more than any other organisation that supports the Wikipedia project and has time and resources to spend on initiatives they think will make it better.

This means that ”Wikimedia” is something of a shibboleth. Those active in the Wikimedia movement will never or rarely use the term ”Wikimedia” as an abbreviation for the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia Sweden, because they know it’s not obvious what they refer to. The Wikimedia movement, including the Foundation, all chapters, user groups, Wikimedia projects and everyone involved in editing them? The Wikimedia Foundation? A specific chapter? We specify: the Wikimedia movement, the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Sweden. We abbreviate in different ways: the WMF, WMSE.


(Likewise, most Wikipedia editors shudder internally every time someone refers to Wikipedia as ”Wiki”. A wiki is the technology used. It feels like referring to the BBC as ”Broadcasting Corporation” or to Girl Genius Online as ”Online”. If we need to abbreviate Wikipedia, it’s WP.)


So… Now you know why I look confused the next time you say something about ”Wikimedia”, which has happened a lot over the last few weeks: I always need to do a quick mental calculation and figure out what you actually meant.

Så… Nu har jag ett bra ställe att hänvisa till nästa gång nån skriver Wikipedia men menar Wikimedia, eller skriver Wiki och menar svenskspråkiga Wikipedia.