Hi Jens,

In the absence of any meaningful alternative, what should we do then?  Close 
down Wikipedia Zero and let the developing world languish in the dark?  We talk 
of a "more sustainable way to bring free knowledge (which is far more than 
Wikipedia)”, yet we’re not seeing anything coming out of this discussion.

I will be brutally honest to everyone in this mailing list: this entire 
discussion about Wikipedia Zero and net neutrality has become very patronizing 
against us in the developing world who benefit from the program.  The fact that 
we’re having this discussion without developing world voices (other than 
myself) is already troubling in itself since, so far, every discussion about 
Wikipedia Zero that I’ve seen only includes those "white, privileged and 
well-educated people” who you defend.

And yet you guys talk as if you know what’s best for the developing world.  
That’s the tone that I’ve been sensing in this entire discussion thus far, and 
I’m sorry, but it’s not helpful.  Please don’t speak as if you guys know what 
it’s like on the ground in Asia or Africa.

I’ve had to swallow my own pride just to accept the fact that net neutrality 
has to take the back burner to bringing more information out there to people.  
I have always believed in net neutrality as a means of ensuring a free and open 
Internet to everybody.  But if you’re in a country like the Philippines where 
the majority of people don’t even have the luxury of going online (and if you 
do, it’s bloody expensive), then having access to some information—even if that 
information is imperfect—is still better than none at all, since at least we 
can still correct any misinformation that may arise.  And as Wikipedians, we 
are in a position to do just that through ensuring that our content is 
well-monitored, neutral and comprehensive so that at least there’s a multitude 
of viewpoints present even if the information is coming from a single source.

We should make people in the developing world aware of net neutrality, yes, but 
we must also be careful to consider the existing socio-economic conditions of 
the countries where this program has been deployed.  I am all for the sharing 
of knowledge and the free exchange of information for the greatest benefit, but 
we cannot have that discussion if people are not able to have access to the 
Internet in the first place.  We cannot afford at this point to put the cart 
before the horse, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, in the absence of a meaningful 
alternative, this is the best we can do so far.

Also, just so you know: Wikipedia Zero, at least in this country, is being 
implemented by a local telecom with no discernible link to the big players like 
Orange or T-Mobile or Telenor.  They view it so far as good CSR and not as a 
means of controlling the flow of information or wanting to make a profit.  So 
yeah, at least for us it’s been good so far.  If it happens though that things 
turn sour, then expect us to fight for our principles.



