To share some context of the discussion the board had around this -- I
don't think the minutes give enough detail. APIs -- as we are freely and
rapidly creating them today are important, but are not quite at the core of
the issue we are facing.

Today Wikimedia is the largest internet channel for open free knowledge in
the world. But the trends are against us. We have to face them together. We
have to have the answers on how. The strategic discussion next week will
help guide us.

Over the last year we looked at the trends in Wikimedia traffic, internet
as a whole and user behaviors. It took a lot of research. When we started
the process we have not had solid internal data about unique visitors or
human vs. crawler usage on the site. For a top 10 website this is a big
issue; it hurts our ability to make smart decisions. We've learned a lot.

We found data that supports Leigh's point -- our permissive license
supports our core value, we are (I know I am) here for free knowledge. Yet
it allows others to use the content in ways that truncates, simplifies and
reduces it. More importantly this type of reuse separates our readers from
our site, disconnecting readers from our contributors (no edit buttons) and
ultimately reduces traffic. Is this a problem? I'd like to hear if people
on this list see it as such. And how we sustain contributions over time.

Meanwhile estimated half of our hosting is used to support crawlers that
scan our content. This has an associated cost in infrastructure, power,
servers, employees to support some well-funded organizations. The content
is used for a variety of commercial purposes, sometimes having nothing to
do with putting our contributor's work in front of more readers. Still, we
can say this is tangentially supportive of our mission.

As these two trends increase without our intervention, our traffic decline
will accelerate, our ability to grow editors, content and cover costs will
decline as well.

The first question on the upcoming consultation next week will be squarely
on this. Please help us. API conversation is a consequence of this
challenge. If we were to build more for reuse: APIs are a good way to do
so. If we are to somehow incentivize users of SIri to come back to
Wikipedia, what would we need to do? Should we improve our site so more
people come to us directly as the first stop? How do we bring people into
our world vs. the world of commercial knowledge out there? How do we fund
this if the people moved to access our content through other interfaces (a
trend that has been accelerating)?

Those are the core questions we need to face. We will have to have some
uncomfortable, honest discussions as we test our hypothesis this year. The
conversation next week is a good start to prioritize those. Please join it.


On Sat, Jan 16, 2016 at 6:11 AM, Leigh Thelmadatter <>

> If we are concerned about Google taking unfair advantage of Wikipedia, one
> simple solution is to allow content donations with a non-commercial
> restriction. Right now, the concept of "free" include commercial use. An
> added bonus to this is that we would get a lot more institutional donations
> of content if we allowed an non-commercial option.
> My problem with allowing for paying for "premium access" is that we are
> allowing Google to have a priviledged position.  There is no way around
> that.
> What is the impetus behind this proposal? Its not like we are lacking
> money.  And limiting growth of the Foundation is not a bad thing... at
> least not to the community.
> > To:
> > From:
> > Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 14:13:06 +0100
> > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs
> >
> > "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freemiumly share
> > in the sum of all knowledge." XD
> >
> > Il 16/01/2016 10:23, Pete Forsyth ha scritto:
> > > I'm interested to hear some perspectives on the following line of
> thinking:
> > >
> > > Lisa presented some alternative strategies for revenue needs for the
> > > Foundation, including the possibility of charging for premium access
> to the
> > > services and APIs, expanding major donor and foundation fundraising,
> > > providing specific services for a fee, or limiting the Wikimedia
> > > Foundation's growth. The Board emphasized the importance of keeping
> free
> > > access to the existing APIs and services, keeping operational growth in
> > > line with the organization's effectiveness, providing room for
> innovation
> > > in the Foundation's activities, and other potential fundraising
> strategies.
> > > The Board asked Lila to analyze and develop some of these potential
> > > strategies for further discussion at a Board meeting in 2016.
> > > Source:
> > > -Pete[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Lila Tretikov
Wikimedia Foundation

*“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”*
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