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

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

Tim Starling-2
On 01/12/14 15:24, svetlana wrote:
>> 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?

That may be part of it. Also, we have unusual technical requirements
for freshness of content and prompt removal (revision deletion etc.),
and an ops team with a desire for independence.

-- Tim Starling


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

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
We do have the experience  needed. We have servers in Amsterdam and, it is
something we can repeat.

When the desires of our ops team negatively affect the performance of our
users, they have to reconsider what they are thinking. Imho that is not an
acceptable argument.
Thanks,
       GerardM

On 1 December 2014 at 10:38, Tim Starling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 01/12/14 15:24, svetlana wrote:
> >> 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?
>
> That may be part of it. Also, we have unusual technical requirements
> for freshness of content and prompt removal (revision deletion etc.),
> and an ops team with a desire for independence.
>
> -- Tim Starling
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Tim Starling-2
This comparison is quite useful and got rather popular: «For all the
arcana in telecommunications law, there is a really simple way of
thinking of the debate over net neutrality: Is access to the Internet
more like access to electricity, or more like cable television service?».
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/upshot/a-super-simple-way-to-understand-the-net-neutrality-debate.html

Tim Starling, 01/12/2014 05:21:
> 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.

I doubt the worldwide internet backbone is (significantly) more complex
or expensive than the electricity grid.

> 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.

Opinions on this vary. Historically, for instance, electricity grids
have been rather fragmented and have been unified only with strong
regulations or nationalisations. Only now regulators are seriously
taking care of supranational grids. Certainly we don't want to go
backwards, because it usually takes decades to progress.

Nemo

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

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Tim Landscheidt
Tim Landscheidt, 01/12/2014 02:05:
> Wikipedia Zero favours
> solely Wikipedia (und sister projects)

Sister projects? Since when? Ah, I see they are in the new template
agreement:
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero_Template_Agreement
It would be nice to know what percentage of Wikipedia Zero customers can
actually enjoy all Wikimedia projects.

David Gerard, 01/12/2014 00:34:
 > I wonder if we can get other free content along for the ride, get that
 > zero-rated too.

Even sister projects took years to include.
http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.org.wikimedia.foundation/57260/focus=57274

Nemo

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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
Tim Landscheidt writes:

> 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.

I'm not following your reasoning here. I don't see any sense in which
Wikipedia Zero is contradicting other opinions or resulting in
resources that "bite the dust." Wikipedia Zero is not rivalrous in any
economic sense that I'm aware of.

> 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.

So, you'd rather have users pay by the bit for Wikipedia on their
mobile devices? This does not serve Wikipedia or its users in the
developing world. The chart I use here shows you what the cost of
broadband access is in the developing world, which relies primarily on
mobile platforms.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141201000351-209165-wikipedia-zero-will-serve-net-neutrality

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

But you haven't said what those severe doubts are. Having spent the
last couple of years working on access projects in the developing
world, I haven't encountered an alternative model that doesn't result
in higher prices for subscribers. As the chart I reproduce indicates,
in some places in the developing world, the annual cost of broadband
access exceeds the average per capita income. I do not see how it
serves Wikipedia's mission to require individual users to pay so much
for Wikipedia access.


--Mike

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

Marc-Andre
In reply to this post by Jens Best
On 11/30/2014 01:12 PM, Jens Best wrote:
> 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? ;)

At least for me, it is not: I have always been opposed to statements of
the form "All X is good/bad" because such statements are always, by
definition, overly simplistic and unrealistic.

"Net neutrality" sounds like a good idea at first glance because it
superficially resembles the ill-defined and subtle desirable objective
of "prevent the oligarchies that owns the communication media from
effectively controlling and/or affecting what can be accessed/done in
order to further their interests at the detriment of people".

"Net neutrality" as currently defined is an alluring concept because -
as Westerners - we percieve its putative effect as "make everything
uniformly inexpensive to level the playing field for users and content
providers".  /We/ don't care that Wikipedia is as expensive to use as
Facebook because the cost to either is marginally neglectable.

