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Mon, 31 Dec 2018 02:05:25 -0800

Hi all,

Yaroslav has brought some very relevant points that unfortunately have not
been discussed in great detail in the past but my conclusions differ a bit
from those that he has drawn and the main source of the concerns he has
identified. My thoughts are summarised in turn.

Firstly, Wikipedia do not seem to be endangered by the dramatic decrease in
attention that people pay to written knowledge. Distribution of knowledge
through new channels that emerged as a result of the technological
evolution is becoming more popular but is simply insufficient for acquiring
knowledge and creating a base for further learning assuming that people go
beyond using it to check simple facts. For instance, nowadays you can take
an online course on edX or Coursera to get knowledge of any scientific
field but this is something that will never make you a good scientist; you
can also play online chess and watch online videos and commentaries but
this will not make you a strong chess player. Books (a form of written
knowledge) are simply a must for advanced learning and this is something
that is not going to easily change in near future, hence Wikipedia has its
strength in place as a medium for converting the written knowledge from the
books in a brief and more reader-friendly manner. My main concern, however,
is that some topics are not covered in a simple way and require far
advanced knowledge as a prerequisite for understanding (e.g. articles on
topics in mathematics) and are poorly linked to the other relevant
Wikimedia projects (e.g. Wikibooks) due to the lack of content. Simplifying
the way these topics are covered would be, of course, be beneficial for
many readers.

Secondly, a major source of concern is the evolution of the Wikimedia
Foundation from an NGO to a technology corporation that does not show any
signs of addressing issues like this and how people in the developed world
are being affected by it. I have full respect to some employees who have
excellent understanding about the movement and the major upcoming
challenges (mostly coming from the community) but there are simply too many
outsiders who does not even know the basics of the movement and do not care
at all to people in the movement who are not affiliated with them or are
not hangers-on to their agenda. The problem is becoming even more serious
with their strategic objective to focus on underrepresented communities
primarily from the Global South through collaboration with the largest
affiliates from the Global North and pretending that the unaffiliated
active contributors from the developed countries do not exist. This whole
thing has probably culminated with the Wikimedia 2030 strategy, where
no-one knows what its final outcome should look like, but much effort was
put to make a base on unreal assumptions and it will apparently get forced
through (fantasty world). My main concern is that they might even start to
force you away from the movement in the

Thirdly, the reason why our long-standing contributors from the Global
North make the unpopular decision to go away can be derived from my
previous point. These people have very good understanding of how the
movement was created, what the original purpose of the Wikimedia Foundation
was supposed to be and how the recent developments contradict it. Some of
them even go so far to say that they feel frustrated from the misuse of
their volunteer efforts to build the largest encyclopedia in the world and
now to see getting unheard, while some think that the Wikimedia Foundation
has made a paradigm shift in the motivation to edit from contributing to
the fastest-growing knowledge-based project in the late 2000s to getting
hired by the Wikimedia Foundation to earn above-average income in the late
2010s (conclusion drawn from direct communication with people).
Fortunately, this is still in a normal range but the unfavourable rate of
change gives me the intuition that it might turn into an overkill.

Lastly, the lack of focus on technology-related issues and the increasing
need to adapt to the environmental changes is becoming increasingly
difficult with no clear intent for major infrastructural shift. The
community-based rather than technology-based strategic orientation, allbeit
common sense, might become very costly if not properly ameliorated with
some innovations. The problem with expanding an unchanged and obsolete
infrastructure to underrepresented groups might result to no avail and
further incentivise a major shift, thus doubling the cost invested in
infrastructure. Definitely, it is an open topic to discuss whether outreach
to new communities should be done using the old methods or experimenting
with something new.

I am sorry for the extensive text but there are things that need to be
discussed.

Best,
Kiril

On Mon, Dec 31, 2018 at 9:14 AM Peter Southwood <
peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> wrote:

> Does the technology exist? Is it available?
> How does this splitting make maintenance easier?
> Cheers,
> Peter
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On
> Behalf Of Jane Darnell
> Sent: 30 December 2018 15:42
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Is the death of Wikipedia imminent?
>
> Well it is not difficult to imagine when you consider for example line
> items in the case of list articles. Many lists could be split into such
> line items and kept in a static assembled form by some sort of "assembly
> template". Many of these line items are either articles or parts of
> articles. Such "line items" may or may not have Wikidata items, may or may
> not be suitable for Wikidata items, and may or may not be able to be
> structured in any way, shape or form than the one they currently have. I
> would like to be able to address these "line items" as "findable editing
> snippets" in the wikiverse, possibly curatable by voice activation,
> reversing the way we can sometimes get them read to us by Siri/Lexa.
>
> On Sun, Dec 30, 2018 at 1:48 PM Peter Southwood <
> peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> wrote:
>
> > Jane,
> > I do not understand what parts you would split these things into, or how
> > they would make Wikipedia easier to curate and edit. Could you link to an
> > explanation or clarify the concept?
> > Cheers,
> > Peter
> >
> >
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