Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
57 messages Options
123
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Kim Bruning
Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa
        http://www.politico.com/morningtech/0112/morningtech377.html

Interesting. Any details?

sincerely,
        Kim Bruning
 
--

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Pedro Sanchez-2
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:30 AM, Kim Bruning <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa
>        http://www.politico.com/morningtech/0112/morningtech377.html
>
> Interesting. Any details?
>
> sincerely,
>        Kim Bruning
>
> --

I'm worried that we may be getting in trouble.
I don't know about US laws, but are charitable organizations allowed
to meddle in political lobbying?

I'd appreciate if more knowledgeable people could give us some light.

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
In reply to this post by Kim Bruning
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 6:30 PM, Kim Bruning <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa
>        http://www.politico.com/morningtech/0112/morningtech377.html
>
> Interesting. Any details?
>
> sincerely,
>        Kim Bruning
>

I suggest they not aim primarily against SOPA and PIPA. I think most
of the Internet is pretty shoulder against shoulder on those. What can
split ranks is OPEN. And that is a really pernicious danger, because it
isn't so ham-handedly phrased. I mean if things go really badly, and
OPEN is completely ignored, it isn't hyperbole to say it could totally
destroy what Wikimedia is about. Can somebody pass this on to people
who work on these issues.


--
--
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Gwern Branwen
In reply to this post by Pedro Sanchez-2
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM, Pedro Sanchez <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I'm worried that we may be getting in trouble.
> I don't know about US laws, but are charitable organizations allowed
> to meddle in political lobbying?
>
> I'd appreciate if more knowledgeable people could give us some light.

It's perfectly allowed, and we're allowed to take positions on
specific bills - it is just that lobbying cannot be a 'substantial
part' of the WMF's activities unless it switches its charity type.
(Googling around, I was reading
http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/whitepaperdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=12202
and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicp97.pdf )

--
gwern
http://www.gwern.net/In%20Defense%20Of%20Inclusionism

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Gregory Varnum-2
Basically a charity in the USA can spend up to 20% of its expenses on "direct lobbying" of related issues.  Basically that means they can say "this is good and that's good" - but they can't actually endorse a party or individual.  They can educate on that person - "so and so wants to do this" - but they can't then so "so vote for ABC instead" or anything along those lines.  It can get a little trick if an org speaks on an issue that is in no way connected to their mission - but SOPA/PIPA and just about any technology related legislation falls within WMF's mission.

Essentially on SOPA/PIPA - this is absolutely within US law and it seems incredibly unlikely given WMF's budget that any of these expenses would ever come close to 20%.  :)

-greg aka varnent


On Jan 22, 2012, at 1:00 PM, Gwern Branwen wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM, Pedro Sanchez <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I'm worried that we may be getting in trouble.
>> I don't know about US laws, but are charitable organizations allowed
>> to meddle in political lobbying?
>>
>> I'd appreciate if more knowledgeable people could give us some light.
>
> It's perfectly allowed, and we're allowed to take positions on
> specific bills - it is just that lobbying cannot be a 'substantial
> part' of the WMF's activities unless it switches its charity type.
> (Googling around, I was reading
> http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/whitepaperdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=12202
> and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicp97.pdf )
>
> --
> gwern
> http://www.gwern.net/In%20Defense%20Of%20Inclusionism
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

signature.asc (858 bytes) Download Attachment
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Thomas Dalton
On 22 January 2012 19:24, Gregory Varnum <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Basically a charity in the USA can spend up to 20% of its expenses on "direct lobbying" of related issues.  Basically that means they can say "this is good and that's good" - but they can't actually endorse a party or individual.  They can educate on that person - "so and so wants to do this" - but they can't then so "so vote for ABC instead" or anything along those lines.  It can get a little trick if an org speaks on an issue that is in no way connected to their mission - but SOPA/PIPA and just about any technology related legislation falls within WMF's mission.

Geoff, the WMF General Counsel, was advising everyone involved in the
media work surrounding the blackout to be even more careful than that
and stay well clear of mentioning any individual politicians to avoid
any possibility of trouble.

