Three billionth user

(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

The three billionth user of wikipedia represents roughly the median user who we should be considering in understanding what is neutral point of view. Why the three billionth user, and not a floating number halfway down the list of all people on Earth (by whatever criteria you insist upon using)?

For stability, and balance. Assume, perhaps controversially, that the value system of the first hundred million users (who pour in and perfect the "knowledge" included) has little or nothing to do with the use-value of articles to the six billion other people on this planet, who thereafter become "customers" - and whose interests should guide the evolution of the work. Since we know that the value system of that first hundred million is drastically different due to self-selection effects and the perspective of the developed nations where most Internet users reside today, it is important for us to think of ways to balance that value system and its inherent culture bias - without necessarily inviting in the hundred million people who hate encyclopedias, knowledge, the Internet, English language and "The Western World", which would be the most obvious way to go.

Good statistical measurements discard outliers, and the first hundred million wikis, just like the presumed-hundred-million wiki-haters, should be ruled out of the analysis for being impossible to satisfy one way or another.

Please, add below, literally anything you can find out about the three billionth person on Earth to read any wikipedia article:

Male or female? Old or young? What is their first language? What is their English vocabulary? Their religion?

What year is it, that this three-billionth person gets online and surfs over to wiki? How do they get their Internet access? Do they pay for it? Is there a time limit on their use? Can they print a page and read it offline?

What article are they reading? What's it linked to, and why? How is it structured? Does the first paragraph have any reliable specific function? How do typography and link conventions make it easier to skip irrelevant data?

What are they doing just prior to reading it, and just after? Is their access mobile? Are the pages being read into their ear, or seen on a screen? Are there practical instructions that they need to step through in the article? Are they explaining the contents to a child, or a colleague?

What would offend them? What would be dangerous for them to believe? What would be a good enough explanation for them to never care about this again?

PLEASE, copy the questions, and answer them in your case or scenario below:

I disagree strongly with the notion that the purpose of our writing should be to satisfy the desires of the 3 billionth user. What would offend them? NPOV doesn't care. What would be dangerous for them to believe? NPOV doesn't care.

What would be useful to them? The NPOV doesn't care. What would be acceptable to the contributors but clearly wrong from the point of view of the users? NPOV doesn't care. I submit that NPOV is not a real value system and that the project needs one. You seem to use the term "NPOV" like "GOD". 24

Imagine for a moment a fundamentalist of any stripe (Green, libertarian, Islamic, Christian, whatever) who believes as you apparently do that presentation of ideas should be primarily guided by views of what is dangerous or not, offensive or not, and who believes this so strongly that they are opposed to the NPOV itself. Then, they will be happier reading and writing elsewhere.

danger and offense merely reduce the probability of a good service result - they are not in themselves reasons to censor, no, and presentation of ideas can be *shaped* or *prioritized* "by views of what is dangerous or not, offensive or not,", and no, this does not necessarily require an author sensitive to danger nor offense to be "opposed to the NPOV itself," just as one who does not share the details of A-bomb making or anthrax brewing is not necessarily opposed to academic freedom or reproducibility of experiment...

I think that such people are rare, except in the fevered vision of the fundamentalist.

which is increasingly common, and increasingly the world's worst problem by some lights. BTW you make a mistake above. A w:Gaian can certainly be a fundamentalist, many are, but it is hard for w:Greens to be such, as they must be arrayed in twos to fives in order to apply their w:consensus process at all, and as it gives pre-eminence to ecological wisdom, the fundamentals are perceived only through the lens of the empirical. See w:Natural_point_of_view - it is not *opposed* to the neutrality or neutralizing process you seek.24

Virtually everyone understands the NPOV, and uses it in day to day life, though perhaps not consistently.

true, they neutralize speech through a sort of a protocol or dialogue. We are doing that here, now. If the three billionth is not relevant, who is? If these questions aren't important, which are? Certainly vocabulary and prevalence of concepts are important, as people fight fiercely to preserve certain conventions of name-space, etc.24

--Jimbo Wales

when you open an encyclopedia, what do you expect out of it ? "the truth"? If so, how are you different from a fundamentalist? (some call it "scientism")

What is your point? NPOV is non-negotiable. I'd be happy to discuss it with you, in email, but trust me, you'll be wasting your typing if you're trying to change my mind. Do you want to set up your own Green wiki? I will help you. But wikipedia is wikipedia, and if you don't like having to write from the NPOV, then too bad. --Jimbo Wales

the point of the above seems to be that NPOV is a myth if the three billionth user can't read the wikipedia, or edit it, and apply their own point of view - also it's absurd to imply that only a tiny empowered group of people get to say what NPOV is, and even more absurd to say that such a thing as NPOV can be 'non-negotiable' - it appears that some folks are just being reactionary here
Seems the the above user didn't realize that Jimbo Wales can say who can and can't say what NPOV is because he essentially owns the place. The Final Dream 01:35, 12 December 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Egad, I don't know what else Jimbo would have to do in order to prove that is not true. What Jimbo thinks about NPOV is pretty clear, and while he dictates that WP has it, he doesn't dictate what it is.

You are absolutely right in talking about developed-centrism, self-selection-phenomena etc. Still Wikipedia is not for a single user, even if she/he is 3 billionth.

3 billionth: In 2015. She's young from India and got access from school, cause he's poor enough not to have her own computer. His parents knew nothing about Western life and consider her Westernized but at least as for Encyclopedia (I'm not sure the name will still be Wikipedia) he's sure he'd never get such an interesting source of information without Internet. Their university uses Encyclopedia in everyday life, so it's hard to tell what article will be first. But she quickly starts entering articles about his local Chinese province. --Ilya 23:30, 21 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Is he/she transgender? Why do you change the personal pronouns all the time? Further, if he/she is from India, how can he/she have a local Chinese province? Polyglot 15:02, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)
That's the point. We shouldn't cater to the needs of a specific indvidual, even if they are #3,000,000,000. - Calmypal 04:12, 2 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Looks like it was a third party half-edit from a Chinese man to an Indian woman causing the point to be lost. The user could be a Jewish Rabbi in Brooklyn. Or a mechanic from Switzerland of uncertain gender. Or a transexual Canadian professor. India/China was chosen as a cultural bias towards populous regions. It was changed from male to female to highlight gender bias. The grammar errors may indicate some sort of faulty educational background, which is also assumed of the 3B'th user, which shows ingrained bias as well. It's a curiously comic display of the point it is trying to make.

Is tran-sexual the next big thing after metro-sexual?

I think you need to consider the probability or likelihood that the 3bnth user is being served WP content and doesn't know or care that it is from WP, that it is part of a mashup or distillation from a 3rd party source that is providing a value-add. This supposes that WP content is considered valuable and can be used by 3rd parties to generate profit.