-- Marc


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

David Gerard-2
On 1 December 2014 at 14:45, Marc A. Pelletier <[hidden email]> wrote:

> "Net neutrality" as currently defined is an alluring concept because -
> as Westerners - we percieve its putative effect as "make everything
> uniformly inexpensive to level the playing field for users and content
> providers".  /We/ don't care that Wikipedia is as expensive to use as
> Facebook because the cost to either is marginally neglectable.


This makes me wonder if "yep, we sure do violate it, and here's
precisely why" might be a good answer. Though I'd rather not hand
Comcast any more sticks. (Compare the FSF's use of copyright
assignment and the typical commercial user of copyright assignment.)

I note a vague similarity to Erik's essay on why -NC is harmful: that
the idea of enforcing "noncommerciality" is pretty much a first world
affectation and doesn't really do the job people using it want it to.


- d.

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

Liam Wyatt
In reply to this post by Marc-Andre
I'm finding this highly principled conversation fascinating to read - I'm
genuinely learning a lot about the different arguments (both philosophical
and practical) used to support or critique Wikipedia Zero. What a diverse
and highly informed group of people this list contains! :-)

From my Australian perspective, it's interesting because we've never had
'net neutrality' in the way that it is described in the US and, with
appropriate competition and regulation this is not been a problem. e.g.:

"Net neutrality is an honourable aspiration, but the Australian internet
> service provider market has thrived and innovated without it.
> Discriminatory pricing in the form of unmetered content is more a consumer
> bonus than an imposition of someone else’s choice.
> http://theconversation.com/australias-net-neutrality-lesson-for-the-us-22245
>


While I genuinely support the idealism of the net-neutrality debate, and it
makes sense in certain jurisdictional contexts (notably the USA), I am
won-over by the arguments that have been made here about how WikipediaZero
is non-rivalrous. As Marc P. put it earlier:

> 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.


When looking at the practical reality of a high-school in a poorer district
of South Africa specifically asking for greater access to WP from their
local telecom company[1], it's hard to remain stuck on purely-principled
debates. That is a *real world* group of of people that is *specifically*
asked for easer access to Wikipedia - *of course *we should support that.

This is *not *to discount the importance of principles - and a lot of good
ones have been mentioned here - but I'm not going to argue against a
school-group in a poorer country wanting "free-access to the sum of human
knowledge" on their mobile phones because of a political fight in richer
countries about heavy-data usage on high-speed broadband.

-Liam

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j-ktiYTTds
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Nathan Awrich
On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 11:30 AM, Liam Wyatt <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> From my Australian perspective, it's interesting because we've never had
> 'net neutrality' in the way that it is described in the US and, with
> appropriate competition and regulation this is not been a problem. e.g.:
>
> "Net neutrality is an honourable aspiration, but the Australian internet
> > service provider market has thrived and innovated without it.
> > Discriminatory pricing in the form of unmetered content is more a
> consumer
> > bonus than an imposition of someone else’s choice.
> >
> http://theconversation.com/australias-net-neutrality-lesson-for-the-us-22245
> >
>
>
Thanks for the interesting link. While the article acknowledges that the
lack of net neutrality has favored certain Australian content providers at
the expense of others, it sounds like the most pernicious effects are
mitigated by the fact that at least part of the ISP infrastructure is
treated as a public utility that must permit competitors.

One more example of how an absolutist and global approach to net neutrality
fails to account for local nuance.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Yana Welinder
Hi all,

As Gayle mentioned in her email, the article in the Washington Post did not
represent an official position on net neutrality from the Wikimedia
Foundation, or how we understand Wikipedia Zero. I wanted to provide some
background that does.

Wikipedia Zero is designed to empower people who cannot afford to access
information to get basic access to knowledge and participate in the
creation of knowledge. It’s widely understood that barriers like poverty
and limited internet connectivity are two major blockers preventing people
around the world from full access to knowledge, and there are a number of
groups working to address these issues as part of the broader Access to
Knowledge (A2K) movement.

Wikipedia Zero is a powerful tool for accessing knowledge, but it is not
the solution to the whole problem. It’s one tool in a toolbox. Real change
needs to address issues such as cost barriers, literacy, and access to
infrastructure. That’s why we’re also developing a more coordinated effort
within a broader A2K coalition to collectively address the systemic
challenges.

