[Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

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[Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Milos Rancic-2
The news from today is that FreeBSD didn't succeed to gather enough
money during their annual fundraising [1][2].

Badass suggestion would be that they should ask now Apple for funds.
But, I'll try to keep chortle for myself and remain serious for the
rest of this email.

First of all, FreeBSD is a part of our broader movement and Wikimedia
Foundation and Wikimedia chapters should find a way how to help them.
I suppose that Mozilla Foundation could be also interested in this
venture. Thus, I'd ask WMF and relevant chapters (those who have
money) to organize themselves, contact Mozilla and see how to help
FreeBSD community. I know that it's not a straight-forward action, but
it's manageable.

If necessary, you can send email to me and I'll connect all interested
Wikimedia [and surrounding] organizations. (And, please, don't ask me
"Why should we help them?".)

Second, and more important for ourselves: this is very strong message
to us. Obviously, that's not because our content isn't licensed under
a copyleft license.

While I could appreciate FreeBSD folk's ethical position that free
content should be free without any limit; while I could tolerate their
flirt with proprietary software vendors; it proved that their strategy
is bad for themselves. In short, they rely on their usefulness without
having any defense.

The question of [the type of] content license was the question of
1990s and early 2000s. Wikipedia solved that issue at the very
beginning of its existence.

But, strategic flaws are not limited on choosing the license. There
are many of them and every new epoch brings their own possibilities to
make them.

I can see that we are in similar position now as FreeBSD was during
the late 1990s. Good news is that it's likely that we have ~15 more
years to change things. Bad news is that we are already at least five
years behind our competition.

And our competition are not various online encyclopedias -- not one as
large and as relevant as Wikipedia. Our competition are top Internet
sites, which are taking away the attention of our users.

Fortunately, no top Internet site has enough of imagination to create
viable collaborative educational project of Wikipedia size. (BTW, they
have courage to do that -- Google Knol was the best try. Fortunately.)
Fortunately, we don't have serious competitor outside of our broader
movement (we don't have it inside, neither, but that wouldn't be so
bad news; actually, bad news is that we don't have internal competitor
yet).

Unfortunately, although existing, our steps toward making Wikimedia
projects more attractive to new generations are so small, that it's
hard to see them.

I am happy to see that we finally got two new projects: Wikidata and
Wikivoyage. That's, for sure, the step in the right direction and the
first fresh blood after six years.

However, our fate won't be much different from FreeBSD's if our main
strategies are to repeat the pattern (Wikivoyage) or to do some really
cool things for very limited population (including myself, of course;
I am really excited with Wikidata).

Our strategy should be contemporary. And, yes, that means social
networking and gaming features. And, no, they don't have to be dumb.

[1] http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/12/09/1726222/freebsd-project-falls-short-of-year-end-funding-target-by-nearly-50
[2] http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/donate/

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Amir E. Aharoni
2012/12/10 Milos Rancic <[hidden email]>:

> And our competition are not various online encyclopedias -- not one as
> large and as relevant as Wikipedia. Our competition are top Internet
> sites, which are taking away the attention of our users.
>
> Fortunately, no top Internet site has enough of imagination to create
> viable collaborative educational project of Wikipedia size. (BTW, they
> have courage to do that -- Google Knol was the best try. Fortunately.)
> Fortunately, we don't have serious competitor outside of our broader
> movement (we don't have it inside, neither, but that wouldn't be so
> bad news; actually, bad news is that we don't have internal competitor
> yet).

If the definition of a competitor is "a complete, general,
multi-lingual, rather well-edited encyclopedia", then we don't really
have competitors. Knol was a joke hardly worth mentioning, which is
not necessarily good.

But if the definition of a competitor is "a website that brings up
seemingly useful results to Google searches in English", then
StackOverflow are Quora are rather strong competitors for certain
types of searches. And yes, they have social network features worth
learning. You know, reputation points, and automatic granting of
various privileges based on these points. And we only have
"autoconfirmed" and the dreaded RFA.

Wordpress.com and Tumblr (and in some areas - LiveJournal) are also
competitors in the category of "websites where people who are able to
write a few grammatical sentences are writing about things they love".
We probably shouldn't compete with them for the users' attention,
because Wikipedia will never provide the complete editorial freedom
that they do, but we can learn a thing or two from their communities.
Tumblr has some unexplained coolness around itself; I cannot say any
more about it. Wordpress' strong card is its rather stable PHP-based
platform, and when you think of it, that platform is not much more
technically advanced than MediaWiki is, but it has a much more vibrant
community of users. And when I say "vibrant", I mean "lots of people
make money out of installing Wordpress for their clients". I know that
it's a dirty question, but did anyone ever try to estimate how much
money is made around the world from maintaining MediaWiki sites?

