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Wikisource: Create option to disable credits in WSExport form
Closed, ResolvedPublic3 Estimated Story Points


As a Wikisource user, I want the ability to disable credits on the WSExport page, so that I can choose a potentially faster download option if a book is downloading too slowly.

Acceptance Criteria:

  • Create a new checkbox in options in the "Options" section which will be displayed at the top (current position of "Do not include images"), which should have the following:
    • Text to the left of checkbox should say "Exclude editor credits (faster download)"
    • If the box is checked, editor credits are excluded from the ebook export
  • Below this, we should display "Do not include images" checkbox & accompanying text
  • Below "Do not include images," we should display "Bypass all caching" checkbox & accompanying text
  • Replace credits text with: "[The list of contributors has been omitted as requested.]"

Visual Example of Current Options:

WS-Export_Credits.jpg (1×2 px, 521 KB)

Event Timeline

ifried renamed this task from Wikisource: Create field to disable credits in WSExport form [tbd] to Wikisource: Create option to disable credits in WSExport form [tbd].Feb 18 2021, 9:48 PM
ifried renamed this task from Wikisource: Create option to disable credits in WSExport form [tbd] to Wikisource: Create option to disable credits in WSExport form.
ifried updated the task description. (Show Details)
ifried updated the task description. (Show Details)
ifried added subscribers: Prtksxna, nayoub.
ARamirez_WMF set the point value for this task to 3.Feb 19 2021, 12:59 AM

@Prtksxna & @nayoub:

Hello! I have created this ticket to provide an option to users on the WS Export page who are having issues with slow downloads. Please check out the ticket and let me know if it sounds okay or if you have any concerns from a design/UX perspective. I'm hoping it to move it onto our Kanban board so developers can begin working on it early next week. Thanks!

This look good @ifried. We should layout the checkboxes one below the other (instead of next to each other) now that we'll have three of them.

Here's an updated visual example
The font doesn't really fit, so it's more to give an idea.

WS-Export_Credits.jpg (1×2 px, 521 KB)

@nayoub & @Prtksxna: We should replace the credits text with some new text, so it's not a blank area. Any ideas/suggestions for replacement text? Thanks!

@ifried Based on what I saw on the existing credit page: if we condense the whole content into one or two sentences, we can have something like this, linking back to the book page on WS:

This e-book comes from the free online library Wikisource, under the terms of the Creative Commons. Visit the following link to see the contributors of this e-book, or report an error.

What do you think? @Prtksxna

This is looking good @nayoub. I have two thoughts:

  1. Do we need to run this by legal?
  2. Do we need to mention the exactly CC license that is being used? (Another question for legal)

@Prtksxna The Wikisourcen (unlike Wikipedia) do not create original content that attracts a copyright. They merely (mechanically) reproduce public domain or already-freely-licensed works. The standard licensing terms under the edit form are for contributions outside the content namespaces (Scriptorium, User pages, Talk, etc.). Thus the only relevant licensing information is the one for the work itself, much as the licensing for a media file on Commons.

In any case, it's established that a link to a wikipage (from which a revision history is obtainable) is sufficient to satisfy the attribution requirement of CC BY, so even if one were to consider the transcription to attract a sweat-of-the-brow copyright the existing link to the original on Wikisource would be all that's really needed.

One might still want to credit the contributors to a transcription, but not for legal reasons. Whether or not such credits are desirable is properly an issue for each project to decide, and I imagine there will be different conclusions on the different language Wikisources. I don't think this is something for the downloader to decide (if it were a legal issue then it certainly wouldn't be).

@Xover thanks for this feedback and context! We mostly want to check Legal to be on the safe side, but everything you wrote above makes sense and our internal conversations brought up similar points. Much appreciated for digging into this a bit more & explaining some of the intricacies of copyright in relation to Wikisource.

As for creating the option for downloading without credits: Our engineers have identified that ebook exports could potentially go faster for users if credits were not included. However, we also didn't want to remove the list completely. Instead, we thought that we could give the option of removing credits from the book download, which could be helpful in cases of ebook exports that are particularly lengthy or problematic. What do you think of this?

@SGill & @Samwilson How do you feel about this work? Any major concerns from a legal or community perspective?

Some points we have discussed as a team include:

  • See for instance. A link to the article is all that is required (i.e. what Google does in their knowledge graph) & it is discouraged to cite specific authors (usernames)
  • Wikisource as a wiki is under the same default license (CC BY-SA 3.0), but more often the works are public domain, meaning no attribution is needed whatsoever
  • ElectronPdf for instance does not list usernames, only a link to the wiki

@Xover, thank you so much for this explanation!

In the most common use-case, that is through the download button, we are not asking the downloader to make this choice. It’ll only be presented if they go to the ‘Advanced section’ that is the WS Export itself. So yeah, we won’t be showing it to most downloaders.

… we won’t be showing it to most downloaders.

My point is that this is not a question styled to each individual downloader of "Do you want a fast or slow download?". It is a question to the relevant communities of "Do you feel it is important that ebook downloads credit the list of contributors?" and "Should the downloader be permitted to override this?" Only if one of the Wikisource communities answer "yes" to the latter question is there a need to provide this checkbox anywhere, and whether it defaults to on or off is determined by their answer to the preceding question.