While Wikipedia Zero serves broader A2K objectives, we are mindful that
zero-rating can be a challenging issue for net neutrality advocacy. In
response, we’ve developed ten operating principles
<https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero_Operating_Principles>
to make sure that the initiative remains a free knowledge base with
operations that are transparent to users.[1] They are intended to deter
Wikipedia Zero from being used to introduce other zero-rating initiatives
that don't follow the operating principles. We developed these principles
after extensive consultation with net neutrality advocates about their
concerns regarding commercial zero-rating arrangements, and believe they
are strong and useful guidance for advocates to distinguish free access to
Wikipedia from other zero-rating programs.

We’ll continue working with policymakers on net neutrality and welcome your
constructive suggestions in this regard. We believe the vision of Wikimedia
— the sum of all knowledge, available to all — and the values of an open
internet are entirely consistent and in the global public interest. We’re
also learning from your comments and welcome more input on how the
Wikimedia community can support the A2K movement.

Best,
Yana

[1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Zero_Operating_Principles

--
Yana Welinder
Senior Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
415.839.6885 ext. 6867
@yanatweets <https://twitter.com/yanatweets>

NOTICE:  As an attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation, for legal/ethical
reasons I cannot give legal advice to, or serve as a lawyer for, community
members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal capacity. In other
words, IANYL <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IANAL>. For more on what this
means, please see our legal disclaimer
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.
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[Wikimedia-l] [offlist] Re: WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by Federico Leva (Nemo)
On 01/12/14 23:11, Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote:
> This comparison is quite useful and got rather popular: «For all the
> arcana in telecommunications law, there is a really simple way of
> thinking of the debate over net neutrality: Is access to the Internet
> more like access to electricity, or more like cable television service?».
> http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/upshot/a-super-simple-way-to-understand-the-net-neutrality-debate.html

I don't think the internet is especially similar to either. I think it
is like the postal service. The analogous question to net neutrality
is whether priority mail should be allowed, and whether it should cost
more to send a package to another continent than it does to send it
within the same city.

Nobody is saying ISPs should adopt a cable model, giving you a
subscription to a bundle of 100 websites tailored to your tastes and
preventing access to anything else, as that article suggests. That is
a straw man.

Obviously your electricity company has no opinion on what brand of
hairdryer you use, because your electricity company is not in the
business of shipping hairdryers. But if you buy hairdryers online, the
postal service or courier company will often have bulk discounts with
certain suppliers, so they do effectively participate in selecting
your hairdryer brand.

You don't connect your laptop to the internet each morning and say
"one million bits, please!" which is then delivered as white noise
through your speakers. ISPs are not selling a commodity.

-- Tim Starling


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

Josh Lim
In reply to this post by Tim Landscheidt
A developing country perspective is missing in this conversation, so I’m going to fill in the gap since I find it odd that we’re talking about "developing” countries, when everyone who’s been participating in this discussion so far has been from developed countries.

> Wiadomość napisana przez Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]> w dniu 1 gru 2014, o godz. 09:05:
>
> 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.

As far as I know, Wikipedia tries to synthesize several points of view so that we have a neutral approach to a particular topic, not favoring one view over the other.  In addition, the fact that you can edit through Wikipedia Zero allows for alternative voices to be heard.  I find it hard to believe that Wikipedia Zero stifles NPOV, if you’re hinting at people being "forced” to consume only one point of view, when even Wikipedia doesn’t aspire to do that.

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

I don’t know about where you’re in, but I can tell you that in the developing world, Wikipedia’s been very helpful in helping us spread the word about the projects.

In the Philippines, Wikipedia readership jumped when Wikipedia Zero was rolled out.  That’s more readers, and hopefully more editors.  We have a good relationship with the Philippines’ largest telecommunications company as a result, and they’ve been very supportive of our efforts to bring knowledge to more Filipinos.  And you say that that doesn’t contribute to "sustainable development”?

