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Author Topic: Please Read: A personal appeal from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales  (Read 6293 times)
em3rgentOrdr
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November 23, 2010, 04:33:24 AM
 #1



Looks like it is the annual Wikipedia funding time Smiley

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I got a lot of funny looks ten years ago when I started talking to people about Wikipedia.
Let’s just say some people were skeptical of the notion that volunteers from all across the world could come together to create a remarkable pool of human knowledge – all for the simple purpose of sharing.

No ads. No agenda. No strings attached.

A decade after its founding, nearly 400 million people use Wikipedia and its sister sites every month - almost a third of the Internet-connected world.

It is the 5th most popular website in the world - but Wikipedia isn’t anything like a commercial website. It is a community creation, written by volunteers making one entry at a time. You are part of our community. And I’m writing today to ask you to protect and sustain Wikipedia.

Together, we can keep it free of charge and free of advertising. We can keep it open – you can use the information in Wikipedia any way you want. We can keep it growing – spreading knowledge everywhere, and inviting participation from everyone.

Each year at this time, we reach out to ask you and others all across the Wikimedia community to help sustain our joint enterprise with a modest donation of $20, $35, $50 or more.

If you value Wikipedia as a source of information – and a source of inspiration – I hope you’ll choose to act right now.

All the best,

Jimmy Wales

Founder, Wikipedia

P.S. Wikipedia is about the power of people like us to do extraordinary things. People like us write Wikipedia, one word at a time. People like us fund it, one donation at a time. It's proof of our collective potential to change the world.

I know that the wikipedia community has not been very welcoming towards bitcoin Sad ...however maybe we (the bitcoin community) could try to get wikipedia to include a bitcoin donate address?

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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November 23, 2010, 04:50:56 AM
 #2

That would be an awesome irony, and how long cound they ignore Bitcoin once they are accepting donations in the currency themselves?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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November 23, 2010, 05:00:32 AM
 #3

 Cheesy

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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November 23, 2010, 05:07:08 AM
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That remind me. I need to get to the CCC. We need to conquer more charities before we take on the Goliath that is Wikimedia.

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November 23, 2010, 05:45:24 AM
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CCC?  what is the CCC?  (I see a lot of google results)

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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November 23, 2010, 05:47:23 AM
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CCC?  what is the CCC?  (I see a lot of google results)

The Chaos Computer Club.

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November 23, 2010, 08:39:30 AM
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It's just me that finds silly this reluctance of the wikimedia foundation against adding some ads?

These beg banners they put end up being more annoying than a small add would be, and I don't think it's nearly as effective.

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November 23, 2010, 08:52:45 AM
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It's just me that finds silly this reluctance of the wikimedia foundation against adding some ads?

These beg banners they put end up being more annoying than a small add would be, and I don't think it's nearly as effective.

I agree. Wikimedia has plenty of potential revenue opportunities that would not compromise the project's integrity. I doubt that Wikimedia could be completely self-sufficient, but I bet it could get by without any donation drives if it was managed correctly.

I don't like the way Wikimedia is run in general. In particular, Wales should be removed from any sort of leadership position -- he has a long history of making stupid decisions and bypassing his own (poorly-designed) rules.

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November 23, 2010, 01:51:42 PM
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It's just me that finds silly this reluctance of the wikimedia foundation against adding some ads?

These beg banners they put end up being more annoying than a small add would be, and I don't think it's nearly as effective.

I agree. Wikimedia has plenty of potential revenue opportunities that would not compromise the project's integrity. I doubt that Wikimedia could be completely self-sufficient, but I bet it could get by without any donation drives if it was managed correctly.

I don't like the way Wikimedia is run in general. In particular, Wales should be removed from any sort of leadership position -- he has a long history of making stupid decisions and bypassing his own (poorly-designed) rules.

I"ve been unfortunately far too involved with Wikimedia politics.  The structure of the Wikimedia Foundaion is one that certainly is stacked deliberately with people who share his philosophies, as Larry Sanger certainly can testify (who arguably is the legitimate title of "founder" of Wikipedia, not Jimmy Wales).  What Jimmy Wales offered was the initial server farm which supported Wikipedia at a time when you couldn't put something like that together easily without personally buying the equipment yourself and hiring electricians to run the wiring, including network support.

