Hi all,

Unfortunately some of our worse fears are becoming reality. Truth is, Wikimedia, due to its innner conflict in this case has always been too weak and vulnerable to have an active position on a red hot issue like net neutrality. We're torn between the awareness that we thrive only because of an equal internet and the logical wish to spread our awesome projects.

The problem is that we don't have an actual - political or legal - solution. So we're just saying that our project is great (which it is) and that it should be allowed (which I don't argue with). But when we put out a fuzzy message paired with an incoherent argumentation and at the same time don't control the narrative, we're turning Wikipedia into a handy tool for others. If we don't define it, others will, but in a way that helps their agenda.
Large multinational companies will of course start using this for their own needs. There's now tens of lobbyists in Brussels, Geneva and, I imagine, DC going around talking to decision-makers telling them that net neutrality will kill projects like Wikipedia (fullstop of explanation). Very few people will really look into the fine details and distinguish Wikipedia Zero from Facebook Zero. The former has de-facto become an argument for the latter.

There a lots of lessons to be learned here. Another "don't go there-flag" for me is the current "right to be forgotten" discussion in Europe, where Wikipedia is being used as a tool for another organisation's political agenda. [1] Again because we're using very simplistic arguments for a very complex issue with no coordination whatsoever.

Anyway, have a great start of the week tomorrow, let's enjoy Wikimania and be productive!

Can't wait to see a lot of you there!



2014-08-02 6:56 GMT+02:00 Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org>:
On Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 9:04 PM, Amgine <amgine@wikimedians.ca> wrote:

> Yana, here is my active voice ruler; please whack Eric with it for me.

I'm on the list now so feel free to whack to your heart's content :)

> (side note: is there a PR/Marketing review cycle for such blog entries?)

The post was drafted and reviewed in partnership with Yana, Katherine
Maher (Chief Communications Officer) and Carolynne Schloeder (Director
of Mobile Partnerships, head of the program).

> Look at the partners. Facebook? really, Facebook?

Facebook is not a Wikipedia Zero partner. Their internet.org
initiative is independent from the Wikipedia Zero program -- it
provides access to Wikipedia among other sites, but this is not done
under any agreement with us.

I don't think the discussion is well served by painting any initiative
with a broad brush. Their initiative seems overall well-intended, but
it suffers from a lack of transparency as to its operating principles,
including questions that are especially relevant (privacy of user
data, access to competitors like Twitter, etc.). We'll not directly
participate in a program like internet.org unless such questions can
be answered satisfactorily.

As for discussions on the list, it would not be a useful discussion
for this list whether the program should exist at all - we've made
that decision. Like any program it will continually be evaluated in
terms of its impact, but this list is not the place to do so. What is
useful, however, is for us to talk about how we communicate about it,
and how to best evolve the operating principles of the program in a
manner consistent with net neutrality policy objectives.

This is why the post gave significant emphasis to the current draft of
operating principles:

We hope those operating principles can serve as a useful starting
point for the kinds of discussions that people on this list have with
policymakers. If you have immediate reactions to these principles and
how we've communicated them here, I would very much love to hear them.
I'm paying attention and have read the archives.

Specifically, I believe the operating principles of "no exchange of
payment" and "no bundles" are very important ones that we should
emphasize in any policy-related discussions.

Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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