But if pulling the list of contributors is inherently slow (it's not using, is it?), perhaps this is more of a technical call? It's not required for legal purposes, is technically problematic, causes a poor user experience for downloaders, and is (too?) resource intensive to implement properly (per-project consensus-determined config variable). Under these circumstances I would be inclined to say support for including the list of contributors should simply be dropped.

Far be it for me to speak for all the projects, nor even any single project, but that would be my inclination in any case.

PS. What is critical, however, is including the licensing information (copyright tag) for the reproduced work. The text @nayoub suggests above would actually be misleading: the license isn't going to be CC BY-SA 3.0 for most works. And while most are going to be "Public Domain", a lot of them will be PD-USGov, or GFDL, or CC BY, or CC0, or PD-no-notice/PD-no-renewal, etc. etc. And even works that are Public Domain could well be "Public Domain in the US" (or some other jurisdictional limitation), that affects how and where the works can be reused. For example, enWS hosts several works that are still in copyright in the UK which creates a risk for reusers in that jurisdiction.

Looking at it now it looks like licensing templates are excluded from the export? I would argue that these should definitely be included, and that the credits page might be a good place to put them.

The Wikisourcen (unlike Wikipedia) do not create original content that attracts a copyright.

Actually, I need to qualify that statement. It's relatively rare, but at least the English Wikisource allows user translations of non-English works that attract new copyright and is covered by the edit-form default license, and "annotations" that in some circumstances may attract independent copyright (and thus ditto covered by the default license). Annotations are obscure enough that we can mostly ignore them for now, but for user translations there is a special license tag that lets you specify separate licensing for the non-English original and the English translation.

cf. my previous comment regarding the importance of including the actual license tag in the export.

I think having a separate page that lists the contributors names is a great idea, T276672 will do that. And I agree that we can probably switch to linking to that instead of including the credits in the books. That doesn't sound like it'd need community or legal consultation.

The other issue here is about including the correct license in the exports, both displayed (the existing templates, which is covered by T274452 I think) and in the metadata (which is currently hard-coded to CC-BY-SA and GDFL). We probably need a new ticket for handling that.

ifried updated the task description. (Show Details)

@HMonroy If we made the checkbox checked by default, would that be extra work/another ticket, or do you think it could be in this ticket? Just wanted to check in on that.

@HMonroy If we made the checkbox checked by default, would that be extra work/another ticket, or do you think it could be in this ticket? Just wanted to check in on that.

That's a quick change, it can be in this ticket. Should I make excluding credits default?

Pinging some Wikisource folks for their opinion: @Inductiveload, @Xover, @Viticulum, @Balajijagadesh, @Samwilson, @SGill

Hello, everyone! We are trying to determine if the "remove credits" checkbox on the Wikisource Export page should be checked by default. Here's how I see it:

If it is checked by default, this would potentially create faster downloads for a greater number of people (since it will essentially be recommended & more people will probably use that option). This may be especially helpful for users who encounter errors, since we are trying to redirect users that experience ebook export errors to the Wikisource Export page whenever possible. However, if it is checked off by default, users can still easily check the box themselves.

Which do you think is preferable? Thanks in advance!

If we want to play it safe, I think we should leave credits enabled by default for now, but after T276672 is done, change the default to be a link to the credits page. I'm not really sure it'd be necessary at that point to even be able to include the credits at all (but maybe that's a separate discussion).

The other thing here that needs tweaking I think is the text:

This e-book comes from the free online library Wikisource, under the terms of the Creative Commons.

This will, in most Wikisources, appear after text such as "The following users contributed to this book:" and so should perhaps just be a shorter sentence like:

[The list of contributors has been omitted as requested.]

Also "the terms of the Creative Commons" not only does not identify a license, it's also wrong for the public domain works. If a license name needs to be mentioned here (and in most cases these licenses are already mentioned earlier on the About page), it should probably say something like:

This work is probably licenced under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 or GNU Free Documentation License, or in the Public Domain. See Wikisource for more details.

Credits by default may be playing it safe, but does the risk really justify that much caution?

So long as there is, as a minimum, a link back to the work's on-wiki page anywhere in the epub, any legal requirement for attribution is met. In other words, the remaining risk here is bands of Wikisourcerers carrying torches and pitchforks that really really want to be credited. I don't think that's very likely, and can be handled if it occurs. If a link to a dedicated credits page is coming it is in any case a temporary state.

Incidentally, in user interface terms, the option should be flipped: not a double-negative "No, I do not want the credits to not be included" but an affirmative "Yes, include the credits". That would also make more sense once the dedicated credits page exists, if we want to then offer the option for downloaders to get the list of contributors.

That's true about the double negative, but it sort of reads okay I think in context with the other options ("no images", "no cache"). It'll be more obvious after switching to the web-based list, but it sounds like we might just remove the option at that point?

dom_walden added a subscriber: dom_walden.

All the acceptance criteria from the description have been met.

You can now exclude credits from ebooks.

Test Environment: version 2.4.1-11-gb284e56.

This is now on production. Users can now choose to exclude credits from the WS Export page (see screenshot example below) and then see the credits excluded from the book (screenshot example below). I'm marking this work as Done.

Screen Shot 2021-03-26 at 2.32.54 PM.png (1×2 px, 171 KB)

Screen Shot 2021-03-26 at 2.32.10 PM.png (1×2 px, 410 KB)