And LiveJournal, though it may seem shocking to some people, is still
going very strong in some areas of the world, most notably the former
Soviet Union. For people who are, again, able to write a few
grammatical sentences in Russian and some other post-Soviet languages,
that is the premier social network. It has the "everybody is there"
appeal, and it has a the hands-down best comments support. (By the
way, MediaWiki talk pages suck and we all know it. But well, there are
attempts to fix it.)

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Brandon Harris-4
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2

On Dec 9, 2012, at 6:03 PM, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> First of all, FreeBSD is a part of our broader movement and Wikimedia
> Foundation and Wikimedia chapters should find a way how to help them.
> I suppose that Mozilla Foundation could be also interested in this
> venture. Thus, I'd ask WMF and relevant chapters (those who have
> money) to organize themselves, contact Mozilla and see how to help
> FreeBSD community. I know that it's not a straight-forward action, but
> it's manageable.

        Why FreeBSD, and not NetBSD, OpenBSD, or Linux variants?


---
Brandon Harris, Senior Designer, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
On 10 December 2012 05:17, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Wordpress' strong card is its rather stable PHP-based
> platform, and when you think of it, that platform is not much more
> technically advanced than MediaWiki is, but it has a much more vibrant
> community of users. And when I say "vibrant", I mean "lots of people
> make money out of installing Wordpress for their clients". I know that
> it's a dirty question, but did anyone ever try to estimate how much
> money is made around the world from maintaining MediaWiki sites?


Not a huge amount. MediaWiki needs to be a *lot* more popular for the
enterprise. Compared to Confluence, it lacks the tick-box items "ACLs"
and "WYSIWYG"; it'll never have ACLs, but the visual editor should
help a great deal. Confluence is also one of the few things I can
think of that makes MediaWiki look lightweight.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

George William Herbert
The CIA version added ACLs.  Never say never...

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 9, 2012, at 10:29 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 10 December 2012 05:17, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Wordpress' strong card is its rather stable PHP-based
>> platform, and when you think of it, that platform is not much more
>> technically advanced than MediaWiki is, but it has a much more vibrant
>> community of users. And when I say "vibrant", I mean "lots of people
>> make money out of installing Wordpress for their clients". I know that
>> it's a dirty question, but did anyone ever try to estimate how much
>> money is made around the world from maintaining MediaWiki sites?
>
>
> Not a huge amount. MediaWiki needs to be a *lot* more popular for the
> enterprise. Compared to Confluence, it lacks the tick-box items "ACLs"
> and "WYSIWYG"; it'll never have ACLs, but the visual editor should
> help a great deal. Confluence is also one of the few things I can
> think of that makes MediaWiki look lightweight.
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Martijn Hoekstra
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2
On Dec 10, 2012 3:03 AM, "Milos Rancic" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> The news from today is that FreeBSD didn't succeed to gather enough
> money during their annual fundraising [1][2].
>
> Badass suggestion would be that they should ask now Apple for funds.
> But, I'll try to keep chortle for myself and remain serious for the
> rest of this email.
>
> First of all, FreeBSD is a part of our broader movement and Wikimedia
> Foundation and Wikimedia chapters should find a way how to help them.
> I suppose that Mozilla Foundation could be also interested in this
> venture. Thus, I'd ask WMF and relevant chapters (those who have
> money) to organize themselves, contact Mozilla and see how to help
> FreeBSD community. I know that it's not a straight-forward action, but
> it's manageable.

I don't think our donors would like it if we gave their money to FreeBSD.

> If necessary, you can send email to me and I'll connect all interested
> Wikimedia [and surrounding] organizations. (And, please, don't ask me
> "Why should we help them?".)
>
> Second, and more important for ourselves: this is very strong message
> to us. Obviously, that's not because our content isn't licensed under
> a copyleft license.
>
> While I could appreciate FreeBSD folk's ethical position that free
> content should be free without any limit; while I could tolerate their
> flirt with proprietary software vendors; it proved that their strategy
> is bad for themselves. In short, they rely on their usefulness without
> having any defense.
>
> The question of [the type of] content license was the question of
> 1990s and early 2000s. Wikipedia solved that issue at the very
> beginning of its existence.
>
> But, strategic flaws are not limited on choosing the license. There
> are many of them and every new epoch brings their own possibilities to
> make them.
>
> I can see that we are in similar position now as FreeBSD was during
> the late 1990s. Good news is that it's likely that we have ~15 more
> years to change things. Bad news is that we are already at least five
> years behind our competition.
>
> And our competition are not various online encyclopedias -- not one as
> large and as relevant as Wikipedia. Our competition are top Internet
> sites, which are taking away the attention of our users.
>
> Fortunately, no top Internet site has enough of imagination to create
> viable collaborative educational project of Wikipedia size. (BTW, they
> have courage to do that -- Google Knol was the best try. Fortunately.)
> Fortunately, we don't have serious competitor outside of our broader
> movement (we don't have it inside, neither, but that wouldn't be so
> bad news; actually, bad news is that we don't have internal competitor
> yet).

