[Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

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[Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Kim Bruning

Washington post article
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/25/wikipedias-complicated-relationship-with-net-neutrality/

sincerely,
        Kim

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Ryan Lane-2
Kim Bruning <kim@...> writes:

>
>
> Washington post article
>
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/25/wikipedias-complicated-relationship-with-net-neutrality/
>

The response to this is embarrassing and lacking. Wikipedia Zero is an
amazing program (and is one of the only excellent non-engineering things the
foundation has done). Providing free access to Wikipedia doesn't violate the
concept of net neutrality. Access to Wikimedia is being subsidized by the
mobile companies. Access to other sources of information isn't being slowed.
There's no extra charge to access other sources of information.

My biggest wonder here is: why in the world is the HR director for the
foundation speaking with the press about this on behalf of the foundation
(and the movement)? This seems like the kind of thing the communications
department, or the ED (or DD) should be doing.

- Ryan Lane


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Mark
On 11/30/14, 9:49 AM, Ryan Lane wrote:
> Providing free access to Wikipedia doesn't violate the
> concept of net neutrality. Access to Wikimedia is being subsidized by the
> mobile companies. Access to other sources of information isn't being slowed.
> There's no extra charge to access other sources of information.

I don't see a distinction here, unless you're extremely naive about
economics. Discriminatory pricing in any market can be done in two ways:
1. have a "standard" rate and add a surcharge to certain disfavored
uses; or 2. have a "standard" rate and give a discount to certain
favored uses. Most things done with #1 could be reconfigured to be done
with #2 or vice-versa; it ends up as mainly a rhetorical and
administrative difference. In either case, applied to data, it's varying
pricing packet pricing based on whether the source of the packets is
favored or disfavored by the ISP (in this case, Wikipedia is favored),
which is precisely what net neutrality wishes to prohibit.

-Mark


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

rupert THURNER-2
In reply to this post by Ryan Lane-2
On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 9:49 AM, Ryan Lane <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Kim Bruning <kim@...> writes:
>
>>
>>
>> Washington post article
>>
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/25/wikipedias-complicated-relationship-with-net-neutrality/
>>
>
> The response to this is embarrassing and lacking. Wikipedia Zero is an
> amazing program (and is one of the only excellent non-engineering things the
> foundation has done). Providing free access to Wikipedia doesn't violate the
> concept of net neutrality. Access to Wikimedia is being subsidized by the
> mobile companies. Access to other sources of information isn't being slowed.
> There's no extra charge to access other sources of information.
>
> My biggest wonder here is: why in the world is the HR director for the
> foundation speaking with the press about this on behalf of the foundation
> (and the movement)? This seems like the kind of thing the communications
> department, or the ED (or DD) should be doing.

i find this article very good. and also gale gives a quite balanced
and reasonable statement. ryan, the sentence from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality is:
    "... should treat all data on the Internet equally..."
if you could elaborate a little how paying for one source, and not
paying for another is "equal"?

rupert

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Ryan Lane-2
Ryan Lane wrote:
>Kim Bruning <kim@...> writes (roughly):
>>
>>
>> Washington post article: http://wapo.st/1zUXNXj
>>
>
>The response to this is embarrassing and lacking. Wikipedia Zero is an
>amazing program (and is one of the only excellent non-engineering things
>the foundation has done). [...]

I think calling Wikipedia Zero non-engineeering is kind of bizarre,
possibly just wrong. Wikipedia Zero spans both development and operations.
It has a MediaWiki extension
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:ZeroBanner> and custom back-end
(Web server) configuration to support it. And of course ZeroBanner is just
the latest extension, it's had others, while parts of Wikipedia Zero's
infrastructure have been integrated (yay!) with other extensions.

To be clear, I'm not attacking Wikipedia Zero or the resources it's using,
I kind of like the idea, but it's definitely an engineering project. In
addition to engineering resources, Wikipedia Zero requires administrative
overhead for partnership negotiation and management, which is probably not
unique to the Wikipedia Zero team. "Only excellent" seems a bit rough.

