Anthony Cole wrote:
>Google's "info boxes" and their answers at the top of their results, we're
>all agreed now, I think, are impacting Wikipedia's page views and,
>consequently, our ability to raise funds and recruit new volunteers.

Google and others have a direct interest in their data being accurate and
reliable. We already see that Google has a "report a correction" feature
for some of its services. It's in both Wikimedia's interest and re-users'
interest for the underlying data source to be update-to-date and correct.

Our mission is to spread free educational content to the world and we make
our data available for re-use for this purpose. Shouldn't we be applauding
Google and others for helping us share our knowledge with the world?

As far as threats to direct-to-user fund-raising go, I'd put
organizational instability ahead of Google at the moment. The Wikimedia
Foundation has repeatedly been in the news lately for ongoing management
issues, both in its executive team and in its board of trustees.

What size do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should be in terms of
yearly budget and number of full-time employees? How much bigger or
smaller should the Wikimedia Foundation be than other Wikimedia chapters?

Even if we accepted your premise that Google was impacting Wikipedia's
page views and the ability to raise funds and recruit new volunteers
(citations needed, to be sure), are you sure that we're all agreed that
this is problematic? If others re-using our content has a side effect
of reducing donations to Wikimedia Foundation Inc., donations which are
received through questionable and increasingly obnoxious on-site
advertisements, you will not find universal agreement that this donor
reduction would be terrible. As others have argued previously, small and
recurring donations are a means of providing accountability for the
entities entrusted with these monetary donations. If potential donors no
longer trust the Wikimedia Foundation to manage and distribute this
money, no longer donating financially is practical and wise.

If Google causes page views to go down and our sites are directly hit less
frequently, that actually saves us money, doesn't it? We're theoretically
then off-loading some of our hosting costs to Google, Facebook, and
others who are downloading and re-uploading our data to the Web, exactly
as we mandated that anyone be able to do. With multiple copies of the data
on the Web, we're better ensuring that the content lives on in perpetuity.


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