On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 11:45 PM Jens Best <best.j...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Magnus,
> thanks for bringing yourself into the discussion.
> I agree on several aspects you point out in the first half of your mail
> about improvements, expectations and "prominent subgroups".
> When it comes to re-emphasize this "castle"-narrative, I had the feeling
> you wanna connect reasonable ideas of other ways into the future with all
> the nay-sayers you described so detailed before. Same goes for the
> "Wikidata is killing Wikipedia"-statement. Nobody in this
> mailinglist-thread used this word "killing" or similiarly hard analogies.
> So, what's again is the mission? You say: Dissemination of free knowledge.
> Well, who would disagree on that. Nobody. But wait, isn't the whole
> strategic debate about *HOW *to disseminate free knowledge? And assuming
> that a simple "the more third parties use the Wikiprojects knowledge the
> more we fulfill our mission"-answer is…wrong.
Really? So we started with a free license (GFDL) to allow reuse by third
parties, switched to a /different/ free license to make it /even easier/ to
reuse our content, provide APIs without even requiering a login, data
dumps, etc. and that's all wrong, because you say so?
May I point you to https://www.wikimedia.org/ where it says:
"Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational
content to the world."
Nupedia was a means to an end (an ineefective one, in hindsight). So is
Wikipedia. So are Commons, Wikidata, and all the other projects. They allow
us to create and collect free content. And they are also a way to
disseminate this content, but they are not the only one.
We prefer people to read Wikipedia articles on Wikipedia, because a few of
them will turn into editors, which they cannot do on any other site
(without forking). But as long as a reader gets knowledge from our content,
it does not matter if it is on Wikipedia or on https://www.wikiwand.com/ or
some other site.
> Even if 400 million of the 500 million (or so) readers would visit the
> Wikipedia just to look up the birthday of Elvis Presley, it is *the
> feature of an encylopedia in general and Wikipedia in special that you can
> discover more knowledge about Elvis even without asking or even knowing
> that you wanna know more about Elvis.
> Knowledge unequals information. Knowledge is information plus culture, plus
> personal interests, plus serendipity. That's why the same article has
> different arrangements in different languages. That's why it is not only
> about the facts, but also about the overview of the possible
> classifications around the facts a good article is presenting.
> Knowledge is about discovering and not about checking some facts with a
> Q&A-mobile app. So the question is surely not about should we disseminate
> free knowledge, but how can this be done with a spirit that comes from the
> idea of an encyclopedia. Information is in the machine. Knowledge is in the
> people. Without the (editing, programming, linking) people as an integral
> part of the "dissemination procedure" the mission isn't the mission of
Again, you obviously have missed the mission statement. I can't see
"editing" anywhere in there. Yes, I would prefer people to read and edit on
Wikipedia. Having at least the /option/ to edit is good; but it is by no
means a requirement to get content to the reader.
I don't know how you come up with "no linking", but I certainly have not
suggested such a thing. Not sure what you mean by "programming" in this
You might also gave glimpsed all the icons on the Wikimedia site that are
/not/ Wikipedia, but still "educational content". We have focused on
Wikipedia since the beginning, and it has become a great thing indeed.
There are others that have vast, as of yet unfulfilled, potential.
> This idea might be not that fashionably going together with the recent
> trends in web tech business developments, but it is surely not
> "conservative" or castle-wall-building as some people try to frame it.
> It is also not easy. It is even more complicate than good writing good
> code, because it is about involving more people in this not so trendy, not
> so quick'n'dirty, not so infotainmental, mobile app-stylish way of
> "knowledge dissemination".
Everyone who has met me in person can confirm that I do not care about
fashion, and that remains true in tech as well. But dissing every new
approach as "trendy" is exactly the attitude that prevents change to the
system. What is that trendy "tech business development" of the printing
press, after all, when compared to beautiful, hand-illuminated manuscripts?
Out with that new "infotainmental" stuff!
> So the debate is not about castle-building, but about how we together
> re-shaping the ship called Wiki(pedia) to sail a daily demanding longterm
> mission and not following every techbubble-trends just because "more is
And this paragraph here proves that you haven't actually read anything I
wrote in the last few days. It also serves as a prefect example for the
self-righteous, get-off-my-lawn, stagnant spirit I criticize. "Following
every techbubble-trends just because 'more is
better'."? What have you been smoking?
> I hope that the upcoming strategic debate is as open as it needs to be.
I also wish for that. Sadly, judging from your previous statements, by
"open as it needs to be" will mean "closed to anything new".
A strategic debate which framework is already decided upon would only
> increase the distance created also by recent events.
I, for one, have not decided on any such framework.
> I hope this clarifies my POV, and doesn't offend too many people ;-)
What a witty and original remark!
> Best regards,
> Jens Best
> 2016-01-18 21:33 GMT+01:00 Magnus Manske <magnusman...@googlemail.com>:
> > OK, long thread, I'll try to answer in one here...