>My biggest wonder here is: why in the world is the HR director for the
>foundation speaking with the press about this on behalf of the foundation
>(and the movement)? This seems like the kind of thing the communications
>department, or the ED (or DD) should be doing.

This isn't arguably wrong, just plain wrong. :-)  Gayle's title is "Chief
Talent and Culture Officer" and the Director of Human Resources is someone
else who reports to her; cf.
<https://www.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Staff_and_contractors#HR>. I agree
that for a media outlet such the Washington Post, having a C-level person
speak is best... and that's what happened here. (Now whether the Wikimedia
Foundation should be large enough to require a Chief Talent and Culture
Officer position is a separate question that can hopefully be addressed in
another thread.)

I'll let others respond on the basic point here about whether Wikipedia
Zero is violating net neutrality. I personally agree with Gayle that it's
complicated. :-)  I think it's difficult to argue that Wikipedia Zero is
not, at least in the strictest sense, a violation of net neutrality.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Marc-Andre
On 11/30/2014 11:08 AM, MZMcBride wrote:
> I think it's difficult to argue that Wikipedia Zero is
> not, at least in the strictest sense, a violation of net neutrality.

That's perfectly true, but because the traditional definition of "net
neutrality" (and, by extension, the definition of what violates it) is
by and large overly simplistic and unrealistic.

Factors that should be taken into account but aren't include the nature
of the preferential treatment, its exclusivity (or lack thereof),
conflict of interest, and competitive landscape.

One would be hard pressed to argue that giving non-exclusive free access
to a public good to a population in need is harmful (beyond slippery
slope arguments), just as it would be clear that a media conglomerate
giving exclusive free access from an ISP they own to their media is
clearly wrong.

What makes Wikipedia Zero clearly okay, IMO, is that *any* provider is
welcome to approach us and set it up; and we require nor demand any sort
of exclusivity.  Whether they chose to do so is obviously driven by
their business objectives (publicity, competitive advantage, and so on)
-- but their business decision affects them and only them.  They cannot
hinder their competition from doing so or not as they will, nor gain an
advantage they cannot get as well.

So it's clearly neutral in the "equally available" sense of the term.
And it remains neutral in the "competition" sense of the term since they
are welcome to zero-rate any other service they wish alongside ours.

And, finally, it's also neutral from a conflict-of-interest point of
view.  The Wikimedia Foundation (and movement, for that matter) has no
stake in the competitive landscape of telco providers, and and they have
no interest in Free online encyclopedias.  They gain nothing by favoring
us over other educational resources, and we favor no provider over
another (albeit our immediate efforts do seem directed mostly at those
where the population would benefit the most - which is reasonable).

So yeah, this is probably not "net neutrality" as it is generally
defined - but I would argue it means that the definition itself is
inadequate.

-- Marc


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

David Gerard-2
On 30 November 2014 at 17:14, Marc A. Pelletier <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So it's clearly neutral in the "equally available" sense of the term.
> And it remains neutral in the "competition" sense of the term since they
> are welcome to zero-rate any other service they wish alongside ours.


This is arguably not an equitable proposition in practice, because
Wikimedia is *rather heavyweight* as online charities go. If we ask
for something, it carries weight.

That said, zero-priced mobile data is something the world could do
with more of. If we can push that as a good thing,


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Jens Best
In reply to this post by Marc-Andre
2-3 short remarks to your arguments, Marc:

First it's kind of interesting that net neutrality which is very clear in
its definition becomes "overly simplistic and unrealistic" and "inadequate"
the moment it collides with an organisations own interests. Isn't that
quite an coincidence? ;)

Principles of a free and open web are to be acknowledged by Websites with
good causes the same way they are to be respected by Websites with more
commercial causes. Wikipedia Zero is a brand product, in its last
consequence it belongs to the WMF, it is not public good.

