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

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Currently, a new iteration of discussions is taking place.
Most likely, new comments will not be taken into account by Working Group members in their work of developing the Recommendations. You are free however to continue discussing in the spirit of "discussing about Wikipedia is a work in progress". :)

FreeEdit

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 onEdit

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 feelingsEdit

  • 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 servicesEdit

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)

I don’t think the latter explanation is necessarily outside the remit of Revenue Streams. If we agree that, say, supporting orgs like libraries with using Wikibase furthers our mission (because it makes them part of our “Knowledge as a service” ecosystem), then that recommendation would help with that and finances that very activity. And it would also potentially finance adjacent technologies (such as, let’s say, improving the Wikibase install system?) which benefit the movement. It then ties into Product & Technology Recommendations #7. Jean-Fred (talk) 11:27, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
Currently, Wikipedia's most valuable asset is its "Google Juice" that is high search rankings. This has been hard-earned by creating reliable NPOV content. The trust of our readers is also very valuable, but easily lost. There are some people who have engaged in paid editing, because their clients want the high search volume from Google to lead back to them and for Wikipedia to portray them in a favorable light. If it is a COI for editors to take money directly from clients to push a POV, it should be equally as bad a COI, for editors to take money from the WMF to push a POV to the satisfaction of clients who then reimburse the WMF. Any paid services must have careful safeguards retaining the editorial independence of Wikipedia and the WMF. Otherwise, the high search ranking as well as the trust of our readers is placed at risk. Recently, English Wikipedia has actively discussed the COI and tensions generated by paid partnerships with third parties. It creates tensions with our volunteers at AfD, DYK, GA and elsewhere that must interact with the paid editors working to meet artificial performance metrics set by the partnership. The Working Group should explain its proposal in greater detail as well as consider the negative impact on the volunteer editing community. Hlevy2 (talk) 14:06, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

This is a completely lost of senseEdit

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 complexEdit

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)

QuestionsEdit

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)

How would the mouvement benefit from that ?Edit

Would it be simply the maintenance of a database of contacts (of people who can help external orgs with regards to wikibase, mediawiki etc.), which can simply be a wiki page RIGHT NOW, on mediawiki site... or would WMF (or any other Wikimedia entity) acts as intermediaries between such providers and customers and getting a financial benefit from it with a percentage of the package ? The first case (a wikipage maintaining contact) is super easy to do. The second case raises a string of questions and foreseaable difficulties... Anthere (talk)

Seems opposite to Product & Technology "Decentralize" recommendationEdit

This proposal seems to suggest to make WMF do consulting around MediaWiki/Wikibase, a service that is currently provided by some small external companies. It seems to me that is goes against this Seems opposite to Product & Technology "Decentralize" recommendation that suggest to decrease the centralization of software development done by the WMF. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tpt (talk) 3 septembre 2019 à 09:18

@Tpt: Interesting − I had understood the proposal the other way around: « The Movement™ can create », ie not the WMF (and that, if anything, the proposal was just not acknowledging the current existence of external consuling companies). But re-reading, your interpretation might be more correct. It would help if the recommendation was clarified. Jean-Fred (talk) 11:06, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
My bad, it is written indeed "The Movement" in the recommendation. It would be indeed interesting to precise if these MediaWiki support companies are part of "The Movement" or not. Tpt (talk) 16:23, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

ThoughtsEdit

1. Why does the Foundation need to bring in more money? Is there some unmet need it has identified? (Providing grants to content creators to help them with their research is a good idea, but I haven't seen this idea proposed anywhere clearly.) Or is seeking more revenue simply a way to enable present/future Foundation C-levels to extend their empires?

2. Is there a market out there for Wikimedia/Wikibase consulting & support? No sense offering services no one is willing to pay for.

3. If there is a market for these services, why not help volunteers take advantage of it? We've given thousands of hours for free to the movement; this would be a chance for some of us to benefit from our altruism. (And indirectly attract more volunteers.) The volunteers could use the money probably more than the Foundation.

Just some thoughts. -- Llywrch (talk) 23:06, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

Trademark licensing?Edit

This is in the "revenue streams" section, so I assume this recommendation is about bringing in money, more money than we spend on it. Since the text uses the word "professional", I'll also assume the services are to be provided by staff rather than volunteers. For practical reasons and to avoid certain problems like conflicts of interest, I'll assume the group offering the service would be separate from existing staff working on the software itself. (If any of this is incorrect, please say so.)

Supposing one of the Wikimedia organizations were to hire a team of staff to run this. There are other organizations that can and do offer similar things. What is Wikimedia offering that these groups can't do themselves? The only thing we would be adding would be the name. This would essentially be renting out our trademarks to for-profit groups. I don't think this is really an acceptable option. --Yair rand (talk) 19:36, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

From Catalan SalonEdit

Original text here.

We support promoting free knowledge ecosystem and favoritize the presence of third parties that eventually reverse the results of their activity to the movement and not fall into parasitic dynamics. We also believe WMF should not take this responsibility directly.

The WMF is not needed hereEdit

MediaWiki is free software. Anyone in the world can modify it, and offer paid services in connection with modifying it, as long as the product remains with the same free license. I have no knowledge whether or not there are people doing this now, but ifthere is a demand for it, there will be people who want to do the work for the money. The Foundation should keep to the principle that what it produces is free for the world to use, and all its services are free also. What we cannot afford to offer freely should be done by others. The commercial world is one domain; the WMF is another. DGG (talk) 16:51, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

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