> > * I've been writing code for over thirty years now, so I'm the first to
> > that technology in not "the" answer to social or structural issues. It
> > however, mitigate some of those issues, or at least show new ways of
> > dealing with them
> > * New things are not necessarily good just because they are new. What
> > to be an improvement, especially for a technical mind, can be a huge step
> > backwards for the "general population". On the other hand, projects like
> > the Visual Editor can make work easier for many people, but few of them
> > will realize what a daunting undertaking such a project is. The
> > of getting this right is staggering. Expectations of getting it all
> > perfect, all feature-complete, on the initial release, are unrealistic to
> > say the least. And many of the details can not be tested between a few
> > developers; things need to be tested under real-world conditions, and
> > testing means they can break. Feedback about problems with a software
> > release are actually quite welcome, but condemning an entire product
> > forever because the first version didn't do everything 100% right is just
> > plain stupid. If Wikipedia had been judged by such standards in 2001,
> > would be no Wikipedia today, period. Technology improves all the time, be
> > it Visual Editor, Media Viewer, or Wikidata; but in the community, there
> > a sense of "it was bad, it must be still bad", and I have a feeling that
> > this is extended to new projects by default these days.
> > * In summary, what I criticize is that few people ask "how can we make
> > better"; all they ask is "how can we get rid of it". This attitude
> > the development of just about any new approach. If the result of a long,
> > thorough analysis is "it's bad, and it can't possibly be made better",
> > /then/ is the time to scrap it, but no sooner.
> > * Of course, "the community" is an ill-defined construct to begin with.
> > When I use that phrase above, I do mean a small but prominent subgroup in
> > that demographic, mostly "old hands" of good editors, often with a "fan
> > club" of people repeating the opinions of the former on talk pages,
> > really investigating on their own. After all, they are good editors, so
> > they must know what they are talking about, right?
> > * As I tried to say in the interview, I do understand such a conservative
> > approach all to well. We worked hard for Wikipedia to get where it is
> > and with trolls, on the left, vandals on the right, and half-done tech
> > experiments in front, retreating into the safety of the castle seems
> like a
> > good choice. And sometimes it is. But while we can defend the castle
> > comfortably for some years to come, we will never grow beyond its walls.
> > think we are already seeing the first fallout from this stagnation, in
> > terms of dropping page views (not to mention editors). If people stop
> > coming to a Wikipedia with 5 million articles, 10 million articles would
> > not make much difference by themselves; more content is good, but it will
> > not turn this supertanker around on its own. We do have some time left to
> > change things, without undue haste, but we won't have forever.
> > * Just to make sure, I am NOT saying to throw away all the things that
> > proven to work for us; I'm just saying we shouldn't restrict us to them.
> > * As for this "Wikidata is killing Wikipedia" sentiment - bullshit. (I
> > would like to be more eloquent here, but for once, this is the perfect
> > word.) Wikipedia and Wikidata are two very different beasts, though they
> > have an overlap. And that overlap should be used on Wikipedia, where it
> > help, even in the gigantic English Wikipedia, which covers but a third of
> > Wikidata items. Transcluded data in infoboxes; automatically generated
> > lists; a data source for timelines. Those are functions that will improve
> > Wikipedia, and will help especially the hundreds of smaller language
> > editions that are just getting towards critical mass. And there,
> > automatically generated descriptions can help get to that mass, until
> > someone writes an actual article in that language.
> > * So Google is using Wikidata in their search results? Good! In case you
> > have forgotten, our mission is not to have a nice article about your pet
> > topic, or have humans write articles that are little better than
> > bot-generated stubs, or have your name in ten thousand article histories;
> > the mission is the dissemination of free knowledge. And the more third
> > parties use the knowledge we assemble, even (or especially!) if it is
> > other 800 pound gorilla on the web, the better we fulfil that mission.
> > I hope this clarifies my POV, and doesn't offend too many people ;-)
> > On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 7:10 PM Andrew Lih <andrew....@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > I cannot speak for Magnus, but there’s a distinction that needs to be
> > made:
> > >
> > > Writing, “… all have been resisted by vocal groups of editors, not
> > because
> > > they are a problem, but because they represent change” is not maligning
> > all
> > > editors who complain.
> > >
> > > It simply says that those who resist innovation because it is a change
> > from
> > > the status quo, and without solid reasoning, should reconsider. The
> > > detailed analysis of Jonathan Cardy and Risker criticizing VE’s
> > suboptimal
> > > 2013 launch are well-informed and legit. But many, unfortunately, don’t
> > > apply such high standards for analysis.
> > >
> > > -Andrew
> > >
> > >
> > > On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:13 PM, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > After the assertion "From the Media Viewer, the Visual Editor, to
> > > Wikidata
> > > > transclusion, all have been resisted by vocal groups of editors, not
> > > > because they are a problem, but because they represent change," I
> > > > suggest a very large "citation needed" tag.
> > > >
> > > > Pine
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