Second, well, of course all providers are happy to use Wikipedia (Zero) as
a door opener to get the customer used to different treatment of data
(which is a clear violation of net neutrality). Why? Well, they all know,
that they are selling "dump pipes" and the "dump pipe"-Business (incl.
mobile) needs to develop new way of making money out of it.
So therefore, they have to establish a world where different data can be
treated differently (money-wise) - and here Wikipedia comes in well-handy.
It's an established brand with maximum of "positive karma", run by the
people, for the people - it's a wet dream for every marketing executive of
any provider. Using Wikipedia Zero isn't primarily for making a different
against the competition, but to get people used to unequal handling of data.

Therefore Wikipedia Zero, apart from all the good intentions it was started
with, was to reconsidered. Net neutrality is under attack globally. Every
country where net neutrality will be already diminished in an early state
of broad (mobile) use is lost for a really free and open web. This
shouldn't be something supported by the movement. Of course, we have to
think about good and practical ideas how to spread free knowledge, but we
shouldn't put our cause in collision with a much more deeper principle of a
web where the rules of the market aren't superior to everything.


best regards

Jens Best

2014-11-30 18:14 GMT+01:00 Marc A. Pelletier <[hidden email]>:

> On 11/30/2014 11:08 AM, MZMcBride wrote:
> > I think it's difficult to argue that Wikipedia Zero is
> > not, at least in the strictest sense, a violation of net neutrality.
>
> That's perfectly true, but because the traditional definition of "net
> neutrality" (and, by extension, the definition of what violates it) is
> by and large overly simplistic and unrealistic.
>
> Factors that should be taken into account but aren't include the nature
> of the preferential treatment, its exclusivity (or lack thereof),
> conflict of interest, and competitive landscape.
>
> One would be hard pressed to argue that giving non-exclusive free access
> to a public good to a population in need is harmful (beyond slippery
> slope arguments), just as it would be clear that a media conglomerate
> giving exclusive free access from an ISP they own to their media is
> clearly wrong.
>
> What makes Wikipedia Zero clearly okay, IMO, is that *any* provider is
> welcome to approach us and set it up; and we require nor demand any sort
> of exclusivity.  Whether they chose to do so is obviously driven by
> their business objectives (publicity, competitive advantage, and so on)
> -- but their business decision affects them and only them.  They cannot
> hinder their competition from doing so or not as they will, nor gain an
> advantage they cannot get as well.
>
> So it's clearly neutral in the "equally available" sense of the term.
> And it remains neutral in the "competition" sense of the term since they
> are welcome to zero-rate any other service they wish alongside ours.
>
> And, finally, it's also neutral from a conflict-of-interest point of
> view.  The Wikimedia Foundation (and movement, for that matter) has no
> stake in the competitive landscape of telco providers, and and they have
> no interest in Free online encyclopedias.  They gain nothing by favoring
> us over other educational resources, and we favor no provider over
> another (albeit our immediate efforts do seem directed mostly at those
> where the population would benefit the most - which is reasonable).
>
> So yeah, this is probably not "net neutrality" as it is generally
> defined - but I would argue it means that the definition itself is
> inadequate.
>
> -- Marc
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Todd Allen
"Second, well, of course all providers are happy to use Wikipedia (Zero) as
a door opener to get the customer used to different treatment of data
(which is a clear violation of net neutrality)."

Exactly this. Net neutrality means that the pipes are totally dumb, not
favoring -any- service over any other in any way. Not Netflix, not Youtube,
not Amazon, and not Wikimedia.

Anything that says "Data from this source will be (treated|priced)
differently than data from another source" is a violation of net
neutrality. Period. That does not mean the definition is inadequate. The
definition is there to ensure the pipe -stays dumb-, and that preferential
treatment is never accepted.

