Hi Josh et al.,
as you seemed a bit upset, I want to take the chance to answer you to
better understand my position.
Taking your "brutal honesty" into account I will try to be the same. I
wasn't sure especially about that point in the discussion, because my
knowledge about the access situations around the world is only based on
several discussions I had with web people from developing countries around
the world in the recent years and by reading reports about it. Over the
last years on several occasions I spoke with many people from developing
countries who are actively promoting the internet and its enourmous
possibilities as the best tool mankind created for it so far.
So I always kept in mind that there are as many different approaches to the
open use of the web as there are people around the world. I'm also worried
when I see that in some countries new "web" users know nothing about the
internet because for them data stuff is facebook stuff. Also I'm worried
that the economic situation in several regions are producing situations
which aren't helpful to keep the web what it's supposed to be, e.g. when in
India people buy cheap access to Facebook, but "the whole internet" costs
much more. Because as all this is data, this separation is artifical and
access providers as well as dominant market content players are using their
power to promote price models based on content and data types instead of
the use of the whole internet.
For me (and other students) "going online" wasn't cheap back in the 90s and
I am not sure how the use of the web would have developed if back then
there would have been an offer onyl getting some websites for a cheaper
price. In fact there were these offers - called "walled gardens" where you
got a selection of information and data types by pre-selected partners of
the access provider. Similiar story was the rise of AOL and their walled
garden system. People who went online with AOL first showed clearly
different user habits because of this walled garden experience, they
haven't experienced the free web therefore "internet" for them was much
less then it actually offered. And still the digital media literacy e.g. of
many users in Germany sucks also because they didn't "learn" the internet
Back to today. You said you felt patronized by the discussion, that wasn't
my intention. But there are several NGOs from developing countries feeling
patronized by the telecoms which provided a pre-selected internet to the
people. One of them said at the IGF in Istanbul: "It's like they say: Here
have some Facebook and a dash of Wikipedia zero-rated, but the rest you
have to pay." - So, feeling patronized in a discussion isn't surely a good
feeling, but being patronized in the use of the internet in your country
has a much more bigger negative impact on society.
Just one thing: I didn't come up with this "white, privileged and well
educated"-stuff that was Gerard in my eyes trying to make a rhetoric trick.
But it's not working, because the world isn't that black/white and even if
there is one local telecom which isn't somehow connected to a big player.
The main partners of WP0 (Orange and Telenor) ARE global players and they
surely have a more "white and privileged" standpoints when it comes to
develop access provider business in developing countries. We all see and
experienced the hard bandages with which the "white and privileged"
telecoms fight in USA and Europe when it comes to ruin net neutrality. So
how comfortable for them to avoid this later fights by not offering "the
internet" as they did in US/Europe, but to train user habits by giving them
the "different data type, different price"-experience from the beginning.
And don't be fouled: The zero-rated experience is part of the "different
data type, different price"-experience - and WMF fell for the trap.
Why did WMF fall for the trap? Well, let's say, because of Assuming Good
Faith. Surely in the beginning, like on many other ideas, it all sounded to
good to be true: "free wikipedia for the people" - That's music in all our
ears. But really believing, that "spreading the knowledge" is a new mission
(or truely and eternal "CSR") of business telecoms - well, good luck with
that attitude around the world. Let's ask this gratious access providers
why not giving more free knowledge to the world - What about the 30,000
free videos of Harvard University or the 500 videos under Creative Commons
of a local professional school? Oh, well, that's a lot of data traffic not
to charging for…the telecom guy says… let's keep this zero-rating idea
stick to the text-based Wikipedia - without the chance to use the external
links to the internet for free. Let's give the people the little *Walled
Wikipedia Knowledge cake* and not the whole for free - well, that's
patronizing in my eyes.
