Sorry, I don't know how I missed this. Thanks for the reply.
Overall, "pausing to evaluate the situation" is a good idea, and it is important
to choose battles wisely. What worries me is that this might be more than just a pause,
and put the issue on a back-burner indefinitely. And also how we evaluate which battles we
choose to fight.
A couple of points I think should be re-emphasized:
1. I hope Wikinews people won't throw rotten tomatoes at me for saying this, but
Wikinews is just a hobby and not a value-product, and not likely to be much more than a
hobby for a long time in English and most other languages. I think it will eventually
provide great value as it grows, but it doesn't now, because there are much better
news sources out there on the net. But this is *not* true of Chinese: Providing an outlet
like this for Chinese news would be a thing of tremendous, immediate value to a huge
number of people. And it is precisely this language that we are blocking! That is
2. When it comes to choosing our battles, we should remember that our choices *now* have
implications for our *future* choices. Will we also deny Wikinews in Arabic if people in
some countries are worried about that being blocked? Or certain other countries in Asia
and Africa, or even a few left in Eastern Europe? A firm policy decision now will might
prevent damage in the future if people (and governments and corporations) simply know, in
advance, that censorship is not on the agenda at Wikimedia.
3. When you decide which battles to fight, you first have to evaluate how strong you are!
Wikimedia is not weak; Wikipedia (plus its sisters) have become invaluable resources
provided by a well-known, well-respected organization. This is only becoming more and more
so, month by month, and the trend is not going to be reversed. In other words, we have the
*strength* to stand up to this in the long term. It is not all or nothing: We should
assume that even the *worst-case* scenario is a ban that will be eventually be revoked,
because no govenment will be able to justify banning it in the long term.
4. Jimbo wrote: "We would be lauded as heros in the western media. I'd have my
the cover of Time Magazine and Der Spiegel and so on. "Wikipedia shut
down by the Chinese government" -- an exciting story! We feel great
about ourselves for fighting against censorship!" ....
I really think that the whole point has been missed here. Of course we are not looking for
glory and amazing press releases (though they are nice... :-). The point is that those
press releases are not important for making us feel good, but for the good that they can
do for our Chinese contributors. If the worst-case scenario happens, and we get press
releases like that, their purpose in our eyes will *not* be to *report* on the problem,
but to help *solve* the problem. The Chinese government is not impervious to criticism,
and such press will make sure that blocking, if it happens, will not stand in the long
5. We should also consider negative press, like this story that came out today:
. Do we want to be the same as that?
Because we are non-profit, we have the opportunity to provide an alternative that other
corporations cannot provide. Let's do it!
6. I wonder if the Chinese censors are reading this right now? If so, let's send them
the right message. :-)
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