Todd

On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 11:12 AM, Jens Best <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2-3 short remarks to your arguments, Marc:
>
> First it's kind of interesting that net neutrality which is very clear in
> its definition becomes "overly simplistic and unrealistic" and "inadequate"
> the moment it collides with an organisations own interests. Isn't that
> quite an coincidence? ;)
>
> Principles of a free and open web are to be acknowledged by Websites with
> good causes the same way they are to be respected by Websites with more
> commercial causes. Wikipedia Zero is a brand product, in its last
> consequence it belongs to the WMF, it is not public good.
>
> Second, well, of course all providers are happy to use Wikipedia (Zero) as
> a door opener to get the customer used to different treatment of data
> (which is a clear violation of net neutrality). Why? Well, they all know,
> that they are selling "dump pipes" and the "dump pipe"-Business (incl.
> mobile) needs to develop new way of making money out of it.
> So therefore, they have to establish a world where different data can be
> treated differently (money-wise) - and here Wikipedia comes in well-handy.
> It's an established brand with maximum of "positive karma", run by the
> people, for the people - it's a wet dream for every marketing executive of
> any provider. Using Wikipedia Zero isn't primarily for making a different
> against the competition, but to get people used to unequal handling of
> data.
>
> Therefore Wikipedia Zero, apart from all the good intentions it was started
> with, was to reconsidered. Net neutrality is under attack globally. Every
> country where net neutrality will be already diminished in an early state
> of broad (mobile) use is lost for a really free and open web. This
> shouldn't be something supported by the movement. Of course, we have to
> think about good and practical ideas how to spread free knowledge, but we
> shouldn't put our cause in collision with a much more deeper principle of a
> web where the rules of the market aren't superior to everything.
>
>
> best regards
>
> Jens Best
>
> 2014-11-30 18:14 GMT+01:00 Marc A. Pelletier <[hidden email]>:
>
> > On 11/30/2014 11:08 AM, MZMcBride wrote:
> > > I think it's difficult to argue that Wikipedia Zero is
> > > not, at least in the strictest sense, a violation of net neutrality.
> >
> > That's perfectly true, but because the traditional definition of "net
> > neutrality" (and, by extension, the definition of what violates it) is
> > by and large overly simplistic and unrealistic.
> >
> > Factors that should be taken into account but aren't include the nature
> > of the preferential treatment, its exclusivity (or lack thereof),
> > conflict of interest, and competitive landscape.
> >
> > One would be hard pressed to argue that giving non-exclusive free access
> > to a public good to a population in need is harmful (beyond slippery
> > slope arguments), just as it would be clear that a media conglomerate
> > giving exclusive free access from an ISP they own to their media is
> > clearly wrong.
> >
> > What makes Wikipedia Zero clearly okay, IMO, is that *any* provider is
> > welcome to approach us and set it up; and we require nor demand any sort
> > of exclusivity.  Whether they chose to do so is obviously driven by
> > their business objectives (publicity, competitive advantage, and so on)
> > -- but their business decision affects them and only them.  They cannot
> > hinder their competition from doing so or not as they will, nor gain an
> > advantage they cannot get as well.
> >
> > So it's clearly neutral in the "equally available" sense of the term.
> > And it remains neutral in the "competition" sense of the term since they
> > are welcome to zero-rate any other service they wish alongside ours.
> >
> > And, finally, it's also neutral from a conflict-of-interest point of
> > view.  The Wikimedia Foundation (and movement, for that matter) has no
> > stake in the competitive landscape of telco providers, and and they have
> > no interest in Free online encyclopedias.  They gain nothing by favoring
> > us over other educational resources, and we favor no provider over
> > another (albeit our immediate efforts do seem directed mostly at those
> > where the population would benefit the most - which is reasonable).
> >
> > So yeah, this is probably not "net neutrality" as it is generally
> > defined - but I would argue it means that the definition itself is
> > inadequate.
> >
> > -- Marc
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/GuidelinesWikimedia-l@...
> >
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Ryan Lane-2
In reply to this post by Mark
Mark <delirium@...> writes:

>
> I don't see a distinction here, unless you're extremely naive about
> economics. Discriminatory pricing in any market can be done in two ways:
> 1. have a "standard" rate and add a surcharge to certain disfavored
> uses; or 2. have a "standard" rate and give a discount to certain
> favored uses. Most things done with #1 could be reconfigured to be done
> with #2 or vice-versa; it ends up as mainly a rhetorical and
> administrative difference. In either case, applied to data, it's varying
> pricing packet pricing based on whether the source of the packets is
> favored or disfavored by the ISP (in this case, Wikipedia is favored),
> which is precisely what net neutrality wishes to prohibit.
>


While a fine and principled view this is, its strict nature harms those
we're most interested in reaching.