It is a clear strategy by telecoms around the world to weaken net
neutrality in many ways. Getting people used to pay different prices for
different data is one of perfidious one, because it sometimes feels right
in the first moment, but it lays the wrong groundworks. "The internet" then
becomes a place were open innovation (societal and economic-wise) becomes
more difficult or even impossible - so the main function of the web is
But Wikipedia needs this open air to breathe and to evolve. Free Knowledge,
Open Data and GLAM need this open air to evolve - a network were you pay
different prices for different kind of data (even if it is actually all the
same 0s and 1s) isn't the internet anymore. Wikipedia becomes the Facebook
of encyclopedias, there will be only one knowledge and that is Wikipedia
knowledge - not sure if that was anything to do with what Wikipedians
Wikipedia Zero isn't leading this process, it is a tool in the hands of the
telecoms. They surely have a lot of nice words for WMF-representatives,
because, hej, they get the 6th biggest global website with mini datavolume
for FREE to use it for one of their main marketing targets: Teach the
people that different data/websites have different prices. - Apart from all
the good arguments about spreading the knowledge I think we need to be
aware of our responsibilities in the big picture. And that argument isn't a
"white, privileged" argument, but one which cares about keeping the core of
the web free and open and let not fall it in the hands of access dealers
and their economic interests.
thanks for reading
2015-04-01 18:02 GMT+02:00 Josh Lim <jamesjoshualim(a)yahoo.com>om>:
In the absence of any meaningful alternative, what should we do then?
Close down Wikipedia Zero and let the developing world languish in the
dark? We talk of a "more sustainable way to bring free knowledge (which is
far more than Wikipedia)”, yet we’re not seeing anything coming out of this
I will be brutally honest to everyone in this mailing list: this entire
discussion about Wikipedia Zero and net neutrality has become very
patronizing against us in the developing world who benefit from the
program. The fact that we’re having this discussion without developing
world voices (other than myself) is already troubling in itself since, so
far, every discussion about Wikipedia Zero that I’ve seen only includes
those "white, privileged and well-educated people” who you defend.
And yet you guys talk as if you know what’s best for the developing
world. That’s the tone that I’ve been sensing in this entire discussion
thus far, and I’m sorry, but it’s not helpful. Please don’t speak as if
you guys know what it’s like on the ground in Asia or Africa.
I’ve had to swallow my own pride just to accept the fact that net
neutrality has to take the back burner to bringing more information out
there to people. I have always believed in net neutrality as a means of
ensuring a free and open Internet to everybody. But if you’re in a country
like the Philippines where the majority of people don’t even have the
luxury of going online (and if you do, it’s bloody expensive), then having
access to some information—even if that information is imperfect—is still
better than none at all, since at least we can still correct any
misinformation that may arise. And as Wikipedians, we are in a position to
do just that through ensuring that our content is well-monitored, neutral
and comprehensive so that at least there’s a multitude of viewpoints
present even if the information is coming from a single source.
We should make people in the developing world aware of net neutrality,
yes, but we must also be careful to consider the existing socio-economic
conditions of the countries where this program has been deployed. I am all
for the sharing of knowledge and the free exchange of information for the
greatest benefit, but we cannot have that discussion if people are not able
to have access to the Internet in the first place. We cannot afford at
this point to put the cart before the horse, and as I’ve mentioned earlier,
in the absence of a meaningful alternative, this is the best we can do so
Also, just so you know: Wikipedia Zero, at least in this country, is being
implemented by a local telecom with no discernible link to the big players
like Orange or T-Mobile or Telenor. They view it so far as good CSR and
not as a means of controlling the flow of information or wanting to make a
profit. So yeah, at least for us it’s been good so far. If it happens
though that things turn sour, then expect us to fight for our principles.
Wiadomość napisana przez Jens Best
<best.jens(a)gmail.com> w dniu 31 mar
2015, o godz. 15:27:
your arguments are just emotional rhetorics. Saying that "white,
and well educated" people aren't allowed
to critize ways how
first-world-led telecoms (like Orange, Telenor) are spreading a wrong,
non-open "internet" in developing countries is just plain emotional
rhetoric far away from any fact.
Wikipedia Zero is NOT bringing the free knowledge of the world to the
people, it's bringing Wikipedia to the people, not more, not less. Also,
zero-rating is helping to establish user habits which are used to have
different prices for different kinds of data - That is the clearest
violation of net neutrality and therefore of an open and free web.
Ignoring this is just helping the (first-world-led) Telecoms to establish
NOT a free internet which also helped to create something like Wikipedia,
but a walled garden system where you pay for different data of even (as
is the case e.g. in some parts of India)
different websites. I think that
it is ignorant to profit only short-term by bringing a Walled Wikipedia
the people and having Wikipedia in this exclusive
deal in comparison to
establish a sustainable way to bring free knowledge (which is far more
Wikipedia) to the people.