I think it’s profoundly important in this discussion that we need to avoid generalizing the world as if everyone’s in Europe or the United States.  Yes, net neutrality is important.  Yes, I support net neutrality and believe that ISPs shouldn’t discriminate against content providers.  But if it means bringing more information to more people, I’m willing to sacrifice that for a while because I think that Filipinos being given access to free information is more valuable — and more important — than what I believe in vis-à-vis net neutrality.  I hope everyone else here who doesn’t support Wikipedia Zero because of that will actually see the good that it has done for the developing world, and that the rest of us find great use for this program.

Regards,

Josh

JAMES JOSHUA G. LIM
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Class of 2013, Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]> | +63 (915) 321-7582
Facebook/Twitter: akiestar | Wikimedia: Sky Harbor
http://about.me/josh.lim <http://about.me/josh.lim>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

rupert THURNER-2
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Hi mike,

That pipes are dumb is fundamental for having cheap Internet access. Most
contracts for Wikipedia zero are done with telcos which either want to
catch up in getting more reach in the population, or those which have a
higher price for data. Not allowing them to use wikipedia to influence
competition and justify higher prices is helping to bridge the digital
divide. I do not find it fair that people in financially less favored
countries have to pay more per gigabyte traffic in USD than people in rich
countries. This gets even worse if one compares percentage of income spent
for a gigabyte.

The only well balanced answer out of Wmf I saw up to now clearly showing
the conflict this offering is in is the excellent WOP statement from gale.

it is easy to design a solution which is compliant to net neutrality: if a
person is reading wikipedia 200 MB traffic are free, any content. I d
consider it a fundamental failure of the wmf legal department, especially
yana, that they are not capable or willing to negotiate such contracts.

Rupert
On Dec 1, 2014 4:14 PM, "Mike Godwin" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Tim Landscheidt writes:
>
> > 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.
>
> I'm not following your reasoning here. I don't see any sense in which
> Wikipedia Zero is contradicting other opinions or resulting in
> resources that "bite the dust." Wikipedia Zero is not rivalrous in any
> economic sense that I'm aware of.
>
> > 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.
>
> So, you'd rather have users pay by the bit for Wikipedia on their
> mobile devices? This does not serve Wikipedia or its users in the
> developing world. The chart I use here shows you what the cost of
> broadband access is in the developing world, which relies primarily on
> mobile platforms.
>
> https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141201000351-209165-wikipedia-zero-will-serve-net-neutrality
>
> > And I have severe doubts that Wikipedia Zero fulfils actual
> > needs from the perspective of sustainable development.
>
> But you haven't said what those severe doubts are. Having spent the
> last couple of years working on access projects in the developing
> world, I haven't encountered an alternative model that doesn't result
> in higher prices for subscribers. As the chart I reproduce indicates,
> in some places in the developing world, the annual cost of broadband
> access exceeds the average per capita income. I do not see how it
> serves Wikipedia's mission to require individual users to pay so much
> for Wikipedia access.
>
>
> --Mike
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WaPo Wikipedia's 'complicated; relationship with net neutrality

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Mike Godwin wrote:
>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.

I think we should be explicit here: in exchange for zero-rated access to
Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation places a banner at the top of the
page, inserting a prominent advertisement for the associated
telecommunications company. So much for "we'll never run advertising," eh.

I'm still digesting this thread (and I certainly agree with Liam that this
thread is a showcase for healthy and informed discussion), but I do
wonder: if Wikipedia Zero is so great, why is Wikipedia Zero only
available in "developing countries" (which we somehow make more pejorative
by using the term "Global South")? When will Wikipedia Zero be available
in the United States or in the United Kingdom?

>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.

Yeah... both Facebook and Google are trying to sell this same argument:
they're in it to bring Internet to the world, nothing sinister about that!
Of course, the reality is far different: both companies are primarily
interested in mining and selling user data to advertisers. Strange
bedfellows, to be sure.

MZMcBride



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

Mike Godwin-2
If MZ doesn't like the Public Broadcasting System, I see no reason for
him to misplace his rage against public television and direct it to
Wikipedia. Certainly PBS forces me to see sponsorship statements that
Wikipedia doesn't force me to see.

I don't actually see the Wikipedia banner ads, so I can't understand
how MZ has conflated his experience with Wikipedia -- where I guess he
does not log in -- with his experience of PBS, whose sponsorship
announcements can't be avoided even if you are a donor.