We really need to consider what we're after when talking about net
neutrality. Offering free access to services to subscribers who don't have
data plans (most likely because they can't afford them) is a much different
thing than tiered levels of access for people who are paying for data.
Assuming there's no conflict of interest from the telecoms themselves this
is not actively harmful.

Note that for your points, neither 1 nor 2 is true, since there's no
standard rate.

- Ryan


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Ryan Lane-2
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
MZMcBride <z <at> mzmcbride.com> writes:

>
> Ryan Lane wrote:
> >Kim Bruning <kim <at> ...> writes (roughly):
> >>
> >>
> >> Washington post article: http://wapo.st/1zUXNXj
> >>
> >
> >The response to this is embarrassing and lacking. Wikipedia Zero is an
> >amazing program (and is one of the only excellent non-engineering things
> >the foundation has done). [...]
>
> I think calling Wikipedia Zero non-engineeering is kind of bizarre,
> possibly just wrong. Wikipedia Zero spans both development and operations.
> It has a MediaWiki extension
> <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:ZeroBanner> and custom back-end
> (Web server) configuration to support it. And of course ZeroBanner is just
> the latest extension, it's had others, while parts of Wikipedia Zero's
> infrastructure have been integrated (yay!) with other extensions.
>
> To be clear, I'm not attacking Wikipedia Zero or the resources it's using,
> I kind of like the idea, but it's definitely an engineering project. In
> addition to engineering resources, Wikipedia Zero requires administrative
> overhead for partnership negotiation and management, which is probably not
> unique to the Wikipedia Zero team. "Only excellent" seems a bit rough.
>

It was a project created and lead by the business development folks and was
given some engineering resources to make it happen. It's been incredibly
successful and has a real and important impact. Even taking engineering
projects into consideration, this is one of Wikimedia's most impacting
projects from the point of view of the mission.

> >My biggest wonder here is: why in the world is the HR director for the
> >foundation speaking with the press about this on behalf of the foundation
> >(and the movement)? This seems like the kind of thing the communications
> >department, or the ED (or DD) should be doing.
>
> This isn't arguably wrong, just plain wrong.   Gayle's title is "Chief
> Talent and Culture Officer" and the Director of Human Resources is someone
> else who reports to her; cf.
> <https://www.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Staff_and_contractors#HR>. I agree
> that for a media outlet such the Washington Post, having a C-level person
> speak is best... and that's what happened here. (Now whether the Wikimedia
> Foundation should be large enough to require a Chief Talent and Culture
> Officer position is a separate question that can hopefully be addressed in
> another thread.)
>

http://siliconvalleyjobtitlegenerator.tumblr.com/

Sorry, I used director instead of chief. That doesn't change the fact that
her role is to lead HR. If you look at the staff page, you'll see this is in
the case and from a practical point of view, she does HR stuff.

Having any C level respond to the press is a bad approach, especially with a
subject this touchy. This is the entire reason for having a
communications/brand department.

- Ryan


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

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

> First it's kind of interesting that net neutrality which is very clear in
> its definition becomes "overly simplistic and unrealistic" and "inadequate"
> the moment it collides with an organisations own interests. Isn't that
> quite an coincidence? ;)

Jens, rather than argue with you point by point, let me outline what
my own views are.

First, I'm a long-standing supporter of the Wikipedia mission to make
the world's information available for free to everyone. Second, I'm a
longstanding supporter of network neutrality. Third, I have no
organizational interest in favoring Wikipedia, although I consider
myself a Wikipedian.

