On Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 3:28 PM, Ziko van Dijk <zvand...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello Joseph,
> We must distinguish between the community, the movement and partners of the
> movement.
> The Wikimedia movement is not a community, it consists of several
> communities. Such as the community of Wikipedia in French, of Wikidata or
> of Mediawiki.org.
> Staffers of the WMF are part of the movement, as the WMF is part of the
> movement, as a chapter is part of the movement. Individual staff members or
> chapter board members can belong to communities.
> Donors can be part of the movement, if they like to see themselves as such.
> I doubt that many people who donate 10 euros think of themselves as
> "community".
> Staff from our GLAM partners are partners, not community, not movement.
> I wonder if the WMF will say in future "we asked the community and it
> approved it", what will be the meaning of "the community"?
> Kind regards
> Ziko

Reading between the lines of statements like "Knowledge as a service",
"essential infrastructure", "tools for allies and partners to organize and
exchange free knowledge beyond Wikimedia", etc., my sense is that the
document, without saying so explicitly, is very much written from the
perspective that the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, Bing (and anyone else
developing digital assistants and other types of knowledge delivery
platforms) should be viewed as key partners in the exchange of free
knowledge, and served accordingly, through the development of interfaces
that enable them to deliver Wikimedia content to the end user.

My problem with that is that those are all for-profit companies, while the
volunteers that contribute the free content on which these companies'
profit-making services are based are not only unpaid, but actually incur
expenses in contributing (mostly related to source access).

Given that one of the documents' stated aims is social justice, I am always
amazed that there seems to be a fairly large blind spot in the Wikimedia
universe when it comes to the starkly exploitative element in the free
knowledge economy. The assumption seems to be that volunteers can't help
contributing, that they are adequately compensated by the personal
satisfaction they derive from seeing their contributions shape the
knowledge landscape, and thus do not need to be given any special

Given the Wikimedia Foundation's ever-increasing revenue, I'd like to see
more emphasis on reducing the costs of participation and supporting the
volunteer community, to create a little more social justice within the free
knowledge economy, bearing in mind who does the work, and who profits
financially from it.

Speaking about the future development of the knowledge landscape in
general, I would not like to see Wikimedia become the default provider of
knowledge, to the point where the origin of content is obscured and
knowledge becomes synonymous with Wikimedia content. If that's what's being
striven for, I don't like it – monopolies are inherently unhealthy, for
reasons that should be obvious. I'd like to see a more diverse and less
monolithic knowledge system in our future than that implied here. Part of
that is that knowledge providers basing their products on Wikimedia content
should always identify the relevant Wikimedia project as a source.
Knowledge is only knowledge when it is traceable to its sources, rather
than arriving "ex machina".

On a related issue, we discussed in early August the fact that Amazon's use
of Wikipedia content in the Amazon Echo appears to be partly in breach of
that principle (and indeed in breach of Wikipedia's Creative Commons
licence). We were told that Amazon would be contacted, and that we would
likely be given an update in September. But apart from a brief and
inconsequential flurry of posts last month, we do not seem to have made any
progress on this issue. Please step up your efforts in this regard: surely
it cannot be too difficult to get Amazon to state their legal rationale.

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