Given the overabundance of caution that was shown during the whole
thing, I don't think we need to worry.

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

geni
In reply to this post by Gwern Branwen
On 22 January 2012 18:00, Gwern Branwen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM, Pedro Sanchez <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I'm worried that we may be getting in trouble.
>> I don't know about US laws, but are charitable organizations allowed
>> to meddle in political lobbying?
>>
>> I'd appreciate if more knowledgeable people could give us some light.
>
> It's perfectly allowed, and we're allowed to take positions on
> specific bills - it is just that lobbying cannot be a 'substantial
> part' of the WMF's activities unless it switches its charity type.
> (Googling around, I was reading
> http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/whitepaperdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=12202
> and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicp97.pdf )
>

What is highly questionable is if it a remotely worthwhile use of
money. If Google's lobbyists can't impact SOPA and the like what makes
the foundation think our can?


--
geni

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Philippe Beaudette-3
You trust GOOGLE's interests to align sufficiently with ours, to the
extent that you're willing to cede government affairs to them?

pb

On Sun Jan 22 12:48:50 2012, geni wrote:

> On 22 January 2012 18:00, Gwern Branwen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM, Pedro Sanchez <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>> I'm worried that we may be getting in trouble.
>>> I don't know about US laws, but are charitable organizations allowed
>>> to meddle in political lobbying?
>>>
>>> I'd appreciate if more knowledgeable people could give us some light.
>>
>> It's perfectly allowed, and we're allowed to take positions on
>> specific bills - it is just that lobbying cannot be a 'substantial
>> part' of the WMF's activities unless it switches its charity type.
>> (Googling around, I was reading
>> http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/whitepaperdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=12202
>> and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicp97.pdf )
>>
>
> What is highly questionable is if it a remotely worthwhile use of
> money. If Google's lobbyists can't impact SOPA and the like what makes
> the foundation think our can?
>
>

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Mono mium
Actually, they're pretty similar. Don't forget that Google and Sergey
Brin's foundation are major income sources.

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM, Philippe Beaudette
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> You trust GOOGLE's interests to align sufficiently with ours, to the
> extent that you're willing to cede government affairs to them?
>
> pb
>
> On Sun Jan 22 12:48:50 2012, geni wrote:
> > On 22 January 2012 18:00, Gwern Branwen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM, Pedro Sanchez <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> I'm worried that we may be getting in trouble.
> >>> I don't know about US laws, but are charitable organizations allowed
> >>> to meddle in political lobbying?
> >>>
> >>> I'd appreciate if more knowledgeable people could give us some light.
> >>
> >> It's perfectly allowed, and we're allowed to take positions on
> >> specific bills - it is just that lobbying cannot be a 'substantial
> >> part' of the WMF's activities unless it switches its charity type.
> >> (Googling around, I was reading
> >>
> http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/whitepaperdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=12202
> >> and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicp97.pdf )
> >>
> >
> > What is highly questionable is if it a remotely worthwhile use of
> > money. If Google's lobbyists can't impact SOPA and the like what makes
> > the foundation think our can?
> >
> >
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

theo10011
In reply to this post by Philippe Beaudette-3
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 6:56 PM, Philippe Beaudette
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> You trust GOOGLE's interests to align sufficiently with ours, to the
> extent that you're willing to cede government affairs to them?


Yes.

Why won't their interest align on the same side as everyone else ? The
issue is just SOPA and PIPA, and there are two sides. Google has taken its
stand publicly along with WMF and everyone else. What other interests can
they have?

Regards
Theo
_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

James Alexander-3
Google (and facebook and twitter etc) are large corporate organizations
with profits heavily on their mind (by law, they are responsible to their
shareholders). While they clearly have good reasons to be opposed to SOPA
and PIPA there reasons are not exactly the same as ours and in my opinion
we would be hurting ourselves to rely solely on them for any kind of
advocacy work we do ( work that is clearly spelled out in the strategy
guide as important for issues like SOPA). A corporate group is going to try
and get the best outcome for their shareholders and their company and that
outcome is NOT necessarily the best outcome for us (for example exemptions
for themselves but not websites like Wikipedia).