I do not believe the Wikimedia mission--providing the world's
information to everyone for free--has any necessary connection to
network neutrality, even though I favor the latter very much. In
short, I'm entirely willing to modify my secondary goal (net
neutrality) if it advances my primary goal as a Wikipedian (free
knowledge for everyone). Conversely, I'm not willing to modify my
free-knowledge goal at all if it conflicts with an absolutist model of
network neutrality.

Here's what we know about internet access in the developing world
(which Wikipedia Zero is designed to serve): it relies primarily on
mobile platforms, and mobile smartphones typically are saddled with
data caps. Data caps discourage users from using Wikipedia as
extensively as we in the developed world use it. Furthermore, they
certainly discourage contributions from the developing world for the
same reason. Sidestepping those costs for would-be Wikipedians and
Wikipedia users is something very closely aligned with the
long-standing mission of the project.

Does this mean some platform providers will use Wikipedia Zero to
justify their own self-serving economic alliances? Of course it does.
But we don't have to let their propagandists define us. Instead, we
have to communicate why Wikipedia Zero is not like what commercial
interests are doing.

What's more--and this is central--Wikipedia Zero, by encouraging
higher usage of Wikipedia without additional costs to users, actually
increases demand on the mobile infrastructure. Providers will have to
increase capacity to handle the increased demand. In the long run,
this promotes overall increased internet access in the developing
world. That is an unalloyed positive result, in my view.

And the necessary build-out in capacity driven by Wikipedia Zero will
make network neutrality--which I care deeply about--a more tenable
policy in the developing world.

Trying to understand Wikipedia Zero as some kind of self-interested
organizational move is a mistake, in my view. What it is, IMHO, is a
logical development based on the core mission statement of Wikipedia.
And in the long term it's actually helpful to the advancement of
network neutrality without posing the anti-competitive risks that
other zero-rated services may pose.


--Mike Godwin

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

David Gerard-2
On 30 November 2014 at 23:30, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> What's more--and this is central--Wikipedia Zero, by encouraging
> higher usage of Wikipedia without additional costs to users, actually
> increases demand on the mobile infrastructure. Providers will have to
> increase capacity to handle the increased demand. In the long run,
> this promotes overall increased internet access in the developing
> world. That is an unalloyed positive result, in my view.
> And the necessary build-out in capacity driven by Wikipedia Zero will
> make network neutrality--which I care deeply about--a more tenable
> policy in the developing world.


Do we have numbers showing this happening? If so, that's a powerful
story we could use.


> Trying to understand Wikipedia Zero as some kind of self-interested
> organizational move is a mistake, in my view. What it is, IMHO, is a
> logical development based on the core mission statement of Wikipedia.
> And in the long term it's actually helpful to the advancement of
> network neutrality without posing the anti-competitive risks that
> other zero-rated services may pose.


It's pretty clearly for the greater glory of free knowledge.

I wonder if we can get other free content along for the ride, get that
zero-rated too.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Tim Landscheidt
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> [...]

> Trying to understand Wikipedia Zero as some kind of self-interested
> organizational move is a mistake, in my view. What it is, IMHO, is a
> logical development based on the core mission statement of Wikipedia.
> And in the long term it's actually helpful to the advancement of
> network neutrality without posing the anti-competitive risks that
> other zero-rated services may pose.

I think on the contrary Wikipedia Zero illustrates nicely
why net neutrality is so important: Wikipedia Zero favours
solely Wikipedia (und sister projects), while contradicting
or simply other opinions and resources bite the dust.

This mainstreaming, forming a monopolistic cabal on all
things information is why I am a strong proponent of net
neutrality.  The ease with which information can be shared
nowadays should be used so that more people provide their
views, not more people consume one view.

And I have severe doubts that Wikipedia Zero fulfils actual
needs from the perspective of sustainable development.

