thanks for your e-mail, I does indeed provide a lot of valuable
I'm being told that the technical limitations I mentioned in my opening
e-mail are somehow related to Squid and Varnish (the caching software we
use) and our infrastructure being unable to serve videos at this scale.
However, as you correctly write, that banner only served those millions
of our viewers a cached image that was uploaded to donate.wm.org (so it
was cached the usual way) and /only/ if they had clicked the play button
were they served the full video. I'm no specialist when it comes to
server loads, but if YouTube does not lie to me, that particular video
was viewed only 78,000 times, which does not seem that much.
The solution that was used was indeed inelegant and contrary to our free
culture (not the open source crap) values; effectively, people were
directed to use a proprietary service which (1) infringes their privacy,
(2) does not even allow to correctly licence the video. (I wonder if the
author of the remix is aware that their work should be released under
I can't speak about others, but I block fundraising banners by default
and did not see that until Steven W. mentioned it to me at the 2013/14
WMF budget discussion page on Meta.
Providing links to websites that hurt our readers' and users' privacy
directly from banners which are visible to tens of millions of them /is
an evil thing/ and cannot be compared to including links inside
Wikipedia articles; the scales just don't match. This includes linking
to websites that use Google Analytics to track their visits as well as
websites such as YouTube which use different techniques to achieve this
goal (and perhaps some others as well).
Giving users a very visible 'play' button and adding a short sentence
about privacy is not that far from that; nobody's going to read it, and
even if they do, they might not be exactly aware of what those long
documents written in complicated legalese mean.
I believe that in addition to the two options you mentioned, there is
also a third way: not to include any videos unless we are capable of
using our own resources, ie. serving people content governed by our own
(I see that Philippe sent another e-mail in the meantime; let me just
mention that /not/ autoplaying videos on page load is no achievement;
/playing/ them, on the other hand, is a good reason for painful death
and reincarnation as a demon. Also, uploading videos to Commons without
actually using them and preferring a proprietary service is in no way
Wikimedia-l mailing list