An example is actually mentioned in the article (The OPEN act). The OPEN
act is highly divisive, we don't know if we'll support it or not yet (or
just 'not oppose' it) and we can't rely on google and others to align with
what we we're thinking.

James


On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 1:05 PM, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 6:56 PM, Philippe Beaudette
> <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
> > You trust GOOGLE's interests to align sufficiently with ours, to the
> > extent that you're willing to cede government affairs to them?
>
>
> Yes.
>
> Why won't their interest align on the same side as everyone else ? The
> issue is just SOPA and PIPA, and there are two sides. Google has taken its
> stand publicly along with WMF and everyone else. What other interests can
> they have?
>
> Regards
> Theo
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
FT2
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

FT2
Not least our public life-blood comes from the perception we're
independent, non-profit motivated, charitable, public welfare motivated,
grass-roots - not a "Silicon Valley giant". We have spent years explaining
we have just 75 staff and volunteer writers. We seek small donations to be
aligned to the public and avoid pressure (even if we wouldn't succumb).
That's our support. It means although we have some shared wishes and broad
alignments of interest, we must be very careful to think "outside the box"
somewhat on these issues. It's what we've done the last 11 years.

FT2

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 9:37 PM, James Alexander <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Google (and facebook and twitter etc) are large corporate organizations
> with profits heavily on their mind (by law, they are responsible to their
> shareholders). While they clearly have good reasons to be opposed to SOPA
> and PIPA there reasons are not exactly the same as ours and in my opinion
> we would be hurting ourselves to rely solely on them for any kind of
> advocacy work we do ( work that is clearly spelled out in the strategy
> guide as important for issues like SOPA). A corporate group is going to try
> and get the best outcome for their shareholders and their company and that
> outcome is NOT necessarily the best outcome for us (for example exemptions
> for themselves but not websites like Wikipedia).
>
> An example is actually mentioned in the article (The OPEN act). The OPEN
> act is highly divisive, we don't know if we'll support it or not yet (or
> just 'not oppose' it) and we can't rely on google and others to align with
> what we we're thinking.
>
>
_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Kim Bruning
geni writes:

> What is highly questionable is if it a remotely worthwhile use of
> money. If Google's lobbyists can't impact SOPA and the like what makes
> the foundation think our can?

geni, as you may know, I spent more than a decade in Washington
working on public-policy issues for non-profits (including EFF, the
Center for Democracy and Technology, and Public Knowledge). One of the
principal lessons of that experience was that public-interest
participation in policymaking debates added a lot of value precisely
because opponents couldn't write off a charity as simply being
interested in expanding its market or profits.

And the synergies between corporate lobbying and public-interest
policy initiatives -- on the occasions when their interests do line up
-- have a greater political impact than either faction can have
working alone.  If you've spent time on Capitol Hill, or meeting with
bureaucrats at federal agencies, you already know that a standard
tactic of your opponents is to marginalize you. So if you're Google,
the rap on you is that you're a quasi-monopoly spending Washington
dollars to maintain your position as a market leader. And if you're
ACLU or EFF, you're dismissed as arguing fringe issues that don't
represent the mainstream of American political thought.

But when Google (or Microsoft or Intel) come to policymakers and say
the same things that the nonprofit groups (EFF or ACLU or -- someday,
perhaps -- WMF) are telling them, it gets much, much harder for the
opposition to dismiss the message.

(The content companies already know this -- that's why they took such
pains to sign up a bunch of nonprofits as supporters of SOPA and PIPA,
even though many of the latter bailed when they realized MPAA was
perhaps not the best guide on these issues.)

None of this requires that any nonprofit spend the kind of lobbying
dollars that Google spends -- even if that were possible (and of
course it isn't remotely possible). The money WMF spends on something
like this is microscopic compared to that of for-profit corporation,
and pretty small even compared to other nonprofits. Nevertheless, a
nonprofit showing up and making its voice heard -- especially when its
arguments dovetail with those of much larger players like Google --
counts for a lot.  It can't be easily dismissed. It makes most
policymakers think twice.

