I've been looking at a lot of the device tags, and creating wikis for many of them. I tend to point to Wikipedia for phone specs because it's pretty comprehensive. The HTC Desire page was somewhat confusing and I was curious about whether there are any synonyms floating around, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.

The text is pretty much a direct quote. Our tag wiki excerpt:

The HTC Desire (codenamed Bravo) is a smartphone developed by the HTC Corporation, announced on 16 February 2010 and released in Europe and Australia in the second quarter of the same year. The HTC Desire currently runs the Android operating system, version 2.2 "Froyo, although it shipped with v2.1 (Eclair).

Android, version 2.3 "Gingerbread" update expected in May or June 2011. Internally it bears a strong resemblance to the Nexus One, but differs in some features.

and the device's wikipedia page:

The HTC Desire (codenamed Bravo)2 is a smartphone developed by the HTC Corporation, announced on 16 February 2010 and released in Europe and Australia in the second quarter of the same year. The HTC Desire runs the Android operating system, version 2.2 "Froyo". Android, version 2.3 "Gingerbread" update coming in May or June 2011. Internally it bears a strong resemblance to the Nexus One, but differs in some features.

It seems to me that the Wikipedia community is doing a pretty good job about maintaining comprehensive specs on Android devices and has higher standards for citing sources, etc, and we ought to just point to them rather than lifting a snapshot of Wikipedia's content without any commitment to maintaining our parallel page. At a minimum, though, plagiarizing Wikipedia is still plagiarism and a violation of the attribution terms of their license.

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    Can you "plagiarize" wikipedia? I thought everything was under CC (with some restrictions on images) and therefore fair game? – Bryan Denny Apr 6 '11 at 19:11
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    Their CC license requires attribution and a share alike clause. We're good on share-alike. Not so hot on attribution, at least not so's I've seen. – Amanda Apr 6 '11 at 22:02



Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized. The “email” tag, for example, does not need to explain what email is. I think we can safely assume most internet users know what email is; there’s no value in a boilerplate explanation of email to anyone.

Generally, you want to tailor the definitions to your community -- and also, critically, provide guidance on when to use the tag.



Reusers' rights and obligations

The only Wikipedia content you should contact the Wikimedia Foundation about is the trademarked Wikipedia/Wikimedia logos, which are not freely usable without permission ([...] see Wikipedia:Contact us). If you want to use other Wikipedia materials in your own books/articles/websites or other publications, you can do so, unless it is used under the non-free content provisions—but only in compliance with the licensing terms. Please follow the guidelines below:

Re-use of text


To re-distribute text on Wikipedia in any form, provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages you are re-using, b) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy which is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions.) This applies to text developed by the Wikipedia community. Text from external sources may attach additional attribution requirements to the work, which should be indicated on an article's face or on its talk page. For example, a page may have a banner or other notation indicating that some or all of its content was originally published somewhere else. Where such notations are visible in the page itself, they should generally be preserved by re-users.

Copyleft/Share Alike

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Indicate changes

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Licensing notice

Each copy or modified version that you distribute must include a licensing notice stating that the work is released under CC-BY-SA and either a) a hyperlink or URL to the text of the license or b) a copy of the license. For this purpose, a suitable URL is: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ For further information, please refer to the legal code of the CC-BY-SA License.

In sum, we should link to the Wikipedia page and the CC-BY-SA licence. I am assuming that SE's licencing is sufficient for the copyleft requirement.

As for whether we should use Wikipedia, I think it's a great starting point if the wiki article is good. If users want to improve upon that, great! If not, it's much better than nothing. I wouldn't say they're doing a good job of providing accurate information, though. Most of it usually comes from some enthusiast when the device is announced and/or released, with errors and outdated information living on.

  • WRT the value of Wikipedia pages, it's a mixed bag, but I still think we should discourage just copying material from their pages. Even with attribution. – Amanda Apr 6 '11 at 22:06
  • Why? [........] – Matthew Read Apr 7 '11 at 12:45
  • Why discourage? Because we're using Wikipedia content for page filler. If we're not adding anything and the community here isn't actively maintaining those pages (and we aren't), we've just saddled ourselves with a one time snapshot of a living page off on Wikipedia. Better to point people to the living page than capture a snapshot ourselves that will just grow stale here. – Amanda Apr 7 '11 at 13:47
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    Just linking to Wikipedia is the equivalent of saying "Just Google it." It's basically pointless, and we want to be attracting users not sending them away. If users aren't updating the tag wikis, then we should work to encourage them to do so. And even when we copy info from Wikipedia, we'll still have the link to the article due to the attribution requirements. – Matthew Read Apr 7 '11 at 13:51
  • I'm suggesting finding the Wikipedia entry for that device and linking to the page itself, not just linking to the Wikipedia home page! – Amanda Apr 7 '11 at 13:55
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    I know. My point is that they should be able to click on the tag and find information, not be told to go elsewhere. – Matthew Read Apr 7 '11 at 14:16

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