I would be in favor of getting a Wikipedia Zero post mortem for lessons
learned. The idea was inspiring, and it still sounds like a good idea, but
so far as I know the discourse about what worked and what failed to work
never got published or made it to wiki. One barrier in Wikipedia Zero that
I felt was that it was a WMF staff project and much less a Wikimedia
community project. In general, community projects require and produce
documentation, and in general, WMF staff produce much less documentation.
There can be tension for wiki community members to publish any
documentation of projects where WMF paid staff are engaged.

In the 2018 WMF annual report the Internet in a Box project is the top
listed WMF accomplishment for the year.
https://wikimediafoundation.org/about/2018-annual-report/
To me, it seems like Internet in a Box is the closest thing to a focus for
increased LMIC wiki access that the WMF has right now.

There are lots of possible development directions and I still think the
conversation is open for advancement.


On Mon, Dec 2, 2019 at 11:38 AM James Heilman <jmh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Sending on behalf of Douglas as his message did not make it through:
>
> "Hi everyone,
>
> James is right about South Africa. Although there is a strong appetite
> for Wikipedia Zero in South Africa (and surrounding countries as well
> I would bet) there were some unexpected hurdles encountered here. The
> appetite was strong enough for a class of school children in Cape Town
> to write an open letter calling for it that the WMF made a video
> about. We also go two of those school children to give a speech at
> Wikimania 2018. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful in getting real
> progress on zero rating Wikipedia in South Africa.
>
> The back story is that the major telecoms firms in South Africa just
> did not see the point of zero rating Wikipedia even though it would
> give them a competitive advantage over other South African telecoms
> firms. This is mostly because the telecom sector in South Africa is a
> duopoly of effectively two colluding companies that practice what I
> would call a type of exploitative pricing.
>
> The closest we came to getting Zero rating in South Africa was a
> response from one of the telecom companies (MTN) to the open letter
> from the school children back in 2014. MTN agreed to zero rate
> Wikipedia and made a video about it (now taken down I see) to get some
> free media off of it. However, what they did not tell people as that
> Wikipedia was zero rated only around schools, during school hours, and
> only on devices running MTN's proprietary version of the Opera
> browser. Since school kids are typically not allowed to us cell phones
> at school in South Africa this basically meant that almost no one got
> to get access to zero rated Wikipedia.
>
> In South Africa's case I feel that there is still a great need and
> demand for zero rated Wikipedia. That is why I am supportive of
> another effort to push for getting local telecom companies to zero
> rate it. However, I also feel that the South African telecom companies
> are still suck in their profit-maximising oligopolic collusion
> orientated mind set. As such I think we need to change the narrative
> in South Africa around access to knowledge to get them to change their
> mind set which is a bigger challenge. However the high cost of data in
> South Africa combined with the "Data Must Fall" movement has created a
> friendlier environment for us. So I feel we should at the very least
> 'ask again' if we can get Wikipedia zero rated or at least restart the
> conversation to do that.
>
> Regards,
>
> Douglas."
>
> On Sun, Dec 1, 2019 at 4:48 PM James Heilman <jmh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > The offline apps have also been downloaded 100 of thousands of times
> > mostly from people in LMIC.
> >
> > Wikipedia Zero faced the controversial about net neutrality. And thus
> > we were legally banned from continuing in India.
> >
> > Douglas Scott and I discussed the effects of the program in South
> > Africa. Have cc'ed him to comment further but basically it sounded not
> > all that great due to all the further limitations that were added by
> > the telecoms.
> >
> > James
> >
> > On Sun, Dec 1, 2019 at 4:25 PM James Salsman <jsals...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > Kul,
> > >
> > > Would you please send a few or more paragraph description of the
> > > accomplishments and costs of the Wikipedia Zero program to the
> > > wikimedia-l list?
> > >
> > > I also would love to see it back. The concerns about zero rating
> > > service abuse are real, but they did not apply to WZ no matter how
> > > many people implied they did at the time.
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > > Jim
> > >
> > > On Sun, Dec 1, 2019 at 4:13 AM Peter Southwood
> > > <peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Gerhard,
> > > > I am also interested in what the impact of Wikipedia Zero was, but
> it is not obvious to me how it would be measured.
> > > > The board members are unlikely to have personally researched this,
> but might know if there is or was a project and if so what they are or were
> trying to measure. Equally, someone from WMF might be able to report on
> what has been or is being done in this regard. It is also possible that
> nothing has been done, or someone who does not read this list is working on
> it.
> > > > If anyone reads this and can enlighten us, either to whether it is
> an ongoing project, has been done and the information is available
> somewhere, or nobody is known to be working on it, please let us know.
> > > > Anyone who has ideas on how it could be measured or why it can't is
> also welcome to comment.
> > > > Cheers,
> > > > Peter
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org]
> On Behalf Of Gerard Meijssen
> > > > Sent: 01 December 2019 08:19
> > > > To: Lodewijk Gelauf; Wikimedia Mailing List
> > > > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Remember Wikipedia Zero.. Where is the
> research about the effects of its demise?
> > > >
> > > > Lodewijk,
> > > > What I asked for is: do we understand what the impact was of the