Of course many people don't want to admit that much of that was financed by the porn industry, which is particularly ironic given some of the prudish actions by Jimmy Wales of late.  He does try to brush quite a bit of his past away, and it doesn't quite square with his current squeeky clean public persona that seems to be present at the moment.  He deserves some kudos, but he also can cause a whole bunch of problems when he steps in and tries to act as a "god-king".  A good example of how there is huge push-back on his actions can be found on this page:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/Remove_Founder_flag

If there ever was a peasant revolt among the Wikimedia user community, this is it.  It was also a successful coup-d'etat so far as it did ultimately strip Jimmy Wales of a number of significant abilities and drew a firm line in the sand past which this guy simply can't act.  Sort of like a Wikimedia version of the Magna Carta after a strange fashion where the powers of the king are now significantly limited.  I agree that he should be thanked for his service, and then told to move along.

Getting back to the main topic at hand, which is trying to persuade the Wikimedia Foundation to accept Bitcoins for donations.  Perhaps an open letter to the Wikimedia community would work out and they might be willing to accept donations like the EFF is doing.  If this is done, a very well formed letter could be put onto the Foundation-l mailing list, which is by far and away the best place for us ordinary serfs to communicate with the WMF board.  Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don't, but I promise that there will be some significant feedback if it is done, mostly by nay sayers who love to shoot any proposal down.

In terms of historical examples, e-gold put some significant effort into trying to get the WMF to accept them as at least a donation option and bent over backwards to help out with the technical side of getting things integrated into the donation pages.  It was a little more complicated than simply displaying a bitcoins donation address, but not much more.  Other alternative currencies have come and gone over the years too, and it simply isn't a part of the WMF mission or the philosophy of those in power with the WMF to support alternative currencies.

I might be surprised as sometimes all it takes is to ask, and I would certainly be willing to post such a message created and formed here on this forum to make an open letter to the WMF and the Wikimedia community in general, certainly to give my personal endorsement.  I do have at least some pull so far as some credibility I've built up over the years, so it wouldn't be dismissed immediately if I made the request.  I can't make any promises and it does seem like a proposal that may get shot down, but it wouldn't hurt to at least try.

The most likely response is that there are plenty of ways to donate to the WMF, and that people should try to use those methods first.  Still, I know that some rather "unconventional" methods of donation have been used in the past, including the donation of several thousand shares of Google stock.  Of course that has real tangible value that doesn't need explaining.  It may also simply be premature to use Bitcoins for the WMF at the moment.  As a practical matter, it might be easier to persuade the Wal-Mart board of directors to use Bitcoins than the WMF board of trustees.  Where should we put that kind of effort?

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November 23, 2010, 02:45:11 PM
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RHorning: interesting musings. btw, have you been keeping up with citizendium at all (the 'alter-pedia' by larry sanger)?

as far as getting donations to the wmf in bitcoins... i figure it doesn't hurt to ask... pointing fingers at EFF may be a helpful bit of persuasion...

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November 23, 2010, 03:35:10 PM
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The structure of the Wikimedia Foundaion is one that certainly is stacked deliberately with people who share his philosophies, as Larry Sanger certainly can testify (who arguably is the legitimate title of "founder" of Wikipedia, not Jimmy Wales). What Jimmy Wales offered was the initial server farm which supported Wikipedia at a time when you couldn't put something like that together easily without personally buying the equipment yourself and hiring electricians to run the wiring, including network support.

For me, the skillful execution of an idea is just as important, if not more important, than the idea itself. There is no shortage of ideas in the world. Most are never executed. I doubt Larry Sanger is the first human being ever to think of a collaborative encyclopedia. I think Wales deserves this title equally.

Larry Sanger certainly seems to resent Jimmy Wales. His attemps to defame Wikipedia were really childish and below the belt.  Seems like a bitter man; I kind of feel sorry for him.

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Of course many people don't want to admit that much of that was financed by the porn industry,

Doesn't bother me in the least.

Quote
which is particularly ironic given some of the prudish actions by Jimmy Wales of late.

Understandable. Jimmy Wales is a libertarian in private but mainstream opinion isn't sympathetic towards libertarian values. As a public figure he needs to be careful not scare away big donors.

