"Assume good faith" is actually what got Kazakh Wikipedia into the mess it
is in. Wikimedia projects have been blocked by governments practically
since their inception.  Perverting the content is the new way of doing
things. They've learned from the PR and SEO industries.

And that leads us back to Wikidata.  There has always been the recognized
potential for use of Wikidata to build articles for smaller projects, based
on properly-sourced, independently verified (or verifiable) data; it's one
of the reasons that Wikidata has been accepted into the Wikimedia family.
But the key problem with creating content in this way is that the contents
of Wikidata are currently mostly unsourced or so poorly sourced that they
can't be considered either verified or verifiable even in one's wildest
dreams.  My experience, based on reading about a hundred user talk pages on
Wikidata recently, is that Wikidatians do not consider sourcing to be
important or even desirable.  This is a major problem for any group that
wants to reuse the content, because bluntly put there's a fair amount of
junk that got transferred to Wikidata, and it's currently not possible to
sort the wheat from the chaff.  The absence of references on Wikidata is a
significant barrier to the reusability of its data. I despair every time
someone says "it's like Wikipedia, it will get better!"  Well, no.  Huge
swaths of existing Wikipedias have never improved despite being more than a
decade old.  Our first new Wikimedia project in years shouldn't be basing
its practices on principles that have already been proved insufficient to
maintain and curate major projects with thousands of active editors.

So - Wikidata could play an important role in the development of core
content on smaller-sized projects with a small editorial community.  (I say
"could" because we have seen unsuccessful experiments importing significant
quantities of information into smaller projects.  Swahili Wikipedia has
still not completely recovered from its experience.)  But without being
able to provide provenance, its data doesn't even meet the minimal criteria
for verifiability.

Risker/Anne



On 28 December 2015 at 13:00, Jane Darnell <jane...@gmail.com> wrote:

> All I said is that the wiki way works, that's all. You can't hide it when
> someone tries to take over a project, and that is the reason we shouldn't
> try to anticipate that with convoluted strategies. "Assume Good Faith" will
> always win out over any strange misguided takeover strategy, which is why
> governments that intend to do such things choose nowadays to just block
> wikimedia altogether. It is not our wake-up call to take, but that of the
> Kazakh people.
>
> On Mon, Dec 28, 2015 at 5:58 PM, Risker <risker...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > On 28 December 2015 at 11:22, Jane Darnell <jane...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Anyone can exploit the content on WMF for their needs. What I mean by
> "it
> > > works" is that you can't fool people when you try to change Wikipedia
> to
> > > fit government policy. We can easily identify problematic edits. Never
> > > underestimate the diaspora of any country. Wikimedia is always bigger
> > than
> > > any one government will ever estimate.
> > >
> > >
> >
> > Well, yes, anyone can exploit the content of WMF projects; we don't
> usually
> > give them kudos for doing so, though.  And you most certainly CAN fool
> > people when you change Wikipedia to change government policy, if the
> > government overwhelms a small "traditional" Wikipedia community with
> > bribes, threats to well-being and good old fashioned paid editing.  The
> > Wikipedia brand is perceived to be independent from such influences; that
> > it isn't in this case (and who knows how many other cases) cannot be
> > perceived by readers who do not have any alternative resources.
> >
> > Small communities with less than 50 active editors can be pretty easily
> > swamped; a university class adding valuable, well sourced and researched
> > content may have a positive effect, just as focused addition of heavily
> > biased material by "editing for reward" (rewards including payment,
> gifts,
> > or simply not being incarcerated) can turn a Wikipedia into a platform
> for
> > third parties.    This particular project was an easy target, and there
> are
> > many others that could similarly be overwhelmed.  We need to recognize
> that
> > most of the world does not live under the conditions that encourage or
> even
> > permit the development of freely available information. As a global
> > community we need to stop pretending that the example of Kazakh Wikipedia
> > is not a major and significant bellwether that requires very serious
> review
> > of how we encourage and  develop projects centered in countries with
> > repressive regimes.  Many of these regions are areas with significant
> > potential for growth of our content - the major focus of the mission of
> the
> > Wikimedia Foundation.  Figuring out how to grow these projects within the
> > founding principles is not just important, it's necessary.
> >
> > Risker/Anne
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