Requests for comment/Wikimedia projects accessibility in China

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The following request for comments is closed. This conversation doesn't seem to have gone anywhere. Closing. Effeietsanders (talk) 19:41, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

Currently, many users in China are having difficulties in direct access to Wikipedia. As such, many users switched to the like of Baidu Baike instead and others have to use various technical ways to circumvent restrictions they are facing or use some of those mirror sites. All these methods are bad to WMF's mission to disseminate educational content effectively and globally, and they are also detrimental to Chinese Wikimedia Projects' ability to attract more contributor within the region of mainland China.

Therefore, it will be beneficial to users, the community, and the WMF if WMF tries to provide its service within China. One of the most common way for an international online content provider to guarantee their ability to do so would be to set up a domestic branch that cooperates with local companies to serve a version of their site that is certified by government authority with relevant licenses including ICP license. As Wikipedia is a site that relies on User-generated content, it will be tricky but it should still be possible to achieve this, much like how Moegirlpedia was able to operate in China and how Linkedin China are able to provide some form of service. Obviously, such version that is to be served to netizens within mainland China will not be a complete version of content available on Wikimedia project sites, however, it's probably still better for WMF to be able to serve some content to users rather than no content at all.

Advantages of doing so, other than provide a direct and trustable mean for Chinese netizens to visit Wikimedia project sites, include:

  • Increase the "Wikipedia" brand awareness, so that users in China could know they can
  • Provide a mean to legitimately and openly share links and content of Wikimedia projects for users in China.
  • Make it easier for Wikimedia projects to attract contributors from within mainland China.

Problems need to be solved include:

  • How to make a separated version of a Wikipedia site that is selectively synced with the main Wikipedia site, not just unidirectional like regular wiki mirror, but also being bidirectional that would allow editors in mainland China to be able to make use of such a site?
    • How to handle possible vandal or sockpuppeting on such site?
  • How to select what content should be served on such site and what content should not be served on such site?

What should and could WMF do about it? C933103 (talk) 02:45, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

see Wikimedia projects blocks

  • I think that such a project would require us to leave out information that the Chinese government does not like. Ignoring for a moment that we have no mechanisms for this kind of information exchange (how do we know what to leave out, and how to we decide on that?) I am rather dubious that doing this would be compatible with our core principles. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:14, 9 December 2017 (UTC)
    • Yes, it would require information that are not liked by the government to be leave out from the version served to those that are within the region, but then it would be necessary to pick between whether we should serve "no content at all" or serve "some content that are allowed to"? Those who have their own method to access unrestricted wikipedia should not be affected by the move, as the proposal is external to the wikipedia itself.
    As for how that should be conducted, I suppose the basic could be a keyword-based filter list, a category-based system, plus a system that would allow Xconfirmed users to flag articles. If the system is to work, then it might also need to employ some maintainer that can directly correspond to Chinese government requirement in a relatively short amount of time similar to how domestic Chinese companies are able to respond to governmental requests.C933103 (talk) 17:36, 9 December 2017 (UTC)