There must be another way to work for the value of "free knowledge for
people" but to destroy net neutrality and
the experience of an open web
the very beginning at the same time. It is the
duty of WMF to take care
also of the framework which enabled Wikipedia in the start. Ignoring this
and being proud of having a comfortable deal with some Telecoms is plain
wrong and irresponsible - especially for a free and open digital
development of the Global South.
2015-03-31 9:05 GMT+02:00 Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen(a)gmail.com>om>:
> With Wikipedia Zero people have access to knowledge that they would not
> have otherwise. It is well established that having information readily
> available is an important indicator for further development. Not having
> Wikipedia available is absolutely a worse situation than having it.
> Your argument is imho a bleeding heart stance. Would it not be better
> My answer is sure HOWEVER given that the
objective of Wikipedia is to
> in the sum of all knowledge, your argument is
> may be important but they are secondary to
having the information
> in the first place. As long as we have
sources in full blown Wikipedia,
> long as it is WMF that provides the Wikipedia
Zero content... what is
> point. Yes, ideally we want people to ensure
that people know about
> sources. When sources are just statements of fact and they are in turn
> accessible because of cost. What is your
point in practical terms?
> Wikipedia Zero is very much a fulfillment of our aspirations. Do not
> who you are: white, privileged and well
educated. What you propose is
> taking away something that you take for granted. Not nice.
> On 30 March 2015 at 20:37, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> The recent Newsweek story on the Wifione / IIPM admin corruption
>> has clear implications for Wikipedia
>> Wikipedia Zero creates hundreds of millions of passive Wikipedia users
>> - Cannot see the sources of a Wikipedia article (I believe SMS users
>> even see which statements *are* sourced and to what)
>> - Cannot view alternative sources
>> - Cannot meaningfully edit Wikipedia (lacking access to new sources)
>> At the same time, Wikipedia Zero creates a monopoly position for
>> that makes the site an even greater target for manipulation by local
>> elites, who *do* enjoy full read/write access to Wikipedia. Such
>> are fundamentally incompatible with the values underlying the idea of a
>> free and open web. Monopolies ultimately result in *control* rather
>> *freedom* of information.
>> The Wifione case illustrates that even in the English Wikipedia
>> manipulation, focused on topics that the average Wikipedia contributor
>> little interest in or knowledge about, can be successful and remain
>> undetected for years. Small, regional-language Wikipedias are far more
>> unstable still, as the example of the Croatian Wikipedia demonstrated
>> too clearly.
>> Wikipedia is far too vulnerable to become the gatekeeper for
>> developing countries -- if such a gatekeeper were even desirable (which
>> is not).
>> To give another example, I see that Wikipedia Zero is available in
>> Jimmy Wales recently asserted on Reddit that the Kazakh government
>> not control the Kazahk *[sic]*
>> The Kazakh government, however, seems to disagree with Jimmy Wales.
>> The Kazakh Prime Minister's official website has stated since 2011 that
>> Kazakh Wikipedia project "is implemented under the auspices of the
>> Government of Kazakhstan and with the support of Prime Minister Karim
>> Massimov", quoting the head of WikiBilim and 2011 Wikipedian of the
>> who today holds the office of a Deputy
Governor in the Kazakh
>> and is the Founding Director of a Brussels-based think tank, the
>> Council on Foreign Affairs", which is widely considered a PR front of
>> Kazakh government.
>> Is aiding the market dominance and penetration of such a source through
>> Wikipedia Zero in line with movement values? Is the type of
>> described on Wikimedia's Outreach
page for Kazakhstan? I don't think
>> I thought we were on the side of those fighting for freedom of speech,
>> the side of those suppressing it.
>> It's a concrete example of Wikipedia Zero aiding an oppressive
>> in the control of information -- not at
some point in the future, but
>> For a thoughtful examination of the issues surrounding Wikipedia Zero,
>> ask everyone to take 5 minutes of their time to listen to the
>> Thomas Lohninger gave at the Chaos Communication Congress in December
>> "Net Neutrality: Days of Future Past?" Time code 37:00 onward.
>> I would be glad to see the Wikimedia Foundation rejoin the ranks of
>> fighting for freedom of speech, and a
free and open web for all.
>> On Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 12:15 AM, Jens Best <best.jens(a)gmail.com>
>>> first of all, welcome Kourosh.
