Proposal talk:Go beyond the Wikis

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Impact?

Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 23:16, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I am sure that getting "...involved into the political processes and participate in writing international treaties and building global programs in education and copyright law.", would at least compromise Wiki's neutrality and do a lot damage to accumulated reputation. At most this would destroy Wikipedia as it is. Eventually, of course, but i am sure it would be unavoidable. My argument in a nutshell - instead of resource Wikipedia will become a player, with all associated implications.

The core purpose of the Wikimedia Foundation is to enable the creation of an encyclopedia. And the purpose of an encyclopedia is to document the world as it is, not to change it. --195.65.8.2 15:08, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
Flat wrong. The mission is to bring "the sum of all human knowledge to all the people.". The encyclopedia was just the first project. It is now time to think beyond. And being a voice of creators and consumers of free knowledge would be a worthy goal 87.174.167.146 15:32, 25 September 2009 (UTC) (User:H-stt not logged in because of an insecure network)
I am reminded of Mr Marx's observations about the role of philosophers, who so far have interpreted the world, and the point that we should seek to change it, for the better. I don't think that at any point I have been engaged in working in Wikipedia that it hasn't been obvious to me that at some point in time we would inevitably come to a crossroads like this. We can fiddle, à la Nero, while the world burns and the sleek corporacy skim the cream and stick patents & copyrights on all and sundry to which they have no entitlement other than rapine, or we can rise from our complacency and make the advancement and promulgation of knowledge a reality rather than a hollow promise. Sjc 05:50, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Much human knowledge is locked inside academic networks. Many of those in control of these resources are reticent to make their research available except in expensive journals. I had construed "going beyong the wiki" to imply that knowledge should be drawn from such "private" resources. Not sure how to go about this, but including in wikipedia a portal to academic networks and other barrier breakers, like Google's initiative to make out of print books available on-line, would be a help. If the academics continue to want to stay in their ivory towers and not share their knowledge freely then a campaign to persuade acadmics and students who do have access to these resources to wikify it would be very worthwhile. 147.114.226.194 12:30, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Advantages of neutrality

I think that there is quite a range of opinion on these issues among Wikipedia users. Given the number of WMF projects and nationalities involved, I don't know how you can determine what the "voice of consumers and creators of free content" is actually saying. Even if Wikipedia can arrange to enter the political process without risking tax exemptions or potential government funding, there is still a risk that a political position will alienate some who contribute funds or content.

The real problem with copyrights and other IP laws is not that we don't have a representative at a meeting, but that there has been insufficient public debate of the fundamental philosophical issues involved. We are saddled with a medieval tax farming scheme meant to reward authors by adding a few percent to the price of a book for a few years, in a world where people could have access to thousands of times more information than the copyright system allows them. Too many commentators speak of this property as if it were some law of nature, when in truth it requires a continual series of lawsuits to decide, nearly at random, whether one work is lawfully free of another. Some say the scheme is essential to compensate authors, but too much of the reward goes to middlemen and heirs, and singers protest that they have to sell themselves into "indentured servitude" to be allowed a shot at an audience.[1]

We need people to talk with one another, devise some new way to compensate authors in a way that is unbiased and independent of politics which does not depend on limiting the accessibility of information. That is a task for forums and social networking which Wikipedia has to some extent denied itself, but it is not something that requires the organization as a whole to take sides. Mike Serfas 00:29, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

True and not true. In my opinion a big issue with copyright is that in the past it was a problem for authors and publishers only. And both were only interested by commercial interests. Only now - with the advance of technology that makes everyone an author by lowering the threshold of investment for publications to virtually nil - the people want a voice on the table, when copyright is discussed. I am not aware that any other organization even wants to be that voice. The WMF could take this role. 87.174.167.146 15:32, 25 September 2009 (UTC) (User:H-stt not logged in because of an insecure network)
True up to a point, H-stt, but there are organisations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation [2] with whom we could, and should, (in my view), be engaging more completely prior to taking this step. No doubt similar or comparable organisations already exist in other countries and we really ought, if we are going to go down this particular road, be looking to bring on board their expertise and know-how if we do opt to take it. The ascendancy is with the paid-for media juggernaut at the moment, and there is little to suggest it will be otherwise unless responsible people pan-globally are prepared to take them, and the officialdom and bureaucracy which they slyly bankroll, to task. While I am largely for this proposal, I am well aware that this represents a quantum leap in the direction which the community is taking, from one of broadly based neutrality to one of active engagement. This has significant consequences and implications for the community and is something which must have a full and public debate. Sjc 05:41, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I should clarify a bit further. I think that even the most modest agenda for preserving "fair use" or opposing new unworkable ideas like database copyright can provoke a very strong reaction from those who are currently dependent on the copyright system for income and do not perceive a viable alternative. There is no reason to offend these people and risk losing their contributions by linking their editing activities to a political agenda in which they don't believe. All we need to support any majority political agenda among editors is to make it a little easier for them to get together to discuss the issues and form or join independent organizations
As Wikipedia becomes a more potent educational tool, there may be opportunities for significant public resources to find their way into the system. For example, the city of New York maintains a so-called "rubber room" where around 75 teachers accused of various offenses, mostly not very severe, can be relegated to do knitting while waiting months for a hearing. I'd love to see what 75 teachers could do if they were assigned to edit core educational articles on Wikipedia full time -- though I wonder whether a system crazy enough to create such a room could be sane enough to use it for a beneficial end. But certainly the district could not do so if they believed that this action would force teachers to advocate a certain political agenda. Mike Serfas 11:11, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Rational for revert

