On Sunday, February 28, 2016, Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.


What non-hypothetical work are you referring to?

{{cn}}

-- brion


> 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
> <javascript:;>> 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
> <javascript:;>>
> > > 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.[1] 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.[2] 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),[3] 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.[4]
> > >
> > > 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
> > >
> > > [1]
> > >
> >
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/25/wikidata_turns_the_world_into_a_database/
> > > [2] See Sue Gardner's email quoted on the last two pages of
> > > http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf
> > > [3]
> > >
> >
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/forums/kindleqna/ref=cs_hc_k_m_oldest?ie=UTF8&forumID=Fx1FI6JDSFEQQ7V&cdThread=Tx27IU7Z5IQJV2J&cdSort=oldest
> > > [4]
> > >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Foundation_transparency_gap#Transparency_about_donor-funded_work_supporting_commercial_re-users
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