> Wikipedia
> > > > Zero project. In the answer of James, a board member of the WMF
> someone who
> > > > could know, there is nothing that answers that question. All the
> answer
> > > > does is deflect the question to something else. A notion that it is
> "not
> > > > that bad because we have these other things". These things we had
> before
> > > > Wikipedia Zero, they are not Wikipedia and they do not scale.
> > > >
> > > > What I have noticed is that once consensus has been reached, we do
> not want
> > > > to be confronted with the consequences of our actions. Wikipedia
> Zero has
> > > > damaged our outreach and what the BBC info reminds us of is that
> Internet,
> > > > the cost of Internet, is not comparable in Africa with what we are
> used to.
> > > > It means that we no longer reach the girls and boys in Soweto as we
> showed
> > > > in our film clip at the Erasmus award.
> > > >
> > > > We do not cover Africa properly, we do not need to seek consensus
> about
> > > > this, that is easily to be shown. Our focus on outreach is in
> America, then
> > > > Europe, then the rest of the world and there is Africa. From the
> moment we
> > > > stopped Wikipedia Zero, we have invested heavily in infrastructure in
> > > > Africa, the organisational presence in the USA is now such that it
> rivals
> > > > Wikimania and is used as an excuse by some to even dismantle
> Wikimania. As
> > > > an organisation, a movement the "centre periphery" model is alive
> and well.
> > > > We happily embrace Burke's peerage in Wikidata and we balk at the
> fact that
> > > > covering science takes resources away from pet projects.
> > > >
> > > > You tell me to be constructive and here I lay out what the situation
> is.
> > > > How can you be constructive as our movement does not support
> science, the
> > > > people who need our information most are disenfranchised because we
> do not
> > > > cover them, support them in an equal manner.
> > > > Thanks,
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Sun, 1 Dec 2019 at 04:31, effe iets anders <
> effeietsand...@gmail.com>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Hi Gerard,
> > > > >
> > > > > It would be great if you could keep a slightly more constructive
> tone in
> > > > > your messages. On one hand, you seem genuinely interested to help
> access to
> > > > > free knowledge in Africa, but in your second email, you seem to
> jump (after
> > > > > one response) to conclusions already. If you like to get real
> responses to
> > > > > your emails, you may want to try a more constructive attitude. For
> me, it
> > > > > is at least sufficiently offputting to disengage (I removed the
> rest of my
> > > > > response/suggestions).
> > > > >
> > > > > -- Lodewijk
> > > > >
> > > > > On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 9:34 PM Gerard Meijssen <
> gerard.meijs...@gmail.com
> > > > > >
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > > Kiwix and off line Wikipedia did exist at the start of Wikipedia
> Zero.
> > > > > It
> > > > > > is great that you brought some to Africa but you do not scale
> and it is
> > > > > not
> > > > > > a study into the effects of what the effects are of terminating
> Wikipedia
> > > > > > Zero.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > No idea what "Starlink"  is
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > https://lmgtfy.com/?q=starlink&s=l
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > but it is not a reality for a few more years..
> > > > > > It sounds like we have thrown all these kids under the bus but
> hey, we
> > > > > have
> > > > > > plan. A plan/action is having our own caches in Africa and
> providing edit
> > > > > > and read capabilities for all who care to use it... and then
> measure the
> > > > > > extend it helps us recover from our Wikipedia Zero public.
> > > > > > Thanks,
> > > > > >        GerardM
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On Tue, 26 Nov 2019 at 02:48, James Heilman <jmh...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > We have offline Wikipedia. I have shipped devices to Kinshasa,
> and
> > > > > > > they arrived :-)
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Of course they do not at all address the need for two way
> > > > > communication.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > I am hoping Starlink will help when it comes online in a few
> years.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > James
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 12:19 AM Gerard Meijssen
> > > > > > > <gerard.meijs...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > > > > The BBC shows how dramatically expensive internet is in
> Africa.. For
> > > > > in
> > > > > > > my
> > > > > > > > opinion local political reasons Wikipedia Zero has
> terminated. That
> > > > > is
> > > > > > ok
> > > > > > > > up to a point; the point being that we understand the
> consequences
> > > > > from
> > > > > > > > this action.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Given that our data is NOT local, people have to pay a
> premium. What
> > > > > > are
> > > > > > > we
> > > > > > > > going to do to compensate for expensive Wikipedia that
> replaced
> > > > > > Wikipedia
> > > > > > > > Zero? Did we study the effects or are we not interested in
> the
> > > > > > > consequences
> > > > > > > > of our actions?
> > > > > > > > Thanks,
> > > > > > > >        GerardM
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-50516888
> > > > > > > > _______________________________________________
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> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > --
> > > > > > > James Heilman
> > > > > > > MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > _______________________________________________
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> >
> >
> > --
> > James Heilman
> > MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
>
>
>
> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
>
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-- 
Lane Rasberry
user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
206.801.0814
l...@bluerasberry.com
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