I do follow the debate about PBS from time to time, but MZ's comments
haven't shown up there for me yet, if he has posted them.


--Mike



On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 8:10 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Mike Godwin wrote:
>>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.
>
> I think we should be explicit here: in exchange for zero-rated access to
> Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation places a banner at the top of the
> page, inserting a prominent advertisement for the associated
> telecommunications company. So much for "we'll never run advertising," eh.
>
> I'm still digesting this thread (and I certainly agree with Liam that this
> thread is a showcase for healthy and informed discussion), but I do
> wonder: if Wikipedia Zero is so great, why is Wikipedia Zero only
> available in "developing countries" (which we somehow make more pejorative
> by using the term "Global South")? When will Wikipedia Zero be available
> in the United States or in the United Kingdom?
>
>>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.
>
> Yeah... both Facebook and Google are trying to sell this same argument:
> they're in it to bring Internet to the world, nothing sinister about that!
> Of course, the reality is far different: both companies are primarily
> interested in mining and selling user data to advertisers. Strange
> bedfellows, to be sure.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>

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

MZMcBride-2
Mike Godwin wrote:

>If MZ doesn't like the Public Broadcasting System, I see no reason for
>him to misplace his rage against public television and direct it to
>Wikipedia. Certainly PBS forces me to see sponsorship statements that
>Wikipedia doesn't force me to see.
>
>I don't actually see the Wikipedia banner ads, so I can't understand
>how MZ has conflated his experience with Wikipedia -- where I guess he
>does not log in -- with his experience of PBS, whose sponsorship
>announcements can't be avoided even if you are a donor.
>
>I do follow the debate about PBS from time to time, but MZ's comments
>haven't shown up there for me yet, if he has posted them.

I can't say I watch PBS very much, but I do occasionally listen to NPR.
And to borrow a phrase from the West Coast, I find those advertisements
hella annoying and I certainly don't think we should emulate them.

Like you, I'm a Wikimedian, so my focus is naturally on the intersection
between issues and Wikimedia. I wish PBS and NPR and other fine
organizations did not have those awful sponsored interruptions. Other
sites and forums have other needs and other priorities, but perhaps we can
stick to focusing on Wikipedia Zero in this thread? :-)

I found Phoebe's summary of the fundraising banners thread supremely
useful. I'm hoping that someone can create a similar summary for Meta-Wiki
about Wikipedia Zero and net neutrality (there are blog posts on
blog.wikimedia.org to maybe pull from too).

My personal view at the moment still somewhat strongly leans toward "it's
complicated," which I think, as David suggested, we may simply want
to embrace as a perfectly cromulent answer. But I do take issue, perhaps
not alone, with what I view as language subversion and manipulation, such
as trying to redefine what constitutes advertising or net neutrality. I
think there's great beauty in truth and honesty. And I think that's part
of Wikimedia's values.

MZMcBride



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

Mike Godwin-2
MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I can't say I watch PBS very much, but I do occasionally listen to NPR.
> And to borrow a phrase from the West Coast, I find those advertisements
> hella annoying and I certainly don't think we should emulate them.

If you have an alternative funding plan for NPR, you should publish it.

>But I do take issue, perhaps
> not alone, with what I view as language subversion and manipulation, such
> as trying to redefine what constitutes advertising or net neutrality. I
> think there's great beauty in truth and honesty. And I think that's part
> of Wikimedia's values.

I take issue with being accused of "language subversion and
manipulation." I invite you here not to accuse me of it any further.


--Mike

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

John Mark Vandenberg
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Comparisons to PBS/TV are not a useful pro-Wikipedia Zero argument, as
the TV network model is itself a convincing argument effectively used
by the pro-net-neutrality people as a worst case outcome of eroding
net neutrality - most people agree we need to avoid the Internet
descending to a TV network model, where distribution costs must be
paid by someone before the content is put onto the network.  NPR/radio
might be a better comparison, but again there the government grants
spectrum licenses, and it still differs from 'the Internet' as content
can't be pulled adhoc by the listener; the content is pushed over
physically limited resources (and adding channels requires engineering
advances / spectrum reorganisation, which is not as simple as laying
extra cables), and someone else decides what is pushed out, and when.