>>> I'm looking forward to see how the reality of this exciting job
>>> gonna look like. For me this also sounds like a clear move to a more
>>> politically positioned understanding of this aspect of the growing
>>> importance of the Wikimedia-Movment globally. "Advancement
>>> sounds pretty neutral, but certainly it isn't at all.
>>> When it comes to "collaboration with like-minded organizations"
>>> surely are also carried by a stronger public postioning of the values
>>> the movement. Some of the decisions in the past, especially when it
>>> to collaborations with commercial internet players maybe need to be
>>> and transparently re-evaluated.
>>> If Kourosh is settled in I would like to see a global, transparent and
>>> discussion about our program "Wikipedia Zero" which is under
>>> by OpenWeb-NGOs and other worried members of the civil society in the
>>> in the "Global South" and in Europe.
>>> Wikipedia Zero which for me is a straight marketing element of some
>>> telecoms to sell their mobile products in developing markets and
>>> infusing an user-experience of data-specific payment habits, needs to
>>> re-evaluated with a professional look that includes awareness of what
>>> implications strategic partnerships can have on our core values.
>>> The well-meant intentions which carried the Wikipedia Zero programme
>>> WMF to the point where it is now maybe were a little starry-eyed.
>>> forget that a zero-rated Wikipedia which can't connect to the linked
>>> knowledge of the world is just a *Walled Wikipedia *and therefore a
>>> questionable contribution to our core belief of giving free knowledge
>>> the people - by the people.
>>> The intensity with which the global fight about net neutrality is lead
>>> because of the commercial interests of the telecoms surely doesn't
>>> the markets of the Global South - therefore Wikimedia movement has to
>>> perfectly clear which line is walked on this central matter of a free
>>> open internet.
>>> You see, Kourosh, the challenges are big and I'm looking forward to
>>> experienced person overlooking the future developments in this field.
>>> best regards and a good start
>>> Jens Best
>>> 2015-03-27 21:13 GMT+01:00 Lila Tretikov <lila(a)wikimedia.org>rg>:
>>>> Dear Wikimedians,
>>>> In order to encourage the expansion of knowledge, we’ve been
>>>> new ways to support and develop the work you do. Collaboration is an
>>>> essential part of the Wikimedia movement, and today, I’m excited to
>>>> know about a new addition at the Wikimedia Foundation that will
>>>> collaboration with like-minded organizations.
>>>> For some time now, we’ve planned to hire a Vice President of
>>>> Partnerships. Today, I am pleased to announce that Kourosh Karimkhany
>>>> step into this role on March 30, 2015.
>>>> Kourosh will be responsible for crafting a strategy to grow long-term
>>>> for Wikimedia projects through building meaningful partnerships,
>>>> and relationships on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation. He will
>>>> part of the C-level team and will report to Lisa Gruwell. Kourosh
>>>> oversee Wikipedia Zero, which will transition to the partnerships
>>>> The Wikimedia community has many fruitful and creative partnerships
>>>> help support knowledge creation and sharing around the world. The
>>>> partnerships Kourosh will support will will help us better support
>>>> partnerships and your work, as well as grow strategic initiatives we
>>>> on at the WMF.
>>>> Kourosh was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. as a child with his
>>>> Today, he is an experienced digital media professional with a passion
>>>> sharing information with the world. He started his career as a
>>>> journalist covering Silicon Valley for Bloomberg, Reuters and Wired.
>>>> switched to the business side of media when he joined Yahoo as senior
>>>> producer of Yahoo News. Later, he led corporate development at Conde
>>>> where he spearheaded the acquisition of Wired.com
, Ars Technica and
>>>> He also cofounded Food Republic in 2009, which was acquired in 2013.
>>>> an active angel investor and startup advisor.
>>>> In light of the expanded scope of the Fundraising team and the
>>>> partnerships team, we’re changing the team's name to better reflect
>>>> mission. The new name is the Advancement Department. To learn more
>>>> the new role, visit the FAQ here:
>>>> Please join me in welcoming Kourosh as the newest member of the WMF
>>>> leadership team. We have many exciting projects in 2015 and I’m
>>>> forward to all the great things we will accomplish as we work
>>>> support our mission.
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JAMES JOSHUA G. LIM
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Class of 2013, Ateneo de Manila University
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
jamesjoshualim(a)yahoo.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> | +63 (915)
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