Why is this fortunate?

>
> Unfortunately, although existing, our steps toward making Wikimedia
> projects more attractive to new generations are so small, that it's
> hard to see them.
>
> I am happy to see that we finally got two new projects: Wikidata and
> Wikivoyage. That's, for sure, the step in the right direction and the
> first fresh blood after six years.
>
> However, our fate won't be much different from FreeBSD's if our main
> strategies are to repeat the pattern (Wikivoyage) or to do some really
> cool things for very limited population (including myself, of course;
> I am really excited with Wikidata).
>
> Our strategy should be contemporary. And, yes, that means social
> networking and gaming features. And, no, they don't have to be dumb.
>

Possibly a good idea, but how does this relate to FreeBSD being behind on
their fundraiser goal?

> [1]
http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/12/09/1726222/freebsd-project-falls-short-of-year-end-funding-target-by-nearly-50
> [2] http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/donate/
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Michael Peel-4
In reply to this post by Milos Rancic-2

On 10 Dec 2012, at 02:03, Milos Rancic <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The news from today is that FreeBSD didn't succeed to gather enough
> money during their annual fundraising [1][2].

They only started their annual fundraising campaign 5 days ago:
http://freebsdfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/year-end-fundraising-campaign.html
(found via Zamphatta's comment on /.)

Presumably it still has a while to run yet…

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FreeBSD fate and the lesson for Wikimedia movement

Terry Chay
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
Furthermore, WordPress is actually not strong in the government/enterprise space. Instead Drupal is with direct outreach to institutions. The difference in DrupalCon vs. WordCamp SF reflect this.

WordPress presence (around 9% of all domains on the internet) in addition to a rapid decline in the dominant player in ots space (MoveableType) started out with a relatively well defined problem area to focus on: blogging. Drupal and MediaWiki have begun as more generalized problems first (cms and wiki) that are opaque to the average non-developer.

MediaWiki has further been hampered by its original sin: transclusion followed by templates, gadgets, etc. What this has done is built a whole ecosystem of "stuff" dependent in the platform. This makes it more stable by the stable dependencies principle. Stable in this context is bad because it means "resistant to change" at this level (MediaWiki core) and thus it is less adaptable to changes that would create as viable a 3rd party support as WordPress enjoys.

Not to say some effort here shouldn't be enjoined. I just wanted to emphasize the difficulty of the problem and realize that effort on this front comes at the cost of efforts elsewhere (VisualEditor for example). Where possible engineers have worked to pay down this technical debt with cleaner abstraction and establishment looser coupling between components through contract-based design (example: parsoid in VE interacts with core through the API). Some of our best engineers started out as and still maintain 3rd party MediaWiki instances so the interest and ability is there.

I hope this helps explain a small of the puzzle about WordPress vs. MeediaWiki.

Take care,

Terry

Sent from my <free corporate advertising removed at the request of the owner>

On Dec 9, 2012, at 11:51 PM, George Herbert <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The CIA version added ACLs.  Never say never...
>
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Dec 9, 2012, at 10:29 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On 10 December 2012 05:17, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Wordpress' strong card is its rather stable PHP-based
>>> platform, and when you think of it, that platform is not much more
>>> technically advanced than MediaWiki is, but it has a much more vibrant
>>> community of users. And when I say "vibrant", I mean "lots of people
>>> make money out of installing Wordpress for their clients". I know that
>>> it's a dirty question, but did anyone ever try to estimate how much
>>> money is made around the world from maintaining MediaWiki sites?
>>
>>
>> Not a huge amount. MediaWiki needs to be a *lot* more popular for the
>> enterprise. Compared to Confluence, it lacks the tick-box items "ACLs"
>> and "WYSIWYG"; it'll never have ACLs, but the visual editor should
>> help a great deal. Confluence is also one of the few things I can
>> think of that makes MediaWiki look lightweight.
>>
>>
>> - d.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l

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