It seems Wikipedia Zero has 'sponsorship statements' because that was
a requirement imposed by these telcos in exchange for getting free
access to their networks to distributing Wikipedia Zero content and
Wikimedia Foundation decided it is an acceptable requirement, so it
was added to the contracts with these organisations.

Many worry that there are a few slippery slopes and conundrums around
our current position.  Two that concern me are..

Do we want all ISPs/telco's putting a 'sponsorship statement' on top
of Wikipedia content, as their requirement for allowing Wikipedia
content to be sent freely across their network to the reader?  In
Australia, some high bandwidth content creators (e.g. Big Brother)
enter into agreements with telcos to allow unrated access to their
content.  I am curious whether that type of sponsorship statement
appear on every single website page, or just on the entry screens.  If
a telco provides Wikipedia content freely to their customers, but
inserts a sponsorship statement like Wikipedia Zero, will Wikimedia
Foundation take them to court...for distributing Wikipedia content
freely without Wikimedia Foundation's blessing?

Do we want other free content providers, such as Project Gutenberg and
Distributed Proofreaders, to be less freely accessible than Wikipedia,
because telcos only consider 'Wikipedia' as a viable loss leader, and
these other free content projects dont have the human resources needed
to establish contracts with telcos?  Wikipedia has been built on the
back of these other free content projects, with millions of volunteers
who scanned/photographed/transcribed free content which has been
imported into Wikipedia and sister projects.  *If* we help erode net
neutrality, and telcos turn the Internet into a TV model, it may not
prevent Wikipedia being distributed as the telcos might be happy to
use Wikipedia as a loss leader, but it will strangle the vibrant free
content marketplace of which we have been a thought leader, and helped
Wikipedia become what it is today.  Wikimedia is not an island.

On Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 8:23 AM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> If MZ doesn't like the Public Broadcasting System, I see no reason for
> him to misplace his rage against public television and direct it to
> Wikipedia. Certainly PBS forces me to see sponsorship statements that
> Wikipedia doesn't force me to see.
>
> I don't actually see the Wikipedia banner ads, so I can't understand
> how MZ has conflated his experience with Wikipedia -- where I guess he
> does not log in -- with his experience of PBS, whose sponsorship
> announcements can't be avoided even if you are a donor.
>
> I do follow the debate about PBS from time to time, but MZ's comments
> haven't shown up there for me yet, if he has posted them.
>
>
> --Mike
>
>
>
> On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 8:10 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Mike Godwin wrote:
>>>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.
>>
>> I think we should be explicit here: in exchange for zero-rated access to
>> Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation places a banner at the top of the
>> page, inserting a prominent advertisement for the associated
>> telecommunications company. So much for "we'll never run advertising," eh.
>>
>> I'm still digesting this thread (and I certainly agree with Liam that this
>> thread is a showcase for healthy and informed discussion), but I do
>> wonder: if Wikipedia Zero is so great, why is Wikipedia Zero only
>> available in "developing countries" (which we somehow make more pejorative
>> by using the term "Global South")? When will Wikipedia Zero be available
>> in the United States or in the United Kingdom?
>>
>>>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.
>>
>> Yeah... both Facebook and Google are trying to sell this same argument:
>> they're in it to bring Internet to the world, nothing sinister about that!
>> Of course, the reality is far different: both companies are primarily
>> interested in mining and selling user data to advertisers. Strange
>> bedfellows, to be sure.
>>
>> MZMcBride

--
John Vandenberg

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

Mike Godwin-2
On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 10:56 PM, John Mark Vandenberg <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Comparisons to PBS/TV are not a useful pro-Wikipedia Zero argument ...

Nor was it offered as a pro-Wikipedia Zero argument! It is instead an
argument intended *specifically to underscore inconsistent standards
of analysis.* It is, instead, specifically addressed to the specific
complaint about interpreting banners as advertising. (Drilling down
even further: I don't see the banners on Wikipedia at all. So
necessarily the banners cannot be annoying to me.)