I just reverted two edits to this proposal because they are either in contradiction of the original proposal or not connected and should be kept separate. Being a global player in the international political bodies is certainly not a job for the chapters, even though they can and should become part of the political processes in their countries.

The other stuff inserted by someone under an IP is in no way connected to this proposal. He or she might submit his or her own proposal for WIKISERVICES or WIKIGIFTECONOMY 87.174.167.146 15:41, 25 September 2009 (UTC) (User:H-stt not logged in because of an insecure network)

Circular definition of motivation?

Am I the only one who noticed it? Without definite motives barring listing the proposal itself, how is the motivation not circular? Ie, it seems meaningless to say that motivation for x is x. Or did everyone else understood literally Jimbo's metaphor? I'm not trying to undermine the proposal but instead suggest there ought to be a more clarified motivation in it, given a reasonable motives :)

Clarification plz

Becoming a lobbying group might be a good idea, but it should be clear what we would be lobbying for, and what we would be lobbying against. Would we be lobbying for:

  1. Universal free education for children and young adults?
  2. A reduction of copyright terms to ten years?
  3. Improved Internet access for poorly served parts of the world?
  4. Abolition of censorship on the net?
  5. The ability of admins to not just block vandals from editing, but (when appropriate) to fry all electronic apparatus within five feet of the vandal?

Like most people I'd support some but not all of the above. Without knowing what we would be lobbying for, I for one would be reluctant to support this. WereSpielChequers 15:25, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

As long as it includes option 5, above, I'm okay with it. -- Philippe 16:42, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
The guideline for all activities - current and future - of the WMF is the mission statement. Goals and methods are to be developed from that by the board with feedback from the community where feasible. Some of the points listed above are more in line with the mission than others, but all could be issues the WMF could cover in one way or other. Maybe with the exception of the copyright term, because that is certainly not a core issue. On the other hand it is high time to have a voice for creators, users and mixers (in the sense of mash ups) of free works in the copyright discussions. And it is an issue that the terms of protection become longer, when the speed of society overall increases and maybe shorter terms would be more in line with other developments. But those decisions are to be made by the WMF. 87.174.166.21 09:12, 11 October 2009 (UTC) (User:H-stt, still without trustworthy network)
The WMF is a remarkably small group of people who somehow manage to keep the best site on the Internet up and running. But they're not our political representatives. They didn't campaign with a political agenda. I also suspect that like any scripture the WMF mission statement could be interpreted in many ways. I don't think it makes sense to ask the WMF to determine our goals and lobby for them - that's just not what they do. Mike Serfas 10:37, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
The WMF is looking for new directions with this strategic planning process. And in my eyes these new directions will move the WMF beyond the wikis and beyond the community of wiki editors. Becoming a political actor and lobby organization is way beyond goals of individuals in the wikipedia community - it is about all humans and the sum of all human knowledge. And I see no one else - EFF might be a valuable partner but they are too small and not global enough for this effort. Please do not forger: The MWF is a non membership foundation, the board dos not need any community approval for actions that do not affect the wikis. H-stt !? 15:28, 15 October 2009 (UTC) (finally with a decent connection)
Agreed. If this happens then future board elections will have to cover this sort of issue. I would be unhappy if a newly elected board were to suddenly announce that they've decided to do this, but a measured change starting from the community is a different thing. WereSpielChequers 23:28, 1 November 2009 (UTC)