Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Revenue Streams/Recommendations/4

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Free[edit]

No -- Media-wiki is a free software and all allied aspects shall always remain so, from all purviews. And I don't support We-Make-Failures outsourcing it's engineers to support other installations - too dangerous. Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 07:37, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Wikimedia is about free(ly licensed) content, not about everything being gratis. Are you saying you disagree with https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html ? Nemo 08:31, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

The whole wikimedia movement is going a lot worse than I even think of before putting my words on[edit]

Basically this message should be understand as a message to the whole Strategy thing and amybe the whole wikimedia community, an not reduced to a particular working group, or this precise subject, but I really don't know where to put such general message. If somebody know some place where it best fit, he is welcome to say it to me.

I expressed my fears there for something I believed totally different.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2018-20/Working_Groups/Product_%26_Technology/Recommendations/1#What_is_external_entities_%3F

And I really don't know what is wrong about revenue streams in the perfectly wealthy WMF as far as I know.

Honestly, my first sign of alert and should have speak at this time, is when I discovered that for fundraising purpose a fund raising message took at least half (and maybe the whole don't remember exactly) of the wikipedia site for anonymous (but not for connected people as far as I know who knew nothing at this point. The WMF reaction, said at first: it is perfectly ok, we have A/B Test, it is the more efficient way to shorten the campaign by making more money by each display. And technically it is true, but it was actually take in hostage the users of wikipedia, making them to have make money to use wikipedia. And nobody except in wikimedia ecosystem said otherwise. The best sign is now wikipedia is adblocked for this exactly reason (as far as I know it was not the case even if the fundraising was more and more problematic each year).

From my point of view, the best idea for revenue would be to eventually limit the scope of WMF fundation on what is sustainable with reasonable ways to make money. If making money mean having conflicting goals with the scope of WMF, because the scope is too large, you have to reduce the scope not loose you soul.

And basically WMF has already lost its soul when one think of why she was created. As far as I remember, it was created as a professional support thing for wikipedia (and maybe other wikis but I don't even know if than one was created at this point). It is very later as far as I know that User:Jimbo Wales and the wikimedia movement spoke a lot more generous and ambitious goal: bring knowledge to the world by all means, including being used by internet companies as a selling point for free facebook, named wikimedia zero, with basically no financial advantage for WMF, and no significantly advantage to spread knwoledge. And basically the only significant asset( the only thing really important) of WMF is still wikipedia and none of the other effort to spread knowledge mades significant moves (If I would say the most important thing after wikipedia is the various wikimedia meetings, and wikimania for the biggest part). And wikipedia is abused from the other spread knowledge thing in any way thinkable and unefficent way. To be crystal clear, spread knowledge and basically all the WMF goals is a high goal and basically my only aim in my life. My only point is that the impact of wikipedia in doing so is so huge that anything which improve wikipedia (in the vanilla way of doing it: quality, uses , ... ) helps more by several order of magnitude the humanity than anything else that can do for same effort. As such it is perfectly ok, that wiki*p*edia, being rich have some goodwill actions which cost close to nothing such as making wiktionary, wikisource, and ... But when the whole mikimedia movement, to doing so lost its soul, by basically taking in hostage their users, nothing is ok anymore. And as far as I know, the original hugly, wikipedia software, without further significant development, except to support the huge number of users, basically no WMF at all, would be as efficient or more to follow the said WMF goals as they are said, with I would say a very basic fundraising message during one day or at most a whole week. Xavier Combelle (talk) 07:19, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

PS: of course it is only my personal opinion, and the above should not be thought that I'm sure in anyway to be more than objectively it has more than 1% of chance to be correct because I'm just a man. But it is the conclusion of all that I know, and based on this things I'm at least 75% confident that I'm correct.

Mixed feelings[edit]

  • It could force the We Make Failures engineering department to become competent and fix all the broken shit there is in MediaWiki, VisualEditor and so forth without depleting community resources. That said, enterprise software is not known for its robustness or code quality and MediaWiki fits right in to that characterization.
  • It might lead to refactoring and feature development that is actually wanted by, or is useful for the community. However, this may give We Make Failures an excuse to force enterprise features unwanted by the community on the community (e.g. LiquidThreads Flow Structured Discussions).