Since much of what you write is based on the misunderstanding that I
was using PBS as a pro-Wikipedia-Zero argument, I'm passing over the
misunderstanding without comment.

The larger issue: do we care more about Wikipedia's mission or more
about preserving some absolutist application of net neutrality? I
think Wikipedia's mission is more important, and you may disagree,
which is fine.

As I said in the piece, I care about both. But I also know that an
absolutely rigorous application of net neutrality--you know, the kind
of invariant principle that hobbyists who never to try to fund
anything themselves are prone to cook up--would require that emergency
phone calls (think 911 in the USA or 999 in the UK, for example) be
charged to the user.

Do you think emergency communications should be charged to the user by
the bit, John? If not, how do you justify that departure from
absolutist net-neutrality principles? And if you're not an absolutist
about net neutrality, then why can't you allow for the possibility
that access to Wikipedia may do more to help citizens of the
developing world than absolutist net neutrality will help them?

If you are comfortable condemning the developing world to charging
Wikipedia users for information by the bit for the indefinite future,
then by all means insist on network neutrality without exceptions.
(And certainly make sure that you enable all users to turn off
expensive emergency communications!)

But I seem to recall something about Wikipedia's providing the world's
information to everyone for free. The developing world needs to be
able to do this via mobile providers, whose business model is to
charge by the bit (or by the data plan).  I don't recall elevating net
neutrality as a principle above Wikipedia's mission.


--Mike

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

Jens Best
In reply to this post by John Mark Vandenberg
Hi Mike,

sorry for the delay of my answer and thanks to all for the discussion
which is trying to look forward instead of just talking about the
mistakes and hopes surrounding Wikipedia Zero in the past. I would
like to follow your example, Mike, and not going point by point
through your arguments but trying to break new ground for future
solutions of the actual problem.

John Vandenberg gave us a nice picture by saying that Wikimedia isn’t
an island in the world of free content projects. It's more one of the
mountains in the landscape of Free Knowledge and public content
online. I think going in this direction can create a solution which
re-unites the varying positions.

Wikipedia Zero should be newly framed as a leading example of Public
Free Knowledge.

Therefore the WP0-initiative proved that the future of the web should
include zero-rating when the word „access“ is taken in a classical
understanding of free publicness. Public like streets and libraries.
Common access to streets and to public libraries are a cornerstone for
a free society therefore Telecoms which agreed on giving Wikipedia
zero-rated status should be welcoming by add more free content (like
e.g. the video-libraries of great universities) to their offer.

A Telecom provider which would then argue that a video library with
lots of free educational videos isn't the same thing as Wikipedia
clearly isn't sharing the views of the movement and obviously was led
by different interests than us. A Telecom which isn't ready to take
its responsibility for a society serious maybe wasn't a good partner
in the beginning. Such access providers shouldn’t be partners of us in
the future when Wikipedia is leading a global initiative to give as
many as possible Public Free Knowledge (text, foto, video, graphics,
data, visualizations) to the people. This would be a leap forward,
especially for the Global South.

An access provider (e.g. Orange) which only shows interest in our
brand product Wikipedia most probably isn’t really interested in
giving Free Knowledge to the people and therefore shouldn’t partnering
with us. Also only selecting a few non-data-extensive education stuff
to zero-rate apart from Wikipedia isn't really a clear statement but
more of a fig leaf.

It should be the focus of the well-paid people at the WMF to change
the approach on contract-making according to the Public Free Knowledge
approach and so proving that Wikipedia isn’t just a mountain which
doesn’t care about its surrounding but a powerful player who is
interested not only in its own brand, but in the global access to free
knowledge.