At this point, I'll understand if you hit me with a [citation needed]
here, and I confess that what I'm telling probably is best classified
as "original research." But don't take my word for it -- talk to other
NGOs that work in the Washington policy community, and you'll find
plenty of confirmation of what I'm telling you here.


--Mike Godwin

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Thomas Dalton
On 22 January 2012 22:26, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
> At this point, I'll understand if you hit me with a [citation needed]
> here, and I confess that what I'm telling probably is best classified
> as "original research." But don't take my word for it -- talk to other
> NGOs that work in the Washington policy community, and you'll find
> plenty of confirmation of what I'm telling you here.

There's a massive selection bias there! Of course the NGOs that do
lots of lobbying think lobbying is a great idea, otherwise they
wouldn't be doing it. Is there any independent research on this topic?

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

theo10011
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Mike, I completely understand your point on this and where you are coming
from. But you made a conflicting point yourself....

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 8:26 PM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> None of this requires that any nonprofit spend the kind of lobbying
> dollars that Google spends -- even if that were possible (and of
> course it isn't remotely possible). The money WMF spends on something
> like this is microscopic compared to that of for-profit corporation,
> and pretty small even compared to other nonprofits. Nevertheless, a
> nonprofit showing up and making its voice heard -- especially when its
> arguments dovetail with those of much larger players like Google --
> counts for a lot.  It can't be easily dismissed. It makes most
> policymakers think twice.


If WMF were to spend 50% of what it raised last year on lobbying, it would
still be microscopic compared to Google and others. I know the impact of a
united front would be much stronger on this. But as I saw it, we already
made our voice heard? When we blacked out Wikipedia for 24 hours, and saw
some measurable impact in the standing within congress, not to mention the
coverage and support in the media.

I am not an american, and I am not privy to how lobbying works in
Washington - I hear a lot of americans don't know that either. We do
however have limited revenues, from small donations, and as I understand
registered non-profits in the US are legally bound to not spend more than a
certain percentage of revenues on lobbying, for the reason I am stating. It
might not be a worthwhile use of the money, considering all the millions
floating around on lobbyists between for-profit corporations, this might be
more than what we should take on at the time?

We blacked out Wikipedia for a day to get our voice heard, I thought that
was the right action to do at that point. Lobbying generally  sounds of
closed door dealings, and large amounts of money spent on convincing
politicians, in this case, convincing them to do the right thing. When a
non-profit engages in it publicly, one that prides itself on being small
and independent, it affects my perception of it. It might just be me, but I
would rather see public statements, and actions like the blackout over
lobbying any day.

Regards
Theo
_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> There's a massive selection bias there! Of course the NGOs that do
> lots of lobbying think lobbying is a great idea, otherwise they
> wouldn't be doing it.

Not only that, but of course people who eat food and drink water to
sustain themselves are unlikely to give proper weight to Breatharian
points of view!

That pesky POV problem keeps rearing its noisy head wherever you look. ;)

I welcome your independent research project when you get it started.
Or anybody's, really. I suppose the null hypothesis is that one can
simply stay silent and wins the issue anyway. Obviously, I tend to
fall on the Gandhi/Martin Luther King side of that issue -- at least
I'm transparent about my biases.


--Mike

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Thomas Dalton
On 22 January 2012 22:54, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> There's a massive selection bias there! Of course the NGOs that do
>> lots of lobbying think lobbying is a great idea, otherwise they
>> wouldn't be doing it.
>
> Not only that, but of course people who eat food and drink water to
> sustain themselves are unlikely to give proper weight to Breatharian
> points of view!
>
> That pesky POV problem keeps rearing its noisy head wherever you look. ;)

Indeed. That's why I asked for independent research. Research from
NGOs that have chosen not to engage in lobbying would be just as
useless.

> I welcome your independent research project when you get it started.
> Or anybody's, really. I suppose the null hypothesis is that one can
> simply stay silent and wins the issue anyway. Obviously, I tend to
> fall on the Gandhi/Martin Luther King side of that issue -- at least
> I'm transparent about my biases.