> Wiadomość napisana przez Jens Best <best.j...@gmail.com> w dniu 31 mar 2015, 
> o godz. 15:27:
> Dear Gerard,
> your arguments are just emotional rhetorics. Saying that "white, privileged
> and well educated" people aren't allowed to critize ways how
> first-world-led telecoms (like Orange, Telenor) are spreading a wrong,
> non-open "internet" in developing countries is just plain emotional
> rhetoric far away from any fact.
> Wikipedia Zero is NOT bringing the free knowledge of the world to the
> people, it's bringing Wikipedia to the people, not more, not less. Also,
> zero-rating is helping to establish user habits which are used to have
> different prices for different kinds of data - That is the clearest
> violation of net neutrality and therefore of an open and free web.
> Ignoring this is just helping the (first-world-led) Telecoms to establish
> NOT a free internet which also helped to create something like Wikipedia,
> but a walled garden system where you pay for different data of even (as it
> is the case e.g. in some parts of India) different websites. I think that
> it is ignorant to profit only short-term by bringing a Walled Wikipedia to
> the people and having Wikipedia in this exclusive deal in comparison to
> establish a sustainable way to bring free knowledge (which is far more than
> Wikipedia) to the people.
> There must be another way to work for the value of "free knowledge for the
> people" but to destroy net neutrality and the experience of an open web in
> the very beginning at the same time. It is the duty of WMF to take care
> also of the framework which enabled Wikipedia in the start. Ignoring this
> and being proud of having a comfortable deal with some Telecoms is plain
> wrong and irresponsible - especially for a free and open digital
> development of the Global South.
> best regards
> Jens Best
> 2015-03-31 9:05 GMT+02:00 Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>:
>> Hoi,
>> With Wikipedia Zero people have access to knowledge that they would not
>> have otherwise. It is well established that having information readily
>> available is an important indicator for further development. Not having
>> Wikipedia available is absolutely a worse situation than having it.
>> Your argument is imho a bleeding heart stance. Would it not be better if..
>> My answer is sure HOWEVER given that the objective of Wikipedia is to share
>> in the sum of all knowledge, your argument is decidedly secondary. Sources
>> may be important but they are secondary to having the information available
>> in the first place. As long as we have sources in full blown Wikipedia, as
>> long as it is WMF that provides the Wikipedia Zero content... what is your
>> point. Yes, ideally we want people to ensure that people know about
>> sources. When sources are just statements of fact and they are in turn not
>> accessible because of cost. What is your point in practical terms?
>> Wikipedia Zero is very much a fulfillment of our aspirations. Do not forget
>> who you are: white, privileged and well educated. What you propose is
>> taking away something that you take for granted. Not nice.
>> Thanks,
>>      GerardM
>> On 30 March 2015 at 20:37, Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The recent Newsweek story on the Wifione / IIPM admin corruption case[1]
>>> has clear implications for Wikipedia Zero.
>>> Wikipedia Zero creates hundreds of millions of passive Wikipedia users
>> who:
>>> - Cannot see the sources of a Wikipedia article (I believe SMS users
>> cannot
>>> even see which statements *are* sourced and to what)
>>> - Cannot view alternative sources
>>> - Cannot meaningfully edit Wikipedia (lacking access to new sources)
>>> At the same time, Wikipedia Zero creates a monopoly position for
>> Wikipedia
>>> that makes the site an even greater target for manipulation by local
>>> elites, who *do* enjoy full read/write access to Wikipedia. Such
>> monopolies
>>> are fundamentally incompatible with the values underlying the idea of a
>>> free and open web. Monopolies ultimately result in *control* rather than
>>> *freedom* of information.
>>> The Wifione case illustrates that even in the English Wikipedia attempts
>> at
>>> manipulation, focused on topics that the average Wikipedia contributor
>> has
>>> little interest in or knowledge about, can be successful and remain
>>> undetected for years. Small, regional-language Wikipedias are far more
>>> unstable still, as the example of the Croatian Wikipedia demonstrated all
>>> too clearly.
>>> Wikipedia is far too vulnerable to become the gatekeeper for information
>> in
>>> developing countries -- if such a gatekeeper were even desirable (which
>> it
>>> is not).
>>> To give another example, I see that Wikipedia Zero is available in
>>> Kazakhstan.
>>> Jimmy Wales recently asserted on Reddit that the Kazakh government "does
>>> not control the Kazahk *[sic]* Wikipedia".[2]
>>> The Kazakh government, however, seems to disagree with Jimmy Wales.[3]
>>> The Kazakh Prime Minister's official website has stated since 2011 that
>> the
>>> Kazakh Wikipedia project "is implemented under the auspices of the
>>> Government of Kazakhstan and with the support of Prime Minister Karim
>>> Massimov", quoting the head of WikiBilim and 2011 Wikipedian of the Year,
>>> who today holds the office of a Deputy Governor in the Kazakh
>> government[4]
>>> and is the Founding Director of a Brussels-based think tank, the
>> "Eurasian
>>> Council on Foreign Affairs", which is widely considered a PR front of the
>>> Kazakh government.[5][6][7]
>>> Is aiding the market dominance and penetration of such a source through
>>> Wikipedia Zero in line with movement values? Is the type of collaboration
>>> described on Wikimedia's Outreach page for Kazakhstan?[8] I don't think
>> so.
>>> I thought we were on the side of those fighting for freedom of speech,
>> not
>>> the side of those suppressing it.
>>> It's a concrete example of Wikipedia Zero aiding an oppressive government
>>> in the control of information -- not at some point in the future, but
>>> today.
>>> For a thoughtful examination of the issues surrounding Wikipedia Zero,
>> I'd
>>> ask everyone to take 5 minutes of their time to listen to the
>> presentation
>>> Thomas Lohninger gave at the Chaos Communication Congress in December
>> 2014,
>>> "Net Neutrality: Days of Future Past?"[9] Time code 37:00 onward.
>>> I would be glad to see the Wikimedia Foundation rejoin the ranks of those
>>> fighting for freedom of speech, and a free and open web for all.
>>> [1]
