Discussion on business models and organizational charters applicable to large free wikis

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Why plan? Chaos is great, I browse and contribute when and where I please, within the editorial guidelines already drafted and posted by somebody, somewhere. Controversy from unclear or conflicting goals of contributing wikipediasts

It is important to plan for success because ....

1.) When the wikipedia community and knowlege base has millions of users, thousands of contributing editors, and hundreds of professional and amateur wikipediasts ..... how shall we govern/manage our activities and generate revenue to fund various requirements such as bandwidth, processors, disk space, salaries, etc. required to stay competitive with other open/free and commercial competitors?

2.)When others wish to emulate our community and ask us how, it will damage our reputation as the best summarizers of all human knowledge to not know how we manage to collect, verify, summarize and deliver it.

3.)It will assist newcomers in determining whether their personal goals and understanding of the site's intended use of contributions are compatible. It will only cause needless work, hassle and headache to have people contributing under what they perceive as false pretenses, advertising or claims. At minimum: effort to delete entries. Towards the other end of the range legal negotiations, flame wars, bad publicity, etc. Misunderstanding by novices will be detrimental and we must minimize it to succeed longterm.

4.)Wikipedia must succeed commercially to be able to make and meet committments to w:stakeholders. This will be true of other large free wiki projects as well since extensive resources are required to serve as a global focal point for internet users. Thus defining our methods as we refine them will provide a service back to the larger community which provided some of the initial free capital (php, apache, linux, sourceforge, wiki, perl, etc.) necessary to enable our enterprise.

Draft mission statements for various types of organizations Please go here and edit or draft generic mission statements. By the way, what do we do or intend to do at wikipedia or as Wikipedians?

From this w:Wikipedia_press_release_1 and the front page I would tend to think our existing working mission statement is something like this:

Wikipedia.com: The Free Encyclopedia.

If it is documented online as something else please provide the link here for purposes of this discussion. I would propose that we put a mission statement link on the front page to facilitate rapid understanding and preclude erronius assumptions. user:mirwin

This is obviously applicable although some particulars may be out of date: w:Jimbo+Wales/Statement+of+principles

Estimating operating expenses of large free wikis

Brainstorming for revenue sources

Market research in progress at meta wikipedia

Product development activities at meta wikipedia

Old discussion being relocated below:

This page was established to discuss methods of improving the impression of initial users and contributers. This project must succeed commercially to be able to make and meet committments to contributors, owners and users. This will be true of other large free wiki projects as well since extensive resources are required to serve as a global focal point for internet users.

I this it is possible to meet these goals with some effort and creativity. Whether the discussion here is applicable directly to Wikipedia.com will of course be determined by the owner's best judgement of what is best for this commercial venture.

The discussion could obviously be useful to other communities attempting to establish large free wiki resources or knowledge bases onlines even if the results are not useful to Wikipedia.com.

Please jump in if you feel some articulated organization is useful or critical to the success of large free wiki endeavers on the internet. user:mirwin

The question is governance (not "government" which has the power to bash heads but "governance" which is mostly persuasion to work within a consensus).

The simplest possible model is to assess visions which drive people to come here, the more realistic best cases they establish as objectives once they are here, and the threats and worst cases that drive our risk-aversive behaviors. If people had to follow a status quo assessing procedure whenever they had a serious problem with "the management", they might discover much more about themselves and their difference from the rest of us - without being forced to adopt our views or our value systems. - 24

Interesting points! A potential problem. I have already detected ridicule aimed at me in the stacks from having the temerity to write up a summary of a personal goal as a possible best case or vision. This is nothing I need learn further, I have been putting up with all my life as a result of family and community values in the geographical lcoation where I reside. Hence my interest in distributed communities and large scale projects. Does the internet enable having one's cake and eating it too? That is the question I am attempting to answer positively. Free software communities have managed it, although at a scale smaller and more specialized than required for successful space equipment design, manufacture and marketing. I will participate in your proposed method more as I feel the urge and am willing to put up with abuse from the other "Wikipedians". user:mirwin

an invitation to Wikipedians from the Greenpeace community

Free wikis[edit]