Don't know whether the donations will "grow in proportion to the median
income of internet users". Need first to see whether any data set is
available (ideally for all countries in the world). Not sure if there is a
good one for "the median income of internet users".
This, however, raises the issues of the normative concerns and values of
researchers and/or forecasters. I have taken the view that Wikimedia
Foundation provides public utility. Ideally, the per capita cost should
remain the same. Thus, I still prefer the Foundation's income only grows in
proportion to that of Internet users. It is a normative (not forecasting)
statement with a value assumption that places more premium on membership.
Here we enter a classic political economy question: Do we consider equality
(or distribution of funds) more than growth, or the other way around? No
matter which ideological position one has, we need to revisit Wikimedia
Foundation's mission statement to ask the values of equality and growth.
What happens when there is a conflict between pro-equality and pro-growth
strategy? My interpretation of Wikimedia's mission statement will be thus:
pro-growth in human knowledge and readership, pro-equality in fund raising
Thus, I agree with Oliver that contextless images or graphs may not be
helpful. It is better for infographic designers to be aware of and then
explain the underpinning theoretical assumptions (and thus concerns) of
visualization. It does not mean my potential research agenda above is more
valid than yours. It does suggest however different "ways of seeing" raise
different concerns on metrics that are value-laden on topics such as
development. It is always worthwhile to revisit the Foundation's
value/mission statement when we measure the economic cost and values of
As "a] statistical model is a set of assumptions concerning the
generation of the observed data"(enWP), it is better to be explicit on the
underlying assumptions (not just math, but also social science) for the
model/theory to be examined and tested. There are many socio-economic
indicators related to Internet will grow exponentially, will grow linearly,
will hit an upper bound, or decrease. The selection of other variables is
thus important to put things in meaningful contexts, in relative terms, and
in relation to the environment where Wikimedia Foundation is in.
I hope the message above is a plead for more and better research on
meaningful forecasting. There are other innate research problems doing
forecasting (such as overfitting, etc.) Here I just raise one of the basic
issues on the institutional values needed to construct a set of sensible
metrics that fit well with institution's core values.
2015-01-04 5:44 GMT+02:00 James Salsman <jsalsman(a)gmail.com>om>:
Han-Teng Liao wrote:
I hope that the Wikimedia foundation budget grows in proportion
with the number of Internet users, and the average donations
remains the same (inflation-adjusted).
Do you think donations will grow in proportion to the median income of
internet users? That measure is likely to continue to grow for 15
years or more after the total number of users' growth substantially
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