(These are personal opinions based on my own personal interest in free and
volunteer-driven social networks, not an opinion as a WMF member.)
On Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 9:46 AM, Leinonen Teemu <teemu.leino...@aalto.fi>
I have been looking for social networking service that would be fair: not
abusing personal data, funded by community, respecting privacy, accepting
anonymity, free/libre/ open source etc. Haven’t found many. The Diaspora*
Project is not moving forward very fast and the Mastodon is more a
microblogging service rather than a social network service.
Can it be that the difference between "microblogging service" and "social
network" might be too subtle and subjective to be noticed by the majority
of their users? And for the problem you are presenting here?
Would it make sense for Wikimedia movement to build its own social network
Depends on what you mean by "build". If you mean create the software for a
new social network service, I don't think it makes sense. Providing support
and development of multilingual wiki projects
<https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Our_projects> to collect and develop
educational content to empower and engage people around the world is
already a daunting task in terms of software development, and there is so
much to do.
If you mean to run the software developed by someone else, sure, why not
experimenting. Thanks to free software licenses anyone can try, and thanks
to Wikimedia trademarks licenses I am sure a decent solution could be found
by whoever wants to run this experiment.
In the "2017 Movement strategy” we state: “By 2030, Wikimedia will become
the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge”. If we
consider discussions and information shared on social network services to
be “knowledge”, I think we should have a role in here too.
With some caveats and observations, I agree on the principle, just not on
the implication that this means we need to create a free social network for
us from scratch, starting with a first line of code. If we consider social
networks useful, and free social networks the right and consistent thing to
use in an ecosystem of free knowledge, then the first step can be as simple
as opening a Mastodon instance. Dozens (hundreds) of volunteers (including
amateur sysadmins) are doing just that without much discussion, just
scratching their own itch, or for fun, or to learn, or to experiment...
We have 33 million registered users and fulfil all the requirements of
being a “fair service”. A minimum list of features to make Wikimedia Social
(1) Status updates
This is provided by Mastodon, GNUSocial, etc today. They look like minimum
features for a social network indeed.
Mmm can you specify your use cases here? There is a chance, that the need
for "groups" actually belongs to different use cases, and we don't need one
"social network" tool to resolve everything.
One use case could be instant communication. We have seen Wikimedia groups
in Telegram flourishing around events and perhaps more. Again, someone
scratched their itches, they just did it, others followed.
Another use case could be more structured and specialized communication,
which puts us closer to mailing lists, forums, and our very own Talk pages.
For what is worth, some of us are experimenting around this use case with
Discourse. Again, scratching own itches and experimenting. More at
Well, this is quite a beast on its own, and I believe not a simple one. A
few days ago I unassigned https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T1035 to myself
because I could not find enough time & focus to push this problem in some
I am pretty sure that by integrating this to other Wikimedia services
(Commons etc.) we could achieve something awesome.
I agree that there is potential in this area, but I would look more at
using and supporting tools developed by others on their own mission, and
then think of single-sign-ons and APIs to bridge.