Tim


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by Todd Allen
On 01/12/14 06:10, Todd Allen wrote:

> "Second, well, of course all providers are happy to use Wikipedia (Zero) as
> a door opener to get the customer used to different treatment of data
> (which is a clear violation of net neutrality)."
>
> Exactly this. Net neutrality means that the pipes are totally dumb, not
> favoring -any- service over any other in any way. Not Netflix, not Youtube,
> not Amazon, and not Wikimedia.
>
> Anything that says "Data from this source will be (treated|priced)
> differently than data from another source" is a violation of net
> neutrality. Period. That does not mean the definition is inadequate. The
> definition is there to ensure the pipe -stays dumb-, and that preferential
> treatment is never accepted.

But the pipes are fundamentally not dumb -- there is a complex
arrangement of transit prices and peering, and the companies that
built transoceanic links want to recoup their investment. What you are
saying is that you want the ISPs to provide the necessary
cross-subsidies so that the pipes will appear to be dumb, to the end user.

The question for any regulated cross-subsidy should be: what is its
social benefit? If certain telcos are allowed to choose, it will be
cheaper to access Wikipedia than cheezburger.com. Is that appropriate?
What social benefits will it provide if we regulate to ensure that
they are the same price?

Vertical integration between content providers and ISPs is probably
harmful to competition. The obvious way to deal with that is to split
those companies. But even in a competitive marketplace, from a cost
perspective, it totally makes sense that certain content providers
will continue to be cheaper and/or faster, just because of geography.

Wikipedia is naturally slow and expensive for many ISPs, because we
don't use a big CDN. If ISPs sold services on a cost-plus basis, you
would expect websites delivered via CDN to be cheaper than websites
that are located at a single site, geographically distant from their
users.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

svetlana
On Mon, 1 Dec 2014, at 15:21, Tim Starling wrote:

> On 01/12/14 06:10, Todd Allen wrote:
> > "Second, well, of course all providers are happy to use Wikipedia (Zero) as
> > a door opener to get the customer used to different treatment of data
> > (which is a clear violation of net neutrality)."
> >
> > Exactly this. Net neutrality means that the pipes are totally dumb, not
> > favoring -any- service over any other in any way. Not Netflix, not Youtube,
> > not Amazon, and not Wikimedia.
> >
> > Anything that says "Data from this source will be (treated|priced)
> > differently than data from another source" is a violation of net
> > neutrality. Period. That does not mean the definition is inadequate. The
> > definition is there to ensure the pipe -stays dumb-, and that preferential
> > treatment is never accepted.
>
> But the pipes are fundamentally not dumb -- there is a complex
> arrangement of transit prices and peering, and the companies that
> built transoceanic links want to recoup their investment. What you are
> saying is that you want the ISPs to provide the necessary
> cross-subsidies so that the pipes will appear to be dumb, to the end user.
>
> The question for any regulated cross-subsidy should be: what is its
> social benefit? If certain telcos are allowed to choose, it will be
> cheaper to access Wikipedia than cheezburger.com. Is that appropriate?
> What social benefits will it provide if we regulate to ensure that
> they are the same price?
>
> Vertical integration between content providers and ISPs is probably
> harmful to competition. The obvious way to deal with that is to split
> those companies. But even in a competitive marketplace, from a cost
> perspective, it totally makes sense that certain content providers
> will continue to be cheaper and/or faster, just because of geography.
>
> Wikipedia is naturally slow and expensive for many ISPs, because we
> don't use a big CDN.

Why don't we? Is it one of the "expensive for us, cheap for users" things?

> If ISPs sold services on a cost-plus basis, you
> would expect websites delivered via CDN to be cheaper than websites
> that are located at a single site, geographically distant from their
> users.
>
> -- Tim Starling
>
>
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--
svetlana

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Milos Rancic-2
In reply to this post by Mark
I don't see economics here, unless you are extremely naive about reality.

There are some items -- abused or not for marketing purposes of the
entities used for achieving interests of their shareholders -- which belong
to the corpus of common good. Like air and free knowledge are, for example.