I disagree - the null hypothesis is that the gain from lobbying isn't
worth the cost, not that the gain is zero. (Cost includes far more
than just monetary cost, of course.)

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by theo10011
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Mike, I completely understand your point on this and where you are coming
> from. But you made a conflicting point yourself....

<text omitted>

> But as I saw it, we already
> made our voice heard? When we blacked out Wikipedia for 24 hours, and saw
> some measurable impact in the standing within congress, not to mention the
> coverage and support in the media.

Another important lesson about arguing issues in Washington is that
the fight is never over. The content companies have been at war with
technology companies for decades over copyright issues. The fact that
we were heard one day (or even one week) in 2012 is no basis for
complacency.

>It
> might not be a worthwhile use of the money, considering all the millions
> floating around on lobbyists between for-profit corporations, this might be
> more than what we should take on at the time?

I believe Kat Walsh deserves credit for pointing out that, while we
strive for NPOV in our encyclopedic content, the very existence of an
encyclopedia -- and a freely available one at that -- signifies a
political position. (Encyclopedists and librarians have known this for
some time.)

> Lobbying generally  sounds of
> closed door dealings, and large amounts of money spent on convincing
> politicians, in this case, convincing them to do the right thing.

That's certainly a common stereotype. In practice, however, and under
American law, those meetings get reported and publicized, and
nonprofit organizations that meet with policymakers are held strictly
accountable for what they do. And, it must be stressed, they can't
spend "large amounts of money" on "convincing politicians." We have
laws about that here.

>When a
> non-profit engages in it publicly, one that prides itself on being small and
> independent, it affects my perception of it. It might just be me, but I
> would rather see public statements, and actions like the blackout over
> lobbying any day.

This is not an either/or choice. Small, independent voices can be
heard, if you know what you're doing.


--Mike

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I disagree - the null hypothesis is that the gain from lobbying isn't
> worth the cost, not that the gain is zero. (Cost includes far more
> than just monetary cost, of course.)

Ah, then the proper experiment would have been for Wikipedians not to
black out enwiki for a day and see how effective that was in changing
the debate?

Because, as you know, the blackout did entail a significant non-monetary costs.

The trick, of course, is that political experimentation of this sort
is similar to human experimentation generally -- the risk is that the
experiment, for all you learn from it, leads to negative consequences
down the line. My own view is that the blackout was unquestionably the
right thing to do, and I'm hugely proud to be associated in my own
small way with the people who took the risk of making our voices heard
this time.


--Mike

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Thomas Dalton
On 22 January 2012 23:09, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> I disagree - the null hypothesis is that the gain from lobbying isn't
>> worth the cost, not that the gain is zero. (Cost includes far more
>> than just monetary cost, of course.)
>
> Ah, then the proper experiment would have been for Wikipedians not to
> black out enwiki for a day and see how effective that was in changing
> the debate?

Of course not. If you were going to do that kind of experiment, you
would need to both blackout Wikipedia and not black it out and compare
the two. Obviously, that isn't possible. Not everything lends itself
to such simple experimentation.

> Because, as you know, the blackout did entail a significant non-monetary costs.

Of course, and very difficult ones to quantify, which makes analysing
this sort of thing even harder.

> The trick, of course, is that political experimentation of this sort
> is similar to human experimentation generally -- the risk is that the
> experiment, for all you learn from it, leads to negative consequences
> down the line. My own view is that the blackout was unquestionably the
> right thing to do, and I'm hugely proud to be associated in my own
> small way with the people who took the risk of making our voices heard
> this time.

That's a good analogy. The approach often taken with studies about
humanity is not to do experiments (because they can be harmful) but
instead to examine things that have already happened or are happening
anyway.

You could make some progress in working out how effective lobbying is
for non-profits by comparing countries where such lobbying is common
and countries where it isn't, or by comparing sub-sectors where it is
common and sub-sectors where it isn't. It wouldn't surprise me if
someone has done some research like that. As an expert on the subject,
I was hoping you would know about some.

_______________________________________________
foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
123