Decennial ABC: S as in sister projects
Does an encyclopedia publisher publish only encyclopedias?
When a publisher of an encyclopedia is successful he might want to use its brand success also for other publications. Take Brockhaus, for example. In 1935 it came up with a pictorial dictionary Der Sprachbrockhaus.
‘Wikipedia’ has other ‘publications’ too. Or, to be correct, there is the Wikimedia Foundation that runs other wikis than Wikipedia such as Wikisource, Wikinews and Wikispecies. When Jimmy Wales in 2003 founded the Foundation he choose a different name than Wikipedia, and there we are.
To Wikipedia/Wikimedia evangelists this creates quite a problem because everyone knows Wikipedia and nobody Wikimedia. Try to phone to a cultural institution and present yourself as someone from Wikimedia Deutschland – it won’t help much. They think that you are from a publishing house and that you want to sell something. Say that you are ‘from Wikipedia’, and the doors will open.
When a WMDE employee at a seminar explained that he presents himself as someone ‘from Wikipedia’, he harvested immediately negative response: it is not correct, they said, and unfair to the other Wikimedia projects.
But is this really so? To the present day all projects but Wikipedia are very small. Most viewers have Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource, two projects relatively closely connected to Wikipedia. All projects benefit from the links with/from the world’s largest encyclopedia.
When I present myself as a volunteer from ‘Wikimedia’ (Foundation/Netherlands/Germany), I first have to explain what that is and that it is linked to Wikipedia. Only after that it makes sence, where appropriate, to present for example Wikisource. The listener’s brain has to memorize one name already known, and two new names.
It would make things much easier to drop the name ‘Wikimedia’ at all and appear everywhere simply as someone from ‘Wikipedia’. Then I can talk, for example, about Wikisource. The listener’s brain has to memorize one name already known, and one new name.
I cannot see that with saying ‘Wikipedia’ any harm is done to the other projects. On the contrary, every marketing expert would advise to do so instead of investing money in popularizing the ‘Wikimedia’ brand. He would also recommend to find more suitable names for the Wikimedia organisations, such as ‘The Wikipedia Club’ or ‘Wikipedia-Verein Deutschland’.
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