The fact that the net neutrality concept has been written from the
perspective of the dominant ideology, which adherents are not capable to
comprehend that there is something outside of the market, proves just the
point that those responsible for the definition should educate themselves a
bit and try again.
On Nov 30, 2014 12:05 PM, "Mark" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 11/30/14, 9:49 AM, Ryan Lane wrote:
>
>> Providing free access to Wikipedia doesn't violate the
>> concept of net neutrality. Access to Wikimedia is being subsidized by the
>> mobile companies. Access to other sources of information isn't being
>> slowed.
>> There's no extra charge to access other sources of information.
>>
>
> I don't see a distinction here, unless you're extremely naive about
> economics. Discriminatory pricing in any market can be done in two ways: 1.
> have a "standard" rate and add a surcharge to certain disfavored uses; or
> 2. have a "standard" rate and give a discount to certain favored uses. Most
> things done with #1 could be reconfigured to be done with #2 or vice-versa;
> it ends up as mainly a rhetorical and administrative difference. In either
> case, applied to data, it's varying pricing packet pricing based on whether
> the source of the packets is favored or disfavored by the ISP (in this
> case, Wikipedia is favored), which is precisely what net neutrality wishes
> to prohibit.
>
> -Mark
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Mark
On 12/1/14, 7:11 AM, Milos Rancic wrote:
> There are some items -- abused or not for marketing purposes of the
> entities used for achieving interests of their shareholders -- which belong
> to the corpus of common good. Like air and free knowledge are, for example.

If an ISP wanted to make *all* online free-knowledge resources exempt
from per-MB data charges, that would be a much more interesting
proposal. It's the differential pricing between different sources of
knowledge that I find more troubling: why should a user pay more to
access the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy than Wikipedia? That's
already attempting to shape, via differential pricing, where online
users get their information.

-Mark


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Milos Rancic-2
On Dec 1, 2014 8:26 AM, "Mark" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 12/1/14, 7:11 AM, Milos Rancic wrote:
>>
>> There are some items -- abused or not for marketing purposes of the
>> entities used for achieving interests of their shareholders -- which
belong
>> to the corpus of common good. Like air and free knowledge are, for
example.
>
>
> If an ISP wanted to make *all* online free-knowledge resources exempt
from per-MB data charges, that would be a much more interesting proposal.
It's the differential pricing between different sources of knowledge that I
find more troubling: why should a user pay more to access the Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy than Wikipedia? That's already attempting to
shape, via differential pricing, where online users get their information.

I agree that we should coordinate with the participants of the broader free
knowledge and free software movement and include their sites while
negotiating with mobile carries.

In the meantime this is what we have. Some corporations find that it's
clever PR idea not to charge for oxygen. That's not fully useful, but it's
quite essential. The next target is nitrogen, then we should take care of
other gases to make air completely free.

Counting the tendency initiated by WMF, net neutrality should move to
exclusively commercial or market terrain. I agree with that, but it's not
about us. Free content is common good and we are fortunate that mobile
providers will be soon forced to recognize that. (First it's about clever
PR, then it becomes the norm.)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Martijn Hoekstra
In reply to this post by Kim Bruning
On Nov 26, 2014 11:21 PM, "Kim Bruning" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> Washington post article
>
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/25/wikipedias-complicated-relationship-with-net-neutrality/
>
> sincerely,
>         Kim
>

This is obviously not the first time this comes up, and it's probably not
going to be the last time either. I think that Wikipedia Zero is a great
and valuable project that does the right thing. I also agree it violates
net neutrality for any reasonable definition of net neutrality, and there
is a number of very good objections to the practice. It would be great if
we were confident enough of this project to come out and say yes, this
violates net neutrality and here are the reasons why we think it's a good
thing in this case. It would make a far stronger case than the well,
actually, ... rule lawyer, question evasion, goalposts moving, talking
around the issue ... and that's why it has nothing to do with net
neutrality!

Wikipedia Zero is a great project that does amazingly good stuff for many
people who need it most. That's an awesome reason to violate net
neutrality, even when it has real dangers and drawbacks. When we start to
deny the dangers and drawbacks, all discussion becomes muddled, and stains
the zero project with dishonesty.

--Martijn
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