>> http://www.newsweek.com/2015/04/03/manipulating-wikipedia-promote-bogus-business-school-316133.html
>>> [2] https://archive.today/nyt1z – for the entire discussion three, see
>>> https://archive.today/V1uG4
>>> [3] https://archive.today/7kSLO
>>> [4] http://www.inform.kz/eng/article/2730173
>>> [5]
>> http://www.silkroadreporters.com/2015/02/20/jack-straw-slammed-taking-job-kazakhstan/
>>> [6]
>> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/jack-straw-criticised-for-accepting-parttime-job-paid-for-by-kazakhstan-10057426.html
>>> [7] http://www.equaltimes.org/pr-firms-at-the-service-of-human
>>> [8] https://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Education/Countries/Kazakhstan
>>> https://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Education/Countries/Kazakhstan
>>> [9]
>> http://media.ccc.de/browse/congress/2014/31c3_-_6170_-_en_-_saal_g_-_201412282145_-_net_neutrality_days_of_future_past_-_rejo_zenger_-_thomas_lohninger.html
>>> On Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 12:15 AM, Jens Best <best.j...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Well,
>>>> first of all, welcome Kourosh.
>>>> I'm looking forward to see how the reality of this exciting job
>>> description
>>>> gonna look like. For me this also sounds like a clear move to a more
>>>> politically positioned understanding of this aspect of the growing
>>>> importance of the Wikimedia-Movment globally. "Advancement Department"
>>>> sounds pretty neutral, but certainly it isn't at all.
>>>> When it comes to "collaboration with like-minded organizations"
>> decisions
>>>> surely are also carried by a stronger public postioning of the values
>> of
>>>> the movement. Some of the decisions in the past, especially when it
>> comes
>>>> to collaborations with commercial internet players maybe need to be
>>> openly
>>>> and transparently re-evaluated.
>>>> If Kourosh is settled in I would like to see a global, transparent and
>>> open
>>>> discussion about our program "Wikipedia Zero" which is under global
>>> critic
>>>> by OpenWeb-NGOs and other worried members of the civil society in the
>> US,
>>>> in the "Global South" and in Europe.
>>>> Wikipedia Zero which for me is a straight marketing element of some
>>> clever
>>>> telecoms to sell their mobile products in developing markets and
>>> therefore
>>>> infusing an user-experience of data-specific payment habits, needs to
>> be
>>>> re-evaluated with a professional look that includes awareness of what
>>>> implications strategic partnerships can have on our core values.
>>>> The well-meant intentions which carried the Wikipedia Zero programme
>>> inside
>>>> WMF to the point where it is now maybe were a little starry-eyed. Let's
>>> not
>>>> forget that a zero-rated Wikipedia which can't connect to the linked
>>>> knowledge of the world is just a *Walled Wikipedia *and therefore a
>>>> questionable  contribution to our core belief of giving free knowledge
>> to
>>>> the people - by the people.
>>>> The intensity with which the global fight about net neutrality is lead
>>>> because of the commercial interests of the telecoms surely doesn't stop
>>> at
>>>> the markets of the Global South - therefore Wikimedia movement has to
>>> make
>>>> perfectly clear which line is walked on this central matter of a free
>> and
>>>> open internet.
>>>> You see, Kourosh, the challenges are big and I'm looking forward to
>> have
>>> an
>>>> experienced person overlooking the future developments in this field.
>>>> best regards and a good start
>>>> Jens Best
>>>> 2015-03-27 21:13 GMT+01:00 Lila Tretikov <l...@wikimedia.org>:
>>>>> Dear Wikimedians,
>>>>> In order to encourage the expansion of knowledge, we’ve been
>>> considering
>>>>> new ways to support and develop the work you do. Collaboration is an
>>>>> essential part of the Wikimedia movement, and today, I’m excited to
>> let
>>>> you
>>>>> know about a new addition at the Wikimedia Foundation that will
>> support
>>>> our
>>>>> collaboration with like-minded organizations.
>>>>> For some time now, we’ve planned to hire a Vice President of
>> Strategic
>>>>> Partnerships. Today, I am pleased to announce that Kourosh Karimkhany
>>>> will
>>>>> step into this role on March 30, 2015.
>>>>> Kourosh will be responsible for crafting a strategy to grow long-term
>>>> value
>>>>> for Wikimedia projects through building meaningful partnerships,
>>>> projects,
>>>>> and relationships on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation. He will
>> become
>>>>> part of the C-level team and will report to Lisa Gruwell. Kourosh
>> will
>>>> also
>>>>> oversee Wikipedia Zero, which will transition to the partnerships
>> team.
>>>>> The Wikimedia community has many fruitful and creative partnerships
>>> that
>>>>> help support knowledge creation and sharing around the world. The
>>>>> partnerships Kourosh will support will will help us better support
>>> these
>>>>> partnerships and your work, as well as grow strategic initiatives we
>>> take
>>>>> on at the WMF.
>>>>> Kourosh was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. as a child with his
>>>> family.
>>>>> Today, he is an experienced digital media professional with a passion
>>> for
>>>>> sharing information with the world. He started his career as a
>>> technology
>>>>> journalist covering Silicon Valley for Bloomberg, Reuters and Wired.
>> He
>>>>> switched to the business side of media when he joined Yahoo as senior
>>>>> producer of Yahoo News. Later, he led corporate development at Conde
>>> Nast
>>>>> where he spearheaded the acquisition of Wired.com, Ars Technica and
>>>> Reddit.
>>>>> He also cofounded Food Republic in 2009, which was acquired in 2013.
>>> He's
>>>>> an active angel investor and startup advisor.
>>>>> In light of the expanded scope of the Fundraising team and the
>> revamped
>>>>> partnerships team, we’re changing the team's name to better reflect
>>> their
>>>>> mission. The new name is the Advancement Department.  To learn more
>>> about
>>>>> the new role, visit the FAQ here:
>>>>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Partnerships_FAQ
>>>>> Please join me in welcoming Kourosh as the newest member of the WMF
>>>>> leadership team. We have many exciting projects in 2015 and I’m
>> looking
>>>>> forward to all the great things we will accomplish as we work
>> together
>>> to
>>>>> support our mission.
>>>>> ~~~~Lila
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Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Class of 2013, Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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