More detail is needed. MER-C (talk) 15:03, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Goal of paid services[edit]

The goal of providing paid services should be clarified. Is it to raise money that can be spent on other activies that further our mission, or is a way to directly further our mission (e.g., because we believe that it would be a better world if companies used more wikis)?

Both are legitimate goals, but they are quite different. Since this is a recommendation of the Revenue Streams working group I would expect the first one. From this point of view, it may not be as good as it looks like: building a structure to provide paid services is complex, and unless we have high margins, the impact in terms of funding available for other uses might not be worth it. Which kind of scale are you expecting (tens of million dollars, hundreds, ...)? - Laurentius (talk) 21:14, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

This is a completely lost of sense[edit]

Paid-editing is the end of Wikipedia and all the voluntary movement behind it. This is the problem of filling the Wikimedia Foundation and some chapters with staff members that don't even know what are the Wikimedia principles.

How, as a volunteer, am I supposed to convince cultural and non-profit partners or other individuals passionated about free knowledge if there is someone in a university or an academic institution getting paid for the same task? Staff should be mininum and reduce to indispensable organizational, technical, economical functions. The problem is that some chapters, such as Wikimedia Norway, have started to do it hiring people that have no idea about editing and they even need to be trained about Wikidata.

With this ideas, the movement is going down the rain. Xavi Dengra (MESSAGES) 21:15, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

I think this recommendation is not talking about paid editing, but for instance supporting an organization to build its own Wikibase. This probably needs a clarification, as paid editing is a sensitive topic. - Laurentius (talk) 09:25, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, the proposal is poorly worded. The aim is to provide paid technical support and training for MediaWiki and other extensions maintained by the WMF and affiliates. See BlueSpice (bluespice.com) for an example business model. The funds raised from support contracts will pay for engineers working on bug fixes, feature requests and refactoring that are also beneficial for the community. MER-C (talk) 11:17, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Too complex[edit]

Too much organizational overhead for low value. It would require setting up a consulting organization, possibly with some degree of independence from the WMF daily operations to avoid dragging the whole organization. It would imply a significant increase in employees, diverting attention from core development to consulting. And for what value? Would the net benefit of running a consulting business be substantial compared to total WMF revenue? This would risk adding a lot of complexity, bureaucracy and structural costs to get a (I assume) small fraction of the revenue we already get from other channels without that much overhead. --MarioGom (talk) 12:48, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

  • Absolutely right. Mccapra (talk) 19:07, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

1. We might think we can charge big commercial users, but do they have alternatives? For example, could they just decide to stop linking to Wikipedia for answers and link to one of our mirrors instead, like Alchetron? They might get that for free, or at least for a lot less than what we’d be looking to barge. Just because you create a market doesn’t mean you can be sure of controlling it.

2. Also, if really big commercial users are paying for a service, there will be contracts, and there will be massive penalties for non performance on the part of Wikipedia. We might find these penalties for non-performance to be punitive.

3. If some users are paying, will their needs be prioritised by the development teams over other, non-paying needs?

4. What impact would these kinds of commercial arrangement have on existing fundraising. At the moment we have a simple proposition-if you value free knowledge, give us a bit of money. If we complicate it with contracts from Google etc. isn’t it the case that some potential donors will be less likely to give? I’m guessing here so anyone with professional experience of fundraising may be able to tell me this generally doesn’t happen. Mccapra (talk) 19:41, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Mccapra: This recommendation is not about providing paid services related to Wikipedia. It is about consulting services related to the MediaWiki project, which is the software that Wikipedia runs and powers a lot of non-Wikimedia wikis. --MarioGom (talk) 19:44, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks I’ve actually posted my questions in the wrong sections here so I’ll strike them and repost them where they’re meant to be. Mccapra (talk) 19:52, 15 August 2019 (UTC)