PediaPress and Wikipedia

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PediaPress not welcomed by Wikipedians

Pedia Press is a German startup which creates printed books using content in wikis using Mediawiki software.

A interesting point from their FAQ:

Is PediaPress a publisher?
PediaPress is not a publisher, but instead provides users with tools to order and share free or own content. Since PediaPress is not a publisher, we do not review work offered through our site. We expect all content to be consistent with our Terms and Conditions and reserve the right to remove content we deem to be illegal or inappropriate.

Sound familiar?

In December 2007, PediaPress entered into a long-term partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation.

Quoting this press release :

"Imagine that you want to use a set of wiki articles in the classroom. By supporting the OpenDocument format, we will make it easy for educators to customize and remix content before printing and distributing it from any desktop computer," Sue Gardner explained. This work is funded through a US$40,000 grant by the Open Society Institute. (i.e., George Soros' foundation)

It looks as if PediaPress also had obligations as part of this deal (from their FAQ):

Part of the agreement is the development of open source software with the goal to ease the reuse of wiki content in other media or applications. Software developed by PediaPress can be found at

Pretty nice deal, huh? There are some issues about making it easier to use this content in schools, but overall, it's just the sort of thing that the WMF wishes to be encouraging, logically. You would think in a normal world, that a partnership like this would be fostered, and the "Wikipedia community" would be happy about something that opens up so many possibilities...

Wrong! Somebody posted this on Jimbo's talk page:

Hello, I know has a partnership with WMF (, but I was wondering if User:Pediapress is permitted to use their userpage to promote their site? I took this to UAA awhile back, and was referred to ANI but got little interest other than a reference to WMF. The reason I ask is because quite a few templates are listed on User:Pediapress/TemplateBlacklist and I wondered if this was something you knew about. Please advise. Rgrds. --Tombstone (talk) 13:38, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

To which Jimbo answered (in his typical non-committal, wishy-washy manner that leaves him an "out" for any eventuality):

I have no strong opinion about it. It's up to the community as far as I know.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Shortly afterwards, User:Pediapress had their user page deleted.

And then the user account was indefinitely blocked for "spamming" by User:Orangemike, who admits to being a bit of a deletionist.

Of course, this seems to have happened before, if you follow this discussion at AN-I. One has to wonder what the WMF's position is... or, whether they have the organizational skills to find their way to a position.

(above content adapted from a report by Paul Wehage)