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RHorning
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November 23, 2010, 03:50:59 PM
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RHorning: interesting musings. btw, have you been keeping up with citizendium at all (the 'alter-pedia' by larry sanger)?

as far as getting donations to the wmf in bitcoins... i figure it doesn't hurt to ask... pointing fingers at EFF may be a helpful bit of persuasion...

The Citizendium is all but dead as a community.  There are several issues involved there, and some interesting social dynamics that have been played out as a result too.  The funny or perhaps even ironic thing is that the Wikimedia Foundation is talking about hosting the Citizendium, as they seem to be running out of money in terms of being able to pay for their hosting service.  There seems to be some fairly widespread support for the idea.

A pledge drive like we did for the EFF might be worthwhile too, If you could say that the WMF could get the equivalent of $200 or $500 for doing a conversion of bitcoins to dollars, they might find it is worth the effort.  It is in those terms that the effort would be made.

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November 23, 2010, 05:35:08 PM
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That remind me. I need to get to the CCC. We need to conquer more charities before we take on the Goliath that is Wikimedia.
A session at their annual congress in Berlin between Christmas and New Year would fit perfectly into their agenda, and spawn a lot of interest.  I was there last year, and it was packed with all kinds of hackers.  There is no better way to capture their interest.

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November 23, 2010, 11:42:06 PM
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as far as getting donations to the wmf in bitcoins... i figure it doesn't hurt to ask... pointing fingers at EFF may be a helpful bit of persuasion...

Why ask when you can tell?  If "we" want to dictate terms for donations, we must ask first.  They already accept on their terms.

  • respectable person makes new bitcoin address and advertises it
  • donations roll in
  • wait until the amount looks "significant", at the prevailing BTC/$ rate (some rules announced up front? into the fountain if the idea dies with less than $10 ?)
  • (offer it to them in bitcoins first, if you like)
  • sell BTC for $ and post it through their (virtual) letterbox with a note explaining
  • publish here to maintain the warm fuzzies

It would be best to come from a united front on our side, but there's no way to enforce that.

Exactly how much effort WMF might be willing to put in & how often is likely to depend on demonstrating a cashflow.
(Unless it turns out they have an ideological objection.)

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November 23, 2010, 11:43:24 PM
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That remind me. I need to get to the CCC. We need to conquer more charities before we take on the Goliath that is Wikimedia.
A session at their annual congress in Berlin between Christmas and New Year would fit perfectly into their agenda, and spawn a lot of interest.  I was there last year, and it was packed with all kinds of hackers.  There is no better way to capture their interest.

Can't come to Germany.

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February 15, 2011, 02:46:59 PM
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Hope a p2p wikipedia is also coming soon, or is there already such a thing?
What an interesting idea! An edit doesn't get accepted unless at least 50% of the network accepts it.
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February 15, 2011, 02:56:18 PM
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Is that what this is? http://sourceforge.net/projects/wooki/

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February 15, 2011, 05:17:40 PM
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I remember the people from XWiki had a project for making it P2P. XWiki Concerto: http://www.xwiki.com/xwiki/bin/view/BlogFr/XWiki+Concerto

XWiki is a programmable wiki.

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February 15, 2011, 05:32:23 PM
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Yes! Thank you. Looks dead though  Undecided

Do you think we can fire this thing up, and just start importing Wikipedia into it? I'll have to check with the developers...

Imho, p2p Wikipedia would definitely be much cheaper and better than the corporate monstrosity, which Wikimedia made it...

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February 16, 2011, 07:58:48 PM
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Here is the skoop, straight from one of the Wooki project managers:

"Wooki was a first attempt and is now discontinued. We are continuing with DSMW (http://dsmw.org) which is
integrated with semantic mediawiki. DSMW is much more mature, it runs on windows/linux/macosX.

Concerning Wikipedia, DSMW is an pure extension of mediawiki/Semantic mediawiki, so you can import Wikipedia data
within SMW/DSMW. But, IMHO there is two open issues : Scalability and collaborative editing model. You can
check http://www.technologyreview.com/web/25728/page2/, for more details on this topic."

Definitely sounds like something to explore, especially for the day when the Bitcoin wiki will be attacked... Cool



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