Jimmy, I think the first step is for the Foundation to be more open and transparent about what work it is actually doing for commercial re-users, and to announce such work proactively to both donors and the community. There should be a dedicated space where such information is collected and available to the public. Major developments should be announced on the Wikimedia blog.
If some engineering team does work *specifically* for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Echo, Google Play, Siri etc., then in my view the companies concerned should pay for that work, or the work should be left to a for-profit contractor. It should not be paid for by donors. Donors do not give money to the Foundation so it can flood the knowledge market with a free product that a handful of companies then earn billions from. As for API use, if there are *generic* APIs that multiple commercial re-users can benefit from, then they should be charged according to their usage, with small users operating below a certain threshold being exempt from payment. Lastly, we should not seek world domination. :) It's unhealthy, especially in the world of information and knowledge. Prices should be high enough that some competition is possible. Andreas On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 5:32 PM, Jimmy Wales <jimmywa...@ymail.com> wrote: > > On the very specific topic of donor funding going to help commercial > re-users, we've had some interesting but inconclusive board discussions > about this topic. Despite that he takes every opportunity to attack me, > and surely it will disappoint him to know, but my general view is 100% > in agreement with him on the core issue - where commercial re-users are > getting enormous value from our work, they should be paying for the > engineering resources required for their support. > > Here are two push-backs on the idea that I do think are deserving of > serious consideration: > > 1. Part of our core mission as a community is free access - will a "pay > for service" model for APIs for commercial re-users alienate a > significant portion of the community? Does requiring some to pay while > others get it free raise questions similar to those around "net > neutrality"? > > As a historical footnote, there was a deal many years ago with > Answers.com to give them access to an API which they used to present our > content alongside many other resources. They paid for that - not a huge > amount, but it was meaningful back in those days. I don't recall this > being particularly controversial. > > 2. In many cases it may be too simplistic to simply say "a company is > benefiting, so they should pay". The point is that *we* also benefit, > from increased readership for example, from our work making it to end > users as technology changes and as the way people get information > changes. There is certainly a situation where setting too high a price > would simply push commercial re-users to not use our content at all, so > sensible pricing would be key. And with real serious ongoing analysis, > the right price could still be "free" even if we in principle charge. > > ---- > > For me, despite those being real concerns, I come down firmly on the > side of being careful about falling into a trap of doing lots of > expensive work for commercial re-users without having them pay. I don't > actually think we do a lot of that right now. What I'd like to see is > more of it, and I'm pretty agnostic about whether that's in the form of > "self-financing cottage industries" or a "separate for-profit arm" or > within the current engineering organization. I can see arguments for > any of those. > > > > > On 2/28/16 8:02 AM, Andreas Kolbe wrote: > > On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 3:24 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <dar...@alk.edu.pl> > > wrote: > > > > We COULD outsource most of our tech (I'm not supporting this, I'm just > >> giving perspective). > >> > > > > > > One thing I've been wondering about of late is how much donor-funded the > > work the WMF is doing that is primarily designed to support commercial > > re-users. > > > > The other day, I read an Engineering report on the Wikimedia blog that > > spoke of the Wikipedia Zero team doing "side project" work for Amazon > > Kindle and Google Play. > > > > I was thinking, Why are donors paying for that? – especially at a time > when > > the Foundation worries about being able to sustain fundraising growth. > > > > Wikimedia content is worth billions. Wikidata in particular has huge > > potential value for commercial re-users. So have the link-ups between > > Wikipedia and Amazon, Google, Bing etc. > > > > It's clear that even in 2008, the Foundation was inundated with "multiple > > product-specific pitches" from Google. I imagine the breadth and > number > > of these pitches from Silicon Valley companies can only have increased > > since then. > > > > Sure, Wikimedia is committed to using its donated funds to make content > > freely available under an open licence, but does that mean donors should > > also be paying for programming work that is primarily designed to support > > commercial re-users? > > > > That work could be done by self-financing cottage industries built up by > > Wikimedians, working for profit, or even a for-profit arm of the > > Foundation. All the Foundation would have to do would be to provide basic > > documentation; the rest could be left to the open market. > > > > The astonishing thing to me is that there seems to be very little or no > > publicity and transparency from the WMF about developments in this area. > > For instance, I was unable to find any WMF communication about Wikipedia > > Smart Lookup being integrated in the Amazon Kindle (something Amazon > > announced in 2014), even though WMF teams clearly have done > programming > > work on this. You'd have thought having Wikipedia search embedded in a > > major product like the Kindle is a big thing, worthy of a > community-facing > > announcement? > > > > In short, I think the WMF should collate and publicise more information > > about commercial re-use applications, and be transparent about the work > > it's doing to support such re-use. Maybe there is another "transparency > > gap" here. > > > > And if there is any work that the Foundation is currently doing that > > primarily benefits commercial re-users, then I think it should stop doing > > that for free (= at donors' expense), and allow for-profit contractors to > > spring up and pitch for that work. That would allow the non-profit > > foundation to focus on user-facing improvements. > > > > Andreas > > > >  > > > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/25/wikidata_turns_the_world_into_a_database/ > >  See Sue Gardner's email quoted on the last two pages of > > http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf > >  > > > http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/forums/kindleqna/ref=cs_hc_k_m_oldest?ie=UTF8&forumID=Fx1FI6JDSFEQQ7V&cdThread=Tx27IU7Z5IQJV2J&cdSort=oldest > >  > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_transparency_gap#Transparency_about_donor-funded_work_supporting_commercial_re-users > > _______________________________________________ > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines > > New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, > <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe> > > > > > _______________________________________________ > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines > New messages to: Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, > <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe> > _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>