Colourful Strategic Proposals

And so, with the little message that appeared at the top of every Wikimedia page today – pointing to this letter and a very professional looking “I’d like to volunteer and here are my skills” page – the Wikimedia Foundation’s Strategic Planning process is warming up for a new phase.

The first phase has been largely charaterised by the “call for proposals”. In this, people would use this simple template to throw all of their ideas into the mix in the world’s largest brainstorming session. These many and various proposals have been sorted into 13 sections and 41 subsections. Every single one of the submitted proposals can be viewed at:

Many of these proposals are fantastic and some Wikimedians have already begun to make their own favorites lists. I encourage you to do the same.

However, as with any brainstorming, some ideas are never going to get past the first phase because they are much too large or much too small or simply because they are a bit out of left field. I’d like to dedicate this blog post to some of the ideas that I think are in that last category. To these more colourful of the strategic proposals – I salute you!

  • Create a Wikimedia Chapter for the towns of Brantford (proposal) and another for Woodstock (proposal), both in Ontario, Canada. And you know what – I reckon that there *should* be Wikimedia group in these towns. Maybe not a full blown chapter but definitely something. Get to it Canadapedians!
  • Create audio CDs of spoken Wikipedia articles specifically designed for people to listen to in their sleep – “wiki-while-you-sleep” (proposal). Somehow, if some people already think Wikipedia is a cult, selling subliminal learning tapes is probably not going to help change that… Or perhaps the proposal is for people with insomnia – make them listen to Wikipedia articles and they’ll fall asleep straight away!
  • Make Wikipedia compatible for MS-DOS and give out copies of Wikipedia on sets of floppy disks (proposal). I’m thinking that’s going to be one hellavalota floppy disks to fit all this in:

  • Use the discussions at talkpages as the basis for research into artificial intelligence (AI) on the basis that future’s AI will use Wikimedia’s rules of behaviour as its model  (proposal). This of course assumes that Wikipedians are intelligent to start with… I thought we were just monkeys with typewriters 🙂 Please, no one show this proposal to Andrew Keen.
  • Have Wikipedia be a sponsor of a NASCAR race (proposal). NASCAR is a kind of American car racing where you only turn to the left. Would this mean we would be criticised for being biased against the right?
  • Host Wikipedia from space to “…protect the human knowledge reflected in Wikipedia from the coming partial collapse of civilization” (proposal). Somehow I can’t read the words “host Wikipedia from spaaaace!” without saying it the same way Daffy Duck says the words “Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century” (at timecode -5:40 in this *awesome* video).
  • Have a countdown on Wikipedia to December 21, 2012 at 11:11 UTC (proposal). Apparently that’s the date the world is going to end so we might as well either make a countdown and know, in that instant before we all get obliterated, that we were right or have a party when we don’t. Either way, it’s good excuse for a really big countdown clock.
  • Re-hire Larry Sanger, “…if his terms are acceptable to the board” (proposal). Somehow I don’t think his terms are high on the priority list.
  • Imagine what life will be like in 96 years (proposal). I’m not quite sure why the year 2105 was chosen specifically, but the idea of imagining a better future is always a good plan. But, like the a million penguins project, I suspect we would have difficulties sticking to the plot.
  • Create a new Foundation for Wikipedians against global warming (proposal). Because providing the sum of all human knowledge isn’t hard enough, now we’ve got to save the planet too. Then again, if anyone can do it, Wikimedians can!
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