I have some thoughts about how the range of Public Free Knowledge
could be defined nationally and globally, but I would like to hear
your thoughts on my layout so far first.

best regards

Jens Best

2014-12-09 4:56 GMT+01:00, John Mark Vandenberg <[hidden email]>:

> Comparisons to PBS/TV are not a useful pro-Wikipedia Zero argument, as
> the TV network model is itself a convincing argument effectively used
> by the pro-net-neutrality people as a worst case outcome of eroding
> net neutrality - most people agree we need to avoid the Internet
> descending to a TV network model, where distribution costs must be
> paid by someone before the content is put onto the network.  NPR/radio
> might be a better comparison, but again there the government grants
> spectrum licenses, and it still differs from 'the Internet' as content
> can't be pulled adhoc by the listener; the content is pushed over
> physically limited resources (and adding channels requires engineering
> advances / spectrum reorganisation, which is not as simple as laying
> extra cables), and someone else decides what is pushed out, and when.
>
> It seems Wikipedia Zero has 'sponsorship statements' because that was
> a requirement imposed by these telcos in exchange for getting free
> access to their networks to distributing Wikipedia Zero content and
> Wikimedia Foundation decided it is an acceptable requirement, so it
> was added to the contracts with these organisations.
>
> Many worry that there are a few slippery slopes and conundrums around
> our current position.  Two that concern me are..
>
> Do we want all ISPs/telco's putting a 'sponsorship statement' on top
> of Wikipedia content, as their requirement for allowing Wikipedia
> content to be sent freely across their network to the reader?  In
> Australia, some high bandwidth content creators (e.g. Big Brother)
> enter into agreements with telcos to allow unrated access to their
> content.  I am curious whether that type of sponsorship statement
> appear on every single website page, or just on the entry screens.  If
> a telco provides Wikipedia content freely to their customers, but
> inserts a sponsorship statement like Wikipedia Zero, will Wikimedia
> Foundation take them to court...for distributing Wikipedia content
> freely without Wikimedia Foundation's blessing?
>
> Do we want other free content providers, such as Project Gutenberg and
> Distributed Proofreaders, to be less freely accessible than Wikipedia,
> because telcos only consider 'Wikipedia' as a viable loss leader, and
> these other free content projects dont have the human resources needed
> to establish contracts with telcos?  Wikipedia has been built on the
> back of these other free content projects, with millions of volunteers
> who scanned/photographed/transcribed free content which has been
> imported into Wikipedia and sister projects.  *If* we help erode net
> neutrality, and telcos turn the Internet into a TV model, it may not
> prevent Wikipedia being distributed as the telcos might be happy to
> use Wikipedia as a loss leader, but it will strangle the vibrant free
> content marketplace of which we have been a thought leader, and helped
> Wikipedia become what it is today.  Wikimedia is not an island.
>
> On Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 8:23 AM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> If MZ doesn't like the Public Broadcasting System, I see no reason for
>> him to misplace his rage against public television and direct it to
>> Wikipedia. Certainly PBS forces me to see sponsorship statements that
>> Wikipedia doesn't force me to see.
>>
>> I don't actually see the Wikipedia banner ads, so I can't understand
>> how MZ has conflated his experience with Wikipedia -- where I guess he
>> does not log in -- with his experience of PBS, whose sponsorship
>> announcements can't be avoided even if you are a donor.
>>
>> I do follow the debate about PBS from time to time, but MZ's comments
>> haven't shown up there for me yet, if he has posted them.
>>
>>
>> --Mike
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 8:10 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Mike Godwin wrote:
>>>>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.
>>>
>>> I think we should be explicit here: in exchange for zero-rated access to
>>> Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation places a banner at the top of the
>>> page, inserting a prominent advertisement for the associated
>>> telecommunications company. So much for "we'll never run advertising,"
>>> eh.
>>>
>>> I'm still digesting this thread (and I certainly agree with Liam that
>>> this
>>> thread is a showcase for healthy and informed discussion), but I do
>>> wonder: if Wikipedia Zero is so great, why is Wikipedia Zero only
>>> available in "developing countries" (which we somehow make more
>>> pejorative
>>> by using the term "Global South")? When will Wikipedia Zero be available
>>> in the United States or in the United Kingdom?
>>>
>>>>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.
>>>
>>> Yeah... both Facebook and Google are trying to sell this same argument:
>>> they're in it to bring Internet to the world, nothing sinister about
>>> that!
>>> Of course, the reality is far different: both companies are primarily
>>> interested in mining and selling user data to advertisers. Strange
>>> bedfellows, to be sure.
>>>
>>> MZMcBride
>
> --
> John Vandenberg
>
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